Chucky Returns, Part IV

Suzanne Goldenberg writes today:

The Obama administration is poised for its most forceful confrontation with the American public on the sweeping and life-altering consequences of a failure to act on global warming with the release today of a long-awaited scientific report on climate change.

Figure 1. Photoshopped picture of a flooded house in First Draft of CCSP Report.

This long-awaited report appears is the 4th version of the NOAA report on the US, an earlier version of which was discussed at CA last summer here. This was the report that used the fake photograph of a flooded house, in which the flood waters had been photoshopped onto a picture of house in the northwest U.S. It also used Mann’s HS.

It will be interesting to see compare the new version against last summer’s version. Let’s hope that they at least removed the photoshopped house.

Full Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States available here: Full Government Report

Update: Pielke Jr comments here.


  1. Rearden
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    I had no luck using Explorer or Firefox. I am now using “wget” on a linux machine–I’m halfway through after about an hour.

  2. Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    The main feature of the new site will be the report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States”. This is an authoritative scientific report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels. It summarizes the science of climate change and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future. It focuses on climate change impacts on U.S. regions and various aspects of society and the economy such as energy, water, agriculture, and health.

    Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian spins up the media blitz with some interesting language.

    Obama targets US public with call for climate action:

    The Obama administration is poised for its most forceful confrontation with the American public on the sweeping and life-altering consequences of a failure to act on global warming with the release today of a long-awaited scientific report on climate change.

    But the bill has run into strong opposition from some Democratic members of Congress, especially those from agricultural states who say that putting limits on greenhouse gas emissions will hurt farmers’ economic interests. That could complicate Pelosi’s plans of getting the bill passed through various committees by this Friday, 19 June, and put to a vote next week.

    Guess Congress will have a few days to digest the report. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

    The report is going to be released at 1:30 pm June 16.

  3. Rearden
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Re: ryanm #3
    You’re right. The document I obtained from the link Steve posted is stamped with “Final Draft for Internal Review, April 2009, Do Not Cite or Quote”.

  4. Les Johnson
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

    This is my reply to the Guardian. Apparently they have trouble with metric.

    To the editors of the Guardian:
    re: the following article on Climate Impacts
    Perhaps your correspondent, and editor, would like to check the conversion of degrees C to degrees F? An example:
    2.1C-4.3C (7-11F)
    My calculator says 2.1 deg C-4.3 deg C = 3.8 deg F – 7.8 deg F.
    All the conversions in the article are wrong. The error is not even consistent, as the ratio changes.
    It doesn’t give me much confidence in the rest of the science, when very simple conversions can’t be made.

    Obama targets US public with call for climate action
    Climate impacts report warns of flooding, heat waves, drought and loss of wildlife that will occur if Americans fail to act on global warming

    Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent

    • bernie
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

      Re: Les Johnson (#5),
      Nicely put. If it doesn’t get a correction then there is no hope for the Guardian.

    • Craig Loehle
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

      Re: Les Johnson (#5), Math is so old hat, so fuddy-duddy. Didn’t you hear? We should go with our feelings. Oprah said so.

    • Ian Castles
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

      Re: Les Johnson (#5).

      Les Johnson,
      Your conversions are wrong too. The correct calculation is 2.1C-4.3C=35.8F-39.7F.

      • Mark T
        Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

        Re: Ian Castles (#15), Uh, the slope of the conversion is 9/5*C, but you don’t add 32 unless you’re talking about absolute temperatures (instead of an increase in temperatures), and I think this point is about an increase in temperatures.


  5. AnonyMoose
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    I couldn’t find the fake flooded house in the final version of the report. This time they managed to find plenty of other flood photos. Although I’m surprised they needed to use so many from news organizations and the AP.

    • Geoff Sherrington
      Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

      Re: AnonyMoose (#6),

      The images got worse than the photoshopped house of before. Now, one photoshopped image shows how global warming has moved Alaska and Hawaii closer to the contiguous 48.

  6. Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    A search of the site for the word “feedback” yields six hits including under research goals:
    “Identify deficiencies in cloud formulations and cloud feedback representations in climate models, and improve cloud processes representations. Quantify the magnitude of aerosol indirect effects on clouds and their effects on precipitation and the broader hydrologic cycle.

    I look forward to seeing this deficiency in the models mentioned in the press along with the justification for a economy crippling tax.

  7. Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    It used the 08 hockey stick, an artifact of the most flamboyantly undisguised HS generating math I’ve ever imagined.

    Mann, M.E., Z. Zhang, M.K. Hughes, R.S. Bradley, S.K. Miller, S.
    Rutherford, and F. Ni, 2008: Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric
    and global surface temperature variations over the past
    two millennia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
    105(36), 13252-13257.

    I’m grumpy.

  8. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    At least they raised the problem of the tropical troposphere, but only to wish it away. On page 21 they show the CCSP post-1959 backcast, along with the text:

    In the tropics, all models predicted that with a rise in
    greenhouse gases, the troposphere would be expected
    to warm more rapidly than the surface. Observations
    from weather balloons, satellites, and surface
    thermometers seemed to show the opposite behavior
    (more rapid warming of the surface than the troposphere).
    This issue was a stumbling block in our understanding
    of the causes of climate change. It is now
    largely resolved.[71] Research showed that there were
    large uncertainties in the satellite and weather balloon
    data. When uncertainties in models and observations
    are properly accounted for, newer observational data
    sets (with better treatment of known problems) are in
    agreement with climate model results. [FN:31,72-75]

    Footnote 31 is, not surprisingly, Santer 2008. 72-75 are all radiosonde papers.

    Several things are noteworthy, the first being the “trust us” tone: we’re not showing you any graphs, just take our word for it that everything matches up. Why don’t they graph the model predictions for the post-1979 interval with the satellite and balloon records in a comparable format? If the match is so good, show us.

    Second, notice the bait-and-switch between satellites and radiosondes: the satellite data still don’t match the models, but they can find a radiosonde set that comes close, so they lump them all together and assert resolution all around.

    Third, notice that they state the problem only in terms of the troposphere-surface differential, rather than the absolute trends themselves. With so many data sets to choose from now, yes they can find one pair with greater warming aloft than at the surface, though it helps that they truncate the data at 1999 and choose a surface data set with an anomalous cooling rate. They don’t mention that the observed trends in the tropical troposphere are still well below the scorching rates shown in their GCM figures.

    They do like to emphasize fingerprints. Very appropriate for a report with a big thumbprint on the scale.

    • Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

      Re: Ross McKitrick (#11),

      I think it’s a footprint on the scale, thumb’s not big enough.

      • Mark T
        Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

        Re: jeff Id (#12), Bigfoot?


      • Morris
        Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

        Re: jeff Id (#12), Actually, they also reference (71) “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences ” which pretty much cleared up the mess Spencer et al had left.

        Go read it. page 15 of 180 “For observations since the late 1950s, the start of the study period for this Report, the most recent versions of all available data sets show that both the surface and troposphere have warmed, while the stratosphere has cooled . These changes are in accord with our understanding of the effects of radiative forcing agents and with the results from model simulations”

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: Ross McKitrick (#11),

      Ross cited the following:

      Research showed that there were large uncertainties in the satellite and weather balloon data. When uncertainties in models and observations are properly accounted for, newer observational data sets (with better treatment of known problems) are in agreement with climate model results. [FN:31,72-75]

      Expanding slightly on Ross’ reference, this is based on Santer et al 2008. We’ve observed here and in our IJC submission that Santer used obsolete data ending in 1999 and this claim is untrue for the UAH data set if up-to-date data is used. I think that it’s reasonable to assume that Santer knows that this aspect of Santer et al 2008 is untrue. However, Santer in his capacity of CCSP author reviewing his own work repeated the untrue claim.

  9. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    They indicate that urban heating can increase the temperature in a city by up to 10 deg F. And they did get a picture of a Polar Bear in.

  10. Ian Castles
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Les Johnson,

    That is, if the context is referring to absolute temperatures. If the context in Suzanne Goldenberg’s article refers to CHANGES in temperature, your conversion would be correct. However, Goldenberg also refers to a change of 1.5C as equal to 17F, which is again wrong: the correct figure for this conversion is a change of 2.7F.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t see any Stick graphic, but they say:

    For the Northern Hemisphere, the recent temperature rise is clearly unusual in at least the last 1,000 years.47,48

    47 is the NAS/NRC Report, 2006 which did not say any such thing. If you recall, they said that it was “plausible” that it was the warmest but clearly did not say that it was clearly unusual” . 48 is of course Mann et al 2008 of the upside down Tiljander proxies. As CA readers know, Mann’s use of upside-down contaminated proxies was noted by McIntyre and McKitrick (PNAS 2009), a caveat that was not reported in CCSP.

    • David L. Hagen
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

      Re: Steve McIntyre (#18),
      See temperature graphic on the front cover and figure on page 17.

      “The bars at the bottom of the front cover show the global annual average temperature from 1900-2008, see page 17″

      Page 17
      Temperatures are rising

      Global average surface air temperature has increased substantially since 1970.26


      The temperature Figure on Page 17 cites “NOAA/NCDC32″

      Global annual average temperature (as measured over both land and oceans). Red bars indicate temperatures above and blue bars indicate temperatures below the average temperature for the period 1901-2000. The black line shows atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in parts per million (ppm). While there is a clear longterm global warming trend, each individual year does not show a temperature increase relative to the previous year, and some years show greater changes than others.33 These year-to-year fluctuations in temperature are due to natural processes, such as the effects of El Niños, La Niñas, and the eruption of large volcanoes.


      26 The spatial average of annual-average surface air temperatures around the globe is commonly referred to as the global average surface air temperature. . . .

      32 Uncertainties in the data are an order of magnitude smaller than the trend according to Karl, T.R., J.R. Christy, R.A. Clarke, G.V. Gruza, J. Jouzel, M.E. Mann, J. Oerlemans, M.J. Salinger, and S.-W. Wang, 2001: Observed climate variability and change. In:
      Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Houghton, J.T., Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K. Maskell, and C.A. Johnson (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, pp. 99-181.
      Temperature data:
      Smith, T.M. and R.W. Reynolds, 2004: Improved extended reconstruction of SST (1854–1997). Journal of Climate, 17(12),
      Jones, P.D., M. New, D.E. Parker, S. Martin, and I.G. Rigor, 1999: Surface air temperature and its changes over the past 150 years. Reviews of Geophysics, 37(2), 173-199.
      Carbon dioxide data:
      Data from 1974 to present: Tans, P., 2008: Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide: Mauna Loa. NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL). [Web site] Data available at
      1958-1974 data are from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Keeling) Mauna Loa Observatory record.
      Pre-1958 values are annual points taken from a smooth fit to the Law Dome data: Etheridge, D.M., L.P. Steele, R.L. Langenfelds, R.J. Francey, J.-M. Barnola, and V.I. Morgan, 1996: Natural and anthropogenic changes in atmospheric CO2 over the last 1000 years from air in Antarctic ice and firn. Journal of Geophysical Research, 101(D2), 4115-4128.

      33. Easterling, D. and M. Wehner, 2009: Is the climate warming or cooling? Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L08706,doi:10.1029/2009GL037810.

      The only reference to “Pacific Decadal Oscillation” appears to be on p 152 (156 of 196):

      Coastal currents are subject to periodic variations caused by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which have substantial effects on the success of salmon and other fishery resources. Climate change is expected to affect such coastal currents, and possibly the larger scale natural oscillations as well, though these effects
      are not yet well understood.

      Compare Don Easterbrook’s prediction:

      The climatic fluctuations over the past few hundred years suggest ~30 year climatic cycles of global warming and cooling, on a general rising trend from the Little Ice Age cool period. If the trend continues as it has for the past several centuries, global temperatures for the coming century might look like those in Figure 2. Global cooling should begin soon and last until about 2040, then warm again until about 2070, and cooling again to the end of the century. The total increase in global warming from now to the end of the century should be only about 0.4°C, compared to nearly 11°C (maximum) predicted by the IPCC (Fig. 3)

  12. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    I don’t find it much improved with respect to my own research area:

    • bernie
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

      Re: Roger Pielke Jr. (#19),
      Your ad worked!

      You should ask Anthony what he charges for ads and send Roger a bill!

  13. Stan
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    Steve: snip – please avoid just piling on with adjectives.

    GlobalChange.Gov–US Impacts Summary

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

      Re: Stan (#21), There’s an interesting attribute of the Global Average Temperature graphic, which also occurs unremarked in the 4AR. Look at the error bars on the 20th century simulation. They go through a minimum of zero at around 1980, with the spreads getting systematically wider with time on either side.

      This puzzled me for awhile, until I realized that they were calculating their error bars as a percent of the magnitude of the simulated anomaly. The anomalies are normalized around 1980. So, what someone has done is blindly scale the error bars to the normalized anomaly. And since the anomaly normalizes to zero around 1980, the error bar is zero there, too.

      Isn’t that a clever way to improve the precision of a calculation! Just re-normalize the results to average around zero, and all the uncertainty disappears.

      This is a very naive error, and one of which the IPCC is also guilty (along with the NAS See Figure 12; pdf download.), even after their review nonpareil by 2500 of the world’s greatest climate scientists.

  14. Eric Anderson
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    I’m sure many are aware of this already, but just had an epiphany: John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and signer of the CCSP report, is the same individual who advanced radical (and laughably wrong) positions in the 60’s and 70’s about resource depletion, population control, etc.
    HT Dodgy Geezer at WUWT.

    Sheesh, one would be hard pressed to come up with a less objective individual to fill the role he is currently playing on this topic.

  15. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    page 26:

    The long record of climate found in ice cores, tree rings, and other natural records show that Earth’s climate patterns have undergone rapid shifts from one stable state to another within as short a period as a decade.

    Does anybody proof read this stuff?

    Let’s see a citation for a tree ring study that purports to show: “Earth’s climate patterns have undergone rapid shifts from one stable state to another within as short a period as a decade.”

  16. player
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Could you please point me to a draft of your IJC submission countering Santer et al 2008, if its available? If its discussed on CA – apologies – let me know, I’ll find it. I find it amazing that Santer et al is quoted as gospel, especially in view of Christy et al 2009 that limits CO2 forcing based on the updated UAH data.


  17. Bob Koss
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    Here is a quote and the graphic from page 34.

    The number of days with high temperatures above
    90°F is projected to increase throughout the country
    as illustrated in the maps on the left. Parts of the South that currently have about 60 days per year with temperatures over 90°F are projected to experience 150 or more days a year above 90°F by the end of this century, under a higher emissions scenario.

    Here are some questions I asked myself about this graphic. Along with the answers I came up with.
    1)Why are they using a model to show the 1961-1970 period? Observations probably don’t fit the story-line.

    2)Why are they calling the 1961-1970 period the ‘recent past’, and only using a 10 year average instead of the 20 they use for the other maps, when they ran the model up 2099 and must have data for more current years? Extreme low and high colors values probably appear adjacent to each other often, and that period was the most recent and longest period that looked decent.

    3)Why do they use the text I bolded at the top of this comment instead of what they call ‘recent past’ in the map? Many people will become befuddled by the wording difference, and may incorrectly assume actual current observations are being used instead of just model data.

    If anyone has more rational answers, I’m all ears err… eyes.

    • Andrew
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bob Koss (#29), And why is there chosen base period for comparison not the most recent decades but in the middle of a cool period? What’s more, why are they highlighting model results on a regional scale when the reliability of models on said scales is so suspect that only a completely dishonest person would pretend they aren’t crap?

      Really, this report is so narrow in its perspective it is shocking!

      • Bob Koss
        Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

        Re: Andrew (#32), I didn’t point out the cool period for the baseline since it would only be the model’s simulated baseline and not observational.

        I see now on page 28 they use an observational baseline of 19 years in their noaa/ncdc portion of the graphic. They could have used that in the graphic above instead of the 10 modeled years they did use. Why 19 years and not 30 I don’t know, but I suspect a not really legitimate reason. They’ve always used a 30 year baseline in creating anomaly baselines. They’ve consistently claimed less than 30 years is weather and not climate. Doesn’t seem right to mix and match whenever you want.

    • Karl
      Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

      Re: Bob Koss (#29),

      Bob, they use the 1961-1970 period because that was the peak of the last global cooling trend. The summers were relatively cool. At the WFO office in Marquette, Michigan one-third of all summer record-lows occurred during this period (record began in 1961).

  18. Ian Castles
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Re the quote cited in #22: “The bars at the bottom of the front cover show the global annual average temperature from 1900-2008, see page 17″.

    No, the bars relate to the estimated global annual average temperature anomalies from 1880 (not 1900), expressed in relation to the average for 1901 to 2000. The first succession of red bars relates to the period around 1940.

  19. Vinceo
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    Re the error mentioned in #5. It appears that someone looked up 21C and 43C in a temperature conversion table to get 70F and 110F; then simply divided by 10!

  20. Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

    The tropical meteorology and hurricanes + climate change section isn’t the most convincing in my opinion. It relies almost solely on Emanuel (2005), which has been updated in Emanuel (2007), and Elsner et al. (2008), which only deals with Atlantic hurricane activity from 1981-2006. How can one extrapolate out to 2080 based upon 26 years of data?

    Global hurricane activity is the lowest in 30-years, both hemispheres. You think that would be as important as the recent trend in Arctic sea-ice.

    • Mark T
      Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

      Re: Ryan Maue (#36),

      Global hurricane activity is the lowest in 30-years, both hemispheres. You think that would be as important as the recent trend in Arctic sea-ice.

      Yes, but the number of CAT 4/5 himmicanes is trending up AND, there’s no legitimate hypothesis that is connected to ACE activity, so it is clearly not worth considering anyway … ahem… cough, cough. ;)


      • Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

        Re: Mark T (#46), sure there is a reasonable hypothesis. It will be working its way through the peer-review process in the next few weeks. ;-)

        • Mark T
          Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

          Re: Ryan Maue (#53), I hope you understood my sarcasm in that post. I’ve read, and sometimes participated, in many of the quibbles you and Judith have had in the past. ;)

          I am glad that you are attempting to rectify that situation, btw. It seems reasonable to assume that SSTs would somehow be tied to average intensity, not just whether NOAA decides to call something a CAT 4 or a CAT 5. There’s probably a study or two involved purely in the increased ability to measure all of these phenomena as technology improves, too (if there hasn’t already been a few).


  21. Michael D Smith
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    I like this quote: “Roughly one-half of the carbon dioxide released from fossil fuel burning remains in the atmosphere after 100 years, and roughly one-fifth of it remains after 1,000 years.90″ page 40…

    Now from the slope of monthly Mauna Loa data, when the signal is maximum negative (usually in September), I show a slope of roughly -25ppm per year (for a short time). This means the sink outweighed the source by the maximum amount, and the system exchanges CO2 at an extremely high rate. It does this all the time, we are seeing a difference in source and sink as the maximum rates, but the exchange rate MUST always be very high, not just in September.

    Point 1 is that such a half life is impossible while still showing a signal that sharp at Mauna Loa, otherwise it would be much more filtered. An older chart I made also shows how fast CO2 reacts to temperature, even when heavily smoothed, so I seriously doubt CO2 has a life of more than a few, single digit years at most.

    Point 2: They claim a half life of 100 years from the first statement. I thought this was debunked years ago, but I’ll work with it. Half life is described as AmountFuture=AmountPresent*e^-(tx) where t in this case is years and x must be 0.006931472. (same as -ln(.5)/100)

    CO2(100)=CO2Now*e^-(100*.006931472), or 1 * e^-.6931472) = .5 in 100 years. Good.
    CO2(1000)=CO2Now*e^-(1000*.006931472), or 1 * e^-6.931472) = 0.000976562, or 0.097%, NOT 20%. This also means one time constant is 144 years, and there are 6.93 time constants in 1000 years. 6.93 time constants will never yield 20% in a decaying process, it will always yield 0.097%.

    Just one small example of politicians masquerading as scientists. Looking for other gross errors…

    I think this is the correct link for the report, it downloaded much faster than the draft copy:

    • DeWitt Payne
      Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

      Re: Michael D Smith (#37),

      Just because the seasonal cycle in the Mauna Loa CO2 data appears to correlate with temperature does not mean that temperature is the actual or sole driver. Considering that the fluctuation is likely related to terrestrial biologic activity, insolation could be the main driver. The high rate of draw down in the NH summer therefore only applies to summer like conditions, not the entire year. I can show from Antarctic ice core data that the lag in CO2 versus deltaD (a proxy for temperature) can be fairly well approximated by a linear transform of deltaD and a long time constant (~2000 years).

      The question of the half life of an individual CO2 molecule in the atmosphere versus the half life of the concentration of atmospheric CO2 has been discussed to death elsewhere.

      • Andrew
        Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#59), I’ve I showed above, the reason for the “correlation” is that the rate of temperature change modulates the rate of CO2 change:

        The temperature itself most certainly does not either modulate or cause the rise.

      • Michael D Smith
        Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

        Re: DeWitt Payne (#59),

        DeWitt, I eliminated the seasonal cycle when I did that chart, mine is much like yours and shows an increase even with decreasing temps (the slope of the CO2 is net positive, so the derivative will be too). The point on that chart is that the reaction of CO2 rate to temperature is extremely fast, with almost zero lag, which supports my next point.

        The slope I’m talking about is -25PPM/yr at the peak seasonal decline rate (different subject). I did some further analysis and come up with a time constant for life of a free CO2 molecule at 15.4 years here: … look for ” Michael D Smith (09:53:30)”. There are some other stats that fall out of that slope, but this is the MAX time constant. It could be (probably is) faster, but I’m only looking at the max -CO2 slope from the seasonal change. This determines the lower limit of the rate of exchange of CO2 in and out of sinks… The best analogy is probably a large bucket with a hole in the bottom, and a faucet flowing in. We cannot determine the flow rates of the two, but we can see that over the season, the bucket level rises and falls, and thus we can determine the net flow rate given the volume of the bucket, and the maximum slope of its rising and falling. An infinite variety of flow rates of the sources and sinks will satisfy the equations, as long as the slopes and levels are met. So the analysis I show is the minimum net flow rate out of the atmosphere that satisfies the -slope. The flow rates of the sources and sinks are likely (almost certainly) much higher, but balance. They can’t be determined from this simple data set.

        50% in 100 years, as claimed, is preposterous given only this data set, as is 20% in 1000 years, for other reasons. Why they didn’t use a faster rate, when it has been discussed so much, presumably to death, is the point I was making. I thought that horse was dead.

        • DeWitt Payne
          Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

          Re: Michael D Smith (#62),

          I don’t really want to waste bandwidth on this but I suggest you look at section 7 here for a simple example of why the half life of an individual CO2 molecule is not related at all to the half life of atmospheric concentration. Your bucket analogy is far too simple. There are several flows in and out at very different rates and several other buckets that the flows are going between with each one a very different size.

  22. DG
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    At least the map clearly identifies all the urban stations :)

    There is mention of UHI and how large urban cities are affected by it, but how will limiting human caused CO2 emissions diminish that? Land use change is not discussed at all despite the overwhelming evidence of its effect on local and regional scales. No doubt RPS will have something to say about this latest politically charged document.

    snip – PLEASE stop imputing motives

  23. juan
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    re: #22

    “32 Uncertainties in the data are an order of magnitude smaller than the trend according to Karl, T.R., J.R. Christy….”

    Are we to believe that _all_ the cited authors of this document subscribe to this statement, in particular Dr. Christy?

  24. David L. Hagen
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    The report projects: Global Average Temperature 1900 to 2100

    Observed and projected changes in the global average temperature under three IPCC no-policy emissions scenarios. The shaded areas show the likely ranges while the lines show the central projections from a set of climate models. A wider range of model types shows outcomes from 2 to 11.5ºF.90 Changes are relative to the 1960-1979 average.

    Their “minor” oversight is that Peak Oil and Peak Coal together limit the total CO2 emissions from conventional sources to below all their projections. No mention of either “Peak Oil” or “Peak Coal” in the report.

    What is even more remarkable is that James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha published “Implications of “Peak Oil” for Atmospheric CO2 and Climate”

    Assuming that proven oil and gas reserves do not greatly exceed estimates of the Energy Information Administration, and recent trends are toward lower estimates, we show that it is feasible to keep atmospheric CO2 from exceeding about 450 ppm by 2100, provided that emissions from coal, unconventional fossil fuels, and land use are constrained.

    Discussed at TheOilDrum
    Professor Kjell Aleklett, Uppsala University physicist and president of ASPO, The Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas, has recently written along similar lines considering oil, gas and coal peaks in comparison to the IPCC emission scenarios and finds the reserves wanting.

  25. deadwood
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 9:13 PM | Permalink

    I expected this document to be what it is – a slicker version of the one sided document released last summer. The administration claims to be dedicated to following science in its policy decision making process, but it clear that they mean political science rather than the definition most here understand.

    BTW RPJr – good article.

  26. David L. Hagen
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 9:32 PM | Permalink

    For oil and coal projections vs IPCC projections, note:
    Global warming exaggerated, insufficient oil, natural gas and coal
    by Kjell Aleklett, Energy Bulletin, Published May 18 2007

    The sum of all fossil resources that the industry considers available is presented annually in BP Statistical Review. According to this rather optimistic estimate, the total energy of all oil, natural gas and coal amounts to 36 Zeta joules (ZJ), a gigantic amount of energy. This is more than what our research group considers likely, but it is still less than what do the scenario families A1, A2, B1 and B2 require. The fossil energy will not be sufficient.

    See Kjell Aleklett’s recent presentation at the “SMART Conference” June 10-11, 2009 ASPO Australia, Sydney.
    “Future Transportation Fuels: Business-as-usual is not an option”
    See especially “Coal Production Forecast” in slide 74 suggesting “Peak Coal” by 2030.
    Slide 83 shows oil projections below all IPCC forecasts.
    Slide 89 compares coal projectsions below many of the IPCC forecasts.

  27. Scott Brim
    Posted Jun 16, 2009 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    Maybe it wouldn’t seem significant to anyone else but me, but this close up of the 1900-2100 temperature graphic seems to have something special about it:

  28. Phil
    Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 12:51 AM | Permalink

    The most important statement in this report may be:

    However, the surface warming caused by human-produced increases in other greenhouse gases leads to an increase in atmospheric water vapor, since a warmer climate increases evaporation and allows the atmosphere to hold more moisture. This creates an amplifying “feedback loop,” leading to more warming.

    There is no support cited for this statement – no publication – no study – no model – nothing.

    The statement is on page 15 of the report in a section enumerating the various heat-trapping gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, halocarbons and ozone. The section on Water Vapor also states that it:

    is the most important and abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere

    and that

    Human activities produce only a very small increase in water vapor through irrigation and combustion processes.

    Yet, water vapor is not included in the graph on page 14 titled “2,000 years of Greenhouse Gas Concentrations.” In the graph on page 21 titled “Patterns of Temperature Change”, there is a small graph in the upper left sub-titled “Well-mixed greenhouse gases”, but it is not clear if water vapor is included among such gases. Other graphs focus on greenhouse gases other than water vapor.

    In short, after stating that water vapor is the most important heat-trapping gas and that human activities “…produce only a very small increase…”, it appears to be then mostly ignored in favor of gases whose concentration is much lower in the atmosphere. Yet, what matters is the sum of the heat-trapping potential of all heat-trapping gases in determining the total heat-trapping effect of the atmosphere. Because of overlaps in the absorption spectra, this is not a simple algebraic sum of the heat-trapping potential of each gas but such a total heat-trapping effect should be ascertainable.

    I would like to see a graph of global “temperature” vs. the total concentration of all heat-trapping gases including water vapor over the same time period as the graphs in this report and with a vertical scale that begins at 0 and uses the same scale for all the gases. However, I suspect that such a graph would end up looking pretty flat, which may be why it isn’t shown.

    Additionally, such a graph would also shed some light on the statement I referred to first that “…increases in … greenhouse gases leads to an increase in atmospheric water vapor…”. If the graph for the heat-trapping effect of all heat-trapping gases is fairly flat, then such a statement would be essentially falsified. In any event, the statement is unsupported in this report and without this statement, it would seem that the rest of the report and its conclusions would likewise be unsupported.

    Steve” They list IPCC and prior CCSP reports as major references and I think that you’ll find this position in those reports. Water vapor feedback is a large and important problem. While you may disagree with the standard position, it is nonetheless widely held and is part of those prior studies. It’s a large and technical topic and can’t be discussed in one-paragraph bites.

    • Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 2:47 AM | Permalink

      Re: Phil (#47), You may well be right; Ken Gregory regards the water vapour issue as crucial and shows that water vapour has actually decreased at the critical height, not increased, as the planet has warmed. – snip

      He has argued the point, but this is not an authoritative source. So please don’t assume that this is the last word on the matter.

    • Phil
      Posted Jun 26, 2009 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

      Re: Phil (#47),

      Re: Lucy Skywalker (#50),

      I apologize for not stating more precisely that there were no specific citations. Steve is correct that there are implied citations. In re-reading AR4, however, I don’t believe it resolves the issues that I have raised. Unfortunately, discussing that with particularity would make for a very lengthy comment, as Steve has correctly pointed out. In lieu thereof, I think for reference purposes and in order not to leave these issues hanging completely, I would make reference to for a very lengthy and very interesting discussion of some of the same issues that I raised.

      Finally, I want to make clear that my focus was more on the idea that warming is a result of all the greenhouse gases acting in concert rather than some acting individually (such as CO2). This eventually leads to whether water vapor is a dependent variable (dependent on CO2 levels), an independent one or perhaps one that is only partially dependent (on CO2). My primary focus was not on feedback itself, although the two are inter-related.

  29. ianl
    Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    snip – no policy

  30. Ray Boorman
    Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    snip – prohibited language

  31. Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 5:40 AM | Permalink

    Its like every detail of the report is at least tweaked – just a bit. There’s no way they would let the true (still highly corrected) anomaly from today show anywhere in this report. It must have taken a long time to pick all the worst details, it ain’t science that’s for sure.

  32. j ferguson
    Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    Is it likely that this report will be annotated claim by claim, projection by projection, data reference by data reference, so that with some care, one could arrive at some reasoned opinion of it overall validity? I can readily see that reaching this “reasoned opinion” would require significant effort in reviewing the annotations and the studies to which they refer.

    I can see that posters to this site are doing this, but it would be very useful if the most succinct of these observations could be footnoted in an expanded “annotated” edition of the report.

  33. Demesure
    Posted Jun 17, 2009 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    An interesting scientific innovation in the report, page 25, bottom graph : “Simulated and projected changes in the amount of precipitation falling in the heaviest 5 percent of daily events.”
    Why bother with empirical data from observations when virtual data can be simulated.

  34. Michael D Smith
    Posted Jun 19, 2009 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

    Correct, aware of all that… Thank you for demonstrating my points. Just showing that one simple data set can establish a minimum net flow rate, I’m not providing a comprehensive model of all sources and sinks. Mauna Loa alone establishes a minimum net flow rate, not THE minimum, and that net flow rate of all sources and all sinks cannot be associated with a half life of more than approx 15 years, and that the flow is probably much faster. Your example shows that the rate of exchange of human induced CO2 (and for practical purposes all other) corresponds to a half life of 5 years (3x faster than my minimum rate). I won’t argue with that since it clearly supports my analysis. The inescapable fact is that individual molecules make up the sum that lead to the flow rates and half life Ferdinand is describing, so the individual molecules do relate to atmospheric concentration, in the short term I’m describing. This does not mean the 100PPM of “extra CO2″ would reduce to 50% in 5 years if all human releases stopped, that depends on sinks that permanently take CO2 out, not exchange it, which I think is the point you are making. So I will agree, that would be a very slow process and I won’t argue what it does as it approaches an equilibrium when reducing CO2 to an eventual baseline. However, the fast turnover rate implies reduction of CO2 levels to a substantially lower level is in fact very fast while the fast sinks are more active than the slow sinks, both of which are more active at higher CO2 levels. Not that it would make any difference… Claiming that the CO2 has a half life of 100 years is pure propaganda no matter how you slice it. Over and out… Mike S.

    • Posted Jun 27, 2009 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

      Re: Michael D Smith (#64),

      The inescapable fact is that individual molecules make up the sum that lead to the flow rates and half life Ferdinand is describing, so the individual molecules do relate to atmospheric concentration, in the short term I’m describing.

      Not true, take for example a steady state planet where the pCO2 in the atmosphere is in exact balance with the ocean concentration the half life based on individual molecules will still be about 5 years whereas the rate of change in [CO2] would be zero!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] of things about Obama and John Holdren and the new NCDC spincycle which Steve McIntyre has dubbed Chucky Returns Part IV. That one made me laugh out […]

  2. […] Tip: Scott Brim at Climate Audit and Roger Pielke Jr. Written by lucia. Previous Post: Next […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,423 other followers

%d bloggers like this: