Unthreaded #37

It seems a bit mean that Dan Hughes had to post an interesting Unthreaded comment on a year-old thread with nearly 1000 comments.

808 Comments

  1. jae
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    Vote early, vote often, for the best Science Blog. CA is now falling behind Bad Astronomy. You can vote once per day on as many computers as you can find.

    • Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#1), I haven’t posted here before, and have some troubling observations to make about the systems physics behind the economic assumptions and the proposed mitigations. They both rely on chains of perpetual perfection machines, and, I think, show that the scientific community really is not thinking straight about this whole thing in much the same way the people who created this mess were not thinking straight. I thought linking to a post on stuffing ballot boxes to raise the ‘popularity’ of science on the web might be appropriate! :-)

      Have you noticed that resolving the conflict between the climate and the energy demands of continual economic growth is being represented by everyone as a ‘hump’ to get over? That implies that we plan on using a finite amount of energy to do it… That’s a real contradiction. I’ve spent many years studying the puzzle of why, IMHO, even scientists define physical systems as being the information we have about them, and not as undefined physical things only reflected in part by our information. It’s a curious trap. What’s different about my approach is that I use information for exploring systems I can’t fully define, instead of as defined by my information. My site is http://www.synapse9.com.

      Our information being more limited than the physical systems themselves, we ‘may occasionally’ cook up solutions that just create larger problems… :-) leaving us mystified as to why, and to then just try to solve that problem by doing it again! Sustaining growth would be an infinite problem, that’s the real problem, so no matter the solution to delay problems with it they’ll be finite and leave you with bigger problems to solve. The ‘decoupling’ idea is where the “perpetual perfection machines” come in. It’s not just a theoretical issue, but a practical one that even if it worked it wouldn’t work. The economists making the assumptions treat economies as relations between numbers, not as physical networks of independently behaving things…. For ‘decoupling’ to work we would need to make more and more money from doing less and less with the earth. Using ‘efficiency’ as a limitless resource that way is very problematic for many reasons, but also means assuming people would pay ever more ever more immaterial goods and services. I think it’s as clear as CO2 traps radiation that products are worthless if they don’t have substance, and if true we won’t have the limitless growth to pay for all these very expensive strategies we’re dreaming up.

      I’m never sure how to approach this with people new to my work. I hope I left open some good questions. pfh

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

        Re: Phil Henshaw (#91), Obtaining more energy, efficiency from devices must of necessity be subject to diminishing returns. It is not, as you point out, a limitless resource.

        Re: Filippo Turturici (#90), I think the big hotspot in central asia may have more to do with the huge drop off in rural weather stations in the network (they are in many cases still there, just not being picked up by GISS or CRU), which leaves a couple of cities with big UHI for each grid cell. Check out threads on “Where’s Waldo” and on the October warm anomaly etc.

        • Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#97),
          Diminishing returns is another name for resources becoming unresponsive to our efforts to leverage more from them. Any kind of resource is subject to it at the limits. That you can’t squeeze out all the waste from a process is a feature of entropy, and for natural processes and systems you only know about where that limit is from seeing the turn in the curve toward increasing complications and diminishing results, the whole system response. Am I right to say that might present a problem for where the resources are going to come from for mitigating climate change?

          The economists seem to have assumed that the resources are infinite and the barriers to using them absent, as if something would become as limitless and as untapped as we once found it. What I draw my opinion from is the strong appearance that we are at “peak everything” instead, indicating that diminishing returns and unresponsiveness of our resources is system-wide. That implies that increasing investment will have the opposite of the intended effect, increasing costs and scarcities of things rather than what resource investment did before. I kind of doubt the IPCC is considering that possibility in it’s economic alternatives…

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

          Re: Phil Henshaw (#102), I wouldn’t agree that we are at “peak everything” and in particular, most of the world is running the most hopelessly inefficient burner, furnaces, etc. However, in developed countries you quickly reach that point. After insulating my attic and changing my furnace to high efficiency, the next cost saving is to replace all my windows for $8000 US. It will take 40 years for this to pay off, if ever.

        • Posted Jan 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#113), Well being at “peak everything” is a matter of being part of a system that equalizes it’s stresses, not a matter of coincidence. It’s also a question of whether you’re talking about “peak” scale or rate of increase or growth rate, etc., all of which would occur at different times in the normal simple development curve (¸¸.•´ ¯ `•.¸¸) and have different meanings. That confuses a lot of it. Your observation that once you did the less expensive efficiency improvements the next cost more money and give longer pay back is what points to your resource having crossed the inflection point in value of improvements toward becoming unproductive.

          If you consider your house as a “natural resource” then obtaining growing amounts of energy from it has already come to produce severely diminishing returns. That we do live in a stress equalization system and see so many kinds of efficiencies becoming increasingly unproductive, as yours are, it provides a meaningful whole system indicator of real shrinking potential in system as a whole. The general economic assumptions, though, are that that will never occur. This is what concerns me. We have an enormous investment to make and two starkly different indicators of it’s likely productivity, one highly positive as things were in the past, and one quite negative as things are clearly becoming in the present.

        • Filippo Turturici
          Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#97), I may agree…anyway, I repeat my query for global temperature anomaly data withour this hot spot (I mean, being it not present as well as reduced to global land trend) if possible, by anyone :-) just my curiosity, to see whether the World would be so hot or not without the major warming in this region.

  2. James Smyth
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    The interesting comment? Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power

  3. Pierre Gosselin
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/kary_mullis_on_what_scientists_do.html
    Good science is honest science.
    If you got 30 mins., worth the watch!
    h/T Dirk Maxeiner

  4. jae
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mc: You may want to add Roy Spencer’s new blog to the Blogroll.

    • Mike B
      Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#4),

      There are a couple of Blogroll links that need to be redirected, eliminated, or re-evaluated for relevance.

  5. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    I’ve still got CA ahead of BA…

  6. T Gannett
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    This is well off topic but hope someone with knowledge will see this.

    I have a few questions, probably unfrequently asked, that I hope someone has answers to. Does anyone know what the fluorescence quantum yield is for v(1) to v(0) for the CO2 15um line. I would like to get an idea of how much of the energy a CO2 molecule acquires when absorbing a 15um photon ends up re-emitted as an infra-red photon. The rest of the energy will end up partitioned between translational, rotational and vibrational states. This raises another question. For a collection of CO2 molecules, say at 20′C, what proportion of the molecules are in the various excited vibrational states accessible to CO2? Anyone know? Answers can be sent to gannett3@comcast.net. Thanks.

    I also posted this query on RealClimate. The differential response could be interesting.

    • Mark T.
      Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

      Re: T Gannett (#7), I’ve wondered this myself, well, not in the same technical terms but in general. The questions are similar to 1) how much total energy can be absorbed by CO2 at any given time and 2) how much CO2 is available to absorb energy in the first place (since some of it has presumably already absorbed all it can absorb).

      Mark

  7. Urederra
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    According to Daily tech, Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979. They use the cryosphere today global sea ice area graphs to claim that. Although by eyeballing it seems that there is still less sea ice now than at the end of 1979, the truth is that it has been a lot of recovery since last year.

    Looks like predictions about arctic sea ice loss were wrong. It is still difficult for me to believe how this fact is in agreement with the record high temperatures recorded in Siberia during last October and November.

    • thefordprefect
      Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 6:00 PM | Permalink

      Re: Urederra (#8), Not sure about their conclusions.
      data taken from http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm and replotted

      To me it looks as if it has been at minimum for a few days and is now following 2006 or 2007 curve – only time will tell
      Mike

      • Urederra
        Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

        Re: thefordprefect (#17),

        Thanks for your reply. It seems that my second paragraph mislead you. My bad. What they are describing at Daily tech is the global sea ice area while what you posted is the arctic (just the north hemisphere) sea area extent.

  8. Dodgy Geezer
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    I would like to vote for Steve, but the problem is that he is now doing real science at the top level, and kicking ass in conferences. That kind of thing is deeply technical, but hard for most bloggers to understand or appreciate. You could say that he has risen above blogging…

    Anthony is also doing science, but less complex and much more accessible – pictures of weather stations and pie charts are easier to understand. That’s probably why he got more starter votes – in a way it’s a comparative insult!

    I think that we all feel that a vote for Anthony is also a proxy vote for Steve, but we can’t split our numbers, and that’s why I will be voting for WUWT. All the Real Climate crowd have already given up on trying to push their blog, and are advising everyone to vote for Pharyngula, purely to stop ‘the deniers’. This means that to win, we need to be better than the voters from TWO other blogs, so we really will need every point to go to ONE of the pair. And Steve already has ONE prize!

    • jae
      Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: Dodgy Geezer (#10),

      Borrow some other people’s computers for a moment and stuff the ballot box. :)

    • Pat Keating
      Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

      Re: Dodgy Geezer (#10),
      Climate Audit is probably not really a science blog, since Steve is focused on statistical number-crunching of data and would really prefer to avoid science-oriented posts (e.g., CO2, water-vapor, physical hypotheses, radiative processes, etc.). He does important and prolific work in his preferred data-auditing area, but that is not really science.

  9. Mark T.
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    Sounds pretty petty to me… RC that is.

    Mark

  10. DJA
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    Re jea #6

    RealClimate 4.7% = reality

  11. Dan Scoledge
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Its tough to pick between WUWT and CA. I have this picture in my head of CA as the engine and WUWT as the glamorous body. The car wouldn’t go anywhere without the engine but its the body that lures people to hopefully wake to whats going on.

  12. cba
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    T Gannet #7

    I cannot answer your question as posed and am not sure it’s practical. There are many many different lines that compose the 15um band, not one.

    Perhaps another way is to consider simply that for most of the atmosphere, well into the stratosphere, there is local thermodynamic equilibrium, LTE, so that the energy absorbed is actually distributed not just within the absorbing molecule but also among the other nearby molecules, both of co2 and other (N2, O2,…). This distribution in energy states is the Boltzman thermal distribution for the local temperature T. This give the emissions as being the Boltzman distribution (or Planck blackbody spectrum) times the statistical liklihood of the emission of a particular frequency or wavelength. That liklihood depends in essenece on the absorption spectrum of that gas under the current conditions.

    This probability depends upon all spectral lines with a liklihood of emission at the particular frequency or wavelength. Lines have width due to both like and dissimilar molecules, local T and local pressure. That means there are often multiple lines that could be responsible for emitting at a particular frequency.

    The Hitran database offers this information and is a composite of both calculated spectral lines and measured lines. Documentation includes an appendix with the calculations for determining intensities, basic line widths, corrections for T and p, etc.

    I’m not sure what your interest is but if it’s basic GW related, that’s way too much overkill in detail to get somewhere in any reasonable time frame. Besides, of everything associated with GHGs and GW, radiative transfer is undoubtedly the absolutely best known portion and is least likely to be screwed up. The existance of clouds pretty well makes those details and requirements for precision irrelevent.

  13. Robert
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    new nsidc report is out

    http://nsidc.com/arcticseaicenews/

  14. Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    Re “Data Analysts Captivated by R’s Power” (#2, Dan Hughes on Unthreaded #31, etc), should one use R or Matlab for vectorized number crunching and technical graphics, if someone else is paying the bill?

    Steve likes R, since it’s free and evidently very good, but Matlab is gaining ground over other similar proprietary programs like GAUSS, which many economists like myself are accustomed to. Should I switch to Matlab or R, given that I don’t have to pay for it myself?

    UC has recently posted some Matlab code, which has inspired me to brush up on Matlab of late.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

    20. There are so many packages for R that it’s unbelievable and the gap will spread. I can’t think of any reason to learn Matlab rather than R. But even if you change your mind, learning R isn’t wasted since Matlab code has many parallels to R.

  16. Mark T
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    If it is free, I’d use MATLAB, for no other reason than the graphic support. Overall it is probably easier to use since it’s an interpreted language ala BASIC and the library of functions is ridiculously large, particularly if you include user contributed stuff at their website, which is free. It is probably slower than R until you get really good at it (lots of nuances). Keep in mind, MATLAB is really LINPACK and EISPACK, two matrix solvers (linear algebra and eigenvalue decomposition respectively).

    I’m biased, however, as I’ve been using MATLAB for 20 years or more now, and I’ve never used R. Steve has used both so he might be better able to answer your question.

    Mark

  17. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 8:46 PM | Permalink

    #21. well, much of the analysis in “science” papers is statistical.

    It’s not so much that I’m uninterested in the physics questions; it’s more that I’ve found that the standard of discussion of these issues hasn’t been at a level that interests me.

    “Physics” topics tend to attract a lot of posts by people promoting their own personal theories without clearly connecting to the mainstream literature. I don’t want to spend the time arguing about such personal theories; nor do I want third parties to use potentially uninformed discussion on such topics as a pretext to dismiss solid analysis of issues where I have full control of the issues.

    Let me try to explain the difference another way. In my posts about proxies and paleoclimate, I discuss Mann, Briffa, Jones, Thompson, Hansen,,,- mainstream literature; whereas people who want to talk about “physics” typically don’t want to discuss parameterizations of the NCAR PCM, they want to talk about Beck, Mickolski, Svensmark, that sort of thing, rather than mainstream literature.

    I’m wide open to offering space for someone who wants to write technical comments about specific models, but editorially I’m not going to give free rein to people speculating on thermodynamics, radiation, etc. I’ve definitely conceded market share in terms of volume by doing so, but I’m not prepared to risk whatever brand had been established by permitting easy targets for the many people looking for opportunities to take shots at CA.

    • Pat Keating
      Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#24),
      My post was not intended as a criticism, Steve, but a statement of fact. You have done, and continue to do, terrific and invaluable work with your auditing of the data used by paleo-climatologists and that adjusted/generated by GISS, in particular. You can’t be all things to all men, and your de-emphasis of the science side is probably a good thing for your blog.

  18. GP
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    A quick observation for those voting on the blog awards from places where other people may also choose to vote at around the same time. There is a note fron the organizers to point out that they have implemented some anti-automated mass-voting attempts and that one of the checks means it is not a good idea to vote consecutively from different computers using the same connection.

    I checked this earlier and ‘consecutively’ can mean a gap of some minutes, or so the count results screens suggested. I was quite surprised by that. The second (and presumably subsequent) votes appear to be accepted and the last time voted is registered, but the count did not increase. I have now checked this on three different tests. All the same results. You met find something different.

    See the the weblogawards site’s Daily Notes for Jan 5th for further info.

  19. Jeff Alberts
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 9:20 PM | Permalink

    I found the same thing, GP.

  20. thefordprefect
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    Using grape harvests as a proxy for temperature:
    The first graph below shows the correspondence between Central England Temperature CET (Red) and Nantes (France) (Black). These instrument readings have been averaged over the growing season of grapes April to August. And between these 2 instrument readings and the deviation from nominal grape harvest time for pinot noir grapes.

    All data have been averaged over a 7 year period (too much noise otherwise) and temperatures have been nomalised on a month by month basis for the years 1961 to 1990 (All Aprils in 1961 to 1990 averaged then subtracted from April of the current year. This is repeated for all months to August.)
    VISUALLY the 2 instrument temperatures have a good correspondence and between Nantes and the grape harvest there is a strong negative correspondence as would be expected. The CET to harvest is not so good but can be extended back a couple of hundred years. Again there is a good negative correspondence.
    There is an excellent document analysing this proxy – Grape Harvest Records as a Proxy for Swiss April to August Temperature Reconstructions by Nicole Meier http://www.uniaktuell.unibe.ch/content/umweltnatur/2007/reben/e704/e6660/diplom_nmeier.pdf
    To my mind the harvest date shows a reasonable indication of temperature. High temps around 1390 and 1680 with 1680 having a similar temperature to 2003. I can understand that there may not be a linear relation between temp and harvest but reading the 2007 pdf referenced I can understand that temperature plays an important role in harvesting the grape at the optimum.
    Any comments?
    (and, yes, I have read Keenan’s Comment on Chuine on this site)

  21. Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    cryosphere has jpeg of sea ice area,
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg
    but I would like the data as a table so that I can numerically analyse it.

    Where can I get the table from which the jpeg is generated?

    One of the things I want to do is generate a plot of the twelve month rolling average, to suppress the distraction created by annual fluctuations. You can never see climate trends on a graph that shows seasonal noise.

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 11:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: James A. Donald (#28),

      Where can I get the table from which the jpeg is generated?

      That’s a really good question. I haven’t found it. You can get the daily data here, but that’s only a day at a time. You can also download area and extent data for the Arctic and Antarctic from Uni-Hamburg here. But that data only goes back to mid-2002 because that’s when the AMSR-E satellite came on line (watch out for missing days). Uni-Hamburg uses a different algorithm to calculate extent and area than Cryosphere Today. However, once you have collected enough daily data, it’s possible to calculate a correction equation to convert Uni-Hamburg area data to a good approximation of CT area data. I’ve been doing that and when Uni-Hamburg finally posts their data for the rest of 2008, I’ll update my equations and post them on the sea ice thread. NSIDC has data that goes back further, but again you have to cross-correlate to make it agree with CT. I haven’t finished with that yet.

  22. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 7, 2009 at 11:50 PM | Permalink

    Does this help: this gives monthly data.

    month1=as.character(1:12); y=nchar(month1);temp=(y<2);month1[temp]=paste(“0″,month1[temp],sep=””)
    month0=c(“Jan”, “Feb”, “Mar”, “Apr” ,”May” ,”Jun”, “Jul”, “Aug” ,”Sep”, “Oct” ,”Nov”, “Dec”)
    hemi=c(“N”,”S”)

    seaice=NULL
    for(j in 1:12) {
    for (k in 1:2) {
    url=”ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/DATASETS/NOAA/G02135″ #/Apr/N_04_area.txt”
    loc=file.path(url, month0[j],paste(hemi[k],”_”,month1[j],”_area.txt”,sep=””) )
    fred=readLines(loc)
    year=as.numeric(substr(fred,1,4))
    temp1=!is.na(year)&(year>=1978)
    fred=fred[temp1];year=year[temp1]
    test=data.frame(year, as.numeric(substr(fred,6,7)),substr(fred,27,27), as.numeric(substr(fred,29,34)),as.numeric(substr(fred,36,41)) )
    names(test)=c(“year”,”month”,”N”,”area”,”extent”)
    seaice=rbind(seaice,test)
    }
    }
    dim(seaice) #352 5
    order1=order(seaice$N,seaice$year,seaice$month)
    seaice=seaice[order1,]
    temp=(seaice$N==”N”)
    X=seaice[temp,]
    names(X)[4:5]=paste(names(X)[4:5],”N”,sep=”_”)
    X$area_S=seaice$area[!temp]
    X$extent_S=seaice$extent[!temp]
    X$time=round(X$year+(X$month-1)/12,2)
    N=nrow(X)
    X[1,]
    # year month N area_N extent_N area_S extent_S time
    #589 1978 11 N 12.02 8.95 16.4 11.56 1978.83

    time0=ts(seq(X$year[1]+(X$month[1]-1)/12, X$year[N]+(X$month[N]-1)/12,1/12),
    ,start=c(X$year[1],X$month[1]),end=c(X$year[N],X$month[N]),freq=12)
    seaice=data.frame(round(time0,2));names(seaice)=”time”
    test=match(seaice$time,X$time)
    temp=!is.na(test);sum(!temp)

    seaice$year=floor(seaice$time);
    seaice$month= 1+round( 12*(time0-seaice$year))
    seaice$area_N=NA;seaice$extent_N=NA;seaice$area_S=NA;seaice$extent_S=NA
    seaice[temp,4:7] = X[test[temp],4:7]
    #this copes with a couple of missing values in 1987-1988
    N=nrow(seaice)

    ##EXTENT ANOMALY (AREA) GRAPHIC
    #these two cases are done MANUALLY
    #use extent instead of area
    case0=”Area” #”Extent” #”Area”
    monthto=”July 2008″
    seaice$GLB=seaice$area_N+seaice$area_S
    seaice$NH=seaice$area_N;seaice$SH=seaice$area_S

    #GLB anomaly
    m0=tapply(seaice$GLB,seaice$month,mean,na.rm=TRUE);m0
    seaice$norm=factor(seaice$month);levels(seaice$norm)=m0
    seaice$norm=as.numeric(as.character(seaice$norm)) #monthly average
    seaice$anom.GLB=round(seaice$GLB-seaice$norm,2)

    #SH anomaly
    m0_SH=tapply(seaice$SH,seaice$month,mean,na.rm=TRUE) #SH
    seaice$norm=factor(seaice$month);levels(seaice$norm)=m0_SH
    seaice$norm=as.numeric(as.character(seaice$norm))
    seaice$anom_SH=round(seaice$SH-seaice$norm,2)

    #NH anomaly
    m0_NH=tapply(seaice$NH,seaice$month,mean,na.rm=TRUE) #NH
    seaice$norm=factor(seaice$month);levels(seaice$norm)=m0_NH
    seaice$norm=as.numeric(as.character(seaice$norm))
    seaice$anom_NH=round(seaice$NH-seaice$norm,2)

  23. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    From one of the references above

    “R is really important to the point that it’s hard to overvalue it,” said Daryl Pregibon, a research scientist at Google, which uses the software widely. “It allows statisticians to do very intricate and complicated analyses without knowing the blood and guts of computing systems.”

    In mineral exploration in remote places, our geologists were delighted at the advent of GPS. But we made them navigate manually. The consequences of flat GPS batteries were too drastic.

    Likewise, we firmly encouraged them to keep plotting maps manually when it became so easy to do it by computer. There was a lot of value in getting up close and personal with the numbers. New ideas, concepts emerged as the raw numbers became old friends. Are you now telling me that the software is so good that it removes the need to be old friends? Like, it finds outliers, scribal errors, subtle trends where not expected, associations between different parameters (say like geochemical gold and arsenic), all without being told that they might be present?

    I’m not a Luddite, but some processes can get too automatic. Oh, must go, there’s the phone from the call centre answering back again ….

  24. T Gannett
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    cba #17

    Thanks for the reply. I am aware of the complexity of the CO2 n2 band (containing P, Q, and R bands,fine structure due to different rotational states). It would be useful to have some idea of how likely an a CO2 molecule will, after having absorbed an n2 photon, it will re-emit a n2 photon. I’m not to sure the black-body temperature/emission spectrum applies to gasses. How perfectly a body emits depends on how perfectly it absorbs and all things considered, the atmosphere is not a very good aborber of IR radiation. From extinction coefficients and atmospheric CO2 concentration you can calculate that about 99.99% of the IR that CO2 can absorb is absorbed in the first 100m from the earths surface. If re-emission of that energy as IR radiation is not efficient (i.e. redirecting half of the energy back towards the earth surface) then increasing CO2 concentration is not going to have much impact. The window is closed and painted black, another coat of paint won’t change anything. However, new IR absorbing gases like SF6 and CFC may be more important

  25. Stan Palmer
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/hubble-toil-and-trouble

    The review from American Scientist at the URL above may be of interest to readers of this blog. The review is written by an astronomer who is a working member of teh team building instruments for the Hubble telescope. The review directly addresses the issue of how big sicience is doe and reveals things that are contrary to the picture of the disinterested scientific search for truth that some scientists who comment here try to project. The reviewer also mentions the development of the Large Hadron Collider as another example of this.

  26. Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Ford Prefect, the correlation of harvest date with CET is quite impressive. Have you worked out a correlation coefficient?
    What does ‘pinot noir harvest’ mean? I think it means in Burgundy. In that case you shouldnt be comparing with Nantes, which is on the opposite side of France! You should compare with somewhere in Eastern France like Dijon, Lyon or Strasbourg.

    I assume you are using the data from the ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov site where it says
    NOTE: PLEASE CITE ORIGINAL REFERENCE WHEN USING THIS DATA!!!!!

    The reference is
    CHUINE ET AL NATURE VOL 432, 18 NOVEMBER 2004. They say “Our results reveal that temperatures as high as those reached in the 1990s have occurred several times in Burgundy since 1370″ but also say 2003 was exceptional (which Keenan gets very upset about). That 2003 number is clearly influencing your last few data points. The Chuine data stops at 2003 but since then harvest dates have got later again, e.g. Sept 18 in 2006.

    • Mark T.
      Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

      Re: PaulM (#34), Pinot noir is definitely the Burgundy grape. Is it only called “pinot noir” in Burgundy, like Champagne, or can they call it that in other areas? In the US is is definitely called pinot noir, however.

      Mark

    • thefordprefect
      Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: PaulM (#34), The data has been hanging around on a excel sheet for months and so I completely forgot about citing sources; so you’re right I should have referenced the data sources. I have not calc’d a corr coeff.

      There is another useful paper here:
      http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/33/07/69/PDF/cp-4-91-2008.pdf
      from the reference: Fig. 1. Location of the Fontainebleau sampling site, of Burgundy
      grape harvest sites (including Auxerre and Dijon cities) and ancient
      instrumental record sites of De Bilt (Netherlands) and “Central England”
      (UK) area as defined by Manley (1974) (52300N to 53 N
      and 1450W to 2150W). The data used by B¨untgen et al. (2006)
      and Meier et al. (2007) come from Switzerland and Austria.

      CET from met office hadley centre:
      http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/cetml1659on.dat
      Pinot Noir data from Download the WDC Paleo archive – Chuine, I., et al.. 2005.
      Burgundy Grape Harvest Dates and Spring-Summer Temperature Reconstruction
      IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology
      Data Contribution Series #2005-007.:
      ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/historical/france/burgundy2004.txt

      (cannot now seem to find the data for nantes!)

      The harvest date (and the rest) is a simlpe average of -1+2 years on the date. The average is terminated in 2001 to prevent end effect. The last 4 years of the record are:
      2000 -13.8
      2001 -7.18
      2002 -9.18
      2003 -40.18
      giving an average for 2001 of -17.43
      Mike

  27. Larry Huldén
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    I have tried to vote on the 2008 weblog awards but I have not been able to reach any site where it is possible to vote for anything. Last year it was easy. Now I cannot find any page where I would be able to hit RETURN key for that purposes. What is the problem ??????????

    • RomanM
      Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

      Re: Larry Huldén (#35),

      Try clicking the 2008 weblog awards FINALIST logo at the top right of this page.

  28. Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    RE Mark T #37,

    Re: PaulM (#34), Pinot noir is definitely the Burgundy grape. Is it only called “pinot noir” in Burgundy, like Champagne, or can they call it that in other areas? In the US is is definitely called pinot noir, however.

    Mark

    Pinot noir is just the name of a variety of grape, that can grow anywhere in France or elsewhere. It happens to be the preferred grape for Burgundy, which in France can only be called Burgundy (Bourgogne) if it actually grown in Burgundy, just as Champagne can only be called Champagne there if it is actually from Champagne.

    So a pinot noir harvest in France does not need to be in Burgundy, and in fact for climate comparisons between regions, it would be best to compare harvests of the same variety, whenever possible.

  29. Mark T.
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Yes, I realize that. At least, I realize Pinot Noir is the name of the grape that makes Burgundy. But in regards to France, does that grape actually grow everywhere or just in Burgundy? They grow it here along the CA coast as well as up in OR, for example. In fact, most of my favorite Pinot Noirs are from Willamette Velley in OR. I did have a bottle of Estancia, from the Sonoma Valley, New Year’s Eve that was good. :)

    Mark

  30. cba
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    T Gannett #32

    That information is in the Hitran database but trying to use it in the context youre talking about would lead to misleading results I’m afraid.

    I’m not trying to say that the atmosphere emits with a blackbody curve – that curve is a quick and dirty probability curve for occupied energy states as a function of frequency (or wavelength) for a given temperature. However, if you multiply that function by the absorption spectrum function for that gas, you will then have the liklihood of emissions at each wavelength in the form of spectral power as a function of wavelength (or frequency). Practical considerations mean you have the absorption spectrum and the theoretical BB curve spectrum and multiply one by the other (by frequency or by wavelength). The result is how great the intensity is at each frequency (or wavelength) that is based upon the liklihood of molecules acting on a photon of that wavelength and upon how many molecules should be in that energy state to permit spontaneous emission. This comes from the concept of LTE and the einstein coefficients for spontaneous emission and for absorption being equal under LTE.

    Again, the first level approx. also uses a Voight line form factor. This should be reasonably good for lower atmosphere but not necessarily higher altitudes. This factor smears out discrete lines from single frequency to a somewhat wider bandwidth. Once this is included, there are usually quite a few lines which could contribute to any particular wavelength or frequency. That means looking at only one will miss the total contribution for absorption or emission at a particular wavelength or frequency.

    If you want to look at the stuff, the Hitran database can be had by requesting it. Each line has the parameters you seek. However, if again, you’re interested in GHG impacts etc. then you will have a tremendous way to go before being able to get anything of interest out of it. It also becomes crucial to create a full absorption spectrum, then break down the atmosphere by layers in order to insure that voight profiles and specific molecular concentrations are kept reasonable as well as pressures and temperatures – all of which affect the line profiles and hence the spectrum. After all that is done, then one must create a radiative transfer calculation for absorption and emission within each layer. Then one is faced with the fact that the basic calculations are only applicable for clear sky because clouds will block most everything. finally, for resolutions worthy of Hitran, factors such as molecular chains or groups called dimers that create extra line profile ‘wings’, scattering,aerosols, and particulates must be added in as well. Then one must face the fact that those clouds are going to cover half or more of the globe at any one time and there are quite a few varieties with different effects for cooling and heating.

    If you’re wondering why I know this much about it – it’s because I spent a lot of time doing this – and that doesn’t mean starting with quantum probabilities directly but rather using hitran to create an absorption spectrum. I created a 1nm resolution spectrum by wavelength from near uV to 65000 nm far IR. I also used the 1976 std atmosphere for my 1 dimensional model details using something like 38 molecules. I used something like the plain wave radiative transfer approach.

    One interesting thing is that emissions depend upon T and molecular makeup and by using a thin shell approximation, one realizes that there is an outward flow and an inward flow. Since the inside has a surface at a nominal 288.2 K temperature but space is like a surface at 2.7K. Simple equilibrium arguments say that if both surfaces (earth surface and space) were at 288.2, radiation would equilibrate so that each layer would be at 288.2 and would be absorbing inward and outward and likewise emitting the same amount. When space is 2.7K instead of (288.2K) that means there is no surface radiating downward, only the various upper layers. But that doesn’t change the fact that each inner layer radiates the same up as down. Also, if the surface temperature were the same as a layer T, this could not continue because the outbound energy absorbed would be the same as that which it emitted outbound and that much again radiating back down. That means 1 E in versus 2 x E out. This means the atmosphere must be cooler and it actually defines a temperature lapse rate. Note too that there must be convection going on for the existing atmosphere to maintain its existing temperature lapse rate.

    sorry for all this complexity. However, note that a co2 doubling does inject an addition 3 1/2 W/m^2 of absorption in my model – very much like that of other models. The key is the sensitivity in Kelvins rise per w/m^2 rise. This isn’t related to the IR spectra or lines but rather is mostly from other factors. While the ipcc vaunts the most likely value at 3 K rise per co2 doubling (3 1/2 w/m^2), I have some fairly good reasons to believe it to 0.4 K per co2 doubling, including very good reasons why the ipcc values are so overblown. Unfortunately, good reasons to believe aren’t quite at the level of a rigorous engineering proof.

  31. Hu McCulloch
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    Re Mark T #39, I just bought a bottle of French Pinot Noir that is Vin de Pays d’Oc, from Cebazan. Another French Pinot Noir at the same store was from a region on the Mediterranean, so yes, pinot noir is grown in France far outside of Burgundy today.

    • jae
      Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

      Re: Hu McCulloch (#42),

      Another French Pinot Noir at the same store was from a region on the Mediterranean, so yes, pinot noir is grown in France far outside of Burgundy today.

      LOL, the whole wine industry is fraught with proud and confusing marketing nonsense, like “Burgundy,” “Champagne,” etc. The snobs try to make it even more compelling. That is changing quickly, as folks with a little scientific expertise and common sense discover that it’s only pinot noir, chardonnay, etc., and that these grapes can be grown in many different areas, often with even better quality wines. I’ll put up a good Oregon pinot noir against any Burgundy! There are more misconceptions about wine than about climate science, perhaps. :)

  32. Mark T
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 8:11 PM | Permalink

    That’s what I was wondering. So the grape can handle climate diversity, but the name Burgundy cannot!
    Mark

  33. T Gannett
    Posted Jan 8, 2009 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

    cba #40

    Zounds! Your replies are keepers. I mull over them for months to come. In the end, they should greatly enhance my understanding of how the earth exchanges heat from it’s surface to the top of the atmosphere, or at least the radiative part. Thanks much. BTW, I did mechanistic organic photochemistry, long ago, in grad school, thus my intrest.

    Tom

  34. Larry Huldén
    Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 3:45 AM | Permalink

    “Try clicking the 2008 weblog awards FINALIST logo at the top right of this page.”

    Yes and what next???

    • RomanM
      Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

      Re: Larry Huldén (#46),
      It will take you to the page:

      http://2008.weblogawards.org/polls/best-science-blog//

      On that page, you should see a box listing all of the sites that have been nominated for Best Science Blog. Next to each name there is a small circle. By clicking the circle next to a name, you vote for that blog. If if you have voted in the last 24 hours, you will only see the current results for the voting.

    • MartinGAtkins
      Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

      Re: Larry Huldén (#46),

      “Try clicking the 2008 weblog awards FINALIST logo at the top right of this page.”

      Yes and what next???

      You must have Macromedia Flash version 7 (or greater) installed and Javascript enabled or you will be prompted to get the latest version.

      Then choose the categories your interested in from. Link below.

      here.

  35. jae
    Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    More science fiction at Science Magazine?

    • Mark T
      Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#51), My favorite is this:

      There’s a central problem in Battisti’s analysis. It assumes that projected temperature changes will have such detrimental effects because there’s no economic incentive to adapt to the slow climate change that takes place over a century. Apparently people are so stupid that they won’t do this.

      It made me think about all the poor stupid people in Bangledesh. Apparently they’re going to stay on the coast until the water is up to their necks. “Oh, look about, we’re drowning!” they’ll all say with amazement I keep thinking to myself.

      Mark

  36. Larry Huldén
    Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Thanks to RomanM and MartinGAtkins for help !!!
    It appeared that I am not able to update Macromedia Flash version 7 and Javascript on my computer in my work. It only replies that I am “not allowed to” and so on… I succeded to do it at home when my wife (historian and parasitology expert) showed me in 92 seconds (or so) how to vote. Now I hope to do it again within 24 hours and 0,0001 seconds again !!

    • John M
      Posted Jan 10, 2009 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

      Re: Larry Huldén (#52),

      That’s good news.

      As of now, WUWT + CA = 49.9%.

      Every vote still counts!

  37. Rob Mitchell
    Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    Since I’m studying winemaking I figured I could give folks a bit more info on Pinot noir and ripening / harvest times!

    For starters each specific variety take a similar growing time to reach maturity no mater where it is grown. This refers to the time it takes from budburst (the first shoots) to seed ripening (fruit is different). You can,t really make a good red wine with unripe seeds as it will be too astringent.

    Therefore the harvest timing tends to be dependent on the temperature of the ground after winter as budburst does not occur until the ground warms up to a certain temp.

    As for Pinot noir, the variety is the only red grape of burgundy, and has been grown there for 500 odd years. It is also the earliest ripening variety of red grapes and so is grown in the most marginal climates, this is because the best wine quality (especially pinot) is obtained when full ripeness occurs as late as possible. To hot and the grapes over ripen (high sugar low acid), to cold and the grapes get rained on before they ripen. Pinot noir is also a principle variety of champagne, where originally the climate was warm enough to produce table wine during the MWP. They only went to bubbly when the fruit stopped ripening in time, during the little ice age.
    cheers

  38. cba
    Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    james #50

    unfortunately will’s description has a serious problem. There is radiation of two directions, inward and outward. Because the steel is between an object of temperature T and space of temperature approximately 0 K, it cannot reach the temperature of the planet’s surface. If that were such where 400 w/m^2 were being radiated from the planet to the steel, the steel can only reach a T where 200 w/m^2 is radiating downward and 200 w/m^2 is radiating outward. Things would adjust to the point where the surface would have to be at a T with twice the emission of the radioactive source. Then half the energy radiated is returned down from the steel back to the planet which places the radiative transfer into balance at the surface. Since twice the emitted radiation from the surface heats the steel to the point that 1/2 of the value emits into space and 1/2 emits back to the surface. I think the increase in surface T required is the 4th root of 2 times the original value (although it’s late and I’m not taking time to think that one through).

    • James Erlandson
      Posted Jan 10, 2009 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

      Re: cba (#55), As Willis would say, “CBA, thanks for your comment.” I hope he joins in here as his observations are interesting and nearly always make me think. In the meantime I’ll point you to a post from a year ago that adds some detail to the model.
      Energy Balance at the Tropopause

  39. cba
    Posted Jan 9, 2009 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

    Tom #44
    Thanks for the compliment.

    I started getting into ionospheric research most of a lifetime ago but found it not to my taste at the time, mostly due to a bit of burnout and some previously suppressed interests etc. Until recently, I had been doing engineering & software design until I decided to get back into physics and astronomy.

  40. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Jan 10, 2009 at 10:25 AM | Permalink

    O to be in CA now that Unthreaded’s there!

    (With apologies to Robert Browning.)

    Funnily enough, I had recently been thinking I wanted to mention a few things which would really belong on an Unthreaded, so I am grateful to Steve for bringing it back. I really miss some of the classic arguments between people like ‘bender’ and ‘John V’ and others, and the weather reports by Steve Sadlov. Of course, the CA Forum was created as an outlet for some of this, but when I added a new item to Steve S’s “Weather Noise” thread there, I discovered it was the first in 7 months. I think threads over there just get forgotten about, so although it seems like a good idea to separate them out, it doesn’t always work.

    The main thing I wanted to blog about was Wikipedia and its draconian lack of balance regarding scepticism – there have of course been previous postings at CA on this. Now, we probably can’t do much about Wikipedia, but suppose we created a new ClimateWiki here at CA? I think it could be a wonderful resource, and presumably it could be started with a lot of articles from Wikipedia (or do they have copyright on those?). Anyway, it’s a thought to which I’d like to see some reaction.

    Regarding the blog awards, I think I would support WUWT a little more than CA this year, though I was very pleased that CA won it last year. I still read CA more frequently than WUWT, but I am more often finding at WUWT something really interesting to me. On general topics here I have most enjoyed “Sea Ice”, “Svalgaard”, “Holland versus Mitchell at the Met Office”, and “Ofcom ruling on TGGWS”. I do read some of the dendro stuff, but even though I’m a statistician I get a bit fazed by some of it, and usually head to the punch line if I can find it.

    Long live Unthreaded!

    Rich.

    • Posted Jan 10, 2009 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

      Re: See – owe to Rich (#59), I agree with a lot you say, I too think we ought to have a Climate Science wiki run by sceptics to balance the dreadful current Wikipedia imbalance in this area, which only feeds the warmists’ belief that we are all bad scientists in denial. There really is a lack of good central place to find basic skeptics’ Climate Science.

      It was with this in mind that I wrote my own Climate Science primer and story of my U-turn. But hey, I’m not a qualified scientist! my website is not peer-reviewed! The other side of that is that I have nothing to lose by practicing good science to the best of my ability and following my interests. So, for instance, I’ve explored Beck – with others on our Forum – and found him interesting and an important foil to uncritical acceptance of Keeling, but still not sufficiently up to standard in his own right. However, I am not happy with the “cold splice” between pre-Mauna-Loa ice-core CO2 testing and then Keeling ever since, with inadequate and biassed referencing to the wet chemical testing. Just like the Hockey Stick.

      Steve, thank you for your explanations; I honour what you are doing and totally respect and understand your choice to stay with statistics and keep off the theories of Climate Science. Stats is bona fide science, and an essential component of all good science. But at the same time, I see a very real need to consolidate and deepen the core science itself. This happens incidentally at WUWT and here and elsewhere, but nothing so far has led to the Climate Science wiki I feel we need. CA101 has the potential perhaps, but it lacks fire and vision so far, IMHO.

      Any thoughts anyone? I’ve already floated the wiki idea from time to time on our forum, but cannot develop it in a vacuum.

  41. Posted Jan 11, 2009 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    Wiki – thread in our Forum. Please post there if this speaks to you.

    I’ve just discovered that RealClimate now have a wiki. I think we owe it to ourselves to get a proper Climate Science wiki started on our side.

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Jan 11, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

      Re: Lucy Skywalker (#61),

      There is a wiki which was started a while back. I’d added quite a bit to it and some others, but Steve never pushed it so it’s not had much added lately. Let me go see what the link is to it…. Here it is:

      http://climateaudit101.wikispot.org/Front_Page

      Anybody who wants to do work on it is welcome.

      • Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

        Re: Dave Dardinger (#62), Dave, I have been in touch with Philip Mulholland of CA 101 and am awaiting a reply. I see you’ve contributed to CA101. But the project is hibernating. I think this is because it’s failing to catch the cutting edge of interest; also what I want to help manifest is a skeptics’ Climate Science wiki that spans not just Climate Audit but the lot. Then of course the challenge is how to handle Beck, Miskolczi, etc, quite apart from lesser challenges to consensus. But why should it not be possible? Wikipedia has shown that one can in theory neutrally state unusual views as part of the spectrum of serious interest (even if it’s failed to implement this in the case of Climate Science!) Anyway, RealClimate now has a wiki – IMHO we should be able to rise to this challenge to our collective competence, if we are to be taken seriously.

  42. jae
    Posted Jan 11, 2009 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    The CO2-AGW folks like to use the argument that “there is no other possible explanation for the increasing temperatures, other than CO2.” So, now that temperatures are going down, has that argument been modified? We The People want to know.

  43. John B
    Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

    As a medium term lurker of this blog, I have been very impressed by the professionalism of Steve and the contributors. I fully understand the logic behind the ‘audit’ mission. However, it does give the blog a decidedly negative aspect.

    I wonder whether it might not be possible to extend the mission to include ‘consulting’ as many auditors have done, although I am not unmindful of the potential for conflict of interest.

    I followed the discussion of the poor quality control of temperature records used, questionable adjustments and possible cherry picking of sites in the determination of global average temperature.

    It seems to me that the contributors of this blog have the skills and enthusiasm necessary to do a proper job of choosing sites, downloading temperature data, adjusting, if necessary, analysing and presenting the results on an attractive web site available to all.

    Having worked, very peripherally, on an on line collaborative project (www.freebsd.org), I am impressed with the results that can be obtained from a group effort. The objective would be an open source, automated system written, needless to say in R, to produce global temperature data, gathering, adjusting, analysing, presenting and archiving the data according to transparent criteria fully discussed, offered for comment and documented.

    I believe that there are enough potential contributors to do the job provided the design was completed and broken into component parts representing individual skills. Members of the Team and other less committed believers could even be asked to comment on basic design decisions, proposed adjustments and site criteria, perhaps taking some of the wind out of their sails.

  44. curious
    Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    John B at 64
    Hi John – similar thoughts on that. I wondered if the current climate models are hamstrung by the history and some of the shortcomings highlighted by CA and others. I was thinking that a collaborative project could offer the chance to do a newbuild model from scratch incorporating the lessons learnt so far. My feeling is that the effort to produce the actual code cannot be that significant compared to getting the data, design and assumptions going into the model build correct (or better and refiniable). This would also be a transparent project open to wide scrutiny and input. Running it could be done on a distributed basis. Sorry I don’t have skills to contribute but I know from FE (package use) work step by step build and run with checking against real world data makes for better results. Not spent enough time on The Blackboard (Lucia’s site) to know but I think she is doing some work in this direction with fluids sw.

  45. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    And what’s been outlined here is a big management job that would be more than a full-time job to do right. Speaking for myself, if I wanted to “manage” things, I could do it in business and make money at it. So count me out of trying to “manage” this sort of enterprise.

    There are considerable differences between several “product lines” that get blurred: paleoclimate, temperature collection, modeling. Each one has different issues.

    You also have to be careful in trying to go beyond an analyst’s role. Sometimes, I view myself as being a bit like an analyst for a brokerage firm reporting on a company: let’s say that I wrote an analyst’s report that was critical of Enron. That doesn’t mean that you start your own under-capitalized company.

  46. rafa
    Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Did anyone read the last thing from Zorita & von Storch?

    How unusual is the recent series of warm years?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L24706, doi:10.1029/2008GL036228

    They perform a pure statistical analysis concluding the recent warming can only be attributed to greenhouse gases. It’s all Monte Carlo stuff. I presume Eduardo is a CA reader. Maybe Steve or someone with the right skills would like to take a careful look to the paper.

    best

  47. Jason
    Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    A good, and I think relevant, article:

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/177740

  48. Rob Mitchell
    Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 1:31 AM | Permalink

    Can anyone explain why the CO2 forcing equation (5.35ln[CO2]/[CO2*]) cant be used to calculate the total CO2 forcing. Obviously a zero denominator is going to producing an infinite force which is impossible (if my maths are right). Is there some sort of disclaimer that says the equation is only valid between certain CO2 concentrations? Seems odd to me!

    Also the IPCC state that forcing (in watts) has a linear relationship with absorbance, but the equation for absorbance states that it has a log (-ve ln) relationship with forcing. They do know the difference between absorption and absorbance don’t they?

    • rafa
      Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 1:53 AM | Permalink

      Re: Rob Mitchell (#69) Ron usually those equations are valid, as you say, between certain limits. Can’t find the reference now but I think – not sure – the upper limit is a CO2 concentration around 1000 ppm. I presume the lower limit will be ~280 ppm.

      best

  49. rafa
    Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 1:54 AM | Permalink

    ooops! sorry for mispelling your name Rob

  50. Bill Illis
    Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

    To Rob Mitchell, regarding the 5.35 ln (CO2/CO2orig) formula, I’ve done some work with this which will help explain the problem.

    First, this is just the formula for CO2 forcing and you need to use the formulae for all the GHGs to come up with usable information. (And the 5.35 Ln number is from the IPPC TAR 2001 and they changed it to 5.0 in the IPCC FAR in 2007).

    You can find the other forumlae for the other GHGs on this page.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/

    Secondly, the formula is meaningless since it only contains half of the equation. We need to be able to translate CO2 forcing into Temperature (what does a watt/m2 imply).

    The warmers keep telling us that the translation is 0.75C per watt/m2 increase. But the models are actually using a much lower figure than this (about 0.3C per watt/m2 to 0.35C per watt/m2). If they were actually using the 0.75C per watt/m2, the models would have temperatures up by about 1.5C already and the doubling CO2 sensitivity number would be +5.0C or something.

    Some of the modellers explain the difference is due to ocean thermal lag response (but this is not consistent with the scenario they produce for a stabilization of CO2 in which temps stabilize in as little as 5 years and don’t increase very much afterward.)

    If you want to calculate the Temperature response for GHGs, you can use this formula.

    Temp C (anomaly) = 4.053 ln(CO2) – 23.0

    And this will get you very close to the actual temperature forecasts that the models are using for GHGs (with CO2 as a proxy for all of them.)

    This is the formula GISS ModelE is based on.

    http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/6131/modeleghgvsotherbc9.png

  51. Phil.
    Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    Rob Mitchell:
    January 13th, 2009 at 1:31 am
    Can anyone explain why the CO2 forcing equation (5.35ln[CO2]/[CO2*]) cant be used to calculate the total CO2 forcing. Obviously a zero denominator is going to producing an infinite force which is impossible (if my maths are right). Is there some sort of disclaimer that says the equation is only valid between certain CO2 concentrations? Seems odd to me!

    If you consider an absorber, starting at very low concentrations you get a linear response, as the concentration increases, due to saturation at line centers and line broadening the response changes via log to square-root. The above equation gives the response curve for CO2 at current concentrations, to get the total CO2 forcing you’d have to integrate over the whole response curve starting with linear.

  52. cba
    Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    The log eqn is an empirical eqn used to generate what they believe to be the number. I believe such an eqn came about in the 60s by Budyko. It is not an eqn based in theory but rather simply gives what is thought to be the right answers over a range of values close to the current one. As far as I’m concerned, it’s totally worthless as well as meaningless.

    There are various aspects that tend to be discussed in a piecemeal basis as it can become overwhelming to look at them together. Radiative transfer from the surface through the atmosphere is one in particular. The clear sky is fairly straightforward but for cloudy skies, pretty much all bets are off because there’s lots of different types of clouds among other things.

    Throwing some numbers out, mostly from memory and using fairly approximate values, I’ll try to provide some insight. These numbers come from different sources, including some of my own efforts but they are not supposed to be controversial with the mainstream and some can be found in Kheil and Trenberth 97, or at least found to be in the ballpark of their’s.

    A CO2 doubling or halving will produce a change of about 3.6 W/m^2. This is a direct value from radiative transfer using an average rendition of the atmosphere and good quality spectral line data. Double the CO2 and you’ll get about 3.6 W/m^2 captured through the atmosphere. One can also double the amount several times and still have about that much increase in power on each doubling. If one goes through a series of halvings, one finds they can do around 5 doublings with close to that power loss per each. However, below that, there are another 5 or 6 halvings where the effect still remains at about 2/3 of that amount. These numbers are independent of changes due to other factors which were assumed to be held constant.

    Other numbers are the total GHG forcing and total CO2 forcing. That’s around 160 W/m^2 for clear sky. Of that value, CO2 contributes around 39 W/m^2 total and for most simple purposes, water vapor makes up the rest. In other words, for clear skies and average atmosphere, CO2 blocks about 20-24 % of the total and water vapor about 75%. For the real world, there are clouds and considering them as water vapor, the total rises to around 90% for water vapor and around 9-11% for CO2. One sees arguments over which of these numbers is actually the more correct when it seems to simply be different conditions.

    The Sun puts out about 1363-1367 W/m^2 at the average Earth orbital radius (1 AU). Since the Earth basically cuts a disk out of the solar radiation yet is a sphere – and that sphere rotates so that there is a daily average, one divides by 4 to get the power per meter ^2 for the whole surface. Also, The Earth orbits with some eccentricity, creating an aphelion and perihelion each year that differ by about 95W/m^2 out of 1365 W/m^2. Perihelion occurs in December providing the southern hemisphere with more power during their summer than is provided to the northern hemisphere during aphelion in July.

    Since radiative transfer happens all of the time, one must use average incoming to compare apples and apples. Nominally, that is about 341 W/m^2 roughly speaking. From this value, one must subtract albedo, the fraction (or percent) of incoming power reflected away from the Earth system, so it isn’t absorbed. Earth’s albedo is assumed to be around 0.31 making 341*0.31 = 105 W/m^2 of power / m^2 that is removed from the 341 W/m^2 incoming power leaving about 236 W/m^2 that is supposed to be balanced with outgoing radiation in order for Earth to be in radiative equilibrium. Recent evidence indicates Earth’s albedo is not static.

    Measurements of albedo are quite limited. It’s mostly been assumed to be relatively constant and mostly associated with surface land use changes. It’s not the case. A reconstruction of the albedo indicates it has varied by 10% during the 20 year time frame of 1985 to 2005. This has tremendous ramifications as this much variation is the equivalent of a 10.5 W/m^2 change in forcing which is roughly akin to undergoing three doublings of CO2. It also throws a new variable into the fray that is unknown for most of the time, falsifying the constant albedo assumptions of much of the work done on climate sensitivity and sources of change.

    Albedo breaks down between atmospheric scattering and reflection and surface reflection. of the nominal 0.3 value, about 0.22 is cloud related while only 0.08 is surface, caused by the tremendous amount of oceans which have very low albedo. I believe these values are also provided in K&T 97. What’s worse is that cloud albedo is subject to every possible thing that can affect cloud cover.

    I’ll continue the post a bit later, unless someone requests I not continue here. This does lead to several observations results and conclusions that diverge substantially from the ipcc values.

    • jae
      Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

      Re: cba (#75),

      The log eqn is an empirical eqn used to generate what they believe to be the number.

      Interesting. And where is the data for that “empirical equation?”

  53. curious
    Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

    cba at 75
    Many thanks – I’ll be pleased to see your continuation. Esp. expansion on the albedo aspect – for example: how has it been reconstructed? Hope this is not OT to Steve.

  54. Bill Illis
    Posted Jan 13, 2009 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    GISS Temp is out for December at 0.45C anomaly, down from 0.59C in November.

    For the year 2008, GISS is 0.438C, down about 0.14C from 2007.

    Hansen’s Scenario B forecast is out by 50% (in just 14 years) and the extension of GISS ModelE’s parametres is out by 0.2C (in just 5 years.)

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

  55. cba
    Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

    jae,

    It’s splattered all over their decades of research which is fundamentally flawed because of the flawed assumption that alebedo variation wasn’t going to be a significant factor.

  56. cba
    Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 7:20 AM | Permalink

    #77 The albedo reconstruction was described in Palle & Goode 2007. It includes some cloud analysis and also an ashen light analysis of Earthshine reflected from the lunar surface shadow side.

    ———
    # 75 continuation

    The big question that needs an answer happens to be climate sensitivity. This is how much rise in Temperature is there for an increase in forcing of a W/m^2 of CO2- which the ipcc assumes to be the same effect as any other cause of a 1 W/m^2 forcing increase. An additional factor is that of a presumed positive feedback which causes additional forcing to happen, further increasing the Temperature. Primarily, this is supposed to be due to water vapor increases further increasing the trapped power.

    According to ipcc’s best guess, the most likely value of sensitivity is around 3 K per CO2 forcing or 3/3.6 = 0.85 K per W/m^2. Their story states that if one has a doubling, then the temperature must rise by 3 Kelvins and that rise in T increases water vapor content so that relative humidity remains constant and so the total forcing rises. The 0.85 K per W/m^2 contains this positive feedback built in because the 3 Kelvins rise in Temperature is the total amount in the real world.

    How realistic is this? If one gets the average rise in Temperature per W/m^2 over all of the GHG forcings, that provides an interesting starting point. From the previous post, the total W/m^2 from GHG forcing is around 160 W/m^2. If one compares a blackbody Earth with 0.31 albedo and compares that to our current Earth, one comes up with a Temperature difference of about 33 Kelvins which is the real world warming due to all GHG contributions. Divide this by the amount of GHG total forcing and one has the average rise in Temperature per W/m^2, 33/160 = 0.21 Kelvins/ W/m^2 as the ultimate real world climate sensitivity. This puts a CO2 doubling at 0.21 * 3.6 = 0.75 Kelvins per W/m^2. This number includes no positive feedbacks. To get the feedback, one must determine how many W/m^2 increase must occur for 3 Kelvins rise in Temperature, 3 / 0.21 = 14.3 W/m^2 forcing caused by a CO2 doubling even though only 3.6 W/m^2 is the direct result of additional CO2 absorption in the atmosphere. 14.3-3.6 = 10.7 W/m^2 additional forcing in the form of positive feedback must happen for a 3 K per W/m^2 sensitivity using the real average climate sensitivity to power. Converting from doublings to a per W/m^2 we get 14.3 / 3.6 = 4 times the original forcing after the positive feedback.

    If we assume each W/m^2 of CO2 forcing has the same effect on climate sensitivity, we get 39 * 4 = 156 W/m^2 which is essentially the same as the total GHG forcing of 160 W/m^2. Essentially, this suggests all water vapor in this scenario is caused by having CO2 in the atmosphere, which is definitely not the case as h2o vapor would still be present at the below freezing Temperature one would have using the simple blackbody radiator model without GHGs. It also indicates on average that ipcc sensitivities greater than their best guess hasn’t happened because there are no additional GHG contributions left as all are tied up in producing the positive feedback forcing.

    For the real world, we have a total GHG increase in Temperature of 33 K for an increase in forcing of about 160 W/m^2 and a direct sensitivity to that of 0.21 K per W/m^2. If no feedback exists in GHG forcings, one would expect every W/m^2 increase to yield a 0.21 K rise in Temperature. If one includes feedbacks, then a positive feedback that amplifies the effect of the change should result in a rise in Temperature that is greater than 0.21 Kelvins for every W/m^2 increase in forcing that occurs. The ipcc’s best guess is around 0.85 K rise per W/m^2 which indicates a very strong positive feedback. However, it is not what they say that matters but rather what is the actual Earth response to changes happens to be. There have been numerous efforts using differing approaches to determine this which have come up with results that are all over the map. I believe all suffer from a failure to properly account for albedo variation which is unknown throughout most of history. That same observed variation also offers the opportunity to get a rough estimate of the sensitivity without this fatal flaw with a variation that is strong enough to swamp other potential contenders over the time frame.

    As mentioned before, the P&G 2007 reconstruction of albedo shows a value over 20 years that dips down in 1998 by around 10% from the high value. It then goes on to at least partially recover. Converting this to forcing, it comes up with 105 * 0.10 = 10.5 W/m^2 which is almost the equivalent of 3 doublings of CO2 in forcing, far more than we’ve experienced from any rise in CO2 to date or any other measured parameter. Also, it indicates that no measurements of sensitivity taken over time frames where albedo is not precisely known is going to have a potential unknown error that is probably far in excess of what was desired to be measured. All those efforts to measure sensitivity without properly measuring albedo are nothing more than a crude measure of albedo variation effects.

    However, we’ve got a nice forcing variation here and hopefully, a Temperature variation that hasn’t been screwed up to the point of uselessness. For this I’ll use a 1.25 K increase in Sea Surface Temperature as the estimate of the effect of this change in forcing. After all 1998 was rather the hot year. If a 10.5 W/m^2 increase in forcing generates a 1.25 K rise in Temperature, then our sensitivity is 1.25 / 10.5 = 0.12 K per W/m^2. Since this was a real world rise, it includes the feeback values. NOTE that the value is less than 0.21 K per W/m^2, our average no feedback scenario. A positive feedback would result in a sensitivity greater than 0.21 K per W/m^2 whereas no feedback at all would result in 0.21 K / W/m^2. Any value below 0.21K per W/m^2 must be the consequences of a net negative feedback rather than no feedback or positive feedback.

    Also, note that a sensitivity of 0.12 K per W/m^2 turns a CO2 doubling into less than a 0.5 K increase.

    to be continued

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

      Re: cba (#81),

      It’s not that simple. First, you’re neglecting the 100 W/m2 lost by the surface through latent and sensible heat transfer, so it’s closer to 260 W/m2 not 160. That appears to make the overall sensitivity lower, but the effect isn’t linear so you can’t just divide 33 (which isn’t the right number anyway because of the convectional cooling of the surface) by 260 for several reasons. The main reason being that the temperature/power relationship isn’t linear it’s T^4 and it’s K not C. And the temperature/concentration relationship isn’t linear either. At low concentration, all other things being equal, doubling CO2 produces a much smaller effect than at high concentration. But this really isn’t the place for this sort of discussion, and I’m not really interested in arguing the details anyway.

      This sort of simplistic attempt to debunk the IPCC climate sensitivity is not productive.

  57. Bill Illis
    Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

    Good post cba, continue on.

    If you want to see what Log CO2 warming looks like over the entire spectrum of possible CO2 values (from 0.1 ppm to 600 ppm) this is what it looks like (anomaly C basis rather than Kelvin).

    http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/9652/logwarmingillustratedkn7.png

    It is important to go below 100 ppm for example, because it tells you something important about what the global warming models have assumed for water vapour, that is that water vapour rises consistently and directly with GHGs which may or may not be correct.

    If you extend Log CO2 warming over all the values of CO2 which have been estimated over Geologic Time (up to 7000 ppm), this is what Log CO2 warming looks like.

    http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/3291/co2tempgeotnc8.png

    If you want to see how how all the actual temperature observations since 1850 fit on the lines, this is what it looks like.

    http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/2626/tempobsrvvsco2ct4.png

    The GHG formulae do not match up with the historical observations (since 1850 or the temperature estimates for geologic history either) so the forumlae are not empirically-based, they are theory-based.

  58. Sean Houlihane
    Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    Earthshine project info is at http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/ and it looks to me like the signal is only just present above the noise. We also seem to be lacking in useful historical data in terms of linking the effect to temperature in any sort of accurate way, apart from noting that the magnitude is probably significant. I’m not convinced that this data falsifies any models, it simply presents the possibility that the calibration of various forcings is wrong.

    Since this seems to be a long-running project, I’m slightly surprised that there doesn’t seem to be much discussion of it (even if this is not the right place)

  59. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    Until every behavior of every component can be decoupled and considered both on its own and in various mixes, trying to determine what carbon dioxide (or anything else) “does“, either spatially or temporally, is pretty much not productive.

    I babble on a bit about such things sort of here on the bulletin board.

  60. cba
    Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    #81 Continuation

    Our number 0.21K rise per W/m^2 is an overall average for Temperature rise per W/m^2 over all CO2 forcings. Another way to look at this sensitivity without feedbacks is to go back again to a simple model using Stefan’s law to determine the necessary increase in surface Temperature to overcome a W/m^2 increase in atmospheric absorption. Under clear sky conditions there is about 265 W/m^2 escaping from the Earth system. The surface is radiating about 390 W/m^2 and there is around 160 W/m^2 of power captured in the atmosphere. Also, the 265 W/m^2 is only for clear sky and the actual average must be equal to the captured incoming for balance, about 236 W/m^2. Consequently, these numbers aren’t going to add precisely. Since there is around 265 W/m^2 escaping out of 390, one gets 265/390 = about 0.32 absorption. Done another way, 160/390 = 0.41 absorption. Part of the problem with using the first approach is that some of that 265 W/m^2 emission is radiated from the atmosphere while the 160 is blocked from the surface. If the 0.41 absorption fraction is used, one has 1/(1-0.41) = 1.7, meaning that for an additional Watt to escape the Earth system, there must be 1.7 additional watts/m^2 emitted from the surface. Using this to determine what Temperature rise is necessary for an additional W/m^2 to escape from the Earth system, one uses Stefan’s law in reverse to find the change. Using the mean Temperature of 288.2 K, one finds precisely that the power emission is 391.2. Adding an additional 1.7 Watts for the needed surface emission to overcome next watt/m^2 increase in GHG absorption, one needs to emit 392.9 W/m^2. Running this into Stefan’s law, one gets 288.52, a difference of 0.32 K in order to overcome an additional 1 W/m^2 of forcing. This puts the sensitivity to the next W/m^2 at 0.32 K versus our real world overall average of 0.21 K per W/m^2. Note that these numbers, one strictly theoretical instantaneous value from a simplistic model and the other averaged value based upon real world values, are both values that have no feedback effects.

    Note that these two values are also well within a factor of 2 of each other and that they are not exactly the same thing, average versus instantaneous. Also note that these values are quite a bit less than the most likely ipcc value and both are quite a bit more than our back of the envelope crude estimate of sensitivity based upon our 1998 albedo variation calculation of 0.12 K per W/m^2.

    Again, our estimate is well into the negative feedback arena by a factor of two or three, depending upon which value is taken as the actual no feedback sensitivity. ipcc numbers for this sensitivity for a CO2 doubling peak at around 3 or 3 1/4 K per W/m^2 and drop to zero at about 1 1/2 K per W/m^2. At the peak liklihood, the CO2 positive feedback requires all GHG absorption to be included in the feedback, something that is unreal. With zero CO2 in the atmosphere, even if the Temperature is assumed to be without any GHG support, water vapor still constitutes 20% of what it is curently assuming a constant relative humidity – which climate people like to do whether it is correct or not. A 20% water vapor content is a far cry from a situation where there is no GHG effect. This suggests that the ipcc’s preferred number and every value above it is completely unreal and not possible.

    Our values from the 1998 event calculation are well below the minimum ipcc value range and so are any values that do not have substantial positive feedback. In fact, the value must be at least 0.41 K per W/m^2 in order for the minimum ipcc value of 1 1/2 k per CO2 doubling to be reached while somewhere around 0.21 to 0.32 K per W/m^2 is our ballpark for no feedback. Again, I believe all measurement efforts for the sensitivity must include the knowledge of the albedo variation during the experiment. Without it, one cannot determine the sensitivity due to the changes in other variables such as CO2. Consequently, the vast body of measurements that provide the ipcc with data is moot because they do not have the albedo information. I hesitate to use the word ‘all’ because I haven’t been through all of these to verify this is the case. However, I do think it is the case that it cannot be done without that information and that it is unavailable for most of history.

    As a consequence, it looks like until good measurements are done which also include accurate albedo measurements that a real value for sensitivity is not going to be available. These back of the envelope estimates indicate very low sensitivity with massive negative feedback and also indicate a rather steady, as it should be, Earth system which is going to have very little impact from a CO2 doubling comopared to that proposed by proponents of catastrophic warming and consequences.

    There is another factor that suggests there isn’t a single average Temperature balance point, at least from straight radiative transfer theory. That is the concept of cloud cover fraction. It is a different aspect to the problem so doesn’t really belong with this post. However, it is part of the overall concept so I’ll do that at some later time, desired. I think this post is now complete and open for questions and discussions, suggestions or criticism.

  61. cba
    Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #84 DeWitt

    The 160 is power absorbed by the atmosphere not emitted by the surface. The 100 W/m^2 is going to be totally transferred within tropopause, warming it slightly over what one would have with radiative only to meet the energy balance by layer. Some of this explaination is also based on clear sky only, as is much of the GHG explanations in general and clouds dramatically impact everything.

    The 33K is the difference of the simplest sphere models with the current Earth mean Temperature, that is what the Temperature is versus what it would be without an atmosphere. It does require an albedo value that is also the same despite not being able to have clouds which means albedo cannot be the same.

    Radiative power is of course T^4 relation to power emitted. Other than for emission, other Temperature / power relations are not going to be T^4. Sensitivity of the real system is not going to be T^4 nor is it likely to be very linear. If one uses a small enough range, one can get an approximation of a linear region.

    From what I’ve seen of the effects, even after many halvings, the CO2 effect is still within a factor of two for the increment in power of a modern doubling or halving.

    There are of course numerous other problems, including such things as the assumption that a W/m^2 forcing change has the same effect regardless of the nature of that change.

    You’ll note that this post is intended to utlize the existance of albedo variation to skewer ipcc arguments, not whether or not the Earth is really a giant blackbody system or not. While sensitivity examples are done showing no feedback using simple models, that is to compare (albeit a very crude back of the envelope calculation) a very rough change in Temperature which happened for a measured change in albedo. Also, this albedo variation skewers a great deal of mainstream ipcc research as it tosses in an uncertainty far greater than the variances of the known values in attempts to determine sensitivity. It’s the achille’s heal of the catastrophic warming crowd. Whether or not the reasearch referenced in this is actually that good is again something of a different question but it does point the way to what needs to be analyzed.

    It is also intended as a bit of introduction for some readers. Whether or not it comes even fairly close to Steve’s desired engineering grade analysis of climate sensitivity is yet another matter.

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Jan 14, 2009 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

      Re: cba (#87),

      Given that the models don’t put clouds in the right places compared to observation and that the cloud feedbacks may be wrong in both magnitude and sign, it’s not surprising that albedo is likely a problem for the models. However, that does not mean that your figure of 160 W/m2 excess is correct. The surface sees on average slightly over 500 W/m2, ~170 W/m2 incident solar and about 340 W/m2 IR from the atmosphere, but only radiates about 400. That means the surface is cooler than it would be if the atmosphere were not fluid but still had about the same thermal conductivity. The temperature of a theoretical superconducting gray body with an albedo for incident light of about 0.3 is indeed about 255 K or 33 K less than the current average surface temperature, but the measured surface temperature is perturbed by convective losses so the actual greenhouse effect is closer to 40 K than 33 K and the excess forcing at the surface is more like 260 W/m2 than 160.

      • jae
        Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#88),

        The surface sees on average slightly over 500 W/m2, ~170 W/m2 incident solar and about 340 W/m2 IR from the atmosphere, but only radiates about 400.

        ?? So if those “averages” make sense, then how about the case of Tuscon at noon on a July day? Do we have approximately 1200 wm-2 directly from the sun + 340/500*1200 = 816 wm-2 backradiation, for a total of 2,016 wm-2? If so, that converts to about 322 F at the surface before any cooling by convection.

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

          Re: jae (#92),

          how about the case of Tuscon at noon on a July day?

          Don’t compare a transient situation with a global annual average. Diurnal surface heating rate is controlled by surface heat capacity and a low surface heat capacity does indeed give a high temperature, cooking eggs on the sidewalk e.g. The fact that the daily high temperature does not happen at local noon but several hours later should tell you that equilibrium is far from being achieved. In the absence of an atmosphere and with a surface with zero heat conductivity and capacity so radiative equilibrium is achieved instantly, the high temperature would indeed be close to 400 K, or higher depending on the albedo, near the equator and 2.7 K at night. But the surface and atmosphere do have significant heat capacity and conductivity so there’s a fairly large time constant which introduces a significant lag and dampens the response like an RC circuit element causes a phase lag and lowers the peak and raises the minimum voltage for a given input waveform.

        • jae
          Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#96),

          I don’t think you are addressing my point. RADIATION is instantaneous (speed of light, anyway). Where does all this “backradiation” go during the day?

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

          Re: jae (#98)

          Where does all this “backradiation” go during the day?

          That question makes no sense to me. Why should it go anywhere. Radiation is to all intents and purposes instantaneous, but it’s power not energy. Power will give you a heating rate if you multiply by the density and the effective thickness (mass/unit area) and divide by the heat capacity of the material in question. For deep water, the effective thickness can be on the order of 100 m so the 24 hour delta T is less than 1 degree or so. For dry land, the thermal conductivity is much lower so the effective thickness and resulting mass/area is much lower, but still not zero and there is some heat transfer to the atmosphere during the day as well so surface delta T is much larger, in the multiple tens of degrees K ballpark. On the moon, the day is so long and the heat capacity so low that the delta T is on the order of 200 K degrees (don’t care enough to look it up). The atmosphere has heat capacity as well, about 1/4 that of water on a per kg basis, so it will cool by radiation at night, but not by all that much (a few degrees/hour).

        • jae
          Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#101),
          Re: cba (#100),

          DeWitt and cba: the 1000 watts is close to the ACTUAL MEASURED solar insolation at the surface, not TOA.* The ratio buisiness was somewhat tongue-in-cheek; however, the “backradiation” during the day certainly has to be higher than DeWitt’s “average for the world,” right? Say it’s only 500 watts (DeWitt says it’s 340 on average). If you ADD that to the solar insolation, just like DeWitt did in #88 to come up with his 500 watts, that gives 1500 watts directed at the surface, which still translates into about 266 degrees F for a perfect greenhouse (no convection or conduction). Real greenhouses in this situation won’t get above 170 F, and I doubt that losses through the glass can explain the other 100 F. I think this whole notion of ADDING solar radiation and “backradiation” to derive some calculated average surface temperature is easily shown wrong.

          *AVERAGE total daily radiation there in July is about 11,000 w-hr/day, so the peak radiation can easily be 1,000 watts.

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

          Re: jae (#103),

          But that peak radiation only lasts a short time. You have to integrate over the whole day to calculate the total energy deposited. Then you have to include in the calculation the diffusion of heat into and out of the various thermal masses in a greenhouse. That will cause lags and damping of the temperature cycle. The other thing to remember is three words: Local. Thermal. Equilibrium. The IR active molecules in the atmosphere don’t just emit once and are done. A certain fraction of CO2 molecules, about 4 % at 300 K, IIRC, through inelastic collisional energy transfer have sufficient energy to emit a photon. That fraction is a function only of temperature (Boltzmann distribution). So emission is continuous.

          Re: Bill Illis (#104),

          There are lots of different time constants because there are lots of different thermal reservoirs. The longest is probably the cold water at the bottom of the oceans, particularly the Antarctic Bottom Water and the North Atlantic Deep Water. The time constants for those reservoirs are probably on the order of at least a thousand years and maybe much longer. Temperature changes there are measured in millidegrees/year.

        • jae
          Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#106),

          Since our host doesn’t appreciate this type of discussion, I won’t continue to belabor it, except say that I disagree with you and make one more comment. My main point is that you cannot add radiation from colder regions (atmospheric backradiation) to warmer regions (surface) to get a higher temperature at the surface. Oxy-acetylene torches can melt steel, but propane torches cannot, no matter how many of them I “add” together to increase the wattage.

  62. cba
    Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 7:35 AM | Permalink

    #88 DeWitt

    The 160 W/m^2 is the OLR absorption of the 390 W/m^2 by the atmosphere. It, like the 500 incoming SW + LW, is stated as a clear sky value. Actually, I did not address the surface energy balance as I used the actual mean Temperature (288.2K) along with the simple black body for comparison. That is also intended as a rough attempt to establish the boundary between sensitivity values which net negative feedback and those with net positive feedback. The calculation of real interest is that of the two measured parameters, the temperature rise around 1998 and change in albedo at that time in units of forcing. This establishes rise in Temperature per W/m^2 of forcing increase and doesn’t depend upon any blackbody or surface calculation other than albedo to forcing.

  63. Filippo Turturici
    Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Someone thinks the “hot area” covering almost all central-north Asia is due to the heavy enviromental changes made during Soviet era in those lands, not to greenhouse gases concentrantion nor to weather patterns etc.

    I think it is almost impossible to prove it, above all without large fundings; but I was wondering if anyone could calculate “how warm” would get the World without such regional warming, comparing it to the usual average and to last years anomalies.

  64. jae
    Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    The folks at RC (Reinventing Climate, according to Icecap)are really upset that CNN had the absolutely unmitigated gall to let someone speak against the “consensus.” LOL.

    • kim
      Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#93),

      You know I like Andy Revkin and generally trust his integrity and curiosity, but the unintended irony of his first comment over there is thick enough to rival the Sunday Edition.
      =============================================

    • kim
      Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

      Re: jae (#93),

      lulo’s comment, #29 at that RC thread is excellent.
      ===============================

  65. cba
    Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    #92 Jae

    your numbers aren’t relevent as you’re taking the ratio of avg solar TOA prior to albedo reflection divided by avg solar + LW downward and then multiplying the ratio by the peak daytime solar at a particular location. The ratio of solar to solar+downward LW doesn’t seem to be meaningful. To assume this ratio is constant with different solar values is obviously wrong. The downward LW depends on the Temperature and emissivity and absorption of the atmosphere. Unless the components or Temperature changes dramatically, this LW value isn’t going to change. The LW downward value is happening 24 hours per day and depends upon the Temperatures of the various levels. Since some values like this are fairly constant throughout the day, it is necessary to deal with a daily average on other parameters which may have a peak for only an hour or two and nonzero values for less than half a day.

  66. Bill Illis
    Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    jae asked a very good question. The energy we are talking about here is driven by photons in the EM spectrum – it operates at the speed of light – save for the trillions of molecules which store it in their electrons for periods of time.

    What would happen to the temperature in your backyard if the Sun quit working for 3 days?

    There are lags in the climate which might help understand this issue a little.

    The Land temperature lags the Solstices and the Equinoxes by approximately 30 days. The hottest part of the year is 30 days after the June 21st Solstice. The coldest part of the year is 30 days after the winter Solstice.

    The Ocean temperatures lag the Solstices by about 80 days. Sea temperatures (in the northern hemisphere) peak around September 12th, arctic ice melt peaks about September 12th, the hurricane season peaks about September 12th.

    So it seems to me, the atmosphere and the land and the oceans, store up or lose the energy/photons recieved from the Sun for a maximum period of 30 to 80 days.

    This needs to built into the physics/global warming formulae in some manner.

    • jae
      Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#104),

      So it seems to me, the atmosphere and the land and the oceans, store up or lose the energy/photons recieved from the Sun for a maximum period of 30 to 80 days.

      I think the atmosphere only stores heat for a day or two, in general. The water and wet soils are much more complicated, depending upon their depth, winds, etc. But overall it very well could be that the whole “greenhouse effect” is only a reflection of heat storage capacity (and that “reflection” is the LW radiation that everyone keeps tinkering with).

  67. curious
    Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    Re: jae at 108
    I think oxy acetylene cuts by oxidation. The flame temp, power output relative to the workpiece and available oxygen content all contribute to cutting:

    http://www.derose.net/steve/resources/engtables/flametemp.html
    http://education.jlab.org/qa/meltingpoint_01.html

    • jae
      Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

      Re: curious (#109),

      I didn’t say anything about “cutting,” which is mostly oxidation of the steel, as you point out. I said “melting.” When you weld with an oxy-acetylene torch, you have to melt both the pieces you are joining and the filler rod. I don’t think you can do this with 10 propane torches all directed at the same point. Ergo, you cannot just add wattage from cooler objects to produce a hotter object, like some climate scientists appear to be doing.

      • DeWitt Payne
        Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

        Re: jae (#110),

        Ergo, you cannot just add wattage from cooler objects to produce a hotter object, like some climate scientists appear to be doing.

        No, they aren’t. Your belief that they are illustrates your fundamental misunderstanding of the radiative transfer part greenhouse theory. It does not require, as you seem to think, that heat flows from colder to warmer in violation of the laws of thermodynamics. But as you say, this isn’t the place to argue this.

  68. Ellis
    Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 11:18 AM | Permalink

    A look at the new paper, High-resolution palaeoclimatology of the
    last millennium: a review of current status and future prospects, from the “all-star” team

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2009/2009_Jones_etal.pdf

  69. curious
    Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    jae at 110
    Sorry I referenced cutting. But I’m still fairly sure melting is possible:
    http://www.mrl.ucsb.edu/~edkramer/LectureVGsMat100B/99Lecture14VGs/FeCPhaseDiagramVG.html
    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/flame-temperatures-gases-d_422.html
    and I think the issue would be as you describe – getting a torch power greater than the ability of the workpiece to dissipate heat. Hence the relevance of the form and size of the workpiece relative to the power of the torch. I’m sure this is OT!

  70. cba
    Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    Craig #113,

    Didn’t you know we hit peak coal in the early 19th century? That was back before they discovered oil and vast new deposits of coal of course. There’s a book on the internet bemoaning the problems of peak coal and suitable alternatives – like windpower – which then was rather unsuitable.

  71. Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    So it goes …

    Canal Ice helps Dutch Rediscover National Identity

  72. BarryW
    Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    If they start having Ice Fairs on the Thames then we really need to start worrying.

  73. Bill Illis
    Posted Jan 16, 2009 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    The new Jones et al paper (with the total, fully, complete and leaving-no-name-out all-star team this time) linked to by Ellis in #111 seems to be another attempt to show that current temperatures are higher than any other in the past 1,000 years.

    But they used the old IPCC 1990 chart (MWP and LIA included) and then attached Mann’s last 150 years data to the chart.

    This chart on page 34 of the paper is supposed to be the “new” Hockey Stick I guess. They never stop trying.

    But the description of the chart on Page 34 contains what will become an infamous description in my mind, that is “PADDING” by Michael Mann.

    It literally says:

    “… This has been smoothed with a 50-yr Gaussian weighted filter with padding (Mann, 2004)…”

  74. Posted Jan 17, 2009 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    Interesting blog post from Jeff Masters. The US state of Maine may have recently recorded its lowest temperature ever.

  75. Scott Brim
    Posted Jan 18, 2009 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    snip- please do not discuss policy or either the new or old U.S. administration. I know that people want to talk about these things and that these sorts of discussion breed hits, but policy here is to a narrower focus.

  76. Peter
    Posted Jan 18, 2009 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

    Has anyone here seen the 1977 Nova Horizon show “The Sunspot Mystery” (torrent available here).

    It has some really interesting points of view on the Sun and it’s possible effects upon the Earth’s weather systems. I’m wondering what the research since this show aired has turned up? Which assumptions and conclusions in the show have been proven, disproven, or remain inconclusive?

    I thought I’d bring this to your attention. It’s a fascinating video.

    Oh, here is another one, the BBC show “The SUN” (torrent available here).

    It’s interesting that this later show, produced recently, promotes the Man caused Global Warming while the earlier show attempts to correlate Global Climate change with changes in the Sun itself but leaves the questions open. It’s interesting to see how the focus has changed. It’s also interesting to see how this earlier science show seems more focused on the actual science and less on the conclusions.

    What do you think Steve McIntyre?

  77. Peter
    Posted Jan 18, 2009 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Oops, the correct torrent url for the BBC show “The SUN” is here.

  78. jim w
    Posted Jan 20, 2009 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    I just finished a book “The Ghost Map” by Steven Johnson that has a relation to the belief that CO2 causes global warming. In the 1800s the common belief was that Cholera was caused by bad air (impurities in the air). These impurities were not identified but from the smell they were apparent. As with the case of CO2 warming the theory of bad air causing Cholera could not be scientifically verified.
    Dr. Snow developed a theory that Cholera was caused by drinking contaminated water. Again at the time this theory could not be proven but there was a substancial amount of epidemical data that pointed to contaminated water and quite a bit of data that refuted bad air. In any event it took many decades before the believers in bad air changed to contaminated water or died.
    A very interesting parallel with the current belief that atmospheric CO2 causes global warming.

  79. Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    What does the BBC do if the new US president doesn’t say the right things about science and climate change in his inaugural speech? Well it looks a if they help him out with a bit of a re-write:


    Warming up President Obama’s inaugural speech

    Apologies for linking to my own blog, but what seems to have happened might even make hardened CA readers raise an eyebrow.

  80. David Smith
    Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    In case this has not been noted here today:

    GISS outlook for global record warmth in 2009 / 2010

  81. David Smith
    Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #126 Oops, my apology, that is a December 16/January 13 article which I thought was new – first time I’ve read it anyway. GISS calls for record global warmth during the next two years, when ENSO swings back towards El Nino.

  82. Filippo Turturici
    Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    Serrists are counterattacking: for the BBC, tehre is evidence of a net warming of Antarctica inner lands, not just the Peninsula, according to satelliate data!
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7843186.stm

    But let’s get a better look at the arcticle…they talk about a 50 years warming, confirmed by satellite measurements: but, as said by them too, we got just 25 years of satellite data!
    Thus, let’s have a look to those data: 50 years of Hadley, 25 years of Hadley, and 25 years of MSU (up to 2006).

    What I see is: a net warming indeed since 1956, even if not the claimed 0.6°C; a slight cooling since 1981 from MSU data; a net cooling since 1981 from Hadley data.
    Since similar data were released by NASA-GISS for 1982-2004:

    I have to, or better I must ask myself: is that another “great global warming swindle”? Or are there new data? (I hope not the “usual” revision of old data, always leading to cooling in the past and warming in the present… I do not think there are validated data up to 2007 or 2008, and even if they are, they would not change things so much)

    • John M
      Posted Jan 21, 2009 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

      Re: Filippo Turturici (#128),

      Pielke Sr. has noted pretty much what you have, using Figure 2 from the Nature article itself.

      The figure shows no recent warming in western Antarctica (since 1980) and in fact shows cooling since the late 90s.

      link

  83. NeedleFactory
    Posted Jan 23, 2009 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Warming for FOI requests?

    Steve: your blog has cited many FOI requests that were rejected, in whole or in part, apparently obstinately, e.g. CRU’s letter to you last March.

    Now comes Obama:

    For a long time now there has been too much secrecy in this city. The old rules said that if there was a defensible argument for not disclosing something to the American people, then it should not be disclosed. That era is now over. Starting today, every agency and department should know that this administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information, but those who seek to make it known.
    The mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret does not mean you should use it. The Freedom of Information Act is perhaps the most powerful instrument we have for making our government honest and transparent and holding it accountable. I expect my administration not only to live up to the letter but the spirit of this law.

    Is it now time to resubmit some of those requests, or to appeal rejections up to the White House?

    Steve: Much as I’d like to appeal UK FOI to Obama, I don’t think that it will work. But surely even Santer must be wondering about his stonewalling. Amazing that Obama dealt with this issue on day 1. MEMO to others: please do not respond with any mention of a living politician or his works.

  84. Håkan B
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    It’s saturday night and time for fun, and really not totally OT, actually it’s about things like tree rings, hockey sticks, sloppy quality control and unexpectied consequencies, enjoy!

  85. Håkan B
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    Why can’t I learn how to use this format, here’s the link I hope:
    the link

  86. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 24, 2009 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    I’ve browsed links to CA at Technorati and while both CA and WUWT are on their radar screen, for some reason, mentions of other blogs from WUWT (including to CA don’t appear) and similarly mentions of other blogs from CA. For example, I have recent links to RC in recent posts that don’t appear at Technorati, tho there are many links from much smaller blogs. Same with links to WUWT ???

  87. Neo
    Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Eric Steig says ..

    Volcanoes under the ice can’t affect climate on the surface, 2 miles above!

    .. but if you follow the link in the story ..

    For Antarctica, “This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet,” Dr. Vaughan said.

    • Phil.
      Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: Neo (#134),

      Neo:
      January 27th, 2009 at 1:38 pm
      Eric Steig says ..
      “Volcanoes under the ice can’t affect climate on the surface, 2 miles above!”
      .. but if you follow the link in the story ..
      For Antarctica, “This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet,” Dr. Vaughan said.

      Yeah it was only ~2330 years ago!
      I think someone would notice if a similar event was happening now.

  88. Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    There’s a line of volcanoes in West Antarctica, right through the area NASA originally showed as warming. Looking at Humlum’s pictures, I get the impression that WA has not only warmed but has shown greater fluctuations, and that together these correlate well with the volcano presence, such that, if the volcanic activity were subtracted, Antarctica might show clear overall cooling. See all these here.

  89. jae
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Ababneh has published her results! The Team probably won’t like them, either.

    Steve: This was discussed here long ago in 2007 when a QI preprint was available and about her 2006 thesis on which Hughes was on the thesis committee.

  90. anonymous
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    Wow, Hansen’s ex boss goes renegade!

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/01/28/nasa_climate_theon/

    “They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists”

    “the models do not realistically simulate the climate system”

    “some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results”

    Ouch…

  91. theduke
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 4:48 PM | Permalink

    Hansen took a huge hit from his former boss today.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2009/01/28/james-hansen-s-former-boss-on-james-hansen.aspx

    Lethal

  92. PhilH
    Posted Jan 28, 2009 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    OT: Powerlineblog.com reports Snowy Owls in Alabama for first time in 22 years.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

      Re: PhilH (#140), I personally saw a snowy owl in Athens Georgia in 1972 (which was NOT a warm period). As an ecologist, I know what I saw. I think sometimes snowy owls can’t take the arctic cold anymore either and wig out and head south. (just a theory ;) )

  93. theduke
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 9:33 AM | Permalink

    Very interesting article on how CO2 became viewed as an agent that causes AGW:

    http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/38574742.html

  94. John Baltutis
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    New item at Climate Science on modeling: Real Climate Suffers from Foggy Perception by Henk Tennekes

  95. Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 9:39 PM | Permalink

    A brief break from the gloom of boreal and economic winter –

    These are Japanese tulip blooms outside my house this afternoon. Spring is gently gaining muscle in these southern haunts and is about to start its march northward. Color is headed your way.

  96. bender
    Posted Jan 30, 2009 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    What does Phil. make of Theon’s comments on Hansen? How ’bout those sub-grid scale processes?

  97. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Monbiot is at it again in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/feb/03/climate-change-daily-telegraph-christopher-booker)

    Today I am launching a new and much-coveted award. It is called the Christopher Booker Prize. It will be presented to whoever manages, in the course of 2009, to cram as many misrepresentations, distortions and falsehoods into a single article, statement, lecture, film or interview about climate change. It is not to be confused with the Man Booker Prize, although that is also a prize for fiction.

    The prize consists of a tasteful trophy made from recycled materials plus a one-way solo kayak trip to the North Pole, enabling the lucky winner to see for himself the full extent of the Arctic ice melt. Later this week, I will publish the full terms and conditions and unveil the beautiful trophy, which is currently being fashioned by master craftsmen in mid-Wales.

    These are early days, but I can reveal that the leader so far in the race for this illustrious award is… Christopher Booker!

    In his latest column for the Sunday Telegraph, Booker manages six and a half clangers: pretty good going in fewer than 900 words.

    Here they are:

    Claim 1:
    “[James Hansen of Nasa] was last week publicly disowned by his former supervisor Dr John Theon, who said that Hansen’s unscientific claims had been an embarrassment to Nasa ever since he joined Al Gore in whipping up panic over global warming back in 1988.”
    Fact:
    Theon was not Hansen’s supervisor in any reasonable meaning of the word, as blogger BigCityLib and Gavin Schmidt of NASA have noted.

    Claim 2:
    “Nothing was more laughable than the sequence showing a huge poster of the infamous ‘hockey stick’ temperature graph being driven round London on the back of a lorry, without any mention of the expert studies which have made the ‘hockey stick’ one of the most comprehensively discredited artefacts in the history of science.”
    Fact:
    Far from being discredited, the hockey stick graph of past temperature reconstructions has been supported by a large number of further studies, as you can see in this graphic and on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s site. Those who claimed to discredit it have been comprehensively rebuffed. You can read more about this on the A Few Things Ill Considered blog and on Real Climate.

    Claim 3:
    “As late as August 28 this year it [the BBC] was still predicting that Arctic ice might soon disappear, just as this winter’s refreezing was about to take ice cover back to a point it was at 30 years ago.”
    Fact:
    This is complete trash. See the latest results from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. It reports: “Average Arctic sea ice extent for the month of December was 12.53m square kilometres (4.84m sq miles). This was 140,000 sq km (54,000 sq miles) greater than for December 2007 and 830,000 sq km (320,000 sq miles) less than the 1979 to 2000 December average.” And: “Average ice extent in December was well below average and very close to that measured in 2007.”

    Claims 4, 5a, 5b and 6:
    “The BBC couldn’t wait to publicise the recent study claiming that Antarctica, far from getting colder over the past 50 years (claim 4), as all the evidence suggests, has in fact been warming (5a). It didn’t, of course, explain that the new study is based on a computer model (5b), run by the creator of the “hockey stick” [Martin Mann], which (6) in the absence of hard data, allows for inspired guesswork – what the study’s authors call ‘sparse data infilling’.”
    Facts:
    4. All the evidence suggests nothing of the kind, as Real Climate’s Gavin Schmidt explains.
    5. The study is, in fact, based on satellite data and air temperature records from weather stations, as you can see in this letter.
    5*. Michael Mann is one author of some of the past temperature reconstruction studies. He is only the fourth of six authors of the Antarctic warming paper.
    6. As you can see in this joint letter, there is a good deal of hard data as well.

    Well, that’s a pretty impressive performance, and a strong challenge to all those climate change deniers who might be tempted to have a pop at this prestigious prize. So who will take on the mighty Booker? Let battle begin!

  98. Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    Steve – my apologies as this is OT on a very important thread but I do not know if you have seen this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/feb/03/climate-change-daily-telegraph-christopher-booker

    In the article he says in response to the Christopher Booker ‘Claim 2′ (from Booker’s column in the Sunday Telegraph this last weekend) re the recent BBC programme suggesting that the Hockey Stick was now overwhelmingly supported by numerous further studies (you may recall the programme discussed here last year):

    “Claim 2:[Booker's acomment]
    “Nothing was more laughable than the sequence showing a huge poster of the infamous ‘hockey stick’ temperature graph being driven round London on the back of a lorry, without any mention of the expert studies which have made the ‘hockey stick’ one of the most comprehensively discredited artefacts in the history of science.”
    Fact: [Monbiot's comment]
    Far from being discredited, the hockey stick graph of past temperature reconstructions has been supported by a large number of further studies, as you can see in this graphic and on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s site. Those who claimed to discredit it have been comprehensively rebuffed. You can read more about this on the A Few Things Ill Considered blog and on Real Climate.

    I know that technically it is not a new issue but I thought you should be aware that this has resurfaced in the UK media.

  99. MrCPhysics
    Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 8:09 PM | Permalink

    I’m looking for some help.

    I have been given the unusual opportunity of asking three questions of a leading advocate of AGW on stage in front of a crowd of students. I want to be polite, but ask intelligent questions that reveal the prominent flaws in the AGW claims. I will be allowed one follow-up to each question I think.

    I think I have two questions:

    1. (Possible lead in about large number of scientific skeptics) What specific, measurable evidence do you think is the most convincing support for the hypothesis that CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is driving temperature?

    Follow up obvious about 800 year lag or dependency on unreliable models.

    2. Karl Popper, among many philosophers of science, asserted that no statement or hypothesis is scientific unless it is falsifiable. What specific development or developments in the near future would convince you that the AGW advocate position is possibly invalid?

    Follow up according to his response–falsifiabilty has to be possible for real science.

    I’m looking for a third question; really need help. I’d accept suggestions for modifying the first two as well…

    Thanks.

    • jae
      Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 11:07 PM | Permalink

      Re: MrCPhysics (#150),

      Well, I feel like mouthing off tonite, so here goes:

      Question 1 is perfect. There is ABSOLUTELY NO empirical evidence that CO2 has caused any warming (ask for citations, if there is disagreement). There is only hand-waving, and in fact, there has been no warming for over 10 years! Thus, at this juncture in the discussion, there has to be an appeal to computer climate models. So bone up on the problems with climate models. Short response here is that they cannot give us a forecast for 5 days, let alone 100 years (and don’t accept any comments that the weather models are different than the climate models, because that’s not true)! A contemporary demonstration of the model problem is this: how could ALL 24 of the IPCC climate models “miss” the last ten years of no warming/cooling? If I cannot trust the climate models to predict the PAST ten years, then just how can I trust them to predict the NEXT 90 years? Would you trust a financial advisor with that kind of computer-based record? Even the freaking liberals have to have an issue with this poor track record.

      2. Karl Popper would have an absolute hissy-fit with “climate science,” because these “scientists” have NEVER even posed a falsifiable theory in the formal sense (at least as far as I know). First of all, there is still no half-way acceptable physics-based exposition of just how the trace gas CO2 can cause a significant rise in temperature, despite many pleas from McIntyre and others for such an exposition. And a very strong case can be made that any “falsifiable theory” that could exist in the closet somewhere has already been falsified by the last 10 years of no increases in global temperature. So, you should ask for a statement of the “falsifiable hypothesis.” Which I can guarantee you will not get.

      It is hillarious to note that the “climate junk-science community” has claimed for years that “nothing else but CO2 could possibly explain the rise in temperature,” but now that there has been a decline in temperature in the last 10 years, what are they saying? OH, now they say “oh, gee, it’s natural variability. It’s “climate change,” not “global warming.” As though “natural variability could not explain the previous ten years rise in temperature! LOL, the charlatans are TOAST and the public is finally waking up to the biggest SCAM that they have seen in their lifetimes!

      GOOD LUCK!!

      I’m just trying to help and I hope they don’t throw rocks at you.

    • jc-at-play
      Posted Feb 5, 2009 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: MrCPhysics (#150),

      Rather than a general question on “falsifiability”, I would suggest something like, “Climate models relied upon by the IPCC predicted an increase of .2 degrees Celsius during the first decade of the 21st century. However, actual measurements of global temperature since 2000 have shown no overall increase thus far. How many years of steady or declining temperatures would it take to show that the the IPCC’s climate models should be rejected?”

      This is approximate – I’m going by memory and I’m not sure that I recall the numerical facts precisely. For the correct details, check out Lucia’s blog – she’s the expert on this topic.

      [And be sure you check out where Lucia cites exactly what the IPCC predicts, not just for the whole century, but for the early decades. Lucia gives this information in some of her entries comparing IPCC models to reality, but I don't know exactly where.]

      • jc-at-play
        Posted Feb 5, 2009 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

        Re: jc-at-play (#159),

        OK, I searched some more through Lucia’s site. In her entry of 11 November 2008, she shows a page from the IPCC AR4 where they are projecting “… a warming trend of about 0.1 degrees C over the next two decades [after 2000] …”.

        Again, see Lucia’s site for fuller details.

    • Posted Feb 5, 2009 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: MrCPhysics (#150),

      Your two first questions sound excellent to me. A possible third one could go as follows:

      The broadly accepted figure for the radiative forcing of a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere is 3.8 watt/m2 and, according to the IPCC AR4, all anthropogenic GHGs (CO2, methane, N2O, etc) have already produced a forcing of 2.63 watt/m2, that is, close to 3/4 of a doubling of CO2. However, the temperature increase in the last 100 years has only been around 0.7 C, a good part of which the IPCC itself assigns to natural factors at the beginning of the 20th century. Isn’t thus the oft-cited figure of ~3 C for a doubling of CO2 falsified by observations?

      The answer is sure to include 1) “Masking effects” of the “true” temperature response to the increased GHGs, especially by manmade aerosols, and 2) The oceans’ thermal lag. But these answers need to be quantified in order to have any effect on the non-controversial figures and observations above.

      As for 1, the IPCC AR4 assigns a rating of “low-very low” to the scientific understanding of the aerosol effects and its radiative forcing is estimated to be anywhere between 0 and +3 watt/m2. Besides, a strong cooling effect of manmade aerosols should be noticed over the emitting areas or downwind from them, since they are short lived and don’t reach the stratosphere. This is not being observed.

      As for 2, the ocean has not warmed in the past 4 years. Besides, all IPCC models show a thermal lag that is proportional to the transient temperature response. Since the latter has been modest, we cannot expect any large amount of “committed warming” through the oceans’ inertia.

      More info: http://motls.blogspot.com/2008/03/lindzen-vs-rahmstorf-exchange.html

  100. Ron
    Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    MrCPhysics,

    Judging by the excellent quality of your first 2 questions I feel I may be trying to carry oil to Alberta here, but have you thought of dealing with the actual temperature issue?
    It seems to me one has to be a super true believer to feel confident that we actually know what the global temperature is (if such a thing exists at all)considering the sparse and spotty monitoring stations, the bad sites, the reporting errors, the inconsistent reporting systems, etc. Of those who could help with more details and offer suggestions to flesh out your question one of the first I would look to would be Anthony Watts.

    Good luck —-and have fun.

  101. mondo
    Posted Feb 3, 2009 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

    MrCPhysics

    The question that I would ask if I had the opportunity is that: “It is generally accepted from the physics that increased CO2 levels likely do have an impact on global mean temperature – of the order of 0.6 deg C per doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (cite http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-101/). Yet Dr Hansen and his supporters argue that a doubling of CO2 levels (from the current 380ppm) will increase the global mean temperature by 3 deg C. The outcome depends greatly on the system feedback assumed. If the feedback is negative, then the warming will be less than 0.6 deg C per doubling, if the feedback is positive, then the warming will be more. 3 deg C per doubling clearly implies a strongly positive feedback system. Can you please provide the evidence that demonstrates that the sensitivity is in fact sufficiently positive to deliver the 3 deg C outcome advanced by Dr Hansen.”

  102. Mark T
    Posted Feb 4, 2009 at 12:44 AM | Permalink

    Going down a path of falsifiability is a dead end. This is a discipline that cannot be wholly falsified, only bits and pieces can be. The climate is not testable in the same sense as Popper would have envisioned, so the point is moot, if not counter-productive. I’d focus my energies elsewhere, and the list of topics that seem appealing (to me) is long.

    Mark

  103. TonyS
    Posted Feb 4, 2009 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

    This is a nice cartoon I enjoyed very much. As you seem to eat statistics for breakfast, I thought you might enjoy it too:
    http://xkcd.com/539/

  104. UK John
    Posted Feb 5, 2009 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    As Gavin is a key member of the “proxy” team, and is keen for us to understand Antartica is warming, I am confused as how do we explain the “climate proxy” of increasing trend in SH sea ice extent.

  105. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Feb 5, 2009 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

    MrCPhysics #150

    Of the responses offered you so far, I side mostly with mondo. Thus, it is not so much of a question of “is there a CO2 effect” as “what is the best estimate for the CO2 effect”? Jae alludes to a lack of global warming since either 1998 or 2001 depending on how you think about it, and this must place limits on the sensitivity. Combining CO2 and solar effects seems to limit sensitivity to 1.0-1.5C per doubling.

    Speaking of solar, you can ask “what do you know about the linkage between long and short solar cycles with climate in the last thousand years, and do you know how long the recent cycle has lasted and the implications of that?”.

    Hope this helps,
    Rich.

  106. Filippo Turturici
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    I would have a request and a suggestion together for Steve McIntyre or anyone else who would like to go into the question.

    Since about 2002, the GISS station of Udine (north-east corner of Italy, plain, about 110m above sea level, 46°N) is greatly overestimating its anomalies, up to 4-5°C per month.
    I would like to know:
    – if this station is included in the calculations of local, continental and global anomalies by GISS;
    – if there is/was any other GISS station with similar errors for a so long time;
    – if GISS could recognize this error (e.g. by conparing its data to other local data) and correct it from 2002 on.

  107. stephen richards
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    CPhys

    Me also. Second question great, follow-up great.
    First question great, although quite deep, follow up dangerous. It is leading into an area of dispute. Some evidence for 800yrs, 80 yrs etc. You will give him an out.
    He may site evidence of rising temps, follow-up. surface stations or satelites. For surface stations see Anthoy Watts google him), for satelite, Roy Spencer .
    For a third question model might be a good target. The UKmet are using their recently annouced high resolution climate for seasonal weather forecasting as well as climate forecasting. How about asking a question on their reliability in the face of the winter you brits are experiencing. They said the winter would be mild !!

  108. stephen richards
    Posted Feb 6, 2009 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    CPhys
    Sorry some spelling errors in the last post. I’m just tired

    Me also. Second question great, follow-up great.
    First question great, although quite deep nay subtle, follow up dangerous. It is leading into an area of dispute. Some evidence for 800yrs, 80 yrs etc. You will give him an out.
    He may site evidence of rising temps, follow-up. surface stations or satelites. For surface stations see Anthony Watts google him), for satelite, Roy Spencer .
    For a third question, models might be a good target. The UKmet are using their recently announced high resolution climate for seasonal weather forecasting as well as climate forecasting. How about asking a question on their reliability in the face of the winter you brits are experiencing. They said the winter would be mild !!

  109. Geoff
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

    Noticing that we have at least one atmospheric chemist reading CA (see here) I would be interested in a comment on an article in the Jan 23 edition of Science, “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel combustion?” by Gustafsson (abstract here). The paper concludes that 2/3 of the “bulk carbonaeous aerosols” in the areas studied (western India and Indian Ocean)come from biomass combustion (from residential cooking and agricultural burning). The implications need to be thought through (see also Ramanathan and Feng, 2009 here, albeit with Scripps somehow transported to the UK).

    I vaguely recall that Steve didn’t want to get into ozone issues, but they have been raised in Steig, et.at., 2009. I’d be interested in an atmospheric scientist’s comment on Pope et.al. 2007, where the scientists from California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Lab conclude their findings “question the completeness of present atmospheric models of polar ozone depletion” (abstract here).

  110. kim
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Heaves honeyed bokay over the lights:

    When we get past the
    Anger the feeling is real;
    Pity is the most apt.
    =======================

  111. Thomas Gray
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    I hope that his is not considered out of scope but the questio n has been raised above3 about the consequences of the denial of the hockey-stick paleoclimate model. If such a model were to be proven false whaty would be the consequences to the AGW theory as a whole;

    As above, some say that it would not matter. However, it seems to me as a layman that it would have some quite significant consequences:

    a) the direct link between CO2 concentration and global temperature would be broken.

    and so

    b) The presence of the MWP would bring complications of GCMs that are not yet accounted for since other factors would ahve as significant effects on temperature

    So the question I am asking is, does any of the above speculation have any merit. The hockey stick does matter because it is another way of saying that global temperature is directly dependent on CO2 concentration that that the effect of other factors are of little consequence. If the hockey stick fails then much of current AGW thought will have to be reconsidered

  112. Frank K.
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    #124

    Lucia and Ross:

    The Navier-Stokes equations really are a specific statement of the general conservation of mass and momentum equations of fluid dynamics. Historically, Navier added the viscous terms to Euler’s equations for inviscid flow, and Stokes refined them later. Remember, too, that at that time (the early 19th century) the science of thermodynamics was in its infancy, so there wasn’t a conservation of energy equation yet.

    In numerical weather prediction and GCMs, modelers favor transforming the N-S equations to solve instead for the vorticity field. The advantage of this approach is that the pressure gradient terms are removed from the momentum equations (which simpilfies the solution process). Pressure is solved for using a Poisson equation for the pressure field after the vorticity field is updated. Once we know the velocity field and pressure, the energy equation can be solved.

    Things get more complicated when you start considering important physics such as turbulence, multiple-species, aerosols, multiphase flow, etc., and these of course are dealt with via the assorted parameterizations (i.e. source terms for mass, momentum, energy, species, and other scalars). These parameterizations themselves may involve solving scalar convection-diffusion for various transport variables.

    For a very lucid description of a typical GCM, here’s some light reading for a Sunday afternoon :^)

    http://www.ccsm.ucar.edu/models/atm-cam/docs/description/

  113. MrCPhysics
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 8:35 PM | Permalink

    I want to than posters for their suggestions. The event proceeded much more “scientifically” than I expected, and focused on narrow areas, so I decided not to ask too many controversial, aggressive, and general questions.

    The AGW proponent was very fair (given the POV he was coming from)–he acknowledged that melting Arctic ice would have both positive and negative impacts, and that he was in no position to compare them; that CO2 output would be more fairly measured per GDP dollar than per capita, and that the west was actually decreasing per GDP dollar, that environmental NGOs continually pressured him in a previous job NOT to mention uncertainties with research that was pro-AGW. He was clear about how much effort and money would have to be put into CO2 sequestering programs,and that they would have to accommodate the developing world as well as the developed countries. He indirectly supported clean coal in the future. He did not support biofuels. He only advocated biological plantings (to consume excess CO2) as short-term solutions; he was bullish on geothermal.

    He probably targeted his presentation a bit low–students found it too simple. He also wasn’t really clear about the relationship between melting sea-ice and sea level–implied but did not state they were related. Also probably overstated the endangerment to polar bears (and their cuddly nature), but I can’t really blame him given the publicity.

    I really was very impressed with the balance and fairness of what he presented.

  114. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    This is a good reason why you need to have exact copies of data, programs, etc. Although this is not climate related, it shows the underlying need to be able to access all information used in a study. Please don’t read into this that I am accusing climate scientists of what’s going on in this story. Only that from an audit or reproducibility perspective, everything must be made available.

  115. MrCPhysics
    Posted Feb 8, 2009 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    Sorry–obviously “than” should be “thank”. I’m a human typo machine…

  116. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    Here’s something for those who like to look at small oddities. Check the reported temperatures in the troposphere (say, 600mb level) and the stratosphere (for example, 50mb level) since the start of 2009.

    UAH Daily Satellite-Derived Temperatures

    It looks like the troposphere warmed rather dramatically while the stratosphere cooled. Perhaps it’s just noise, or maybe not. There was a powerful Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event in this timeframe but I don’t see the fingerprint of that event, at least not the fingerprint I expected to see.

    I’ll write UAH for their thoughts.

  117. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    Re # 171 Sorry about the broken link. Try again:

    UAH daily Satellite-Derived Temperatures

    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/

  118. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    Ross and Steve you both seem to suggest time and time again that the publication standards of the NASA RC team are both unreasonable and not in line with best practices. If true, you should probably be holding their peer reviewers to task more often. Also it would be helpful to spell out the accusations very clearly here for those of us who are not totally absorbed with the debate.

    Are you just nitpicking on items as they say you are, or suggesting they are “sloppier” than average scientists, or do you think that the RC guys enthusiasm for AGW indications has contaminated the data and methods of the studies? The last assertion should form the basis of a very interesting and testable hypothesis (Wegman’s testimony is a starting point) so rather than the personal attacks so why not just do that? You want front page news? Then *prove* that NASA is cooking the climate book. Otherwise much of this just seems like an intellectual school yard wrestling match. Fun to watch but of no scientific relevance.

    • AJ Abrams
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

      Re: Joseph Hunkins (#65),

      Joseph Hunkins. I think you’ve missed the point entirely. You have a couple of suggestions as to what the issue is and then treat them as if they are the only credible answers. They aren’t.

      What has been shown, quite often, is that the statistics used in many analysis do not support the claims made. You have people playing in a field in which they are not wholly qualified to do. The evidence for inaccuracies in the statistical analysis is then trivialized by people at RC to down play the significance, which is ironic, because many times it’s the statistical significance that is the problem to begin with.

      * disclaimer : I am not a statistician, nor do I play one on TV and didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, however I have read and understood the issues as they have been clearly laid out time and again on this site in language that can be understood by casual observers with math/engineering backgrounds.

    • Ross McKitrick
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

      Re: Joseph Hunkins (#65), We can’t “hold peer reviewers to account” because they are selected by journals and they remain anonymous. We can critique published work, however, which we have done. It sounds like you haven’t read much of it. We published a series of journal articles on the hockey stick. In my published papers (see here for an example) I present some very specific findings about surface data contamination. In Steve’s and my recent PNAS paper we make some specific criticisms of Mann’s confidence interval calculations. In another one under review I dispute the IPCC’s assertion of the role of atmospheric circulations in explaining the surface data contamination pattern. In all these papers we spell out specific criticisms, for those who take the trouble to read them. But I’m not obliged to summarize them on every thread for the benefit of people who, without having read them, nonetheless feel entitled to dismiss the corpus as “nitpicking” or of “no scientific relevance”, or seeing it all as mere personal attacks.

      In my posts on this thread (and over at RC) I have also spelled out very specific points of disagreement with Gavin and Rasmus regarding their statistical analysis. Unfortunately Rasmus would not submit his bloggings to a journal so that his argument and my rebuttal might be refereed, but now that Gavin has put spatial autocorrelation into play I will get my day in that court.

    • Knut Witberg, Norway,
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

      Re: Joseph Hunkins (#65),

      I think Mr. Hunkins have missed the name of this blog, it’s Climate AUDIT! Audit implies an END-TO-END quality control of the object, i.e. the objective, the hypothesis, the methods, the data, the presentation, the conclusion and of course also the “auditablility” of the scientific work – end to end.

      And audits of the work of climate scientists are certainly most important and called for. Remember that climate science in a few went from a small and fairly obscure science to main science in the eyes of the public in a matter of a few years. With this rapid increase in importance came very big money. In a short period of time literally thousands of scientists of all kinds started to call themselves “climate scientist”. So yes, climate science should and must be watched very closely. The effects of the acceptance of the wrong conclusion could be devastating for humanity.

      Take an example: the introduction of bioethanol for cars in order to fight the “global warming”. There is solid evidence that the production of bioethanol from maize have caused a very steep increase in the price of maize, and that price increase causes enormous difficulties and even hunger for poor families in many counties, like in Mexico. What if the global warming is overstated? What if it’s not anthropogenic? The importance of correct conclusions cannot be overstated.

      Has Climate Audit succeeded in its endeavors? Well, look at issues in CA: the Hockey Stick and the Medieval Warming, the statistical methods used in numerous reports, the data quality in general and in detail, look for yourself … and of course wheather a report is auditable at all.

  119. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Jay #59

    These are not DoD contracts and it is extremely rare, if ever, for scientific data to fall under the guidelines that you reference except for A. Most of what I reference (ITAR and SBU) has to do with spacecraft design data. This is not what Gavin was alleging anyway, he was alleging “proprietary” rights, which is something completely different.

    Steve if you want to find out what the distribution rights are, don’t FOIA the data, FOIA the contract with the institution that gave them the money to do the work. Those are public documents as well and will allow you to determine any rights.

    • Jaye Bass
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

      Re: Dennis Wingo (#67),

      Yes…sigh…I know they are not DOD contracts. Just pointing out an example of a Federal Agency with a mechanism outside of IP for managing the flow of information. Whether or not these types of standards apply to NASA contracts is something for somebody with NASA contracting experience has to answer.

  120. steven mosher
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    somebody should put GISSTEMP under SVN. just to show what is possible

  121. Jaye Bass
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    Information on protecting SUI from NASA, looks like they get at least some of their guidance from DoD.

    From hq.nasa.gov…

  122. per
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    Joseph Hunkins:

    Then *prove* that NASA is cooking the climate book.

    Joseph, I think the goal here is not to prove that NASA is wrong, or Hansen is evil, or anything quite so personal and trivial. The goal is to go through some important science papers, and see if they stand up; if you can go through them, and they are truly robust, then that is important. Where the chips fall (bad/ good paper) is irrelevant; it is the process of checking and testing that is key.

    If you want some examples, M&M submitted a formal complaint to Nature about MBH ’98, which resulted in a significant corrigendum. M&M published two peer-reviewed studies showing significant errors in the methodology of MBH’98, and the NAS (NRC) review of reconstructions essentially verified these findings of M&M. You can see references, e.g. http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=63, http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2322

    as regards recent papers, MBH’08 got some interesting commentary on this site; you can look over the posts, which are harrowing reading, or look simply for M&M’s recent letter in PNAS. As for Steig et al., that is ongoing analysis; SM has been noticeably careful not to claim too much about this paper, as the code isn’t available, and what was done is not yet clearly understood. Feel free to help.

    per

  123. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    Ross I agree you and Steve have done some exceptional work to shed light on several climate research issues. I’d like a way to know if these issues suggest any serious problems with the AGW hypothesis. Steve implies regularly that the work of the RC “team” is clouded (warmed?) by their enthusiasm for the AGW hypothesis. I’m suggesting that is a very interesting and relevant topic.

    Knut and AJ I agree the stakes are huge, which is why appropriate auditing must focus on things that affect the conclusions of a study rather than simply focusing laser-like on a handful of bad data points. RC insists these data are inconsequential.

  124. theduke
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    Joseph Hunkins, #65 and 84: you are suggesting that Steve and Ross find motive for the kind of science that is coming out of the Team. Bad idea. It’s hard enough trying to figure out what they are doing with the data without delving into why they are doing it.

    Furthermore, what you are suggesting, i.e. impugning the Team’s motives, could easily set M and M up for a libel suit of the type readers are now discussing re Mann’s attack on Solomon.

    M and M need to keep doing what they do best.

  125. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Hunkins,

    I haven’t read anything on this site that suggests any serious problems with the AGW hypothesis. I don’t even believe that is the purpose of this site at all. I have read about problems with historical temperature reconstructions, and more minor problems with the modern measured temperature record. The closest thing would be his request for an “engineering quality” calculation of climate sensitivity to increased CO2. (My own view is that this was done as far back as the JASON and Charney reports in late 70s.) I actually haven’t seen Mr. McIntyre imply that RC is particularly influenced by their enthusiasm for AGW. Of course I have seen him complain that they are insular, and resist review by perceived outsiders.

    • Tolz
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 9:59 PM | Permalink

      Re: Nicolas Nierenberg (#87),

      “The closest thing would be his request for an “engineering quality” calculation of climate sensitivity to increased CO2. (My own view is that this was done as far back as the JASON and Charney reports in late 70s.)”

      There is a LOT of interest on this site for anything convincing as far as tested sensitivity to doubled CO2 goes. I bet you’d be surprised if you looked back how thin the theory actually is when it comes to real world feedbacks and processes that absolutely overwhelm CO2 effects. Probably most of the “skeptics” here believe that with more atmospheric CO2 the climate ought to be a little warmer than it otherwise would have been. That doesn’t translate into absolute “sensitivity” and it sure doesn’t make CO2 into the main driver of climate.

      I for one would love to see what has convinced you as to the climate’s sensitivity to increased CO2.

  126. Craig Allen
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    Unfortunately probably only a personal dose of something like this will jolt people from their cynical attitudes.

    I can assure you that many people in Australia now realise in very personal ways what ‘global warming’ means. Southern Australia relentlessly gets hotter and drier year after year. And the fires are becoming ever-more frequent and devastating.

    I firmly believe that people who knowingly lie, cherry-pick, misrepresent and twist the science to sow doubt about global warming belong in the same category as the the arsonists who light some of these fires. Fire bugs light fires, denialists work to delay action on emissions and thereby to ensure that fires increasingly occur during weather events that allow them to flare into fire-storms like those that Australia ever-increasingly experiences.

    • curious
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Allen (#93), Another pov here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5689447.ece and one of the comments suggests she was saying it some time ago – I haven’t researched a source. Still a tragedy.

      • nevket240
        Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

        Re: curious (#96),

        Craig, I take it you are an adult?? As a former logger in the Victorian Otways I can tell you to your face if you like that the 2 main causes of this latest disaster are dishonest politically active “scientists” and money grabbing local councils.
        1/the “scientists” willingly abrogated decades of good forest management and gave the Greens and other ratbags the “scientific” cred to lockup the forests to loggers. This has, in part. lead to 20 years or so of debris buildup on the forsts floor. Instead of being cleared and burnt on a rotational basis you now have a growth of highly flammable material. The bigger the fuel load, the bigger the bomb. If you have ever had the decency and strength of you convictions to be a local firefighter you would know what it looks like when millions of tonnes of dried timber and leaves explodes. But I doubt that you do.
        2/greedy, revenue hungry councils in non-suburban country areas have allowed, without oversight, thousands of families to build in bushland. No fire breaks, no sprinkler systems, I’m a trained firefighter and Hi-pressure oilwell fire-fighting instructor so I know a little about them, no evacuation process. Just council rates.
        These are the people around KingLake, living their quiet country life in the bush, Cockatoos, Kangaroos, Goannas, Brown snakes, fishing, life is wonderful in the bush until.. Some ignorant city academic gets on side with city bound environmentalists and entomb your home in a timebomb.
        Good one Craig.

        regards.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Allen (#93),

      Craig,

      The Australian countryside around Melbourne was dried out by 4 hot days at the end of January. The bad fires on 6 Feb were predicted from cyclone activity in Northern Australia and that day was heavily publicised, giving sick people a week to prepare nefarious deeds.

      Despite this, January 2009 was the coldest January for 5 years. AGW has nought to do with the physics and chemistry. The year 2008 continued the cooling trend around Melbourne that is now a decade old.

      There is increasing evidence that several fires were arson. There is increasing evidence that one was lit by a greenie protesting the presence of man made forestry. Time will tell.

      A latent danger of AGW theories, seldom discussed here, is that it can give justification for abnormal and illegal acts by unstable people.

    • Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 8:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Allen (#93),

      In today’s “Australian” newspaper there are many bushfire researchers who have come out extremely critical of the Victorian Government’s poor forest management practices to keep the fire loads under control in the forests, ie controlled burning. It is considered by many that the environmental lobby has prevented an adequate regime of controlled burns being implemented. I also second Geoff Sherrington’s comments in reply 100.

    • Alan Wilkinson
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Allen (#93),

      Go read the biography of Sidney Kidman (1857-1935) who bought up half of Australia because he understood the patterns of periodic Australian droughts and worked out better ways to manage them than anyone else.

      It’s been a lovely summer in NZ, just like it used to be when we were kids. That was some time after firebreaks were invented but before environmentalist know-nothings stopped them being deployed and commonsense was abolished in favour of having every minute of your life regulated and controlled as it is in Victoria and South Australia.

      You have to look a bit further than atmospheric CO2 if you want to understand the world you live in.

    • Neil Fisher
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Allen (#93), the Victrian bush fires have certainly been tragic with great loss of life and property. To link them with global warming is completely unfounded and wrong. A lack of hazard reduction burn offs (ironically supported by “green” organisations) combined with extremely high temperatures and low humidity was the major factor. That some of these fires were deliberately lit (arson) is also a factor (about 90% of such fires are deliberately lit, BTW).

      Suggesting that AGW caused these fires is on a par with suggesting that a heat wave or hurricane is the result of global warming – it’s insupportable by the evidence, and harms the AGW cause more than it helps. It is a slap in the face to those who have suffered in this tragedy for anyone to attempt to make political points from it – I personally find such tactics extremely offensive, and would ask Steve to remove Craig’s comment (#93).

      • bender
        Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

        Re: Neil Fisher (#143),
        Please leave the comment up as a monument to irrationalism. I think Katrina is causing the bush fires in Australia. Through magical teleconnections, it robbed the atmosphere of the water that Australis now needs.

  127. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    Nicolas
    I haven’t read anything on this site that suggests any serious problems with the AGW hypothesis

    Wow, if most here share that view it seems there’s sure a lot of extra unneeded contentiousness between “The RC Team” and their commenters and folks here. RC refuses to even link to CA stuff. I’ve asked them why and they kill the comment.

    theduke

    Fair enough I guess, though clearly an RC Team motive to “find warming regardless of the data” is often implied here in addition to regular assertions of mathematical incompetence. Then over at RC we have many proclaiming very loudly that Climate Audit is a hotbed of AGW “denialism” that deserves no voice in the study of climate.

    Since neither of those assertions seem reasonable I remain in a state of confusion about the relevance of the many data details discussed here in such breathless fashion, esp. when commenters here imply they raise serious questions about study conclusions. Interesting, contentious, and fun stuff like the AWS data errors isn’t necessarily relevant and when NASA’s best and brightest say “not relevant” shouldn’t they get the benefit of the doubt unless proven wrong?

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 10:43 PM | Permalink

      Re: Joseph Hunkins (#94),

      Fair enough I guess, though clearly an RC Team motive to “find warming regardless of the data” is often implied here in addition to regular assertions of mathematical incompetence.[...]Since neither of those assertions seem reasonable I remain in a state of confusion about the relevance of the many data details discussed here in such breathless fashion, esp. when commenters here imply they raise serious questions about study conclusions. Interesting, contentious, and fun stuff like the AWS data errors isn’t necessarily relevant and when NASA’s best and brightest say “not relevant” shouldn’t they get the benefit of the doubt unless proven wrong?

      You ask, “shouldn’t they get the benefit of the doubt unless proven wrong?” You may want to consider whether the “best and brightest” are actually the IPCC proponents of AGW or the more distinguished majority of meteorologists, atmospheric scientists, statisticians, and others who are disputing and/or challenging the IPCC reports and their AGW proponents. The IPCC leadership has attracted criticism from many of the leading world scientists in the field when the IPCC leadership deleted findings, contributions, and contributors from the IPCC reports which were not supportive of the AGW hypothesis. Why were the dissenting IPCC contributors among the best and brightest when they became contributors to the IPCC reports, but they became less than the best and brightest when they dissented as their contributions were edited and reversed in meaning without consent or disregarded altogether. Are you claiming these dissenting IPCC contributors were not the “best and brightest?” Do you forget that Steve McIntyre was an IPCC reviewer too? Are you implying he is not one of the “best and brightest” simply because the IPCC leadership has attempted to discredit him for contributing a dissenting peer review?

      Let us see what you think about giving the IPCC and their supporters the benefit of the doubt once you have read some selected quotations from some of the people responsible for the IPCC reports, the United Nations organizations responsible for establishing and sustaining the IPCC, and the governments responsible for supporting the United Nations organizations who are responsible for the IPCC and its reports. Do their statements warrant a non-scientific presumption of trust, or do their statements instead reinforce a need to adhere even more closely to the application of scientific principles requiring falsification of hypotheses, independent verification, and validation?

      Stephen Schneider, Stanford Professor of Climatology, lead author of many IPCC reports, “We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination…So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts…Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

      Sir John Houghton, first chairman of IPCC and the person responsible for establishing the future emphasis of the IPCC reporting, “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”

      Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace, and the person often described by some IPCC leaders as the inspiration for their environmental efforts with respect to Climate Change, “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”

      Timothy Wirth, President of the UN Foundation, the organization responsible for establishing the IPCC to handle Global Warming issues delegated to it by certain leadership figures in the WMO, “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”

      Christine Stewart, former Canadian Minister of the Environment, and responsible for Canada’s contributions to the IPCC, “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

      So, which is more important, “being effective”…“Even if the theory of global warming is wrong” or “being honest” and using truly independent scientific principles and ethics to determine “if the science of global warming is all phony” or not? Are you truly going to contend it is unreasonable to ask the people who made the above quoted statements to meet a far lesser standard of verification, validation, and competence than you ask a civil engineer responsible for the construction of a back country road bridge? Do you really think it is reasonable for the IPCC and contributors to the IPCC reports supportive of the AGW hypothesis to persistently publish and promote research papers asserting the existence of AGW which cannot be independently replicated? Do you really think it is reasonable for the IPCC and contributors to the IPCC reports supportive of the AGW hypothesis to deny and/or hamper timely public access to the data and methods required by independent researchers to replicate the scientific experiments? How is it not reasonable for a former IPCC reviewer and other members of the public to peer review or independently review the scientific and statistical validity of the published scientific papers used in the IPCC reports as a means of meeting the above stated goals of the IPCC leadership and their supporters in government?

      You suggest, “[...]the AWS data errors isn’t necessarily relevant[...]?” How can the AWS temperatures not be relevant when you have astronomers like L. Valenziano and G. Dall’Oglio reporting significant uncertainty in the AWS temperature data of 15 percent?

      AWS data used in this work are already binned in three-hour intervals. This is useful in order to evaluate the stability of the observing conditions over a reasonably short interval. Some data can be missing, due to instrumental or transmission failures. Data were further averaged over one-month intervals. The typical uncertainty in the monthly averages is 15% (standard deviation) for temperature, [...](Valenziano 1997)

      L. Valenziano1 and G. Dall’Oglio2, Millimetre Astronomy from the High Antarctic Plateau: Site Testing at Dome C. 1CNR-TeSRE, via P. Gobetti 101, Bologna, I-40129 Italy; Received 1999 January 14, accepted 1999 April 21; Publ. Astron. Soc. Aust., 1999, 16, 167{74.

      Please describe to us how a 15 percent deviation in the AWS monthly temperature averages is going to be anything but relevant to the reconsruction of an interpolated temperature trend for Antarctica spanning periods of decades?

  128. Edward
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

    Craig #93
    Is it your position that a .5C increase in temperature over the last 160 years after the conclusion of a mini ice-age is responsible for more and more forest fires in Australia the last two years? Is it possible that changes in land use or suppression of fires has created a situation likely to result in the kind of fires you link to? Can you define for us here what is normal in Australia over the last 1000 years in terms of frequency and severity of forest fires?
    Thanks
    Ed

    • bender
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

      Re: Edward (#97),
      Just as I’m sure it’s his position that AGW caused Katrina.
      Probably an insurance salesman.

  129. Harry Eagar
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    Craig Allen, do a search for Peshtigo fire. Note the date.

  130. theduke
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    Joseph Hunkins:

    Interesting, contentious, and fun stuff like the AWS data errors isn’t necessarily relevant and when NASA’s best and brightest say “not relevant” shouldn’t they get the benefit of the doubt unless proven wrong?

    Yes, they should, but the “benefit of the doubt” is a commodity they are fast squandering by their refusal to release code in order to facilitate timely replication and verification. My view is that they are inhibiting the advancement of science. And let’s face it: they have been proven wrong in a number of instances.

    As for NASA’s best and brightest, here’s a former NASA scientist who believes Hansen and Schmidt are over-reaching in their conclusions:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/

  131. Howard S.
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Of course there’s a rash of California fires a few years back that were arson set. That didn’t stop the alarmists from suggesting those fires and all others were signs of global warming.
    I guess AGW causes arson?

    But the wildfire connection is just one of many observations falsely attributed to Global Warming.

    The list is attributions is long and getting longer. At the same time skeptics are forever counseled by alarmists to avoid making weather and other observations a demonstration of climate cooling.

    All told and tallied there is a far greater effort to attribute numerous observations to AGW then there has been by skeptics to show the opposite. It’s not even close.
    Here in my NW of the USA our global warming crusaders and press deliver daily doses of imagined effects of AGW already occurring. Anything is acceptable.
    Yet all one has to do is mention some recent cold weather, and snow, as a simple query and the alarmists snap with warnings against making any connections to global warming.
    “Weather is not climate” is the mantra.

    I really enjoy this site along with WUWT and icecap.us.
    However IMO it would be helpful to the layperson if an outline of the accumulating concerns over the AGW hypothesis were located for easy access.
    To give one the ability to easily grasp the magnitude of the concerns and why there such opposition.

    That would prevent Nicolas et al from getting the wrong impression as he has.

    Like many others I have read many threads here and used the many links provided by both the author and visitors.

    It is impossible for anyone to do so and then say they “haven’t read anything on this site that suggests any serious problems with the AGW hypothesis”.

    An updated summary outline could short cut the lengthy read through the site.

  132. Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Hunkins #94,

    I think that RC attracts people who tend to agree with the consensus view on AGW, and this site attracts people who are skeptical. Most of the comments one way or the other are not by the principals on either site, although the principals at RC clearly believe that there is a high probability of the consensus view being correct. To be honest I don’t know what Mr. McIntyre believes.

    As for me, I am always interested in views which are different than the consensus. I can’t learn anything by just listening to one side of a discussion. I also generally take perverse pleasure in people showing that we “know” isn’t always true.

    Howard S. #106, I’m really sorry but nothing that I’ve seen on this site or any other skeptic site contradicts the general theory of climate sensitivity to CO2 increases. If you want to be skeptical the best you can do is say that the climate system is incredibly complex, and it is likely that we understand it less well than people think.

    In a field I knew something about it was a great deal of fun watching everyone who thought Y2K was going to cause computer systems all over the world to collapse turn out to be completely wrong. In this case I dearly hope that the mainstream is wrong, because I don’t see us likely to do anything about it anyway. But my hoping won’t change reality.

    • D Johnson
      Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 11:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: Nicolas Nierenberg (#108),

      Nicolas,you say:”I’m really sorry but nothing that I’ve seen on this site or any other skeptic site contradicts the general theory of climate sensitivity to CO2 increases. If you want to be skeptical the best you can do is say that the climate system is incredibly complex, and it is likely that we understand it less well than people think.”

      I think it’s possible to say much more than that. While most, even in the so-called skeptic community, agree that increased CO2 should cause some degree of increase in global temperature, the whole crux of the issue is the extent of that increase, i.e. the sensitivity. Lucia, at her blog, and others are producing sound evidence that the magnitude of increases predicted by the extant climate models are overstating the rate of increase that is occurring. The issue of sensitivity is crucial to support decisions on policy. Steve’s call for an engineering exposition on that topic is still very germaine.

  133. Bruce
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    In reference to Australia:

    The weather forecast was both early and accurate: a near repeat of Ash Wednesday 1983 — slightly hotter, similar low humidity, and sustained wind speeds reaching 40 to 60 km/h.

    But contrary to current hyperbole, Black Saturday was not the worst fire day ever. Ash Wednesday’s wind speeds ranged from 70 to 120 km/h. A savage south-west front led to most of the deaths and property loss, whereas Saturday had a modest wind change.

    Nor was the area burned in the latest fires exceptional. About 300,000 hectares is the likely total, compared with 1.5 million on Black Friday 1939, several million on Black Thursday 1851, 260,000 on Red Tuesday 1898 and 230,000 on Ash Wednesday. Note that the days of the week have mostly been used up already. Every 10 or 20 years there is a bushfire disaster. This isn’t going to change.

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/looking-for-answers-in-the-ashes-20090209-8286.html?page=-1

  134. Howard S.
    Posted Feb 9, 2009 at 10:59 PM | Permalink

    Nicolas,

    I don’t know how you have not “seen on this site or any other skeptic site” anything that contradicts the general theory of climate sensitivity to CO2 increases.”

    There are many pieces that certainly respresent contradiction.
    I can’t imagine you have seen the material and conclude it is nothing.

    Here’s a convenient power point/video containing much of the skeptics discussion on CO2.

    The Mann “Hockey Stick” theory has been severely discredited to the point that it cannot not be held up with any scientific confidence at all.
    CO2 is shown in the ice core samples to have risen after warming.

    Lawrence Solomon details contradictions
    http://spectator.org/archives/2008/04/18/a-time-to-deny/

    -climate scientist Prof Christopher de Freitas, of Auckland.
    http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3774

    and of course there are numerous other sources of scientific work, by experts, which has severely challenged AGW.

  135. mugwump
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    In #128 I meant “interpolating from a very few weather stations”, not “all but a very few”. Commenting before my first coffee. Bad idea. Obviously, the best test of the Antarctic approach is with similarly sparse weather station information.

  136. bender
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    snip – bender, nice that you’re here. While I agree with the sentiment, you seem to have channeled a little TCO.

    • bender
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#135),
      “channeling TCO” – I like it. Nothin like it on a Friday night.

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#141),
      I would like to know who the reviewers were for the M&M JGR paper and the Schmidt IJOC paper. No, that’s not it. I would like to see the actual reviews, and then know the degree of review independence, as measured via Wegmanesque social network analysis.

  137. Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

    Patterson #124, Nylo #124 I believe your analogy is not so good. In the case of a photograph there would be no historical basis to estimate the value of an intermediate pixel.

    Look at the paper like this. If I have a period where I have the average temperatures in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco on a monthly basis going back fifty years. During the last ten years I have temperatures for lots of places in between like Oceanside, Paso Robles, Ventura, Monterey etc. etc. I then look at how the temperatures in my main cities predict the temperature in the intermediate locations during those years. Then I use that to go back to the forty year period where I don’t have temperatures for the intermediate locations and estimate their values. I actually think in the example I gave you it would do a pretty good job.

    The issues for Antarctica are more complex for the reasons I outlined in my earlier post. We don’t have actual temperature measurements at the intermediate points instead we have AVHRR data supplemented by some AWS data. In addition it isn’t clear that the manned weather station data is complete and accurate. But it isn’t a bad hypothesis that this works within the published error levels.

  138. Richard Sharpe
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    As someone who has been on both sides of code reviews, I now realize that you need someone without a vested interest in the code to keep you honest.

    It takes experience on both sides of the fence to be able to objectively criticize something you have invested so much time in.

  139. Joe Black
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Climate is not independent of Weather. Weather is not independent of Climate. Climatic interpolation is only less dodgy because of the central limit theorem.

  140. Joe Black
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    My issue is that Climate and Weather are not orthogonal.

    • bender
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

      Re: Joe Black (#189), No one said they were. And now your shadowboxing has landed my point on M&M07 & S09 reviewer comments in unthreaded. Thanks.

    • bender
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

      Re: Joe Black (#189),

      My issue is that Climate and Weather are not orthogonal.

      Tell that to D. Patterson, who conveniently left the weather vs. climate distinction out of his story.

      He was trying to imply that complexity in meteorological data necessarily implies a similar complexity in climatic data. Sure, they’re both complex. But the complexity isn’t equivalent. The effects that hamper interpolation at meteorological scales do not necessarily apply over climatic time scales.

      What idiot would assume them to be orthogonal? Climate is the time integral of weather. How can they possibly be orthogonal?

      • jc-at-play
        Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#191),

        You object that D. Patterson “conveniently left the weather vs. climate distinction out of his story.”

        As I read it, the point of D. Patterson’s story is

        In other words, it was a real world example of how relying upon trends and interpolations in the atmospheric sciences invites vicious surprises.

        Doesn’t this apply to both weather AND climate?

        • bender
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

          Re: jc-at-play (#192),
          Apply? Yes. Equally and without qualification? No.

          The standard climate proposition is that the devilish details that eluded and got the better of the interpolating meteorologist do not scale up to the climatic scale. They average out – through Joe Black’s central limit theorem. Whether these devilish details iron out only to be replaced by others – that is, I thin,k an open question. Read the Koutsoyiannis and Browning threads. But don’t read RC.

        • jc-at-play
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#193),

          Let me clarify what I was trying to say. I wouldn’t have been particularly impressed if I had taken D. Patterson’s story to be just another argument in the category “weather forecasting is uncertain therefore climate projections are bogus.” The point that caught my eye really has little to do with climate vs. weather. Excising a bit from the original blockquote:

          In other words, it was a real world example of how relying upon trends and interpolations … invites vicious surprises.

          I take this danger to hold for weather, and climate, and financial analysis, and aircraft wing design, and in general to any system potentially subject to sudden catastrophic changes. ["Catastrophic" in the sense of Catastrophe Theory.]

        • bender
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

          Re: jc-at-play (#197),
          What is the nature of these “vicious surprises” … in the context of climatic interpolation in Antarctica?

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#199),

          How about the Southern Annular Mode as an example?

        • bender
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

          Re: D. Patterson (#201),
          Would the existence of a SAM preclude you from interpolating? Or are you suggesting it should inform the interpolation procedure? Did Steig et al. neglect this effect? (i.e. Does RegEM not capture it?) What if the effect of SAM were not neglected? How would the results change? You’ve started a discussion. Will you carry it through, or does it end there?

        • D. Patterson
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#245),

          The Southern Annular Mode is outside the time period under consideration in the Steig paper. You asked for an example of a vicious surprise. Imagine interpolating from a sparse number of stations into the past very shortly after the last wholesale changes in circulation patterns of the southern annular mode. Wouldn’t the reconstruction of surface temperatures by interpolation of the new surface temperatures under the new and colder circulaton patterns fail to reveal the prior warmer temperature regime?

        • bender
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

          Re: D. Patterson (#247),

          The Southern Annular Mode is outside the time period under consideration in the Steig paper.

          Then it is not relevant.

          You asked for an example of a vicious surprise.

          Only because you were suggesting that interpolation is fraught with hidden dangers. I want to know what dangers you think the climate interpolators Steig et al have ignored.

          Imagine interpolating from a sparse number of stations into the past very shortly after the last wholesale changes in circulation patterns of the southern annular mode.

          But the interpolators were not extrapolating backward in time, were they?

          Wouldn’t the reconstruction of surface temperatures by interpolation of the new surface temperatures under the new and colder circulaton patterns fail to reveal the prior warmer temperature regime?

          Let’s stick to facts before moving on to hypotheticals. Interpolation is dangerous when there are hidden details unknown to the interpolator that will come back to bite him. You coyly suggest this is a problem in the case of climatic reconstrucitons in Antarctica. You even have a following! But now you must make your case, or retract. I’m not going to help you! I’m playing the antagonist here.

        • jc-at-play
          Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#239),

          What is the nature of these “vicious surprises” … in the context of climatic interpolation in Antarctica?

          Aren’t we in the “Unthreaded” thread here? D. Paterson’s post #216 makes a total of two passing references to Antarctica; I took these to be peripheral to a more general point.

          If you’re making the more general point that problems in weather forecasting don’t necessarily translate to surprises for climate projection, I agree. But I also agree with your post #227 that it’s an open question

          Whether these devilish details [of weather forecasting] iron out only to be replaced by others …

          [My apologies is this sounds like a "gotcha" post - there certainly is no disrespect intended.]

        • bender
          Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

          Re: jc-at-play (#259),
          we’re in unthreaded now. that’s not where DP started.

      • D. Patterson
        Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#191),

        Tell that to D. Patterson, who conveniently left the weather vs. climate distinction out of his story.

        He was trying to imply that complexity in meteorological data necessarily implies a similar complexity in climatic data.

        No, that is entirely too simplistic with respect to what I had in mind. You had it right the first time when you commented upon the missing insight of the forecaster. The example of the forecaster was meant to inspire some insight to a number of different issues which arise when using interpolations and other methods of analyzing data that require making initial assumptions that could prove to be erroneous or significantly inaccurate. I was admittedly taking the long way around the barn to come back to the problems associated with autocorrelations, interpolations, infilling, and so forth.

        In the example of the forecaster, he failed to acknowledge the insight of the other forecasters who understood the wild card in the situation was the unanticipated intrusion of another domain, a rare overturning of the stratospheric wind patterns, having characteristics alien to the assumptions of the domain for which he was calculating interpolations. So, what does that have to do with climate, where the Law of lare numbers encourages the application of the central limit theorem?

        A key prerequisite for the application of the central limit theorem is a domain in which you have data points that are finite and random in variability, independent of each other, and identical in distribution. Meteorologists and climatologists routinely use such assumptions to solve their respective mathematical conundrums, because doing so has proved useful. I would suggest, however, that some practitioners may have lost sight of the fact the real world to which these mathematical tools are being applied does not necessarily comply with the prerequiste assumptions. Not all climate systems are random or independent in variance, even if they are finite in variability. While they may provide enough data points to make the law of large numbers useful, the phenomenon in question may be complex and have deterministic elements which do not permit an assumption of randomness and independence. Using these tools with inappropriate assumptions about the randomness, independence, and so forth of the subject/s being studied may prove to be akin to the results obtained from parameterizations. No, I’m not directly comparing the two except to point out that what appears to be a reliable conclusion may not be so reliable in the presence of a domain having characteristics substantialy different than what was assumed. The example of the marine circulation is representative of how the intrusion of one domain into another can result in unanticipated consequences for climatologists and meteorologists.

        I cannot recall where I saw the paper, but there was a paper discussing how surprised they were to discover some peculiar vertical stratospheric winds over the Antarctic with seasonality that had not been observed before. There was some speculaton that the abrupt appearance of this new seasonal wind phenomenon was somehow linked to the PDO.

        The fact that they are still discovering previously undiscovered and long-term periodic mesoscale transfers of energy between the troposphere and the stratosphere implies some potentially profound consequences for any attempt to treat the surface temperatures in the Antarctic as a random field of independent variables for purposes of interpolating past temperatures. What happens to the assumptions when you introduce previously unsuspected domains having substantially different characersitics?

        Now, having expressed some concern about the proper application of the mathematical tools to the climatology of the Antarctice, I do not mean at all to suggest they are useless. Quite the contrary, they have proven useful. I simply want to bring attention to the risk of being overconfident and blind to the potential of failing to recognize and acknowledge when the tools are being used in an inappropriate way or circumstance with undesirable results.

        • bender
          Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

          Re: D. Patterson (#198),

          there was a paper discussing how surprised they were to discover some peculiar vertical stratospheric winds over the Antarctic with seasonality that had not been observed before. There was some speculaton that the abrupt appearance of this new seasonal wind phenomenon was somehow linked to the PDO

          Find it and let’s discuss it. Then we’ll no longer be hand-waxing, but making progress on the question.

  141. Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    Bender,

    I see your point but I was responding to #84, #94, #109, #114, #115 amongst others. I guess these were all off topic as well?

    Steve:
    Nicolas, I’m not 100% consistent in editing practices as I already spend more time than I want to on this sort of thing.

  142. Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    #138, not really.

    #139, sorry

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

      Re: Nicolas Nierenberg (#140),

      #138, not really.
      #139, sorry

      Nicolas, the post numbers can get out of synch when posts are deleted by our hosts. To keep the post numbers accurate, you can use the “reply and paste link” located under the post number to automatically link the post with a dynamic post number which changes as the post numbers become changed. Hope this helps.

  143. mondo
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    Re Weather v Climate, Hank Tennekes posted an excellent discussion on this at Roger Pielke Sr’ Climate Science blog – http://climatesci.org/2009/01/29/real-climate-suffers-from-foggy-perception-by-henk-tennekes/

    • bender
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

      Re: mondo (#194),
      bender has made similar observations in the blogosphere … before Tennekes did. Glad he has decided to agree with me. Even if he is late on the scene.

  144. bender
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    Heck, Ferdinand Engelbeen said as much here at CA in 2006:
    Re: Ferdinand Engelbeen (#3)

    It is quite simple: GCM’s significantly don’t reflect any natural cycle in ocean heat content with a length between 10 and 100 years.

    Compare to Tennekes:

    Since heat storage and heat transport in the oceans are crucial to the dynamics of the climate system, yet cannot be properly observed or modeled, one has to admit that claims about the predictive performance of climate models are built on quicksand. Climate modelers claiming predictive skill decades into the future operate in a fantasy world, where they have to fiddle with the numerous knobs of the parameterizations to produce results that have some semblance of veracity. Firm footing? Forget it!

    Surely I do not need to go on and on to make my case?

    • mondo
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#233),

      Bender,

      The reason that I put up the Hank Tennekes piece is that there is a lot of talk about weather and climate, and so much of it seems to me to be superficial and missing the key point. Clearly I am not familiar enough with the literature, or your own contributions to this topic, and I don’t question you for a moment. I certainly value your sometimes acerbic comments, and it is good to see you back.

      • bender
        Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

        Re: mondo (#248),
        Wonderful. Now could Tennekes please start debating with GS one-on-one on substantive issues and questions unanswered over at RC?

  145. nevket240
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Acually Bender, the rain we need has been deposited around sensors in Antartica!!

    regards

  146. Howard S.
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    This was in our morning paper.

    Study: Birds shifting north; global warming cited
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jpZ8b9L2-UjrsLb82x-BpyYi7y8gD968NKDG0

  147. aurbo
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    First of all, there is little informed dispute that man-made climate change does exist. The presence of urban heat islands provides obvious affirmation. The question is one of scale in regard to what percentage of the surface area of the Globe is covered by urban heat islands. Keep in mind to start with that 71% of the Planet is covered by sea-water. Presumably they are devoid of urban areas (although some may be immediately adjacent to them).

    The general public has no comprehension of orders of magnitude. At my public presentations I always ask the audience “How long is a trillion seconds?” The usual answers I get range from less than a year to several years. The real answer is 31,688.8 (tropical) years.

    This inability by the lay public to appreciate the consequences of orders of magnitude is exploited by alarmists of every stripe not the least of which are AGW alarmists. The same applies to the ability of trace gases in the atmosphere to create sensible warming on a global scale.

    The intuitive understanding of thermodynamics doesn’t always equate to the science. If you put a controlled heat source in a box and keep the source at a constant temperatures, no matter how long you run the device, the box won’t get any warmer than the source. Similarly, if a gas molecule at some level in the atmosphere absorbs thermal energy, it can’t get any warmer than the source emitting the radiation (if it warms at all). In fact, most gas molecules capable of absorbing (and retransmitting) thermal radiation, do so without their temperature changing at all. There’s a difference between temperature and energy.

    Finally, on the importance of the “hockey stick” hypothesis, it may be true that whether or not an MWP existed, does not provide proof that CO2 does or does not promote GW. But it does influence the debate.

    Because of the scientific ignorance or absence of critical thinking by large segments of the population which include a large percentage of our politicians, the impact of the efforts of the “team” to be able to show that the recent period of warming is unique within the past millennium is one of their strongest arguments in garnering public acceptance irrespective of the logic involved. Why else would Jonathan Overpeck have pleaded some years ago that we must get rid of the MWP?

    The AGW problem has two components…a scientific one and a political one. They may be mutually exclusive in purely logical contructions, but they are definitely not mutually exclusive in practical consequences.

    • curious
      Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

      Re: aurbo (#245), Hi aurbo – Is this correct? In the example of the earth’s climate system what is the temperature of the constant source? Thanks

    • Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

      Re: aurbo (#245),

      First of all, there is little informed dispute that man-made climate change does exist.

      No, there is some manmade, the question is how much is man and how much is natural variation.

      The presence of urban heat islands provides obvious affirmation.

      No, UHI has a very small impact on global mean temperature. It has a much greater impact on the measurements used to determine GMT.

      The question is one of scale in regard to what percentage of the surface area of the Globe is covered by urban heat islands. Keep in mind to start with that 71% of the Planet is covered by sea-water. Presumably they are devoid of urban areas (although some may be immediately adjacent to them).
      The general public has no comprehension of orders of magnitude. At my public presentations I always ask the audience “How long is a trillion seconds?” The usual answers I get range from less than a year to several years. The real answer is 31,688.8 (tropical) years.
      This inability by the lay public to appreciate the consequences of orders of magnitude is exploited by alarmists of every stripe not the least of which are AGW alarmists. The same applies to the ability of trace gases in the atmosphere to create sensible warming on a global scale.
      The intuitive understanding of thermodynamics doesn’t always equate to the science.

      Not going there.

      If you put a controlled heat source in a box and keep the source at a constant temperatures, no matter how long you run the device, the box won’t get any warmer than the source.

      That depends on the insulation of the box and its external temperature. The box I lived in nearly froze my butt of last week.

      Similarly, if a gas molecule at some level in the atmosphere absorbs thermal energy, it can’t get any warmer than the source emitting the radiation (if it warms at all). In fact, most gas molecules capable of absorbing (and retransmitting) thermal radiation, do so without their temperature changing at all. There’s a difference between temperature and energy.

      The temperature of the molecule doesn’t matter. The energy they re-radiate towards the surface matters. The unknown is mainly clouds (water vapor). They can reflect radiation to space or back to Earth. Water vapor and its impact on radiative and convective energy contributes the majority to the sensitivity estimates and are the least understood.

      Finally, on the importance of the “hockey stick” hypothesis, it may be true that whether or not an MWP existed, does not provide proof that CO2 does or does not promote GW. But it does influence the debate.

      The HS is over done.

      Because of the scientific ignorance or absence of critical thinking by large segments of the population which include a large percentage of our politicians, the impact of the efforts of the “team” to be able to show that the recent period of warming is unique within the past millennium is one of their strongest arguments in garnering public acceptance irrespective of the logic involved. Why else would Jonathan Overpeck have pleaded some years ago that we must get rid of the MWP?

      ? A large section of our population are looking for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, using holistic tinctures, crystals and horoscopes. What was once the history channel is now the hysterical channel. A small section is using fox tails, split bark and monsoon data to generate temperature reconstructions.

      The AGW problem has two components…a scientific one and a political one. They may be mutually exclusive in purely logical contructions, but they are definitely not mutually exclusive in practical consequences.

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

      Re: aurbo (#248),

      The intuitive understanding of thermodynamics doesn’t always equate to the science. If you put a controlled heat source in a box and keep the source at a constant temperatures, no matter how long you run the device, the box won’t get any warmer than the source.

      True but irrelevant. Put a heat source at constant power in the same box. Or conversely, measure the power required to maintain your heat source at constant temperature. Now put some insulation around the box and see what happens. And the heat source for the Earth has a temperature of about 6,000 K, so there is a lot of room to play with on the high side.

      • jae
        Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#310),

        True but irrelevant. Put a heat source at constant power in the same box. Or conversely, measure the power required to maintain your heat source at constant temperature. Now put some insulation around the box and see what happens. And the heat source for the Earth has a temperature of about 6,000 K, so there is a lot of room to play with on the high side.

        WTF? Why is this “relevant,” when the heat source is outside the “box?”

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

          Re: jae (#314),

          Why is this “relevant,” when the heat source is outside the “box?

          But the atmosphere is relatively transparent to incoming radiation and relatively opaque to outgoing radiation at longer wavelength so in effect the heat source is inside the box, but the power to the heat source is supplied from outside and is approximately constant, unlike a constant temperature heat source which would require less power as the box insulation is increased.

        • jae
          Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#324),

          But the atmosphere is relatively transparent to incoming radiation and relatively opaque to outgoing radiation at longer wavelength so in effect the heat source is inside the box, but the power to the heat source is supplied from outside and is approximately constant, unlike a constant temperature heat source which would require less power as the box insulation is increased.

          Yes, but what is your point here? We have a quasi-equilibrium situation, wherein the amount of energy radiated out to space about equals the amount radiated in from the sun (give and take the amount of energy that creates phenomena such as the PDO, AMO, etc.). It took a few million years to achieve this quasi-equilibrium, and I really have a problem accepting that a few ppm CO2 is going to alter it much.

  148. Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    Sorry Steve that I responded to the snipped. Go ahead and snip the last two.

  149. Jack L. Herz, Ph.D.
    Posted Feb 10, 2009 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Would like to know more about the “dishonest behavior of the IPCC” referred to in a paper given by Professor Richard Lindzen (who went to High School with me, and we are nominally a part of an “after 50 years” chat room organized after our 50th reunion. His paper was circulated via e-mail, and I read it with great interest.). Last year, he spoke in Italy about the politicization of “global warming”, something about which I have been preaching for about 20 years. The same people (at least, the same sorts of people) who were preaching a near-term ice age are now the proponents of global warming, or the new mantra, “climate change”, a more supportable euphamism.

    I had been a great believer in Michael Crichton’s position well before he articulated it (I am an old guy). – snip –

    Best regards,

    Jack L. Herz (I have had various R&D and business positions over the years, including an Adjunct Professorship in Chemistry at the City University of New York).

    Steve: There is much to complain about in modern climate science, but you have to start with the recognition that IPCC views represent the vast majority of climate scientists, who hold these views in good faith. At this point, the “ice age” thing is a debating point (which is BTW contested) and doesn’t mean that the majority view is not correct.

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

      Re: Steve M. wrote. (#257), “but you have to start with the recognition that IPCC views represent the vast majority of climate scientists,…

      Is this really true? Over, and over again, we’ve seen how the summary for policy-makers, which represents the official IPCC view, does not reflect the qualifications and uncertainties expressed in the assessment reports themselves. In fact, a good case could be made that the SPM actively contradicts the views inside the AR’s.

      This being true, one could argue that the IPCC views misrepresent the vast majority of climate scientists.

      With the 4AR, we have had the IPCC SPM authors going back into the assessment report and modifying cautionary statements so as to improperly reflect the certainties expressed in the SPM. This, in contravention to their own rules. Since at least the 3AR, we have had persistent complaints of dishonest dealing with respect to the lack of concordance between the SPMs and the assessment reports.

      One could imagine further, that if the IPCC had in fact properly and consistently represented the qualifications and uncertainties written up in the AR’s, the vast majority of climate scientists would not have an AGW opinion (and may not anyway).

      • jae
        Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

        Re: Pat Frank (#262),

        I agree. I speculate that the vast majority of government-funded climate scientists support the IPCC views, but certainly not the vast majority of scientists.

      • aurbo
        Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

        Re: Pat Frank (#262), Re: PaulM (#263), Re: jae (#264),

        I agree with the above referenced posters, but I don’t think they have gone far enough. Not only are the scientist proponents of AGW not in the majority, they are a clear, albeit vocal, minority. The illusion of an AGW consensus is maintained by their high visibility and support they receive from the major media organizations that actually do appear to hold a majority AGW position, and among domestic and international politicians, most of whom are not even scientists much less atmospheric scientists.
        The situation in academia is more arcane. As some posters have correctly stated, the anti-AGW opinions are suppressed, at least for public consumption. They and their institutions’ government funding depends upon them accepting, if only tacitly, a pro-AGW stance. The careers from employment to tenure depend upon it.
        In my many years of serving on various committees and boards of meteorologically oriented societies, research institutions and NGOs, a few of my academic colleagues will overtly discuss their pro-AGW opinions, while a greater number sit silent and only reveal their skepticism when they believe they are in friendly territory. It reminds of the situation 30-40 years ago when members of the underground gay community were deeply conflicted as to whether to keep their sexual orientation to themselves or to come out of the closet. This was especially hard on those in the scientific community where so many passionately believed that the search for, and the revelation of truth was paramount.
        In the private sector where I’ve spent my career, the story of suppressed opinion is similar. I know many media meteorologists who have told me that if they were to publically air their anti-AGW opinions, they would be fired.
        Where did this power to intimidate originate? Read on.
        Of the handful of undisputedly recognized experts in the climate sciences, Dick Lindzen is one of the most forthright. His current, soon to be published, but widely available paper dealing with this topic can be found
        here

        It’s well worth reading throughout, but especially the part where he describes how the elective process in he National Academies was altered in deference to the lack of environmentalist representation by fast-tracking their election to membership. From there, these less scientifically accomplished members became active in the administrative side of the Academy to gain control of the nominating body, and shortly thereafter some members of this group were elected to be President of the National Academies. Lindzen goes so far as to name names. This paper should be a must read, but I’ve seen little mention of it in the Media.
        Another piece of work is the Wikipedia entry on the history of the IPCC. Like so many of Wikipedia’s entries regarding any phase of the climate debate, their articles are heavily edited by who could best be described as their climate Czar, William Connolley. Instead of their reputation being enhanced by such editing, Wikipedia has become more and more an unreliable source when it comes to the objectivity of any controversial article. It’s a shame.A good accounting of this appeared on NRO back in July 2008, written by, of all people, Lawrence Solomon. The NRO article can be found
        here

        • aurbo
          Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

          Re: aurbo (#266),

          Correction:

          Repairing my broken link re loaction for Dick Lindzen’s paper; it can be found here

          SAT

    • Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

      Re: Jack L. Herz, Ph.D. (#257),

      Jack Herz and Pat Frank,
      I would not go so far as to say ‘dishonest behavior’, but there are numerous examples of misleading distortions, see the thread on the climate audit message board here that I am trying to write up more clearly here.
      Some of the worst examples were inserted (by whom?) only after the scientific review process had been completed. This includes the false comparison of a 50 year trend with a 100 year trend in the SPM, which is borderline dishonest.
      Persistent themes are cherry-picking the literature that supports the agenda while ignoring anything that doesn’t, comparing apples with oranges to get the result they want (tide gauges/satellites, temperature measurements/’proxies’) and unjustified claims.
      Pat Frank is right – there is a kind of chinese whispers going on. The original research papers exaggerate in order to – for example – get on the front page of Nature. Then the individual chapters of AR4 exaggerate and cherry-pick from the research papers. Then the SPM exaggerates and distorts the content of the AR4 chapters. Then the media exaggerate and hype the SPM (even the UN issued a notorious misquote of its won report, falsely claiming “Evidence is now ‘unequivocal’ that humans are causing global warming – UN report”, when AR4 says no such thing).

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

        Re: PaulM (#263), Paul, I’ve looked at your stuff. It’s a compelling array of examples. You should write it up as an investigative story and publish it.

        jae, Re: jae (#264), I have more faith in the general professional integrity of climate scientists than that. A friend of mine, Andy – Ph.D. Chemist, has a brother who is a computer manager at a NOAA-funded academic climate center. Andy told me his brother has observed that most scientists at this center are AGW skeptics. I asked Andy why, then, didn’t they publish skeptical articles. Andy said he asked his brother the same question. The brother’s answer: If you publish such articles, your funding is cut off. He went on to say that the funding agencies are partisan and corrupt with respect to AGW. No funding, no job, no career.

        So, it’s likely not that government funded climate scientists publish the IPCC propaganda line in order to get money. It’s that they stay silent to protect their very jobs. There are lots of interesting climate research projects that don’t require conclusions about human-caused climate warming. These scientists spend their time doing that sort of alternative but still worthwhile work. What ends up happening is that the field gets weeded out, and only partisan scientists end up doing AGW-related work, for which they get facilitated funding. So, the AGW publication record gets lopsided with their output. The skeptics just get driven off into other, less controversial, fields of climate research.

  150. aurbo
    Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    Re: Captdallas2 (#254)

    No, there is some manmade, the question is how much is man and how much is natural variation

    ….No, UHI has a very small impact on global mean temperature. It has a much greater impact on the measurements used to determine GMT.

    Boy, I must have butchered my exposition. That was the whole point. i.e. The existence of an UHI is solid evidence that man can and does alter the climate…but my whole thesis regarding the inability of the public to understand orders of magnitude tries to explain that the alteration affects the microclimate but that UHI’s are insignificant when applied to global climate. In other words, I agree with you!

    That depends on the insulation of the box and its external temperature. The box I lived in nearly froze my butt of last week.

    Again I apparently failed to properly communicate. A heat source at constant temperature cannot make anything around it warmer than it’s temperature. That is energy can only flow from warmer to colder (a consequence of the 2nd law of thermodynamics). You froze your butt because your house was trying (unsuccessfully) to heat the atmosphere outdoors.

    The temperature of the molecule doesn’t matter. The energy they re-radiate towards the surface matters. The unknown is mainly clouds (water vapor). They can reflect radiation to space or back to Earth. Water vapor and its impact on radiative and convective energy contributes the majority to the sensitivity estimates and are the least understood

    Note that I specicially talked about gas molecules. The analogy of the box was intended to show that captured and retransmitted radiative energy can only retard the loss of surface heat, it can’t make the ground warmer unless there was either a temperature inversion or an additional source of radiative energy being absorbed (and reradiated by the molecule). When it comes to water vapor it’s an entirely different story. Water vapor transfers heat during a change of state. It is the only common molecule that exists in all three states in the atmosphere. It is the main mechanism for transferring heat up, down and sideways into the atmosphere at various levels mostly in the troposphere. At the surface, conduction is the main mechanism for transferring heat while condensation and evaporation provides a signficant alternative method. Most of atmospheric warming occurs at the surface. Advection and convection are the principle mechanisms for moving heated air around. I think we are in agreement that water in all of its states is the principle variable that is the most poorly handled by GCMs and likely to be the major element in Global temperature variability.

    The HS is over done.

    Ovwerdone is an understatement. The HS is a total fantasy clearly fabricated to make the warmth of the 90s seem unique for the past millennium. But the “team” refuses to move on.

  151. Thomas Gray
    Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    There is a current debate in another blog posting here about Gavin Schmidt’s reply to Ross Mckitrick’s recent paper. The debate is concerned with the validity of statistics in the original paper and the reply. If valid, Mckitrick’s paper will apparently cast doubt on much of the basis for current AGW policies. It is potentially a very important contribution to the policies that control the world economy.

    However the debate is taking place in an unstructured from though the media of blog postings and academic journals. The whole IPCC process is based on this model. This has always seemed wrong-headed to me. It is as if the Manhattan project had been left to be an academic debate with rival teams of professors exchanging papers on the best way to build a bomb.

    If AGW is important as some say it is, then the IPCC process should be replaced by a program much like the Manahattan project. Mckitrick’s paper would then be assigned for evaluation to a team of experts. The explosive lens idea used in the bomb was brought to Los Alamos by a visiting researcher. Naturally, since it came form outside the group, the first instinct was to dismiss it. However, with Teller’s urging, the Los Alamos group was able to take up the idea and prove its feasibility. The IPCC is not equipped to do this.

    The IPCC’s failings come from its academic nature and thus its inability to bring focussed attention to novel ideas.

    • PaddikJ
      Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

      Re: Thomas Gray (#260),

      the IPCC process should be replaced by a program much like the Manahattan project.

      But if the IPCC were run like a proper research organization with a clear and urgent mission, and not like the political body it is, there is the very good chance that AGW would be found to be a non-problem (or at least a non-it’s-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it problem, wh. amounts to the same thing). I doubt that anyone who has staked their career and reputation on it would be willing to risk that.

      ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

      Apropos of nothing recent in this thread, but while I’m thinking of it, I wish climate skeptics would stop with the “30 years ago they told us we were going to freeze; now they’re telling us we’re gonna fry – Humbug!” routine. There is nothing inherently unscientific about it; in fact, it could well be good science: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” (or something like that – wasn’t it Keynes?).

      Of course, it could also be nervous alarmists with no historical perspective jumping from one crisis de’jour to the next, but we shouldn’t just automatically assume it.

      • Jeff Alberts
        Posted Feb 13, 2009 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

        Re: PaddikJ (#273),

        Apropos of nothing recent in this thread, but while I’m thinking of it, I wish climate skeptics would stop with the “30 years ago they told us we were going to freeze; now they’re telling us we’re gonna fry – Humbug!” routine. There is nothing inherently unscientific about it; in fact, it could well be good science: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” (or something like that – wasn’t it Keynes?).

        My problem is with absolute pronouncements in either direction. While the cooling in the 70’s might not have been as hyped (we also didn’t have the worldwide instant communications and news that we do now), there were scientists and media outlets that were promoting alarmism. So it’s fine to change your mind when the facts change (though facts don’t really change, our perspective does). What the cooling and then warming should have shown scientists is that we have cycles and there’s no reason to think this cycle is unprecedented.

  152. jae
    Posted Feb 11, 2009 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    Hey guys, we got the photo of the mean proprietor. We need a photo gallery of everyone posting here. I want to see what that damn bender looks like!

  153. bender
    Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 2:30 AM | Permalink

    picture of bender: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a6/Bender_Rodriguez.png

  154. brendy
    Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    Meanwhile …. up at the North Pole, Cryosphere Today’s satellite images of Artic sea ice show a rather remarkable jump in sea ice between Tuesday (Feb 10) and Wednesday (Feb 11)of this week in the Hudson Bay and the Newfoundland Sea between Greenland and Newfoundland that appears to be on the order of a few hundred thousand square kilometers. Take a look at

    http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=02&fd=10&fy=2009&sm=02&sd=11&sy=2009

    Like the NSIDC, they are still using 20 year means for comparison purposes, even though 30 years of data is available (why not show both?). Re the NSIDC, somewhere in the fine print they acknowledge that their satellite interpretations can be as much as a few hundred thousand square kilometers in error. Not in any press release, however.

    • Phil.
      Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

      Re: brendy (#271),
      Apparently my response to this post was erased for whatever reason? I suggest you look at Feb 9th as well.

    • aurbo
      Posted Feb 12, 2009 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: brendy (#271),

      There are a lot of unanswered questions re the daily presentations of Arctic ice according to NSIDC and the differences between their accounting and that at Cryosphere Today. There are too many ways to fudge the data in order to manage the results, and with just a few changes the sponsors of the data could close down these avenues to manipulation. First, both systems use the measurement of total ice cover in km² to provide their principal comparative data points. What they fail to provide is the total area of the particular basins they are looking at. There is some evidence that these areas have have changed over the years making it impossible to meaningfully relate total area covered between one year and the next. If the basin areas are fixed in time, then a percentage of total coverage would provide more useful information than the total ice-covered area of an ill-defined basin size. The current system makes year-to-year comparisons much too amenable to subjective shenanigans.

  155. san quintin
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    Re MC at 253. Yes, I agree….the poles may be very sensitive. Not necessarily a good thing! (methane in permafrost, contribution to sea levels etc). Other regions must also be sensitive too….mountain glaciers have lost around 50% of their mass since the LIA. If GW is much lower than we thought (a la Ross’ argument) then these systems are more sensitive too.

    • MC
      Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

      Re: san quintin (#255), Sam, just take a moment though a think about what you said there. Mountain glaciers have lost 50% of their mass since the Little Ice Age. Is this not what someone would expect coming out of an ice age?
      My point about the poles is that enough data, including a consistent satelite record shows that the Arctic behaviour is different than the Antarctic. There are many reasons why this is, however the key point is that if these systems are more sensitive than we thought is may have nothing to do with C02 at all and therefore man-made influence. Ross shows that what was previously thought to be a readily measureable man-made influence is actually not as strong as what we are told. Hence a little more caution should be applied to the more extreme AGW opinions that you can read about. In another sense I think what Ross’ paper shows is the old chestnut about experimenter’s naivety when you get a result on an oscilloscope or a blip on a screen and you shout, “I’ve got something, look!”. Only to be met by “Is it plugged in correctly?”. 9 times out of 10 it isn’t. Always characterise your measurement equipment and location first.

    • krghou
      Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: san quintin (#255),

      San Quintin,

      In regards to radiative effects of CO2, you need to understand there are two components, the actual effect due to CO2, and proposed positive feedbacks. The first is less controversial, based much more empirical facts, and benign. The second component, positive feedback, is poorly understood or quantified apart from estimates based on global climate models. When UHI is not properly accounted for, the modelers must turn up the amount of positive feedback to CO2 in their models to get a match to the incorrect temperature records. This inflates the climate sensitivity to CO2, making it appear massive funding of climate studies and changes to economies are warranted.

  156. san quintin
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    Hi MC. Thanks for your comments. However, the LIA wasn’t an ice age, and it needs ‘something’ to make us come out of it (ie a change in the forcings). I would argue that the huge increase of GHG since then would have had an effect. Yes, the Arctic and Antarctic are different, but Arctic amplification is a robust result from almost all of the models…and we see this. If GW is actually lower than we think then we have a problem with the behaviour of the cryosphere. And if sensitivity is v low then we can’t explain the palaeo record (Annan and Hargreaves suggest a likely sensitivity of around 2-4C). Almost all reasonable estimations of sensitivity argue for around 3C. Anything lower requires special pleading or a misunderstanding of equilibrium T responses.

    I agree that Ross’ results are interesting. Pielke Sr has long been suggesting that land use is a significant factor for regional T and Ross supports this. But it can’t explain the global signal that we see. (Just an aside….if Ross is right it means that we replace one problem (C02) for another (economic activity). Does this mean that we should close down all economic activity to reduce warming? Reducing C02 might be a better bet!).

    • Greg F
      Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

      Re: san quintin (#280),

      Thanks for your comments. However, the LIA wasn’t an ice age, and it needs ‘something’ to make us come out of it (ie a change in the forcings).

      It also needs ‘something’ to make us go into it.

    • John F. Pittman
      Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

      Re: san quintin (#280),

      But it can’t explain the global signal that we see. (Just an aside….if Ross is right it means that we replace one problem (C02) for another (economic activity).

      This presupposes that the answer is known with far more certainty than is claimed, such as your

      And if sensitivity is v low then we can’t explain the palaeo record (Annan and Hargreaves suggest a likely sensitivity of around 2-4C). Almost all reasonable estimations of sensitivity argue for around 3C. Anything lower requires special pleading or a misunderstanding of equilibrium T responses.

      Why make that assumption, that you or they are correct? I think that you miss the point that if it is not CO2, it is a biased measurement and shown to be so, that Ross could be correct and that A&H can end with numbers within the SD by different assumptions (from the correctness shown for Ross’s paper) still using the same methodology. It would change our assumptions, and what is beleived about certain forcings or sensitivities, yet not invalidate the methodology or conclusions themselves. It would adjust the magnitude(s), not the existance of the phenomena. I would like to point out that equilibrium T is an assumed property. Estimates from such assumptions can and often are incorrect, yet once corrected tend to show that the overall phenomena was measured well.

      • bender
        Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

        Re: John F. Pittman (#283),

        And if sensitivity is v low then we can’t explain the palaeo record (Annan and Hargreaves suggest a likely sensitivity of around 2-4C). Almost all reasonable estimations of sensitivity argue for around 3C.

        How on earth can the sensitivity estimate from paleo data be significantly different from zero when the actual error bars on the paleo recons are as large as UC shows them to be? sq, you live in a dream world. When you say “around” 2-4°C – tell me – what is the standard error on that estimate?

      • bender
        Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

        Re: John F. Pittman (#283),

        sq says:

        Anything lower requires special pleading

        sq knows something about special pleading. Just finished discussing Ross’ paper and the issue of spurious correlation, he is admonished by Steve to apply these lessons to the case of Graybill’s bcps and teleconnections to GMT … and here he is willing to suspend disbelief on the accuracy of paleoclimatic sensitivity estimates. sq: they’re junk. Quit your special pleading. The same standards that apply to Ross’s paper apply to the paleo literature.

    • David Cauthen
      Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

      Re: san quintin (#280),

      I would argue that the huge increase of GHG since then would have had an effect.

      That is why we are all gathered here. How big is the effect?

      Yes, the Arctic and Antarctic are different, but Arctic amplification is a robust result from almost all of the models…and we see this.

      IIRC, your day job involves GCMs, and you have stated on another thread you are skeptical of their output.

      If GW is actually lower than we think then we have a problem with the behaviour of the cryosphere.

      The behavior of the cryosphere is what it is. We could have a problem with our understanding of its behavior.

      And if sensitivity is v low then we can’t explain the palaeo record…

      IMO, given the problems with paleoclimatology as outlined at this blog, one should be very skeptical of their sensitivities.

      Anything lower requires special pleading or a misunderstanding of equilibrium T responses.

      So your position is that pro-AGW climate science does not require special pleadings, and has a complete understanding of equilibrium T responses?

      Does this mean that we should close down all economic activity to reduce warming? Reducing C02 might be a better bet!).

      Assumes that the current warming has no end, and its net effects are negative.

      • bender
        Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

        Re: David Cauthen (#286),
        sq says:

        Arctic amplification is a robust result from almost all of the models

        Hansen (2006) says it is not.

        • David Cauthen
          Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#287),
          Well, to his credit, sq did say “almost.”

        • bender
          Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

          Re: David Cauthen (#288),
          Hansen says it is not a feature of ANY of the models.

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

      Re: san quintin (#280),

      I agree that Ross’ results are interesting. Pielke Sr has long been suggesting that land use is a significant factor for regional T and Ross supports this. But it can’t explain the global signal that we see. (Just an aside….if Ross is right it means that we replace one problem (C02) for another (economic activity). Does this mean that we should close down all economic activity to reduce warming? Reducing C02 might be a better bet!).

      I think you are confused in understnding the Ross M’s analysis. He shows evidence that the local temperatures as measured can be affected by economic activity. That is local measured temperatures that could be in error and result in errors in determining the regional and global temperatures. The term land use as it is used the McKitrick and Michaels paper appears to be related to local phenomena and could include, in my mind, micro site nonclimate effects on temperature measurements that in turn are influenced by economic development. MM for the purposes of their analysis are not obliged to state how wide spread the land use effects are, but as I recall from the original one would conclude that they were confined to local effects.

      Everyone agrees that the urban areas have experienced significantly higher local temperatures and they also agree that whatever that higher temperature is it needs to be adjusted so as not to influence the unaffected surrounding grid areas. The debate then evolves into the degree of effect those local changes have had on the official reported temperature anomalies over time.

      One can say without much disagreement that cities (and those who live there) have seen temperature increases probably much higher than those projected regionally and globally in the next century by the most enthusiastic AGW advocate.

      Your last statement would appear that you are saying do something even if it is not directed at the proper potential cause of a potential problem – because it is less difficult then fixing the potential real problem (even if, in this case, that pontential real problem does not come out of Ross M’s analysis). Kind of like one looking for that money one lost under the lamp post not because that is where it was probably lost but because the light is better there.

    • MC
      Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: san quintin (#280), I’m glad this is on the unthreaded as I can actually comment on some of this now without going OT.
      To ascertain whether a CGM can differentiate between natural responses and C02 forced responses the CGM will have to predict to a good degree a lot of the aspects of the Atlantic Oscillation, El Niño and impacts on ice caps. We know they don’t do this too well so it is hard to say that a finger can be firmly put on CO2 as a major cause of heating. The ocean heating cycles due to its own dynamic cycle are not sufficiently mapped and so I wouldn’t be so confident in just accepting a simple explanation of CO2 forcing causing polar melt. It is just ‘too’ simple for a complex system such as the climate. There’s lots of assumptions that we can state the climate is trend + noise (a la Santer) but this is reaching and it ignores the observations and their implications.
      As for 3 degrees being reasonable, it’s not I’m afraid, as to be reasonable they would have to show how they worked it out. Not that just they start with radiative balance and then run it through a model. A complete exposition is needed. Secondly you also should be able to fill a tank with atmosphere and introduce CO2 into it and use a scaled down version of a CGM i.e. a PIC model so to speak, and predict what happens to the temperature in the tank when CO2 is increased. The tank would be heated by halogen lights and have thermocouples etc. Then you would say okay our model and our understanding of processes is pretty accurate so lets scale it up. People would then accept the assumptions and parameterisations for these aspects a little better. I haven’t seen anyone do this yet. Theory does not replace experimental evidence.

  157. san quintin
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    Re krghou
    Positive feedback component of Climate sensitivity is not just a modelled response….it would be difficult to explain ice sheet glaciation without it!

  158. henry
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    Re MC: (#278)

    In another sense I think what Ross’ paper shows is the old chestnut about experimenter’s naivety when you get a result on an oscilloscope or a blip on a screen and you shout, “I’ve got something, look!”. Only to be met by “Is it plugged in correctly?”. 9 times out of 10 it isn’t. Always characterise your measurement equipment and location first.

    Also, one must make sure that you know what “zero” or “normal” is before you claim inceases/decreases.

    It seems that the larger your deviation shows an increase from “zero”, the louder they sound the alarm.

    For all we know, the latest climb in temperatures is actually a return to normal, not a rise from normal.

  159. Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    Problems with GISTEMP again?

    GISTEMP January data is out: +0.52C. Not that far away from the usually much cooler anomalies of the satellite records. However, something catches the eye almost immediately on their global anomaly map

    While they’ve caught the cool January over Western Europe alright, the anomaly over the British Islands appears to be neutral or above average, especially in the northern UK and Ireland. This is much more visible on the 250 km smoothing radius map. This doesn’t seem to be right, as any British reader will probably certify.

    I can’t find any monthly record for individual UK stations but the Irish Met Eireann do have some nice monthly records for their stations and I have already spotted an error. Dublin Airport had a mean January temperature of 4.3C: http://www.met.ie/climate/monthly-data.asp?Num=69 However, GISTEMP shows 5.5C for that location (GHCN station ID 621039690003): http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.621039690003.1.1/station.txt
    I have downloaded the GHCN v2.mean.Z file and, indeed, they also record 5.5C for Dublin Airport, while all the previous months are in agreement with Met Eireann.

    I haven’t found any other errors, other than a persistent 0.1C rounding up for many Irish stations and months. So maybe that’s all there is to it. But last time they also had problems with British records, along with the big Siberian red spot. If I had the time, I would check that purple blob that has appeared over Siberia and the Arctic again. Just in case.

  160. Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    :-(
    Let’s try that link to the 250km smoothing radius map again:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2009&month_last=01&sat=4&sst=1&type=anoms&mean_gen=01&year1=2009&year2=2009&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=250&pol=reg

  161. jae
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    snip – I’ve asked people not to try to solve “big questions” in one bite over and over again. I don’t have any interest in any answer that S Q might give to your “big” question. The only relevant thing is a reference to an article/text that provides a formal answer.

  162. kim
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    Ah, the cryosphere. The Antarctic cryosphere has increased for years, the Arctic cryosphere has increased in the last year and a half, and the glacier cryosphere is most sensitive to local conditions, and much of the ballyhooed loss may have been from emergence from the Little Ice Age. The cryosphere, as an indicator of global warming, is not as persuasive as some would like us all to believe. Boreholes, I’m pretty ignorant about them.

    Sensitivity is the key. How does dropping temperatures globally for the last few years, in the face of a monotonous increase in CO2, argue for high climate sensitivity to CO2?
    ===========================================================

  163. Chris
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 4:20 PM | Permalink

    #295 jae

    (Playing devil’s advocate)

    Here’s the GISS annual global land/ocean anomaly, firstly with 0.2C/decade subtracted (first column) and, secondly, as it actually is (second column). I’ve cut it off at 1994 as the previous years were anomalously cold due to Pinatubo.

    1994 +0.23C +0.23C
    1995 +0.36C +0.38C
    1996 +0.25C +0.29C
    1997 +0.33C +0.39C
    1998 +0.49C +0.57C
    1999 +0.22C +0.32C
    2000 +0.21C +0.33C
    2001 +0.34C +0.48C
    2002 +0.40C +0.56C
    2003 +0.37C +0.55C
    2004 +0.28C +0.48C
    2005 +0.40C +0.62C
    2006 +0.30C +0.54C
    2007 +0.30C +0.56C
    2008 +0.16C +0.44C

    You will see that column one looks perfectly reasonable as natural variation. Note that the average anomaly for 1994-1997 would be the same as for 2005-2008 (+0.29C).

    (With Hadcrut3, 2005-2008 would come out as 0.07C cooler than 1994-1997. Still well within natural variation given ENSO etc)

    So when you ask “Can you tell me where all that heat for the last 10 years went?”, the answer could still reasonably be “to continue to make the globe an extra 0.2C/decade warmer than it would otherwise have been.”

    This is all rather back-of-the envelope as always seems to be the case with me, but thought I’d throw it into the mix anyhow.

  164. san quintin
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    OK Bender. You produce repeated continental-scale ice sheets with low T sensitivity. I look forward to seeing how you get on with publishing this. Tell us what the T change was at the LGM…we don’t have high precision, but good enough. And before you ask…yes, I have published papers on climate sensitivity.

    Seems to me that you won’t accept any policy to reduce C02 until you have complete understanding of the workings of the climate system. We’ll never get to this….or is that what you want? Sometimes in the real world we have to make policy based upon incomplete knowledge.

    Steve: I, for one, have on many occasions stated that decisions are made all the time on incomplete and imperfect information. It happens every day in business and government. I’ve never suggested that governments should defer policy on CO2 until everything is known perfectly. However, I think that people are entitled to expect much better first principles exposition of issues and problems than presently provided by IPCC literature reviews. And jibes like “how you get on with publishing this” are not very helpful, though I understand that you are experiencing some provocation. I’d recommend that you respond to any provocation without irony. For editorial reasons, I request that commenters not worry about policy and stick to the science issues, as every thread otherwise turns into an argument on the same policy issues. I make the same request of you.

  165. jae
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Chris: You onery devil! How do we know that T is still increasing at 0.2 C/decade? Also, did you ignore the satellite data on purpose? Finally, if you look here, you will see that there has been no significant ocean heating for 5 1/2 years. And I think that metric means much more than the UHI-ridden surface temperature records.

  166. Chris
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    #301 jae:
    I’ve just looked at RSS and it falls halfway between GISS and Hadley:
    1994-1997: +0.08C
    2005-2008 with 0.2C/decade trend removed: +0.04C
    As for the oceans, they would also be subject to natural variation in any event. Maybe they *should* have cooled in the last 5.5 years (drop in TSI, effects of ENSO/PDO etc?) and the radiative imbalance has neutralised this.

    • jae
      Posted Feb 15, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

      Re: Chris (#302),

      OK, El Diablo has a point. We need to wait a few years, perhaps. We should be able to learn much about the effects of the Sun during that time.

  167. bender
    Posted Feb 14, 2009 at 8:51 PM | Permalink

    I can’t behave under these circumstances. So I will leave.

  168. anonymous
    Posted Feb 15, 2009 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

    Speaking at the American Science conference in Chicago, Prof Field said fresh data showed greenhouse gas emissions between 2000 and 2007 increased far more rapidly than expected.

    “We are basically looking now at a future climate that is beyond anything that we’ve considered seriously in climate policy,” he said.

    Seems like next time Hansens scenarios A,B,C are considered, we’re going to have to say earth has been exceeding scenario A then.
    The fact that the current temperature is on and descending below the line for scenario C, we’re left with the conclusion these models have no predictive power whatsoever.

  169. George M
    Posted Feb 15, 2009 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Going back again to Pat Frank (#13), there is yet another aspect to the Climate Science story which we seem to overlook. The twin plagues of computers and models. Apparently, present day modellers, unlike those 25 and more years ago, put full faith in their models as designed, whether the results make any sense or not. After all, they were developed on the biggest, highest power supercomputers around, and who are you to argue with them?
    Results: GIGO

    • BarryW
      Posted Feb 15, 2009 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      Re: George M (#305),

      But this is nothing new. The Club of Rome and Nuclear Winter are two modeling examples that suffered from GIGO.

  170. jae
    Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Pielke Jr links a paper that will be of interest to many here.

    Now a paper by Sim Aberson is out in the current issue of BAMS (PDF) which uses the Holland/Webster paper as a good example of how not to do statistics.

  171. James Chamberlain
    Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    It appears that Julien Emile-Geay’s website is either not existing any more or moved.

    FYI

  172. jae
    Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

    Once in awhile I read a comment that really resonates and bears repeating over and over. Here is one from someone called “stan” from Roger Pielke’s forum that I think is worth emphasizing: (comment #9)

  173. David Holland
    Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 2:21 AM | Permalink

    IPCC AR5 Information.

    I found this by googling. It is the draft report of the 29th Session of the IPCC. The document creation date is 31 Jan 09 but so far as I can tell it has not been linked into the IPCC web site. It gives the results of elections and some programme information for AR5. Thomas Stocker replaces Susan Solomon as WGI Co-Chair and the University of Bern becomes WGI TSU.

    • Michael Jankowski
      Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

      Re: David Holland (#317), some conclusions are already out.

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090214/sc_afp/usclimatewarming_20090214150716

      …Field is co-chair of the group charged with assessing the impacts of climate change on social, economic and natural systems for the IPCC’s fifth assessment due in 2014.

      The 2007 fourth assessment presented at a “very conservative range of climate outcomes” but the next report will “include futures with a lot more warming,” Field said…

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

        Re: Michael Jankowski (#385), If Field is using a crystal ball to forecast what will be in the next IPCC report, maybe he can tell us when the stock market will go up?

        • Cliff Huston
          Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#387),
          The IPCC is going to do the sensible thing this time – write the executive report early and give the scientists a couple of years to find methods and data that conforms.

  174. GTFrank
    Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7893689.stm

    It appears that US Fermilab and Cern’s LHC are in a heated battle to detect the Higgs boson particle. Billions in funding could depend on winning the battle. (sounds familiar)

    “It’s a race. Whoever is first is first.”

    Fermilab estimates that the Tevatron has already picked out about eight collision events which may be hints of the Higgs.

    But until the number crunching is done, it is not possible to distinguish these from “background noise”.

    hmmm… pulling a signal out of background noise… sounds like a problem involving statistics… sounds like they need someone with some “novel” statistical methods to give them the victory quickly… hmmm… can you folks help me think of someone with the experience and success to help out? hmmm… robust novel statistical methods… yes…

    And I used to think statistics was pretty boring.

  175. jae
    Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    Some real fun reading at Wm Brigg’s site. An excerpt:

    Anyway, it turns out that they have added my name to 51 others to form a pack of jokers! Climate jokers, apparently. No, not the kind of guys who might say to a cirrostratus cloud, “Look who just blew into town”, but those who would make light of “The consensus.”

  176. Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

    Re: ocean heat. The best air temperature record, untroubled by UHI, bucket corrections, etc etc, should be marine air temperature, a metric I would expect to track closely the local water temperature. I have a graph called UKMO marine air temperature anomaly MOHMAT 4.3 which doesn’t appear on Google so heaven only knows where I picked it up: it shows the linear warming from 1910 to around 1940, the Kriegesmarine bump 40-45, the linear cooling/steady state to ’78 and the linear warming from then on.

    The first warming episode is slightly faster than the second. The warming rate during temperature surges is about .8 dec C per century. I think I can live with that, particularly as I’m told that CO2 effects have only really kicked in from circa 1960: that must be why it’s not warming so fast then.

    A recent paper suggested that global warmng is merely a reflection of what’s going on in/on the oceans, demonstrating a good fit between sea temps and the forcings: I’ll see if I can find it.

    JF

  177. jae
    Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 10:04 PM | Permalink

    DeWitt: I would rathere discusss this on the Message Board. However, since it appears that you believe that you are too important to deign to participate on the Message Board, I guess I must respond to you here. In anticipation of your response, let me say that I know the “theory” very well. The problem with the theory in my mind right now is that it is EXTREMELY simplistic and unrealistic, because it totally ignores everything in Nature but the purely radiative effects. It is well-established (I believe) that radiative effects for CO2 are are important only for very high temperatures, not for climatic temperatures. I think that my reflections on many occasions on the difference between temperatures in a greenhouse and those outside of it prove that convective effects rule for the atmosphere. Bottom line: there is absolutely no convincing physical evidence that increasing levels of CO2 CAN or IS increasing the temperature of this planet.

  178. Mike Davis
    Posted Feb 17, 2009 at 10:17 PM | Permalink

    Steve Mc:
    I found a site where the WG1 review comments are currently.
    http://pds.lib.harvard.edu/pds/viewtext/7794905?n=1&imagesize=1200&jp2Res=.25
    I do not recall if you had found these yet.

    Steve: I have them archived on my hard drive as pdfs as well.

  179. Posted Feb 18, 2009 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    HadCRUT3 is out for January ‘09 at +0.37 C.

    Just as predicted, one year after they changed their methodology in order to remove the “misleading” downspike at the end of the series, there it is again:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/

    Even more noticeable on the SH graphs:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcrut3/diagnostics/hemispheric/southern/

    So the problem was not just the improper treatment of the first months of the last year on the graphs. It looks like the problem was of a deeper nature. Could it not be perhaps that for no cooling to appear on the graphs the temperature should indeed continue to rise?

    Of course I have no idea what the climate is going to do in the next years. But this downspike is definitely beginning to resemble that of 1945. And we’re back in La Niña and negative PDO territory. Just a thought.

  180. Posted Feb 18, 2009 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    Mikel, well spotted. What you’re seeing is the effects of their dumb smoothing algorithm. To do the 21-year smoothing they pad the 10 future years with the last year, in this case 2008, a cool year. So they are still seeing the same effect they tried to get rid of, although not to such an extent. Watch that page – I bet they change their algorithm again, because they won’t like that graph, it doesn’t fit the agenda.

  181. brendy
    Posted Feb 18, 2009 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    The latest from the NSIDC. Oops.

    As some of our readers have already noticed, there was a significant problem with the daily sea ice data images on February 16. The problem arose from a malfunction of the satellite sensor we use for our daily sea ice products. Upon further investigation, we discovered that starting around early January, an error known as sensor drift caused a slowly growing underestimation of Arctic sea ice extent. The underestimation reached approximately 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles) by mid-February. Sensor drift, although infrequent, does occasionally occur and it is one of the things that we account for during quality control measures prior to archiving the data. See below for more details.

  182. Posted Feb 18, 2009 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    I found a cartoon with Stephen McIntyre featuring in it. ;)

  183. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 18, 2009 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    From a Nature blurb here:

    http://www.nature.com/naturejobs/2009/090219/full/nj7232-1043a.html

    I got a NASA bash here:

  184. kim
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 3:55 AM | Permalink

    Well, I can die happy now, bender, and thanks. I went to a book discussion group last night about Elizabeth Kolbert’s ‘Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change’ where I was described as the ‘minority viewpoint’. I thanked the kind lady for that gentle appellation.
    =========================================

  185. Mark T
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    You should read his path to the Nobel some time Phil. He was treated pretty badly in the beginning, which is why he ended up experimenting on himself.

    Mark

    • Phil.
      Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#265),

      I have, his first letters and papers on the subject were published in the Lancet, not normally a sign of rejection. That the drug companies were opposed to his work is a different matter (think Tagamet and Zantag), however within three years of their first results the number of citations on H. pylori jumped from 1 to 150! (see PubMed). In ’87 the NEJM in an editorial said “Further unfolding of the details [of the possible etiologic role of C. pylori in peptic ulcer disease] will be enhanced by the development of an animal model, by epidemiologic studies, and by identification of the source and the virulence properties of specific serotypes of C. pylori. The prospects are exciting, intriguing, and promising”. The reason for his self experimentation was as much due to the lack of a suitable animal model as anything else, note that while he got sick he did not develop an ulcer. Marshall’s first large scale trial was published in 88, three more studies were completed by 92 by which time antibiotic therapy for ulcers was the norm in the USA. That his ideas were initially treated with scepticism is to be expected but from bench experiments to being the accepted paradigm in 10 years is rather rapid in medicine.

  186. Mark T
    Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    Yes, 10 years is rapid, but his account of the early days is rather dismal (he gave an interview several years ago that I recently read, the only reason I know anything about this). He was treated poorly, though obviously that did not last! Either way, irrespective of the long-term merit of this one example, Craig’s point is rather salient: scientists are not known for being polite to one another, for better or worse. It is also not uncommon for “friends” to become “enemies” (in this context) when someone switches from one camp to another.

    Mark

    Steve: enough on this issue/

  187. Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    Regarding ridiculous assertions such as 30cm/year sea level rise, who wouldn’t object to such noise? On the other hand, don’t miss the point by Hansen that rapid sea level rise is a historical fact and a non-linear feedback whose tipping point is approaching.

    Thanks for making my point, that all the back and forth over minutiae creates so much noise that it truly does blaringly drown out the actual science.

    Not one person in 100 could adequately explain AGW theory and the threat of inertia and tipping points. Perhaps not one in a thousand.

    And we have how many years left to effectively communicate the seriousness of the situation?

    Several. Perhaps fewer.

    Steve: As I’ve said on many occasions, IMO the best approach for climate scientists to take is to provide a detailed A-to-B exposition of how doubled CO2 leads to 3 deg C, including proper descriptions of each of the key parameterizations in an engineering quality document as opposed to an IPCC literature review. In the scoping of AR4, I urged the need for a proper self-contained exposition, but this idea was blown off. Interested readers are told to take a MET101 course. IF you’re worried about a serious situation, that’s not the right answer. You should be able to point to an IPCC sanctioned exposition. I’ve been asking for such a reference for several years and no one’s ever given me anything that resembles an adequate reference. If you can, please do and I will make it a focus of discussion here.

    • Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

      Re: Walt Bennett (#269), Steve, Hansen keeps trying. His December 2008 paper actually makes the case that, including slower feedbacks, the sensitivty is closer to 6*C, which makes sense in light of the fact that climate does not require doubled CO2 to rise 5*C and more from glacial max to interglacial peak. It just takes a long time.

      http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf

      The problem, as you will readily agree, is that the layperson has no chance of hacking through a paper such as this. Hansen does write in a more popular style as well, where he hits the high points for the average person to absorb.

      Perhaps you can take a whack at that paper in here and help break it down. I think that would be a valuable contribution.

      • Dave Dardinger
        Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

        Re: Walt Bennett (#271),

        sensitivty is closer to 6*C, which makes sense in light of the fact that climate does not require doubled CO2 to rise 5*C

        The upper limit to atmospheric temperature is from cloud formation. If somehow clouds could be supressed temperatures could be much higher.

        The lower limit is from ice formation in higher latitudes and elevations. If there weren’t oceans, which don’t ice up permanently as easily the whole earth would probably ice over.

        In both cases it’s the water cycle which is in charge. It’s extremely likely CO2 is merely a minor player which can shift the equilibrium up or down slightly before the water / vapor / ice cycle takes over.

        I’d say more, but this is already snip bait.

        • Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

          Re: Dave Dardinger (#272), Dave,

          Paleology wishes to disagree with you.

          The planet has been much warmer than this in the past. There was plenty of H2O at the time. Sea levels were hundreds of feet higher, and the atmosphere was rich with CO2.

          Also, please explain how atmospheric H2O can increase and stay there without the presence of an originating, persistent forcing, like perhaps, an increase in insolation or – an increase in persistent GHGs.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 8:09 PM | Permalink

          Re: Re: Walt Bennett (#275), Walt Bennett (#274), Walt, what is an “orbital” effect I mentioned in my post but a change in insolation (including seasonality)? It is difficult to make comparisons in the deep past when the Arctic was not so bounded with land and Antarctic was not right at the south pole and Panama was open. The correlation of CO2 with temperature over the past 500M yrs is not so good, and over the ice ages CO2 lags temp by about 1000 yrs.

          I a so glad you think Hansen knows what he is talking about. I don’t think so. How do we decide? Are you the one to decide?

        • Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 11:34 PM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#276), Ans you will be providing the citation I asked for soon, then?

        • Dave Dardinger
          Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 2:09 PM | Permalink

          Re: Walt Bennett (#352),

          Since you insist on an answer from me :

          Re: Walt Bennett (#362),

          I will answer:

          The planet has been much warmer than this in the past. There was plenty of H2O at the time. Sea levels were hundreds of feet higher, and the atmosphere was rich with CO2.

          It did not have a continent over a pole at the time. Therefore there was no place for a permanent ice cap to build up. This results in the flip side of what I said previous:

          The lower limit is from ice formation in higher latitudes and elevations. If there weren’t oceans, which don’t ice up permanently as easily the whole earth would probably ice over.

          If you don’t have a place for ice to build up, the lower limit is much higher, so to speak.

          Also, please explain how atmospheric H2O can increase and stay there without the presence of an originating, persistent forcing, like perhaps, an increase in insolation or – an increase in persistent GHGs.

          Again, there is an increase in insolation since there’s not a permanent ice cap to reflect a significant amount of sunlight into space (albeit only during the local summer). This would be abetted by the lowered sea level which exposes more land which reflects light to space better than oceans.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 3:02 PM | Permalink

      Re: Walt Bennett (#269), Hansen assumes that ice ages were governed by CO2. This is not proven by any means. It is far more likely that there is an orbital/albedo interaction that governs most of it. Note that at the end of the last ice age it was when the Bering ice bridge (wall?) collapsed that the melt became rapid because at that point Pacific water could enter the arctic. In dynamical systems (and yes, I know what I’m talking about) a positive feedback such as Hansen posits that is not limited by other negative feedbacks is unstable and runs away. That’s what causes screeches when you get amplified feedback (only limited by the output of the speakers). In the ice ages, the positive feedback of more ice causing higher albedo and more cooling is limited because as the ice pushes farther south the albedo change can’t compensate for the latitude change in summer (too hot), and as well the atmosphere dries out and there is less snow to push the ice south. Hansen is postulating an unbounded positive feedback. Not possible or Earth would have become a hothouse long ago.

      • Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 5:49 PM | Permalink

        Re: Craig Loehle (#273), Craig, believe it or not, Hansen knows what he’s talking about too, and could lecture YOU on forcings and feedbacks, please don’t begin to doubt it.

        And I’m excited as all heck for you to cite your reference that “Hansen assumes that ice ages were governed by CO2.”

        I can’t wait!

        • bender
          Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

          Re: Walt Bennett (#275),

          I’m excited as all heck for you to cite your reference that “Hansen assumes that ice ages were governed by CO2.”

          I don’t have a reference for that. But there is the paper where Hansen assumes that a continental collision between India and China caused the post-PETM cooling, freshly exposed sedimentary rock being an assumed atmospheric carbon sink. [The inuendo - which not even alarmist RC will confirm - being that this event prevented a runaway warming.]
          .
          I’m not sure Hansen was able to get that hypothesis published as fact. But it doesn’t stop him from citing it authoritatively as though it were, in the Kingsnorth testimony, for example.

          Hansen knows what he’s talking about too, and could lecture YOU on forcings and feedbacks

          That Hansen is smart doesn’t mean he knows everything. He is prone to believing his pet hypothesis. The rest of us mortals have to provide data.
          .
          But the topic here is sweetness in the desert air. Walt is a distraction. So, Walt, until you can stay on-topic, can you please move your valuable contributions to “unthreaded”?

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#358),

          The tectonic forcing theory quoted by Hansen was published by Raymo and Ruddiman in 1992: Tectonic forcing of late Cenozoic climate, Nature, Vol. 359, pp 117-122. It’s an interesting article. They also propose some sort of feedback mechanism that prevents CO2 from going to zero, the logical result of a significant increase in a carbon sink over geologic time scales.

  188. D. Patterson
    Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory failed to go into orbit and crashed into the ocean near Antarctica. The Taurus-XL launch vehicle’s nose cone shroud failed to open and deploy the satellite, causing the vehicle to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere instead of entering a polar orbit.

  189. henry
    Posted Feb 24, 2009 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    The OCO also would have provided information about CO2 “sinks” — areas, like oceans or landfills, that absorb and store carbon dioxide. NASA officials said all measurements would be combined with the findings of ground observation stations, providing a more complete account of the human and natural sources of CO2.

    Oh well, back to the SWAG method.

  190. Raven
    Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 1:55 AM | Permalink

    Walt Bennett (#274)

    “Also, please explain how atmospheric H2O can increase and stay there without the presence of an originating, persistent forcing, like perhaps, an increase in insolation or – an increase in persistent GHGs”

    Cloud formation is affected by many things from GCRs to natural aerosols. Variations any number of parameters could lead to persistent changes in cloud cover which would lead to long term climatic changes.

    The fact that we have no proxy data for cloud cover makes it impossible to exclude this a possibility.

    The point being made here is the paleo record provides no evidence of CO2 sensitivity because we don’t have the data that would allow to draw any meaningful conclusions. People like Hansen who attempt to use the paleo record to support his claims always start with the assumption that CO2 does have the claimed effect and then proceed to develop estimates for numerous other unmeasureable parameters that will support the pre-determined conclusion.

    • bender
      Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

      Re: Raven (#278),

      The point being made here is the paleo record provides no evidence of CO2 sensitivity because we don’t have the data that would allow to draw any meaningful conclusions. People like Hansen who attempt to use the paleo record to support his claims always start with the assumption that CO2 does have the claimed effect and then proceed to develop estimates for numerous other unmeasureable parameters that will support the pre-determined conclusion.

      Silence! For the data have spoken and …

      Paleology wishes to disagree with you.

      That will be all.

      • Mark T
        Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#359),

        Silence!

        Silence! You’ve seen the episode “Fear of a Bot Planet,” right? :)

        Mark

    • Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

      Re: Raven (#356), Raven,

      You did not respond to the issue I had with Dave’s assertion; also, you are not Dave. I’d like his response.

  191. Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    bender,

    Unless you are Craig by another name, please allow him to respond.

    Thank you.

    • bender
      Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

      Re: Walt Bennett (#361),

      Unless you are Craig by another name, please allow him to respond.

      I refuse to allow him to respond. I’ve got him gagged and bound in my basement and am refusing him access to internet. mosher too. And you’re next.

  192. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Feb 25, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Apparently “Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.” The article is here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/25/jstor_climate_report_translation/

  193. Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    An AP story this morning says that “glaciers in Antarctica are melting faster and across a much-wider area than previously thought.” The source is the UK-based Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, headed by Colin Summerhayes, in a “broad summary of two years of research by scientists from 60 countries.

    According to the article, “Researchers once believed that the melting was limited to the Antarctic Peninsula, a narrow tongue of land pointing toward S. Am. But satellite data and automated weather station dat anow indicate it is more widespread.”

    It concludes, “Until recently, scientists debated weather Antarctica was warming. But a January study in the journal Nature found that Antarctica’s average annual temperature has increased by about 1 deg F since 1957, but it is still 50 deg below zero.”

    The report is presumably online somewhere, and might be an interesting topic for a new thread. I don’t have time right now to investigate further.

    The AP story is by Eliane Engeler.

    PS to Walt: Bender was just kidding!

  194. Mark T
    Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    Yes, melting, 50 below… sigh.

    Mark

  195. Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 12:53 PM | Permalink

    One thing that has crossed my mind recently, and somebody please point my lazy arse to a study if one exists: glaciers move toward the sea based on gravity, lubrication and what I will call “looseness”. In other words, how susceptible they are to expanding or breaking. I may be making that up. But here’s where I’m going with it: at some point before we get to 0*C, the glacier must undergo structural changes. In other words, I suspect that “really cold” ice is more stable than ice that may be just a few degrees below zero.

    So what I wonder is, has anybody studied the properties of glacial ice as it “warms” but is still below zero? If so, I’d be interested to see how the properties change.

    And it may go toward explaining how glaciers can slide into the sea even if the surface temp never gets above freezing.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

      Re: Walt Bennett (#369), Lubrication is a minor aspect. The main thing is push from behind. Glaciers move toward lower elevations when there is more ice upstream, and RETREAT when snow is inadequate or melt rate exceeds flow rate. Everyone points to retreating glaciers as a sign of global warming. Show me a glacier that slides downhill as it wastes away and I’ll eat my hat. The ice caps are simply bigger of the same. The lack of need for “lubrication” is why they push up terminal and side moraines: they just push with such force.

    • Gerald Machnee
      Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

      Re: Walt Bennett (#369),
      So what I wonder is, has anybody studied the properties of glacial ice as it “warms” but is still below zero?
      I believe I read it somewhere – the pressure from the mass above does cause melting and “lubrication” at the bottom to aid in motion. As well there is some flexibility due to cracking as it moves.

      • DeWitt Payne
        Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

        Re: Gerald Machnee (#375),

        Ice under sufficient pressure becomes plastic and flows rather than cracks.

        Plastic Flow definition:
        Movement of material, especially rocks and ice, under intense pressure. The material flows like a very viscous substance and does not revert to its original shape when the pressure is removed. As it moves, shearing occurs. In ice, plastic flow is due to pressure at depth. Melting and refreezing cause crystals to grow and be drawn out. A thickness of at least 22 m is required for plastic flow to occur in temperate glaciers. Ice which moves plastically will flow around and over an obstacle. This may cause deposition in the lee of the obstruction. This is plastic moulding.

        Link

  196. PhilH
    Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps OT, perhaps not. Ran across this very fine paper presented to Congress on 2/25 by a Princeton physicist, Dr. Happer, in which he, while making many other observations on the state of climate science, eviscerates the Hockey Stick, relying, quite obviously, on Steve and Ross. It is an excellent paper.

    http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/629.pdf

  197. Bill Illis
    Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Hansen’s latest paper published in October says the long-term climate sensitivity is 6C per CO2 doubling and the paper proposes a greater role for CO2 (in a long-term equilibrium sense) for the temperature changes during the ice ages.

    He is also trying to rewrite the CO2 history of the planet again arguing that Antarctica glaciated over 35 million years ago when CO2 fell below 450 ppm (1,400 ppm according to the best data).

    So humanity must aim to to keep CO2 below 450 ppm (ideally lower) or all the ice will melt (over the next 1,500 years which is also the new Ocean Thermal Response timeline and the long-term Climate Response Function).

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2008/2008_Hansen_etal.pdf

    • Gerald Machnee
      Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#373),
      He does not present detailed calculations and there is some arm waving.

    • bender
      Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 3:11 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#373),

      He is also trying to rewrite the CO2 history of the planet again arguing that Antarctica glaciated over 35 million years ago when CO2 fell below 450 ppm

      How is he trying to “rewrite history again”? In support of his argument he cites:

      Pagani M, Zachos J, Freeman KH, Bohaty S, Tipple B. Marked change in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations during the Oligocene. Science 2005; 309: 600-3.

      I don’t see where “he” is “re”-writing anything “again”. He appeals to a source that is four years old, exactly as was done in 4AR. Can you clarify?

      • Bill Illis
        Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#380),

        Hansen cites Pagani’s CO2 estimates (and others) and then he goes on convert it into forcings and restates it to be 450 ppm at 35 million years ago (when Pagani’s data is 1,400 ppm).

        I’ve charted up CO2 versus Temperature over the past 67 million years (the same timeline that Hansen uses) from the actual raw data sources and then included the important continental drift timelines and one can make their own conclusions based on this.

        http://img172.imageshack.us/img172/2464/tempvsco267m.png

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

          Re: Bill Illis (#382), Bill: great chart. Supports my statements to Walt about the importance of the movement of the continents re the ice ages and about Hansen asserting CO2 being a dominant driver over this same period. Walt? You there?

        • Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#383), Craig, As I recall you asserted that Hansen believes that CO2 causes glacial state changes.

          Again I must ask for your cite for that assertion. I’ve never seen it. Hansen is well aware that CO2 lags those changes in nature. He simply states that things have changed, and man is now in charge of those changes.

          He seems to have a fairly standard view of climate history itself.

        • bender
          Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

          Re: Walt Bennett (#390),
          Craig asked you to comment on Bill Illis’s chart.

        • bender
          Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 9:27 AM | Permalink

          Re: Bill Illis (#382),
          Hmmm, thanks. Definitely merits further reading. Gavin? Comments?

        • jeez
          Posted Feb 28, 2009 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

          Re: Bill Illis (#382),

          The Elephant in the Room hiding behind the wall in that chart may be the evolution and subsequent diversification and geographic radiation of Angiosperms.

          Oh yeah, and Craig, answer Walt!

    • bender
      Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#373),

      Two statements I am pleased to see Hansen/Schmidt admit:

      “Climate has great variability, much of which is unforced and unpredictable”.

      Palmer TN. Nonlinear dynamics and climate change: Rossby’s legacy. Bull Am Meteorol Soc 1998; 79: 1411-23.

      “The atmosphere and ocean exhibit coupled nonlinear chaotic variability that cascades to all time scales”.

      Hasselmann K. Ocean circulation and climate change. Tellus B 2002; 43: 82-103.

      Now maybe he could get his time-series trend statistics to accord?

      • bender
        Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#381),
        Tom, see the comment here, in #381. These statements come from Hansen et al. 2008, cited by Bill in #373. Chris Colose is welcome to comment on those statements as well.

        • Tom Vonk
          Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 10:44 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#608),

          Sorry Bender but I didn’t follow this thread .
          I only saw your name in the recent comments tab and I wouldn’t miss a post by you for all the gold of the world so I jumped in and saw that I had something to say to the issue .
          In any case natural fluctuation on all time scales (implied gaussian or whatever AR noise) is very different from chaotic behaviour on all time scales .
          In the first case you would still be able to make some statistical predictions but in the second it would be like the Dante’s hell – “Thou who enter here abandon all hope” :)

  198. Freezedried
    Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    For those interested Pat Michaels will be on Calgary radio station CHQR some time between 900 and 1100 Eastern Standard Time this evening (Thursday).

    http://www.qr77.com/

  199. Bob Koss
    Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    Don’t know if anyone previously linked to this video of a GW debate two weeks ago. Link

    William Schlesinger and John Christy debating the ramifications of global warming. One relies mostly on models the other on data.

  200. bender
    Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    Steve M,
    You’ll want to read this one:
    The tree-ring record of drought on the Canadian Prairies
    A related presentation can be found here.

    All your favorite tree species are mentioned.

  201. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    I tried to send this post earlier without success and thus become dated but…

    Re: Walt Bennett (#353),

    And I’m excited as all heck for you to cite your reference that “Hansen assumes that ice ages were governed by CO2.”

    I can’t wait!

    Climate change and trace gases
    BY JAMES HANSEN, MAKIKO SATO, PUSHKER KHARECHA,
    GARY RUSSELL, DAVID W. LEA, AND MARK SIDDALL

    Trace atmospheric gases have played a leading role in climate change throughout
    Earth’s history.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_2.pdf

    We could waste considerable time I suppose debating whether governing can be equated to leading role and whether CO2 equates to trace atmospheric gases.

    Walt B, I think it more relevant to the learning from climate science to obtain information from whatever sources we can. I would gladly trade a “gotcha moment” for even a tidbit of information.

    Look here for more papers by Hansen http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/authors/jhansen.html#2008 as surely one paper will not define his positions.

    I was able to escape the evil influences of Bender to render this post, but perhaps only momentarily – no time for spell check.

    Steve Mosher and Craig Loehle remain unharmed — so far.

    • Posted Feb 28, 2009 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

      Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#387), Kenneth, you presume to teach Dr. Hansen? Do you understand the term “coupled relationship”? Did you read the paper?

      Yes, no and no.

      • bender
        Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 12:40 AM | Permalink

        Re: Walt Bennett (#402),
        Where Walt presumes to teach Dr. Fritsch.
        Walt, why don’t you show Ken where his reasoning varies from Hansen’s rather than just nip at him like a useless barking dog? Because … ?

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

        Re: Walt Bennett (#402), Walt, I saw your web page, Real Sceptic, which title is not quite clear to me, but anyway–holding up Hansen as a superior authority on this site is not going to be a very effective strategy. First, at CA you need to demonstrate your points, not cite authorities. Second, Hansen has been audited here exhaustively. It has been shown that his scheme for detecting and correcting for UHI in the process of generating the GISS data is as likely to warm as to cool a station for those stations outside the US. His GCM model output from the 80s was audited and did not fare so well as a prognostication. His code for GISS was found to be so bad that multiple computer experts here could not get it to run all the way through. He has said things about paleoclimate that to me seem simply bonkers. Kenneth cites some of them. He has claimed in the press that ice sheets can slide into the sea, which is impossible. Harping on Hansen as an expert in any case has what point exactly? Science is not about accepting anything on someone’s authority. It is about making models and testing them and then others testing your model and results (replication).

      • Kenneth Fritsch
        Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

        Re: Walt Bennett (#402),

        Kenneth, you presume to teach Dr. Hansen? Do you understand the term “coupled relationship”? Did you read the paper
        Yes, no and no.?

        Far be it for me to enter into your conversation, Walt, but I believe I only quoted from a Jim Hansen coauthored paper – which I indeed did read. Do you want to delineate the term “coupled relationship” and how it bears on this discussion?

        I personally think that there is much interesting information contained in this article. The evidence presented in the paper has been interpreted by the authors, but there is much uncertainty in that evidence and it is acknowledged by the authors. I judge that we could have an informative discussion that would include alternative conclusions drawn from the evidence presented in the paper and a discussion of how the authors reached their conclusions (and calls for actions) based on the evidence.

        I think such a discussion might be better undertaken if you dropped your elementary teacher posture as I think it is difficult taking seriously a poster who demands that Master Craig answer the question and informs other eager answerers that their names are not Craig. You also seem to be putting Jim Hansen into the role of school principal and a figure that we must, as a societal obligation, learn to respect.

        I personally think that Jim Hansen does an excellent job of weaving theories together to present a “big picture” of the past, current and future climate. He is articulate and comes across as a voice of reason. I judge that he would be very successful if he were to explicitly enter into the political arena pushing his advocacy. I simply do not follow his jump from evidence to conclusions, and particularly those expounded the further he wonders from basic science towards policy advocacy.

  202. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Walt, it matters not one wit, man, who answers your question. It is more relevant to learning to forget the potential gotchas in favor of any bits of information from which we can partake here at CA.

    We can go to here for Hansen’s articles as one article would probably not suffice to show his position(s)

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/authors/jhansen.html#2008

    or here

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_2.pdf

    for this introduction to a Hansen article

    Trace atmospheric gases have played a leading role in climate change throughout
    Earth’s history.

    We could I suppose waste considerable time debating whether governing can be equated to leading role and whether CO2 equates to trace atmospheric gases and whether climate change corresponds to ice ages.

    Perhaps we can have a discussion of what Jim Hansen has said about the role of CO2 and ice ages, or other climate scientists, for that matter, that would not revolve on one comment.

  203. John M
    Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    While we’re on the subject of Walt and responsiveness, unless it got missed it in the move to unthreaded, I think this is still an unresolved issue out there.

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=5180#comment-329242

  204. Kenneth Fritsch
    Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    Below is another comment from the Hansen article I linked above which rather conclusively shows agreement with the comment that Craig Loehle made. Does anyone want to seriously discuss this article? I would not mind but I do have problems with oneway conversations.

    I am also posting to check my current posting status

    Climate change and trace gases
    BY JAMES HANSEN, MAKIKO SATO, PUSHKER KHARECHA,
    GARY RUSSELL, DAVID W. LEA, AND MARK SIDDALL

    The GHGs, because they change almost simultaneously with the climate, are a
    major ‘cause’ of glacial-to-interglacial climate change, as shown below, even if, as
    seems likely, they slightly lag the climate change and thus are not the initial
    instigator of change.

  205. jae
    Posted Feb 27, 2009 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    ROFLAMO What nonsense when people are bored!

  206. thefordprefect
    Posted Feb 28, 2009 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Does temperature precede GHG change?
    Some plots
    CO2 in most cases rises at the same time as temperature. CH4 seems to terminate the warm period in many cases. Data is from EPICA core as this is more detailed than vostok. BUT core dates can still be spaced at over 2k years per sample in some periods. N2O and O3 have not been plotted.
    Where is the data that shows temperature rise precedes CO2?

    0 to 40,000 years. GISP2 and EPICA temperatures plotted on this graph. Co2 steady rise is simultaneous with temperature @17500ybp
    note that only greenland gisp2 temperature shows a definite younger dryas – the antarctic EPICA data shows a flattening only.The EPICA CH4 data shows a misplaced drop around the younger dryas. Note the dust levels during the low temperature portion.

    40k to 100k years Note the dust levels are non zero during this period and high during the low temperature portion.

    100k to 200k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @136kybp. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CH4 termination of warm period

    180k to 260k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @252kybp. the 220kybp is less defined. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CH4 and CO2 termination of warm periods

    280k to 360k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @341kybp. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CH4 termination of warm periods

    360k to 460k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @432kybp. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CH4 termination of warm period

    460k to 560k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @532kybp. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CH4 termination of warm period

    560k to 650k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @629.5kybp. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CO2,CH4 termination of warm period

    650k to 760k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @740.5kybp. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CO2,CH4 termination of warm period @694kybp. Note dip at 722kybp has no CH4/Co2 driving. It is possible that dust level rises at this time but granularity of dust data is not sufficiently small to line up.

    750k to 800k years Co2 rises simulaneously with temperature @796kybp. Note the dust levels are high during the low temperature portion. CO2 termination of warm period

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Feb 28, 2009 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

      Re: thefordprefect (#397),

      TFprefect, Hansen in the linked article below states in the excerpts why Vimeux et al. was used over EPICA and the existence of a time lag between rising CO2 and temperatures.

      http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_2.pdf

      It would appear that given the uncertainty that Hansen et al. acknowledge in the lag and that a lag exists, we need to speak of the relationship as “nearly synchronous” – whatever that means.

      Records of climate change over the past several hundred thousand years carry a rich bounty of information about climate sensitivity. Here we use Antarctic temperature data of Vimeux et al. (2002) derived from an ice core extracted near
      Vostok (Petit et al. 1999), approximately 1000 km from the South Pole.

      Although a longer Antarctic record has been obtained (EPICA 2004), the Vimeux et al. (2002) temperatures are corrected for climate variation in the water vapour source regions and the record length is sufficient to match the sealevel data of Siddall et al. (2003).

      Figure 1a reveals remarkable correspondence of Vostok temperature and
      global GHG climate forcing. The temperature change appears to usually lead the gas changes by typically several hundred years, as discussed below and indicated in figure 1b. This suggests that warming climate causes a net release of these GHGs by the ocean, soils and biosphere. GHGs are thus a powerful amplifier of
      climate change, comparable to the surface albedo feedback, as quantified below. The GHGs, because they change almost simultaneously with the climate, are a major ‘cause’ of glacial-to-interglacial climate change, as shown below, even if, as seems likely, they slightly lag the climate change and thus are not the initial
      instigator of change.

      The temperature–GHG lag is imprecise because the time required for snow to
      pile high enough (approx. 100 m) to seal off air bubbles is typically a few
      thousand years in central Antarctica. The estimated age difference between ice
      and its air bubbles is accounted for in the time-scale of figure 1, which refers to
      the ice age. Despite multiple careful studies, uncertainties in the ice–gas age
      differences for the Vostok ice core remain of the order of 1 kyr (Bender et al.
      2006). Therefore, we can only say with certainty that the temperature and gas
      changes are nearly synchronous

      • thefordprefect
        Posted Feb 28, 2009 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

        Re: Kenneth Fritsch (#398),
        Methane data is from:

        Loulergue, L., et al.. 2008.
        EPICA Dome C Ice Core 800KYr Methane Data.
        IGBP PAGES/World Data Center for Paleoclimatology
        Data Contribution Series # 2008-054.
        NOAA/NCDC Paleoclimatology Program, Boulder CO, USA.

        Age scale is gas age

        CO2 data is from
        0-22 kyr BP: Dome C (Monnin et al. 2001) measured at University of Bern
        22-393 kyr BP: Vostok (Petit et al. 1999; Pepin et al. 2001; Raynaud et al. 2005) measured at LGGE in Grenoble
        393-416 kyr BP: Dome C (Siegenthaler et al. 2005) measured at LGGE in Grenoble
        416-664 kyr BP: Dome C (Siegenthaler et al. 2005) measured at University of Bern
        664-800 kyr BP: Dome C (Luethi et al. (sub)) measured at University of Bern

        Age scale is gas age

        I assume the gas age takes into account the delay in trapping?

        The age used is EDC3 and a comparison between dome fuji and vostok is here
        The EDC3 chronology for the EPICA Dome C ice core
        http://www.clim-past.net/3/485/2007/cp-3-485-2007.pdf

        gas to ice age 0-41k
        http://www.clim-past.net/3/527/2007/cp-3-527-2007.pdf
        “Although the exact causes of the 1arge
        overestimate remain unknown, our work implies that the suggested
        lag of CO2 on Antarctic temperature at the start of the
        last deglaciation has probably been overestimated.”

        So which is more accurate?
        Mike

        • Kenneth Fritsch
          Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

          Re: thefordprefect (#401),

          “Although the exact causes of the 1arge overestimate remain unknown, our work implies that the suggested lag of CO2 on Antarctic temperature at the start of the
          last deglaciation has probably been overestimated.”

          So which is more accurate?

          TFPrefect, your excerpt above and those of mine below from your linked articles say it all about the uncertainty involved in these measurements and that was my point.

          But let me rephrase the above point under the conditional flavor of the excerpted comments:

          It seems somewhat apparent that the implications of these articles concerning the estimations of the relative timing of the changes of CO2 levels in the atmosphere and temperature tend to indicate some degree of uncertainty in those estimations.

          Our results seem to reveal an overestimate of the 1age by the firn densification model during the last glacial period at EDC. Tests with different accumulation rates and temperature scenarios do not entirely resolve this discrepancy. Although the exact reasons for the 1age overestimate at the two EPICA sites remain unknown at this stage, we conclude that current densification model simulations have deficits under glacial climatic conditions. Whatever the cause of the 1age overestimate, our finding suggests that the phase relationship between CO2 and EDC temperature previously inferred for the start of the last deglaciation (lag of CO2 by 800±600 yr) seems to be overestimated.

          We show that this new time scale is in excellent agreement with the Dome Fuji and Vostok ice core time scales back to 100 kyr within 1 kyr. Discrepancies larger than 3 kyr arise during MIS 5.4, 5.5 and 6, which points to anomalies in either snow accumulation or mechanical flow during these time periods. We estimate that EDC3 gives accurate event durations within 20% (2_) back to MIS11 and accurate absolute ages with a maximum uncertainty of 6 kyr back to 800 kyr.

  207. hengav
    Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    Sorry for interrupting the fun, I just wanted to divert regular readers of last year’s blockbuster threads on Sea Ice Extent to the new Catlin Artic Survey
    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/

    For those of us data junkies you can go on and get all kinds of information about the expedition, interspersed with lots of photos of members thrashing in thin ice conditions. I haven’t figured out how to get a data thread from their site once they begin to transmit their ice thickness readings and core data, but when I do I will post it.

    First thing, the expedition is travelling a route through the heart of the arctic basin. If you go to crysosphere today you can get some interesting statistics on the various regions of the arctic.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

    The arctic basin itself has a fixed winter ice extent of around 4 million square kilometers, roughly 30% of the total maximum averaged 1979 to present. Last summer it melted back 40% and has returned to it’s normal winter extent again, as it has for every year since 1979. When you go onto the Catlin site you can load up google earth and follow the survey from there. The annoying thing about that is they use the minimum ice extent as the graphic rather than the current extent. It gives the wrong impression.

    At any rate, I am excited to see what the thickness of the ice really looks like.

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Mar 3, 2009 at 1:51 AM | Permalink

      Re: hengav (#407),

      The annoying thing about that is they use the minimum ice extent as the graphic rather than the current extent. It gives the wrong impression.

      At any rate, I am excited to see what the thickness of the ice really looks like.

      Readers may want to carefully consider their expectations after seeing the stated objectives of the Catlin Arctic Survey.

      The Catlin Arctic Survey’s data will allow for the re-evaluation of satellite and submarine digitised observations of recent decades – and future ones – and thereby improve the accuracy and confidence of the modelled outputs.

      Note the statement: “re-evaluation of [...] observations [...] and thereby improve the accuracy and confidence of the modelled outputs.” It appears the surveyors intend to use the Catlin Arctic Survey dataset from this very limited transect as a basis for interpolating and interpreting other empirical observations in a manner similar to what Steig et all have done recently with the Antarctic datasets.

      Climate modellers will be able to use the findings coming out of the Survey data to help validate or modify the globally recognised projections made in the IPCC’s “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis” report; and to factor the survey data into related areas of scientific work[....]

      The Catlin Arctic Survey has made a foregone conclusion that AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) is occurring and a foregone conclusion the Arctic ice cap will completely melt either in the IPCC 2007 2050 to 2100 timeframe or the 2014-2050 timeframe. The Catlin Arctic Survey has excluded mention of a possibility the Arctic icecap will not completely melt or AGW may not be occurring. Their stated intention is to “factor the survey data into related areas of scientific work” using these foregone conclusions.

      Evidence for the earlier meltdown date would provide fresh impetus to resolve through international agreements the more sustainable and responsible management of the increasingly accessible natural resources, revealed as the ice recedes. The survey will assist scientists in providing policy-makers with higher resolution forecasts than are made to date, which in turn will facilitate decisions where previously indecision has existed.

      “The survey will [...] facilitate decisions where previously indecision has existed.” How can the survey exclude confirmation bias from the dataset and its usage in related areas of scientific work, when they have already made the foregone conclusion the icecap will melt sooner or later in this century as a consequence of unproven AGW?

      This endeavour will provide the a comprehensive surface-based dataset, which will then be made available to scientists.

      Does this mean the survey will NOT provide the dataset to non-scientists and/or scientists who are not supportive of the Catlin Arctic Survey’s foregone conclusions about the existence of AGW and earlier than later melting of the Arctic icecap?

      • Gerald Machnee
        Posted Mar 3, 2009 at 3:41 PM | Permalink

        Re: D. Patterson (#421),

        The Catlin Arctic Survey has made a foregone conclusion that AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) is occurring and a foregone conclusion the Arctic ice cap will completely melt either in the IPCC 2007 2050 to 2100 timeframe or the 2014-2050 timeframe. The Catlin Arctic Survey has excluded mention of a possibility the Arctic icecap will not completely melt or AGW may not be occurring. Their stated intention is to “factor the survey data into related areas of scientific work” using these foregone conclusions.

        Maybe they will adjust the ice thickness of past years like temperatures are adnusted. They can even change the amount of ice for the summer. But they cannot say all the ice is gone when it is not. So we do have a gotcha. But they may change their story to “melt delayed for unknown reasons”. You can relate to that if you read yesterday’s post at WUWT about Cooler heads at NOAA.

  208. David Jay
    Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Doctor Hansen – meet Doctor Fritsch and Doctor Loehle.

    I love appeals to authority ;)

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Jay (#408),

      Doctor Hansen – meet Doctor Fritsch and Doctor Loehle.

      I love appeals to authority

      It is Dr. Hansen and Dr. Loehle, but not Dr. Fritsch. (I don’t need no stinkin Doctor).

      But, David Jay, I am old and as such I expect you to respect your elders. I suspect I am your elder and just about everyone else’s here at CA.

  209. asdf
    Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Quick question: has anyone looked at whether the hockey stick might be an example of the Gibbs phenomenon in Fourier series
    ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gibbs_phenomenon

    A ringing occurs at boundary conditions whenever a discontinuous function is approximated by a continuous one. It’s intimately related to the problems introduced by orthogonal function decomposition. Steve, maybe you could take a look.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

      Re: asdf (#46),

      Nope. Graybill’s bristlecone chronologies have a HS shape, which have nothing to do with this sort of thing.

  210. Billyquiz
    Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    It’s a bit off-topic (although it is to do with statistics) but I’ve noticed something a bit odd regarding the Arctic sea-ice extent.

    I regularly check out both of the following sites for their sea-ice graphs and there is a constant anomally between them:

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg
    http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm

    Why is there always a difference of 1-1.5 million Km2 between these two graphs?

    • Bob Koss
      Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 7:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: Billyquiz (#49), ice area and ice extent have different meanings.

      This would be more appropriately discussed in this thread. Differences in definition are probably defined somewhere in that thread.

  211. David Jay
    Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Ken:

    I was trying to be humorous, but the point is that there are many talented (and credentialed) people hanging around CA. The appeal to “teach Dr. Hansen” struck a raw nerve with me.

    And you may well be older than me. I have just a smidgen over a half century on the odometer.

    • bender
      Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Jay (#410),
      You must know that Dr. Fritsch is a humorless old dog. FWIW his doctorate is from Mosher U. And if he denies it, well, that tells you something else about him. :)

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Jay (#410),

      I was trying to be humorous, but the point is that there are many talented (and credentialed) people hanging around CA. The appeal to “teach Dr. Hansen” struck a raw nerve with me.

      I understood your humor and I was attempting the same, but I must say that the line “presume to teach Dr. Hansen” was the funniest to me. I once had an old maid aunt who talked like that and she seldom understood the humor I found in it.

  212. Hemst 101
    Posted Mar 1, 2009 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    A little off topic here perhaps, but I have often wondered if you would audit some other peoples work? I am sure that scientists questioning AGW have done statistical papers. In particular, I am curious about Dr. Spencer’s ideas (eg. http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/satellite-and-climate-model-evidence/). I would be curious to see if his analysis holds up. He seems to be quite open to ideas to make is work better. You probably have good reasons for not auditing other work but I thought I’d ask.

    Steve: I’m not a one-man answer machine. Everything that I do takes a lot of time and I can’t do everything in the world.

  213. Phil.
    Posted Mar 3, 2009 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

    422
    Gerald Machnee:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Maybe they will adjust the ice thickness of past years like temperatures are adnusted. They can even change the amount of ice for the summer. But they cannot say all the ice is gone when it is not. So we do have a gotcha. But they may change their story to “melt delayed for unknown reasons”.

    Equally what will you change your story to when the ice is gone?

    • bender
      Posted Mar 3, 2009 at 11:19 PM | Permalink

      Re: Phil. (#423),

      when the ice is gone?

      When’s that happening, Phil.?

      • Phil.
        Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#425),

        bender:
        March 3rd, 2009 at 11:19 pm
        Re: Phil. (#423),
        when the ice is gone?
        When’s that happening, Phil.?

        I think the evidence so far favors something near the Maslowski timeline rather than Stroeve.

    • Gerald Machnee
      Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

      Re: Phil. (#423),

      Equally what will you change your story to when the ice is gone?

      Not in my lifetime, so I will stick to what I said.

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

      Re: Phil. (#423),

      Phil.: March 3rd, 2009 at 10:01 pm
      Equally what will you change your story to when the ice is gone?

      When? Having an icecap in the Arctic is an abnormal climactic condition throughout most of the Phanerozoic. Arctic icecaps reappeared about the time of the onset of the Ice Age period of the Pliocene about 2.4 million years ago, long after hominids began to inhabit the Earth. During interglacial periods, the Arctic icecap became seasonal and sometimes melted altogether for thousands of years in a predominant maritime cool temperate climate. We now live in one of those interglacial periods when it would be extraordinarily abnormal for the climate to NOT warm up to maritime cool temperate conditions with an unfrozen Arctic Sea, with or without the presence and influence of human industrial civilizations. Even with the total absence of humans or their industrial activities, the Arctic is destined to warm and cool in cycles until conifers, alder, and other cool temperate species once again replace the glaciers in Southern Greenland, the Arctic Sea remains free of summer ice packs, and temperatures in the Arctic circle typically range from -17F to 70F as occurred in previous interglacial periods. It is only a question of WHEN and not IF these climate conditions will reoccur, absent a catastrophic bolide impact event.

      Past climactic experience suggests another little ice age and long droughts are likely to dominate the climate during the early 21st Century, and a return to typical rapid cycles of warming and cooling resume in the late 21st Century. Following the 21st Century, the climate would tend to continue warming to cool temperate climate conditions in the Arctic. Sometime within the next few millenia, the interglacial period should come to an end, and the ice age conditions should resume with the return of the Arctic icecap and continental glaciations.

      Note also, there are too few gigatons of carbon dioxide present in the Earth’s remaining reserves of fossil fuels to alter the course of these coming climactic events, whether they are used or not. I wouldn’t plan on investing in any forested shoreline real estate for a home in Northern Greelenad until sometime around the 24th-25th Century. Then I would plan on losing the home to another Greenalnd icesheet within a few centuries.

      Don’t expect to see the Arctic remain permanently icefree for periods of millenia for another tens of millions of years.

  214. Richard Sharpe
    Posted Mar 3, 2009 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    Equally what will you change your story to when the ice is gone?

    There is evidence that it’s happened before. Nothing unusual.

  215. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    The question is whether 2007 marked the beginning of an accelerated decline in summer ice area/extent or was it the result of an unusual combination of events. I don’t know and I don’t think anyone else does either. If I had to put money on it, though, I would bet that the September average Arctic ice extent will go up again this year, continuing to return to the trend of 2002 to 2006.

    • Gerald Machnee
      Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

      Re: DeWitt Payne (#427),

      The question is whether 2007 marked the beginning of an accelerated decline in summer ice area/extent or was it the result of an unusual combination of events.

      Should be an interesting summer on the Ice thread. Will someone study all the factors including PDO and a few unnamed ones?

  216. Chris
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    This summer’s extent should be very interesting.

    Looking at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
    you can see that of the current ~14.3 million km2 of ice extent (c.f. ~13.5 million km2 of ice area if you prefer), about 9.5 million km2 has formed since the summer (obviously). Of this 9.5 million, ~7 million is significantly older (i.e. by up to 2 weeks) than the equivalent from a year ago, and the remaining ~2.5 million is roughly the same age.
    That leaves the ~4.8 million of second/multiyear ice. The NSIDC have produced a picture to represent this: http://nsidc.colorado.edu/news/images/20081002_Figure4.jpg
    Decline looks inexorable? Well, I would take two things from that picture. One is that of the ~4.8 million, maybe half is about the same age as the previous year. The major difference is that say at least a million km2 will be 2nd year ice this year where the equivalent was 3rd year ice the previous year. BUT………. can we assume that the 3rd year ice was thicker? Well it’s older so obviously it is….isn’t it? Well no, because if ice inevitably got thicker every year as it aged, then it would never melt. Average ice age is, what, 6 years? So perhaps average age at which its net average change in thickness starts to average out is, maybe, 3 years?

    Just thinking out loud……. But there’s been very, very little said about thickness since the summer. If the ice was obviously thinner, I have my opinions about how much we would have heard about it… I’ve also looked at buoy data etc and have my opinions about that. However, I also know that unless I can produce an iron-clad case I will be accused of speculation and bias. Anyway, just some ramblings. I think I’ll return to my now occasional lurking.

    • Phil.
      Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris (#429),

      This summer’s extent should be very interesting.
      Looking at http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/en/home/seaice_extent.htm
      you can see that of the current ~14.3 million km2 of ice extent (c.f. ~13.5 million km2 of ice area if you prefer), about 9.5 million km2 has formed since the summer (obviously). Of this 9.5 million, ~7 million is significantly older (i.e. by up to 2 weeks) than the equivalent from a year ago, and the remaining ~2.5 million is roughly the same age.
      That leaves the ~4.8 million of second/multiyear ice.
      Decline looks inexorable? Well, I would take two things from that picture. One is that of the ~4.8 million, maybe half is about the same age as the previous year. The major difference is that say at least a million km2 will be 2nd year ice this year where the equivalent was 3rd year ice the previous year. BUT………. can we assume that the 3rd year ice was thicker? Well it’s older so obviously it is….isn’t it? Well no, because if ice inevitably got thicker every year as it aged, then it would never melt. Average ice age is, what, 6 years? So perhaps average age at which its net average change in thickness starts to average out is, maybe, 3 years?

      The flaw in this analysis is the assumption that the ice that was there in September is still there. However, there has been significant drift of old ice out of the Fram strait, that is replaced by new ice.

  217. Chris
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    3 points: 1 – I meant “average lifespan” rather than “average age” in my last post; 2 – I didn’t phrase the sentence containing those words very well…….. I was essentially suggesting that there should be relatively little change in average ice thickness between ice of 2-4 yrs old. 3 – In any event, sorry, I realised I should have posted this in the sea ice thread, it’s just I passed by this thread and for some crazy reason decided to think out loud into print……

  218. Chris
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    OK one last point before I go……. I suggest that very low NH snow cover in spring 2008 (3rd lowest on satellite record for NH, lowest on record for Eurasia) may have been a sign of Arctic melt to come last summer (via albedo effects).
    For the latest week this year, i.e. Week 9 at http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/table_area.php?ui_set=0&ui_sort=0
    there has been 4 million km2 greater snow cover than a year ago, pretty much all of it over Eurasia. Will be interesting to see if greater cover continues……
    (I wonder if this could have anything to do with the cooling of the NE Atlantic between then and now: http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-080302.gif
    http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/sst_anom-090301.gif
    While perhaps there is less ice being pushed out of the Arctic to the east of Greenland and more heat being lost from the ocean to space……. just to make anyone think who assumes yellow colours to east of Greenland = AGW……sorry that wasn’t meant to sound sarcastic. I’d better leave. Feel free to ignore my ramblings!)

  219. Chris
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    #433 Phil

    Yet a buoy like http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/2006C.htm in the heart of the “old” ice (see map on left of linked page), has drifted, net, the length of just one of your flaw-busting arrows towards the Fram Strait since September!

    • Phil.
      Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris (#435),

      Chris:
      March 4th, 2009 at 3:46 pm
      #433 Phil
      Yet a buoy like http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/2006C.htm in the heart of the “old” ice (see map on left of linked page), has drifted, net, the length of just one of your flaw-busting arrows towards the Fram Strait since September!

      Something of an exaggeration on your part! In the time frame you mentioned that buoy has travelled from
      85.48N 136.75W to 85.52N 70.8W, another 6 months like that and it’s in the open ocean.
      Also the Russian station NP-36 which was installed on thick ice near the edge of the ice on September 7th (82.53N 174.94E) and has drifted to 87.76N 226.96 E, a drift of 1782 km.

      So clearly whether AMSR-E data, stations or buoys the data shows a significant movement of old ice towards the Fram Strait, as I said.

  220. Chris
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Re: Phil(#436)

    “In the time frame you mentioned that buoy has travelled from 85.48N 136.75W to 85.52N 70.8W”
    136.75W to 70.8W sounds like a large distance. But not that close to the Pole it ain’t! It’s about the equivalent of the width of Ellesmere Island which it’s moved parallel to…….. i.e. approximately the length some of the arrows appear to be on your 6-day picture! Hence little exaggeration.

    “another 6 months like that and it’s in the open ocean”
    I would say it’s probably just far enough away from the Greenland coast to continue to turn somewhat towards Spitzbergen. So I would dispute that. But in any event it’s splitting hairs. Sea ice within a certain distance of the Greenland coast will always “turn the corner” to be pushed out of the Fram Strait as far as I can see. This winter, last winter, any winter. And summer for that matter. And sure the speed/amounts will vary.

    But what I’m guessing you want to undermine in my original argument is the idea that the ice now may be more resilient to the equivalent ice a year ago, because ~7 million km2 of it is significantly older (an average of a week’s earlier freezing in autumn/early winter is surely significant). And pointing out that a certain amount of ice (a small fraction of that 7 million) is continually flowing out of the Fram Strait is hardly the fatal flaw you are suggesting.

    In fact why am I buying into this re-framing of my arguments. My analysis is not flawed, unless you can prove that *millions* more km2 of sea ice have been flushed out of the Fram Strait this winter than last.

    As for the Russian station, yes given its original location and ice conditions, it has drifted in an entirely unsurprising fashion, which has little to do with my original points, or whether they are to be dismissed as “flawed” on a minor detail.

    • Phil.
      Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 7:29 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris (#438),

      Chris:
      March 4th, 2009 at 5:48 pm
      Re: Phil(#436)
      “In the time frame you mentioned that buoy has travelled from 85.48N 136.75W to 85.52N 70.8W”
      136.75W to 70.8W sounds like a large distance. But not that close to the Pole it ain’t! It’s about the equivalent of the width of Ellesmere Island which it’s moved parallel to

      A mere ~550km as the raven flies.

      …….. i.e. approximately the length some of the arrows appear to be on your 6-day picture! Hence little exaggeration.

      That’s the exaggeration, suggesting that that buoy has moved the same distance as shown on a six day vector, presumably you were never taught to read scales on figures? Hint the length of those vectors is ~60km, so ~10km/day about the same as the Russian station.

      “another 6 months like that and it’s in the open ocean”
      I would say it’s probably just far enough away from the Greenland coast to continue to turn somewhat towards Spitzbergen. So I would dispute that. But in any event it’s splitting hairs. Sea ice within a certain distance of the Greenland coast will always “turn the corner” to be pushed out of the Fram Strait as far as I can see. This winter, last winter, any winter. And summer for that matter. And sure the speed/amounts will vary.
      But what I’m guessing you want to undermine in my original argument is the idea that the ice now may be more resilient to the equivalent ice a year ago, because ~7 million km2 of it is significantly older (an average of a week’s earlier freezing in autumn/early winter is surely significant). And pointing out that a certain amount of ice (a small fraction of that 7 million) is continually flowing out of the Fram Strait is hardly the fatal flaw you are suggesting.

      Your estimate of a week more freezing seems an overestimate and in any case temperature and snow cover are as important (they certainly were last winter).

      In fact why am I buying into this re-framing of my arguments. My analysis is not flawed, unless you can prove that *millions* more km2 of sea ice have been flushed out of the Fram Strait this winter than last.
      As for the Russian station, yes given its original location and ice conditions, it has drifted in an entirely unsurprising fashion, which has little to do with my original points, or whether they are to be dismissed as “flawed” on a minor detail.

      The outflow of old ice through the Fram Strait is hardly a minor detail, according to your analysis the ice in the location occupied by the Russian station in September is still old ice despite the fact that original ice has moved ~1800 km. What do you think replaced it?

  221. Bill Illis
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    Awhile ago, Steve produced the only daily Northern Hemisphere sea ice “extent” anomaly chart known to exist (for some reason, NSIDC cannot be bothered to actually provide the data or chart up the numbers). The Cryosphere Today provides the daily sea ice “area” charts (but for some reason the data cannot actually be downloaded without an old mainframe or something).

    I have followed on Steve’s work and put together a number of monthly NH sea ice extent charts and using data available from the NSIDC, it has been extended back to 1972.

    So here is the monthly sea ice extent data back to 1972.

    http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/7721/nhseitotalsa.png

    I imagine someone could produce a model which shows there will be no sea ice at the pole on September 10th, 30 years from now, but I wouldn’t believe it. The SH sea ice extent is increasing.

    Here is the seasonally-adjusted NH sea ice extent.

    http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/9072/nhsaseaiceextent.png

    Here is the anomaly chart (similar to Steve’s but with monthly data only).

    http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/894/nhseanom72.png

    Here is the average seasonality in the NH sea ice extent. One might want to print this chart out and keep track of where we are each month when the NSIDC puts out the monthly data a few days after month end.

    http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/1042/nhseisa.png

    Here are a number of selected years. Note we are now at a slightly higher sea ice extent than 1974 for example. 1979 was the highest sea ice extent year although 1996 beats it out for the lowest melt-back.

    http://img264.imageshack.us/img264/6061/monthlynhsiebyyear.png

    There are a number of recent papers which propose the NH sea ice extent is driven by the AMO and there is certainly a suggestive (although not clear enough) relationship between the two. The AMO has recently gone negative for the first time on a sustained basis since 1994.

    http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/8510/nhse72anomamo.png

    • Phil.
      Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#439),

      Bill you might want to check your ‘monthly sea ice extent data back to 1972′, it appears from the graph that the highest summer melt was 2008 not 2007.

      • Bill Illis
        Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

        Re: Phil. (#447),

        Bill you might want to check your ‘monthly sea ice extent data back to 1972′, it appears from the graph that the highest summer melt was 2008 not 2007.

        No Phil, you probably went through the charts too quickly since the graph and the date were correct. Or at least you should have double-checked that before making such a comment.

        In my work, we prepare a lot of tables and some graphs but we also make sure to also include a written summary of the data as well since we know this is more common than is generally understood.

        http://www.dcd.com/oleary/oleary_mayjun_2004.html

  222. Chris
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    #440 Phil

    550km as an absolute value means little, apart from being an apparently normal distance for ice in that location to move over a winter.

    You embedded your original map/diagram, which meant the accompanying text was hard to make out. (I didn’t even see the scale.) And you said:

    “The flaw in this analysis is the assumption that the ice that was there in September is still there. However, there has been significant drift of old ice out of the Fram strait, that is replaced by new ice.

    To the lay reader (well to any reader) you were suggesting that the ice that was there in September was *not* still there. Although you never said what “there” meant! You just produced a diagram with lots of long arrows pointing towards the Fram Strait! (Yes I am familiar with vectors and no it wasn’t immediately obvious to me those arrows were vectors with a different scale to the map). You said there has been *significant* drift of old ice…. Quantification? In relation to last year? How this was the fatal flaw to my “analysis”?

    I don’t get your point about the Russian station. As you said before it started near the edge of the ice. It’s drifted….. What is the purpose of the rhetorical question…. You need to make logically linked statements coherently combining and leading to a relevant conclusion.

    This is a non-argument, and strikes me as point scoring rather than productive. (Very different to a typical climate “debate” then obviously). Have as many points as you like. If you really want to convince me of anything (e.g. that I should favour Maslowski’s projections) my hint would be don’t start your reference to my comments with the words “The flaw in this analysis is….”. But you have convinced me that even returning to lurking is a bad idea. No comment till 1st Oct……..

  223. Mark T
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 9:48 PM | Permalink

    I should say, AGC loops have positive feedback loops in them.

    A really good example of multiple cascaded positive feedback loops is the conditionally stable variant used in what is called a Cascaded Integrator Comb filter (CIC). It is conditionally stable because it has unity gain feedback stages, which results in a pole at zero Hz (i.e., it is not bounded input bounded output stable, a flat line input will grow forever). However, this is solved by requiring that you remove the mean before pushing any data into it.

    jae, you of all people are NEVER innocent. Give up the farce now! :)

    Mark

  224. Gary Palmgren
    Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    One of the major predictions of Ferenc Miskolczi is that humidity would drop as CO2 increases. here is a recent post that goes into some detail about radiation transport through the atmosphere and how important water vapor is here:

    The climate models assume constant relative humidity and I would be interested in any reference that justifies this assumption given that is goes against the data much less Miskolczi’s theory.

    snip

    Steve: If you wish to discuss relative humidity in the context of mainstream literature, fine – it’s an important issue and important assumption. But at this blog, please use mainstream literature.

  225. Posted Mar 4, 2009 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    You might ask jen’s new guy if he accounted for water vapor condensing out with falling temperature and the exponential decrease in pressure with altitude. CO2 vapor pressure falls with altitude and pretty much nothing gets through the cold trap at the tropopause. As a result the atmosphere becomes optically thin fairly fast in the IR.

  226. Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    There was a great discussion this morning on CNBC on an unrelated, yet pertinent topic. A scientist from IBM talked about a discovery that IBM materials science made that revolutionized the Wi-Fi market. Apparently for decades materials scientists had written that in the processing of Silicon on Germanium semiconductors, they remained “wet” requiring many additional processing steps to get to a finished semiconductor. The materials science community consensus was that this was a fundamental property of Si/Ge and that there was nothing that could be done about it. IBM materials scientists challenged this consensus and figured out how to dramatically lower the cost of processing this high frequency semiconductor, causing an explosion in the availability of Wi-Fi devices (previously they had used Gallium Arsenide which is much more expensive).

    IBM, a company that one would think would be at the core of any consensus in semiconductors challenged their own ideas and the ideas of the consensus and revolutionized the semiconductor industry.

    Where is ANY member of the climate consensus challenging their own ideas? This falsification of your own idea is a central premise of science and yet the opposite seems to be the case in this discipline.

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

      Re: Dennis Wingo (#456),

      Where is ANY member of the climate consensus challenging their own ideas? This falsification of your own idea is a central premise of science and yet the opposite seems to be the case in this discipline.

      Which is why the stated objective of the Catlin Arctic Survey to validate or modify the IPCC report and its conclusions appeear to be unscientific, insofar as the objective is not stated to test any disproving experimental observations. CBS News this morning broadcast an extremely critical television news report claiming the people and governments who did not accept the IPCC conclusion that AGW exists are guilty of being against science! What do you suppose the chances are that the Catlin Arctic Survey will make their results available to the public for analysis and review, such as Climate Audit and others?

  227. Mark T
    Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    Man, are you being obtuse on purpose?

    the energy content does change as the LW transmission characteristics of the atmosphere change.

    All that is is STORED energy. Jesus. You cannot create energy by the first law of thermodynamics. Get over it, it is not possible.

    OK, I’ll spell it out in small words. Earth is the system. Sun is the primary (overwhelmingly) source of input energy. The ONLY thing the system (earth) can do is impede outgoing radiation (besides the small conversions of internal energy, but that is unimportant and not what I’m referring to anyway). The imbalance is stored in the earth (atmosphere, oceans, etc.). The feedback mechanism I argue with is that the assume more energy can accumulate than the imbalance between incoming and outgoing.

    Try harder to understand my very clear statements on this, DeWitt.

    mark

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#461),

      The ONLY thing the system (earth) can do is impede outgoing radiation (besides the small conversions of internal energy, but that is unimportant and not what I’m referring to anyway).

      I should add, it can also change albedo, by reflecting more, but “the system” is simply moved outside of the atmosphere to look at purely incoming and outgoing. Very simple concepts.

      Mark

      • DeWitt Payne
        Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

        Re: Mark T (#462),

        The feedback mechanism I argue with is that the assume more energy can accumulate than the imbalance between incoming and outgoing.

        Please cite an example. Otherwise that’s a straw man argument because I’ve never heard of one. All the climate feedback mechanisms I know about affect the energy balance which then causes a change the stored energy. Positive feedbacks include ice/albedo, which is clearly a function of temperature, and affects the energy input rate. Specific humidity, also a function of temperature, affects the output rate. Anything else that could affect the energy balance and is a function of temperature, like CO2 solubility, is also a feedback mechanism.

        • Phil.
          Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#464),
          Here’s an example where there’s no imbalance between in and out but a significant increase in temperature.

          You have a black surface and shine a visible light on it (100 units), the temperature of the surface will rise until it emits 100 units to achieve balance.
          Now put a dichroic mirror (transmits 100% visible, reflects 50% IR) between the light source and the surface. The surface temperature will rise until the IR leaving the mirror balances the incoming visible, at that point 200 units are leaving the surface, 100 units are being reflected, and 200 are incident on the surface (100 vis, 100 IR).

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#464), DeWitt, as usual, within two posts you don’t even understand the original argument I made, nor do you understand the context. Stored energy is all that can happen, and I’ve made that clear in every reply. You, of course, know all, and thus must be revered.

          Re: Phil. (#465), God… sometimes I wish… oh well. OK, as you correctly, note, but fail to understand, there has been no energy created. All that happened is that you slowed down the release of energy, which is also known as STORAGE. The time it takes to reach equilibrium, again, there is indeed an imbalance. albeit temporarily, whether you want to believe it or not. During this time the total energy in the system climbs, not unlike charging a capacitor.

          Mark

  228. Judith Curry
    Posted Mar 5, 2009 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    Some really interesting posts at CA these days, hopefully next week i’ll have time to jump in.
    Since my feedback work was mentioned, here is the link to my papers on this subject

    http://curry.eas.gatech.edu/climate/feedbacks.htm

    See esp the first link, which is the feedback chapter from my book “Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans.”

  229. D. Patterson
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 5:45 AM | Permalink

    The differential phase change properties of water impacts the rates, timing, and quantities of heat energy transfers between the cryosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and exosphere. The water vapor and clouds inadequately accounted for by the IPCC reports serves as a key intermediary between the other change phases of the water cycle, and the cryosphere’s phase change properties alters the timing of the intermediary water vapor responses. In the event the cryosphere is diminished to an insignificant influence upon global heat transfers, the elimination of the cryosphere’s different phase change rates should be expected to alter the remaining global rates of heat transfers. Conversely, significant increases in the cryosphere should enhance a difference in the global heat transfers versus a global lack of a cryosphere.

    As more water vapor changes phase into frozen water globally on balance, the freezing of the water vapor would increase the quantities of heat released into the atmosphere and hydrosphere and decrease the water vapor available to the atmosphere, slowing the pace of the water cycle heat transfers and decreasing its greenhouse effect.

    On balance, how much do the releases of heat from freezing water become offset in quantity and timing by the hydrosphere and the increased rate of transfer from the atmosphere to the exosphere/space?

  230. Geoff
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    I know it’s only weather, but I was surprised at the front page story in today’s Jakarta Post:

    Ice pounds Bandung, storms halt Jakarta

    If you know that Bandung is on Java in Indonesia, about 900 km south of the equator, (about as far south as Medellin, Columbia is north), with an elevation of 768 meters (2,520 ft.), you may be surprised as I was that it would hail in Bandung.

    The story reports in recent years Bandung has experienced a period of hail in every rainy season.

    A cause for concern?

    Bandung’s meteorology and geophysics agency head Jaya Murjaya said hail was a normal phenomenon and not a sign of extreme weather

  231. Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    Relative to actions required to reduce CO2 emissions by the USA, Professor Pielke Jr. has posted an interesting homework assignment.

    The assignment is closely related to the Obama administration’s goal of reducing emissions to 15% below 2005 levels by 2020.

    All innovative solutions are welcomed, I’m sure.

    Thank you for taking time to consider making contributions to the approaches.

    Dan

    ps
    I suspect that Steve McIntyre would like for comments to be confined to Pielke’s place.

  232. Mark T
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    What you guys don’t seem to understand is the difference between transient and steady state behavior of a system. They are two different things.

    Your myopic example, Phil., is actually a perfect example of the “step response” of a system and actually supports my case.

    The result you offer does not involve any feedback that can be greater than simple storage, i.e., a feedback term of less than unity. Therefore, ALL examples which they spout some mysterious term that “doubles the effect” to something greater than physics are nonsense. This is touted all the time, and physically impossible. Phil.’s example is an unconditionally stable system with a feedback coefficient of 0.5, i.e., half of the outgoing radiation is retained up till the point where it reaches equilibrium with the input.

    Y(n) = X(n) + 0.5*Y(n-1)

    where Y is the total energy in the system and X is the input energy. If you work this out, such an equation will result in a gain of 1/(1-0.5) = 2, so the total energy in the system will climb to 200 if it started at 100. So, when Phil. said

    Here’s an example where there’s no imbalance between in and out but a significant increase in temperature.

    he was incorrect. This statement is true ONLY during steady state operation. During the transient phase, that is, when he first put his mirror in place, there was indeed an imbalance. In fact, at time t = 0, the imbalance was 50! Assuming, for the sake of discussion, the time delta between checks (n) is 1, then at time t = 1 the system now has 150 units, and since 50% is retained, 75 are outgoing, so the imbalance is now only 25! This continues ad infinitum until equilbrium is reached.

    If you’d like, I can provide you with a simple set of Excel commands that demonstrates this effect quite nicely. This is basic stuff, guys.

    Mark

    • Phil.
      Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#472),

      What you guys don’t seem to understand is the difference between transient and steady state behavior of a system. They are two different things.

      I understand that very well, the example I quoted is not a bad model for the earth. The characteristic of the mirror represents the GH effect. Now instead of a step change look at the response to a ramp function, i.e. increasing linearly as a result of growth of CO2.

      Your myopic example, Phil., is actually a perfect example of the “step response” of a system and actually supports my case.
      The result you offer does not involve any feedback that can be greater than simple storage, i.e., a feedback term of less than unity.

      Nothing shortsighted about my example. Increase the mirror constant to 0.9 and the surface will heat up until there are 1000 units of light (900 IR) hitting the surface, that would be approaching Venusian conditions! It may not be an unstable system but we’d still all be dead.

      • Mark T
        Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

        Re: Phil. (#477), No, I don’t think you do understand, Phil., because you clearly stated:

        Here’s an example where there’s no imbalance between in and out but a significant increase in temperature.

        which is clearly untrue, and I showed it mathematically. If you understood the concept of a transient response, you would have known that an imbalance does indeed exist in your example, but you said otherwise indicating, well, otherwise.

        A linear increase in CO2 is a completely different topic to what I was referring, a red herring. However, it is just as easy to address by merely noting that your “storage” element grows with time, so your stored energy (potentially) will likewise grow with time, i.e., it will not simply stop as with the fixed feedback. All this is doing is changing the imbalance between input and output, btw. Furthermore, this does not even address the other factors that effect how quickly the balance actually catches up, which basically serves to reduce the feedback constant. Since the effect is expected to be somewhat logarithmic, this also effects how quickly the constant approaches zero.

        Nothing shortsighted about my example. Increase the mirror constant to 0.9 and the surface will heat up until there are 1000 units of light (900 IR) hitting the surface, that would be approaching Venusian conditions! It may not be an unstable system but we’d still all be dead.

        It is myopic because it does not address what I have said, which I pointed out quite clearly. Your example does not support the “no imbalance” concept at all. Part of the problem with your latest comment is that value of 0.9, besides being unprovable, is likely way too high: the imbalance is actually expected to be only a few W/m^2, which would indicate a value much closer to 0.01, not 0.9.

        Mark

  233. Mark T
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Btw, I put “step response” in quotes because it is a bit different than the typical step of an input, i.e., the “step” was to suddenly attach a storage element (feedback), which has the same result.

    Mark

  234. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    I saw the following in today’s paper, but it seems to have been going on since last fall.

    Plagiarism rife in medical studies, research project warns
    Print E–mail ShareThisResearchers should be held to the same standard as students, and have their studies electronically checked for plagiarism, says a computer whiz, whose team has uncovered hundreds of remarkably similar medical studies.
    Some are near-clones of earlier studies, while others borrow heavily from the originals, recycling not only text, but graphs and data, reports Harold Garner, who heads a project called Deja Vu at the University of Texas.

    “I think that we should hold our scientists up to at least the same standards we hold our school kids,” he said, referring to electronic programs used to check school and university essays for plagiarism.

    His group has found thousands of research papers with similarities to earlier work, including almost 2,000 papers from Canada. The team has started going through the papers manually, and out of a few hundred checked so far, has turned up 212 cases of “potential plagiarism,” where an average of 86 per cent of the text is the same as an earlier article, the researchers report in the journal Science on Friday.

    Does plagiarism include modifying a few proxies with most being retained???

  235. Mike Bryant
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Mark T,
    Thanks for bringing some physics to the table.
    Mike

  236. Mark T
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    First semester control theory actually (maybe even system theory, which is where you learn the tools used in control theory) with some physics thrown in for good measure, but you’re welcome! :)

    I honestly don’t know if these things are ever considered, but the people arguing them on the blogs clearly do not understand how this works. They see the end result and then make all sorts of (incorrect) assumptions about what is physically happening. Feedback is not magical.

    Mark

  237. Mark T
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    The point neither of you two seem to understand is that in order for the atmosphere to retain energy, there needs to be an imbalance.

    Mark

    • Phil.
      Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#479),

      The point neither of you two seem to understand is that in order for the atmosphere to retain energy, there needs to be an imbalance.
      Mark

      Actually that’s exactly the point you have wrong!
      Which proves that you don’t understand the system you’re trying to apply control theory to.
      Once the new steady state is reached, for as long as the ‘feedback ratio’ remains constant and there is no imbalance, the earth’s surface will remain at the new, elevated temperature, get it now?

      • Mark T
        Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

        Re: Phil. (#481),

        Actually that’s exactly the point you have wrong!

        Retain should be gain, a typo.

        Once the new steady state is reached, for as long as the ‘feedback ratio’ remains constant and there is no imbalance, the earth’s surface will remain at the new, elevated temperature, get it now?

        Please, show me where I have EVER said anything different? In order for the energy to increase, there needs to be an imbalance. I”ve made this very clear.

        Mark

        • Phil.
          Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#482),

          Re: Phil. (#481),
          “Actually that’s exactly the point you have wrong!”
          Retain should be gain, a typo.

          I doubt very much that it’s a typo, if it were you wouldn’t have made this nonsensical remark:

          Part of the problem with your latest comment is that value of 0.9, besides being unprovable, is likely way too high: the imbalance is actually expected to be only a few W/m^2, which would indicate a value much closer to 0.01, not 0.9.

          I.e. you relate the imbalance to the feedback factor which you would only do if you really thought it should be ‘retain’, clearly the factor of 0.5 or 0.9 or whatever remains the same whether the system is in balance or not.

          “Once the new steady state is reached, for as long as the ‘feedback ratio’ remains constant and there is no imbalance, the earth’s surface will remain at the new, elevated temperature, get it now?”
          Please, show me where I have EVER said anything different? In order for the energy to increase, there needs to be an imbalance. I”ve made this very clear.
          Mark

          See above, the value of 0.9 would be appropriate for Venus as I pointed out above.
          With a feedback that is ramping up you’d expect the system to ramp up similarly, delayed by the response time of the system (for a 1st order system).

  238. Mike Davis
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    MarkT:
    BINGO! The best way to view that imbalance is to watch the weather!

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 3:14 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mike Davis (#480), Actually, the best way is to compare outgoing radiation with incoming radiation using satellites. I don’t ever recall hearing about any major imbalance, but realistically, do we even have accurate measurements of this?

      Mark

  239. Mark T
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    You still have not been able to defend this statement:

    Here’s an example where there’s no imbalance between in and out but a significant increase in temperature.

    I showed why this is wrong. Defend the increase in energy in your example, without the imbalance that occurs during the transient from placing the mirror to the steady state. Quit chasing your red herring and explain how this can be true.

    Mark

  240. See - owe to Rich
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    Hey guys (Mark T, DWP, Phil), I’d say that you are in violent agreement. I certainly understand both POVs, relating to change -> imbalance -> response -> eventual balance again.

    Rich.

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

      Re: See – owe to Rich (#485), In some sense, yes, in others, no. Ultimately my argument was NOT with specific people in here, but a broad stab at what I see as a complete lack of understanding by many, if not most, that attempt to argue this point. Once you fail to understand that ultimate the increase in energy is (mostly) due to the delta between incoming and outgoing energy, and the total is the integral of this imbalance, btw, there’s no way you can make any proper inferences about how the system is behaving.

      I had one guy that tried to tell me there was no frequency dependence. All systems but the most trivial, Y = aX for example – have a frequency dependence. He also asserted that since I was assuming a frequency input, the feedback term must somehow be complex. Um… no (though I suppose a complex feedback term is possible, but that is independent of the input and entirely missed the point of the argument to begin with).

      Mark

  241. hengav
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    Update on the Catlin survey.

    There has been no data released to the public so far. all monitoring systems are on standby. They have not travelled very far and there is the perception form the blog that they are encountering open water. That seems curious to me because the temps are sub -37 degrees Celsius. So I did some digging with the Aqua satellite rapidfire site and found that their LST images over the arctic appear to show the fracture patterns in the ice that are otherwise invisible due to cloud cover.

    The large blue area at the bottom is the passage between Alert and Greenland (I think). The image comes from:
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2009064/lst2.A2009064155500-2009064160000.2km.jpg
    You have to go to the site to get the temp color bar but the average background surface temp is around minus 33 degrees Celcius.
    It’s a pretty interesting image. Where is the open ice? Phil would have you believe that there is significant flow though here. I don’t see it (except for the extreme left hand side that I am assuming is more proximal to the pole).

    The daily images of this area are available. Perhaps someone could create an animation. It would be as interesting as watching ice melt.

  242. hengav
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    I did my first image post ever and the spam filter ate it up. If it can come back I would be happy.

    For reference:
    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2009064/lst2.A2009064155500-2009064160000.2km.jpg

  243. hengav
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    K that got through…
    Let’s try the satellite temp map over the arctic now…

  244. hengav
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    That got through too.
    So the lighter blue finger I interpret to be the passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland near Alert and heading towards the Lincoln Sea. I also interpret there a large W style fissure somewhere out in the Canada Basin, where the intrepid Catlin Survey is traversing. I actually see a bit of a strung bow with a line that connects the W to the upper left and also towards the middle right. I think the north pole would be about middle right. It’s kind of tough to use north/south bearings from this… anyhow I roughly calculate that the Catlin group got dropped off somewhere near the upper left tip of the bow. From the finer resolution images they appear to have charted a course that will take them across a series of transverse fracture systems that will put them off course towards Alert. I wonder if they looked at this data before they left?

    I think there is an application on the rapidfire site to enter this data into a GIS so I will look into that. I looked at other images from the arctic using the LST (Land Surface Temperature) sensor. You can see the fracture zones quite clearly.

  245. hengav
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    An awesome cloud free image of the impact crater in northern Quebec…

    http://rapidfire.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/realtime/single.php?2009064/crefl2_143.A2009064172500-2009064173000.250m.jpg

  246. Ron Cram
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 11:21 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Thank you. I quite agree.

  247. david_a
    Posted Mar 6, 2009 at 11:40 PM | Permalink

    phil:
    Temperature is a measure of energy. In an ideal gas it is just a measure of kinetic energy. This is why at absolute zero (absent quantum effects) there is zero kinetic energy and all your idealized particles are still. Because energy in a system has to be conserved you can not increase the temperature of a closed system without adding energy to it. Or just substituting the word energy for temperature, you can not increase the energy of a system without adding energy to it.

    In the example you gave with the dichroic mirror, at the moment the mirror was placed in front of the surface the system (everything on the ‘earth’ side of the mirror) begins to gain energy. This is perfectly analogous to the ghg effect. At the moment the mirror is put in place if you were to measure the incoming shortwave radiation at the mirror it will not have changed but the outgoing longwave radiation at the mirror will instantaneously decrease and the difference is the imbalance being stored in the ‘earth’ system. As the earth heats up the rate of longwave emission at the surface increases. Since the mirror is only blocking a fixed percentage of the longwave an increasing amount of longwave exits the system. When the earth heats up enough and subsequently is emitting enough longwave so that the energy content of the longwave which is exiting the mirror balances the energy content of the shortwave which is entering then the earth will stop heating and the system will be in a new equilibrium at a higher temperature. From the time the mirror is placed until the time the system reaches equilibrium there will be a net energy imbalance measured at the mirror where more energy is incoming than outgoing. The integral over time of this imbalance is the total amount of energy which the earth system absorbs and will be proportional to its temperature increase.

    In the real earth the best place to measure the short run (interannual/decadal) imbalance is by measuring the change in energy content of the upper oceans because they have by far the greatest ability to acquire and store the excess energy by virtue of their mass, mixing and thermal conductivity. You can think of the oceans as being a very efficient accumulator of excess energy where the atmosphere will over fairly short time be in relative equilibrium with this large thermal mass.

    You could also continuously measure the radiant energy both incoming shortwave and outgoing longwave at the top of the atmosphere (mirror) and integrate any imbalance over time. But because you are doing the integration of a rate to a quantity rather than just measuring the quantity it is more error prone and difficult.

  248. Knut Witberg, Norway,
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

    An article by Lindzen in Wall Street Journal is enlightening even if it is a few years back:
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110008220

  249. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 3:41 AM | Permalink

    Here is a new one out of the blue.

    Does anyone know the results of the Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment? here is part of the promotoional blurb:

    One of the most complete data sets of tropical convection ever collected will result from the upcoming Tropical Warm Pool International Cloud Experiment (TWPICE) in the area around Darwin in late 2005 and early 2006. The aim of the experiment will be to examine convective cloud systems from its initial stages through to the decaying and thin high level cirrus and measure its impact on the environment. The experiment design includes an unprecedented array of soundings and other information to support cloud resolving and other modeling studies as well as a large range of in-situ and remotely sensed observation platforms. The experiment is a large multi-agency experiment including substantial contributions from the United States DOE ARM program, NASA, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, EU programs and many universities.

    A key component will be the fleet of aircraft including the NASA WB57, DOE Proteus, the M55 Geophysica and DLR Falcon from Europe, and ARA Dimona, Egrett and King Air. The ground network includes a ship as well as several ground sites with a wide range of cloud sensing radar, lidar and passive instruments.

  250. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

    Here’s another one from left field. This map of Australia with cyclone paths is reproduced with kind permission of the Cartographic Division of “Australian Geographic”. It really needs to be viewed on larger scale, so those iterested can email me at sherro1@optusnet.com.au
    for higher resolution that is available here.

    On first seeing this compliation, these questions came to my nonspecialist mind:

    1. Why do so many of the paths cross the cost at about right angles?
    2. Why do so many paths, well out to sea, take a 90 degree turn and head to land?
    3. If moisture is a necessary component in tropical storm models, why do some continue for 1500 km+ over West Australia’s summer desert dry inland?
    4. Not shown on the map, but cyclones commonly build strength on crossing the coast. Why? Is it related to water properties over the continental shelf which is rather wide around much of Australia?

    Maybe these questions are old saws to Judith Curry who has written a book, but they do go against the thrust of some of the Climate Audit theories about Gulf of Mexico hurricanes in the last couple of years.

    • D. Patterson
      Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

      Re: Geoff Sherrington (#495),

      1. Why do so many of the paths cross the cost at about right angles?

      The origin of the tropical cyclones in the low tropical latitudes northwards of Australia, the Coriolis effect dragging the cyclone towards the South Pole, and the shape of Australia naturally results in the storm tracks crossing a coastline in Australia more often perpendicular to the coastline. Make Australia a long island oriented northwest to southeast, and the cyclone tracks would tend to be more parallel to the island’s coastlines.

      2. Why do so many paths, well out to sea, take a 90 degree turn and head to land?

      The tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere are steered westwards by the low latitude steering winds associated with the tropical troughs, monsoons, and the seasonal movements of the interopical convergence zoneouth of the equator. The Coriolis effect of the planet’s rotation adds a southerly inertial vector towards the South Pole, and the combined forces results in the tropical cyclones tracking westwards and southwards into the mid-latitude steering winds where they usually decay. If they don’t decay from loss of heat in the colder mid-latitudes, they can continue southwards until easterly steering winds of the mid-latitudes can steer the cylones eastwards and southwards. Abrupt shifts in direction result when the cyclone encounters troughs, mid-latitude storm fronts, and other features that delay and/or accelerate its turning towards the South Pole.

      3. If moisture is a necessary component in tropical storm models, why do some continue for 1500 km+ over West Australia’s summer desert dry inland?

      Sometimes the warm core tropical cyclone will encounter colder low pressure weather in a mid-latitude trough which delays decay and strengthens and transforms the system into an extratropical cyclone with a cold core. Some of these extratropical cyclones can prove to be extraordinarily destructive in Western Australia like a North American Nor-easter. You don’t see much of this kind of activity in Eastern Australia because the continental land mass lying westward of the cyclone’s approach track tends to cause the decay of the cyclone as it moves westwards and southwards towards the continent and its unique tropical and mid-latitude weather patterns.

      4. Not shown on the map, but cyclones commonly build strength on crossing the coast. Why? Is it related to water properties over the continental shelf which is rather wide around much of Australia?

      It’s more a matter of the storm having moved into the influence of the mid-latitude steering winds that redirect the tropical cyclone southwards and easterly towards the coastline in Western Australia just as the tropical cyclone reached maturity, began to decay, and sometimes strengthened in winds and precipitation by the low pressure weather systems of a mid-latitiude trough.

  251. Bill Illis
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

    Geoff,

    While it doesn’t answer your question, this fascinating 1-year, every-hour animation of clouds from NCAR will give you a much better appreciation of how the climate across the planet works and how a lot of weather is blocked from moving across central Australia. I see at least 1 hurricane take the western track in mid-October.

    https://www.ucar.edu/publications/nsf_review/animations/ccm3.512×256.mpg

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 4:15 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#496),

      Thanks for your prompt answer. It took a while for the animation to load, I thought I had lost it. But it’s quite pretty. At any time there are about 6-7 fronts sweeping the circum-Antarctic region. The north part of some of these gives Melbourne some rain, occasionally. I have not done the calculations, but does a particle of air move along with a front, or is the front more wavelike, so that air particles merely change a little in their slow track as the front belts through?

      Re: D. Patterson (#497),

      My interest was sparked by patterns and I am trying to find how they are connected to physics. For example, some people say that hurricanes need a threshhold SST of 23.5 deg C or similar to initiate. I’m interested in why these cyclones don’t seem to start over land and then move out to sea. The related question is why they can persist for 1800 km over land, if water is so important, which you have partially answered. Another question – is there some physics at work that grabs the edge of a circulating system like these and induces an imbalance so the cyclone turns and heads for a discontinuity like shallow water or the coastline?

      So I’m not so interested in how weather pattens look these days, but WHY they look that way. These cyclone tracks seem to have more to them than cell circulation and Coriolis. That’s why I threw them into the discussion ring. Or maybe my eyes delude me.

      • D. Patterson
        Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

        Re: Geoff Sherrington (#499),

        I’m interested in why these cyclones don’t seem to start over land and then move out to sea. The related question is why they can persist for 1800 km over land, if water is so important, which you have partially answered.

        The volumes of warm water and vapor, lack of wind shear, and vertical scale with instability needed to organize a persistent system representing a warm core tropical cyclone are only available in the oceans. Over land, you end up with mesoscale and microscale (e.g. tornado) systems in part because they lack the quantities of heat released from condensing water vapor required to grow into a larger synoptic scale system having greater organization and persistent interior organization. Once a tropical cyclone has matured into a synoptic scale system, its diameter is great enough for the warm core to remain just offshore above the warm waters required to continue feeding warm water vapor into the system, while the winds and precipitation on the leading edge of the cyclone devastate the onshore landscapes well inshore to the radius of the cyclone and beyond.

        After the warm core of the tropical cyclone passes onto shore, however, the greatly decreased warm water vapors begin the dissipation of its highly organized structure. How far ashore the tropical cyclone can go before falling apart and dissipating depends upon its size and energy at maturity upon landfall of the warm core and the speed of the stearing winds. A smaller and weaker tropical cyclone that dissipates in only 1 or 2 days cannot travel nearly as far inland when pushed/dragged by slow stearing winds as a larger and stronger tropical cyclone that dissipates in 2 to 3 days while being pushed/dragged by fast stearing winds.

        Complicating the picture even further are situations where the warm core tropical cyclone encounters another low pressure system such as a mid-latitude cold core cyclone, an occluded front, or some other low pressure trough or instability while offshore or inshore in the mid-latitudes. Depending upon all of the facts of these two low pressure systems, they may combine and transform the warm core tropical cyclone into a cold core extratropical cyclone with enhanced energies and precipitation in comparison to normal cold core extratropical cyclones. Since the cold core extratropical cyclone is not as dependent upon drawing warm water vapor from the ocean for the energy needed to maintain internal organization and persistence, it can persist longer across continental landmasses without dissipating in the timeframe typical of a warm core tropical cyclone.

        Another question – is there some physics at work that grabs the edge of a circulating system like these and induces an imbalance so the cyclone turns and heads for a discontinuity like shallow water or the coastline?

        No. If you look at composites of the tropical cyclone tracks, you can see how the great majority of them make the same kinds of turns under the influence of the Coriolis Effect and the stearing winds without coming into contact with the land masses or their continental shelves. Their tracks are governed for the most part by the westerlies and the jet streams. The warm waters mostly govern cyclogenesis, size, persistence, and cyclolysis.

        So I’m not so interested in how weather pattens look these days, but WHY they look that way. These cyclone tracks seem to have more to them than cell circulation and Coriolis. That’s why I threw them into the discussion ring. Or maybe my eyes delude me.

        There is a lot more to tropical cyclones than just “cell circulation and Coriolis.” Tropical cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere have typically originated by means that are different from those in the Northern Hemisphere. Planetary atmmospheric waves are typically cited as the source of atmospheric instability which makes the organization of a North Atlantic hurricane or North Pacific tropical cyclone possible. In the Indian Ocean basin a monsoon trough may be cited as the source instability giving an origin to a tropical cyclone. In the South Atlantic basin, tropical cyclones are nearly non-existant, because the upper air conditions among many other factors are almost never permissive to the formation of a synoptic scale warm core tropical cyclone. The genesis, maturation, and track are all very much dependent upon a variety of atmospheric and hydrospheric conditions and circulation patterns external to the cyclone. In many ways it is not unlike watching flotsam and whirlpools swirling in a pool where two streams are in confluence from opposing directions.

  252. Edouard
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    @Jason

    The thermal inertia of the oceans should continue to heat up the atmosphere. The warming from 1960 to 2000 could be due to thermal inertia?! A modern cooling period cannot be explained by thermal inertia. It is a complete misleading of the public opinion, when someone tells us that the warming will now be held beck to be released later.

    Thermal inertia for me means a long warming that continues to linger on, when the cause of the warming stops. This could have happened because of the activity of the sun from 1940 to 2001.

    If the cause (of the warming) doesn’t stop, there is absolutely no reason that the warming should stop. Pretending that the warming will accelerate afterwards, is a pure nonesense until it could have been observed.

    Regards
    Eddy

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

      Re: Edouard (#303), Thermal inertia can explain why the observed warming is less than expected from the inputs (and CO2 level), but can’t explain the recent cooling, even of the ocean (see my paper coming out Jan. 09 in E&E).

      On the question of public reviews, one can look at Climate of the Past Discussions, the review portion of CoP journal. The reviewers are still anon. but their comments and the author’s rebuttals are public. Anyone who doubts that reviews can be just goofy please read some of these. The reviewers (many of them) refer to literature they don’t cite, handwave, dismiss arguments and even data with no proof, and generally write in an incoherent way. This of course leads to the common frustration among authors of WTF? when trying to answer reviwers. This is particularly frustrating when a paper is rejected based on an incoherent review. It’s a heck of a system.

      By the way, my compliments to various experts who have weighed in here, such as Bill Illis, Ryan, Chris et al for keeping it civil and trying to clearly explain yourselves. This is mighty complicated stuff and patience is required.

  253. Edouard
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    @Chris Colose

    If there was no negative feedback to rising temperatures, the earth would never get out of a warm period. Dansgaard Oeschger Events would aways cause warm periods for thousands of years.

    What else than clouds could explain the return to an ice age? If we believe the IPCC the activity of the sun doesn’t really change the climate. But why and how did the little ice age happen? For the glaciers of the alps the little ice age was the coldest period of the last 10.000 years. The holocene maximum did begin with a delay of several thousand years for the northern hemisphere. The medieval warm period was nearly as warm as the modern warm period.

    Even if there is a strong positive water vapor feedback, we don’t know if this will also be true for the actual warming. As long as we don’t understand natural climat shifts like the little ice age, the holocene optimum and the beginning of the holocene, how could we know how the climate will behave in the future?

    If today the temperatures fall (2008), why should there be a positive feedback? Do we understand why temperatures don’t rise? How could we predict climate if we don’t understand it?

    Regards
    Eddy

    • Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

      Re: Edouard (#316),

      Eddy, your concerns are a little unclear to me. Positive feedbacks do not not imply a necessity to rapidly move in one direction forever since they are a converging series, not diverging. It’s very difficult to “runaway” because of the fourth power dependence on the outgoing longwave radiation.

      For general purposes in climate discussion, positive feedbacks simply mean that the Earth’s sensitivity is greater than that which would be achieved through a given change in CO2 alone (via Stefan-Boltzmann). If the radiative forcing at the top of the atmosphere were to become negative, the climate would cool (and again positive feedbacks would predominate and imply further cooling beyond what the initial perturbation would imply).

      Also, feedbacks being positive or negative depend on the timescale. Over long-term geologic periods, the main “negative feedback” is probably the CO2 thermostat which draws down CO2 at high temperature.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

      Re: Edouard (#316),

      You made a number of good points. The truth is we do not understand natural climate variation yet. We don’t even understand the rapid temperature rise in the first part of the 20th century which surely had very little to do with CO2. The rapid rise in temps from 1910 to 1945 easily matched the rapid rise from 1975 to 2005.

  254. Edouard
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    @Chris Colose

    The earth doesn’t know where the warming comes from. Every kind of warming should cause the same water vapour feedbacks. If there were no negative feedbacks, the earth would not stop warming until something very fundamental changes.

    In our warm period, if water vapour feedback is the mean cause of the warming, why should this warming period be different from the one that began after the little ice age? Shouldn’t it accelerate after some decades, because it is amplified by Co2? We observe the exact opposite!

    If water vapour was the cause of the warming from 1900 to 1950, how could there have been no feedback until 2000? How could the earth know, that the warming from 1900 to 1950 was different from the actual warming? What did stop the feedback from 1960 to 1980?

    In my opinion we obviously don’t really understand the climate system. I think that there must be natural negative feedback systems. Until we know how they work, we don’t understand climate imho.

    How could we know that the water vapour feedback is positive (together with changes in clouds)? I mean, how could we know that climate works the way we think it works? The 2008 temperatures can’t be explained by models. In the next decades we will experience the exact response to Co2 and other changes made by man.

    Why should we write hundreds of papers about something, we don’t yet understand, but what we will know in 50 years, because we measure every cm of the earth surface and of the atmosphere. Today nobody writes papers about the evolution of the financial crisis, because we are actually experiencing what happens and we will be wiser in 5 or 10 years.

    Why do people tell us, that they know how climate behaves, when they obviously don’t? Climate science today is for a layman like me more like a fight between the churches of climatlogy. Even if we don’t know negative feedbacks, we know that they must exist, at least as surely as positive water vapour feedback must exist. I don’t understand why climate modelers can pretend that there is no reason to take them into account.

    Lets for example say that the little ice age was 1° colder than today. Now let us admit that Co2 will lead to a warming of 1°. Why should it be unimaginable that 1 – 1 = 0° of warming in 100 years by doubling of Co2?

    I hope this explains a little bit more what I tried to say. Can you explain me, what this sentence does exactly mean for a water feedback spiral? “It’s very difficult to “runaway” because of the fourth power dependence on the outgoing longwave radiation?”

    Could the cooling from 1940 until 1980 have been caused by this? How scientific is the “runaway greenhouse effect” from Mr. Hansen?

    Best regards
    Eddy

    • Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

      Re: Edouard (#324),

      Edouard,

      You need to read some introductory material on climate and climate change. David Archer’s book may be a good start. The wikipedia articles on the greenhouse effect should lay a basic foundation to start from.

  255. Hemst 101
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 9:41 PM | Permalink

    Edouard 324; Chris Colose 326

    Chris. I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but your answer to Edouard struck me as condescending. I think that I have seen Edouard’s name on other websites etc and he seems to be fairly well read.

    To you, who obviously are extremely well qualified in this field, his thoughts might seem trivial; but might you (or anyone else?) just take a moment to point out where he is going astray?

    • Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

      Re: Hemst 101 (#328),

      Hemst,

      There are negative feedbacks in the climate system, specifically the OLR. It is this outgoing flux at the top of the atmosphere which serves to regulate the Earth’s planetary temperature. Understanding the Earth’s equilibrium temperature and how it changes therefore requires accurate radiative transfer modeling as that serves to define the key boundary condition which constrains the Earth’s global climate.

      It is not currently possible for a runaway greenhouse scenario, at least until the sun becomes sufficiently bright (in about a billion years). The runaway case is an example of an extreme water vapor feedback where the OLR becomes decoupled from the surface temperature and the planet is allowed to take up an influx of energy until the oceans have evaporated away.

      It makes no sense to say “In our warm period, if water vapour feedback is the mean cause of the warming, why should this warming period be different from the one that began after the little ice age?” Water vapor does not *cause* warming since its concentration is regulated by the global climate. Further, changes in global climate occur trough radiative forcings which perturb the equilibrium state which is set by the absorbed incoming sunlight and atmospheric greenhouse effect. Changes in Global Mean temperature in the past can be understood through radiative perturbations (in the case of glacial-interglacial cycles, which occur through orbital variations and associated albedo and CO2/methane response). Today, the key forcing is CO2 rise.

      I have no idea how to interpet his statements that this feedback is active now but not in the past (or vice versa), or what “How could the earth know, that the warming from 1900 to 1950 was different from the actual warming?” means. I don’t know what “What did stop the feedback from 1960 to 1980?” means. The questions are very ill-posed which is why I gave my recommendation to familiarize himself with introductory material, just so we can be on the same page with terminology and assumptions. Feedbacks do not need to “go away” and for one more time, positive feedbacks simply mean a sensitivity greater than a no-feedback case. Eventually the planet will converge to a stable (but higher) temperature, and if “forced” in an opposite direction, it will go in that direction. The same logic would imply with a reduced water vapor feedback except that the amplitude of Earth’s global temperature changes would be much less.

      • Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

        Re: Chris Colose (#330),
        you continue to believe to a climate change cause-effect mechanism that is far from reality, as when you say:

        Changes in Global Mean temperature in the past can be understood through radiative perturbations

        In which climate system are you used to live?

        Where I live, climate is a non linear, complex system in which free and forced variations interact in an unpredictable way.
        To come to the ice age cycle issue, you consider at the same level what at the same level is not.

        You put at the first level “orbital variations”, then the “associated albedo” and last the “CO2/methane response”.

        First of all, what the CO2/methane response has to do with the ice age cycle?
        Then, the elephant here is what you not properly define as “associated albedo” (more properly the complex water cycle response).
        Whether the orbital variations are truly the initial condition or not, almost all the climate change is due to the water response, internal to the system.

        • Jason
          Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 2:52 PM | Permalink

          Re: Paolo M. (#344),

          Paolo asks Chris Colose: “In which climate system are you used to live?”

          He lives in a climate system in which all observed climate change must correspond to well understood scientific principles. He lives in a world where if global climate models are wrong, the Earth’s history of climate change is an impossibility. He lives in a world where it is absolutely impossible for significant global climactic events to be caused my a mechanism not yet known to or understood by science.

          In short: He lives in a computer.

      • Ron Cram
        Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

        Re: Chris Colose (#330),

        Can you describe for me the Earth’s equilibrium state? Historically speaking, how long does an equilibrium period tend to last? When was the last time the Earth’s climate was in equilibrium? If not for rising CO2, would Earth’s climate be in equilibrium today?

        • Curt Covey
          Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 1:09 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ron Cram (#353), “equilibrium” climate means that the amount of absorbed solar energy equals the amount of outgoing long-wave (i.e. infrared) radiation so that the planet as a whole is neither gaining nor losing heat. Conventional wisdom says that most past climates were very close to equilibrium but the current climate departed from equilibrium around the time of the Industrial Revolution, due to increasing atmospheric CO2 and various pollutants.

          I think Ruddiman’s textbook “Earth’s Climate: Past and Future” describes these ideas carefully, with no more math than necessary.

        • Ron Cram
          Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 1:24 PM | Permalink

          Re: Curt Covey (#356),

          So then, if I am understanding you correctly, Earth’s climate has always been in equilibrium since the beginning of time until the Industrial Revolution and would be in equilibrium now if not for rising atmospheric CO2. Is this correct?

  256. Edouard
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    @Chris Colose

    “Eddy, your concerns are a little unclear to me. Positive feedbacks do not not imply a necessity to rapidly move in one direction forever since they are a converging series, not diverging. It’s very difficult to “runaway” because of the fourth power dependence on the outgoing longwave radiation.”

    I don’t know what that means? If temperature rises by 1° C (because of Co2) the water vapor feedback should let it rise from 2 to 4°. Now we should be able to start again and say, if temperature rises by 2° C the water vapor feedback will make it rise even much more. I can’t see how water vapor should know where the rise in temperatures comes from.

    But there are other feedbacks like the albedo changing.

    What I found about the fourth power ist this: http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:BlackbodySpectrum_lin_150dpi_de.png&filetimestamp=20060609125107

    I don’t know why there could be no running away greenhouse effect. Many scientists think this had happended on Venus and Mr. HANSEN thinks this will happen with 500ppm Co2 on Earth.

    So why do YOU tell us, that Mr Hansen doesn’t seem to understand climate science. I thought water was a MUCH MORE powerful greenhouse gas than Co2?

    Best regards
    Eddy

    • Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 10:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: Edouard (#329),

      Edouard, I do not speak for Dr. Hansen, and I’m not sure what he said regarding the runaway greenhouse effect, but I can pretty much guarantee he never said there would be a runaway greenhouse at 500 ppm. If you give me three guesses on where this claim came from, I’m sure I only need one (I won’t start anything though).

      We cannot runaway at current Earth-like conditions. Keep in mind though that the “runaway” terminology is often used very sloppy in non-academic settings as to mean “abrupt climate change” or “dangerous climate change” or what have you.

      I think I see what you mean about “water vapor doesn’t know where the warming came from.” The first thing you need to do is get the idea out of your head that positive feedbacks mean unbounded growth in one direction. They don’t (again, at least not on Earth). You can think of this through basic power series concepts learned in calculus. If the feedback increments are less than the previous ones, then we can model them as a power series where feedback factor f goes like f +f^2 + f^3 +f^4…Use a calculator and see what happens to your series if you keep adding these terms when 0 < f < 1.

      • Simon Evans
        Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 4:21 AM | Permalink

        Re: Chris Colose (#331),

        Chris, Hansen has said (in a recent AGU presentation) that he thinks runaway possible if we burn all coal and a “dead certainty” if we burn all coal plus tars. I don’t think he’s written about this view in any detail, so one has to guess a bit at his calculations. I presume the view is based partly on a consideration of the release of clathrates and other methane sources. Anyway, he’s suggested the possibility should be considered for “added forcing as small as 10-20 W/m2″.

        Personally I think his statements seem a considerable stretch, though one can obviously postulate a very substantial increase in GHG concentration from the release of methane sources. I think we’d be in more than enough trouble anyway before having to worry about runaway feedback!

        The link’s here:

        http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/hansen_agu2008bjerknes_lecture1.pdf

      • bender
        Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 5:33 AM | Permalink

        Re: Chris Colose (#331),

        I’m not sure what he said regarding the runaway greenhouse effect, but I can pretty much guarantee he never said there would be a runaway greenhouse at 500 ppm.

        In your estimation what are your “guarantees” worth?
        .
        Care to explain this:

        If you give me three guesses on where this claim came from, I’m sure I only need one

        In your estimation how familiar are you with Hansen’s work?
        .
        And such confident assertions. Tsk tsk. Pity for you. Maybe you should drop your authoritative, patronizing tone just a notch.

        • Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#336),

          bender, perhaps you can point me to where Hansen himself said this, with surrounding context included? And I don’t mean selected quotes from WUWT or some other internet source. More often than not when Hansen is attributed as saying something ridiculous, it’s because what he said is being twisted on its head or misunderstood. Not very surprising.

        • jeez
          Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

          Re: Chris Colose (#350),

          Uh Chris, that WUWT link is simply a PDF of Hansen’s AGU presentation. It’s all there, in context.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

          Re: Chris Colose (#350),
          You ask me where Hansen says this; you want a specific quote. Fair question (one which I’ve asked at RC and not gotten answered). But why do you not ask Simon Evans to support his offering in #338? Are his calculations somehow prefereable? In what way?

  257. Hemst 101
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

    Chris

    Thanks very much for the reply. I just quickly read it over and it is time to hit the sack. I’ll get back to it sometime tomorrow and ponder what you have said as I am too tired to think about it now. It is great that we have people like yourself who participate in this blog – a great learning experience.

  258. Jaye
    Posted Mar 7, 2009 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

    this should be done from the perspective of comparing multiple data sources and assessing the uncertainty, before publishing trend analyses in the context of saying something about climate change.

    Ok, now THAT was funny.

  259. Eddy
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

    Hello Mr. Colose,

    Thank you very much for your answer!

    Mr Hansen spoke about 500 ppm if we burn of alle coal (deathtrains):

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/15/james-hansen-power-plants-coal

    “Clearly, if we burn all fossil fuels, we will destroy the planet we know. Carbon dioxide would increase to 500 ppm or more.”

    http://www.scienceblogs.de/primaklima/2008/12/jim-hansen-spricht-auf-der-agu-von-einem-runaway-greenhouse-effect.php

    At the AGU he speaks about a runaway greenhouse effect:

    “In my opinion, if we burn all coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway green house effect.”

    Putting both sentences together I got “500 ppm” and “runaway green house effect”.

    IN answer to your other “questions” I try to compare the GISS global surface temperature evolution of the last 100 years with known forcings (please excuse my very bad english).

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    From 1900 to 1940 it was getting warmer. If the activity of the sun is the mean cause of this warming, why didn’t it last until 1960 or even until 2000. If one admits, that the lack of sun activity is the mean cause of the little ice age, one could think, that a much higher activity would
    cause much higher temperatures.

    That’s where te water vapor feedback also must be taken into account. The sun alone can’t explain this big temperature difference. But why did this warming stop at the precise moment, when the sun started to drift into a longtime high, from 1940 until 1960 (peak) or even 2003.

    Even if the relation sun-temperature would not be completely linear, there is no reason imho that a link between sun and temperature should just break the moment when the activity is at its highest.

    The problem imho is, that we don’t understand how natural climate shifts work. Some scientits explain the period (with lower temperatures) from 1940 to 1980 by negative forcing of aerosols. Are they sure? This could have been a natural climate shift, just as is the temperature shift from 2000 to 2008.

    Why did the forcing of the sun and Co2 not work from 1940 to 1980, work properly (like in the model “forecasts”) from 1980 to 2000 and does not work again today (2000 to 2008)? This just makes no sense to me.

    But now we must come back to vater vapor feedback. I think I understand now what you mean. Natural warming should not feedback itself but more Co2 should cause more warming that it causes by itself.

    But this makes again no sense (to me imho) if we compare the real world data.

    If the sun was the mean cause of natural climate variations in the holocene. The same conditions should cause the same global temperatures. At least in the alps we reached the medieval glacier stands only until 2000 to 2006. Now again (2009) glaciers start growing.

    This observation of the real world would tell me, that only in 2006 we have come out of the little ice age completely. Here is the paper for the historic glacier stands of the alps http://alpen.sac-cas.ch/html_d/archiv/2004/200406/ad_2004_06_12.pdf .

    Back to water vapor. As long as we don’t know how much of the recent warming is already due to Co2, any increase in water vapor feedback could just as well be due to natural causes. If the activity of the sun is highest in 1960 and the delay due to the oceans lasts at least 30 years, the highest (natural) warming should have occurred in 1990 and lasted on until today.

    I understand that we got the Co2-physics, the feedback physics an so on, BUT we also get real temperature observations. If the rate of warming from 1980 to 2000 was due to Co2 and other non natural causes, why did it stop afterwords? If the models were correct, they would reconstruct the actual slight cooling.

    I mean, we get the highest concentration of greenhouse gases since hundreds of thousands of years. We get a strong water vapor feedback that multiplies this effect by at least two, but today, when this effect should really start to work, just the opposite happens. The temperatures go back slightly. Is this a negative feedback? Is the theory about positive water vapor feedbacks wrong?

    Climate should be even more predictable than weather. Why does this fail? Even if there had been no rise in greenhouse gases, why was there no water vapor feedback from 1940 to 1980.

    It would not be scientific to admit that the models worked correctly from 1900 to 1940 and again from 1980 to 2000 and that the periods from 1940 to 1980 and from 2000 to 2008 are non predictable climate shifts caused by men or nature. If there is a climate response to greenhouse gases and the activity of the sun, it worked from 1900 to 2009 and this is the exact climate sensitivity temperature / time.

    Anything else looks to me as if somebody wants to tell me a fairy tale. I am sceptic but surely no denialist. I want to understand, not to debunk or destroy. In Germany some climate scientists call me a denialist and treat me like a terrorist.

    Here is one of them in action (Georg Hoffmann):

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/a-formal-response-to-gavin-schmidt-4936

    ““empricism” is anti-scientific? I dont know. I even dont know what it is.”

    @Roger

    “I am not improving images, I just tell you what I think.
    Improving images is rather something for experts such as experts in political sciences.
    2009 is still young, but I would bet you will win my personal prize for the most pointless comment of the year. Each line really respires how much you dare about correct data and science.”

    You can read the rest. It gets even worse later.

    Thank you again for your answer. I hope this post makes my point of view a little clearer?

    Best regards
    Eddy

  260. bender
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

    Colose was wanting to distance Hansen from the 500ppm-tipping-point-to-runaway-warming claim. Why? Sounds like he is (or was) skeptical of these numbers/this scenario. But now that he sees it is in fact attributable to Hansen, does he all of a sudden find the numbers believable? Will be interesting to see what he has to say (assuming he doesn’t dodge it). Always interesting to consider the roles of authority and belief in undermining rational scientific thought.

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:25 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#337),

      the 500ppm-tipping-point-to-runaway-warming claim

      Er, no, that is not what Hansen said. As I’ve referenced above, he considers such a danger might kick in for an added forcing of 10-20 W/m2. If a doubling of CO2 gives c.4W/m2, then the range he is suggesting is equivalent to an increased C02 concentration of about CO2 x 6 to C02 x 10, or between roughly 2,000 and 4,000 ppm.

  261. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:35 AM | Permalink

    It is funny how people come defend Hansen as THE expert but then deny that he said extreme things (ice caps can slide into ocean, 20 ft sea level rise this century, CO2 governs glacial cycles, runaway greenhouse, etc). If anyone else were to make such extreme statements their credibility would be blown to bits. It is also funny that Hansen now supports nuclear power but no one in the green movement is running to embrace this statement.

    • KevinUK
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Loehle (#339),

      Craig, you’ve also forgotten Hansen’s testimony to Congress back in 1988.

      Hansen 1988 testimony

      Fortuneately for us mere ‘jesters’ it looks like natural cliate vaiarble has intervened as the following graph shows.

      UAH MSU Monthly global temperature anomaly

      Lucia (a fellow jester) amongst others has done an analysis of how Hansens 1988 ‘unreal’ modelled world predictions have faired with the actually ‘real world’ here

      Temperature Anomaly Compared to Hansen A, B, C:
      GISS Seems to Overpredict Warming.

      Yet despite this clear discrepancy between his alarmist predictions and the actual outturn Hansen continues to be deluded and at least 99% certain that if we don’t act now then we are headed for a climatic disaster.

      “Now, as then, frank assessment of scientific data yields conclusions that are shocking to the body politic. Now, as then, I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 percent.

      The difference is that now we have used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb. The next president and Congress must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation.

      20 years later

      Sorry Jim, you may not be a ‘jester’ like the rest of us but soem of us would like to point that the temperature record (even after its been adjusted by you good self) appears to cast some doubt at least (more than 1% I’m afraid) on you alarmist claims that we must ‘act now’. There appears to be a great deal more ‘slack’ in our ‘schedule for actions to defuse the global warming time bomb’ than you appear to be prepared to acknowledge but then again the ‘joke’ is almost up isn’t it Jim?

      KevinUK

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Loehle (#339),

      Re: Bill Illis (#345),

      Bill, Hansen is indeed showing the image you’ve linked to but that is in a context where he is putting the view that the illustrated modelled response time may be too long – for example, in the presentation I’ve linked to above, he says:

      Comparisons show that all four models have similarly long surface temperature response times.
      Unfortunately, this does not indicate that the models are right.
      On the contrary, there are numerous indications that they have a common problem.
      First, overall, they tend to mix transient tracers more than observed.
      Second, theoretical work at GiSS, by Vittorio Canuto’s group, shows that mixing parameterizations, such as the common KPP approximation, cause too much mixing in the upper ocean.

  262. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:37 AM | Permalink

    Oh, yeah, and Hansen wants to instantly shut down coal plants and put fossil fuel execs on trial for crimes against humanity. Nothing extreme there.

  263. Bill Illis
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Regarding the ocean thermal reponse lags:

    It only takes a few years for 40% of the response to show up;

    100 years for 60% of the response; and then,

    over 1,000 years to get to 90%. (I imagine gavin has not said this on realclimate yet).

    Here is a chart Hansen is using in his latest papers and presentations which he variously describes as the ocean thermal response lag and the long-term climate “sensitivity” response function. Apparently, he has had the general timelines verified by the climate models from NCAR, NOAA and the Hadley Centre.

    http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/1200/image002.png

    There has been some talk of this on this thread so I thought it should be included.

    And the full equilibrium sensitivity he is now using is +6.0C for a doubling of CO2 (after the appropriate lag of up to 1,500 years) – (+3.0C is only the short-term sensitivity for the year 2100 or the “Charney” report CO2 sensitivity from 1979 which averaged the two estimates of the time 1.5C to Hansen’s 4.5C to arrive at the 3.0C CO2 sensitivity).

    Some might say a +6.0C is something like a runaway greenhouse effect (which is far from runaway Venus-like conditions but there have only been a few periods in Earth’s climate history that got up to +6.0C).

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2008/2008_Hansen_etal.pdf

    • JamesG
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

      Re: Bill Illis (#345),
      So 40% of the total ocean thermal response since 2003 has cooled the earth? Wow strong feedback! Will the rest bring an ice age?:).

  264. Mike Bryant
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    It seems that everywhere I look lately I am seeing perturbations of this or that. There are CO2 perturbations, radiative perturbations, perturbations of the atmosphere and the oceans, ozone and N2 perturbations and even perturbed geothermal layers.
    Unperturbed,
    Mike

  265. kim
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    Skeptical of Hansen’s dogma? Skeptical of the value of the Bristlecone series, hence the hockey stick? I wonder how Chris Colose’s comments here would be treated by Commenter Chris Colose at Tamino’s Open Mind. Maybe there is an answer in Connolley’s Wikipedia.
    ========================================

  266. Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    500,000,000 of past climatic history.Patchy as it can be known.Does show one incontrovertable fact.CO2 and Water Vapor changes is never shown as a driver of warming and cooling trends.So why is that different today?

    I never have understood why a marker (CO2 or Water Vapor) that could be telling us of large scale climate change.Also the one CAUSING that large scale change.It makes no sense at all to me because a teeny weeny change in Atmospheric amount of CO2 can cause that much change.When past climate epochs never show such a possibility.It has never been shown to happen!

    Consider that CO2 is thought to be around 180-200 ppmv during the last ice age surge.Yet barely changed at all when we got the holocene optimism.Which was far warmer than today.Yet CO2 went up VERY SLOWLY over THOUSANDS of years to the 280 pmmv level by 1880.To me that rules out CO2 as being a driver of warming/cooling trends.

    We have had Atmospheric CO2 levels ABOVE 1500 pmmv for most of the last few hundred million years.With water vapor content in the atmosphere higher than now.

    Yet no run away warming ever happened.Somehow I doubt that both increasing CO2 and water vapor levels can combine in such a way to produce the much talked about warming trend postulated to be either in the “pipeline” or in the next century from now.

    If there really are POSITIVE warm forcing at play.Then there MUST be negaive forcings in existence.Or there never would be those well known long term cold periods such as LIA or the cold period before the MWP.Interspersed with strong warming periods.Today with an elevated CO2 level in the atmosphere.We can still have a large cooldown (biggest single year drop since the 1880’s) in a years time that can erase most of the previous 25 years of warming.How can that happen if the much higer atmospheric level of CO2 with believed positive warm forcing of Water Vapor can be so easily swept aside.I have not read of any explanation to absolve of CO2’s miserable failure to prevent such a large cooldown.
    WE have past climatic history that ran for millions of years.That shows very warm worldwide climates with much higher Water vapor and CO2 in the atmosphere levels than now.Yet it still managed to cool way down to our age.Something else made that happened because CO2 and Water Vapor are commonly considered as strong warming forces.Yet it still cooled WAY down.Something more dominant must have come along to overcome the millions of years of alleged CO2/water vapor warm forcing dominance.Yet none of you guys seem to tell us what that is.

    To me CO2 and Water vapor has a limited RANGE of influence and that something else is not being adequately factored in.That is what I often see missing in my trips around the internet.

    Since the Atmosphere is definitely NOT a Greenhouse.We can state with confidence that we are a long way from understanding the complex process of the variables that makes climate always changing.CO2 and other so called “greenhouse” gases are being given way too much credit for any warming/cooling cycles.Since they lack the leverage to compel the postulated change.They are more like a PROXY of change than a driver.

    There is something else that has long been ignored by most people.I keep waiting for that big breakthrough and yet I read about CO2 and Water Vapor as being the engine for warming trends.This is tunnel vision in my opinion.They already had that chance for the last billion years.It never happened that way.So why is it different now?

    When will you obviously smart guys broaden your research and look at the bigger picture?

  267. Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    Ron, an equilibrium state is when the difference between the absorbed incoming solar energy and outgong infrared energy at the top of the atmosphere is roughly zero. This serves as a very good approximation when there is no detectable temperature trend over climatological time periods. If CO2 were not rising today, the TOA energy imbalance would be much smaller, and trends indistinguishable from the natural noise inherent in the cliamte system.

    For other readers– Seasons change as a response to a well-defined hemispheric forcing. If you live in L.A. you don’t expect Seattle climate for 20 years, and if you live in Arizona you expect hot and dry weather, on average. We have a tornado alley and hurricane seaosns. I’ve lived in New York for over 20 years and I have good expectations as to how winters and summers will behave in my region, I don’t expect Florida summers, I don’t expect snow not to come, and I don’t expect to start getting F5’s rolling through my neighborhood. Agriculture is based on a sense of cliamte stability in a growing region. All of these things show that climate is at least in part predictable. It does behave in a cause-effect manner since it’s governed by physical principles. For those who think it is governed by pure chaos, aside from having no evidence to support such a position, you have not even thought it through as it contradicts intuition. The fact is that we can understand and simulate the present day and past climates thorugh standard forcing and feedback concepts, and the present day warming, the LGM, the PETM, etc etc can all be thought of as occurring through a perturbation of the Earth’s radiative budget.

    If you don’t like this explanation, then write your own papers, because it is standard discussion in atmospheric science texts and undergraduate classrooms.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#362),

      Thank you for a lengthy answer but you really did not answer the questions I asked. I am interested in historical equilibrium periods. Other than perturbations like Mt Pinatubo, which have happened throughout history, is it your view the Earth has been in equilibrium until the industrial age? Or do you agree with Ruddiman that the anthropogenic greenhouse age has been around for thousands of years?

      Also, what is the best way to measure whether the Earth is in equilibrium or out of equilibrium today? Do we measure at the TOA? Or is some other metric more valuable, like ocean heat content?

    • Raven
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#362)

      “an equilibrium state is when the difference between the absorbed incoming solar energy and outgong infrared energy at the top of the atmosphere is roughly zero. This serves as a very good approximation when there is no detectable temperature trend over climatological time periods.”

      We don’t have any data that would tell us what has been happening to the TOA energy balance over geologic timescales which means it is not a particularily useful metric for determining whether climate is static. i.e. it is quite possible (even likely) that random internal variability could lead to imbalances over 20-30 years.

    • John Galt
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#362),

      The fact is that we can understand and simulate the present day and past climates thorugh standard forcing and feedback concepts, and the present day warming, the LGM, the PETM, etc etc can all be thought of as occurring through a perturbation of the Earth’s radiative budget.

      I don’t think it is true that all past climates can be simulated, if by “simulation”, you mean reproduced by the GCMs. What I’ve heard repeatedly is that the modelers say they cannot reproduce the current warming without including a CO2 forcing and a water vapor feedback. But presmuably, there was no similar CO2 forcing during the MWP — hence, the current models cannot simulate that climate. Correct?

    • Kenneth Fritsch
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#362),

      If you don’t like this explanation, then write your own papers, because it is standard discussion in atmospheric science texts and undergraduate classrooms.

      I think the discussion needs to be more specific and with more details. I have not been following this exchange closely, but I think the question arises from longer lag time temperature realizations given the heat capacity of the oceans and what that would portend for the temperatures that we are realizing in recent times and its cumulative causes. Intuitively one would think that a longer lag times could put the “causes” for at least some part of the current warming well back in time.

      Alternatively one could conjecture or hypothesize that in past centuries heat exchanges have been fairly well in equilibrium and thus we would not expect any residual heating coming into the recent times and that the recent heating is from a non equilibrium condition of recent origins and that it is of such severity that even the early effects are large (or at least measurable) and will be expected to loom even larger in the future century.

      If there are alternative explanations and theories (which I suspect there are) they should be spelled out and then we can discuss the evidence available for explaining the preferred theory.

    • Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 5:13 AM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#362),
      your essay on what climate is for you shows that your concept of climate is..naive?…Juvenile?…

      Agriculture is based on a sense of cliamte stability in a growing region

      and

      Climate does behave in a cause-effect manner since it’s governed by physical principles

      Go figure!

      What you describe as physical principles in governig climate is simple that: Earth is a round ball and geographical features are displaced in this manner.
      What have your arguments to do with this blog discussion?
      What you are saying is that you don’t expect an ice cap at Manaus and a Cocoa forest at Barrow!
      So what?

      If you like to know about the Holocene climate (in)stability or non linear and complex climate system, you can start from this paper.

      More important, what is easy to understand is that if you think that external forcings drive the climate of this planet and without perturbations the climate is stable, i.e. the heat content doesn’t change, in case of pertubations (more GHGs added to the system) you have to find more heat somewhere in the system (in the ocean).
      If the ocean in the last years has not gained more energy, your assumption has liquefied as snow under the Spring Sun.

  268. Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    //”Earth has been in equilibrium until the industrial age?”//

    Depends on how far back you want to go. The whole Holocene has been pretty stable, with the early Holocene marked by changed geographic sunlight distribution, and mild bumps at the LIA and MWP. Changes between the glacial and interglacial cycles have been much larger, mostly as a result of albedo change (due to ice sheet disintegration) and greenhouse gas changes that occurred over several thousand years.

    I’m reluctant to elaborate on Ruddiman because I haven’t read his views in detail, but anthropogenic activities did have an effect before industrial times through deforestation and slight GHG changes, but I doubt that we “offset an ice age” as some take it to be. Very large regional changes but over the globe anthropogenic activties were likely small enough to be swamped by natural variability before industrial time (see e.g., Pongratz et al 2009 in GRL)

    • MJW
      Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 12:43 AM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#365),

      The whole Holocene has been pretty stable, with the early Holocene marked by changed geographic sunlight distribution, and mild bumps at the LIA and MWP.

      Given that it’s been a major focus of this website, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any reaction to the claim that the MWP and LIA are just “mild bumps” compared, presumably, to the warming during the 20th century. What, besides Mann and warmed-over Mann, supports this claim?

  269. Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    And the part I didn’t answer,

    Looking for global warming in the oceans is a very good idea. Trends in ocean heat content (not over 5 years people!) show that the Earth is no in equilibrium, as that is where most of the excess energy is dumped.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#366),

      Okay so you agree with many scientists that ocean heat content is a good metric. Why do you say five period without warming is not important? How many years are required to cause you to question if AGW will be catastrophic? And can you relate a physical theory to the number of years required?

    • Dave Dardinger
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#366),

      Trends in ocean heat content (not over 5 years people!) show that the Earth is no in equilibrium

      I’m not sure what the latest is on ocean heat content. But I don’t think there’s really much heat going into the deep ocean. Most all of the water which sinks into the ocean comes from water which has its density increased by a combination of cooling and ice-formation. This cold dense water then sinks around the edges of the polar seas and replaces the rising cold waters in places like Chile. But since the water is going to be about 0 deg C in any case, it’s not going to warm the bottom. A small amount of heat will diffuse away from the surface or “rivers” like the gulf stream. But it won’t have any effect to speak of for centuries.

      It’d be nice to be more precise at this point, but really there’s just not enough known either to do back of the envelope calculations or create a model which isn’t dependent on the creator’s assumptions.

      BTW, didn’t I show you already how to use the “reply and paste link” thingee below the message number to let you automatically create your message header? It’s really a big help not just to the writer but to the people following a thread to know precisely what you’re replying to. Not using it makes you seem, I don’t know, out of the loop.

      • bender
        Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

        Re: Dave Dardinger (#372),
        This issue of OHC is critical. According to Hansen it’s rising OHC that implies the Earth is out of radiative balance (implying committed warming “in the pipe”). If OHC is not, in fact, rising, well, …

  270. tty
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    I should think it is obvious. The PETM was a very abrupt temperature rise followed by an equally abrupt return to the original temperature, all within ca 100 kyr. This was superimposed on a much slower long-term temperature rise that started back in the late Cretaceous and culminated in the early Eocene, about 5 million years after the PETM, followed by a long-term decline in temperatures (which is still going on). This latter decline might be due to increased erosion of the Himalayas. However unless you postulate an short episode of superfast erosion which stopped abruptly as soon as temperatures had returned to pre-PETM level, it couldn’t very well explain the abrupt end of the PETM and the fact that the long-term rise then continued at the same rate as before the PETM.

    • bender
      Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:51 PM | Permalink

      Re: tty (#502),
      Fine. Can you support this interpretation with citations from the primary literature?

      • D. Patterson
        Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 2:12 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#503),

        One soure with references to explore:

        Benjamin S. Cramer, Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Tohoku University, Sendai, 982-0262, Japan; Dennis V. Kent, Department of Geological Sciences, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY, 10964, USA. Bolide summer: the Paleocene/Eocene thermal maximum as a response to an extraterrestrial trigger. Manuscript in press in “Paleobiotic changes in Earth History and their causes”, a special issue of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

        As recent high-resolution data have demonstrated that the onset of the event was geologically instantaneous, attempts to account for the event solely through endogenous mechanisms have become increasingly strained. The rapid onset of the event indicates that it was triggered by a catastrophic event which we suggest was most likely a bolide impact….

  271. bender
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    Simon, I think you should be directing your complaint in #338 to Eddy in #334, but whatever.

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 6:50 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#375),

      Not a complaint, I was just clarifying what Hansen had said in the AGU presentation I’d linked to. I don’t know where the ‘runaway from 500ppm’ notion comes from – not from Hansen, I’d suggest. He does think that 500ppm puts the system at risk of major ice sheet loss, so perhaps that’s what people have in mind – that’s not what I’d term ‘runaway’ or explosive feedback, though.

  272. Bill Illis
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    Regarding the Paleoclimate,

    What hasn’t been properly taken into account by the pro-AGW people is continental drift and the weighting of the continents toward the poles. The ability of ocean currents to get to the cold polar regions and redistribute heat is a significant part of this equation.

    The hothouse climates occur when the continents are more weighted towards the equator and when the deep thermohaline ocean circulation can move cold water from both poles to the warmer equatorial regions and visa versa.

    The ice age and colder climates occur when the continents are weighted more toward the poles and especially if they over the poles. Glaciers do not build up and spread out over the ocean, they only do that over the land. Throw in the poles being closed off to ocean circulation and the reduced albedo from the glaciers (and sea ice) and the earth warms or cools.

    Here are four maps of the continents during the 4 major ice ages over the last 620 million years.

    It is not hard to see the correlation. (But there are some periods when the continental weighting argument does not work assuming the continental positions are accurately located in the paleo timelines.)

    Snowball Earth continental positions 620 million years ago.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/15/SnowballGeography.gif

    Ordivician ice age 440 million years ago.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/MiddleOrdovicianGlobal.jpg

    Carboniferous ice age 300 million years ago.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/LateCarboniferousGlobal.jpg

    Last Glacial Maximum.

    http://www.scotese.com/images/LGM.jpg

    You don’t need CO2 if you take this view. Even the ending of Snowball Earth can be explained as the continents starting breaking up and some moved toward the equator.

  273. Gerald Browning
    Posted Mar 8, 2009 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Bender (#320),

    You got my point thru to Judith without it being snipped. :-)

    Jerry

  274. ianl
    Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    This thread has been interesting in that such as Ryan Maue and Chris Colose have slowly become involved (albeit somewhat reluctantly at first) in engaging with the “hoi-polloi”. This is a definite and welcome improvement on using the populist media as simplistic megaphones.

    I’m yet to be convinced that CO2 increases of the magnitudes measured to date are sufficient to cause significant climate perturbations (still a lot of arm waving as you read their posts chronologically), but at least I can appreciate that they are aware of the empirical objections to AGW theory that other people have – until this thread I was unsure of that.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

      Re: ianl (#387),

      If you use Google Scholar, you will learn Ryan Maue and Curt Covey are the published scientists on climate – not Chris Colose.

      • ianl
        Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 3:57 PM | Permalink

        Re: Ron Cram (#392),

        Thanks Ron – although it really doesn’t matter to me a lot, it’s the engagement of discussion without too much of the false dinity front that I find encouraging.

        There also seems to me a logical fallacy in the AGW response to the last decade of NON-increasing global temperature means:

        as I understand it, the pause in warming that we actually observe over the last decade is attributed to latency in ocean warming – but the observed temperature rise in the previous 20 years is down to increased CO2 levels. So why did “latency” decide to assert itself after 20 years ?

        • ianl
          Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

          Re: ianl (#419),

          “dinity” should have been “dignity”, of course

        • Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

          Re: ianl (#419),

          ianl, it’s not hard to understand that natural variability swamps CO2 forcing on timescales of a a decade since the small scale trend is less than the variations inherent in the climate system from ENSO. For instance, if one can bring colder, deep water up to the surface then that can show up as a flatline for a while in global mean temperature, but eventually the excess energy has to go somewhere.

        • Alex Harvey
          Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

          Re: Chris Colose (#422), this is off-topic for this thread (perhaps you might consider responding by writing up a post at your blog?), but you are surely familiar with the work of Roger Pielke Sr., and his many recent blog posts and journal articles, e.g. his ‘Is there heating in the Pipeline? NO!’ post from a few days ago. Rather than just asserting that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, surely the world needs proper dialogue on this issue. Having an environmentalist like Pielke Sr. who is also a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences just shrugged off like this isn’t really appropriate, given the importance of this issue.

        • ianl
          Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

          Re: Chris Colose (#589),

          Oh dear, a non-answer to the question. Good one, Chris

          Ron Cram at least admitted he didn’t really know.

          If oceanic latency is “current warming in the pipeline”, why did this latency quite suddenly assert itself (ie. between 1999 and 2001) after 20 years of what we are told is CO2-induced warming ?

          This is a simple, direct question – I really don’t know the answer and hope for a direct one. The more the Colose’s avoid direct answers, the more bodgy seems the theoretical explanation for observed levelling in global mean temperatures.

        • Ron Cram
          Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

          Re: ianl (#419),

          I agree. A lot of very bright people come here and discuss complicated issues with grace. Regarding latency, you ask a good question. I might hazard a guess but I won’t.

  275. Edouard
    Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

    @Chris Colose

    I’m not convinced that the MWP and the LIA were small bumps in the holocene climate reconstruction. Paleoclimatologists tell us, that the summers 2003 and 2006 were the warmest in more than 10.000 years in Europe. Well, I live in Europe and was skiing in the alps 2 weeks ago. I can tell you that the glaciers are growing again. After 2006 the glaciers retreated to an extend that is approximatively the same than in the MWP.

    http://alpen.sac-cas.ch/html_d/archiv/2004/200406/ad_2004_06_12.pdf

    From historic weather reports and other writings, we know, that during the last 100 years the winters are warmer than normal in Europe. We also know, that the winters have been colder in the MWP (frozen rivers etc.).

    If the glaciers are at the same level than around 1200 AD, and the LIA was the coldest period in the alps for the last 10.000 years, the summers must have been just as warm in the MWP than 2003 or 2006. Or could there be another reason for the big melting of the glaciers of the alps at that time?

    During the roman warmperiod, glacier tongues were even 300 m higher than today.

    Knowing all these things, knowing that greenland did melt during the MWP, ang knowing the work of Mr Mangini, who derives the climate from stalagmites, I am convinced that the MWP was a global climate shift, just as was the LIA.

    http://www.iup.uni-heidelberg.de/institut/forschung/Forschungsdatenbank/Projektbeschreibung?key=id&value=124

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/mangini2005/mangini2005.html

    Mangini says that the MWP was a global phenomenon and that climate shifts from 1 – 3 ° C were normal during the holocene. His project DEKLIM tries to explain these climateshifts during the holocene.

    I have serious doubts about climate reconstructions that try to flatten the MWP. It happened in the alps and in greenland. Mangini says that all the warmperiods during the holocene correlate with a higher activity of the sun.

    Above all, how could climate in the MWP have had the same effects than 2003 – 2006, if it was colder?

    I have also one thing to say about equilibrium. When climate warms there will be more heat stored and the opposite happens when it gets colder. There is no equilibrium today, there was none in the LIA and there was none 1950. Clouds change the earth’s capacity of retaining IR form hour to hour, from day to day an so on. Is there equilibrium? Are we sure about that?

    One more thing about weather and climate. As long as we don’t knwo why the effects of the milancovich cycles had a delay of 4000 years, we don’t understand climate. The same thing for the dansgaard oeschger events, which sometimes even failed to happen or had a delay of more than hundred years.
    Why should weather be a background noise for climate? Deniing the MWP and the LIA just prevents us from understanding climate. Today we are told that La Nina is a global weather mechanism. Are you really sure that there exist no other similar patterns?

    We know that it will be warmer in 2100. Why can’t we wait before we pretend that we understand climate and weather? This is a really THE great opportunity to observe and understand climate.

    In the meantime we can try to preserve our earth from loosing all her resources, biodiversity and health. Do sceptic people have to be treated the way they are toda?

    Scientists should not forget that most laymen and women are sceptic in one way or the other. Treating sceptics like terrorists or morones is not very nice. No matter what Hansen said exactly, no thinking person can really believe what he says.

    Best regards
    Eddy

    • KevinUK
      Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

      Re: Edouard (#389),

      Eddy, relative to pre-Holocene temperature variations the MWP and LIA are ‘small bumps’ and the overall Holocene period has been relatively stable compared to the eras before it. But so what? What matters is that we are in the Holocene now and so we should compare apples with apples and not apples with oranges. What far more important is how has the temperature varied during our current climate era. How significant is the recent claimed ‘unprecedented warming’ period at the end of the 20th century?

      Here is a link to a very interesting informative video by Bob Carter in which he presents several charts which put the claims of recent ‘unprecedented warming’ due to man’s use of fossil fuels into the content of past warming events.

      Climate Change – Is CO2 the cause? – Pt 1 of 4

      Note about 5:29 into part 1 he presents a chart showing ‘green bands’ which highlight the various ‘warming periods’ that have occurred within the last 10,000 years. Bob’s main point which he makes about 6:30 into part one is that there is absolutely nothing exceptional about the magnitude of the recent ‘so called’ modern warming period.

      KevinUK

  276. Edouard
    Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    What Hansen really said:

    “There may have been times in the Earth’s history when CO2 was as high as 4000 ppm without causing a runaway greenhouse effect. But the solar irradiance was less at that time.
    What is different about the human-made forcing is the rapidity at which we are increasing it, on the time scale of a century or a few centuries. It does not provide enough time for negative feedbacks, such as changes in the weathering rate, to be a major factor.
    There is also a danger that humans could cause the release of methane hydrates, perhaps more rapidly than in some of the cases in the geologic record.
    In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale (a.k.a. oil shale), I think it is a dead certainty.
    That would be the ultimate Faustian bargain. Mephistopheles would carry off shrieking not only the robber barons, but, unfortunately and permanently, all life on the planet.”

  277. Edouard
    Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    Hansen says:

    “Clearly, if we burn all fossil fuels, we will destroy the planet we know. Carbon dioxide would increase to 500 ppm or more. We would set the planet on a course to the ice-free state, with sea level 75 metres higher. Climatic disasters would occur continually.”

    read above:

    “In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect.”

    What more can I say???

    • bender
      Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 11:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: Edouard (#578),
      Eddy, what’s your source for the Hansen quote?

  278. Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    Paolo, I think everyone studying climate expects non-linear behavior out of it, thresholds (e.g., with the MOC), but few people treat it as a system governed by pure chaos (if chaotic at all).

    As for Hansen and the runaway greenhouse, I wonder if all of you guys can agree on the story: is it “burn all coal and tar” or “500 ppm?” This reminds me of the game I played in high school where you’d line up 20 people, the teacher would whisper a sentence in one persons ear who would then whisper that in the next persons ear and so on down the line; by the 20th person the original sentence was completely different.

    Re: Ron Cram (#392),

    No, I’m a student, so maybe I’ll be there in some time. But I can read documents and textbooks and get information from those who know just like everyone else. I have the background to answer the general questions which have been discussed here. If you believe the information that is available in those scholarly documents or academic respources is wrong, write your own papers and win your nobel prize, don’t attack the messenger. You’ve asked questions and I believe I answered them. Those who get much information from blogs like WUWT or “Swindle videos” may not like those answers, but that’s life.

    • bender
      Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#579),
      Chris, can you be more specific about what part of Eddy’s Hansen quote that you disagree with? It’s a direct quote not cobbled together from disparate sources, which is what you suggested earlier. (No apology necessary for your erroneous assumption.)
      .
      Also: Simon, since you too are complaining about the quoting/interpretation of the 500ppm threshold. If Eddy’s quote is correct, then Hansen clearly believes that 500ppm could be a critical threshold given that the fast positive feedback occurs faster than the slow negative feedback. (Perhaps you were ignoring feedback time scale differences?) Care to reconsider your evaluation?

    • bender
      Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 8:21 AM | Permalink

      Re: Chris Colose (#579),

      but few people treat it as a system governed by pure chaos (if chaotic at all)

      Gavin Schmidt himself has admitted that climate is chaotic at all time scales. I can probably find the quote and the original source if you insist. What are your sources for the alternative view? Please don’t dodge this one. Climate is indeed chaotic.

  279. Edouard
    Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

    @Chris Colose

    I missed the best:

    “The coldest European winter was 1708/1709; 2003 was by far the hottest summer.”

  280. bender
    Posted Mar 9, 2009 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Is Eddy’s quote from “The Observer”, Sunday 15 February 2009? If so, then why could Chris Colose not locate the quote as I did, using google?
    .
    Chris & Simon: when I put together my Hansen citations they were drawn from his Kingsnorth testimony, to which Edouard’s quote is directly related. Can I assume you have both read the Kingsnorth testimony?

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#596),

      bender, there’s no reference that I can find to runaway feedback in Hansen’s Kingsnorth testimony.

      Hansen’s words from the ‘Sword of Damocles’ article make little sense to me (“if we burn all fossil fuels….Carbon dioxide would increase to 500 ppm or more”), since they seem to suggest a much smaller figure for the CO2 ppm outcome than I would expect. In terms of CO2eq figures, the IPCC emissions scenarios represent concentrations of 600, 700, 800, 850, 1250 and 1550ppm by 2100, and we’re probably on course to hit 500ppm CO2eq by the 2050s. FWIW, I’d agree that Hansen could do with clarifying what he’s saying about anticipated atmospheric concentrations from burning all fossil fuels.

      • bender
        Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

        Re: Simon Evans (#607),
        You are correct that Hansen does not use the word “runaway” in the Kingsnorth testimony. What he says is:

        The single most pertinent number emerging from Cenozoic climate studies is the level of atmospheric CO2 at which ice sheets began to form as the planet cooled during the past 50 million years. Our research suggests that this tipping point was at about 450 ppm of CO2 (http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1126 and http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.1135). The history of the Earth’s climate shows that global ice cover is reversible, although climate inertia slows the response. If humanity is so foolish as to burn all fossil fuels, thus more than doubling atmospheric CO2 from its pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, we will have set the planet on an inexorable course to an ice-free state, with all the disasters that such a course must hold for man and beast.

        It is the “inexorability” that I’m pointing to. i.e. The runaway train runs for awhile before it stops, if ever. Whether it ultimately stops at ice-free Earth Hansen never says. To my reading this is “runaway feedback”. The feedback causes the climate system to “inexorably” run away from the icy state. Whether GMT stops, i.e. whether a higher equilibrium point (stopping state) exists is, in my mind, a totally separate question. That’s about whether it’s “runto” feedback, as opposed to “runaway” feedback.

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#611),

          We have a different view of the word, which is not a problem if we’re clear as to what we’re saying. I agree that Hansen considers this tipping point territory, and that he is warning of an uncontrollable major shift from one state to another. If we are distinguishing that from a Venus-type runaway, where feedback rate is presumed to have exceeded forcing, then that’s fine (though Hansen seems to think that would kick in if we burned absolutely everything).

          Incidentally, the question of what Hansen thinks burning all fossil fuels amounts to is dependent upon his estimate of reserves, of course. I’m discussing this elsewhere at present – there’s an interesting case to be put that the IPCC’s figures for reserves are high if we consider reserves as being determined by the current economic viability of extraction.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#612),
          To my knowledge most alarmists consider the Venusian scenario a strawman.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#613),

          To my knowledge most alarmists consider the Venusian scenario a strawman.

          1. I did not and do not include Hansen in that majority/consensus category: “most”.
          2. The phrase “To my knowledge” indicates a willingness to revise an opinion based on fact. What does IPCC 4AR make of Venusian scenarios?

        • ianl
          Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#612),

          Simon

          This is a point off the main thrust (unthreaded as it is, anyway), but when discussing “how long a particular finite resource may last” (eg. coal, oil, gas) there are two (2) absolutely critical measurements to make:

          1) the actual resource still remaining in the ground – generally measured in tonnes, megalitres, whatever
          2) the anticipated rate of consumption

          This point has been my bread and butter for over 30 years as a practising geologist, so I have considerable experience in it’s actual application

          If we say, OK there are 8 billion tonnes of xxxxx left at current commercial requirements, we need to have some idea of the annual rate of consumption before we can say how long it will last. If we don’t consume, it will last until old Sol there goes supernova

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

          Re: ianl (#619),

          Ian,

          There’s an interesting Oil Barrel article here which reviews a number of recent papers on ‘peak fossil fuels’ –

          http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5084

          Also here an article by Dave Rutledge on the subject –

          http://www.theoildrum.com/node/2697

          If he’s right that coal reserves have been greatly overstated, then the IPCC high fossil fuels scenarios won’t be realised through to the end of the century. He makes the telling point that 17 out of 40 scenarios actually have world oil production higher in 2100 than 2000, and suggests that the assumptions about future coal production are also disconnected from the likely realities. Either way, we’d need to be developing alternatives.

        • ianl
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 1:55 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#621),

          Simon

          I don’t want to push the point much (I have too much to do with it during routine working time), but the issues here are:

          1) the differences between resource and reserve. Essentially, resource is defined as that which can be measured with varying degrees of confidence; reserve is a resource with relevant economic parameters overlaid on it (thus reducing the total measured resource estimate)

          2) accurate reporting of these two measurements. No OPEC country publically reports oil reserves in a meaningful way (JORC) that can be trusted. No Government reports uranium oxide resource/reserve figures that can be trusted either. This is because politicians see this issue as part of national security

          3) coal resources globally are wildly under-reported (there are many deposits only marginally explored and essentially unmeasured). Reported coal reserves fluctuate constantly in accordance with demand price

          I wasn’t suggesting that homo sapiens stop looking for alternate energy supplies (I’m afraid that is your straw man), only that “peak oil, peak gas, peak coal” alarmists have no clue. That they like being published with sensational headlines doesn’t change this fact, it only changes uncritical public perceptions.

          I suppose what irritates me most is that most people prefer to believe the “peak” alarmists with their penchant for public self-aggrandisement rather than dispassionate geological measurements with the caveats noted above. But I have become quite used to that.

          A current example:

          Q: who is currently spending the most “R&D” financing in the Antarctic region ?
          A: the Russians, actually. They have been geophysically exploring the ocean floors with two large ships every southern summer for over 10 years. Very methodical and persistent, as well as expensive. What may they have found ? See 2) above

          Yes, I know the Antarctic is currently off-limits for development (ie. reserves) but the resource is there and as yet unaccounted for.

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

          Re: ianl (#666),

          Ian, I don’t have a judgment on peak fossil fuels. I was merely pointing out that if someone (Hansen in this case) talks about burning all fossil fuels having x effect we need to know how much he thinks could be burnt. It turns out that Hansen reckons there is probably less fossil fuel available than is presumed by the IPCC high end emission scenarios, which explains his statement of a low figure (500+ppm)for atmospheric concentration of C02 from burning it all.

        • Jeff Alberts
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#612),

          We have a different view of the word, which is not a problem if we’re clear as to what we’re saying. I agree that Hansen considers this tipping point territory, and that he is warning of an uncontrollable major shift from one state to another. If we are distinguishing that from a Venus-type runaway, where feedback rate is presumed to have exceeded forcing, then that’s fine (though Hansen seems to think that would kick in if we burned absolutely everything).

          Incidentally, the question of what Hansen thinks burning all fossil fuels amounts to is dependent upon his estimate of reserves, of course. I’m discussing this elsewhere at present – there’s an interesting case to be put that the IPCC’s figures for reserves are high if we consider reserves as being determined by the current economic viability of extraction.

          Hansen is explicitly saying 500 ppm. It’s irrelevant whether this means burning all fossil fuels or not. The question is, why is 500 ppm the magic number?

        • romanm
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Alberts (#668),

          Actually, the way I read it from glancing at a number of hansen’s recent personal expositions and publications in journals, the magic figure for the “tipping point” is 450 +/- 100 CO2. The apparent reason mentioned in various places can be found in this abstract:

          Decreasing CO2 was the main cause of a cooling trend that began 50 million years ago, the planet being nearly ice-free until CO2 fell to 450±100 ppm; barring prompt policy changes, that critical level will be passed, in the opposite direction, within decades.

          It seems to be the figure he arrived from his paleo analyses. He considers it a tipping point because he believes that polar ice disappears because the CO2 is too high. Once the ice is gone, the climate is rolling along on its own steam (so to speak).

          Requiring that we need to become Venus-like for it to be called “runaway” is a myopic straw-man position since Hansen believes that the previously mentioned changes he predicts would be catastrophic.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

          Re: romanm (#671),

          Requiring that we need to become Venus-like for it to be called “runaway” is a myopic straw-man position

          Exactly. In fact I think I can find a paraphrase of that position from our friends at RC.
          .
          That is why I distinguish between the nature of the feedback and the states that the system is being drive “to” or “away” from. “450+/-100 ppm CO2″ is the “tipping point” beyond which further increase is “inexorable”. It’s almost a direct quote from Hansen. I don’t see that there’s anything to quibble about. Search this thread. Neither I nor Hansen introduced the term “Venus”.
          .
          [clip - mild, but don't bait the bear, please]

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#675),

          Neither I nor Hansen introduced the term “Venus”.

          What? Have you not read the AGU presentation?

          Climate Threat to the Planet
          The Venus Syndrome

          “The Venus syndrome is the greatest threat to the planet, to humanity’s continued existence.”

          “If the planet gets too warm, the water vapor feedback can cause a runaway greenhouse effect. The ocean boils into the atmosphere and life is extinguished.”

          “Now the danger that we face is the Venus syndrome. There is no escape from the Venus Syndrome. Venus will never have oceans again. Given the solar constant that we have today, how large a forcing must be maintained to cause runaway global warming? Our model blows up before the oceans boil, but it suggests that perhaps runaway conditions could occur with added forcing as small as 10-20 W/m2.”

          How on earth it can be suggested that I am pursuing a strawman when this is what Hansen has stated is beyond me. What a bizarre dialogue!

        • Ryan O
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#677), Simon, you’re missing the point. Bender has clarified what he meant by “runaway feedback”, and his clarification matches Hansen’s statements about 500ppm. You are attempting to restrict the end-state of “runaway feedback” to Hansen’s usage of the term in the AGU presentation when bender has made it clear that is not what he is discussing.

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#677),

          Hansen is not, to my knowledge, posting on this thread.

          Eddy introduced ‘Venus’ in post 518:

          I don’t know why there could be no running away greenhouse effect. Many scientists think this had happended on Venus and Mr. HANSEN thinks this will happen with 500ppm Co2 on Earth.

          Then Eddy states entirely correctly in 523 that:

          At the AGU he speaks about a runaway greenhouse effect:

          “In my opinion, if we burn all coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway green house effect.”

          Eddy did not quote Hansen’s ‘Venus statements’ from the AGU presentation, but anyone who’d read it would know of them. Therefore we have on this thread had references to the Venus-type runaway Hansen discussed at the AGU, and thus your complaint is spurious.

          Re: Ryan O (#679),

          Ryan,

          The entire context of the discussion was clearly not about a Venusian end-state

          Well, if you look back to posts 518 and 523, which is about where the discussion started, you may see why I take a different view.

          I’d find it interesting to take up with you the discussion of runaway feedback (I’ve not anywhere suggested infinite progression, by the way), but not here and now, I think. It seems to me significant that Hansen has raised the consideration of the ‘Venus syndrome’ and it would be important to understand exactly what conditions he thinks could trigger that. This was, I think, what Eddy was interested in discussing in the first place.

        • Ryan O
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 12:16 PM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#688),

          Well, if you look back to posts 518 and 523, which is about where the discussion started, you may see why I take a different view.

          .
          Eddy is not bender. Bender is not Eddy. Bender clarified what he meant and even quoted the relevant Hansen statement (post #611), – which was not the same as Eddy’s.
          .
          Of course, the root cause of all of this confusion is Hansen’s wishy-washy use of words and figures. If he were explicit, there would be nothing for you and bender to argue about.
          .
          I, however, will step out of this one now. If I post more about it, I will merely end up repeating myself.
          . :)

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ryan O (#697),

          Ryan, please see the following post:

          Re: bender (#653),

          Actually, it was me who started by tweaking Chris: “Chris, where are you?” But he deserves it for not answering the questions about Hansen’s runaway feedback. Just as Simon deserves what he got for not being fully familiar with the Hansen literature. Hansen’s argument is pretty clear in the Kingsnorth testimony and the follow-up cited by Eddy. Eddy’s only fault was that he didn’t give the linkie. Curious though, that I found the source and reported it, whereas Chris and Simon did not. I get the impression these guys are more interested in reporting distortions of Hansen-speak at CA than in understanding what Hansen actually says.

          That was what I responded to last night (I can’t explain how I responded, since the posts have since been removed). Please note, though, that bender refers to “Hansen’s runaway feedback”, makes the unfounded suggestion that I have not read the relevant papers, then refers to “the follow-up cited by Eddy”. That is precisely what I have just referred to, to which you respond “Eddy is not bender”. Indeed not, but bender’s words above are bender’s.

          You may note the suggestion above that “these guys are more interested in reporting distortions of Hansen-speak at CA than in understanding what Hansen actually says”. I trust that you will understand why, in response to that, I have taken the trouble to clarify what Hansen has said. I do not appreciate the suggestion that I am engaging in distortion, especially when I have taken care to use direct quotation and to provide links to my sources.

          Like you, though, I will leave this matter now (I hope so anyway).
          :-)

        • bender
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#698),

          unfounded suggestion that I have not read the relevant papers

          Please snip this comment as my suggestion is in fact founded. As Mark T has observed: my definition is consistent with that assumed by the average engineer working with feedback controlled systems. Only a person not familiar with the engineering literature would fail to recognize my definition as valid. Hence my suggestion.

          RomanM: bender, behave!

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#701),

          my definition is consistent with that assumed by the average engineer working with feedback controlled systems.

          Even a student, in fact, in his 3rd/4th year, should have the necessary background. I had 2 semesters of system theory and 2 semesters of control theory by the end of my senior year, though not all schools, nor programs, follow the same guidelines. Mechanical and electrical programs probably spend the most time in these two areas, btw. Wikipedia’s information falls under the “true but not accurate” interpretation, IMO (you sort of need to read between the lines regarding what is being stated sometimes).

          Mark

        • bender
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ryan O (#697),
          Hansen’s arguments are just fuzzy enough that they are open to multiple, subtly different interpretations. So it is unfair to dimiss my interpretations as “misrepresentations”. Only Hansen can really make that call. And I’m not criticizing Hansen on this count; the precision of his arguments is obviously limited by the quality of his data. My big beef with Hansen is the just-so nature of his storylines and the absence of transparent, statistically robust estimation methods.
          .
          FWIW I don’t find myself disagreeing with Simon very much on our reads of Hansen. My disagreement is in his overly aggressive attempts to dismiss my reads as “misrepresentations”. I will ask that he be snipped every time he unfairly invokes that claim. The honest thing to do in these cases is to ask for a clarification before going hog-wild accusing people of misrepresenting facts. Anything less is, well … suspect.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

          Re: Ryan O (#697),
          In fact there was a discussion within a discussion, not one discussion. The narrower one was on the definition of “runaway” feedback. The broader one – one I don’t have much to comment on – is the one about Venusian warming scenarios. The Venusian scenario is a “red herring” as far as the narrower discussion, but is relevant to the broader discussion – in which I have little interest. Other than to say: many alarmists consider it to be a “straw man”, even if Hansen does not.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jeff Alberts (#668),

          The question is, why is 500 ppm the magic number?

          Because we have a chance of getting there in the next several decades?

          Mark

        • Jeff Alberts
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#673),

          Because we have a chance of getting there in the next several decades?

          Perhaps, but again a global CO2 measurement is as useless as a global mean temperature.

  281. Patrick Hadley
    Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    Chris Colose can perhaps tell us what he understands Hansen’s position to be. He says that he can pretty much guarantee that Hansen never said there would be a runaway at 500ppm, and that a runaway is impossible with Earth conditions.

    Hansen has often put the level of CO2 we would reach if we burn all the coal and tar to be at least 500 ppm. He also often says that if we burn all the coal and tar then we will have the runaway greenhouse effect. For example there was the Bjerknes lecture where in the section headed “The Venus Syndrome” he said that if we burn all coal that would make a runaway possible, if we burn the coal and the tar then a runaway would be a dead certainty.

    It seems to me that Hansen is basing his conclusion that burning coal tar will cause a runaway effect on a belief that CO2 at 500ppm will cause the runaway effect. That is by far the most likely understanding of his reasoning, but I suppose that it is possible that Hansen thinks that burning all the coal and tar will cause the runaway effect by other means than raising the CO2 level to 500ppm or more. So Chris Colose, who denies that Hansen thinks that 500ppm will cause the runaway effect, should perhaps tell us his understanding of what it is that Hansen thinks will cause a runaway (Venus-like) greenhouse effect.

    • bender
      Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

      Re: Patrick Hadley (#599),
      What I want to understand is why Chris Colose is trying to distance himself from those statements that Hansen made. Does he find them unlikely? Alarmist? Distasteful? Unbelievable? I’ve asked once already but gotten no answer, other than some nonsense about denialist bloggers’ surgical skill in Frankensteining Hansen’s media quotes. And now some other nonsense about denialists repeating each other’s misinformation. Dodginess noted. But what’s the answer, Chris?

  282. bender
    Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

    Here is a quote from Tom Vonk:

    That is what I have been saying here for the past 2 years – climate is chaotic on all time scales from 1 hour to hundreds of thousand years .

    It has infinitely amused me that Gavin Schmidt in a vain hope to save the predictive skill of “his” model has stated that it also reproduced chaotic behaviour and its Lyapunov coefficient was positive .

    Perhaps Chris would like to take on Tom & Gavin in a discussion?

  283. Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    bender, what Chris says is kind of true: “few people treat it as a system governed by pure chaos (if chaotic at all)” in the sense that many climate models are so simplified, so low-resolution and so strongly damped that they settle to an equilibrium. The gullible brainwashed, like Chris, accept this as fact. In fact of course Tom is right, the climate is chaotic all scales.

    • bender
      Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

      Re: PaulM (#603),
      It may be a factual statement about the “few” who “treat it” a particular way (although the “if chaotic at all” qualifier sort of nullifies that interpretation). I took it as a statement of advocacy – that treating it as chaotic would be incorrect. But of course the system is not governed by “pure” chaos! What kind of strawman is that? My beef really is with the “if chaotic at all” qualifier. What is it intended to signify?

  284. Tom Vonk
    Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    Only to avoid misunderstandings .
    .
    While Gavin indeed said and wrote that his model reproduced chaotic behaviour with a positive Lyapounov coefficient , he didn’t go sofar as to say that it was chaotic at all time scales .
    He finally understood that if the models weren’t chaotic then it would stand up like a sore thumb that they are completely unrealistic .
    However to be fair he is not suicidary enough to add the “all time scales” bit because then he could put the predictive skills of the models where the sun never shines and begin to look for another job .
    .
    The situation is actually that everybody agrees that the climate is chaotic at small scales (say some years and below) and on large scales (dozen of thousands of years and above) .
    The former is due to the chaotic behaviour of Navier Stokes and the latter to the chaotic behaviour of the Earth’s orbital parameters .
    To this effect I would like to remind that the predictability horizont of the Earth’s orbital parameters is only about 10 millions years . This is ridiculously few and beyond that nobody has a clue of what they were/will be .
    .
    So that leaves a window with time scales of 100 – 1000 years .
    This is precisely where the so called climate “models” are – at the low end of this window .
    And our climate modellers tell us that in the ocean of chaos there is a miraculous small window of classical determinsmus and as we are a lucky bunch , it is precisely in this window where they make predictions to our greatest benefit .
    Of course they never came up with an argument why such a window should exist and precisely on those scales but I think that nobody on this blog expects any answers that actually count from those guys .
    .
    Outside of this small group however , there are many people (me included) who think that chaotic systems are chaotic on all time scales .
    Others like D.Koutsoyannis come to similar conclusions by other more statistical ways like fractionnal gaussian , long term persistence , scaling processes etc .
    Tsonis presents an extremely powerful and simple idea that the system is driven by a non linear interaction among multidecadal oscillators (PDO , NAO etc) which again results in global chaotic behaviour and , in this case , interestingly precisely at time scales that are in the supposedly deterministic window .

    Well while thinking about it right now , I couldn’t even cite a single example of a chaotic system with such a unnatural “windowy” behaviour .
    .
    In any case the words “all time scales” were mine and not Gavin’s .
    .

    • bender
      Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

      Re: Tom Vonk (#605),
      I’ll find the quote for you, Tom. Perhaps it was more moderate. Perhaps it was that climate “exhibited natural variation at all time scales”. I’ll find it.

    • Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

      Re: Tom Vonk (#605), Re: bender (#606),
      but the others (not the few who Colose is referring to) think that with no external forcing the climate goes around its attractor. So, allowing enough time to cover the attractor, the climate is predictable.
      I wasn’t able to understand how long would be the time required to cover the attractor, but if the attractor is as they think, then the climate would be predictable.
      Of course I think that the attractor is quite complex, filled with abrupt changes, tipping points, bifurcations…right the characteristic of a non linear, complex system.

      • Tom Vonk
        Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

        Re: Paolo M. (#610),

        Who thinks that ?
        Because the way you expressed it , it looks really absurd .
        There is only one external supply of energy – the Sun and an energy supply coupled to a dissipative system is a necessary and almost sufficient condition to have a chaotic system .
        The CO2 (or whatever other molecule) concentration is one of the multitude of internal degrees of freedom of the system – there is no “forcing” be it external or internal .
        .
        Of course that the chaotic attractor contains points of the phase space with all possible different CO2 concentration .
        Even an infinity and many of them have already been visited in the past 4 billions years .
        Even if the topology of the attractor was known , what it isn’t and will never be , it wouldn’t make the system more predictable !
        .
        I am under the impression that those sofar unspecified “others” confuse the attractor and a trajectory in the phase space .
        There are no “abrupt changes” in the attractor , they are in trajectories .
        And there are very probably no “tipping points” in the attractor either .

        • Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

          Re: Tom Vonk (#615),
          regarding abrupt changes, I badly spoke of it about the attractor and not the trajectories.

          Regarding the external forcing, usually we refer to man made CO2 as an external forcing, as, I think, it could be a volcanic eruption, solar changes, etc. I agree, anyway, that these are some of the degrees of freedom of the system.

          I was having a discussion in an italian weblog with a climate modelist and he says that it is quite clear that the mean and the variability of the system don’t change if the internal dynamics doesn’t change or the forcing doesn’t change. Because dynamics changes are not allowed (physics laws are fixed), every bifurcation has to be attributed to forcing changes.

        • Tom Vonk
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

          Re: Paolo M. (#617),

          I was having a discussion in an italian weblog with a climate modelist and he says that it is quite clear that the mean and the variability of the system don’t change if the internal dynamics doesn’t change or the forcing doesn’t change. Because dynamics changes are not allowed (physics laws are fixed), every bifurcation has to be attributed to forcing changes.

          That is even worse and doesn’t begin to make sense .
          I suspect that your “climate modeller” has not a clue what a chaotic system is .
          What mean and what variability ?
          Of course that means and variabilities change all the time !
          One has only to look at a cloud – there is nothing such as an “average” cloud .
          .
          An example – a simple 1 dimensionnal chaotic system like f.ex a diode circuit .
          We have 1 dynamic variable V(t) and a simple mathematical law governing the evolution .
          Let’s cut the time axis in intervals Ii with a constant arbitrary length T . Let Vi be the mean of V(t) over Ii and Si the standard deviation of V(t) over Ii .
          It is trivial that not only Vi and Si are not constant but they will depend on the (arbitrary) T .
          Moreover if you plot Vi as function of i , you will observe pseudo trends that have no signification because if you change T , those “trends” will disappear and others will appear .
          .
          Another example . You know this toy where you have a container with 2 differently coloured liquids of different density that don’t mix and that balances on a horizontal axis ?
          You see all kinds of different shapes , bubbles appear , merge and deform .
          So now compute an average colour what is equivalent to compute an average density for all points of the container over some arbitrary time interval .
          You will obtain a succession of pictures that are all different and will evolve differently regardless how long you observe . Change arbitrarily T and the “average” pictures change . Same dynamical laws , constant energy supply (gravity in this case) and yet unpredictible evolution where means have no signification .
          .
          A chaotic system presents no significant trends , no means and no variabilities because it simply is NOT a random system .
          What the technical term of “bifurcation” , indeed belonging to the chaos theory has to do with all that is another mystery .
          .
          A chaotic system doesn’t need any change in “forcing” to change especially as there is no forcing , there is only energy supply , energy dissipation and internal degrees of freedom (= dimension of the phase space) .
          A chaotic system is by definition out of equilibrium so WTH have equilibrium physics to do with that ?
          It is precisely chaotic because it runs all the time after an unachiavable equilibrium which is a moving target .

        • Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

          Re: Tom Vonk (#620),

          thank you very much for the time you spent to answer, I really appreciated your useful and interesting comments.

          My interlocutor defines himself as an expert in modelling complex systems as climate and artificial intelligence. He has also a paper in Kolmogorov system and Lorentz equations.

        • Tom Vonk
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

          Re: Paolo M. (#623),

          thank you very much for the time you spent to answer, I really appreciated your useful and interesting comments.

          My interlocutor defines himself as an expert in modelling complex systems as climate and artificial intelligence. He has also a paper in Kolmogorov system and Lorentz equations.

          Glad to have helped because I actually jumped in a thread that I didn’t follow only because I saw Bender posting there and I could have been wildly OT and useless .
          I have overflown the paper you linked about Kolmogorov&Lorentz equations .
          While the paper itself is not very interesting and mostly plays with higly theoretical toy models that are not really physical , the author apparently knows or should know what a chaotic system is .

          .
          Just one advice/warning . Chaos dynamics and the related ergodic theory are really difficult domains .
          They are generally only taught at graduate level for people who are specializing in this area .
          You can also come to them when you extend from another domain where you had enough expertise with hamiltonian mechanics (this was my case because originally I did quantum mechanics) .
          So if you want to go in there , be sure that you have the necessary tools and it will take time .
          .

          The problem I would like to understand is: How long I have to observe the unforced system to see that mean and variability don’t change.

          Tom Vonk seems to think that time frame does’t exist.

          Too vague a question . Mean of what ? Variability of what ? What distingushing forcing and unforcing ?
          But if I translate by saying : mean and standard deviation of one arbitrary dynamical degree of freedom over an arbitrary time interval in a dissipative system with a constant supply of energy .
          Then the answer is (but I already said so above) :
          – if the system is in equilibrium then you don’t need to wait . It’s already there .
          – if the system is random (D.Koutsoyiannis would more correctly say stochastical) then you’ll need to wait for a certain time but not too long unless it is fractionnal gaussian .
          – if the system is chaotic then you can wait forever and it will look pseudo random and pseudo periodical and pseudo all you want and everytime when you will think that it just stabilised , it will suddenly jump in another regime and laugh at you . Mother Nature sometimes likes to make us believe things :)

        • Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

          Re: Tom Vonk (#630), Re: bender (#627),
          you are so kind that I persevere in this “learning moment”.

          My trouble now is: why do you think that a chaotic system is chaotic at all time scale while Gavin and the like think that there is a magic time window in which a chaotic system becomes predictable?

          How can be that someone say that climate is just a buondary condition problem, so that given the CO2 forcing we can know the middle state of all the system variables?
          Is there an aswer?
          I’d like to understand the other part position.

          OK, then…pause…

        • bender
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

          Re: Paolo M. (#631),
          If you’d “like to understand the other part position”, you’d best ask them. Did you read the references of Hansen et al. (2008) that I listed in #381? I assume that this represents their view on the matter. What do those authors say, and why? Is this consistent or inconsistent with your view of what “Gavin and the like think”? (I kinda doubt they would agree with your use of language, i.e. “magic windows”.) Before you start picking away at perceived differences you should probably demonstrate that you understand the commonalities.

        • Ailee
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

          Re: Paolo M. (#631),

          My trouble now is: why do you think that a chaotic system is chaotic at all time scale while Gavin and the like think that there is a magic time window in which a chaotic system becomes predictable?

          How can be that someone say that climate is just a buondary condition problem, so that given the CO2 forcing we can know the middle state of all the system variables?
          Is there an aswer?
          I’d like to understand the other part position.

          I will not tell you what Gavin and his like think because I am not in their heads and don’t care to be .
          But I can tell you what I think about these predictability issues .
          .
          First the obvious that is contested by nobody .
          The weather and any temporal averages of its dynamical parameters (temperatures , humidities , concentrations , pressures , cloudiness etc) cannot be deterministically predicted . It doesn’t matter what is the scale choosen for the temporal averaging .
          Of particular interest is that I speak here of temporal LOCAL averages .
          Should one choose to do spatial averages and then temporally average the spatial averages , the problem becomes more complex but the conclusion stays .
          To be complete , I also add that for very short time scales (minutes , hours) where many dynamical parameters may be considered constant , the weather problem reduces to solving Navier Stokes equations . This can be approximated numerically so local deterministic predictions (with error bars) are possible for short times .
          However as the trajectories diverge exponentially , the prediction goes from wrong to meaningless when the time increases .
          .
          So if you want to make predictions and can’t do soi deterministically , there is only one other way – predict probabilities and error bars .
          For that you will suppose that every dynamical variable (V) can be written as its time average (T) + Perturbation (P) . This is always possible because it is only a change of variables .
          Then you interpret T as “signal” and P as “noise” and substitute T + P to V in the equations .
          This is equivalent to the process of Reynolds averaging in Navier Stokes equations .
          Of course you still can’t solve turbulent N-S but as you have now 2 variables (T and P) instead of one (V) , you can make assumptions .
          The usual assumption is that the noise obeys some statistical law – f.ex it is gaussian and it “cancels” .
          This simplifies the equations enormously and you focus now ONLY on the averages .
          Those averages (the signal T) become deterministic by the sole virtue of V obeying known statistical laws .
          And it SOMETIMES works at least for Navier Stokes – the planes fly and the pumps pump .
          That is exactly what the climate modellers do – they say that weather = climate + noise .
          Then they constrain it by energy , mass and momentum conservation and that is what the GCM do .
          As noise is irrelevant (is known and “cancels”) , the models deliver the evolution of the signal , the so called trends of averages within confidence intervals .
          The modellers so probably Gavin too , firmly believe that weather indeed decomposes in climate and noise and that their guess at what “the noise” and its behaviour are is correct .
          Of course thay can’t explain why the noise is red , white , pink etc but they will tell you that the available evidence (= regressions on time series) SUGGESTS that it is so .
          As for me , I believe that as V is chaotic , the laws of P can’t be known and even stronger , P obeys no statistical laws and therefore T is not predictible .
          .
          If one gets more technical , there are powerful theorems in the ergodic theory that allow to connect time averages to averages in the phase space even for chaotic systems what would allow to derive SOME results about averages .
          If the system was ergodic that is .
          I strongly doubt that it is ergodic .
          So even in this weaker case , it is doubtful that some kind of weak statistical predictability is possible .
          But we won’t go farther in this interesting but very technical issue of ergodicity .

        • bender
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

          Re: Ailee (#678),

          I strongly doubt that it is ergodic .

          I share your skepticism. Great post.

        • Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

          Re: Ailee (#679),
          thank you very much. As Bender said, it was a great post, very enlightening and informative.
          I would think that the core of the issue is:

          Of course thay (modelists) can’t explain why the noise is red , white , pink etc but they will tell you that the available evidence (= regressions on time series) SUGGESTS that it is so

          and, from Tom Vonk:

          if the system is chaotic then you can wait forever and it will look pseudo random and pseudo periodical and pseudo all you want and everytime when you will think that it just stabilised , it will suddenly jump in another regime and laugh at you . Mother Nature sometimes likes to make us believe things :-)

          Overconfidence in our level of knowledge seems the problem. Nothing new!

        • bender
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

          Re: Paolo M. (#617),
          Your climate modeing associate may or may not be on the mark. It’s impossible to distinguish which words are his and which are yours.

          It would make sense to say that “mean” and “variability” “don’t change” in a chaotic system … if you could only define those things meaningfully [and observe the unforced system long enough to estimate them]. But earth’s climate system includes more than just heat. It includes things like water and even CO2, which are expected to change dynamically as the system goes through its chaotic machinations. So not only is taking a mean temperature not particularly indicative of the system’s thermal state, it is not at all indicative of its status regarding other state variables.

          I would not have responded except for Tom Vonk’s protestations. Tom’s point is that when it comes to fluid mechanics and dynamics if you are not extremely careful in your terminology, and unless you yourself have a firm understanding of the subject, you may as well be spouting random verbiage. It’s way too easy to misquote people and end up saying some nonsense that was not actually in the original text.

          But Steve M dislikes thermo talk almost as much as he dislikes talk about peak oil.

        • Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#622),
          thank you.
          This could be a case when I could misquote people.

          The problem I would like to understand is: How long I have to observe the unforced system to see that mean and variability don’t change.

          Tom Vonk seems to think that time frame does’t exist.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

          Re: Paolo M. (#625),
          It’s not that the time frame “doesn’t exist”. (Track any chaotic system “long enough” and you will know the attractor’s geometry.) It’s that you can’t take a “mean” of a system whose state is characterized by many variables. For a univariate random system at equilibrium a mean is a terrific (meaningful, measurable) parameter for describing the state of the sytem. As Tom has explained, Earth climate is anything but.
          .
          Duke, Chris knows where to find me. Why would I blog where the blogowner can edit out the parts of the dialogue that show him to be wrong? Steve M, unlike some others, does not do that.

  285. bender
    Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    Simon, if you can get Hansen to explain what he thinks GMT was running away to when India crashed into Asia, I’d appreciate it.

  286. DJ
    Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    I came across this article at Discover Web Site over the weekend…John Conyers,D-Michigan, is pushing a bill to Ban the open access of Scientific Papers, forcing them to only publish in Journals.
    Here’s the Source: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/03/06/rep-conyers-wants-science-to-be-secret-or-you-will-pay/

    Thought that this might be of some interest to you guys and gals who depend on open access to publications!

  287. bender
    Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    I think I’ve been very patient with Chris Colose thus far. Chris, where are you?

  288. theduke
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:44 AM | Permalink

    Whoops: last one was for bender @

    Re: bender (#618),

  289. theduke
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    Good question, bender. I wasn’t aware he was doing that.

  290. bender
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Paolo M, I reiterate the quoted line from Hansen, Schmidt et al (2008), which I referred to in #381:

    “The atmosphere and ocean exhibit coupled nonlinear chaotic variability that cascades to all time scales”.

    You tell ME where their view differs from Tom’s.

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#633), bender, given that recognition on the part of Hansen and Schmidt, and given what Jerry Browning has written about the inability of GCMs to account for turbulence and the upward energy cascade and what Tom Vonk has written about chaotic non-equilibrium states, which Hansen and Schmidt must know, how are they able to go on and claim any predictive knowledge about future climates? Or that doubling CO2 is certain to cause a thermal catastrophe?

      I understand that you can’t read their respective minds. :-) But the dissonance between knowledge and claim is so extreme that I’m looking for some way to come to rational grips with it.

      • Mark T
        Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

        Re: Pat Frank (#634),

        But the dissonance between knowledge and claim is so extreme that I’m looking for some way to come to rational grips with it.

        I think you have just defined “ideology.”

        Mark

    • Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 3:04 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#633),
      I’m sorry, I jumped to this thread from “a peek behind the curtain” and I missed your references as well as that very informative chart by Bill Illis in #382.
      Regarding Gavin’s and Tom’s commonalities, I was quoting Tom’s post #605, where differences were also pointed out.
      By the way, the correct adjective was “miracolous” and not “magic”. My bad.

      Right now, I’m interested in understanding how you explain their point of view, if there is some logic behind their claims.
      As Pat Frank pointed out, it seems it’s not the case, but I’m optimist and I think that some good argument could be find out. And what is better than to ask all of you, now and here.
      If at the end of this discussion, the rationale is not found, then I will be able to adhere more easily to Pat Frank’s point of view.

  291. RomanM
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    I took the liberty of unapproving the latest food fight. Although the comments still exist, I doubt that they will see the screen again. Play nice!

  292. Simon Evans
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:20 PM | Permalink

    Well, yes, I see that all my comments tonight are now ‘awaiting moderation’, having previously been posted clear. I guess it just needs an attack from someone (snip) to define any non-hymn-sheet comments as being ‘food fight’ and thus pullable. What a complete joke! All you need is for one of your attack dogs to launch and then you can rub out whatever you want to.

    RomanM: I placed the comments in “moderation” because I didn’t want the responsibility of removing them. The personal attacks (on both sides) were getting to be over the top and completely inseparable from any actual content that the comments may have contained. Should Steve or someone else decide later that I did so unfairly (I sincerely doubt it( they can restore them. Please – no more negative personal references. Take a deep breath and move on.

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: Simon Evans (#644),

      Moderator – I think you were meaning to address me rather than RomanM.

      I entirely agree. Personal attacks are completely out of order. In 637 above (now ‘awaiting moderation’) I raised some issues, and the personal attack followed from that. Is this a board on which one can raise questions which go against the general ‘tendency’ without having to endure personal attack? I just don’t know. Can contrary comments be accommodated without them being swallowed up by the fall out from personal attack? I don’t know.

  293. jeez
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

    It’s a shame we’re not at the other site so I could say:

    DON’T MAKE ME TURN THIS BOARD AROUND!

  294. theduke
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    Fwiw, I think ClimateAudit is diminished when it reins in bender.

  295. Mark T
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    That tag means “RomanM is commenting” not “to RomanM.” Steve does it this way all the time.

    Re: theduke (#640), He has been snarkier than usual lately, however, you have to admit. I think somewhere a line was finally crossed for the loveable rascal.

    Mark

    • bender
      Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#651),
      What line and where? Please re-read my “offensive” #638. I did not accuse anyone of misrepresenting anything. I pointed to the fact that misrepresentations could easily be checked. I think KevinUK’s joke is not only funny, it is a propos. If Chris Colose IS looking for the UNCENSORED directory at Mann’s web site, he will be looking a long, long time. It’s a joke, for chrissakes. A sad but verifiable FACT.

      • Mark T
        Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#644),

        What line and where?

        Uh, we cross-posted, but what I meant was that I think somewhere the “alarmist” position has pushed you to a point where you no longer feel it is necessary to be nearly as cordial as you were several years ago.

        Please re-read my “offensive” #638. I did not accuse anyone of misrepresenting anything.

        I wasn’t trying to imply that you had.

        I pointed to the fact that misrepresentations could easily be checked.

        To which I fully agree.

        I think KevinUK’s joke is not only funny, it is a propos. If Chris Colose IS looking for the UNCENSORED directory at Mann’s web site, he will be looking a long, long time. It’s a joke, for chrissakes. A sad but verifiable FACT.

        I actually had a comment myself typed up and ready for submission, when I noticed RomanM had gotten out the editing pencil. When a scientist openly admits he lied, it is indeed sad.

        Mark

        • bender
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#656),
          Oh, that line. Yes. I do know what you’re saying. I apologize for my impatience and shrillness. It drives me nuts that the team is unaccountable for their royal proclamations. They have made statements that are demonstrably false – although you have to have a statistics degree to catch their errors – and they are completely unapologetic. It is so contrary to mainstream scientific culture that it almost drives me crazy. It is a flaw in my nature.

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#642),

      Mark T: I think snark can be educational, especially for those who come on here and snark first. Like Chris and Simon.

      bender reminds me of those teachers and coaches who yelled at me a lot many years ago. I learned from them as well as the gentler ones. You learn the most from those who care.

      Must science always be dispassionate?

      • bender
        Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

        Re: theduke (#659),
        Actually, it was me who started by tweaking Chris: “Chris, where are you?” But he deserves it for not answering the questions about Hansen’s runaway feedback. Just as Simon deserves what he got for not being fully familiar with the Hansen literature. Hansen’s argument is pretty clear in the Kingsnorth testimony and the follow-up cited by Eddy. Eddy’s only fault was that he didn’t give the linkie. Curious though, that I found the source and reported it, whereas Chris and Simon did not. I get the impression these guys are more interested in reporting distortions of Hansen-speak at CA than in understanding what Hansen actually says.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#653),

          I get the impression these guys are more interested in reporting distortions of Hansen-speak at CA than in understanding what Hansen actually says.

          I think it’s much deeper than that, bender.

          Mark

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#659),

          So, further attack from bender. If I respond it is declared food fighting. How very convenient – people can post disrtortions and misrepresentations one way, but challenging them is against the blog rules.

          I’ll just remind people that bender doesn’t seem to know what runaway feedback is, hence his completely wrong statement of the Kingsnorth testimony as evidence of Hansen suggesting it. [snip-unnecessary personal attack]

        • romanm
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#661),

          So, further attack from bender. If I respond it is declared food fighting.

          With references to attack dogs, etc, you haven’t been the first definition of “Simon pure” yourself.

          C’mon! Don’t you guys ever stop? Calm down!!! I don’t wish to spend the day referreeing. I now understand Steve’s frustration and why he takes a heavy hand in wiping these types of threads.

          I also noticed that due to a WordPress peculiarity: bender and Simon both seem to be on a different numbering scheme than the rest of us. If this is indeed the case, I will go in and delete the quarantined offending posts so that the rest of us can actually understand what comments you guysare referring to.

  296. bender
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:23 PM | Permalink

    Mark T,
    There is no “snark” in my #638. Not only did I suggest my own memory could be faulty, I pointed out that there is a well-documneted record on the matter and therefore no need to go on at length about something that’s been discussed to death. I sincerely wouldn’t want anyone to misrepresent facts, especially when they are so easily checked. I’m disheartened to see that my good wishes were taken as a “personal attack”.

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#643), I didn’t say there was, in fact, I was simply referring to your general tone lately (I’m not even sure if I read the comment that was deemed part of the food fight).

      Maybe snark isn’t the right word, but certainly “touchier” would be. I’m not putting you down, I wish I could be as tactfully sarcastic as you. When I do it, I get snipped immediately. :) Also, when I said “a line was crossed” I was referring to your general position which has been, at least recently, much more confrontational than in the past (when you asked Steve to “please let me comment with an insult” or whatever, I was nearly in tears laughing).

      Personally, I think we are to a point at which some things must simply be returned in kind.

      Mark

  297. bender
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:38 PM | Permalink

    The only reason I could see for snipping KevinUK’s joke would be for “piling on”. It is not factually inaccurate. The CENSORED directory does not exist any more, despite the fact that it did exist for a little while.

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#646),

      The CENSORED directory does not exist any more, despite the fact that it did exist for a little while.

      Oh yeah, and given what it revealed, it’s pretty easy to assume they didn’t want it to be available in the first place. Either that, or they wanted to admit to the lie. Take your pick, either position is equally damning. Full disclosure… riiiiiight.

      Mark

      • bender
        Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

        Re: Mark T (#657),
        This statement suggests intent to deceive and therefore breaks blog rules.

    • KevinUK
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 3:56 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#647),

      Yes, my post is factually correct and I’m glad to see that my joke (at Chris Colese expense) was taken as so.

      I was also trying to point out that there is plenty of documentary evidence, most of it easily accessible (via the internet or a visit to your local library) to show that the global extent of the MWP and LIA periods are a matter of historical fact. As I posted in a previous post, in terms of geological timescales, they may well, as the ice cores show, have been relatively ‘small bumps’ compared many pre-Holocene climatic periods but that would be like ‘comparing apples with oranges’. As the Greenland ice core charts shown in Bob Carter’s YouTube video that I posted the link to previously (here it is again) the important fact to appreciate is that, despite our post war accelerated burning of fossil fuels, the claimed modern warming period is not ‘unprecedented’ when compared to other Holocene climatic warm periods evident in the ice core, namely the Egyptian, Minoan, Roman and Medieval warm periods.

      KevinUK

  298. bender
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    The only blog policies that I regularly break are “piling on” and “editorializing”. It’s pretty hard not to.

  299. bender
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Please snip #647 for referring to me as someone’s “attack dog”. I like to think I have freewill.

  300. bender
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    #647 also breaks a blog rule, as it imparts a motive of censorship to the blog administrators in calling upon their so-called “attack dogs”

  301. bender
    Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 10:25 PM | Permalink

    Moving on to more productive lines of inquiry: can some terminological authority please explain exactly what is meant by something that “cascades to all time scales”? Does IPCC recognize the term “cascade”?

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#656),

      I don’t know if the IPCC AR4 uses the term cascades or not but I do not think the meaning of cascades requires a terminological authority. Any meteorologist understands weather is chaotic on rather short time scales and this makes weather unpredictable more than a few days out. The Hansen/Schmidt line you quoted appears to accept the fact that short term chaotic behavior does not become less chaotic over longer time scales. And why should a chaotic process become less chaotic over time? Expecting it to do so is nonsensical.

      Still, I think this is an important admission because so many people think it is easy to predict global climate 100 years into the future. I believe climate has a great deal of natural variation because of processes we do not understand and have never thought to measure. (Although Spencer did recently come up with one possible contributor to this mystery when he hypothesized that the PDO can influence creation of low-level clouds.) Most climatologists today seem to believe the climate has chaotic processes, but it operates within a narrow temperature band unless something odd happens like a high number of volcanic eruptions over decades or humans decide to burn fossil fuels. I think this unwillingness to see large climate variations as a natural result of chaotic processes is the biggest reason the alarmists views differ from my own.

      Perhaps that was more info than you desired, but I hope my editorializing was not offensive.

      • Mark T
        Posted Mar 11, 2009 at 11:33 PM | Permalink

        Re: Ron Cram (#657),

        but it operates within a narrow temperature band unless something odd happens like a high number of volcanic eruptions over decades or humans decide to burn fossil fuels.

        They may be right, but their definition of “narrow” may simply be too narrow.

        Mark

  302. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

    Correction, RomanM: I had stopped. Now a suggestion that I don’t know what runaway feedback is when in fact I defined it above. If my usage differs from someone else’s then why am I the one who’s wrong? Because the authorities say? Does the mind-numbing parsing of definitions ever cease?

    [snip]

    • Mark T
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#664),

      Now a suggestion that I don’t know what runaway feedback is when in fact I defined it above. If my usage differs from someone else’s then why am I the one who’s wrong? Because the authorities say?

      The “authorities” in this case, are not the climatologists. At least, not the majority that I see discussing the post. Many think they understand, but few, if any, have a clear understanding of what “runaway” requires. In a passive system, it is impossible to achieve, whether they like that or not.

      Does the mind-numbing parsing of definitions ever cease?

      It is a joke, indeed. They grab onto their own unique definitions so that when challenged they can claim “that’s not what I mean when I say ‘runaway feedback’.” There’s a very good reason scientific and technical terminology exists, it is so that people that understand the specific science or technology can communicate without having to repeatedly explain their basic concepts in terms the other can understand. A lack of understanding the basic terminology, in this case regarding control theory (which has been around for well over 100 years), really indicates a lack of understanding the basic theory.

      [snip - piling on - five minute penalty]

      Mark

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#664),

      Runaway feedback describes the state of a system where feedback is self-reinforcing. It is not synonymous with inexorable response, nor is it a necessary condition of a severe consequence (as in, for example, the melting of ice sheets). You can maintain your ‘personal definition’ for when you’re using the term, if you insist, but if you apply your ‘personal definition’ when others are using the term correctly then you won’t understand what they’re saying (and thus what you think is logical will be spurious).

      I have no idea why you think I should be responsible for whatever Chris Colose has or has not said. I was the first on this thread to link to the presentation in which Hansen raises the possibility of runaway feedback. As I have indicated, I do not know his reasoning from the few words in that presentation, and it seems to me that he has said some things in different contexts that I consider, on the face of it, to be contradictory, or at least to be in need of further explanation. I cannot see how a further and ongoing forcing of 10- 20 w/m2 could arise from 500+ ppm C02 alone, nor even from that plus the albedo change of ice sheets melting. I am guessing that he presumes also a substantial release of methane. I may be missing something, of course (and would welcome any thoughts on how runaway feedback could be posited from such a level), but I have hardly been presenting a ‘defence’ of Hansen!

      • Ryan O
        Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

        Re: Simon Evans (#676), I think the issue stems not from you presenting a defense of Hansen but from your interpretation of what Hansen meant.
        .
        I think it is very clear that Hansen believes ~500ppm CO2 results in catastrophic consequences that cannot be stopped if we wait until that point to take action. Whether you personally believe his statements to be contradictory or unsupportable does not matter. The discussion was about what Hansen said.
        .
        The argument about the definition of runaway feedback, in this context, is pedantic because bender has made it quite clear what he means when he uses that phrase. Bender even admitted that Hansen does not use that specific term. The entire context of the discussion was clearly not about a Venusian end-state, but the fact that ~500ppm will result in unstoppable warming with catastrophic consequences.
        .
        Besides, to revisit the Pool of Pedantica once more, your definition of “runaway feedback” is so limited as to be without utility. Using your definition, there is no logical reason to stop at a Venusian state – such a stopping point would be entirely arbitrary. Your definition requires the response to continue ad infinitum to a state of infinity or a mathematical singularity.
        .
        You may argue that this was not your intent, but once you argue this, you have opened the definition to include arbitrary stopping points. That means that there is no logical reason to chose Venusian over ice-free.
        .
        Your statement distinguishing between a colloquial use of runaway feedback and a scientific one is simply not true. There is no specific accepted definition of “runaway feedback” that can be applied to all scenarios; it depends on the context. To argue that there is a universal definition is an exercise in futility and serves primarily to distract the discussion. What needs to be done instead is for the participants to agree on a definition of “runaway feedback” in the context of the situation being discussed. I personally would recommend bender’s definition because it suffers less from the arbitrary end-state problem.
        .
        And that is bender’s issue. By decreeing that the end-state of runaway feedback is Venusian, you are setting up a straw man that makes further discussion valueless. This may not have been your intent, but it is what ended up happening.

  303. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Hansen: burn all fossil fuels = 500 ppm CO2 = positive feedback = GMT inexorably runnning away to some unknown, but alarmingly warmer state

    Exactly as Eddy stated at the outset and which Colose was chided for rejecting. The honest thing for Chris would be to admit he made an error in his half-read of Hansen. The honest thing for Simon to do would be to also admit Chris made an error. And that he wasted bandwidth attacking ME for Eddy’s observation. Why go after ME? It wasn’t my quote. [snip]

  304. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

    Please snip #670 as it does not follow blog protocol. Steve M has asked people to simply identify offending statements and state your case for having them removed. This comment fails to do that, and moreover goes on to make additional spurious claims that are easily disproven.

    • romanm
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#666),

      Steve M has asked people to simply identify offending statements and state your case for having them removed.

      Good advice.

      I have deleted the posts from yesterday. The reference to #670 made no sense (and still doesn’t) to me since I had only 666 (!…hmmm) comments in this thread. We are all on the same page again.

  305. William Hughes
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    ianl:

    JORC is getting a bit old isn’t it? Rather use 43-101.

    I prefer the old definitions myself (probable, possible, proven) but those have gotten so many people in trouble, and I get yelled at every time I use them, that I have gotten over it.

    I also have a preference for the definition of the curious mineral know as “Leaverite”

    As in “Leave ‘er right there, boys.”

    As the product becomes more valuable, the cut off grade moves out, and more resource is economic. It then moves from an interesting zone of mineralization and becomes ore. Not a tough concept for some folks.

  306. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:38 AM | Permalink

    RomanM, I am lodging a complaint against this remark:

    I’ll just remind people that bender doesn’t seem to know what runaway feedback is, hence his completely wrong statement of the Kingsnorth testimony as evidence of Hansen suggesting it. [snipped in earlier post]

    If my definition of “runaway feedback” – which I clearly provided above – differs from Hansen’s I know which one I will choose as correct. Hansen and his henchmen will have to defend their own writings. I don’t think either definition is “completely wrong”. Although I do think mine is better and more in keeping with the base words “run” and “away”.

  307. Mark T
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    IMO, bender does understand “runaway feedback” better than most.

    Mark

  308. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Please snip #677 for taking my words out of context and the initiating yet another spurious attack.

    Search this thread. Neither I nor Hansen introduced the term “Venus” [in this thread].

    The italics were obviously implied by the previous sentence.

    This is getting quite tiresome.

  309. Ryan O
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    As further evidence that scientific use of “runaway feedback” requires context, consider:

    Feedback runaway is a situation in a feedback system where (usually positive) feedback causes an undesirable situation to become worse. The most common use of the term is in thermal runaway, when an increase in temperature leads to changes that cause further increase of temperature.

    In computer science, process scheduling may cause in a form of runaway if real-time processes consume too much CPU time and have their priority reduced, therefore having to complete more processing each slice which will reduce their priority further. To prevent this many operating systems have special scheduling options for real-time processes.

    Many biological and artificial intelligence examples of feedback runaway occur when each generation or iteration produces more organisms or data, resulting in a geometric increase unless some are culled. Economic types of feedback runaway include a bear market, where the dropping price of shares causes more people to sell, lowering the price further. Another is when rising costs prompt consumers to purchase more in expectation of higher costs in the future – the increased demand causing prices to rise further.

    .
    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Feedback_Runaway
    .
    In other words, runaway feedback in a real system requires an explicit or implicit endpoint (it does not need to be infinite – as the financial examples show, it can go to a limit) and a limit on the external influences allowed on the system. This means bender is perfectly justified in defining an end-state of “ice free” (the state limit) if no further action is taken by humanity (the external influence limit).

  310. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    Ailee,
    Do you think even the GCMs are ergodic? And if not, what would this say about the use of “ensembles” and ensemble statistics? And if so, the wouldn’t this constitute a major failure to simulate real climate?

  311. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    How on earth it can be suggested that I am pursuing a strawman when this is what Hansen has stated is beyond me.

    Great question. I don’t think the scenario is a strawman (although that has in fact been suggested by our friends at RC). But introducing the term in the context of a discussion about runaway feedback is a red herring. What I mean is: it’s a distraction from the definition of “runaway feedback” – which was the source of the original disagreement. That a system is “running away” from some state doesn’t say anything about what it might be running to.
    My apologies. I can’t possibly be any more clear.

  312. theduke
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Ergodicity:

    http://news.softpedia.com/news/What-is-ergodicity-15686.shtml

    • bender
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

      Re: theduke (#689),
      Whaddaya think, duke? I wish someone at RC would answer questions on the topic as it pertains to climatology. Would love to know the “consensus” position on ergodocity of Earth’s climate. Can’t see IPCC AR5 dodging that one. Not if an editor or two dare to ask the question.

  313. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    I just don’t think the Venusian scenario is worth discussing unless it can be shown to be a core part of the IPCC consensus. I think that is consistent with Steve M’s policy – to stay focused on the primary literature cited by IPCC. What Eddy wants is immaterial. It’s Steve’s blog. To me it is telling that our friends at RC don’t find it all that discussion-worthy.

  314. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    Still waiting for Chris Colose’s apology to Eddy, where he suggested Eddy was creatively crafting quotes and falsely attributing them to Hansen.

  315. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    A suggestion for this thread. Rather than accuse someone of “misrepresentation”, why not ask for clarification first? If, after attempting to clarify, someone persists in distorting the factual record, then call them on it. Is that fair? The urge to over-react here needs to be curbed.

  316. PhilipM
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Let’s try that again.

    Re: bender (#565),

    bender,

    While not the pristine peer reviewed source you are looking for, this three part article in Geoscientist Online by Bryan Lovell called “The Proof in the Puddingstone: messages from a warm planet”.

    Part I
    Part II
    Has a useful set of references in Part III.

    • bender
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

      Re: PhilipM (#694),
      Thanks, but that does not answer my question: (1) what was climate running away to when India happily (?) crashed into Asia, and (2) what’s the proof behind the assertion that the geological sinks were sufficient to soak up that much CO2? (Curious that Lovell doesn’t cite Ruddiman.)

      • PhilipM
        Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#696),

        bender,

        There is no proof in geology, only experience. The best geologist is the explorer who has seen the most rocks.
        Don’t know about Q1, I’ll give Q2 a go, but it might take me some time :wink:
        BTW IMHO the Geosciences are like Forensic science. You try and arrange broken pieces of a jigsaw from a picture while blindfolded. Even if the pieces fit by shape, they may not always match by image.

      • PhilipM
        Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#696),

        bender,

        Thanks for the tip. Have looked at Raymo & Ruddiman’s paper Tectonic forcing of late Cenozoic climate . It is clear that the mechanism they are discussing, continent/continent collision of India into Asia and the creation of the Tibetan plateau, only initiated at 52Myr ago, i.e. after the PETM at 55Myr ago being discussed by Lovell.

        the Tibetan plateau is the most imposing topographic feature on the Earth’s surface. It formed as a result of the collision of the Indo-Australian plate with the Asian plate; hard collision of these continents probably began in earnest in the middle Eocene (44-52 Myr ago; refs 33-35) and continues today.

        BTW Never heard of the Polaeorene (Fig 1).

  317. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    The complainant has read me wrong yet again. Unbelievable. Let me quote and then rephrase.

    Quote:

    I get the impression these guys are more interested in reporting distortions of Hansen-speak at CA than in understanding what Hansen actually says.

    Rephrase:

    I get the impression these guys are more interested in playing up distortions of Hansen quotes made by CA commenters than in understanding what Hansen actually says.

    Again: before accusing someone of making a false accusation, ask for clarification.

    Please snip #698 for failing to ask for clarification before issuing an accusation.

  318. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    romanm, I am adhering to the rules that Steve laid out. I am not the source of your problem. Snip me if you like, but I will continue to defend myself against all false accusations by pointing out specifically where they are false. I am not engaging with the complainant directly, simply pointing out his transgressions. I agree that it is a shame how much work is being made for you.

  319. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    Simon sez:

    I do not appreciate the suggestion that I am engaging in distortion

    For the record: Simon is not distorting Hansen. (And that is not what I said.)

    I quote my #699:

    FWIW I don’t find myself disagreeing with Simon very much on our reads of Hansen.

    A more incorrect interpretation of what I said is hard to imagine.

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#705),

      bender,

      Six posts from you referencing me since I said I hoped to leave this.

      I accept that I misunderstood the particular phrase “these guys are more interested in reporting distortions of Hansen-speak at CA”, however I did not misunderstand the rest of the sentence: “than in understanding what Hansen actually says.” That is a misrepresentation of my intent.

      Hansen uses the word ‘runaway’ only in the context of discussing the ‘Venus syndrome’ or elsewhere when discussing why the Earth has not experienced a runaway. Therefore your use of the term in a different way actually tells us nothing about “what Hansen actually says”. The consideration is of a rate of net positive feedback equal to or exceeding 100%. That is a system state that is distinct from any major changes that might result from a feedback rate less than 100%. That is why Hansen (and every other climate scientist that I know of) uses the term runaway specifically to refer to such a state.

      Now all of this may seem irrelevant to what most people think will happen, but in terms of “understanding what Hansen actually says” I have sought to clarify that. I trust that is now clear.

  320. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    If Hansen is confused about the distinction between feedback and the states that might be visited as a result of this feedback he might consider talking to the guys at, say, the JPL. They could explain to him what a runaway feedback is. Myself, I suspect he is not that confused. A powerful runaway feedback could bring on doom and gloom long before any future equilibrium state is achieved and long before any Venusian scenario comes into play. That’s why it doesn’t make sense to conflate the ideas of feedback and future states.
    .
    Leaving an issue is dead simple: let your opponent have the last word.
    .
    Avoiding an issue is simpler: ask for clarification before assuming gross misrepresentation.

  321. bender
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    six spurious accusations = six refutations
    coincidence?

  322. Filippo Turturici
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    I am really angered tonight (here h22:45) by reading such…well, better if I do not tell you my real opinion :-)
    I give you the link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7940532.stm
    I think it is useless to post here all the graphs, tables etc. that you (and, in a little part, me too) have posted for months and years, in the same site.
    Just point out some thing:
    – World mean temperatures have stopped rising, even showing slight signs of decrease since 2002 on;
    – Arctic sea ice is decreasing too…but it cannot affect anyway Worls sea level, as any primary school pupil could demonstrate you;
    – Antarctic sea ice is instead growing;
    – there is no sign of accelerating decrease of land ice, with some region even growing (Antarctica, New Zealand) or recently inverted a 150 years trend (Alaska by 2008); of course, most of land glaciers are retreating or have retreated;
    – comparing to famous 1988 Hansen’s projections, we are in the better case, giving the worst data (or, we are warming no more than the less-warming Hansen’s scenario);
    – Sun’s activity is at least at its 60-years minimum, and we had 2 consecutive Nina events in 2 consecutive years;
    – etc.
    And after all that, I have to read these things on a global medium!
    I have just to say:
    – to economists: start worrying about global economical crisis, if you are serious people and if you really work;
    – to “scientists”: scientist who? I always think a scientist must follow facts with his theories: but I can understand (human nature) if he wants facts to follow theories; but, this time, it is really out of every shame;
    – to politicians (Danish premier?): think how you could invest tax money better than wasting them to pay 2,500 “experts” (if I told what they really study…I would risk a very high fine to pay).

    In these last years, finally (here in Italy) we were trying to reach a good position, an equilibrium point, where we could discuss of science and not of “ideology”; even some old-time hard-line “serrist” moderated his ideas, following facts.
    And now, both on Italian newspapers and international media, I have to see a lot of people payed by “global warming industry” who, without any shame, simply deny all facts, and call to next-future Doom as the worst of religious fanatics (I am Roman Catholic, just to precise). And who does not agree, is simply a “denier”: no intermediate position, no discussion, just a dogmatic truth.
    I am really worried: we are about to ear some people saying we are warming, even if we were entering a new ice age.

  323. Mark T
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    A feedback condition that results in storing more energy than is input to the system, i.e., greater than 100%, is physically impossible. If someone finds a way to do it, he should go ahead and patent it along with a shiny new perpetual motion machine (which is the equivalent idea). If Hansen actually believes this is possible, therein lies the problem.

    Mark

    • Simon Evans
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#711),

      A feedback condition that results in storing more energy than is input to the system, i.e., greater than 100%, is physically impossible. If someone finds a way to do it, he should go ahead and patent it along with a shiny new perpetual motion machine (which is the equivalent idea). If Hansen actually believes this is possible, therein lies the problem.

      That is not what has been suggested. The feedback is not upon the energy source. It is clear enough that the energy source is sufficient to raise temperatures by hundreds of degrees if atmospheric composition were such as to maintain that, thus there is no suggestion whatsoever of “storing more energy than is input to the system”. The feedback rate, which is theorised to have been greater than 100% in the case of Venus so long as there were potential gases to ‘feed’ it, is a function of changes in temperature and not a function of the energy source.

      • Mark T
        Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

        Re: Simon Evans (#712),

        The feedback rate, which is theorised to have been greater than 100% in the case of Venus

        Which is, as I’ve noted, impossible.

        so long as there were potential gases to ‘feed’ it, is a function of changes in temperature and not a function of the energy source.

        All these gases can do is store incoming energy, which serves to raise the temperature. Recall, temperature is a function of energy (and mass).

        Mark

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#713),

          Re: Mark T (#713),

          “Impossible”? Consider the simplest of examples – let’s say an audio feedback loop. The noise at the microphone is amplified such that the noise fed back is greater than the original. This must be fed by energy, of course, that is not in dispute.

          All these gases can do is store incoming energy

          Absorbed IR energy is transferred virtually instantaneously. If GHGs were ‘storing’ the energy then they would have no effect upon surface temperatures.

        • TAG
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#715),

          Would it be possible to provide a description of the feedback mechanism. The following is rather unclear. What is being fed back and how?

          The feedback rate, which is theorised to have been greater than 100% in the case of Venus so long as there were potential gases to ‘feed’ it, is a function of changes in temperature and not a function of the energy source.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:42 PM | Permalink

          Re: TAG (#717),

          Would it be possible to provide a description of the feedback mechanism. The following is rather unclear. What is being fed back and how?

          He can’t, because it doesn’t exist. What is possible is an increase in pressure, or a decrease in volume, which would provide the “more temperature gain than indicated by the rise in heat” physics part of the equation. Unfortunately, neither of them are known to be true, and certain the amount of mass in the atmosphere is not decreasing.

          Mark

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#719),

          What is possible is an increase in pressure, or a decrease in volume, which would provide the “more temperature gain than indicated by the rise in heat” physics part of the equation.

          That should read “a change in pressure, or a change in volume”…

          Mark

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

          Re: TAG (#717),

          Atmospheric pressure is now 1013 hPa. That pressure is equivalent to about 10 meters of water. Now picture what happens if surface temperature increases enough that the oceans boil. As the oceans evaporate, atmospheric pressure and thickness increases until it’s mostly water vapor with a small amount of N2 and O2. You would then get 100% cloud coverage and high albedo, much like Venus, but the temperature of the cloud layer would still be fairly high. Combine that with an adiabatic increase in temperature as altitude decreased below the cloud layer with a much thicker atmosphere and the result is a very high surface temperature. To get to Venusian conditions, though, the temperature has to increase even further, enough to cook CO2 out of carbonate rocks. That makes the atmosphere even thicker. For either phase transition, the feedback factor is going to be greater than 1 (or 100%). That is a temperature increase of 1 degree causes an increase in forcing (radiative imbalance) that leads to a further increase in temperature of 1 degree or greater. That doesn’t mean that more energy is being retained than is received. The laws of thermodynamics are not violated.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#722), What you are describing would actually result from an increase in pressure (thicker atmosphere, which means increased mass and pressure, in an assumed fixed volume), which is where I was driving Simon, i.e., PV = nRT (obviously not exact since it would not be an ideal gas). Realistically, that’s not a feedback term greater than 1, not at least in reference to anything Hansen is saying.

          You would then get 100% cloud coverage and high albedo, much like Venus, but the temperature of the cloud layer would still be fairly high.

          For this to work you also have to assume that the release of heat hasn’t balanced out with what little gets in to the atmosphere.

          To date, I have not seen any evidence that pressure is increasing or volume doesn’t expand to account for an increase in heat content (and I’m pretty sure the mass in the atmosphere is not decreasing). Maybe there is some, and I’m willing to entertain such concepts.

          Mark

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#723),

          We’re a long way from those conditions. The surface temperature of the planet and the temperature of the deep oceans is not that far above freezing. Temperature at the poles would have to go well above freezing. Right now any increase in water vapor pressure at the equator probably ends up transferring energy to the poles so the total mass of the atmosphere probably doesn’t change enough to measure with a small change in average surface temperature. That’s an interesting point, though. Presumably if the specific humidity of the atmosphere as a whole increases, the total mass and resulting surface pressure should increase. But it would be as hard or harder to measure accurately than sea level. I should try and run some numbers, but I don’t feel like doing it now.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 10:18 PM | Permalink

          Re: DeWitt Payne (#725), I agree, and there are many other factors that have to be juuuuust right for it to work that way. There’s also the problem with all the work done boiling the water and cooking the CO2 out of the rocks, etc. The simple little first order systems under discussion here, btw, while necessary as a basis for understanding larger and more complex systems*, totally ignores what are normally considered trivial influences, such as the heat from the core of the earth, heat we generate on the planet, etc.

          Mark

          * Large systems typically have a few major, dominant poles and zeros, and the remaining have only a “wiggle” effect on the outcome. How this plays into chaos theory, however, I do not know. Perhaps this has something to do with attractors – are they analogous to poles/zeros that dominate a system?

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#715),

          “Impossible”? Consider the simplest of examples – let’s say an audio feedback loop. The noise at the microphone is amplified such that the noise fed back is greater than the original.

          I must admit, I was waiting for this silly example.

          This must be fed by energy, of course, that is not in dispute.

          Newsflash, an amplifier has a DC power source to provide a gain constant greater than unity. This is not in dispute. And if you don’t understand, you really need to do some research.

          Hehe… I hope you aren’t providing the best argument they have.

          Mark

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 6:26 AM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#719),

          Newsflash, an amplifier has a DC power source to provide a gain constant greater than unity. This is not in dispute. And if you don’t understand, you really need to do some research.

          Precisely. As I said, and as you quoted “This must be fed by energy, of course, that is not in dispute.”

          You appear to be resorting to facetious comments, so I won’t ask you to explain your assertion of impossibility further. You seem to be suggesting that I think energy can come from nowhere. Since I have obviously not suggested that, this becomes pointless to repeat.

          For a runaway greenhouse to occur the planet would need to be absorbing more energy than it could emit in order to evaporate the oceans. The critical level at which such a state could be reached is generally termed the Kombayashi-Ingersoll limit. For explication, please see Ingersoll’s 1969 paper, available here:

          http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0469/26/6/pdf/i1520-0469-26-6-1191.pdf

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#730), Excuse me, but you said in (#716)

          “Impossible”? Consider the simplest of examples – let’s say an audio feedback loop. The noise at the microphone is amplified such that the noise fed back is greater than the original. This must be fed by energy, of course, that is not in dispute.

          without providing a mechanism for Venus power increase. There needs to be a power source, and simply saying “the gases provide it” is nonsense. They don’t provide energy, they merely store it.

          For a runaway greenhouse to occur the planet would need to be absorbing more energy than it could emit in order to evaporate the oceans.

          No, that is 100% false. Absorbing more energy than it is emitting is still stable, and the result of a feedback coefficient less than 1. I’ve already explained this in reply to Phil.’s moronic example above. Do yourself a favor and try to learn something. Greater than unity feedback means you are absorbing more than is input. Unity feedback (100%), means you are absorbing ALL that is input, but no more.

          Mark

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#733),

          There needs to be a power source, and simply saying “the gases provide it” is nonsense. They don’t provide energy, they merely store it.

          Where did I say that? I said no such thing. Obviously, the energy source is the sun. It’s a bit odd that someone suggested earlier that I was attacking a straw man (by clarifying that Hansen was considering the ‘Venus syndrome’) when now you are doing exactly that. Obviously you can show that stupid things I have not said are indeed stupid.

          There’s no point in my responding to any more of your ‘points’ if you are prepared to use such tactics.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#737),

          Where did I say that?

          Right here:
          Re: Simon Evans (#713),

          The feedback rate, which is theorised to have been greater than 100% in the case of Venus so long as there were potential gases to ‘feed’ it,

          This is funny:

          Obviously, the energy source is the sun.

          Nice try, but that’s the energy that you’re saying gets amplified through feedback. GHGs can only store the energy input from the sun, you need an additional power source, as I’ve said repeatedly. In order to have a feedback of greater than unity, you need to figure out a way to increase this energy supply. It’s like arguing in circles with you.

          Mark

          Mark

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

          Re: Mark T (#739),

          “so long as there were potential gases to ‘feed’ it”

          I did not mean to feed energy input but to ‘feed’ the feedback loop. I have stated explicitly that feedback is upon temperature change and not upon the energy source. Very obviously GHGs don’t “provide energy”, as you have suggested I said.

          that’s the energy that you’re saying gets amplified through feedback

          You’re doing it again! I have said no such thing. Of course incoming solar energy is not amplified. What on earth is the point of saying that I have suggested such a stupid thing?

          In order to have a feedback of greater than unity, you need to figure out a way to increase this energy supply.

          No you do not. Perhaps you would like to direct your contempt towards DeWitt Payne as well, who says above:

          For either phase transition, the feedback factor is going to be greater than 1 (or 100%). That is a temperature increase of 1 degree causes an increase in forcing (radiative imbalance) that leads to a further increase in temperature of 1 degree or greater. That doesn’t mean that more energy is being retained than is received. The laws of thermodynamics are not violated.

          The energy supply is sufficient to raise the planet’s temperature vastly without any change in the energy supply if atmospheric conditions were such as to make radiative equilibrium impossible for so long as those conditions pertained. The consideration is of the rate of energy loss from the system against the rate of energy input, and the feedback loops considered bear upon that relationship and not upon the energy source. I agree with DeWitt Payne, btw, that we are surely a long way from such conditions, and thus I don’t understand Hansen’s comments on this matter.

          It’s like arguing in circles with you.

          No doubt because you keep presuming I’ve said things that I haven’t. Anyway, since I share the frustration, I suggest we drop the matter and move on.

        • TomVonk
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#730),

          For a runaway greenhouse to occur the planet would need to be absorbing more energy than it could emit in order to evaporate the oceans. The critical level at which such a state could be reached is generally termed the Kombayashi-Ingersoll limit. For explication, please see Ingersoll’s 1969 paper, available here:

          http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0469/26/6/pdf/i1520-0469-26-6-1191.pdf

          First this is no paper but a musing at best and second it doesn’t say anything such .
          What it says is that for water (or for any liquid for that matter) there exists a critical value of the solar constant above which liquid water can’t exist .
          This is trivial and amounts to say that if it the Sun shines too strongly , it finishes by evaporating any liquid .
          Or in other words if the Earth was on the place of Mercury , we’d have no oceans .
          Hardly a deep insight because it has been known for ages that for any star there exists only a small window of orbits where liquid water may exist . Too far it’s ice , too near it’s vapour and very near it’s blown away .

          As for the quantitative part , the essay considers an isothermal planet in radiative equilibrium , a saturated grey atmosphere and hydrostatic equilibrium .
          As for the convection and clouds , they are evacuated in 2 lines of dubious hand waving .
          The rest is resumed in 4 algebraic undergrad equations .
          All these assumptions are obviously wrong and don’t correspond to anything that would even remotely look like the real Earth .

          So if all that is to say that “When the Sun shines very hard , then water evaporates fast .” , everybody will agree but most people here are used to slightly more relevant and interesting scientific statements .

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

          Re: TomVonk (#734),

          First this is no paper but a musing at best and second it doesn’t say anything such .

          Oh really? I said, which you’ve quoted:

          For a runaway greenhouse to occur the planet would need to be absorbing more energy than it could emit in order to evaporate the oceans.

          Ingersoll’s paper says, p.1194:

          The energy needed for evaporating the oceans would only be available if the planet were absorbing more sunlight than it could emit.

          This is the runaway greenhouse.

          Can you explain to me please how you conclude that the paper says “no such thing”?

          I note that you dismiss Ingersoll as being “obviously wrong”. Since your summary of it is, in my opinion, obviously wrong then I guess I’m not surprised.

        • TomVonk
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#738),

          I don’t really care much to discuss with you and linked my post to yours only so that other readers may find fast what I have been commenting .
          That has reasons :
          – you consistently show poor reading skills
          – you spam irrelevant links and quotes
          – you show poor physics knowledge

          The post I linked to is a good example of the above :

          – The “paper” says “The purpose of this paper is to show that …. singularities may result …. These singularities manifest themselves for values of the solar constant greater than a certain critical value .”
          The “paper” then proceeds to show exactly that and the essence of it is in my first post .
          Indeed it says also the nonsense you quoted but the problem studied has nothing to do with a “runaway greenhouse effect” just with a critical value of the solar constant whose existence is no news .
          The paper could also be applied on an isothermal planet with liquid oxygen and stay true .
          Even more trivially true .
          But OK , I already said that , am repeating myself for those of slow understanding and I hate repeating myself .

          – the “paper” considers an isothermal planet in thermal equilibrium .
          The fact that you don’t see that this assumption is obviously wrong for the Earth says something about your reading skills , your physics understanding or both .
          The “paper” considers more of obviously wrong things , some already mentionned but one could add more .
          – As the paper “shows” and as is obvious for everybody who spends one hour reading it , the purpose is to say that some imaginary planet in imaginary equilibriums will not be able to have liquid water if it is too near to its star .
          Sure , yes , right but trivial . I agree if it may make you feel better .
          .
          However I would be very grateful if you took in consideration that I find reading your posts very painful and yielding little to no added value .
          I find your trend to polemics and irrelevant tangents boring .
          That’s why an interaction , if any , should be restricted to purely physical statements .
          Be very sure that I will avoid commenting any of your posts unless if it concerns physics , is obviously wrong and nobody had the patience to read your outdated links .
          End of the exception , you may go back to isothermal planets and similar unphysicalities .

        • Simon Evans
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

          Re: TomVonk (#740),

          That’s why an interaction , if any , should be restricted to purely physical statements

          Which is why you and some others indulge yourself so readily in an ad hominem approach to discussion?

          Don’t worry, I’ve wasted enough time here to have got the idea, so I won’t dispute your representation of it further. People can read it for themselves. It’s fine by me if you want to apply the same contempt to Ingersoll that you do to me. Yes, it is an old paper now. I referenced it specifically in the context of mentioning the Kombayashi-Ingersoll limit. The hint’s in the name, but you term that reference spamming an irrelevant link. In the face of such, I do realise there is no point in engaging in discussion further.

        • Mark T
          Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

          Re: Simon Evans (#715),

          Absorbed IR energy is transferred virtually instantaneously. If GHGs were ‘storing’ the energy then they would have no effect upon surface temperatures.

          DING DING DING DING DINT!!! I think we have a winner!

          They do store some energy, simply due to their mass, btw.

          You’re two for two.

          Mark

    • jae
      Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mark T (#711),

      A feedback condition that results in storing more energy than is input to the system, i.e., greater than 100%, is physically impossible. If someone finds a way to do it, he should go ahead and patent it along with a shiny new perpetual motion machine (which is the equivalent idea). If Hansen actually believes this is possible, therein lies the problem.

      Mark

      IMHO, Mark is correct, IMHO. If he were not, we would not be here to discuss this. As someone else said somewhere (I think it was Louis Hissink), if the warmers’ physics is correct,we would not need nuclear energy, we could just put a large glass tube of CO2 out in the sunlight and generate vast quantities of energy. LOL.

  324. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Mar 12, 2009 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    The ‘Venus Syndrome’ would not only require a ~20 W/m2 increase in forcing, but that the forcing stayed at ~20 W/m2 for centuries or millenia. That would mean greenhouse gases increasing much faster than the temperature went up. OTOH, if TSI went up 5% or so, thermal runaway to the oceans boiling scenario becomes much more likely. Assuming our sun stays on the main sequence, that won’t happen for hundreds of millions of years. I’m not at all surprised Hansen’s model blows up before it gets to those conditions. It’s way beyond the range of the parameterizations used in the model.

    If the PETM was caused by a massive methane release, (sea floor methane clathrates, e.g.) you don’t need a geologic event to bring it to an end. Methane oxidizes to CO2 and since there’s already a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere, the forcing drops a lot. For example, at current CO2 concentration, which is, IIRC, a lot lower than at the time of the PETM, increasing methane from 1.7 to 1000 ppmv causes a clear sky forcing (MODTRAN) of 16 W/m2 at constant surface temperature and tropical conditions. The forcing from 1375 ppmv CO2 and 1.7 ppmv CH4, OTOH, is 6 W/m2. Positive water vapor feedback (constant RH) from the resulting surface temperature change would increase the swing in surface temperature. The delta T to regain radiative equilibrium at 1000 ppmv CH4 and constant RH is about 8.6 degrees. That drops to 2.9 degrees at 1375 ppmv CO2 and 1.7 ppmv CH4. Too bad there were no ice caps then to trap the gases.

  325. TAG
    Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

    re feedback factors greater than 100%

    It would be nice to see a definition of feedback factor and a couple of equations that show it in operation in the climate

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

      Re: TAG (#729),

      Radiative transfer calculations show that doubling CO2 concentration produces a radiative imbalance (a reduction in outgoing long wave radiation) of about 4 W/m2. Adjusting the surface temperature to achieve radiative balance in the absence of any other changes requires a surface temperature change of about 1 C. So the sensitivity in the absence of any feedback is 0.25 degrees/W/m2. Now lets add feedback. Suppose that the increase in surface temperature raises the specific humidity. Water vapor is also a greenhouse gas so that creates an additional imbalance. For discussion let’s say that the increase in forcing from a 1 C change is 2 W/m2 or an f of 0.5. So now we need an additional 0.5 degree increase. That leads to a forcing increase of 1 W/m2 and a temperature increase of 0.25 degrees. This is an infinite series, but it converges to a finite value of 2 degrees total increase in temperature at equilibrium or a climate sensitivity of 0.5 degrees/W/m2. For any value of the feedback factor less than one, the series converges. Of course, for values near one, the value is quite high. The feedback multiplier is then equal to 1/(1-f) where f ranges from zero to 1. The temperature doesn’t change instantaneously because the heat capacity of the system is large and the imbalance is small at any given time and because CO2 doesn’t double instantaneously either. Also, as Tom Vonk has pointed out, the concept of equilibrium doesn’t really apply either, but this is a toy model to demonstrate general principles.

      There’s a post by Monckton at Pielke, Sr.’s blog that I think gets the math right and explains in much more detail.

      If f is proportional to temperature in some way as well, which seems to be what Hansen believes, then you have the theoretical potential for the Venus syndrome where the upper bound is reached when all the inorganic carbon in the crust has been released to the atmosphere.

  326. Edouard
    Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 7:06 AM | Permalink

    Hello,

    I didn’t know the discussion did continue here! I can tell you where Hansen’s 500 ppm-runaway comes from:

    http://www.rightsidenews.com/200812213082/energy-and-environment/jim-hansen-s-agu-presentation-of-the-bjerknes-lecture.html

    “In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale (a.k.a. oil shale), I think it is a dead certainty.
    That would be the ultimate Faustian bargain. Mephistopheles would carry off shrieking not only the robber barons, but, unfortunately and permanently, all life on the planet.”

  327. Craig Loehle
    Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

    I would like to suggest that some of the problem in discussing chaos is that the word has different common and mathematical meanings. In common terms, chaos is unbounded. Like e.g., earthquakes that occur at all scales. In mathematical terms, a chaotic attractor need NOT have cascades at all scales. It can be a bounded attractor. There is a nice graph of the attractor for a dripping faucet. The intervals between drips follow a bounded geometric space but are unpredictable (diverge) with time. Other examples are a predator-prey model with certain parameters which makes a bounded donut shape. It does not diverge to all scales but becomes unpredictable quickly with time. Thus the fact that Navier-Stokes eqns diverge with time (the butterfly effect) does NOT mean that the Earth’s climate is unboundedly chaotic. This is something one would have to PROVE.

    • TomVonk
      Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

      Re: Craig Loehle (#732),

      Craig I know only one meaning for chaos and it is the correct one .
      A dynamical system is chaotic if and only if it has at least 1 Lyapounov coefficient strictly positive .
      A chaotic system is also (always) bounded in the phase space because it is dissipative and conserves volumes in the phase space .
      As for the divergence between the trajectories , which is indeed exponential and the real cause of the unpredictability it is also bounded despite the exponential because the distance between 2 trajectories can’t be bigger than the largest dimension of the attractor which is per definition bounded .
      When the distance between trajectories achieves the size of teh attractor , the exponential divergence is no more true and other things happen (folding) .

      I do not know what you mean by “cascades in the attractor” .
      An attractor is an invariant set of phase space points defining a volume where a given chaotic system will live forever as long as the control parameters don’t change .
      Of course when the control parameter(s) vary , the topology of the attractor varies too but its definition is the one of an invariant .

      • Craig Loehle
        Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

        Re: TomVonk (#736), We see earthquakes on all scales up to 9.5 or so with about 1/f distribution. If earth climate was endogenously chaotic (as in a random walk, not an attractor), then internal variability could lead to ice ages. It is not, IMO. If it is chaotic, it is bounded by an attractor. We have not characterized this attractor yet. That was my point. Until we do, it is not possible to say if a given climate fluctuation is possibly due to internal fluctuations or must be assumed to be foreced by an external fluctuation (in e.g., solar).

        • TomVonk
          Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#741),

          Craig I do not know if the variable of the intensity of an earthquake is distributed like an 1/f process .
          However if it was for an infinite sample then the earthquakes wouldn’t be chaotic .
          A chaotic system has no stochastical properties and presents no statistical distributions .
          That is precisely why the chaotic systems are not a subset of random systems .
          If you did a classical statistical analysis (mean & standard deviation) on a true chaotic system like f.ex the Lorenz system , you would see that the results not only depend on the initial point but also on the length of the observation and on the time interval of the sampling .
          It could eventually look like red noise for some choices , like white for others and like 1/f for others yet .
          .
          As any chaotic system is conservative , it is by definition bounded and presents an attractor . The attractor may be a point in the equilibrium case , a limit cycle for pseudoperiodical systems or a more complex volume for high dimensionnal systems .
          The proof that the climate is chaotic exists already because we know that the Lyapounov coefficients are positive and that the trajectories are bounded (= necessary and sufficient conditions)
          .
          So this being given , there exists a high dimensionnal (fractal ?) attractor even if we can’t give exactly its topology (IMHO we never will be able to do so) .
          A comment on your last phrase .
          One should not imagine that a given chaotic dynamical system has 1 (invariant) attractor .
          A chaotic system has 1 invariant attractor only as long as the so called control parameters stay constant .
          However when they change , not only the behaviour of the system changes but the attractor changes too .
          Because of that it is actually impossible to distinguish “internal” variabilities from “external” changes of control parameters (f.ex orbital parameters of the Earth) for complex high dimensionnal chaotic systems what the climate doubtlessly is .
          .
          So in your example , whenever the Earth goes to an Ice age the only thing one can say is that this Ice age state is a subset of the attractor for these particular values of the control parameters but there is an infinity of other values of control parameters who also allow the state of an Ice age .
          Do the actual values of the control parameters define an attractor that contains the Ice age Earth ?
          Nobody knows especially as nobody knows what the control parameters are .
          But if the answer was yes , then we’d go there by “internal” variability .
          If the answer was no , then we’d go there also by “internal” variability but only after the control parameters visited some infinite set of values that allow this state .

  328. Mark T
    Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

    Ouch. It sucks when you use references that don’t support your opinion. Damn the bad luck.

    Here’s a research topic for you, Simon. Look up what causes instability in a feedback system. You’ll find there is only one thing, a pole in the right half of the complex plane, which means greater than unity feedback. Greater than unity feedback simply means that what ever amount of energy is in the system at instant n = 0, is increased, and put back into the system at instant n = 1. In other words, if the energy in the system is Y at time n = 0, then you feedback Y + dY at time n = 1 (plus you add in the incoming). For dY > 0 (greater than unity feedback), you’re insisting that somehow you’ve just multiplied the existing energy by some factor greater than unity and fed it back in. That additional energy, dY, has to come from somewhere. In the audio amplifier, it comes from another power supply. In a passive system, this is impossible, i.e., you cannot amplify.

    Mark

  329. pippo
    Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Hi, I have been reading this blog for some time and the discussion in this thread prompts me to break my lurking and ask a question.

    I have recently found reference to the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper and the response to it by Smith. I read both papers and would like to ask what you think about them. I am not a scientist (I am an economist) and I felt that I could follow some of the arguments (based on my college sciences) but that a comparison is beyond my abilities. I can’t understand, in particular, whether Smith’s is in fact a refutation.

    Thanks in advance to anyone kind enough to volunteer his/her expertise.

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

      Re: pippo (#743),

      Discussion of G&T is off limits here as are all other papers that are not considered main stream (Beck, Miskolczi, Jaworowski, etc.) There’s more than enough to deal with in papers by IPCC cited authors published in major peer reviewed journals (Mann, Steig….).

      • pippo
        Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#745),

        Thank you for the kind reply. Suggestions on where I could go? I’ve found some sites via google but they seemed only interested in lampooning G&T and in the end I could not understand who’s right and who’s wrong.

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

          Re: pippo (#747),

          Sorry, can’t help on that. If you’re really interested and have the time and background, some undergraduate to first year graduate level textbooks on Meteorology, Radiative Transfer and Atmospheric Modeling are possible places to start. Then you’ll have sufficient background to make your own decision.

    • Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

      Re: pippo (#743),

      “I am not a scientist (I am an economist)”

      The system we study (humans and human institutions carrying out actions in order to solve the economic problem, namely, the scarcity of resources) is certainly not less chaotic than the climate. But if economics is not the attempt to apply the scientific method to the understanding of this system I don’t know what I studied when I graduated in Economic Sciences (!).

  330. Posted Mar 13, 2009 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    As always, I found Lindzen’s speech at the recent Heartland Conference most interesting, although a certain part of it was rather intriguing to me:

    We also know that the 1990s temperature was warmer than in the 1980s.
    During this period, satellites were measuring the emitted heat radiation. What at least four groups all confirmed was that emitted heat radiation during the ‘90s was not only much greater than what models predicted, but also greater than what would have been expected if there were no feedback at all.
    This implies that nature is, as any reasonable person might suppose, dominated by stabilizing negative feedbacks rather than destabilizing positive feedbacks. It has been noted that the climate in models is an example of unintelligent design — something modelers are far more capable of than is nature.
    Getting people (including many scientists) to understand this is crucial. Once it is understood, the silliness of the whole issue becomes evident –
    …/…
    The satellite records of outgoing heat radiation show that the climate is dominated by negative feedbacks and that the response to doubled and even quadrupled CO2 would be minimal. In a field as primitive as climate science, most of the alleged climate scientists are not even aware of this basic relation.

    If DeWitt Payne or any other knowledgeable person would care to expand on this I would be very grateful.

    Mikel

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Mar 14, 2009 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

      Re: Mikel Mariñelarena (#750),

      The models that have high climate sensitivity calculate a higher forcing for a given change in CO2 or other ghg concentration than a simple radiation transfer calculation with no other changes in conditions. Things like an increase in water vapor that further reduces outgoing radiation, a decrease in ice area that causes less reflection of solar energy and clouds that block more outgoing energy than they reflect incoming solar energy. A positive forcing means less radiant energy emitted than received so the system energy increases. Climate models predict a multiplier larger than one on forcing. An equilibrium climate sensitivity of 6 C/doubling implies a multiplication factor of about 5 or a feedback factor of about 0.8. However, if the outgoing long wave radiation energy is higher than the models calculate, then the forcing is lower. A negative feedback factor would mean that the actual forcing is lower than a simple radiation transfer calculation and the multiplier is less than one but still positive. So instead of a sensitivity of 3 C/doubling it could be, say 0.5 C. Increased clouds could reflect more energy than they block. A negative feedback factor of 1 would mean a climate sensitivity of zero, not a negative change in temperature.

  331. Posted Mar 14, 2009 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    Thanks a lot for the explanations DeWitt. But the thing is, if these empirical measurements of outgoing radiation have indeed been taken and replicated, showing a negative feedback in place, how can something like that have been ignored by the IPCC? And how can “most of the alleged climate scientists” not be aware of this relationship?

    IOW, is Lindzen right on this one?

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Mar 14, 2009 at 10:48 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mikel Mariñelarena (#752),

      IOW, is Lindzen right on this one?

      Good question. The IPCC ignores lots of things. Ask Pielke, Sr. about land use/land cover for example. I haven’t looked at Lindzen’s presentation yet. Then I would have to track down his citations to see if his conclusions seem warranted. There are other things I want to do first.

    • Michael Smith
      Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

      Re: Mikel Mariñelarena (#751),

      But the thing is, if these empirical measurements of outgoing radiation have indeed been taken and replicated, showing a negative feedback in place, how can something like that have been ignored by the IPCC? And how can “most of the alleged climate scientists” not be aware of this relationship?

      IOW, is Lindzen right on this one?

      The Right Honorable Christopher Walter Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, thinks Lindzen is right. In testimony before the U.S. Congress four days ago, Monkton mentioned this same data:

      Any restriction on the emission of carbon dioxide is unnecessary. It is simple to establish theoretically, and has been so established, that the UN’s climate panel has exaggerated the true effect of carbon dioxide enrichment on global temperature sevenfold. To confirm that theoretical result it is simple to verify empirically, and has been so verified by direct and repeated satellite observation, that the diminution over time in the outgoing long-wave radiation from the Earth is one-seventh of that which the UN’s computer games had been instructed to predict.

      Here is a link to his testimony. LINK

      Monkton’s testimony is a must-read, just for his fourth sentence if nothing else.

  332. Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    While perusing various topics I took at look at the time series for atmospheric angular momentum (“AAM”).

    AAM is basically a measure of the atmosphere’s angular momentum relative to Earth’s. If the global AAM anomaly is positive then the atmosphere is imparting more momentum than average to Earth. My understanding is that a positive anomaly often corresponds to greater thunderstorm activity in the tropics, which create greater westerly-component winds traveling from the tropics toward the poles. The reverse is true for negative anomalies.

    (If someone familiar with AAM can comment here on the nature of AAM, or offer a good reference, please do. AAM is a new concept for me and I have not yet found a good exposition on the topic.)

    Anyway, here is the global AAM anomaly time series since 1958. The y-axis, I believe, is the anomaly expressed as standard deviation:

    Many of the peaks correspond to El Nino events, which are periods of increased thunderstorms in the tropical Pacific. Similarly, troughs often correspond to La Ninas.

    What I find interesting is the appearance of a rather sudden shift in the mid-1970s. This corresponds to the so-named Climate Shift of that period and the shift from cold-phase PDO to warm-phase. At the same time the global temperature anomaly shifted from a slow drop to a rise (the extent of the global temperature change depends on what version of temperature history one uses, with more-recent versions tending to smooth away any shift).

    Also of interest is the behavior in the last five to ten years. The AAM seems to be moving towards negative anomalies, perhaps corresponding with a slow shift back to a cool-phase PDO.

    I believe I’ve read that AGW is expected to lead towards higher AAM. That trend does not seem to be in these tea leaves, at least as of now.

    NOAA also offers a Hovmoeller diagram of the AAM behavior over the last fifty years by latitude. This plot may take a few minutes to grasp. The y-axis is latitude while the x-axis is time. The shading provides information of the AAM anomaly at that latitude. Cool colors represent latitudes with lower AAM (= anomalously easterly winds which may be leading to increased cold upwelling in eastern oceans). Warm colors represent anomalously westerly winds, often associated with increased thunderstorm activity.

    (The originals are available here , for easier viewing.)

    Note the behavior along the equator, with the great 1998 and 1983 El Ninos being quite distinct. Also note that sometimes the anomalous AAM is away from the equator, which may have different impacts on ocean upwelling and cooling. A third thing to note is the behavior of the 1960s, when anomalously easterly winds were prevalent over much of the lower latitudes, perhaps associated with anomalous ocean cooling and/or reduced thunderstorm activity.

    The relationship between ENSO and AAM is interesting in that some ENSO events seem to have different AAM “fingerprints” than others. And, I wonder if the different fingerprints also correspond to different impacts of ENSO events on things like hurricane activity.

    All in all the AAM tool provides an interesting view of recent climate evolution. Something to explore.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Smith (#753),

      David, thank you for a very interesting comment. I was intrigued to see that shifts in the PDO correspond in time with changes in the AAM. I will be interested to learn more about this but there certainly looks like there may be some relationship. Also, you asked for a better exposition of the topic. I found a lay version here. It was interesting but I will keep looking for a better explanation.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Smith (#753),

      I found an interesting quote in a 1992 paper by Hide:

      The Earth’s atmosphere rotates faster than the underlying planet by about 10 ms- 1 on average. If transferred to the solid Earth, the atmospheric angular momentum (AAM) associated with this super-rotation would reduce the length-of-day (LOD) by about 3x 10-3s (3 ins). Geodetic observations going back several decades reveal more or less irregular LOD fluctuations of up to about 1 ms on interannual, seasonal, and intraseasonal time scales, and detailed studies using modern meteorological and geodetic data have established that these fluctuations are largely of meteorological origin (for reviews see Hide and Dickey, 199 l; Rosen, 1993). Because these fluctuations are readily shown to be intimately related to global energetic processes (Barnes et al., 1983; Hide, 1984; Bell et al., 1991), the ability of a global atmospheric general circulation model to represent AAM variations satisfactorily should be one good test of its trustworthiness. Indeed, large-scale dynamical fluctuations of the atmosphere produce strong and useful signals in AAM and LOD over a wide range of time scales (e.g. Hide et al., 1980; Rose’n et al,, 1984; Dickey et al., 1991; Salstein et al., 1993; Dickey et al., 1994)

      I asked recently about all of the GCM outputs and received back a paper I have only glanced at so far. But during my glance, I did not notice the paper discuss AAM. I was surprised to learn this is a model output and models have been adjusted to model this more accurately (which I learned from the conclusion of this paper).

  333. curious
    Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    David above – Interesting item thanks – did you look at the torque component charts?:

    http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/clim/aam.mon.anom.shtml

    There is a big step down in gravity wave drag in ’97. Does this suggests smoother seas? Or change in measure technique? Or other?…!: The frictional drag (smooth land?) and mountain drag show smaller and more continuous changes.

  334. curious
    Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Looking at the gravity wave anomaly chart again it steps down to -0.2 from 0. So this maybe means rougher seas? If the sign of anomaly is indicative of acting torque would this mean negative torque in the southern oceans (looking at the top plot)? Would this mean the wave is travelling eastwards to exert a -ve torque through AM conservation? This is OTTOMH so apologies if on the wrong track – not investigated the scale of anomaly factor either.

  335. curious
    Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Hmm, didn’t work – sorry: Hu 113 is at “Steig 2009’s Non-Correction for Serial Correlation”

  336. David Smith
    Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for spotting the gravity wave drag torque time series and for the references. For anyone interested, the time series is shown here .

    The oddity in question is the apparent step change circa 1997-98, the time of the super El Nino.

    There is conjecture that large events might trigger, or signal, some sort of repositioning of aspects of the atmospheric circulation, affecting climate, but I dunno whether this qualifies as that or whether this metric has any significance to climate. I’m searching for something to read which might shed some light on this.

    Besides troposphere/mountain and troposphere/ocean interchanges there may also be troposphere/stratosphere interchanges. My poor understanding is that tropospheric gravity waves are “unstable” in thin air (like the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere), causing eddies which ultimately affect high-atmosphere windspeed and temperature. Those changes might then translate downwards into the troposphere in the form of changes in high-tropospheric windspeed.

    I’ve never thought much on this subject and my grasp of it is near-zero, superficial, possibly quite wrong and knuckleheaded. So, this is a good time to do some reading and try to reduce the knuckleheadedness and maybe develop conjecture on what, if any, significance the step-change might possess.

    • curious
      Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

      Re: David Smith (#760), David – I’m also in need of knucklehead reduction. Having had a look at Ron’s reference I think my query re: sea roughness is perhaps a little off beam! C

  337. Bill Illis
    Posted Mar 15, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    David, I get a pretty good match with combining all the different ocean indices I use (ENSO, PDO, AMO and the Southern Atlantic). It does then beg the question whether it is some overall ocean response rather than just ENSO or some subset but the overall ocean SSTs don’t match up.

  338. Jaye Bass
    Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    Anybody tracking this?

    http://www.wisn.com/weather/18935841/detail.html

    • bender
      Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 6:02 PM | Permalink

      Re: Jaye Bass (#765),
      I’ll bite. What about it?

      • Jaye
        Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

        Re: bender (#767),

        I think its a counter example, maybe trivial, of a system that has an invariant attractor regardless of what you seed it with or its functional form.

        • TomVonk
          Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

          Re: Jaye (#769),

          I think its a counter example, maybe trivial, of a system that has an invariant attractor regardless of what you seed it with or its functional form.

          Whatever it is , it can’t be that because you contradict yourself within this single sentence .
          A dynamical system is given (defined) by a set of differential equations .
          This represents its “functionnal form” .
          The invariant points are defined by eigenvalues of the jacobian of the “functionnal form” for finite dimensionnal systems .
          What you said amounts to saying “There exists a set of matrixes whose eigenvalues are 2 (attractor) regardless of the values of the elements of the matrix (functionnal form)” :)

          The attractor doesn’t depend (trivially) on the initial point where you choose to look at a system but completely depends on the control parameters that are related to the “functionnal form” of the chaotic system .

        • Martin Sidey
          Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

          Re: TomVonk (#772),

          In regard to the discussion about chaos.

          Is the pertinence of chaos to climate science that if the climate system is chaotic then the GCMs have no realistic possibility of accurately modelling it?

        • bender
          Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

          Re: Martin Sidey (#773),
          It’s about distinguishing trend/signal from noise. When “noise” is not iid white noise, not even red or pink noise, or even 1/f noise, then it becomes harder to separate the natural internal variability from the externally forced component. Make no mistake: the surface record is now diverging from the model predictions; GMT has flatlined and Earth may be cooling, for now. The warmers, ironically, now are willing to accept the complex ‘noise’ model – because it rescues their GHG hypothesis. They weren’t interested in 1998. But here’s a prediction: once the GMT “trend” reverts back to warming the alarmists will go back to being uninterested in the idea that chaos cascades across all time scales. Then, as before, the proponents of chaos will be accused of “denial”. This is when you know the science has become politicized.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#774),
          And of course, choice of noise/error model influences ones ability to accurately estimate sensitivity coefficients. And given that the magnitude of GHG effect is NOT IN FACT KNOWN (is not in fact constrained by “physics”) but is IN FACT inferred – by trial-and-error (Kiehl et al 2007) twiddling of the aerosols knob – then one should be greatly concerned about the error model used to represent the portion of trend not attributable to external forcings.
          .
          Trial and error is not a statistical procedure. It is prone to overfitting. In particular: overfitting to chaotic low-frequency variability (e.g. AMO, PDO, SAM, etc), incorrectly assuming it is externally forced “trend”.

        • Raven
          Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#776)
          A simple random system is a set of dice where the output is the sum of the dice. I like this as a starting point because it is easy to see the relationship between the mathematical model that describes the statistical properties of that process and the process itself.

          Is there a similar simple chaotic system that demonstrates how ‘chaos cascades across all timescales’?

        • Raven
          Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

          Re: Raven (#777)
          This seems to answer my own question: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

        • bender
          Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

          Re: Raven (#779),
          Raven, I think the issue is the “bounding”. The argument that “weather is chaotic but climate is not” is making some kind of assertion about the time scale over which the chaotic attractor is sufficiently bounded (trajectories folded and refolded back upon themselves) that time-series averages start meaning something meaningful about the system state. [NB: I defer to Tom Vonk when it comes to the precision of my language.] But I think it’s an open question, this relationship between observation time and boundedness. I don’t think it’s as simple as the trend-seekers make it out to be. The planet Earth is so large that I can’t see the attractor geometry being so simple that boundedness ever comes into play, even on geological time scales. But, hey, whuddo I know. I defer to the authorities.

        • Craig Loehle
          Posted Mar 18, 2009 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#780), First of all, Bender, when did you start deferring to the authorities? The statement that weather is chaotic but climate is not is making the assumption that the boundary conditions (feedbacks) limit the extent to which the climate can fluctuate. Consider an ecosystem: there is an upper bound on how big the trees can get based on the rainfall etc. They can fluctuate all they want below this level. BUT: for the climate this is an unproven assumption. What if the Dansgaard-Oschger fluctuations and the Younger Dryas were simply internal oscillations (not forced)? This makes possible internal oscillations much much bigger than the 20th Century warming.

        • bender
          Posted Mar 18, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#794),

          when did you start deferring to the authorities?

          I defer to any authority … who can first prove himself :)

        • bender
          Posted Mar 18, 2009 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

          Re: Craig Loehle (#794),

          What if the Dansgaard-Oschger fluctuations and the Younger Dryas were simply internal oscillations (not forced)?

          What does the IPCC-cited (and non-cited) literature say about this?

    • theduke
      Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

      Re: Jaye Bass (#765),

      I think that link needs to be considered in conjunction with this one:

      http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/03/02/global-warming-pause.html

  339. Jaye Bass
    Posted Mar 16, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    A chaotic system has 1 invariant attractor only as long as the so called control parameters stay constant .

    Ok I’m digging deep into my past here but I think a special type of fractal, Iterated Function Systems, will converge to the same attractor even independent of the starting points (all they need is a compact subset of whatever metric space they, the IFS’s, live in) as long as they are contractive mappings.

  340. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    Interruption again – for update of Douglas Keenan and legal challenge to Professor Wei-Chyung Wang of New York State University at Albany, see

    http://freebornjohn.blogspot.com/2009/03/kafka-at-albany.html

    This link was referred to me by the indefatiguable W Hughes.

  341. Jaye Bass
    Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    A dynamical system is given (defined) by a set of differential equations .

    An IFS is a set functions in the space (f : Rn => Rn…which in not the same place as Rn) that can be shown to converge to a unique and compact fixed point given any input S in Rn such that S is compact. Typically they are a set of affine transformations but they can be non-linear. Since each function is a point in a metric space and given the iterative nature of the operation, I think that what I said holds. There is not “scalar” Jacobian for this type of thing, the Jacobian in this case would be a matrix of functions.

  342. bender
    Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    Raven, you would HOPE that a GCM would fit the bill. Moreover you would HOPE that Hansen, Schmidt et al would be very interested in this question, as it was them that said that “coupled nonlinear chaotic variability cascades to all time scales”, not me. But where are the studies showing the correct pattern of “cascading” (whatever that means) in the models? (Perhaps our resident secretary, Simon Evans, can tell us?) And if the GCMs are in fact “cascading” in just the right way (errr, they don’t even get ENSO right), then what would this say about the sufficiency of the size and length of their replicate “ensembles”? (Yes, size matters.)
    .
    For a simpler, abstract system, how about Lorenz’s attractor? How does its “coupled nonlinear chaotic variability” “cascade to all time scales”? I don’t know the answer, Raven. I’m still trying to understand their words. I need to understand what it means before I can given an example. Maybe ask the authorities themselves. That always works well.

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

      Re: bender (#778), If they really mean that, “coupled nonlinear chaotic variability cascades to all time scales” then they must mean something like the chaotic system is self-similar over all time scales.

      So, if the process exhibited state jumps at some average frequency ‘f1,’ over some time ‘T1,’ then at some time T2 much greater than T1, there would be an average frequency of state jumps f2 greater than f1, but which exhibits structure similar to f1 over the time range T2.

      It may also mean that the immediate climate state at some arbitrary T0 affects the climate state at any Tn, from near-term to distant times. Matthew Collins definitely showed that with the HadCM3, which recalculated climates decohered from its own initially calculated climate within 1 year when initial conditions were only slightly modified.

      I wonder whether someone has quantified a ‘chaos metric’ such that a degree of chaos (more chaotic, less chaotic) is represented by the magnitude or rate of state transitions over some characteristic time (or some time-like coordinate). They’d then be able to show that f1 is structurally similar to f2 over the respective coordinate ranges.

      But really, the central problem Schmidt and Hansen didn’t mention is that in climate, the variability cascades over all energy ranges. This makes climate states vulnerable to upward cascades of small energy perturbations. Jerry Browning has been emphatic on this point, and I think Chris Essex is working on the problem as well.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

        Re: Pat Frank (#781),
        Way back in May 2008 I was at the edges of these concepts with
        http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3086

        I have a non-linear chaotic brain that cascades at all time scales. It does not help me.

      • bender
        Posted Mar 17, 2009 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

        Re: Pat Frank (#781),
        The only “chaos metric” I know of is the Lyapunov exponent, to which Tom Vonk frequently refers.

        • TomVonk
          Posted Mar 19, 2009 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

          Re: bender (#783),

          For some reason when chaos theory (or string theory) is mentionned , it appears that almost everybody has an idea but almost nobody really looked at the details .
          Despite the fact that I have written dozens on posts in different threads , I feel that I should make a kind of Q&A for the general public about what chaos is and isn’t .
          .
          1)
          Chaos theory is a branch of the dynamics . It directly proceeds from what should be familiar to all physicists – the hamiltonian mechanics and it uses its concepts and vocabulary too .
          .
          2)
          There are generaly considered 3 kinds of systems : temporal chaos , spatio-temporal chaos and quantum chaos . In what follows I will consider ONLY temporal chaos which is relevant to our discussion . I might touch the spatio-temporal chaos at the end if I have the time .
          .
          3)
          Because of the above , the chaos theory despite its name is a DETERMINISTIC theory . I will not redo the classical introduction to hamiltonian mechanics but that means that the system is described by a set of N first order non linear differential equation where N is the number of independent dynamical variables . N is also called the number of degrees of freedom of the system or the dimension of the phase space . Conversely that means that if you have NOT a set of differential equations , you can NOT say if the system is chaotic or not .
          Do not overfly this paragraph and think 5 minutes about it .
          Among others you discovered now that we cannot know with certainty if the climate is chaotic because we have not a set of N equations describing its dynamics .
          You also discover that there is no distinction between “internal variabilities” and “externals whatever” . These distinctions only create confusion because each and every degree of freedom is INTERNAL to the system . Of course the dynamics depends on external things like the movement of a planet depends on the gravitational field but those things are always explicitely integrated in the N equations .
          .
          4) The defining characteristic of a chaotic system is its spectrum of Lyapounov coefficients . There are N of them . A dynamical non linear system system will be chaotic if and only if at least 1 of the Lyapounov coefficients is positive . The Lyapounov coefficients measure the speed with which 2 trajectories separate when they start almost at the same point of the phase space and this is what is known by the general public as “sensibility to the initial conditions” .
          The largest positive Lyapounov coefficient determines trivially the maximal horizon of predictability (f.ex for the Earth orbit it is around 10 millions years . Oh in case it surprised you , the Earth orbit is chaotic :))
          Technically the Lyapounov coefficients are related to the eigenvalues of the Jacobian and I mention this point only so that you realise like in 3) above that you cannot compute the Lyapounov coefficients if you have not explicitely the N equations .
          .
          5)
          Each system of equations has coefficients . These coefficients are called control parameters and their importance is paramount . Indeed generally a system is chaotic (from now on everytime I say chaotic , translate Lyapounov coefficient > 0) only for certain values of control parameters . In most physical cases these parameters vary during the evolution what means that the equations themselves and therefore their solutions vary too . This is one of the reasons why it is practically impossible to determine the Lyapounov coefficents empirically by observation .
          .
          6)
          The major part of chaos theory is concerned with invariant sets . An invariant set is defined by saying that if an orbit starts at a point of the set , it stays in the set .
          A trivial example is when this set is a point because it means that the system is in equilibrium .
          The most complex case is when this set is a fractal hypersurface because it means that the system is unpredictible .
          Invariant sets are also called attractors and fractal sets are called strange attractors .
          There is another interesting set which is the set of points external to the attractor (e.g non invariant) but every orbit that starts there , finishes on the attractor . This set is calle