Dr. Roy Spencer on publishing and climate sensitivity

Set Phasers on Stun

March 29th, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

dr-roy-spencer

I’ve been receiving a steady stream of e-mails asking when our latest work on feedbacks in the climate system will be published. Since I’ve been trying to fit the material from three (previously rejected) papers into one unified paper, it has taken a bit longer than expected…but we are now very close to submission.

We’ve tentatively decided to submit to Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR) rather than any of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) journals. This is because it appears that JGR editors are somewhat less concerned about a paper’s scientific conclusions supporting the policy goals of the IPCC — regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, JGR’s instructions to reviewers is to not reject a paper simply because the reviewer does not agree with the paper’s scientific conclusions. More on that later.

As those who have been following our work already know, our main conclusion is that climate sensitivity has been grossly overestimated due to a mix up between cause and effect when researchers have observed how global cloud cover varies with temperature.

To use my favorite example, when researchers have observed that global cloud cover decreases with warming, they have assumed that the warming caused the cloud cover to dissipate. This would be a positive feedback since such a response by clouds would let more sunlight in and enhance the warming.

But what they have ignored is the possibility that causation is actually working in the opposite direction: That the decrease in cloud cover caused the warming…not the other way around. And as shown by Spencer and Braswell (2008 J. Climate), this can mask the true existence of negative feedback.

All 20 of the IPCC climate models now have positive cloud feedbacks, which amplify the small about of warming from extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But if cloud feedbacks in the climate system are negative, then the climate system does not particularly care how much you drive your SUV. This is an issue of obvious importance to global warming research. Even the IPCC has admitted that cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in predicting global warming.

Significantly, our new work provides a method for identifying which direction of causation is occurring (forcing or feedback), and for obtaining a more accurate estimate of feedback in the presence of clouds forcing a temperature change. The method involves a new way of analyzing graphs of time filtered satellite observations of the Earth (or even of climate model output).

Well…at least I thought it was new way of analyzing graphs. It turns out that we have simply rediscovered a method used in other physical sciences: phase space analysis. This methodology was first introduced by Willard Gibbs in 1901.

We found that by connecting successively plotted points in graphs of how the global average temperature varies over time versus how global average radiative balance varies over time, one sees two different kinds of structures emerge: linear striations, which are the result of feedback, and spirals which are the result of internal radiative forcing by clouds.

But such a methodology is not new. To quote from Wikipedia on the subject of ‘phase space’:

Often this succession of plotted points is analogous to the system’s state evolving over time. In the end, the phase diagram…can easily elucidate qualities of the system that might not be obvious otherwise.

Using a simple climate model we show that these two features that show up in the graphs are a direct result of the two directions of causation: temperature causing clouds to change (revealed by ‘feedback stripes’), and clouds causing temperature to change (revealed by ‘radiative forcing spirals’).

The fact that others have found phase space analysis to be a useful methodology is a good thing. It should lend some credibility to our interpretation. Phase space analysis is what has helped us better understand chaos, along with its Lorenz attractor, strange attractor, etc.

And the fact that we find the exact same structures in the output of the IPCC climate models means that the modelers can not claim our interpretation has no physical basis.

And now we can also use some additional buzzwords in the new article…which seems to help from the standpoint of reviewers thinking you know what you are talking about. The new paper title is, “Phase Space Analysis of Forcing and Feedback in Models and Satellite Observations of Climate Variability”.

It just rolls of the tongue, doesn’t it?

I am confident the work will get published…eventually. But even if it didn’t, our original published paper on the issue has laid the groundwork…it would just take awhile before the research community understands the implications of that work.

What amazes me is the resistance there has been to ‘thinking out of the box’ when trying to estimate the sensitivity of the climate system. Especially when it has been considered to be ‘thinking in the box’ by other sciences for over a century now.

And it is truly unfortunate that the AMS, home of Lorenz’s first published work on chaos in 1963, has decided that political correctness is more important than the advancement of science.

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113 thoughts on “Dr. Roy Spencer on publishing and climate sensitivity

  1. What – Water Vapour provides Negative Feedback, naturally limiting CO2 induced Warming!!!

    What – No Catastrophy?

    My goodness – how will all the rent seeking CO2 Emission CAP and Traders justify the transfer of so much wealth from the many to the few?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  2. I wish you luck Dr. Spencer, or as they say on the stage, break a leg! Wait, that might actually help you get published! Just kidding, of course.

  3. Your use of phase space analysis makes perfect sense to this lay enthusiast of chaos theory. What makes no sense is that climate modeling isn’t making more use of it. How can that be? “Butterfly effect” and other memes from nonlinear system thinking have percolated the popular awareness ever since Gleick and others broke the subject open about 20 years ago; the concept of phase space is both intuitive and powerful, inviting its use to crack tough nuts; much of this stuff arose in meteorology and climatology in the first place. What happened?

    PS: Thanks for the excellent blog. I have learned so much, both from your postings and from the comments.

  4. Also, as a personal curiosity, which gas is CO2 displacing when it is added to the atmosphere?

  5. Feedback and data integrity comprise the Achilles’ heel of the AGW theory. It stands or falls on those two issues.

  6. Owen,

    The IPCC’s lack of interested in chaos theory has been the topic of intense discussion at CA. I suspect they avoid it because they think chaos is noise and cancels over ‘climatically significant’ timeframes. Without that belief they could not claim that CO2 is the primary cause of of the recent warming.

  7. From wiki:

    “An unknown, though probably large, quantity of CO2 is in the ocean sediments as a methane-carbon dioxide-water clathrates, one of the family of gas hydrates.”

    What happens to these ocean sediments when they are ground together at the meeting point of tectonic plates?

    What gas is displaced when CO2 is added to the atmosphere? It has to be something, yes? You can only have a million parts per million, so if CO2 is going up, what is going down?

  8. Eh, sorry for clogging up the boards here, but doesn’t this:

    make some kind of confirmation bias? I mean, did they put all the AGGI monitoring stations on volcanoes?

  9. Keep at the journals Roy, they can’t ignore good research forever and keep any shred of credibility. History will judge some editors sharply.

  10. There is a classic “catch-22″ in all this difficulty. Anyone who fails to get a work challenging AGW published in a “peer reviewed” journal these days claims “reviewer bias”. I imagine a number of such papers were, in fact, rejected because the works failed to meet legitimate standards of scientific rigor, originality, etc. The question the general public is really in no position to answer is “which ones?”

    The general public does have the means, however, to satisfy itself that the claimed bias does indeed exist. All it has to do is review a very long list of absurdly lightweight, pro-AGW papers that WERE published by those same journals and which met not even a layman’s standard of scientific rigor, originality, etc.

  11. Ohioholic (21:48:45) :

    From wiki:

    “An unknown, though probably large, quantity of CO2 is in the ocean sediments as a methane-carbon dioxide-water clathrates, one of the family of gas hydrates.”

    What happens to these ocean sediments when they are ground together at the meeting point of tectonic plates?

    What gas is displaced when CO2 is added to the atmosphere? It has to be something, yes? You can only have a million parts per million, so if CO2 is going up, what is going down?

    There is no glass ceiling to the atmosphere, just increasing the mass of the atmosphere by ppm.

  12. What might CO2 displace?

    Nitrogen + Oxygen + Argon (gases) = 99.96 %
    Above are considered to be non-variable
    versus
    Water vapor (0 to 4%) , CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone
    considered to be variable
    and there still is Neon, Helium, Hydrogen

    I’ll guess about 99.96 % of the time it is one of those in the top line!

  13. anna v (22:23:41) :

    When you measure on a per/X basis, why wouldn’t displacement be forced to occur?

    John F. Hultquist (22:36:11) :

    Would I be wrong to assume that the heaviest gas is displaced downward, and the lighter gas displaced upward at a proportional rate to their atomic mass? I am referencing the troposphere because I understand this is where the hot spot is supposed to occur.

  14. Arrgh, Institutional and Society publishing divisions! Membership fees and lots of committees. How I remember puting the matchsticks in to hold my eyes open in those endless meetings.

  15. Ohioholic (22:44:30) :

    It is like any CO2 ( or whatever) source of new gas. Initially it will be high concentration around the source and will then defuse, convect and balance in the gravity field according to its molecular mass. But gases are not like sand, to stratify.

  16. ‘All 20 of the IPCC climate models now have positive cloud feedbacks, which amplify the small about of warming from extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But if cloud feedbacks in the climate system are negative, then the climate system does not particularly care how much you drive your SUV. This is an issue of obvious importance to global warming research. Even the IPCC has admitted that cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty in predicting global warming.’

    What a marvellous quotation, Mr Professor.

    So let me get this straight: we now have a multibillion dollar campaign to get us to reject all the technological advances which have changed society over the past 200 years, but the scientific basis for this is still completely unproven.

    We’ve been chopping trees down right left and centre for 100 years but nobody does anything to stop it.

    And we’ve just had the snowiest winter in memory in the European Alps, with snow depths on the upper mountains often being 400 – 500cm at the end of March, which I believe requires clouds to produce the precipitation, after being told that the warming of the past 30 years was a prelude to death through desertification.

    Was it chaos theory you were discussing?

    Or ‘Religious organisation theory 101′ at the Climate Taleban’s camps in the deepest limestone caves of our political centres?

  17. The theory about constant opacity of the atmosphere (where in case of rise of CO2, water vapors decrease) has been suggested by Dr. Ferenc Miskolczi as well. Looks like Dr. Spencer and Dr. Miskolczi have come to the same conclusion from different sides.

  18. Graeme Rodaughan (20:13:00) :
    My goodness – how will all the rent seeking CO2 Emission CAP and Traders justify the transfer of so much wealth from the many to the few?

    They will call it Energy Independence and it will come via the EPA, not the Congress. Afterall have you seen a bailout that actually helps anyone but a corporation? Even the stimulas only seems to be stimulating the gov.. Im worried about spending $20 for a new shower curtain.. meanwhile back in Washington D.C. ……….. enough said.

    http://newamericanteaparty.com/

  19. Ohioholic (20:49:25) :

    What gas does it displace ?
    Well actually all of them. What happens in a well mixed reactor (assuming the atmosphere is a well mixed reactor) is that the other gases reduce their partial pressures to maintain a constant total pressure of 1 atmosphere (or 101.3 kPa) that is made up of all the gases. Ideal gas theory basically says that each of the other gases will reduce in proportion to their orginal concentration so that for example an increase of 350 to 400 ppm will result in a 50ppm reduction in the TOTAL of all the other gases. In other words negligible change since for example O2 is 200,000 ppm, and N2 is 800,000ppm. O2 would drop to 199,990 and N2 to 799,9960ppm Ignoring the trace gases.

  20. The technique of geostatistics commences with calculating the differences between successive pairs of observations ……. Works wonderfully well in mining and mineral exploration in spatial mode.

  21. This methodology was first introduced by Willard Gibbs in 1901

    Why, that must mean it is 100 year old physics. Or math. Or both.

  22. So when Keeling et al. measure the CO2 in dry air, but do not tell you the amount of water vapour they remove for each sample, are they actually overestimating the CO2 by as much as 5%, or nearly 20ppm, and their quality control process may be rejecting some accurate data?

  23. Unfortunately Spencer has been making the same mistake as the environmentalists are doing in another field of science. Religion should not distort one’s science and the natural world.

    Because of that, we get these activists who bring up Spencer’s religious beliefs (creationism/intelligent design) to discredit his climate research despite the number of religious views (chakras, spirits, Atlantis, ayurveda, homeopathy, etc) they hold that would not be taken seriously in the fields of biology, chemistry and medicine.

  24. I’ll offer a contrarian view on the displacement question. CO2 is made up of carbon and oxygen. Unless your CO2 is the vocanic kind, the oxygen came from the atmophere to be combined in a forest fire, human body, decaying dead animal, etc. It displaced nothing, ’cause the oxygen is still there.

  25. Watched a show on Science Channel last night called “Snowbal Earth”. They made a claim that “rain cleanses the air of CO2.” They then showed a graphic of a browish air with a rain drop passing through it with blue air in the path behind the falling rain drop (I suppose to create the image of “cleansed air”).
    Is this an oversimplification of the process or is it just wrong?

  26. Ohioholic (20:49:25) :

    > Also, as a personal curiosity, which gas is CO2 displacing when it is added to the atmosphere?

    I’m a little surprised at the responses. What I would have said is:

    Oxygen. Burning coal takes in oxygen and releases CO2. However, given that we have 380 ppmv CO2 and 200,000 ppmv O2, the recent reduction in O2 is minuscule. It has been measured, though.

    Given the number of other answers, I guess I should extend things a bit:

    CO2 doesn’t have to displace anything. Hmm, I replied to “replace”. John’s comment is pretty good, but he should note that adding 100 ppmv would increase the average atmospheric pressure by a minuscule amount, but by more than what you would get by adding nitrogen and oxygen becase CO2 is heavier.

    Some CO2 is added without consuming O2. Natural gas wells often have a lot of CO2. Some natural gas wells come up “dry” and are nearly all CO2. Those are the main source of commercial CO2 for soft drinks, CO2 fire extinguishers, dry ice, etc.

    The key thing to keep in mind is that CO2 is trace gas and has little effect on the concentration of other gases. (Note that there is enough CO2 to saturate the IR window, so it’s adding to the greenhouse effect about as much as it possibly can, but that’s a different issue.)

    > Would I be wrong to assume that the heaviest gas is displaced downward, and the lighter gas displaced upward at a proportional rate to their atomic mass?

    The viscosity of the atmosphere means that heavier gases would take a very long time to settle to the bottom. The convection in the atmosphere means that the various gases stay well mixed. Diffusion means that even if things did settle the boundaries between the different gases would still be a bit blurred.

  27. Re: Raven (21:13:07) :

    “I suspect they avoid it because they think chaos is noise and cancels over ‘climatically significant’ timeframes. ”

    That is actually a very common misconception of chaos – many interpret chaos as meaning randomness or complete disorder (i.e. noise). It is NOT, it is “sensitivity to initial conditions” which means predictability of the system is low over long periods of time. In the case of weather/climate, predictability becomess very low after a couple of weeks ahead.

    A climate modeller will tell you that because they are looking at long periods of time – “the average state” of the climate is still predictable. That is simply a trivializing of the complexity of the actual system and a very linear way of thinking, because most chaotic systems exhibit scale-invariant behavior. Scale-invariance means the statistics of the system at short time intervals is similar to the statistics at long time intervals. Therefore, the same problem of predictability applies to both scales.

    Lorenz and Mandelbrots work on chaos and complexity is near 50 yrs old, yet many in the climate community ignore it as an interesting study in mathematics. They don’t get that the actual world behaves in exactly the way that Lorenz and Mandelbrot found.

  28. Ohioholic,
    “what Gas is displaced”?

    According to AGW theory, the increase in CO2 is primarily due to man’s use of fossil fuels. This means that we are burning (oxidizing) fuels containing carbon which is being combined with oxygen from the environment.

    Actually you would have to do a mass balance of the before and after conditions, but if everything else were to remain constant, the total mass of gas comprising the atmosphere would be increasing by the amount of carbon being added from the fuel, but the oxygen in the CO2 would come from the atmosphere, so % O2 should be dropping.

    In reality, there is so much flux of CO2 due to the natural carbon cycles that it is impossible to know what is really happening.

  29. Well, after all, a chicken is an egg’s way of making another egg.

    Case in point: The Asian brown cloud is renown for interfering with the formation of rain clouds due to surface shading, increasing drought patterns elsewhere in Asia. If the resulting decrease in cloud cover lends to greater heat retention (ground-level humidity would still be high, lending to ever warmer nighttime temperatures), then there might be an unforeseen aspect of global warming that contradicts the assumption of a net cooling effect from aerosol shading (oft cited as masking global warming).

    In other circumstances there’s a different interzonal effect. In a less-pronounced anomaly trans-Pacific soot & SO2 plumes actually seed megastorms during winter. Likewise tropical forest fires (from slash & burn agriculture) have been observed seeding thunderstorms downwind from the source point of airborne soot.

    But these massive brown aerosol clouds are lending to a net decrease in cloud cover then instead of aerosol clouds masking global warming via surface shading, they could be leading to a net increase in temperatures (instead of a net cooling effect). This would explain the decrease in cloud cover coming before the warming, not the other way around.

    On a tangential point the Aqua satellite has yet to demonstrate the extra water vapor that climate models predict, perhaps showing a negative feedback (Marohasy)., Likewise with the Argo floats search for the anticipated extra heat sink in the seas, the heat bucket effect is nowhere nearly as pronounced as the climate models predicted. Once again the warmist position has been that aerosols are causing unanticipated shading, but are we to then also implicate aerosols in the lower water vapor levels as well? Ahah! A contradiction lurks: Blame aerosols for Aqua’s lower water vapor data but don’t blame them for decreased cloud cover? The data are telling us something, should we listen?

    GCMs are still being developed to model the net effect of aerosols, with field data from V. Ramanathan showing an unexpected net heating effect – not cooling – within brown clouds all around the world. Another surprise has been the net warming effect from airborne soot in the Arctic as well as sootfall on the ice, pushing soot’s role in the sesquicentennial boreal thaw well past what’s modeled for GHG’s.

    Then there’s the problem of intermeriodonal cloud system banding (Lindzen, Spencer, Cristi? ) in the tropics where westerly (or easterly in the S.H.) cloud systems create functional rain shadows of drier cloudless bands in adjacent latitudes.

    Climate models have modeled water vapor and relative humidity as evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere – in both latitude and altitude – than is actually the case.

    Modeling fluid dynamics in a vat is hard enough, but it seems to me climate models have a long way to go before they’re ready to spit out results consistent with actual field data.

  30. All 20 of the IPCC climate models now have positive cloud feedbacks, which amplify the small about of warming from extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    So more clouds would result in more warming, but more warming would cause fewer clouds? But more cloud cover would result in higher albedo (surface shading) and faster heat exchange into space while they also enhanced their dissipation via enhanced warming?

    Seems to me that somehow a simple principle has been obscured: Clouds are not the same thing as humidity. Surely an increase in cloudless humidity would add to warming, but cloud cover would seem a net negative feedback (as in the case of the net cooling from wintertime storms seeded by transocean soot…).

    Likewise couldn’t warmer adjacent inflow regions near storm systems render the storms more energetic, thereby driving a faster heat exchange process, ejecting more heat into space?

    Makes me really wonder whether a zero-sum feedback in increased cloud & storm systems been obscured by other compounded feedback loops manifest in GCM’s. This is a hazard in any computer model, that each subsystem needs to be parametrically unit tested, validated with real-world input ranges, the output results validated unit by unit and then case-matched against all the other subsystem’s expected inputs (with stop limit error traps for outside cases).

  31. Congratulations and thanks are due to Dr Spencer for his perseverence against the odds, the system and political correctness.

  32. Ohioholic (20:49:25) :

    Also, as a personal curiosity, which gas is CO2 displacing when it is added to the atmosphere?

    It doesn’t displace any gas but adds to the volume. Fossil fuel is made of bonded Carbon and Hydrogen atoms. Although it depends on the exact chemical make up of the fuel and how it is burned, the main gases released are CO2 and H2O. The Oxygen atoms are already in the atmosphere so in a perfect world one Carbon and two Hydrogen atoms are released but they are bonded with three Oxygen.

  33. While I lean towards the idea that CO2 from burning fossil fuels doesn’t displace anything in the atmosphere, other than perhaps grabbing oxygen to bond with the carbon, but that oxygen is still in the atmosphere from which it came. Part of me is thinking that maybe a CO2 molecule released from combustion might cause the ocean to release CO2 more slowly. Yes, the atmosphere is open ended, but there is still pressure exerted on the ocean surface and temperature of both the atmosphere and the ocean will determine how much CO2 will be released. If I burn a gallon of gasoline in my SUV and add CO2 to the astmosphere, I’ve increased the atmsophere’s weight upon the ocean. If I don’t burn that gallon, the ocean, depending upon temperatures and pressure, will release a molecule of CO2 regardless.

  34. Well, Roy, I wish you hadn’t told the zealots which journal to start ratcheting up their pressure campaign against publishing your new article “for the good of the human race” or somesuch.

  35. Re: Allan M R MacRae (00:27:14)

    Yes I know it – looks like the experimental confirmation of the “constant opacity” or “self-regulating greenhouse effect” theories above. Lets see whether those trends will change with present cooling.

  36. This makes a lots of sense to me.

    Christopher Booker’s article in today’s Daily Telegraph “Rise of sea levels is ‘the greatest lie ever told'” (link provided by Satellite Lover (20:37:05)) is 5th on the Telegraph’s ‘most viewed today’ list. Yes!!!

    That is two more nails in the AGW coffin today.

  37. Aron (03:05:44) :

    Unfortunately Spencer has been making the same mistake as the environmentalists are doing in another field of science. Religion should not distort one’s science and the natural world.

    You are the one bringing up this ad hominem attack on Dr. Spencer claiming his religious beliefs are distorting his scientific findings. You have brought no evidence of that. Your post is a descpicable attempt to deprecate a valiant effort to find the truth about what drives our climate.

  38. Ohioholic (21:48:45) :

    CO2 reacts with water vapour, in a endothermic reaction, removing heat, and forming H2CO3, carbonic acid, which in turn form carbonates, and so on. Wherever there is CO2 around there is cold around.( think the icecreams :) )
    All this GW nonsense is just a pretext or justification to promote political measures which will suposedly make freer, more equal and more “open” societies (“”,after the George Soros model). My theory is that this is a continuation of the “french revolution”. intended to democratize the world.
    They, whomsoever they are, think of themselves a the saviors of humanity. I think of them just as plain fools not taking into account the role played by nature itself which can abort such an “altruistic” agenda.

  39. As a retired Geologist, Geophysist, Engineer and Professional Environmentalist I’ve run across too many cases where the theory sounded good but crashed on “Ground Truthing”. To my limited mind the the IPCC climte models have consistantly failed the Ground Truthing test and needed to be revised or abandoned.
    I’ve peer reviewed a number of papers that were deficient in the QA/QC of the input data, and/or came to conclusions that were only scantily supported. The papers were published mainly, I believe, because the conclusions conformed to “common knowledge”.
    I’ve been involved in cases where the obvious wasn’t. One case involved Minamata Disease (Mercury poisioning) in an aborigional population in northern Quebec. Initially it was blamed on the local mines and pulp mills. We insisted that a proper baseline study be done. The expanded study discovered a pristine drainage system which was a major source of the native’s fish was highly (and naturally) contaminated with mercury.
    Another case involves Selenium leaching from mine dumps resulting in “toxic “levels of Selenium to fish downstream from the mines. Fortunately the trout are unable to read and thrive in river and the mine’s sedimentation control works. The river is classified as “trophy water” and is a mecca for fly fishers.
    I’ve constructed geostatistical models, most of which failed the ground truthing tests due to faulty assumptions or a lack of adequate data.
    In summary nature does not care what the public or politicians believe is the whole truth.
    Keep up the good work. Good science is run by skeptics.

  40. Anthony:

    A typo in Dr. Spencer’s comments: In paragraph 6, the word “about” should probably be “amount”.

  41. Hi Gordon,

    I’ve constructed geostatistical models, most of which failed the ground truthing tests due to faulty assumptions or a lack of adequate data.

    It’s a chicken & egg problem as well. Without good data how does one construct a valid model? And without a good model how does one interpret good data?

    When the bulk output from a series of functions keeps exceeding the demonstrated real-world data, there has to be a data flaw in the inputs or range & feedback flaw in the process. Gee, ten years of stable temperatures, who would’ve thought?

    The climatology field should take a look at the risk analysis problems in the financial meltdown. The best experts can get burned by hidden functional problems in their analytic process.

  42. Hi Leebert

    Even with thousands of data points and meticulous QA/QC our sucessful geostastical ore reserve models were judged to be sucessful if they were within 10% of the subsequently demonstrated reality, tonnage and grade recovered from the mine as detrmined by the processing mill.
    Given the known faults with the land based weather recording system and the subsequent data adjustments by the authorities the results must be questioned.

  43. Paddy:

    It is quite easy to fool these measures. Foreing countries just apparently will fulfill those requirements, like having each an Enviromental Ministry or Secretary, issuing the most convenient and appropiate laws which they will never enforce. In the end: “just roses, roses”…everyone happy.
    Then you’ll probably ask: Who will surely pay for this nonsense?: YOU, as the europeans who are already paying it.
    Next question: Who will suffer the most, the consequences of an eventual Maunder like minimum?. Answer:YOU
    Where is there a civilization about to fall?. Answer: Up there in the north.
    WUWT is one of the few places were this nonsense is opposed, so keep backing it, it is the a friend’ s advice.

  44. Tom in South Jersey (07:17:14) :

    While I lean towards the idea that CO2 from burning fossil fuels doesn’t displace anything in the atmosphere, other than perhaps grabbing oxygen to bond with the carbon, but that oxygen is still in the atmosphere from which it came.

    And just to add clarification on your observation. We can discount H2O as it will precipitate out and not over the long term increase the total volume of the atmosphere.

    Part of me is thinking that maybe a CO2 molecule released from combustion might cause the ocean to release CO2 more slowly. Yes, the atmosphere is open ended, but there is still pressure exerted on the ocean surface and temperature of both the atmosphere and the ocean will determine how much CO2 will be released.

    The oceans have a mass many times that of the atmosphere. They are also subject to even more extremes of temperature and pressure. You would have to increase the mass of the atmosphere by a very large amount to have any measurable effect on its ability to hold dissolved CO2. The increase in temperature by the increased mass of the atmosphere would have a much more profound effect.

    If I burn a gallon of gasoline in my SUV and add CO2 to the astmosphere, I’ve increased the atmsophere’s weight upon the ocean. If I don’t burn that gallon, the ocean, depending upon temperatures and pressure, will release a molecule of CO2 regardless.

    Not really. :) As I explained, if you increase the mass of the atmosphere by so much that it effects the pressure of the the oceans, then you are in big trouble for other reasons.

    The green house effect is a misnomer. Our atmosphere only delays infra red radiation (IR) (heat) as it radiates back into space. If you increase the gases that hold IR then you delay the the IR longer. Having said that CO2 is a very small player in our troposphere. It is about 380 parts per million. Even if you doubled it, it would not add much to the total mass of the atmosphere and would be drowned out by the negative feed back by the most important gas H2O.

  45. Rhys Jaggar (23:30:00) :

    We’ve been chopping trees down right left and centre for 100 years but nobody does anything to stop it.

    Actually, by 1500 all the western hemisphere was growing trees on land which the natives had been clearing with fire (most of the natives killed by disease). European colonists started cutting 1600-1800. In early 1900s steam sawmills took another big bite. After the Dust Bowl, more U.S. farmers added trees to their fields. And as the cities grew so grew the urban forests, including trees spreading across former farmland as suburbs grew. So it’s kind of complicated.

  46. On a different note, your post reports difficulty publishing a paper, e.g. three rejections. I’m curious, do you think blogging about difficulties publishing a manuscript would affect your professional reputation in any way? To be sure, everyone gets rejections during the course of their career, but would discussing it in a blog affect how potential employers percieve the blogger?

  47. “Aron (03:05:44) : Because of that, we get these activists who bring up Spencer’s religious beliefs (creationism/intelligent design)”

    I don’t know what Dr. Spencer’s views on these things are for myself. But these things mean nothing. The only thing that matters is can his work be verified.

    Do you feel the same about those who say there is not a God and that we are just a collection of carbon? Does their viewpoint alter what we should think of their work? In their case also it comes down to whether their work can be verified.

    There is no need to make an issue of someone believing in God or not. We shouldn’t be concerned about what an activist thinks.

    BTW, Einstein believed in God and that he was intelligent :

    “I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.”

    ~Albert Einstein

  48. “Phase Space Analysis of Forcing and Feedback in Models and Satellite Observations of Climate Variability”.

    Damn!

    The title alone ought to be enough to pique the interest of the scientifically inclined mind.

    But I especially like — when researchers have observed that global cloud cover decreases with warming, they have assumed that the warming caused the cloud cover to dissipate. Now that’s another wonderful example of confirmation bias.

    Let’s see what happens when this paper gets (hopefully) published.

  49. Spencer is doing good work, but why is everybody ignoring the most obvious negative feedback? That is photosynthesis. Physical chemistry states that if you increase the concentration of the reactants the rate of the reaction is increased. Photosynthesis takes energy from sunlight, CO2 and water to make biomass that contins the energy from the sunlight. This stored energy lessens the energy available to warm the atmosphere. Increasing the concentration of CO2 increases the rate energy from sunlight is stored in biomass and cools the atmosphere. Doubling the concentration of CO2 increases the concentration of the reactant CO2 100% but only increases the GHGs by 2%. This cooling effect is real and somewhat easy to quantify while the cooling from GHGs may or not be real and is difficult to quantify.

  50. Just keep on worrying about this newly concocted CO2 or whatever science you invent, nature (read it=common sense) will render them fruitless.
    This seems to me like your intellectual worries about, for example, the human rights of the Tibetan people…Come on!, you are being fooled again: those guys and the chinese love each other, that’ s like meddling in a couple’ s fight, you are the only ones to lose your precious “dollars”in such an endeavour.
    Now, you will come with a lot of dollars to make us follow Al Gore or Mad Hansen ideas, or even his highness prince Charles theories. Nobody will oppose them, for sure, as long as you add some dollar “tips” to them; in doing so, Al Gore and Mad Hansen freaks will feel happy…the trouble is that they will do it with YOUR MONEY.

  51. Don’t believe it? See:
    If it were implemented on a large scale–say $1 trillion–the SDR scheme could make a major contribution to both fighting the global recession and fulfilling the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals
    “Alternative energies and energy savings could serve as that motor, but only if the price of conventional fuels is kept high enough to justify investing in them”
    Reference link:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-soros/a-plan-for-economic-recov_b_166518.html

  52. re Ohioholic (20:49:25) : and
    Tom in South Jersey (07:17:14) :

    I was a little hasty when I wrote my first answer at John (00:13:37) :
    The previous answer is correct if the CO2 is added to the atmosphere, eg from volcanic origin, as correctly noted by geophys55 (03:26:50) : If the CO2 is from combustion of fossil fuel then one mole of CO2 requires one mole of O2, so for a 50ppm increase in CO2, there is a 50ppm reduction in O2 theoretically reducing it to 199,9950ppm, with no change in the other constituents. Combustion of biofuel is the same in the short term, but in the long term the CO2 is re-converted back to O2 (very simplistic but roughly correct). But of course it is not that simple in reality as there are lots of other processes happening as a consequence of the “equilibrium” shifts that will moderate the changes. But as a first approximation it is close enuf.

  53. Dr. Spencer if you are reading these comments, have you considered asking Climate Audit to take a pre-publication look at your paper? It may turn up problems or add some overlooked items. They have done a few pre-publication open peer reviews that were very helpful.

  54. Do you mean you can’t use a computer model to validate an hypothesis? Only real-world observation counts? And you want to compare the results of the model with the real world, as if it’s some kind of ‘prediction’?

    This is ‘post-modern science’, man. Get with the program. Don’t confuse the issue with things like validation, repeatability, predictions or facts.

  55. “Tom in Florida (04:42:50) :
    Watched a show on Science Channel last night called “Snowbal Earth”. They made a claim that “rain cleanses the air of CO2.” They then showed a graphic of a browish air with a rain drop passing through it with blue air in the path behind the falling rain drop (I suppose to create the image of “cleansed air”).
    Is this an oversimplification of the process or is it just wrong?”

    Rain cleans dust out of the atmosphere. It could absorb water soluble gases as well. The assumes that the amount of CO2 in the raindrop when it forms is less than the equilibrium it would reach from falling through the air, thus in its fall it would suck up a little more. I have no idea how big an effect this is if any in the influence of the total CO2 content of the atmosphere.

    I missed the Snowball Earth show but the Snow show was really good about GW not mentioning it until near the end in relation to glaciers in Europe, not mentioning it at all would have been better.

  56. Continuing the thread of ‘changing perceptions of the global warming threat’, I picked up the following at http://sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/323/5922/1655

    An abstract in Science 230309 claiming that ‘the best 12 models now say the Arctic will be ice free in summer by 2037′.

    Well, that’s 24 years later than Al Gore said it would arrive last year……

    In another year, maybe it’ll be 60 years off…

    Which is as good as saying: ‘we’ve not got a clue, but we’ve got to publish something, haven’t we?’

  57. Thanks for the efford Dr. Spencer. I look forward to reading your eventual publication. The fact that science won’t consider a phase space analysis of causation is pretty strong evidence by itself.

    I would love to see your results, holding them from the light of day is really questionable when so much junk science gets past review so easily.

  58. Also, as a personal curiosity, which gas is CO2 displacing when it is added to the atmosphere?

    If you meant ‘displace’, then the question has been answered by ‘all of them (the gases in the atmosphere)’.

    If you meant ‘replace’ then the answer is Oxygen. Since oxygen is consumed when CO2 is produced by burning fossil fuels.

  59. Wally, rain drops form and ‘hover’ at low temperatures, 4 degrees being the mean. At this temperature the solubility of CO2 is the highest. Raindrops do trap CO2. There is less trapped in snow drops.
    You know that most raindrops don’t reach the ground. The little one evaporate. The big ones shrink and cool. The friction of the rain drops passing through the air displaces water molecules from the surface. Of course the water molecules at the right-hand side of the Boltzman’s distribution are the ones that evaporate first. As the rain drop falls through the gravity well, the fast molecules are stripped and the raindrop cools. This is why rain is not hot, as one would assume if its potential energy were converted to heat.

  60. gorzabore-Wiki isn’t so bad with most things, especially non controversial and esoteric technical stuff like this.

    Rhys Jaggar-What twelve models? Who says they’re “the best”? But what metric?

  61.   tallbloke (22:10:53) :

    Keep at the journals Roy, they can’t ignore good research forever and keep any shred of credibility. History will judge some editors sharply.

    Here are the chief editors.  History will want to know.

    The Journal of Climate

    Andrew J. Weaver    Chief Editor    School of Earth/Ocean Sciences
    weaver@uvic.ca    term expires 2010    Univ. of Victoria

    The Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

    Robert M. Hardesty    Co-Chief Editor    NOAA/ESRL
    mike.hardesty@noaa.gov    term expires 2011    Chemical Science Div.
            325 Broadway
            Boulder, CO 80305
    Peter Chu    Co-Chief Editor    Naval Postgraduate School
    chu@nps.navy.mil    term expires 2012    Dept. of Oceanography
            833 Dyer Rd.
            SP-235
            Monterey, CA 93943-5193

    The Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology

    Robert M. Rauber, CCM    Chief Editor    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    rauber@atmos.uiuc.edu    term expires 2011    Dept. of Atmospheric Science.
            105 S. Gregory
            Urbana, IL 61801-3070

    The Journal of Hydrometeorology

    Ana Paula Barros    Chief Editor    Duke University
    barros@duke.edu    term expires 2010    Pratt School of Engineering
            121 Hudson Hall
            Box 90287
            Durham, NC 27708

    The Journal of Physical Oceanography

    Michael A. Spall    Chief Editor    Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst.
    mspall@whoi.edu    term expires 2012    Clark 311A
            Woods Hole, MA 02543
    Terms Expiring 2010    

    The Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences

    Ka-Kit Tung    Chief Editor    University of Washington
    tung@amath.washington.edu    term expires 2011    Box 352420
            Seattle, WA 98195-2420

    –Mike Ramsey

  62. geophys55 (03:26:50) :

    I like your view. I’ll restate it to say that CO2 doesn’t displace anything, it is just a carbon hitch hiking on an O2 molecule (so to speak).

    ******
    David J Ameling (11:04:03) on “…Increasing the concentration of CO2 increases the rate energy from sunlight is stored in biomass and cools the atmosphere.” and Wally (13:06:14) and DocMartyn (15:42:43) on rain drops trapping CO2….

    I’d like to not have to just imagine that folks who do this stuff for a living, haven’t already calculated all these effects, which seem to be negative feedbacks, but the more I read (in my spare time) the more I get the sense that I will have to settle for imagining that they have done all these calculations.

    Seriously, the calculation of the effective CO2 transport from the atmosphere to the ocean* for an average raindrop life-cycle piques my interest as it may be quite solvable. It reminds me of the physics/math that allows for calcualtion of the teardrop shape of a raindrop in freefall subject to surface tension and gravity.

    (*I presume that rain falling on land is a different case than rain falling on water as much of it may quickly evaporate and return it’s precious cargo to an undissolved state)

  63. Aaaaah yes,

    And I always take my science from someone who thinks creationism presents a more scientific answer to the origins of our biosphere than evolution…. this is NOT ad hom, for those who are ready to let loose – this is HIGHLY pertinent to judging what reliability or status one should afford this man’s views. Careful of the horses you decide to back…

    REPLY: Be sure to read the latest on the main page from Dr. Richard Lindzen – Anthony

  64. Thank you Mr Watts and thank you commentors. Combined you make a great website that is very educational and held to high standards of both conduct and intellectual honesty. It is very enjoyable and one of my regular stops. Thanks you guys.

    Anyway, some thoughts.. I agree that the carbon atom is just hitchhiking on already present O2, and that C atom would be the increase in atmospheric mass, not the whole CO2 molecule. I don’t know that it displaces other gasses as CO2, but would rather dilute their concentration.

    As far as the oceans taking on more CO2, that would be a function of temperature. In my thought path, once the oceans saturate at ambient temperature, they would not take on more CO2 if the atmosphere were 70,000ppm instead of 385 unless the temperature changes. Only the carrying ability of the ocean, directly a function of temperature, would determine that saturation point, not atmospheric concentration. Am I on the right path here?

  65. Matt Bennett (21:03:33) :

    Aaaaah yes,

    And I always take my science from someone who thinks creationism presents a more scientific answer to the origins of our biosphere than evolution…. this is NOT ad hom, for those who are ready to let loose – this is HIGHLY pertinent to judging what reliability or status one should afford this man’s views. Careful of the horses you decide to back…

    REPLY: Be sure to read the latest on the main page from Dr. Richard Lindzen – Anthony

    Correct – not an Ad Hom – It is however an example of the rhetorical and logically flawed technique of “Poisoning the Well”. Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well

    The point is, the man’s beliefs that are not pertinent to the subject matter at hand are irrelevant to the validity of his comments wrt the subject matter at hand.

    I.e. If he believes in Creationism, that does not invalidate his capacity to provide valid science on Climate.

    In the same manner, my auto mechanic may believe in fairies in the garden, and yet be an excellent mechanic.

  66. Graeme,

    Absolutely not correct. The very task he is purporting to engage in is ‘science’ and by saying (in a quote on Wiki) that the best scientific explanation for our bioshere that he can come up with is creationism, he forfeits any right to respect for other ‘scientific’ claims. Ask yourself, “Do you recognise the truth of in evolution?” It’ll help clarify it for you.

    A better metaphor would be if your motor mechanic swore that your engine worked as a perpetual motion machine – I think you’d thank him and kindly take you car elsewhere.

  67. Matt Bennett (22:37:06) :

    Graeme,

    Absolutely not correct. The very task he is purporting to engage in is ’science’ and by saying (in a quote on Wiki) that the best scientific explanation for our bioshere that he can come up with is creationism, he forfeits any right to respect for other ’scientific’ claims. Ask yourself, “Do you recognise the truth of in evolution?” It’ll help clarify it for you.

    A better metaphor would be if your motor mechanic swore that your engine worked as a perpetual motion machine – I think you’d thank him and kindly take you car elsewhere.

    The distinction is centered on their being different domains. If my Mechanic did swear that the engine was a perpetual motion machine – then yes I would be going elsewhere as he would be remarking about the “relevant” domain.

    Origins of Life and Climate Science are too different domains, and my assertion still holds.

    BTW: I’m an evolutionist of long standing.

  68. Matt Bennett (22:37:06) :

    As another example, is Isacc Newtons scientific work any less valid for the fact that he spent approx 20 years devoting himself to Alchemy.

    It’s not uncommon for people to have “odd” beliefs outside their technical speciality.

    Lots of Scientists, and Engineers, etc have Religeous beliefs – does this make then less capable in their specialist field.

    A good friend of mine is a skilled Physicist and Hardware Engineer, and a holder of fundamentalist Christian beliefs. I haven’t seen any evidence that his religeous beliefs impact on his Engineering Skills.

    In the end – my assertion about “poisoning the well” still stands, as the biological origins of life and it’s subsequent evolution is a sufficiently different domain to the analysis of Satellite data (Physics and Math) to render views on one irrelevant to the validity of views in the the other.

  69. “Matt Bennett (21:03:33) : ”

    Faraday was a devout believer in God. So, should we throw out his EM fields ideas?

    Einstein said “God does not play dice”; God and intelligence. So, should we throw out E=mc2?

    Georges Lemaître was a priest. So, should we throw out the Big Bang?

    p.s. I sometimes wonder if I should take the time to respond to these kind of posts.

  70. Matt Bennett,

    I like to look at who takes who seriously.

    Over the last 2 or 3 years Roy Spencer has had a number of guest articles on climate forcing and feedback at “Climate Science”, the website of Roger Pielke Snr. Pielke takes Spencer very seriously. That speaks volumes for me.

    I think you need to take a close look at Spencers accomplishents in scence, which are substantial. Clearly his spiritual views do not impact on his ability describe what is happening in the physical world. If you think otherwise then back your view up with evidence. Which specific piece of published research by Spencer do you think demonstrates tainted judgement or reasoning? Further, what part do you disagree with and why? Otherwise you are just piling in with a very cheap shot.

    I am also an evolutionist of long standing, but that has no relevence to my views on climate science. I suspect Spencers views on creation are somewhat more nuanced than most but regardless the matter is irrelevant.

    Rob R

  71. To Matt Bennett
    Where is that “missing link”.

    and for the creation peolpe
    I didn’t know God had a “watch”.

  72. Matt,

    Just one more comment wrt “Poisoning the Well”.

    The essence of this type of fallacious argument is follows.

    [Assumption] The source of the evidence is polluted, hence the evidence is polluted.

    [Payoff] The evidence can be discarded, ignored, and otherwise not addressed.

    The problem is that the assumption is not valid.

    Playing this card allows access to the payoff – i.e. the opportunity to discount the evidence.

    And it is this payoff that attracts the use of this argument.

    So Matt – please address the actual evidence. Do you have conclusive proof (based on hard physical evidence) that Water Vapour does not act as a negative Feedback for CO2 induced warming.

    Note that the presence of such feedback eliminates the catastrophism of AGW and hence the panic.

    Is this the problem, – will life have less meaning if the world is not teetering on the edge of a precipice, if you are not part of a movement that is “Saving the Planet”, if you have been duped and used by those who are more ruthless than you are?

    Food for thought indeed.

  73. Old construction worker,

    That made me laugh :-)

    Graeme, Rob – at first your assertions seem quite reasonable. That is, until you consider the fact that during their respective periods of operation, those scientists were not in possession of the vast store of knowledge that is today available to almost anybody at the click of a mouse. Were either of those gentlemen alive today, I have no doubt they would distance themselves from the more suspect of their beliefs, GIVEN THE BENEFIT OF ALL WE”VE LEARNT SINCE. That’s the big difference. You can’t take a person outside of the times they lived in and judge them on modern values or standards of evidence – that would be unfair. Remember once, almost everybody thought slavery was ok, that didn’t make everybody a raving redneck lunatic. You have to be careful making these claims. Alchemy was then quite respected as a field of investigation and, given the fact that we can now perform exactly the goals they sought (ie lead into gold etc) it was obviously not ridiculous to entertain the possibility. It just doesn’t work the way they envisaged and takes more energy than is worth the effort.

    My statement stands, that if, in the face of all the contrary available evidence in this day and age, Spencer can still compartmentalise his brain enough to entertain superstitious nonsense, his science will remain, at least to my judgement, suspect. I respect your right to believe otherwise.

  74. One is entitled to the opinion that there was no time, matter or space, before the big bang. One is equally entitled to imagine that DNA formed via natural selection during its 4.5 billion year tenure on this planet alone. Or to postulate that life, expressed as the human mind and its construct of “the arrow of time”, is the only function that consists of a straight line with a beginning and an end, whilst every known other is spiral, spherical or circular. Or to suppose that that same life is extant solely here. One is entitled to imagine that the very industries that permit this discussion will result in our ultimate demise by climate change via trace gas. Heck, you can even believe that governments are benign and politicians hold our best interests at heart. Just don’t claim you will overburden me for my production of plant food because I know I am entitled to tell you where to get off.

    For the record. I believe that most of, if not all of, the big questions remain unanswered and that most of, if not all of, the current hypotheses will be shown to be erroneous, and possibly malodorous, before my allotted span is up. Hey, we can all dream.

    ;-)

  75. Henry Galt (06:08:28) :
    . . . For the record. I believe that most of, if not all of, the big questions remain unanswered and that most of, if not all of, the current hypotheses will be shown to be erroneous, and possibly malodorous, before my allotted span is up. Hey, we can all dream.

    It is certainly not a matter of belief that the ‘big questions’ remain unanswered. They simply are, and probably will remain so indefinitely, though accepting this is hard for many. As someone said, “Wonder is the true religious attitude.” I might add that it is also the true scientific attitude: wonder at how little we really know or understand.

    I would be curious to know whether Dr. Spencer thinks that Creationism or ‘Intelligent Design’ can generate falsifiable hypotheses, as evolutionary theory can and does. If not, then it falls outside the realm of science and into that of theology. If so, then it would be interesting to hear some.

    It is true, as Matt Bennett says, that the history of Earth’s biota is directly relevant to the history of Earth’s climate (after all, where did the oxygen in the atmosphere come from?), so that if a climatologist were to hold, against all paleontological and geological evidence, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, such views would cast serious doubt on his scientific judgment.

    I have seen no evidence that Dr. Spencer is a so-called ‘young Earth Creationist’. He does seem to hold that natural selection is an inadequate explanatory mechanism for species evolution, but this verges into ‘origins’, in other words ‘big question’ territory. One can hold that natural selection is a necessary but not sufficient explanation for evolution; what one cannot do, without denying the entire fossil record, is to deny that evolution occurred.

    In any case, I should say, none of this bears directly upon Dr. Spencer’s considerable contributions to our understanding of how the seemingly chaotic climate works, so rather than point this thread off into what will only become an increasingly rancorous discussion of evolution, moderators, feel free to nip this post in the bud.

    /Mr Lynn

  76. dgallagher (05:13:46) :

    Ohioholic,
    “what Gas is displaced”?

    According to AGW theory, the increase in CO2 is primarily due to man’s use of fossil fuels. This means that we are burning (oxidizing) fuels containing carbon which is being combined with oxygen from the environment.

    Actually you would have to do a mass balance of the before and after conditions, but if everything else were to remain constant, the total mass of gas comprising the atmosphere would be increasing by the amount of carbon being added from the fuel, but the oxygen in the CO2 would come from the atmosphere, so % O2 should be dropping.

    In reality, there is so much flux of CO2 due to the natural carbon cycles that it is impossible to know what is really happening.

    Actually, the decrease of O2 is measured, be at the edge of analytical possibilities, since about 1992. This showes that the biosphere is a net CO2 sink, as a little less oxygen is used than calculated from the burning of fossil fuels. That means more oxygen production from photosynthesis than oxygen use from organic decay…

    Thus a part of the emissions (about 1.4 +/- 0.8 GtC/year) is taken away by vegetation growth, the rest of the about 4 GtC sink out of 8 GtC emissions is absorbed in the oceans. See:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/5462/2467

  77. Ray B (21:23:35) :

    As far as the oceans taking on more CO2, that would be a function of temperature. In my thought path, once the oceans saturate at ambient temperature, they would not take on more CO2 if the atmosphere were 70,000ppm instead of 385 unless the temperature changes. Only the carrying ability of the ocean, directly a function of temperature, would determine that saturation point, not atmospheric concentration. Am I on the right path here?

    Not completely right: the uptake of CO2 in the oceans is a matter of temperature ánd pressure. Think of a soda bottle: with a high pressure of CO2 the water is carbonated, with most CO2 in solution. Opening the bottle releases the pressure above the liquid and a lot of CO2 comes out of the water.

    To a certain extent that happens with the oceans too: an overall increase in temperature releases more CO2 from the warm parts of the oceans and reduces the uptake of cold(er) ocean parts. This gives an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, which gives the opposite effect: an increased uptake of the oceans. At a certain increased CO2 level, release and uptake are again in (dynamic) equilibrium. That equilibrium is at about 3 ppmv/°C on short term to 8 ppmv/°C on (very) long term.

    Human emissions are to the atmosphere and increase the (partial) pressure of CO2 (pCO2) of the atmosphere, relative to the oceans (and vegetation alveoles liquid). That gives less outgassing and more uptake by the oceans. If the emissions were constant, the atmospheric levels would reach a new equilibrium with the oceans, when the difference between release and uptake by the oceans was equal to the emissions. But as the current emissions increase over the years, the atmospheric level is increasing too in ratio with the emissions…

  78. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    Actually, the decrease of O2 is measured, be at the edge of analytical possibilities, since about 1992. This showes that the biosphere is a net CO2 sink, as a little less oxygen is used than calculated from the burning of fossil fuels. That means more oxygen production from photosynthesis than oxygen use from organic decay…

    Have I understood what you are saying? The biosphere is more than capable of handling the CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere and turns much of it into O2 (and biomass) with the aid of sunlight?

  79. I recall reading an article about the Aqua satellite and it stated that it should have found hotspots in the Troposphere over the Equator if the models were correct but found no such evidence.
    Other comments regarding the findings suggested that the CO2 interaction took place a relatively low altitude and appeared to increase cloud cover and promote cooling along with precipitation.

    The article by Professor Spencer appears to give a more scientific evaluation of the findings of what the satellite was suggesting.

  80. ” Matt Bennett (03:42:36) : My statement stands,”

    I did not think you would be convinced by my points. And that’s ok. I only posted what I said for the benefit of others who are thinking.

    As it stands your line of reasoning also discards E=mc2. Your opinion does not alter what people think of Einstein, or of Roy Spencer. But it does affect what people think of you.

  81. Sheesh, for someone who “just wants truth”……

    Einstein was not religious in any sense that you mean. You position is not well supported. He is explicit on this and would probably have agreed with what I’m saying, that a propensity for wish thinking doesn’t serve one overly well as a scientist.t

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. ”

    Stark contrast to Spencer who needs dressed up creationism to account for his biota (which accounts for his atmosphere, which……) See?

  82. Good point JWT (15:10:09) … It’s pretty easy to see that Matt does not understand that “creationism” is not just one simple belief. He has no idea what Dr. Spencer believes but he is more than willing to discard Spencer’s research simply because it supports his own belief system. Oh, the irony …

  83. Matt Bennett,

    I noticed some good [and pointed - at you] questions directly above your post @03:42:36.

    Like other questions in this thread, you hide out from answering them. Why is that?

  84. [snip - Joel, I'm not going to let you open the door on discussions of people's religious view here. Please don't post on it again. - Anthony]

    Of course, ultimately Spencer’s current work will rise or fall on its own merits. However, on the basis of his previous judgment and track record, I am not going to be holding my breath.

  85. re: Creationism. Without knowing the details of Dr. Spencer’s creation beliefs, I would be careful in labelling them fringe.
    I believe that the following statements are part of the scientific consensus.
    1. The universe just happened in a Big Bang. Cause unexplained.
    2. Single celled organisms just happened on Earth. Cause unexplained.
    3. Cellular differentiation just happened on Earth. Cause unexplained.
    4. The Cambrian explosion just happened. Cause unexplained.

    It has been a number of years since I looked at this. I went through a phase where I had to satisfy myself of the falseness of the (young earth) Creationist myths. What struck me as an side effect was just how many of the remarkable steps along the way remain unexplained. I think that the works of Stephen Jay Gould (I think I have all of his books) nicely lay out the wonder and mystery of it all.

    Reply: OK STOP RIGHT THERE! This discussion goes no farther. Discussions of Creationism and Evolution are strictly prohibited. ~ charles the moderator

  86. “Matt Bennett (16:33:33) : Einstein was not religious in any sense that you mean.”

    What is it you think I mean?

    Einstein did say, at one point in his life, “I do not believe in a personal God”. He did not say he did not believe in God at all. Because, it is unmistakable that he did.

    I was pointing out something about scientific findings. Is it safe for me to say that you only like the scientific findings of people who do not believe in God?

  87. Richard Sharpe (11:05:22) :

    Have I understood what you are saying? The biosphere is more than capable of handling the CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere and turns much of it into O2 (and biomass) with the aid of sunlight?

    Richard, A mature forest is more or less in equilibrium: warm season growth and all year decay have an average zero CO2 balance, including what animals eat and breath. In NH warm months, about 50 GtC is absorbed by plant growth and in the cold months about the same quantity is released by (soil) bacteria, fungi,…

    The moment that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase (for whatever reason), plant growth is stimulated, all other necessities (water, nutritients, fertiliser, sunlight) available in sufficient quantities. But even then, 100% more CO2 only gives 30-80% more growth, depending of plant carbon capture type.
    As other necessities are often the growth limiting factor, the increase of plant growth is relative modest and currently about 1.5 GtC/yr of the 7+ GtC/yr emitted by humans… Add to that the oceans which absorb about 2 GtC/yr extra, then we are at what is observed: an increase of about 4 GtC/yr in the atmosphere…

  88. Guys, a lot of you have missed my point but given the moderator’s tones here, I think it’s best we leave this one alone. I am all too aware of the different degrees of creationism, trust me. They all amount to exactly the same thing though – just like the different strengths of cigarette. Saying you don’t know the answer to X is just being honest. Saying you don’t know the answer to X therefore will substitute Y, in place of honest admittance of ignorance, is a non sequitur. Let’s leave it at that.

    My point is perfectly proved, at any rate, by the fact that Spencer has the gall to think he knows better than thousands of specialists in this field who have reached a consensus which is in no way ‘in doubt’, however much the bunch of you like to think so in this little corner of the web.

    Smokey, what did you want an answer to?

  89. @Ferdinand Engelbeen
    —————————-Beginquote
    Richard Sharpe (11:05:22) :

    Have I understood what you are saying? The biosphere is more than capable of handling the CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere and turns much of it into O2 (and biomass) with the aid of sunlight?

    Richard, A mature forest is more or less in equilibrium: warm season growth and all year decay have an average zero CO2 balance, including what animals eat and breath.
    —————————————-Endquote

    Hmmmm, you are perhaps talking about a model mature forest ? :-)

    I shall not brag about extensive knowledge on e.g. the “Taiga”. Bur I assume a lage fraction of this huge terrestrial forest ecosystem can be regarded as “mature”. I am not convinced you are correct in a biogeochemical sense, though .
    In addition to the fixed carbon in the standing stock biomass, the soil has accumulated carbon (Dry weight – Ash) since since last glaciation.

    In addition some areas has accumulated huge C-deposits in Sphagnum spp peatlands. Admittingly a substantial fraction of the fixed carbon by Sphagnum spp is rapidly released, but much is relesed as recalitrant molecules like humic acids. A significant amount is exported out of the system throug the river catchments and winds up in the oceans as a part of the oceanic DOC (Gelbstoff). I would think both humic acid and gelbstoff has a half-life making them to carbon sinks (despite being in solution).

    Cassanders
    In Cod we trust

  90. Matt,

    There are not thousands of specialists in cloud cover. There are only a handful and even then, there is a lot of discussion on the effect of clouds.

    What is sure is that climate models don’t reflect reality about cloud cover: expecially not in the tropics:

    http://www.nerc-essc.ac.uk/~rpa/PAPERS/olr_grl.pdf

    Several people I have met (in virtual world) which are directly involved in clouds research are quite surprised to hear that (all!) climate models see clouds as a positive feedback for a warmer world. Most of them see warmer – more clouds – more reflection of incoming sunlight, thus a negative feedback.

    And there is/was a trend in cloud cover not related to GHGs, which may in part explain the increase in ocean heat content of the oceans in the tropics and thus the increase in tenperature since about 1990. See the very readable pages at NASA from Wielicki and Chen:

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/DelicateBalance/

    Since the publications of Wielicki and Chen, I always wondered which was cause and effect. Less clouds causing more warming or reverse or both cause ánd effect… At least there is now a method which points to clouds as forcing of climate. The next problem to solve is what causes less clouds to form…

    Thus all together, Dr. Spencer is not alone to look at clouds as a cause and not only as an effect…

  91. Matt,

    Might I suggest that the key point is leaving the man out of it, and instead address the evidence that he presents.

    Evidence is king.

    Enough said, if you don’t want to address the evidence that is your choice – just don’t expect to remain credible.

  92. Matt,

    “to think he knows better than thousands of specialists in this field who have reached a consensus which is in no way ‘in doubt’”

    You don’t have to be a mind slave to the dictates of Authority (Consensus).

    You can be a free man who thinks for himself, and reasons from the evidence.

    Science is not decided by numbers, or votes, it only takes one fact to disprove a theory.

    Join the Rebellion…

  93. [snip - Joel, I'm not going to let you open the door on discussions of people's religious view here. Please don't post on it again. - Anthony]

    Whatever. What I gave was an actual link where Spencer expresses his SCIENTIFIC views, not his religious views, in regards to evolution and intelligent design. Given that there must be at least 20 posts above on that subject where people were speculating about both what his scientific and religious views were, it seemed like a post with actual evidence would be useful.

  94. Matt Bennett (00:51:41) :

    Your opinion is not that important to me Matt.

    You strike me as not be well educated. I’m not trying to be insulting.

    “Our critics are our friends–they show us our faults.”

    ~Benjamin Franklin

  95. Graeme, JWT et al,

    I will take your point on not playing the man, though however much we might like to segregate them in our minds, the “man and the ball” interact repeatedly and in complex ways in the real world and it can be informative to look at the history of one with respect to the other. Spencer’s, on several topics, is dubious which is what makes me reflexively look askance at his output.

    Ferdinand, thank you for your input, I stand corrected.

    JWT, it is your perjogative to see me as uneducated (laughs) but I’m not the one who thinks the work of thousands of climate specialists over several decades can just be discarded if what they tell me doesn’t fit my worldview or my politics. Neither am I one to jump at any and all conflicting evidence that fits said worldview, even if it’s based on uncorrected, outdated and dishonest data:

    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/lindzen-on-climate-feedback/

    Cheers, hope everyone enjoys their lunch.

  96. “Matt Bennett (17:53:3 but I’m not the one who thinks the work of thousands of climate specialists”

    You jump all over the map. You changed the point of what was being talked about. And you did not answer my question.

    This is my last comment to you on this.

  97. JWT,

    What the hell are you talking about? We were asked to refrain from entering the looming religious domain by the moderator and I’ve respected that. What question have I left unanswered for you? Can’t see how I’ve “jumped” anywhere. As I recall, your last comment paternally accused me of needing more education (which I agree with – I will never know too much and my education is the work of a lifetime). So, you tell me, where’s my response supposed to head from there if I ‘stay on the map’?

    And of course you’re notably silent on the fraudulent use of outdated data…

  98. You know the old joke about if you ask two lawyers a question you will get three different answers. Well, I’ve been reading the Lindzen post as well as the Spencer post, and I’m so confused now that I am CONVINCED the joke should be changed to “If you ask two scientists a question you will get TEN to the tenth power answers.”

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