Lindzen on negative climate feedback

NEW 4/10/09: There is an update to this post, see below the “read the rest of this entry” – Anthony

Guest Post by Richard Lindzen, PhD.

Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, MIT

This essay is from an email list that I subscribe to. Dr. Lindzen has sent this along as an addendum to his address made at ICCC 2009 in New York City. I present it here for consideration. – Anthony

lindzen1Simplified Greenhouse Theory

The wavelength of visible light corresponds to the temperature of the sun’s surface (ca 6000oK). The wavelength of the heat radiation corresponds to the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere at the level from which the radiation is emitted (ca 255oK). When the earth is in equilibrium with the sun, the absorbed visible light is balanced by the emitted heat radiation.

The basic idea is that the atmosphere is roughly transparent to visible light, but, due to the presence of greenhouse substances like water vapor, clouds, and (to a much lesser extent) CO2 (which all absorb heat radiation, and hence inhibit the cooling emission), the earth is warmer than it would be in the absence of such gases.

The Perturbed Greenhouse

If one adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, one is adding to the ‘blanket’ that is inhibiting the emission of heat radiation (also commonly referred to as infrared radiation or long wave radiation). This causes the temperature of the earth to increase until equilibrium with the sun is reestablished.

For example, if one simply doubles the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature increase is about 1°C.


If, however, water vapor and clouds respond to the increase in temperature in such a manner as to further enhance the ‘blanketing,’ then we have what is called a positive feedback, and the temperature needed to reestablish equilibrium will be increased. In the climate GCMs (General Circulation Models) referred to by the IPCC (the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), this new temperature ranges from roughly 1.5°C to 5°C.
The equilibrium response to a doubling of CO2 (including the effects of feedbacks) is commonly referred to as the climate sensitivity.

Two Important Points

1. Equilibration takes time.
2. The feedbacks are responses to temperature – not to CO2 increases per se.

The time it takes depends primarily on the climate sensitivity, and the rapidity with which heat is transported down into the ocean. Both higher sensitivity and more rapid mixing lead to longer times. For the models referred to by the IPCC, this time is on the order of decades.

This all leads to a crucial observational test of feedbacks!


The Test: Preliminaries
Note that, in addition to any long term trends that may be present, temperature fluctuates on shorter time scales ranging from years to decades.

lindzen2

Such fluctuations are associated with the internal dynamics of the ocean- atmosphere system. Examples include the El Nino – Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, etc.

These fluctuations must excite the feedback mechanisms that we have just described.

The Test

1. Run the models with the observed sea surface temperatures as boundary conditions.
2. Use the models to calculate the heat radiation emitted to space.
3. Use satellites to measure the heat radiation actually emitted by the earth.

When temperature fluctuations lead to warmer temperatures, emitted heat radiation should increase, but positive feedbacks should inhibit these emissions by virtue of the enhanced ‘blanketing.’ Given the model climate sensitivities, this ‘blanketing’ should typically reduce the emissions by a factor of about 2 or 3 from what one would see in the absence of feedbacks. If the satellite data confirms the calculated emissions, then this would constitute solid evidence that the model feedbacks are correct.

The Results of an Inadvertent Test

lindzen31

From Wielicki, B.A., T. Wong, et al, 2002: Evidence for large decadal variability in the tropical mean radiative energy budget. Science, 295, 841-844.

Above graph:

Comparison of the observed broadband LW and SW flux anomalies for the tropics with climate model simulations using observed SST records. The models are not given volcanic aerosols, so the should not expected to show the Mt. Pinatubo eruption effects in mid-1991 through mid-1993. The dashed line shows the mean of all five models, and the gray band shows the total rnage of model anomalies (maximum to minimum).

It is the topmost panel for long wave (LW) emission that we want.

Let us examine the top figure a bit more closely.

lindzen4
From 1985 until 1989 the models and observations are more or less the same – they have, in fact, been tuned to be so. However, with the warming after 1989, the observations characteristically exceed 7 times the model values. Recall that if the observations were only 2-3 times what the models produce, it would correspond to no feedback. What we see is much more than this – implying strong negative feedback. Note that the ups and downs of both the observations and the model (forced by observed sea surface temperature) follow the ups and downs of temperature (not shown).

Note that these results were sufficiently surprising that they were confirmed by at least 4 other groups:

Chen, J., B.E. Carlson, and A.D. Del Genio, 2002: Evidence for strengthening of the tropical general circulation in the 1990s. Science, 295, 838-841.

Cess, R.D. and P.M. Udelhofen, 2003: Climate change during 1985–1999: Cloud interactions determined from satellite measurements. Geophys. Res. Ltrs., 30, No. 1, 1019, doi:10.1029/2002GL016128.

Hatzidimitriou, D., I. Vardavas, K. G. Pavlakis, N. Hatzianastassiou, C. Matsoukas, and E. Drakakis (2004) On the decadal increase in the tropical mean outgoing longwave radiation for the period 1984–2000. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 4, 1419–1425.

Clement, A.C. and B. Soden (2005) The sensitivity of the tropical-mean radiation budget. J. Clim., 18, 3189-3203.

The preceding authors did not dwell on the profound implications of these results – they had not intended a test of model feedbacks! Rather, they mostly emphasized that the differences had to arise from cloud behavior (a well acknowledged weakness of current models). However, as noted by Chou and Lindzen (2005, Comments on “Examination of the Decadal Tropical Mean ERBS Nonscanner Radiation Data for the Iris Hypothesis”, J. Climate, 18, 2123-2127), the results imply a strong negative feedback regardless of what one attributes this to.

The Bottom Line

The earth’s climate (in contrast to the climate in current climate GCMs) is dominated by a strong net negative feedback. Climate sensitivity is on the order of 0.3°C, and such warming as may arise from increasing greenhouse gases will be indistinguishable from the fluctuations in climate that occur naturally from processes internal to the climate system itself.

An aside on Feedbacks

Here is an easily appreciated example of positive and negative feedback. In your car, the gas and brake pedals act as negative feedbacks to reduce speed when you are going too fast and increase it when you are going too slow. If someone were to reverse the position of the pedals without informing you, then they would act as positive feedbacks: increasing your speed when you are going too fast, and slowing you down when you are going too slow.

gas-brake-pedals
Alarming climate predictions depend critically on the fact that models have large positive feedbacks. The crucial question is whether nature actually behaves this way? The answer, as we have just seen, is unambiguously no.

UPDATE: There are some suggestions (in comments) that the graph has issues of orbital decay affecting the nonscanner instrument’s field of view. I’ve sent a request off to Dr. Lindzen for clarification. – Anthony

UPDATE2: While I have not yet heard from Dr. Lindzen (it has only been 3 hours as of this writing) commenter “wmanny” found this below,  apparently written by Lindzen to address the issue:

“Recently, Wong et al (Wong, Wielicki et al, 2006, Reexamination of the Observed Decadal Variability of the Earth Radiation Budget Using Altitude-Corrected ERBE/ERBS Nonscanner WFOV Data, J. Clim., 19, 4028-4040) have reassessed their data to reduce the magnitude of the anomaly, but the remaining anomaly still represents a substantial negative feedback, and there is reason to question the new adjustments.”

I found the text above to match “wmanny’s” comment in a presentation given by Lindzen to Colgate University on 7/11/2008 which you can see here as a PDF:

http://portaldata.colgate.edu/imagegallerywww/3503/ImageGallery/LindzenLectureBeyondModels.pdf

- Anthony

UPDATE3: I received this email today  (4/10) from Dr. Lindzen. My sincere thanks for his response.

Dear Anthony,

The paper was sent out for comments, and the comments (even those from “realclimate”) are appreciated.  In fact, the reduction of the difference in OLR between the 80’s and 90’s due to orbital decay seems to me to be largely correct.  However, the reduction in Wong, Wielicki et al (2006) of the difference in the spikes of OLR between observations and models cannot be attributed to orbital decay, and seem to me to be questionable.  Nevertheless, the differences that remain still imply negative feedbacks.  We are proceeding to redo the analysis of satellite data in order to better understand what went into these analyses.  The matter of net differences between the 80’s and 90’s is an interesting question.  Given enough time, the radiative balance is reestablished and the anomalies can be wiped out.  The time it takes for this to happen depends on climate sensitivity with adjustments occurring more rapidly when sensitivity is less.  However, for the spikes, the time scales are short enough to preclude adjustment except for very low sensitivity.

That said, it has become standard in climate science that data in contradiction to alarmism is inevitably ‘corrected’ to bring it closer to alarming models.  None of us would argue that this data is perfect, and the corrections are often plausible.  What is implausible is that the ‘corrections’ should always bring the data closer to models.

Best wishes,

Dick


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486 thoughts on “Lindzen on negative climate feedback

  1. Cool. Good stuff! Nice to see Prof Lindzen make an appearance on WUWT.

    PS. Can’t believe I’m the first to comment. That never happens.

  2. Serendipity is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

    It isn’t immediately clear why
    “Given the model climate sensitivities, this ‘blanketing’ should typically reduce the emissions by a factor of about 2 or 3 from what one would see in the absence of feedbacks.”

    Is this because the models generate 1.5 to 5 degrees for the one degree temperature increase of doubling CO2?

    Also, “ERBS” is the acronym for “Earth Radiation Budget Satellite”

    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/erbe/erbs.html

    For non-scanning, see third paragraph here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Radiation_Budget_Satellite

  3. From 1985 until 1989 the models and observations are more or less the same – they have, in fact, been tuned to be so. However, with the warming after 1989, the observations characteristically exceed 7 times the model values.

    I would remind here that the models are tuned assuming linear approximations for the majority of variables entering the real equations ( that is what averages are). It is inevitable that as time goes on the fit becomes more and more irrelevant, because the true solutions are drastically non linear.

    These data are definitive I would think on the subject of feedback.

    It is interesting that the short wave has positive feedback, it ties up with what was discussed in another thread about plankton and UV and possible sun cycle effects.

  4. What a treat, thank you Dr Lindzen.

    I have often wondered whether accelerator (gas) pedals and brake pedals are reversed for you chaps who drive on the wrong side of the road. Having seen the picture I’m still unsure. Jeans and expensive shoes, that’s a tricky one for an old fart like me. Big pedal because that’s favoured by gas-guzzling wicked Americans, or big pedal because the brake has to be big to make sure they hit it from time to time? It’s all very confusing.

  5. The fact that always seems to be bypassed in descriptions of the green house effect is that the effect has an upper limit. The greenhouse effect is due to a ‘hole’ in frequency spectrum letting in high frequency light and absorbing outgoing low frequency light. This is similar to if you had only a small hole in a spherical cavity that was the only place light could enter (i.e. a black body). The greenhouse effect essentially increases the equivalent absorptivity of earth (makes it more like a black body). However, the effect is limited. The earth can only reach an ‘equivalent’ absorptivity of 1. The earth can not absorb more light than a black body would. If you look at what the temperature of a theoretical black body would be in the position of the earth, you will see that the earth is already very close to the limit. It is already quite close to a black body and therefore very close to the maximum temperature limit it can achieve.

    The first thought one might have about this (what should be obvious concept) is ‘what about Venus’? Venus temperature can not be due to greenhouse effect and must be due to something else. There are a lot of things that are unknown about Venus (such as that it has no magnetic field yet has an atmosphere, that it rotates very slowy backwards). However the concept of a runaway greenhouse effect ramping temperatures up way beyond that of an equivalent black body is false. Such a ‘one-way’ mirror effect is impossible. If it wasn’t they you would have the ability to extract energy from background heat, which you can not.

    We do have runaway greenhouse effect all the time when we come out of an ice age? Isn’t it curious how temperature increase very quickly and then suddenly stop at essential the same value every time? This isn’t strange at all when one realizes that this is simple because we have hit saturation.

    (see)

    http://www.ianschumacher.com/maximum_temperature.html

  6. [ snip - Let me make this clear, we are not going to talk about smoking and cancer on this thread, call me what you want, complain all you like here or to your buddies over at Tammy or RC, but it is not going to happen. If you have something to say about the science presented here you are welcome to say it. - Anthony]

  7. Excellent work. But is there no data/analysis beyond 1999 to confirm the continuing negative feedback?

  8. I’m still stuck on the infared effect of a trace gases or even something more significant like water vapor. Where is the empircal data (not more self fulfilling modeling or statistics) showing this is even detectable given all the other interactions?

    I believe the feedback is bigger than the effect (GHG) ;)

    Certainly, from 2000 forward will be challenging for any purely statistical or ‘model based’ approach to establishing the principal interactions … regardless of the feedback.

    Maybe I’m just simple but when analyzing variation in a system it is best to first establish the variation in the inputs and then look at the interactions in the process. In industry its call ‘quality control’. In science its called ’cause and effect’.

    At this point I guess I’d like to thank Lindzen for some quality control.

  9. There it is – empirical data compared to models. This type of test is a basic check to see if a model is correct. Do the modelers test their models against empirical data? This post gives me doubts.

    It seems that none of the models are correct. LW feedback is negative. AGW is not cause for alarm.

  10. Dr. Lindzen,

    Thank you for a lucid, provocative exploration of one of the critical terms of the AGW debate. You’re a credit to the profession, and that’s saying a lot, because its my distinct impression – as an informed layman – that the profession (climate studies) is currently experiencing a lack of credibility with the general public.

    Thanks for posting to WUWT.

    Best Regards,

    -psi (Fudd, literary studies)

  11. Anthony: I’m pleased you’ve snipped Dhogaza. I’ve been banned from RC, but I’ve seen Dhogaza over at RC say “Richard Lindzen, probably the most scientifically credible skeptic out there (tenured at MIT and all)”, then follow it up by attacks on him re smoking and cancer. There’s far too much attacking the person over at RC (see comments of Ray Ladbury, the arch personal attacker at RC) and far too little open discussion of the scientific facts.

    Please feel free to snip this; it’s just my personal agreement with your policy of openly allowing discussion of the science, not the person behind it.

  12. to Ian @ 21:45;

    I think that the main temperature difference between Venus and us isn’t the difference in energy coming from the sun, it’s the surface pressure. I live in Chinook country on the Eastern slope of the rockies I can vouch for a 30 degree centigrade temperature change over about 6 hours when the chinook kicks in (quick version: air cooled over the mountains follows down the mountain slopes, pushes up against valley air and forces compression. The valley air tries to get out of the way, but can’t move fast enough. The wind monitors where I work typically have at least one 90 mph 15-second wind gust per month during the winter.)

    The blackbody comparison is a good one, we tend to forget that there are lots of other systems out there we can compare against. The chaotic Jupiter weather and super-storms show that “climate change” isn’t just a terrestrial happening.

  13. Empirical derivation of 0.3C climate sensitivity (to a doubling of CO2) is very close to what some physicists calculate from first principles.

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=87

    When theory and independant empirical observation are in agreement thats a strong indication you are close to the right number.

    BTW, the GCMs (climate models) are not theories and therefore their predictions have no scientific validity. Something the IPCC completely ignores.

  14. It’s the Evidence guys….

    Hard empirical evidence – not the models, that counts.

    The substitution of models as “proof” of Global Warming has corrupted the practice of science with the domain of Climate Science.

    Climate Scientists need to get back in touch with Reality by testing their models (hypothesis, theory) against hard, empirical evidence.

    Why they refuse to do so – they will have no credibility with me.

    The AGW Proponents who read this blog/thread need to wake up to that fact that Negative Feedback is a Global Warming Killing Fact.

    They then need to ask themselves why they are backing a movement that is directing resources to solve a non-problem instead of directing resources to solve real problems that matter to real people living real lives, such as poverty, hunger, illiteracy, access to clean water, etc.

  15. Does this imply that whatever greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere, there is no way of artificially increasing the Earth’s surface temp?
    If this is true, then there is no way of stopping or even delaying the onset of the next ice age, due within the next 1000 years.
    Even if the IPCC model were correct, at least AGW would have stopped the next Ice age. 5c colder is much worse then 5c warmer.

  16. John Edmondson (22:46:34) :

    Does this imply that whatever greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere, there is no way of artificially increasing the Earth’s surface temp?
    If this is true, then there is no way of stopping or even delaying the onset of the next ice age, due within the next 1000 years.
    Even if the IPCC model were correct, at least AGW would have stopped the next Ice age. 5c colder is much worse then 5c warmer.

    That’s right – Europe and North America do not have a viable future – barring the invention of some amazing new technologies….

    Mind you in Australia, Ice Ages provide more water and lush rain forests will cover much of the east coast…

  17. Ian Schumacher (21:45:21) :

    The fact that always seems to be bypassed in descriptions of the green house effect is that the effect has an upper limit. The greenhouse effect is due to a ‘hole’ in frequency spectrum letting in high frequency light and absorbing outgoing low frequency light. This is similar to if you had only a small hole in a spherical cavity that was the only place light could enter (i.e. a black body). The greenhouse effect essentially increases the equivalent absorptivity of earth (makes it more like a black body). However, the effect is limited. The earth can only reach an ‘equivalent’ absorptivity of 1. The earth can not absorb more light than a black body would. If you look at what the temperature of a theoretical black body would be in the position of the earth, you will see that the earth is already very close to the limit. It is already quite close to a black body and therefore very close to the maximum temperature limit it can achieve.
    ….

    (see)
    http://www.ianschumacher.com/maximum_temperature.html Ian Schumacher

    I went to your link. Interesting pov, and cannot see a logical error.

    Would you say that the negative feedback shown by the data here is the beginning of an ice age? :).

    What about that the total SW +LW is on the positive feedback side. How does it fit in the way you look at it, with band filters? That there exists another band except green house gases? ( could be the effect of the plankton :))

  18. John Edmondson (22:46:34) :

    Does this imply that whatever greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere, there is no way of artificially increasing the Earth’s surface temp?
    If this is true, then there is no way of stopping or even delaying the onset of the next ice age, due within the next 1000 years.
    Even if the IPCC model were correct, at least AGW would have stopped the next Ice age. 5c colder is much worse then 5c warmer.

    Never underestimate geoengineering. Badgers have done it and humans won’t be able to?

    Ways will be found to decrease albedo or increase incoming sunshine, if we manage to reach that time out of the stone age, where the AGWers are determined to take us.

  19. The entire debate hangs on two issues: feedbacks and data integrity. Without positive feedback, runaway GW theory crumbles. Same, if the data is biased.

    (It seems that for AGW, it’s two strikes, you’re out. More study is needed, of course, but that’s the way the wind seems to be blowing.)

  20. Anthony and all- Kudos to Dr. Lindzen for a clear, accessible, and enlightening post. Love the surprise ending confirming something many of us have long suspected- that the strong positive feedbacks predicted by IPCC are clearly “non-operable”. Wanted to check if others had seen the full-page Cato Institute sponsored letter to the President signed by many, including quite a few folks who are regular contributors, posters, or topics of discussion here and at CA. Ran into it in today’s LA Times, page A17. Highly recommend. Many who feel as we do are willing to risk the slings and arrows of an entrenched industry of doomsayers. I feel the “tipping point” AGW proponents will have to deal with is not the one they expected. Our point of view is gaining traction, day by day. Thanks Anthony for hosting a major touchstone in the movement to restore reason to the public debate.

  21. Graeme Rodaughan (22:55:26) wrote in part: “Mind you in Australia, Ice Ages provide more water and lush rain forests will cover much of the east coast…”

    Steady, Graeme. You could break a lot of hearts with statements like that. Australia is fragile. Australia is doomed. You must imprint that on your mind. Drink only seawater (I think that’s what causes the hallucinations) and get back into the mainstream.

  22. One thing that puzzles me in the environmental movement with regard to feedback is Gaia theory as proposed by James Lovelock which as defined in wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory says:
    “The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis.”

    This sounds quite elegant to me, that the biological and geological activity produce a feedback system which unlike our neighbors Mars and Venus has kept the earth in a state which allows life to exist. It goes on to say:

    “Some relatively simple homeostatic mechanisms are generally accepted. For example, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, the biomass of photosynthetic organisms increases and thus removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but the extent to which these mechanisms stabilize and modify the Earth’s overall climate are not yet known.”

    So my reading of Gaia theory says nothing to worry about the earth is full of feedbacks which keep thing relativelyly stable. Problem solved, now lets have a nice cup of tea.

    However James Lovelock seems to have a different vision, he seems to see humans as a cancer. Here is a quote from a recent interview:
    “Because of this (AGW), the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126921.500-one-last-chance-to-save-mankind.html

    I dont understand how i can look at a theory and come to the exact opposite conclusions of the person who proposed it.

  23. So we now have this, and the lack of the tropical troposphere hot spot and the lack of increasing ocean heat content and yet still, flying in the face of correct scientific method, the models are still accepted, because a lot of scientists in key positions really believe them to be true.

    Also another thought, if the earth’s climate was inherently unstable and increasing CO2 causes increasing temperature which in turn causes further increasing temperature then, given that the paleoclimate record suggests that temperature drives CO2 increase wouldn’t the climate have spiralled out of control millennia ago?

  24. The work of Michael Hammer (Jennifer Marohasy’s site 3rd March) may provide the mechanism for a lack of positive feedback suggested here. He describes how most of the energy lost from the earth is at wavelengths not absorbed by greenhouse gases. He also replies to a comment concerning correlation of his theories with satellite data.

    He concludes:
    ‘Both the analysis from basic spectroscopy and the analysis based on atmospheric lapse rates give similar results and imply that greenhouse gases almost totally block energy loss to space at their absorption/emission wavelengths. That in turn suggests that a very significant portion of the energy loss from Earth’s surface is by direct radiation to space at wavelengths where the greenhouse gases do not absorb.’
    ‘This is in conflict with the Kiehl & Trenberth model and other similar models which suggest that most of the energy loss to space is from the atmosphere. If the atmosphere emits little energy, and then largely from the tropopause and stratopause, the concept of an equivalent radiation altitude has no meaning. Further, the analysis suggests that most of the radiative energy loss from the atmosphere to space is re-radiation of solar energy absorbed high up in the atmosphere.’
    ‘Surface temperature will increase with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations due to line broadening. The direct effect of carbon dioxide (in the absence of any feedbacks) using the IPCC quoted sensitivity and their postulated rise in carbon dioxide from 390 ppm to 560 ppm will contribute 0.4 degrees by 2070. The IPCC claim that positive feedback from water vapour will increase that to about 3C would imply a sensitivity of 48 watts/m2 per doubling in water vapour concentration. Such a high sensitivity is not compatible with the observed atmospheric temperature versus altitude profile.’
    ‘It should be noted that this analysis does not predict no radiation to space at the greenhouse gas absorption lines. There is still energy at these absorption lines emitted to space. For the well mixed greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 this energy largely emanates from the stratosphere and is powered significantly by UV absorption of incoming solar radiation by ozone plus some absorption of surface radiation at 9.6 micron . In the case of water vapour, the energy emanates from near the tropopause and is powered significantly by near infrared absorption of incoming solar radiation by water vapour.

  25. “The Results of an Inadvertent Test”

    Insight is Beauty. Beauty is Insight.

    Wow.

    Thank you, Dr. Lindzen.

  26. So why should we expect models forced by ocean temperature changes instead of (or is that on top of) Co2 etc to match what the IPCC models, based on the forcings of Co2, but not including any forcings for SST changes predict?

  27. @FatBigot: In case you were being serious, the americans have their pedals the same way around as us. The big one is there because they tend to drive automatics and need somewhere to put their clutch foot when they’re emergency breaking.

    And, is it me, or is the posh shoes guy in the picture going to end up wasting loads of fuel from riding the brakes all the time?

  28. Isn’t this amazing, as the temperature goes up, negative feedback goes up. As the temperature goes down, the feedback starts going positive.

    Just like my car; when I see my speed going over the speed limit, I let up on the gas and perhaps, if necessary, apply the brakes. If I’m going too slow, I reverse the process.

    I’m sure we could all think of several other systems with built in feedbacks intended to keep some parameter within range.

    It almost seems as if the earth, like automobiles and home heating systems, were designed to maintain a comfortable environment for life.

  29. Looks like Hansen has decided that the models are no good after all quoted from

    http://www.examiner.com/x-2534-SF-Wellness-Examiner~y2009m3d29-James-Hansen-sets-the-record-straight-on-the-New-York-Times-article-The-Civil-Heretic

    “I looked up Freeman Dyson on Wikipedia, which describes his views on “global warming” as below. If that is an accurate description of what he is saying now, it is actually quite reasonable (I had heard that he is just another contrarian). However, this also indicates that he is under the mistaken impression that concern about global warming is based on climate models, which in reality play little role in our understanding — our understanding is based mainly on how the Earth responded to changes of boundary conditions in the past and on how it is responding to on-going changes”.

    I would say that the scientist leading the AGW’res have about 12-24 months before their careers are terminated or they will be required to change “research activities” LOL

  30. Excellent, first class. A calm look at reality is what is always needed.

    Slightly OT then, IF we’re headed for a new ice age within 1,000 years, is there some organisation that can take the UN & its IPCC & the WMO to task for overt ignorance of this basic fact of life, & sue the hell out of them for shear incompetence! Anyway the south west of England should be realitvely ice free, but rather crowded!!!! I’d better get practicing the flint napping.

  31. Mike Guerin (23:29:36) :

    “Is it just me? Am I that smart and everyone else that stupid. Isn’t it obvious that for life to exist on earth there must be a strong negative feedback effect in place. Without strong negative feedback does anyone sane really think that the climate on earth would remain stable enough long enough for life to evolve and prosper?”

    Mike, no you’re not the only one!

    If the theory behind AGW is correct, the logical conclusion is that the natural response of the earth to an increase in heat is to effectively “turn the thermostat up”

    Clearly, we wouldn’t be here today if that was the case!

    Of course, to increase the rate of radiation to space, it is also logical that the atmosphere would increase rapidly in temperature to facilitate this, but this shouldn’t be mistaken for runaway positive feedback.

  32. The subtlety with AGW propaganda is that it is a self-reinforcing mechanism:

    1/ climatologists validate their climate reconstructions by noting that they agree with the models ;
    2/ in IPCC’s reports, models are valid because they agree with past climate reconstructions.

    They can not be wrong.

    Bye,
    TMTisFree

  33. It’s common sense that there is negative feedback. This is what keeps the climate fairly stable.

    If there was positive feedback, then the climate would be unstable – and would have been de-stabilised by now with disastrous consequences.

  34. Clear, concise…… A bell tolling the end of a hypothesis that should have been falsified ten years ago. Good on you Dr Lindzen.

    Now. considering that the reality has been Politics and not Climate….

    Is our democracy strong enough to override the massive political impetus that AGW has built up….? After all, there is a whole green Socialist agenda relying on those carbon taxes and emission trading schemes…. and the careers of those that have attached themselves to a lie. Whole industries are gearing up to go green.

    It will be an interesting time ahead.

  35. Another approach with a similar answer.

    EXTRAPOLATING OBSERVED WARMING TRENDS
    by Jarl Ahlbeck (Turku, Finland) (done in 2005 or earlier)

    We should not confuse the word “possibility” with “probability” as some
    people do when they compare different simulated results with each other.
    Everything is possible, but probability has a mathematical definition and
    should not be used when comparing simulated results. These reported
    (Nature, 27 Jan 2005) values of 1.9 to 11.5 deg C warming are
    possibilities, computerized speculations, nothing else. Also: Let’s not
    to talk about percent possibilities. All possibilities are
    100% possible.

    But of course, a kind of reality check can be made very easily: Say that
    half of the observed 20th century warming of 0.8 deg is due to greenhouse
    gases (CO2 increase from 280 to-370 ppm) and half is due to increased sun
    activity. As the relation is logarithmic, 0.4 deg=k*ln(370/280), giving
    k=1.435. For 2*CO2 (560 ppm), an additional warming of 1.435*ln(560/370) =0.59 deg C could be expected. This is a speculation as good as any
    produced by a computer climate entertainment program.

    In fact, 0.59 deg may be an overprediction as the observed warming has been
    partly caused by CFCs and CH4. As we know, the atmospheric concentration of CFC has decreased, and there is no more increase in CH4. This means that
    the k-value for CO2 should be lower than 1.435.

    k = deltaT/ln(CO2b/CO2a)
    deltaT = k*ln(CO2b/CO2a)

    For various % of 0.8 degree C temp rise in 20th century ascribed to CO2:
    (MacRae calculations and comments below)

    k CO2a CO2b deltaT

    As Above Case
    1.435 280 370 0.4 checks Assumes 50% deltaT
    1.435 370 560 0.595 checks due to >CO2.

    2.870 280 370 0.8 Assumes 100% deltaT
    2.870 370 560 1.189 due to >CO2.
    Both 50% and 100% seem too much high, given the better correlations below.

    0.718 280 370 0.2 Assumes 25% deltaT
    0.718 370 560 0.298 due to >CO2.
    From ~1850-1940, NH temperature rose by ~0.6 deg prior to the period of CO2 and fossil fuel growth – is the best correlation a “+25% deltaT” = i.e. plus 0.3 degrees?

    0.000 280 370 0 Assumes 0% deltaT
    0.000 370 560 0.000 due to >CO2.
    Given the excellent correlation between NH temperature and solar activity since at least 1750, it is plausible that temperature is completely insensitive to CO2 level.

    -0.718 280 370 -0.2 Assumes -25% deltaT
    -0.718 370 560 -0.298 due to >CO2.
    From 1940-1975, NH temperature fell by ~0.2 deg during the highest period of CO2 and fossil fuel growth – is the best correlation a “-25% deltaT” = i.e. minus 0.3 degrees?

    Informal conclusions:

    Best fit approx. 0, +/- 0.3 degrees C for a doubling of CO2.

    Even doubling CO2 is a non-issue – dump Kyoto and focus on real problems.

    ****************************

  36. Graeme Rodaughan (22:55:26) :

    quote Does this imply that whatever greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere, there is no way of artificially increasing the Earth’s surface temp?
    If this is true, then there is no way of stopping or even delaying the onset of the next ice age, due within the next 1000 years. unquote

    I have seen The Great Slave Lake only on radar, but it has always fascinated me: now I can think of a reason to go there. One can use it to test what’s going on in the Arctic Ocean. Give me a budget of a few tens of millions and this is what I’d do: check the water surface for pollution, particularly light oil and surfactant contamination, either clean it up or dirty it more and check the emissivity as night falls. Oil and surfactant smooth water. Smoothed water should warm faster during daylight and cool slower at night. Easily monitored from the air. It might explain the warming of Lake Superior, even though the experiment is too limited to check the stratocu effect which I’d expect over the open sea.

    Then check off the North Slope and around Sakhalin for the same level of pollution. Yes, feedback is probably negative, but e pur si muove — something’s causing the warming and my bet is oil and surfactant.

    Count them, four peer-reviewed papers saying that commonsense will eventually prevail. Thank you Professor Lindzen. BTW (insert smily here) you do know that the Met Office graph you used has got the dreaded Folland and Parker bucket correction incorporated and thus suppresses the abrupt warming in 39/40? This hides the…. (covers head, runs, a faint wail of ‘Kriegesmarine effect’ drifts away on the breeze….)

    Graeme, if you want to stop an Ice Age, just pump more oil and Tide onto the parts of the ocean which are warming most rapidly — the big gyres look interesting. It’s happened before — I’m not sure how you’d check for a natural breaching of a major oil reservoir during the PETM, but for a few million more I’ll put my thinking cap on.

    JF
    .3? I’d have bet a pint on .6.

  37. It does seem that climate feedback is of huge importance, and it is this that may provide the nails for the coffin of strong AGW. But which dominates, positive or negative? The fact that i am sitting at my desk and typing this strongly suggests that negative feedback dominates.
    In my professional career spanning several decades I have had a lot of experience with servomechanisms, which use negative feedback to achieve a desired result. A badly designed or faulty system will still broadly achieve the desired result, such as maintaining a commanded position. But it will tend to oscillate, sometimes with a simple harmonic motion or a far more complex and apparently random motion. It will respond badly to external influences. But overall it will maintain the desired result.
    Looking at graphs of climate, I’m reminded of a poorly designed servomechanism. The climate often oscillates and responds poorly to outside effects such as earthquakes. When returning to the ‘commanded’ position it will often overshoot quite badly. But it does return, so that the overall global temperature over the last few thousand years has been remarkably stable, with variations measured mostly in fractions of a degree.
    Clearly the global climate is a servomechanism. And servomechanisms work by negative feedback. I think Professor Lindzen’s work is of extraordinary importance.
    Chris

  38. Tech note, mes amis:
    You can get the Degree symbol º on a PC keyboard by holding down the Alt key and typing 167 in the numeric keypad. Release the Alt key, and the º appears. Google “alt characters” to find listings of other characters.
    .

    Ian Schumacher (21:45:21) :
    . . . The first thought one might have about this (what should be obvious concept) is ‘what about Venus?’ Venus’ temperature can not be due to greenhouse effect and must be due to something else.

    Another Mike D (22:39:57) :
    I think that the main temperature difference between Venus and us isn’t the difference in energy coming from the sun, it’s the surface pressure. . . .

    Right. Temperature decreases with altitude as the pressure decreases, and vice versa. The temperature lapse rate has to do with the specific heat ratio of the gasses involved, very close to 1.4 for air, and between 1.2 to 1.3 for Venus’ CO2 atmosphere. Venus has 90 times earth surface pressure (90 bar), with a resulting high temp. The odd thing here is that with the different lapse rate, if Venus had a 90 bar AIR atmosphere, its surface temp would be a couple hundred ºC hotter, just the opposite of the runaway CO2 greenhouse image commonly peddled.

    As close to the sun as Venus is, I’d guess its high albedo is responsible for the temps not being as high as they might otherwise.
    .

    Thank you Dr Lindzen. On a related area, CO2 has only an absorption band around 4 microns that it doesn’t share with water. According to the atmospheric transmission charts, there isn’t much energy up or down in that region. Are the satellites like ERBS capable of measuring how much 4 micron radiation is reaching the satellite from earth? That would be how much energy remains for CO2 to capture, and thus an upper limit to how much additional heat the doubling of CO2 could add. From the charts, it doesn’t look like much.

  39. “The most tragic thing in science is that a beautiful theory can be slayed by one ugly fact”. Thank you, Dr. ‘Dagonslayer’ Lidzen.

  40. All:

    As several have noted, Prof. Lindzen provides a clear and cogent case that empirical evidence indicates negative feedback in the climate system.

    Paleo data indicates the same.

    The Sun is a g-type star and observation of such stars indicates they get hotter as they age. For this reason, direct radiative forcing of the Earth’s climate by the Sun must have increased by ~30% in the 2.5 billion years since the Earth acquired an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Therefore, if the climate system had no feedbacks then the oceans would have boiled to steam by now. Indeed, the climate system has been bi-stable (i.e. stable in glacial and interglacial states) with remarkably little temperature difference in each state throughout geological ages.

    For nearly three decades I have been asking AGW-advocates why ~0.4% increase to radiative forcing from a doubling of carbon dioxide is feared when ~30% increase to radiative forcing from the Sun has had no discernible effect. To date, I have not had a sensible answer.

    Richard

  41. Archonix (00:27:40) :
    @FatBigot: In case you were being serious, the americans have their pedals the same way around as us. The big one is there because they tend to drive automatics and need somewhere to put their clutch foot when they’re emergency breaking.

    We Americans drive big cars. We don’t brake for nuthin’.

  42. Mike Guerin (23:29:36) :

    Is it just me? Am I that smart and everyone else that stupid. Isn’t it obvious that for life to exist on earth there must be a strong negative feedback effect in place. Without strong negative feedback does anyone sane really think that the climate on earth would remain stable enough long enough for life to evolve and prosper?

    Mike – you are not alone. The premise of a world climate that oscillates about a mean driven by Negative feedbacks and providing a mostly stable environment conducive to life for many millions of years is a common idea.

    The problem that I have is the premise that this stable, natural variation has been turned on it’s head within the last 100 to 150 years (AGW).

    It’s an extraordinary claim and requires extraordinary evidence – and not even ordinary evidence is available to support it (AGW).

  43. Roger Carr (23:46:56) :

    Graeme Rodaughan (22:55:26) wrote in part: “Mind you in Australia, Ice Ages provide more water and lush rain forests will cover much of the east coast…”

    Steady, Graeme. You could break a lot of hearts with statements like that. Australia is fragile. Australia is doomed. You must imprint that on your mind. Drink only seawater (I think that’s what causes the hallucinations) and get back into the mainstream.

    Ha Ha…. Australia will Rule the next (Frozen) Millenium (Post 3000 AD). Just take my word for it……

  44. Richard Heg (23:48:31) :

    One thing that puzzles me in the environmental movement with regard to feedback is Gaia theory as proposed by James Lovelock which as defined in wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory says:
    “The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis.”

    This sounds quite elegant to me, that the biological and geological activity produce a feedback system which unlike our neighbors Mars and Venus has kept the earth in a state which allows life to exist. It goes on to say:

    “Some relatively simple homeostatic mechanisms are generally accepted. For example, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, the biomass of photosynthetic organisms increases and thus removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but the extent to which these mechanisms stabilize and modify the Earth’s overall climate are not yet known.”

    So my reading of Gaia theory says nothing to worry about the earth is full of feedbacks which keep thing relativelyly stable. Problem solved, now lets have a nice cup of tea.

    However James Lovelock seems to have a different vision, he seems to see humans as a cancer. Here is a quote from a recent interview:
    “Because of this (AGW), the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126921.500-one-last-chance-to-save-mankind.html

    I dont understand how i can look at a theory and come to the exact opposite conclusions of the person who proposed it.

    Is he a closet Malthusian?

    Does it increase his social status to jump on board the latest alarmist craze?

    Does he feel validated?

    Inquiring minds would like to know.

  45. Alan the Brit (01:06:38) :

    Excellent, first class. A calm look at reality is what is always needed.

    Slightly OT then, IF we’re headed for a new ice age within 1,000 years, is there some organisation that can take the UN & its IPCC & the WMO to task for overt ignorance of this basic fact of life, & sue the hell out of them for shear incompetence! Anyway the south west of England should be realitvely ice free, but rather crowded!!!! I’d better get practicing the flint napping.

    The Brits will just have to migrate to the Costa del Sol and other locations on the Spanish Coast…

    Whoops – that’s already happening – this Impending Ice Age must be closer than we think…

  46. vg (00:45:39) :

    ….
    I would say that the scientist leading the AGW’res have about 12-24 months before their careers are terminated or they will be required to change “research activities” LOL

    One could hope – however AGW is a very well funded and powered movement, and it will take significant public backlash before the Politicians sit up and take notice… and that’s still to happen.

  47. Dr. Lindzen has just falsified a key postulate of Anthropogenic Global Warming.  Now we will see if the AGW proponents are scientist or just cheap politicians hustling for a dime.

    Seriously, this is very big. Congratulations Dr. Lindzen and a hardy way-to-go Anthony!

    –Mike Ramsey

  48. vg (00:45:39) :
    Looks like Hansen has decided that the models are no good after all

    I find that amazing. So he’s now saying that the empirical evidence supports AGW and is the main basis for his predictions, not the models? This really is game over Hansen.

    By the way, this was an excellent article by Richard Lindzen.

  49. If I am getting all of this correct: The satellites measured the shortwave coming from the Sun, and the longwave being lost by the Earth, and found equilibrium. Is that right? In the case of clouds (water vapor) the satellites could meause both the longwave coming through and the shortwave that was reflected (never reaching the ground) and again found equilibrium.
    Is that also right?
    So, if all of that above is correct, then Archibald is correct when he says that if the AGW’er ever manage to find a way to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere, they will throw the baby out with the bathwater and both will freeze up.

  50. One of the factors used by the IPCC in stating the 90% certainty for human causation of global warming is that the forcing of 3.71watts/m^2 from a doubling of CO2 falls between the 5 and 95 percentiles from the model outputs. Since 5.35ln(2) equals 3.71 it is quite clear that the GCM models are designed to confirm the forcing parameter of the original Hansen model from the 1988 paper. Essentially this parameter was invented to introduce CO2 forcing into the existing climate models in such a way as to demonstrate potential catastrophic warming where none exists. The basis for this was the assumption that natural warming of 0.6°C was caused entirely by CO2 increases which were attributed to fossil fuel emissions (even though the source of these emissions is mostly due to outgassing of CO2 from warming oceans).
    The forcing parameter that resulted was
    5.35ln(current CO2)/(reference CO2) which leads to a value of 3.71 for a doubling. To use the analogy of the accelerator and the brake this formula does not have a brake and only shows increasing forcing with increasing CO2. The conversion from watts/m^2 to temperature is accomplished with the factor 0.75°C/watt resulting in basic warming of 2.78°C for a doubling of CO2. Since 2002 the concentration of CO2 has gone from about 374ppmv to 386ppmv. The forcing parameter of 5.35ln(386/374) * 0.75 shows that there should have been an increase in global temperature increase of 0.0236°C but the satellite temperature data show that the temperature cooled by about 0.15°C since 2002. The cooling is six times the rate and in the opposite direction of the predicted temperature of the models. This means that even if the models were actually based on fact feedback systems not included in the models dominate the effect tyo the point that the predictions of the models are irrelevant.

    Norm K.

  51. Surely the climate is a metastable system as indicated by ice core records etc:

    Super ice age (snow ball earth)(?)
    Ice age -2degC
    warm age 0degC
    Hot age(?) +2degC 40Mybp +8degC 400Mybp

    Positive feedback is not an unlimited effect GHGs have logarithmic effects enabling the negative FBs (plant growth, radiation balance etc) to re-take control.Methane trapped in frozen tundra may be released if the temperature increases. CH4 in the atmosphere has a life of about 4 years. So the tipping point when these are released may only produce a pulse of high temeratures for a couple of decades.
    However this may be long enough to melt land based ice reducing the albedo and adding to the positive FB. However these effects are self limiting – plant growth, radiation balance (a hotter earth = more heat radiated but same heat input) will attain a new stable temperature.
    The question is what will this be? and what will reduce the climate back to the current metastable state?

  52. Jack Hughes (01:31:30) :

    It’s common sense that there is negative feedback. This is what keeps the climate fairly stable.

    Thank you Jack, and others that have pointed this out! Finally, some talk about this mechanism, what I call the “impossible tipping point” mechanism. When I first heard the words “tipping point” as it pertains to AGW, I think it triggered my tipping point in the AGW debate. I believe it to be physically impossible on this planet (perhaps any other for that matter) to have a “tipping point” and “runaway greenhouse effect”. Common sense simply tells you this is so, yet one of the fundamental drivers of the AGW theory requires a “tipping point”. There very fact that this “tipping point” cannot exists, for me, completely invalidates the entire theory of AGW, and it didn’t take any kind of model to deduce this very simple observation.

  53. Just look at the recent articles here.
    Chip, chip, chip… the stone wall that has been erected around the false science of AGW is being torn down. The poliscis better climb aboard the train of life and leave the AGW hoax while the getting is good.
    Thanks, Anthony, for helping to shine the spotlight of truth into the putrid corners of what passes for science today.
    Mike

  54. Pffft….this is all a moot point

    The AGW propagandists dont care about facts or science. The AGW cause is nothing but a means to spread and enforce the socialist green religious ideology of the modern left.

    The MSM media will never ever report these facts. Not unless criminal/legal action is taken against the journalsits and their editors. I dont know if there is a legal basis for this (eg Treason laws). But make no mistake. NOTHING, EVER will make the left wing MSM media report on these facts.

    With the exception of a small few in the media (like Andrew Bolt in Australia), most journalists are dedicated “modern socialists” who will do and say what ever is necessary to promote the modern left wing socialist religion/ideology.

    We are doomed to live our lives under strict control unless action is taken against those in the media promiting this.

  55. Clear and lucid and what Miskolczi has been saying; not to mention Spencer and Steve Short and… everyone except IPCC and its associates.

  56. It would be nice to see an AGWer with a scientific argument against this presentation so we can find out their objections, valid or otherwise. Will it happen? From what I’ve seen so far, despite their oft-stated commitment to science, it’s not clear if any of them even read what Lindzen has ever written; they seem just to expound that RC says Lindzen has been rebutted and that’s all they need. I wait with baited breath, the educated rebuttals.

  57. Very good article-I see the Warmists going off the rails daily.I also see the common
    folks-believing less and less of it.Fargo,for instance is NOT a Warming event…

  58. O/T Sir Nicholas Stern is shortly due on Radio Five Live in the UK (14:30 BST) talking about Climate Change and his new book. I’m preparing my email now !

  59. Clear, concise and to the point. Well written article and (as with many other recent findings) should help in putting a check on the insanity bandwagon that we are on currently.

    Thank you Dr Lindzen and Anthony – keep up the good work, and most importantly keep the light of objective science burning…

  60. There’s a typo beneath “The Results of an Inadvertent Test”:

    “so the should not expected”
    should be “so they should not be expected”

  61. A somewhat open minded BBC radio interview with Roger Harrabin (he who capitulated to the demands of eco-campaigner Jo Abbess) and Vicky Pope. You might want to run this one as a new blog entry, Anthony

    Around the 10 minute mark the presenter displays some scepticism.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7936000/7936645.stm

    As a result, the radio show presenter has been rapped by the Ends Report and John Vidal of the Guardian for being open minded

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/mar/31/james-naughtie-ends-report-climate-scepticism

  62. This has been bothering me for a while: I’m a controls engineer, modeling of physical systems [very simple ones compared to the atmosphere] is most of what I do.

    There is no such thing as a stable system who’s behavior is dominated by positive feedbacks. That’s pretty much the definition of positive feedback. Yet the AGW theory, as I understand it, maintains that Earth’s temperature was fairly stable until sometime in the industrial age, then started warming due largely to positive feedback on temperature. Obviously something else is going on, as there must have been some mechanism that stabilized temperature in the past.

    Furthermore, if you did have a system that was somehow balanced on an unstable node, and you disturbed it, it would fall away from that node. Removing whatever disturbed it wouldn’t return it to the node, it wouldn’t even stop the system moving away from it (you can’t un-disturb the system). In other words, if world temperature were dominated by positive feedback, and CO2 did disturb the precarious balance, even if we completely halted CO2 emissions, that wouldn’t stop the runaway warming. ANY disturbance of a positive feedback system is a “tipping point.”

  63. Excellent, first class. A calm look at reality is what is always needed.”

    But it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, nyah, nyah!

    And it’s by a middle-aged white male!!

    with ties to the Heartland Institute!!!

    Case closed.

  64. There are some problems in this analysis.

    1. The Radiative Anomalies in the y-axis isn’t defined.
    2. The author states, “the observations characteristically exceed 7 times the model values” but doesn’t explain how he arrived at this conclusion. The graph shows only one data point above or near 7 which is not sufficient data to make the claim.
    3. The author then seems to use this one data point to make the conclusions in the paragraph titled, Bottom Line.

  65. How did the climate modelers ignore the data from this experiment?

    It was specifically designed to confirm or modify the very, very basic designs/theory surrounding the models – the greenhouse effect itself.

    How come we haven’t heard about this before? They must have decided to bury it when it didn’t confirm the theory/models but actually said they needed to go back to the drawing board.

    It is almost like (it is exactly like) any data which does not conform to their view is ignored, discredited through various strawman arguments or subsequently changed afterward.

  66. But, what we are really interested in is overall net feedback (SW plus LW), not just LW. I believed it is also negative and Lindzen says so, but looking at the graphs he presented show that SW feedback is stronlgy positive as well as overall feedback which is also on positive side (3rd panel). Is there anything I don’t understand correctly?

  67. Mike Guerin (23:29:36) :

    Isn’t it obvious that for life to exist on earth there must be a strong negative feedback effect in place. Without strong negative feedback does anyone sane really think that the climate on earth would remain stable enough long enough for life to evolve and prosper?

    Jack Hughes (01:31:30) :

    If there was positive feedback, then the climate would be unstable – and would have been de-stabilised by now with disastrous consequences.

    The sign of the feedback coefficient does not indiciate stability or instability. Feedback can be positive and produce a stable system. Feedback can be negative and produce an unstable system.

    Fortunately, it appears that in the earth climate system vapor+cloud feedbacks are net negative and stable.

  68. Thank you Anthony and Dr. Lindzen. Through this blog I am getting the semantics to piece together what has been intuitively obvious. If our climate was unstable as the AGWers want us to believe, we would not be having this discussion. When mass extinctions have happened via extraterrestrial impacts or volcanoes, there surely was enough biomass to generate ‘greenhouse’ gases in excess of anything we produce. To the best of our knowledge, CO2 has been in the 5-6000ppm range without a runaway system, and without climate being much warmer. This means as others pointed out above, there is an upper limit to climate temperature. This has to be, lacking a major fluctuation from the only local heat source, the sun.
    Our importance is highly over-exaggerated, and as regards climate, there is nothing new under the sun. It appears we are at or near maxium temperature for this planet, so we need to appreciate it while we can. As pointed out by others here, warm is better than cold. The hysterics over runaway heating is silly on the one hand, and just another a political ploy on the other. Many in the illusory position of power remain there by playing on the ego-centric nature of humans that is extrapolated to the near omnipotent effect our presence must have on our environment. This is exaggerated too by the false sense of esteem bestowed on the past generation or two via reward for nonachievement through our education and welfare systems. Herein lies a runaway system effect, false fear in the masses = money and power for the elite.

  69. Roger Knights (05:29:30) :

    “Excellent, first class. A calm look at reality is what is always needed.”

    But it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, nyah, nyah!

    “Note that these results were sufficiently surprising that they were confirmed by at least 4 other groups:

    Chen, J., B.E. Carlson, and A.D. Del Genio, 2002: Evidence for strengthening of the tropical general circulation in the 1990s. Science, 295, 838-841.

    Cess, R.D. and P.M. Udelhofen, 2003: Climate change during 1985–1999: Cloud interactions determined from satellite measurements. Geophys. Res. Ltrs., 30, No. 1, 1019, doi:10.1029/2002GL016128.

    Hatzidimitriou, D., I. Vardavas, K. G. Pavlakis, N. Hatzianastassiou, C. Matsoukas, and E. Drakakis (2004) On the decadal increase in the tropical mean outgoing longwave radiation for the period 1984–2000. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 4, 1419–1425.

    Clement, A.C. and B. Soden (2005) The sensitivity of the tropical-mean radiation budget. J. Clim., 18, 3189-3203.”

    Not sure what your point was.

    –Mike Ramsey

  70. Excellent article – but I have a question. If the Earth’s climate is dominated by negative feedbacks, how does the Eocene warming episode of 55 million years ago (PETM) fit into this? I often see it mentioned as an example of positive feedback at work.

  71. Biased CBC reporting (read it all).
    Fire. Them. All.

    Notice CBC attempts to deflect the reader by using words e.g. “Pricey ads”, etc.
    Fire. Them. All.
    …-

    “Pricey ads signed by scientists slam Obama’s climate change talk

    More than 100 scientists — including a number of Canadian government scientists and university professors — have signed a full-page newspaper ad denouncing U.S. President Barack Obama’s remarks about climate change last November as “untrue.”

    “The Cato Institute ad takes issue with the following statement, made by U.S. President Barack Obama on Nov. 19, 2008:

    “Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.”

    “Mr. President , your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect,” said the ads paid for by the Cato Institute that ran Monday in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. The ads cite evidence, referenced in four scientific papers, that the climate is not changing significantly.”

    “Among the Canadians who signed the ad were:

    * Ian Clark, professor of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa.
    * Paul Copper, Laurentian University (Emeritus).
    * Susan Crockford, University of Victoria.
    * Christopher Essex, University of Western Ontario.
    * Neil Hutton, past president, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists.
    * Wayne Goodfellow, University of Ottawa.
    * David Nowell, former chairman, NATO Meteorology Canada.
    * Peter Salonius, Canadian Forest Service.
    * Ross McKitrick, University of Guelph.”

    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/03/30/tech-090330-cato-climate-change.html

    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/archives/011105.html

  72. Ian W,

    It is quite possible to prevent a runaway in a system with net positive feedbacks, since it can be modelled as a converging power series.

  73. Ian W (05:27:50) :
    You are absolutely right. For a kiln or an oven to work properly you need insolation, our planet´s insolation it is not the atmosphere but sea water.
    In this “post modern” theory it seems that you can keep it warm just with the atmosphere inside the kiln!! It seems somebody is postulating an infinite atmosphere!, like having infinite covers on a bed!

  74. Ivan (05:49:40) :

    “But, what we are really interested in is overall net feedback (SW plus LW), not just LW. I believed it is also negative and Lindzen says so, but looking at the graphs he presented show that SW feedback is stronlgy positive as well as overall feedback which is also on positive side (3rd panel). Is there anything I don’t understand correctly?”

    Ivan, perhaps the SW increase is cause by increased cloud cover. Again reducing the effect of greenhouse gases and lowering temperature.

  75. Thank you , Dr. Lindzen. I have been following your work for over a decade. You have suffered the slings and barbs of those who disagree. You should be revered for your courage alone, never mind the incredibly sound science. I am well aware of the mud that has been (is being) thrown at those who question the science of a Co2 driven climate. Now that you have thoroughly destroyed the Co2 theory, what are your thoughts on what is actually driving our climate? Dr. Svalgaard, who posts here says that it isn’t the sun ( oversimplified for expedition). I would certainly like to hear your theories. Any possibility? Thank you in advance, …………… David Ball

  76. If the climate sensitivity is only around 0.3 degrees, how do we get ice ages?

    Comparing temperatures during the last glacial maximum to today yields a climate sensitivity of about 3 degrees +/- a degree or so (basically the same as the models get).

    If the climate sensitivity is only 0.3 degrees, that implies that there is some HUGE completely unidentified forcing responsible for taking us into and out of ice ages. That could be, but it seems unlikely to me.

  77. Is there a way to link directly to this paper or to get a pdf?

    “Eloquence is logic on fire.”

  78. To believe AGW, you must believe that 380 PPM CO2 becomes an atmosphere-covering sheet of one-way mirror.

  79. Those shoes just ain’t a pair – the right one is shiny and pointier, the left one is rounder and dull. I suggest the owner gets his eyes tested before he drives again.

  80. Archonix (00:27:40) :

    @FatBigot: In case you were being serious, the americans have their pedals the same way around as us. The big one is there because they tend to drive automatics and need somewhere to put their clutch foot when they’re emergency breaking.

    That looks like a really old car too. Who knows. Though I haven’t driven an automatic (except for rentals) in over 20 years. I suspect Europeans drive automatics as much as Americans or anyone else. ;)

    And, is it me, or is the posh shoes guy in the picture going to end up wasting loads of fuel from riding the brakes all the time?

    I was thinking he’d need to get his brakes replaced quite often. And adding a lot of particulate pollution with those quickly-wearing brakes…

  81. anna v (23:08:24) :

    “Would you say that the negative feedback shown by the data here is the beginning of an ice age? :). ”

    My personal opinion is that most of the observed warming is an illusion (not real and simply due to measurement error). The temperature changes we are dealing with here are smaller than the measurement error.

    So unfortunately I think the negative feedback is also probably an illusion. changes are so small relative to noise that this allows everyone to see what they want to see.

    I believe we always have positive feedback, BUT we have reached saturation, which can look like negative feedback.

    I would invite people to take a close look at the shape of temperature changes coming out of an ice age. Look at the slope. If negative feedback was responsible for ending ice ages the transition from warming to stable temperatures should occur gradually. Instead, temperature increases steadily at basically a constant rate and then sudden becomes a flat top. That is ‘clipping’, i.e. hitting a hard limit.

    Another consideration is that if we switched from positive to negative feedback coming out of an ice age we should see this as ‘overshoot’ and oscillations. There is a fairly large delay in negative feedback mechanism. A delay should cause overshoot and oscillation behaviour to be observed, not a sudden clipping, that we actually see — that has to be because of saturation. We never stop having positive feedback, however the system hits the maximum value … saturation, a hard limit. At least that is my theory ;-)

  82. Someone above said what I’ve always found amusingly paradoxical about the Gaia hypothesis-namely that it sounds like it speaks of negative feedbacks! Well, the key here is that in order to get into Lovelock’s mind set, you must see humans as inherently separate from nature-negative feedbacks apply to nature, and if we aren’t a part of nature, negative feedbacks can’t protect nature from us. Ridiculous, I know, but Lovelock’s idea makes no sense.

    As for the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Max, mention above, there is a brief discussion here, featuring me:

    http://www.globalwarmingskeptics.info/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=343

  83. Very nice argument and clearly presented, thank you Dr. Lindzen. However, it seems to me there is a basic flaw: it is assumed that the LW emission is a function of temperature, only – including a feed-back, of course -but this is not necessarily the case. The cloud cover can change for many reasons, natural variability, cosmic ray intensity etc, and clouds provide an important part of the greenhouse effect. So the LW radiation does not necessarily respond just to the temperature change. In fact, the decrease in cloud cover that gives increased SW energy input (reduced albedo) will also increase the LW output.

    Instead, this dramatic change of cloud cover over a short period (10 y) demonstrates that clouds are not a passive system, responding in a well defined way to gradual warming, but a complex dynamic system with other driving forces. And the associated climate forcing is very large, dwarfing at least on this time scale the small effect of increased CO2 concentration.

  84. And… Didn’t sensible people already have the suspicion this was true all along anyway? If the “hysterical green house effect”, (as I call it ;), was actually true then there would be an extreme likelihood that a ‘run-away’ climate occurred during earth’s long geologic past, (along with something else major happening to ‘reset’ us back from a Venus-like condition). There is no such indication that anything like that ever happened.

    I’ve always been impressed by the data offered by Christopher Scotese
    http://www.scotese.com/images/globaltemp.jpg which appears to indicate a natural ceiling to global temperature, (~23C), which is exactly what one would expect from a strong negative feedback. Thank you Dr. Lindzen for scientifically confirming that nature usually makes sense.

  85. It seems “Nature” prefers balance and if feedbacks were positive things would have spun out of control a long time before we came along. As is my nature, I’m being simplistic, but hopefully not simple. =:o

  86. Ooops, I wasn’t piggybacking on Ian Schumacher’s post BTW. What he calls ‘saturation’ could be described as merely a non-linear negative feedback, (like a zener diode in the feedback loop kinda thingy).

  87. Oh dear. Professor Lindzen is being just a little disingenous. He gives us the graphic from Wielicki and Wong, et al, 2002 without mentioning that this paper was the subject of a comment pointing out an alternative interpretation of the disagreements shown between observations and models is that the analyses of the observations may be flawed. and also Another contributing factor to a flawed analysis could be the way the data were processed.

    Flawed observations and data analysis. A favourite theme of this very site!

    Nor does Prof Lindzen share with us that in 2005 the authors issued a correction to their 2002 paper in which they stated that …

    The effects of the altitude correction are to modify the original reported decadal changes in tropical mean (20N to 20S) longwave (LW), shortwave (SW), and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s from 3.1/-2.4/-0.7 to 1.6/-3.0/1.4 Wm-2 respectively

    That is, the troublesome trend in LW radiation depicted in the graphic was later found to be a near-100% overestimate. As a practicing climate scientist Lindzen must be aware of this, I wonder why he does not mention it in the article, and what effect the correction had on his conclusion of a remarkably low value for climate sensitivity?

  88. >>>Mike Guerin (23:29:36) :

    Is it just me? Am I that smart and everyone else that stupid. Isn’t it obvious that for life to exist on earth there must be a strong negative feedback effect in place. Without strong negative feedback does anyone sane really think that the climate on earth would remain stable enough long enough for life to evolve and prosper?<<<

    Yes, yes, yes. This has been my thought all along.

    If the system was as unstable as their models suggest, then catastrophic cycles would have been triggered too often in the past.

    Has anyone asked the modelers what events could eventually reverse a catastrophic warming cycle? Or do they just assume that it’s perpetually irreversible?

  89. Clarification on the following points would be appreciated.
    1. Was the following answered
    John F. Hultquist (21:30:22)
    It isn’t immediately clear why
    “Given the model climate sensitivities, this ‘blanketing’ should typically reduce the emissions by a factor of about 2 or 3 from what one would see in the absence of feedbacks
    2. “if one simply doubles the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature increase is about 1°C”, and “Climate sensitivity is on the order of 0.3°C”, I then asume the result of doubling CO2 is +0.7°C.

    3. Reference the Radiation Anomalies Chart between 1991 and 1992: LW (Red) peaks at approximately -2.5, SW (Blue) peaks at approx +9, NET (Green) peaks at approximately -9. Since (-2.5+9≠ -9), what is NET and does it have any significance in this context?

  90. Roger Knights (05:29:30):
    >>>>>But it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, nyah, nyah!<<<<<
    Sorry: But,
    you have an electric car.
    feedback on electric car, nyah,nyah.

    Evan: good winds…. and WW II ?????

  91. INFRARED IS NOT HEAT RADIATION!!!!

    I’m not picking on anyone; certainly not Prof. Lindzen. I greatly appreciate him putting this essay out there to help clarify the debate, and really don’t want to antagonize anyone. However, one quick way to push my (possibly over-sensitive) buttons is to call infrared radiation “heat radiation”. So much so, in fact, that I haven’t even read the whole essay yet. If I seem overly critical of anyone in the rest of this screed, please go back and re-read the first sentence of this paragraph.

    Infrared radiation isn’t heat–it’s light. More specifically, it’s electromagnetic radiation that’s just outside the narrow spectrum (visible light) our eyes can respond to.

    The reason I think it’s important to keep the two concepts separate is that calling IR heat encourages misconceptions like “carbon dioxide acts as insulation”, or that there can be a mysterious heat sink that is keeping the earth from warming even as our carbon dioxide is trying to warm it. Heat energy is the measure of the kinetic energy of molecules within a body, and IR is electromagnetic radiation, and they are quite different. However, each can cause the other, and therein lies the seed of confusion.

    We equate IR with heat for two main reasons. First, elevated temperature is how we normally experience IR. We can’t see IR, but if you put your hand near an electric heating element, the IR radiation is readily absorbed by your hand. At that point, it’s converted to heat, and elevates the temperature of your skin. So you experience the IR as heat.

    The second reason we equate the two is IR imaging. Objects near the temperature of the earth (our bodies, rocks, trees, ice, and such) emit IR according to the relationships discovered by Planck, Stefan-Boltzmann, and a whole host of other geniuses I can’t name off the top of my head just now. We can image this IR radiation, and show warmer objects brighter than cooler objects. It’s a convenient shorthand to think of this as thermal imaging, but it’s really not.

    One reason this is important is that it makes clear that under the anthropogenic carbon dioxide hypothesis of global warming, the SOURCE of the excess heat is the atmosphere itself. The earth’s surface loses heat by radiating EM energy in the IR wavelength range; the atmosphere absorbs part of this EM through the mechanism of the “greenhouse effect”; that absorption indirectly increases the kinetic energy of the molecules of the atmosphere; and at that moment (and not before) heat is added to the atmosphere, and it’s temp goes up a smidgen.

    Looked at from this perspective, it becomes clear that the mysterious “hidden heat sink” that some have postulated to explain why the global temperature is leveling off is particularly silly. If the atmosphere is producing all the extra heat that it must under the hypothesis, it is being transferred to something else as fast or faster than it is being produced. Not only must the heat sink proponents produce evidence of such a sink, they must find a mechanism for transferring all this excess heat from the atmosphere to that sink. That’s a steep hill to climb.

  92. Degrees kelvin? Oh dear. I still cringe at the memory (decades later) of the bawling out I received when I wrote e.g 255oK. It’s just kelvin – 255K.

  93. It’s nice to see Prof Lindzen’s paper and see the data and model comparisons.

    I do have some concerns; and perhaps those concerns relate more to the audience to which Dr Lindzen addressed this paper. He does start out with a heading “Simplified Greenhouse Theory.”
    So perhaps available space constrained the amount of detail he includes.
    A first concern would be the two terms “long wave” and “short wave”; which would mean different things to a Radio “Ham” I am sure. They don’t mean anything precise to me; so I am going to make a leap of faith and presume, that by “shortwave”, Dr Lindzen means radiation corresponding to the roughly 6000K solar spectrum; and that by “long wave” he means thermal infra-red radiation corresponding to the earth source at 255K (his number) or some other number like 288K corresponding roughly to the alleged mean earth surface or lower troposphere temperature.
    If these are not correct assumptions perhaps Dr Lindzen might clarify.

    I’m somewhat concerned about lumping the two together in a “net” result; because the detail physics is quite different for those two spectral regions.

    I should state here that I am adamantly in total agreement with the final conclusion that Prof Lindzen states; that the current earth climate system is totally regulated by strongly overriding negative feedbacl; a “tipping point” thermal runaway is not possible with the current orbital parameters of the sun/earth system, and the solar constant.

    As a physicist (not a meteorologist I look at the problme perhaps a bit differently from Dr Lindzen.
    His use of the word “blanketing” is I think quite instructive, because anyone can understand how blankets slow the rate of energy loss from sleeping humans and keep us warmer than we would otherwise be. In the climate case, the delay in exit of the thermal (LW) radiation can be seen as creating a blanket warming, if for no other reason, than the simple fat that during that delay time, the sun keeps on pouring in extra solar spectrum radiation, which will warm things up.

    I view the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere warming in a very simple fashion. Two sources of radiation try to heat the surface. The first and most powerful is the solar spectrum radiation from the sun. Most of it propagates some considerable depth in the oceans, to cause local water heating. Some of it is absorbed in the upper atmosphere directly and never reaches the ground; at least as solar spectrum radiation. The other main warming component is the long wave thermal IR emission from the atmosphere itself. This of course is a re-emission of energy which got them from somewhere else, either as direct solar heating, or from surface emitted longwave IR, which is usually thought of as the green house component.

    The earth’s surface; particularly the ocean treats the short and long components quite differently; and here my view might not agree with Prof Lindzen’s. As I see it, the long wave returning from the atmosphere is totally absorbed in the top 10 microns or so of the ocean surface or any water on land as well. That must result in very localised warming of the water surface, and lead to rather prompt evaporation of water vapor into the atmosphere. And that isee as a huge energy pump in the form of latent heat of evaportation around 545 cal/gm, which gets carried aloft by the water vapor in convective currents and eventually lost to space from the upper atmosphere. Bottom line is I don’t see any large fraction of that returned long wave energy from the atmosphere being propagated into ocean depths and “Stored” in the ocean. And I also see it as the prime source of the water vapor feedback that ultimately leads to precipitation and the obligatory extra clouds that come with precipitation; and that I see as the direct source of Dr Lindzen’s negative feedback; and although the details may be more complex, it seems to me that the mechanism isirrefutable; specially in light of the paper of Wentz et al in SCIENCE July 7 2007; “How Much more Rain will Global Warming bring?”

    As to the fate of the solar spectrum energy propagated into the ocean many metres; the depth of propagation is like the solar spectrum turned upside down; the highest intensity spectral components in the blue green region going deepest, and the red and violet ends being attenuated at shallower depths.
    From there I don’t see any powerful mechanisms form moving this energy significantly deeper, to store it in the deep oceans. There will of coursae be conduction in all directions; but since ordinary sea water always has a positive temperature coefficient of expansion down to its freezing temperature, there must be upward convection currents established by the solar energy warming, so the deposited solar energy must in my view be inexorably transported back towards the surface, and since convection almost always trumps conduction; I don’t see a deep ocean energy storage mechanism, other thqan what ocean circulations might be set up by the local georgraphy.

    Anyhow, I’m skeptical that there is much of a downward flow of energy into the ocean; I think it is largely returned to the surface over time,a nd ultimately lost to the atmosphere or space, by surface radiation (nearly black body) and conduction or evaporation.

    As to the component of the long and short wave radiations captured by the atmosphere, it is clear from absorption spectroscopy that water vapor is a significant absorber of solar spectrum radiation and CO2 is not, and as for the long wave, water vapor once again absorbs over a much larger spectral range than CO2, so a doubling of CO2 is really just a drop in the bucket of increased green house absorption, since the atmosphere doesn’t really care which molecular spoecies captured the IR photon and conveyed the energy to ordinary atmospheric gases in collisions.

    So to me the concept of “climate sensitivity” is simply a red herring. Any immediate surface warming due to a CO2 increase, sets in motion the evaporation/cloud formation/precipitation feedback which is always strongly negative.

    As I have said many times; nobody ever observed it to warm up when a cloud passes in front of the sun; it always cools in the shadow zone; and the fact that last night it remained a little warmer overnight because of some high cloud cover, is irrelevent. It still cooled down after sunset; and in any case, that was last night’s weather; not climate.

    I would hope that Prof Lindzen would take advantage of sites like WUWT to educate more of us in this arcane subject matter.

    George

  94. Another Mike D (22:39:57) : I think that the main temperature difference between Venus and us isn’t the difference in energy coming from the sun, it’s the surface pressure. I live in Chinook country on the Eastern slope of the rockies I can vouch for a 30 degree centigrade temperature change over about 6 hours when the chinook kicks in (quick version: air cooled over the mountains follows down the mountain slopes, pushes up against valley air and forces compression.

    I think it is heating because of the compression — IOW: the change in pressure. Look up adiabatic process.

  95. John Philip,

    How odd that Dr. Lindzen failed to cite every critique of his references.

    Unlike Hansen and Schmidt who always present a balanced view and diligently refer to every criticism of their work and citations.

  96. Re: alexjc38 (06:08:29) :

    “How does the Eocene warming episode of 55 million years ago (PETM) fit into this? I often see it mentioned as an example of positive feedback at work.”

    Not sure what other have written here on the Eocene, but there was more than just atmosphere/ocean effects at work during the Eocene.

    What we know about the Eocene is this

    1) Just before the Eocene, the Indian plate drifted North and ran smack into Asia forming the early Himalyas.

    2) The Eocene then started with one of the most extreme rises in temperature known in the geologic record and is correlated with a sharp extinction event which removed a lot of the prior Paleocene fuana. What caused the warming? Unclear – the forming of the Himalyas would have most certainly generated a massive change in the global circulation pattern. CO2 outgassing from this event could have reinforced warming, but a dramatic change in the surface topography of the Earth has to be player!

    3) The temperature gradient between polar regions and equatorial regions during the Eocene was half what it is today with the polar regions much warmer – temperate forests extended right to the poles during the Eocene. Eocene Palm Trees have been found in Alaska and Swamp Cypress on Elsemere island in the Artic for example. The recent finding of a fossil snake the size of a school bus in Columbia also extends from this period.

    4) Other factors at play are that a) at the beginning of the Eocene, Australia and Antartica were still a connected super continent (warm equatorial currents able to mix with colder Antartic waters easier than they can today), and b) Europe, Greenland and North America were still part of one supercontinent at the start of the period.

    5) By late in the Eocene, both these supercontinents had split and the Mediterranean had formed.

    6) There was then another extinction event late in the Eocene – which is correlated with 2 major impact events – one over Siberia and the other in the Chesapeake Bay . This extinction is known as the Grande Coupure or “Great Break” which is also associated with a major turnover in fauna and the arrival of the first Europeans from Asia.

    The bottom line is – I don’t think you can attribute changes in Climate during the Eocene (particularly early in the period) to the same feedbacks in the atmosphere/ocean that we are talking about here. There were dramatic geologic changes during this period.

  97. John Philip (07:37:24) :

    I can’t tell from the graph whether Lindzen used the old figures or the revised ones. He does reference 4 other papers on the same data so I’m inclined to think he’s got current figures.

    But how can you tell?

  98. “”” Ian Schumacher (06:52:07) :

    anna v (23:08:24) :

    “Would you say that the negative feedback shown by the data here is the beginning of an ice age? :). ”

    My personal opinion is that most of the observed warming is an illusion (not real and simply due to measurement error). The temperature changes we are dealing with here are smaller than the measurement error. “””

    Ian, where did you get the idea that negative feedback ends ice ages. I don’t think ice ages are something that happens from a slight imbalance in the climate. Major changes of orbit parameters and the like or solar changes create and eventually end ice ages; not some minor weather shift.

    As to the “switching” from positive to negative feedback; it is quite elementary.
    Water vapor which is far and away the only greenhouse gas of any significance at all, creates positive feedback warming by absorbing lots of earth emitted long wave IR. It also has some negative feedback component since it also absorbs incoming solar radiation, which reduces the ground level insolation (and warms the upper atmosphere; which then radiates to space). But water vapor in the atmosphere eventually leads to both liquid and solid water in the form of clouds; no other GHG does that; and clouds reflect incoming solar radiation back into space (albedo effect),a nd then they block further solar radiation from reaching the ground; thereby cooling the surface. The shadow zone formed by a cloud is ALWAYS cooler than outside the shadow zone.

    So water exhibits both positive and negative feedback depending on the phases present. At any time, total global cloud cover is around 50% If it warms up (for any reason) you get more evaporation from the ocean, which must be balanced eventually by more precipitation,a nd that means more clouds blocking more sunlight so it gets cooler.
    If it gets too cool, you get more precipitation, leading to less cloud cover, so more sunlight reaches the ground, and it warms bacl up.

    How difficult is that to understand. So long as the earth has its oceans we could neither raise nor lower the temperature by any significant amount; even if we wanted to.

    George

  99. Ivan (05:49:40) :
    But, what we are really interested in is overall net feedback (SW plus LW), not just LW. I believed it is also negative and Lindzen says so, but looking at the graphs he presented show that SW feedback is stronlgy positive as well as overall feedback which is also on positive side (3rd panel). Is there anything I don’t understand correctly?

    During the ‘inadvertent experiment’ described by Lindzen he shows a sharp increase in LW associated with a sharp rise in temperature but no corresponding increase in SW (so no increase in tropical clouds).
    Where the models apparently go wrong is that they produce more clouds in the tropics in response to warming whereas the data suggests that they should not.
    Apart from the obvious point that if the climate was dominated by strong negative feedback how did the sharp rise in temperature occur, the analysis is flawed in another way.

    From the ERBE website:
    “In general, the absorbed solar radiation exceeds the outgoing longwave radiation in the tropical and subtropical regions, resulting in a net radiative heating of the planet, while in the middle to polar latitudes there is a net cooling. This equator-to-pole difference, or gradient, in radiative heating is the primary mechanism that drives the atmospheric and oceanic circulations. On an annual and long-term basis in which no energy storage and no change in the global mean temperature occurs, this radiative imbalance between the tropics and polar regions must be balanced by meridional heat transport by the atmosphere and oceans.”

    So Lindzen is demolishing a strawman, a system where LW losses from the tropics are balanced by SW input to the tropics. However, the input in the tropics is balanced by LW from the whole planet due to the aforementioned meridional flows. So in order to do this type of analysis he needs the data from the whole planet. So nice try but no cigar!

  100. Robert Bateman (03:36:25) :

    If I am getting all of this correct: The satellites measured the shortwave coming from the Sun, and the longwave being lost by the Earth, and found equilibrium.

    No, the satellites are measuring both SW and LW from the earth. The sun’s radiation is relatively constant. The relation between temperature, outgoing LW and outgoing SW radiation is basis of this thread.

  101. Re: Eocene Warming

    “CO2 outgassing from this event could have reinforced warming…”

    To clarify- the standard theory is that there was first a massive outgassing of circa 1400-2800 Giga tons of methane from oceanic clathrates during this period (likely due to the collision and subuction of the Indian Plate under Asia) which then led to massive carbonate dissolution in marine sediments which then released CO2.

    Again, very different to what have seen over the past several 100 years…

  102. Graeme Rodaughan (22:45:14) :

    “It’s the Evidence guys….”

    Thank you for giving Dr. Lindzen’s work such a clear, honest perspective. There are indeed much bigger issues to address than the now thoroughly falsified AGW theory.

  103. peter_ga (03:07:21) :

    This seems very much in line with what Dr Roy Spencer is saying.

    Exactly the same thought came to my mind and I was going to say so but checked the comments to see if anyone else had noticed it.

    This is EXACTLY what Dr. Spencer has been saying … the observations do not match the models. He made the case here back in December and I believe he is close to submission of a new paper on the subject.

  104. Ian Schumacher (06:52:07) :

    Another consideration is that if we switched from positive to negative feedback coming out of an ice age we should see this as ‘overshoot’ and oscillations.

    I do not know about overshoot, but certainly at the flat top there are oscillations:

    particularly in the holocene.

    I hope by oscillations you use the generic term and not a “harmonic oscillator” expectation.

    So of course there are negative feedbacks. The most important one iw albedo changes. Try the toy model :http://junkscience.com/Greenhouse/Earth_temp.html
    by changing the albedo.

  105. Ian: The latest on NPR was an interview with this lady who stated that there really isn’t anything they can do about runaway AGW, but that they will do as much as they can. As much as they can to throw whatever they can under the Bus to slow it down. This is the cry I am hearing now. It’s too late, but they will go down fighting.
    The unstable node distrubed, massive boulder plunges down slope to sleepy village below.

  106. anna v (08:41:15) :

    So of course there are negative feedbacks. The most important one iw albedo changes.

    In the context of ice ages, albedo is mainly a function of the extent of ice cover, and it is a POSITIVE feedback, not negative.

    Warming results in less ice cover; less ice cover means lower albedo; lower albedo means more sunlight is absorbed, which translates into more warming.

  107. Good article, but it’s too bad that Lindzen falls for the “blanket” baloney. If that idea is true, it would have to be hotter in Miami on a clear summer day than in Phoenix. The reverse is true.

  108. anna v (08:41:15) :

    “So of course there are negative feedbacks. The most important one iw albedo changes.”

    I think albedo changes are positive feedback (I’m thinking of melting ice that is). Melting ice is a positive feedback change, the effect of which gets smaller as the ice shrinks to only be at the poles. This ‘should’ show up as temperature changes slowing down as the earth comes out of a ice age … but I don’t see it.

    Going from these types of positive feedbacks to negative feedbacks ‘should’ result in a curved top. Delayed negative feedback ‘should’ result in overshoot and oscillations (on the flat part).

    Is it possible that positive feedback switches to negative feedback so suddenly to accomplish the discontinous temperature change? Sure, its ‘possible’, but it is certainly not the simplest theory. Why not consider the much simpler theory of reaching the a physical limit. That seems to match well with the data and doesn’t require any ‘hand waving’ at complexities.

  109. From vg quoting the Examiner quoting Hansen:

    “…the mistaken impression that concern about global warming is based on climate models, which in reality play little role in our understanding…”

    Actually, I think it’s possible Dr. Hansen actually believes this.

  110. To Ed Fix:

    according to your first sentence, there is NO radiative heat transfer mechanism. And there is NO infrared or near infrared imaging technique or terminology.

    I don’t know who need to go back to graduate school to study radiative transfer course, Ed Fix or everyone else.

    LOL

  111. Richard Heg (23:48:31) :

    “One thing that puzzles me in the environmental movement with regard to feedback is Gaia theory as proposed by James Lovelock which as defined in wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_theory says:
    “The Gaia hypothesis is an ecological hypothesis proposing that the biosphere and the physical components of the Earth (atmosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) are closely integrated to form a complex interacting system that maintains the climatic and biogeochemical conditions on Earth in a preferred homeostasis.”

    This sounds quite elegant to me, that the biological and geological activity produce a feedback system which unlike our neighbors Mars and Venus has kept the earth in a state which allows life to exist. It goes on to say:

    “Some relatively simple homeostatic mechanisms are generally accepted. For example, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, the biomass of photosynthetic organisms increases and thus removes more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but the extent to which these mechanisms stabilize and modify the Earth’s overall climate are not yet known.”

    So my reading of Gaia theory says nothing to worry about the earth is full of feedbacks which keep thing relativelyly stable. Problem solved, now lets have a nice cup of tea.

    However James Lovelock seems to have a different vision, he seems to see humans as a cancer. Here is a quote from a recent interview:
    “Because of this (AGW), the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126921.500-one-last-chance-to-save-mankind.html

    I dont understand how i can look at a theory and come to the exact opposite conclusions of the person who proposed it”.

    Richard,

    It’s because you look at things from a scientific point of view.

    The other party looks at it from a political ( eco fascist ) view.

    http://green-agenda.com and Chapter 21 http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21/index.htm

  112. An accelerator pedal has negative feedback, because pressing it causes the car and pedal to move away from your foot and decreases the pressure on the pedal. A brake pedal has positive feedback, because pressing it causes the car and pedal to slow more quickly than your foot so the foot tends to push on it harder.

  113. Ron de Haan: Some people think that feedbacks keep the Earth in some ideal state of balance, and humans have upset the balance. Others think that feedbacks tend to encourage the Earth toward being habitable but the system is both chaotic and open to outside influences so there is no guaranteed balance nor comfortable range.

    Unresolved issues: The Little Ice Age affected many regions recently. Were those temperatures at the proper balance point? Which of the recent temperatures is the proper temperature for the Earth? Is the proper temperature reached during a glacial event?

  114. There is an excellent article in Wired (March 3, 2009), “Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street.”

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant?currentPage=1

    This article analyzes how David X Li’s work caused the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Its opening paragraphs set the stage:

    “A year ago, it was hardly unthinkable that a math wizard like David X. Li might someday earn a Nobel Prize. After all, financial economists—even Wall Street quants—have received the Nobel in economics before, and Li’s work on measuring risk has had more impact, more quickly, than previous Nobel Prize-winning contributions to the field. Today, though, as dazed bankers, politicians, regulators, and investors survey the wreckage of the biggest financial meltdown since the Great Depression, Li is probably thankful he still has a job in finance at all. Not that his achievement should be dismissed. He took a notoriously tough nut—determining correlation, or how seemingly disparate events are related—and cracked it wide open with a simple and elegant mathematical formula, one that would become ubiquitous in finance worldwide.”

    “For five years, Li’s formula, known as a Gaussian copula function, looked like an unambiguously positive breakthrough, a piece of financial technology that allowed hugely complex risks to be modeled with more ease and accuracy than ever before. With his brilliant spark of mathematical legerdemain, Li made it possible for traders to sell vast quantities of new securities, expanding financial markets to unimaginable levels.”

    “His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched—and was making people so much money—that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.”

    “Then the model fell apart. Cracks started appearing early on, when financial markets began behaving in ways that users of Li’s formula hadn’t expected. The cracks became full-fledged canyons in 2008—when ruptures in the financial system’s foundation swallowed up trillions of dollars and put the survival of the global banking system in serious peril.”

    There are significant similarities between Li’s work and the GCMs that the AGWers, media and policy makers ignore at their peril. If they get their, trillions of dollars will be squandered and our economy destroyed.

    The closing paragraphs from this article put all modelers, especially climate modelers, and their work in perspective:

    “Li has been notably absent from the current debate over the causes of the crash. In fact, he is no longer even in the US. Last year, he moved to Beijing to head up the risk-management department of China International Capital Corporation. In a recent conversation, he seemed reluctant to discuss his paper and said he couldn’t talk without permission from the PR department. In response to a subsequent request, CICC’s press office sent an email saying that Li was no longer doing the kind of work he did in his previous job and, therefore, would not be speaking to the media.”

    “In the world of finance, too many quants see only the numbers before them and forget about the concrete reality the figures are supposed to represent. They think they can model just a few years’ worth of data and come up with probabilities for things that may happen only once every 10,000 years. Then people invest on the basis of those probabilities, without stopping to wonder whether the numbers make any sense at all.”

  115. Chris V. (09:22:48) :

    Ian Schumacher (09:38:23) :

    Seems to me both of you should play with the toy modelthat shows how sensitive the earth temperature is to albedo, both positive and negative.

    Has none of you looked up and seen clouds? Or do you think all that ice during ice ages came by magic?

    In my opinion it is the large sun cycles that explain the ice ages, the feedback mechanisms are all those oscillations, both on the inclines and on the flat tops.

  116. I am not optimistic any fact is capable of pushing aside an endorsed government/ NGO paradigm. A greater understanding is required of the first model used to declare a crisis during the “Acid Rain Debate”-called the Magic Model (perhaps because it could magically produce whatever result one wanted). The scientific facts regarding soil acidifcation clearly showed acid rain was not a dominant factor in soil or water acidification however Congress passed the related legislation without having read the report. (EPA refused to release it till after the legislation was passed). The lead researcher, Ed Krug, was smeared by both EPA and the NGOs- and his career destroyed. We have now moved some twenty years forward in time and the predicted recoveries of soil and water pH have not been achieved. EPA/NGOs have given two reasons for this- the first that the impacts of acid rain were so devastating that it will now take a hundred years to see improvements (Acid rain taught to always move the model beyond ones lifetime) The other unbelievably is that global warming is causing increased water acidity. (If you believe that increased global warming causes increased precipitation and increased precipitation in areas of granite geology causes the growth of bog plants which produce organic acids and sequester calcium causing a depression in pH-then yes global warming has replaced acid rain. It is a good example how we manufacture truth in today’s academic papers. It has all been done before- perhaps we need to focus on acid rain as a tool to understand global warming and why nothing prevented the suppression of science.

    Recent work in crisis psychology says the first information received controls all beliefs framing a perceived crisis. Future conflicting information is disregarded. Alarmism is a first strike strategy for which we have not found a counter strike solution.

    History is an important tool- the National Academies of Science was formed as a tool to isolate and marginalize the advocates of Charles Darwin. Only anti- Darwin scientists would be invited to join- a great overview in the book Reef Madness. (Dr. Lindzen’s comments on the NAS process would not have surprised Darwin’s advocates)

  117. Very informative …

    It would be easy to see, that if the positive feedbacks were present in the atmosphere, then at some time in the past millions of years, the earth’s climate would already be pegged at one extreme or the other.

  118. “Recent work in crisis psychology says the first information received controls all beliefs framing a perceived crisis.”

    I would say first and last … everything in between being just noise. For example, if something is widely disseminated that turns out to be false but the correction is only narrowly disseminated, the “conventional” wisdom will hold with the original information for a very long time. Newspapers and TV rely on this when they lead with a huge story that turns out to be incorrect and bury the correction on page D-34 or in a blurb on a 3am newscast. Everyone saw/heard the incorrect information, very few saw/heard the correction.

    Now if the correct information is given as wide a dissemination at the same times and frequency of repetition as the original was, then it would be as widely held as “true”.

    Example, place a front page headline and “breaking news” story on every network that a passenger plane was shot down by a missile. Repeat the story for a couple of days. Then once the story is off the front burner, put out the fact that it was mechanical problems and bury that information in a single sentence in a news broadcast and on a back page of the newspaper and poll people 6 months down the road … they will still believe, by and large, that the plane was shot down. But the media will swear up and down that they reported the “facts”.

    Same with “global warming” stories. An arm waiving activist gets the headline and contrary information is buried. But the outlet claims “fairness” and that they “reported” both sides.

  119. “”” Chris V. (09:22:48) :

    anna v (08:41:15) :

    So of course there are negative feedbacks. The most important one iw albedo changes.

    In the context of ice ages, albedo is mainly a function of the extent of ice cover, and it is a POSITIVE feedback, not negative.

    Warming results in less ice cover; less ice cover means lower albedo; lower albedo means more sunlight is absorbed, which translates into more warming. “””

    Anyone who believes that ice cover is a major part of albedo hasn’t been looking at pictures of the earth recently. Pictures like the famous earth rise from the moon show clearly that the albedo is dominated by clouds; about 505 of the earth’s surface at any one time is covered by clouds. Clouds arise mostly where the atmosphere has plenty of moisure and most of the time that is in the hot tropical areas, rather than the cold polar areas. So tropical clouds are reflecting solar energy away from earth mostly at the places where there is more arriving solar energy; namely in the warmer tropical areas (per square metre).
    The earth’s ice cover on the other hand, particularly the “permanent ice” is mostly at the poles; Antarctica and the Arctic. Those areas are only obliquely illuminated by the sun and for only short periods of time, so there is much less solar irradiance where those polar ice sheets are.

    Hint to Chris and Ian. See if you can come up with a logical reason why those ice sheets are there at the poles. Why aren’t there large floating ice sheets on the equator ?

    In terms of earth’s albedo, ice and snow are bit players.

    Ice and snow aren’t as refelctive as some people think either. Freshly fallen snow can be quite reflective at solar spectrum wavelengths, as much as 90% relative to a BaSO4 reference, but that can drop in half after a few days exposure. When snow melts under sunlight, you get optically transmissive windows formed on the surface,w hich can then transmit light a long way into a snow pile, and it gets trapped in there by Total Internal Reflection and other mechanisms; so after a few days it might not be any more reflective than trees or grass. But besides all that there’s just not a lot of snow and ice in the same places that have a lot of solar radiation; I know that sounds weird to some people but it is true. Clouds on the other hand behave exactly opposite from snow; they tend to form in places with a lot of incident sunlight (with water present).

    Besides, when the artic sea ice melts, that opens up a vast amount ox extra water surface which then takes up CO2 from the atmosphere; which is why you get that 18-20 ppm P-P cycle in the arctic, so that reduces the CO2 GH effect, and allows thermal radiation to escape more easily. the exposure of the warmer ocean waters to the atmosphere, when that ice melts also leads to enhanced radiation from that surface compared to the ice it replaces.

    So don’t bet on the melting arctic ocen to have a great global warming effect.

    No I’m not suggesting it cools instead; just that it isn’t the big warmer some people think.

    George

  120. There actually seems to be hard wiring in the brain for believing the first alarmist information. It frames all future information. Availability is certainly involved in the cognitive bias produced by media – but does not seem to explain everything. First strike is important.

    The larger question for me is how to make facts mean something- Acid Rain used the same tactics of reasoned scientifc debate as is being followed on this site and failed. In fact all one needed to do to open debate concerning the acid rain paradigm was to pour some distilled water through peat moss and measure the pH. Acid rain alarmism could have been tested in a high school chemistry class and yet was unable to convince the EPA, NGOs, media or the Public. Global warming is far more complex an issue. The facts presented about AGW on this site are correct, however, acid rain teaches the strategy is failed. We need a new strategy to present the facts.

  121. “”” Ed Fix (07:51:37) :

    INFRARED IS NOT HEAT RADIATION!!!! “””

    Ed, I’m in agreement with you; but it could be nothing more that Prof Lindzen being a bit less than pedantic with his terminology; which is always a problem when dealing with possibly lay audiences. that’s partly why I flagged the “long wave” / “short wave” terms. I doubt that Dr Lindzen doesn’t know the difference.

    The way I like to put your objection is by saying “HEAT IS NOT A NOUN !”

    And I was certainly not the first to make that observation. One way to put it would be to say that “heating” is the process by which other forms of energy, are converted into the purely mechanical Kinetic energy of atomic or molecular agitations. In that sense “heat” (not a noun) cannot propagate through a vaccuum, although radiation certainly can.

    Inevitably when scientists try to communicate with lay persons; the accurate scientific terms may become very stodgy and perhaps not helpful, so you either have to laboriously explain those terms, or else try to put it in a more “user friendly” way (and words) and thereby lies confusion.

    I can’t hold that against Lindzen; I’m Happy he made the effort to be communicative.

    George

  122. J.Hansford (02:06:52) :

    “Is our democracy strong enough to override the massive political impetus that AGW has built up….? After all, there is a whole green Socialist agenda relying on those carbon taxes and emission trading schemes…. and the careers of those that have attached themselves to a lie. Whole industries are gearing up to go green.”

    It’s already happening. The foundations for cap and trade were in legislation last year. Bits and pieces of the green agenda were in the stimulus bill. A bill was submitted to the house yesterday to create a ‘Green Bank’–kinda lika Fanny and Freddy but for the green agenda ostensibly to help finance the grid to make it smart and to hook up all those G.E. wind turbines and solar panels.

    The GM bailout is using the techniques of bankruptcy to let the government decide which plants to keep open and which to close. I doubt we’ll be surprised by the demise of the Hummer and probably SUVs as well. The incentives to purchase autos give you more of a break the greener the car you purchase.

    The 2 million acres set aside as protected land also protects the waterways running through them and much of this new land is in states such as West Virginia—goodbye coal mining–and a couple out West–goodbye oil shales.

    Obama has already cut funding for Yucca mountain research–goodbye nuclear power. He’s already reinstated the offshore drilling ban.

    There’s more. The above is just off the top of my head. Obama is smart–he wouldn’t do this in the open and all at once because he knows there would be a huge backlash. The greenies, however, know exactly what he’s been up to.

    This is the face of ‘energy independence’. Not independence from foreign oil, but independence from carbon.

    And what is making it all worse is the war on capitalism because of this financial crisis. The forces of the green movement, the anti-capitalists, and the warmers have all converged. And America is left dependent on a dozen blue dog Democrats in the Senate who have no clue as to what just hit them.

  123. re feedbacks

    As I understand it before each glaciation started the Arctic may have been ice free (and sea levels were higher than today). The warmists always warn us that an ice free Arctic will mean less albedo and further warming due to this positive feedback. I think the opposite occurs–negative feedback. Less ice means more ocean cooling. In fact I think this may have been a causitive factor (or I could be all wet) in the cold cold winter we had after the ‘unprecedented melt off’ of Arctic ice a couple of years ago.

    Oh, and if we’re worried about the next glaciation (well, we should be, we just don’t know when) and cannot depend on CO2 to warm us out of falling into it there is another possible solution (besides the ones mentioned by anna up above)…..

    we can blow up Panama :)

  124. Is it just me? Am I that smart and everyone else that stupid. Isn’t it obvious that for life to exist on earth there must be a strong negative feedback effect in place. Without strong negative feedback does anyone sane really think that the climate on earth would remain stable enough long enough for life to evolve and prosper?

    No worries – many people must have concluded much the same, at least I did.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the atmosphere must somehow be inherently stable. High school calculus comes to mind “minima” and “maxima” – indeed if we happened to be sitting on a highly sensitive and unstable atmospheric maxima then surely things would have gone completely awry 100 years, 1000 years, 10,000 years, 100,000 years, 1,000,000 years, 10,000,000 years, 100,000,000 years, or 1,000,000,000 years ago ! Clearly there are stabilizing phenomenon (negative feedbacks) that we don’t yet fully understand.

    I am surprised that any logically minded scientist could accept a model that had positive feedbacks and was therefore inherently unstable. Things that are inherently unstable tend to come crashing down sooner or later – like a coin placed on its edge.

    If the logic goes more CO2 => hotter temperature => less clouds => even hotter temperature => even less clouds => even hotter temperature etc. etc. then it clearly makes no sense viz a viz what we observe …even a child can see that.

  125. Onset of Ice Ages:-

    Ice Ages are cyclical in the Earth’s recent (last 30m years) past.

    Original cause:-

    Continental Drift of Antartica over the south pole 40m years ago. Ice pack at first formed over mountainous regions. This caused a negative temperature feedback due to the increased albedo, eventually the entire continent was covered with ice. This permanently reduced the surface temperature of the earth.

    Cyclical Ice Ages – Why?

    Once the surface temperature is lowered, the variability of the Earth’s orbit around the sun which causes a variation in the balance of solar radiation NH/SH summer/winter leads to summers cold enough to allow snow to remain unmelted and to accumulate.

    Prior to the Antarctic moving over the South Pole, this would not happen as the earth’s surface would have been too warm.

    The 3 parameters and periodicity is as follows:-

    Orbital eccentricity varies between 0 (a perfect circle, sum always 93m miles away) and 0.1 ( min 88m miles max 98m miles) , period 100,000 years.

    Axial tilt varies between 22.5 and 24.5 degrees , period 41,000 years.

    Precession of the equinox , period 26,000 years. This parameter determines which month the summer solstice occurs, and impacts on the first 2 variables.

    To start an Ice Age, the above parameters cause a lowering of solar radiation in the NH in summer. Snow does not melt from the previous winter and a negetive temperature feedback driven by increased albedo sets in. The Ice marches south. Typically all of Canada, the Northern part of USA all of Scandinavia and most of Northern Europe have permanent Ice sheets. Obviously, Greenland and Antartica remain Ice covered.

    To end an Ice, the opposite to the above. i.e. increased solar radiation at the in NH summer.

    As Ice ages typically last 10 times longer then the inter-glacials, it seems clear that Ice Ages are easier to start then to end.

    If the conditons are right, a run of cold winters caused by something like a Maunder minimum solar event could be enough to tip the climate into an Ice Age. This might be less than 100 years from interglacial to Ice Age, though of course this is hard to prove.

    Current orbital parameters would sustain an Ice Age, all that is needed is a Maunder minimum to push the climate over.

    Something else to ponder, at the moment the Sun has entered a long period of quiet. This is not a Maunder minimum, yet.

  126. Dr. Lindzen is one of the scientists I respect most, however he is being bashed in the media and by certain groups. When you can not debate someones ideas, you attack the person, and that is beginning now to pickup.

  127. pmoffitt (11:24:00) :

    . Global warming is far more complex an issue. The facts presented about AGW on this site are correct, however, acid rain teaches the strategy is failed. We need a new strategy to present the facts.

    We need a deus ex machina, because the whole AGW thing is into myth and magical thinking.

    Fortunately the gods seem to be with us, what with cycle 24 dragging its feet and the PDO etc turning cool, one or two such harsh winters in the EU and US and wet cool summers will do much more than any scientific expostulations could.

    One could say that Gaia loves CO2 and does not want to be deprived of it :).

  128. I’m having a problem with this:

    “The wavelength of the heat radiation corresponds to the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere at the level from which the radiation is emitted (ca 255oK).”

    Is he saying that the Earth emits radiation at 255K? Because that’s just not true. I’m sure I’m just misunderstanding something, and would appreciate someone ‘splaining it to me.

    Thanks!

  129. anna v (10:26:51) :

    Has none of you looked up and seen clouds? Or do you think all that ice during ice ages came by magic?

    No- from milankovich cycle induced changes in ice albedo, plus various positive feedbacks.

    If clouds are a negative feedback (as Lindzen implies in the opening post) then the cloud feedback would “resist” the ice ages- not help them along.

  130. George E. Smith (11:07:59) :
    “In terms of earth’s albedo, ice and snow are bit players.”

    I’m pretty sure that going into and coming out of a ice age, ice and snow are the most important players.

    Water vapor creates clouds that act as negative feedback, but also the water vapour itself acts as a greenhouse ‘gas’ so that is positive feedback. The switching from one to the other should show up in temperature data going into and coming out of ice ages as a gradual change in the rate of temperature change. I don’t see that in the temperature data.

    tarpon (10:40:59) :

    “It would be easy to see, that if the positive feedbacks were present in the atmosphere, then at some time in the past millions of years, the earth’s climate would already be pegged at one extreme or the other.”

    Exactly. How do we know that it isn’t pegged to an extreme right now? I think it is. Not sure why that is so implausible to some.

  131. I would suggest that some effort should be given to attacking this issue sideways. Perhaps we can gain clarity with questions-

    When was the debate over? (this would actually provide some useful information as to the amount of scientific evidence necessary to close debate- surely we have a right to a date. I’m really surprised noone has asked this question)

    Look for what is not there. We are told that we have passed a tipping point and due to the CO2 already in the pipeline we can expect some level of climate disruptions. One would expect therefore to find massive infrastructure projects in the trillion dollar budget passed by Congress to combat rising sea levels, droughts, floods etc. Where are they?-Show the sea wall projects etc. Sometimes questions are as powerful as facts.

  132. One could say that Gaia loves CO2 and does not want to be deprived of it :).

    Hence the “Gore Effect”!

  133. To Wayne (09:48:00) :

    You said: “according to your first sentence, there is NO radiative heat transfer mechanism.”

    Actually, my first sentence: “Infrared is not heat radiation” does not equal “there is no radiative heat transfer mechanism”.

    To rephrase, electromagnetic energy and heat energy are profoundly different forms of energy. Electromagnetic energy radiates; heat does not. That does not mean there is no radiative heat transfer mechanism–of course there is.

    A warm body loses heat by radiating electromagnetic energy in infrared or some other wavelength spectrum. That EM energy MAY be absorbed by another body and cause an increase in heat in that body.

    For many purposes, it is convenient to treat IR and heat as equivalent, but ignoring the fundamental physical difference between the two forms of energy can lead to muddy thinking and silly hypotheses like the Invisible Global Heat Sink.

    Wayne, I suspected no one would read my whole post and understand it, especially since it was hastily written and mostly off topic. You prove me right. I’m probably a little old to go back to grad school, especially to study freshman physics. And you’re not everyone else.

    LOL

  134. George E. Smith (11:25:30) :

    You’re right; I was being pedantic. I thoroughly enjoyed Prof. Lindzen’s essay. I certainly have a better understanding of his topic (of which my post was somewhat off-), and I understand why he used the equivalence language.

    It just makes me crazy to channel surf through the Discovery Channel, and see a nice, neat, and convincing animation showing “heat” radiating off the surface of the earth, and being trapped by an (exclusively anthropogenic) insulating blanket of carbon dioxide. I much prefer the Discovery Channel’s work with “Dirty Jobs”.

    And it really upsets me when scientifically literate folks use the equivalence language to convince themselves of things that can’t possibly be so in the real world.

    “Heat is not a noun”. I’ll have to remember that.

  135. For example, if one simply doubles the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature increase is about 1°C.

    This may be a boring question for you here, but what study or science is the foundation of this belief that doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere raises temperature about one degree? The IPCC report is vague about this. Thanks for any pointers you all can give me.

  136. Just this AM I had a conversation with one of the alarmists, nowhere near a scientist or engineer type. More of just a wide eyed arm waver. After he waved his arms around for a while, I injected a single question “How much CO2 is too much” — He answered enthusiastically “none”.

    At which I added, ‘do you know what that would mean?’ — Blank stare.

  137. kevin: the 255 K is calculated from the average Top of Atmosphere outward radiation (which equals radiation in), assuming blackbody emissions (T = (Radiation/alpha)^0.25. It is supposedly the temperature the earth’s surface would be without greenhouse gases. But it is a baloney number, because it represents only a planet, like the moon, that has no atmosphere or water. Of course, the Earth has both, so the calculation is complete nonsense. In fact, correct calculations that include the effects of the atmosphere and water would show that the Earth’s average temperature “should” be what it is, about 15 C. The “greenhouse gases” simply help transfer kinetic energy (temperature) to the N2 and O2 that makes up 98% of the atmosphere, through the process of thermalization. Convection makes sure that the greenhouse gases (CO2, HOH, etc.) cannot cause further warming. Indeed, if they did cause some “blanket” warming effect, then it would have to be hotter in your favorite tropical paradise on a clear day than it is in Phoenix in July. But it never is.

    Here’s an article that possibly explains the mechanisms: http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/Rethinking_the_greenhouse_effect.pdf

  138. pmoffitt wrote:
    “We need a new strategy to present the facts.”

    It would be very helpful, I think, if someone with a good handle on this issue could formulate bettable questions that would be easy for the predictions-betting website Intrade to settle, and challenged alarmists to put their money where their mouth is wrt the various indicators of global warming, such as arctic ice extent, sea level, heating degree days in the US, ocean temperatures, and one or two other matters. (There should be several questions because none of these indicators correlates perfectly with the global temperature, so people will need to spread their bets.)

    I described what might be done in detail (using the Dublin-based event-prediction betting site Intrade) about 25% of the way through this thread on this site:

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=2&q=http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/02/poll-and-polar-ice-trends/&ei=bX3SSfmbIZG4sgPsmKjGAw&sig2=dlVs9GDVE1GqULp68toGCg&usg=AFQjCNFAxQsx5StKiAAJ0pksVzbmZVDLrA

  139. 2. The feedbacks are responses to temperature – not to CO2 increases per se.

    After 2002 the temperatures have been going down supposedly due to decreased activity of the Sun even though CO2-levels have risen. Because the impacts of the feedbacks are functions of the temperature, they must be smaller now. So, there is no heat hiding in the oceans or elsewhere that would start a rapid runaway heatwave after the activity of the Sun has returned to previous levels.

  140. Mike Ramsey (06:02:21) wrote:

    Roger Knights (05:29:30) :

    “Excellent, first class. A calm look at reality is what is always needed.”

    But it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, nyah, nyah!

    “Note that these results were sufficiently surprising that they were confirmed by at least 4 other groups:”

    Including a bibliography doesn’t make a paper peer-reviewed. This paper was presented at ICCC and e-mailed to Anthony–that’s all, so far. (AFAIK)

    Mike Ramsey continued:
    Not sure what your point was.”

    I was parodying a typical Insister response to Lindzen. I could have included “/sarc]” at the end, but that sort of nudge in the ribs spoils the joke.

  141. Graeme Rodaughan (03:00:10) :

    Ha Ha…. Australia will Rule the next (Frozen) Millenium (Post 3000 AD). Just take my word for it……

    And who are you going to play cricket against? No more fast, dry pitches, that’s for sure!

  142. Either Richard Lindzen and pretty much everyone else who has looked at this data is totally wrong or the idea of a large positive feedback, in fact any positive feedback is dead.

  143. Chris V. “If clouds are a negative feedback (as Lindzen implies in the opening post) then the cloud feedback would “resist” the ice ages- not help them along.”

    This is shallow thinking. You forget that Milankovitch forcing is heterogeneous. The net change in radiation is tiny, making Ice Ages seemingly impossible even in the positive feedback paradigm. The reason that they are possible is because the Milankovitch forcing alters horizontal heat fluxes. When something strongly resists changes in tropical temperature (a negative feedback)-you will get mean temperature changes. At the poles, the ice albedo feedback helps to. Cheers.

  144. Chris V. (09:22:48) :

    In the context of ice ages, albedo is mainly a function of the extent of ice cover, and it is a POSITIVE feedback, not negative.

    Warming results in less ice cover; less ice cover means lower albedo; lower albedo means more sunlight is absorbed, which translates into more warming.

    Which in turn increases humidity in the atmosphere, which leads to more clouds and precipitation, which cools things down again.

    Our planet’s temperature is controlled by water in solid, liquid and gaseous form.

  145. To Jae,

    Thank you! I was thinking the same thing, but was uncomfortable expressing it on a scientific blog without the data to back it up. (have pity on me. I’m an engineer turned salesman). I’m looking forward to reading the pdf you’ve linked, which I’ll do now.

  146. Roger Knights on forming bettable questions-
    I would submit all the claims of future climate are the equivalent of bets- bets are just a risk analysis of sorts. Congress with the recent budget has shown it does not believe its own global warming rhetoric in that the projects necessary to harden our infrastructure against the ravages of global warming etc are absent. Congress did not take the bet and from their recent actions they assume money has little value- which makes not taking the bet more surprising-it is not their money after all.

    Gore made a bet that seas will not rise with his recent purchase in SF. (He also made a bet that the tectonic plate his property is sitting on in SF that is “moving” (undifferentiated slip) ten times faster than the sea is supposed to rise is also unimportant.)

    One of my great concerns with the CO2 link to climate is the position being sold to the public that if we control CO2 we are free of climate anomalies and “freak” weather events. Control CO2 and climate does not change. This is a very dangerous if not criminal message. There are very good reasons to be hardening our infrastructure having nothing to do with CO2 but it is being held hostage because taking what might be seen as remedial action lessens the perception of crisis needed to press the larger global warming message.

  147. Chris V:

    If clouds are a negative feedback (as Lindzen implies in the opening post) then the cloud feedback would “resist” the ice ages- not help them along

    Have you not considered that clouds may be a negative feedback acting against temperature increases, but not temperature decreases?
    Given that one of the major effects of clouds is to increase the earth’s albedo, this seems like a reasonable proposition.
    Also, it depends where the clouds are – equatorial clouds have a greater effect on the albedo than polar clouds, similarly clouds over the ocean and clouds during the daytime.

  148. The most dizzy aspect of this has been the ease at which alarmists have produced new observations which they attribute to AGW without
    evidence of causation or correlation.
    And while they claim, or suggest, these many outcomes are, or may be, a result of human global warming they continue to denigrate skeptics for not having peer reviewed science to support all of their opposing science and counter claims.

    Here in Oregon the left and media add daily to the supposed AGW caused harm. Everything they look at they see AGW effect and it gets printed.
    While never looking back to the mounting flaws in AGW.
    Like many other locales, of course.

    Is this an adequate summary?
    The IPCC climate models that have now lost most of their reliability.
    The Hockey Stick theory relied upon false assumptions that the Medieval Warm period and mini-ice age were regional events and not global climate. Among other flaws.
    The IPCC had falsely discounted the impact of urbanization on temperature readings.
    Experts have now recognized an effect potentially equal to the entire warming the IPCC had earlier attributed to CO2 emissions.

    Along with the Urban Heat Island effect, mis-location of sensor equipment and 70% of rural sensors stations taken off line, it is entirely possible that all or most of the warming attributed to CO2 emissions could be from poor temperature measuring.

    AGW whoppers include using weather observations as evidence of AGW. The very thing they disparage skeptics for doing.
    The blatantly false connection of AGW to Hurricane Katrina.
    Baseless suggestions that heat waves and wildfires are evidence of AGW.
    Sea ice fluctuation attributed to AGW without any a validated scientific connection.
    California Wildfires blamed on AGW while half were arson.
    Similar misrepresentation of Australian fires.
    Ocean dead zones have been connected to AGW with no more than a description of a possible connection.
    The OSU professor who supposed that connection is now the head of NOAA.

    Snow pack reduction is not happening as projected and has never been shown to be AGW related.
    Ocean levels are not rising as projected and nothing but assumptions ever connected sea rise to AGW.
    Lack of projected symmetry in NH and SH polar cap warming.
    Symmetry in NH & SH CO2 increases contradict IPCC theories.
    The entirely contrived observation of AGW threatening polar bear populations.
    Best estimates show a mere 1 degree F of natural and historically typical global temperature increase over the past 100 years, yet we are believe that all these observations, without any supporting science, are already resulting from the 1 degree and human CO2 emissions?

    The craziness of the AGW campaign now trots out predictions of famine, drought, wars, 100’s of millions of climate refugees, agriculture collapse, ocean death, deforestation, and massive heat death and disease. All of which has grown out of faulty IPCC climate models and hypothetical assumptions that never seems to waiver in the face of extensive refutation.

    I just don’t think this looks like a “scientific” debate.

  149. tarpon (12:31:11) :

    A very Karl Popper question. I start all discussions on the AGW subject with the following question: What information- if it existed -would prove your position on AGW false. If the answer is there is none- there is no reason to continue the conversation. Science must be falsifiable.

    In regards to the need for questions- NASA/IPCC should provide the “falsifiable ” information to prove the models wrong. Without an agreed false position no argument carries weight.

    Perhaps we should pass a law that states no funding shall be allowed for any scientific research relating to a new crisis unless the falsifiable positions are first posited. The global warming impasse is the result on no agreement as to information that can prove the theory false.

  150. “I dont understand how i can look at a theory and come to the exact opposite conclusions of the person who proposed it”

    Because for the person who proposed it (Lovelock) Gaia has become an animate object, rather than a feedback mechanism. He now sees Gaia as taking revenge on the inhabitants (us) for our nasty habits. Everything will be better when our numbers are reduced, which may be true, but it won’t be CO2 that does it.

    Dougal Dixon’s arresting book ‘After Man’ suggests that our extinction will be the result of over-exploitation of resources, but goes on to postulate an evolutionary explosion in our absence, in what looks like an unaffected climate!

  151. James P-anyone who speculates about the future has to leave the climate apocalypse out because if it really happened, there wouldn’t be much to speculate about. This probably is a major reason that a futurist like Dyson can’t support it-his vision of an ever advancing human race in which technology emerges to meet any challenge is diametrically opposed to the idea of an insurmountable obstacle like a “climate crisis”. Well, that, and its bunk.

  152. [snip - you have posted under several names and do not provide a valid email address, a valid email address is required to post here]

  153. James P (13:39:45) :

    Science requires testable assumptions- Lovelock’s Gaia is philosophical at best (no offense meant to those philosophers heavy on the math) The deep sea vent communities would seem to challenge the single Gaia theory- but again with out a falsifiable place to start we are forced to argue with ourselves. “Black swans” are required.

  154. Peter (13:03:30) :

    Have you not considered that clouds may be a negative feedback acting against temperature increases, but not temperature decreases?

    That is physically impossible.

  155. kevin: here’s another paper to read. But it will cause much howling, hissing, and gnashing of teeth, if presented to certain people (who think they are much smarter :) ).

    http://www.geocities.com/atmosco2/atmos.htm

    I am not sure it is correct either, but I have not seen it disproved (at least to my satisfaction).

    I am certainly no expert on this subject, either. But I cannot find anyone who IS for sure?? There are plenty of experts out there, including PhD physicists, who laugh at the “atmospheric greenhouse effect.” Their arguments keep me wondering if it really exists. I tend to think it is bullshit, but as I said, I’m no expert….

  156. Chris V., how about addressing my response to your claims instead of the easy pickings?

  157. You cannot simultaneously assert that the Earth’s climate system presently has strong positive feedback on temperature and that the Earth’s temperature is naturally stable absent anthropogenic CO2. The positive feedback on temperature would insure that any temperature changes from whatever source would be amplified until you hit the rail at which the source for the feedback is exhausted.

    If you design a circuit with positive feedback, for example, a small voltage increase or decrease will cause the voltage to rapidly hit the upper or lower rail, whichever direction the voltage is going. Hitting the rail means that the circuit no longer has the power supply to push the voltage higher or lower than it’s current state.

    Positive feedback in the Earth’s climate should work in the same manner. Look at ice extent as an example. As temperatures increase, ice melts and thereby exposes the underlying surface which absorbs more radiation. But the ice extent decreases which means that the available feedback supply has been reduced. At the point where you are just coming out of an ice age, the potential feedback effect from reducing ice extent is very large – but when you are well into the interglacial, that supply for warming feedback has pretty much exhausted itself, being limited to only polar regions and very isolated mountainous areas. At the same time, the potential positive cooling feedback has been increasing such that, when the Earth’s climate moves back past the equilibrium point towards an ice age, there’s lots of land area that can potentially be covered by ice – tending to increase the speed at whch the climate cools back to the ice age.

    Every other positive feedback effect will work in the same manner – it’s simply a fact of existence. Positive feedback in a given direction starts out strong, and consumes itself as rapidly as it’s able until you reach a point where you just cant’t move much further in that direction. At the same time, potential feedback in the opposite direction strengthens.

    If you look at the climate record, there is very good evidence of positive feedbacks in the sense that the Earth’s climate rapidly moves into and out of ice ages, but then stays in that state (either ice age or interglacial) for a period of time much longer than the transition time from one to ther other. But the Earth’s climate system itself will exhaust the positive feedbacks during the transition period, after which you have reached the rail – i.e. the stable portion of the ice age/intergalcial that exists until you have a net input in the other direction.

    Since we seem to be towards the end of the existing intergalcial, I think it’s absurd to suggest that the Earth’s climate system still has the potential to supply a large positive warming feedback. Quite the opposite – we should be at the point where there are large reserves of cooling feedback sources such that, when the earth does swing back to the negative energy balance phase, those cooling feedbacks will tend to rapidly (on a relative scale) cause glaciation.

  158. Jack Simmons (00:43:18) :

    Isn’t this amazing, as the temperature goes up, negative feedback goes up. As the temperature goes down, the feedback starts going positive.

    What is even more amazing we can describe it with one word,

    Entropy

  159. Mike Guerin (23:29:36) : “Is it just me?
    Nice to see so many agreeing with you.

    Roger Knights, excellent idea this betting… for skeptics, Piers Corbyn is the man I think.

    Prof Lindzen, such a cool cool touch to use models to end the models. I luuuuuurve it.

    However, I would love to hear your responses to John Philip (despite Steve Goddard’s well-aimed riposte, and my dislike of JP’s language style) and Phil. My experience is that AGW’s get me to really polish and perfect my material, so they have a good function 8-) They end up helping me prove the skeptics science twice as well :D

  160. Phil. (08:20:31) :

    “So Lindzen is demolishing a strawman”

    Demanding Lindzen’s argument demonstrate the radiative balance of the entire planet is a red herring, a distraction.

    Lindzen isn’t concerning himself with radiative balance as such. He is showing via the study there is a negative feedback affecting LW radiation IN the tropics where the temperatures are the highest. The radiation doesn’t care where the atmosphere or the oceans transport any warmth next. It can all travel to timbuktu or oshkosh.

    The models expect a reduction in the escaping radiation due to positive (greenhouse) feedback as the temperatures rise. The higher the temperature the less LW radiation should escape the earth EVEN IN THE TROPICS. But the opposite is the case and by quite a bit.

    He calculated the climate sensitivity from this information. If you want to attempt to demonstrate that climate sensitivity changes depending on where you plant your feet, go ahead. But supposedly CO2 is well-mixed and anyway the highest water vapor content occurs in the tropics.

    I’ll leave the radiative balance of the entire planet to Spencer.

  161. Mike Guerin (23:29:36) : Is it just me? Nice to see so many here share your feeling.

    Roger Knights, nice idea to bet on stuff.

    Prof Lindzen, really really cool to use models to end models.

    But I’d also like to hear your response to the two warmist posters here who challenged your science. My experience is that warmists really sharpen my wits and get my proof TWICE as strong in the end.

  162. Chris V. (13:52:19) :

    That is physically impossible.

    Actually, your understanding of feedback is incorrect. If a feedback subtracts from the input, i.e., if the feedback is negative, then it will subtract from the input whether it is trending up or down. In other words, feedback is dependent upon its own sign, not the input signal.

    Mark

  163. Matt Dernoga-Oh I’m so scared-the obfuscators in chief at RC have “rebutted” Lindzen’s arguments and, gasp, the got a bunch of smart guys to side with them! Well, they must be right! [snip]

    Reply: Let’s raise the bar people, no name calling ~ charles the moderator

  164. Moderator-That’s not a name, its not even a noun, its an adjective. If you’re gonna snip me, get the grammar of my crime right. It was, however, a cheap insult. For that I apologize.

    Reply: You are correct it was an adjective, but I don’t recommend calling me on my grammar when you use “its” for it is (twice!), and the first word I snipped was “your” for you are. ~ charles the erring yet contrite grammar nazi moderator.

  165. Matt Dernoga (14:50:37) :

    Lindzen is debunked http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/lindzen-in-newsweek/

    Hardly a “debunking” from 2 years ago… Using the Hockey Stick to “prove” any point is rather ridiculous. That Mann and Schmidt (and the rest of the Team) stick to their proven flawed methodology is rather humorous. I also find it interesting they use an agreement between models and reconstructions as evidence their claim is correct. They, of course, conclude with the tired ad hominem “Lindzen is funded by big oil” refutation. Give it a rest.

    and the rest of MIT seems to disagree…

    http://madrad2002.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/mit-do-you-want-to-gamble-here/

    Hardly “the rest of MIT.”

    Nice try.

    timetochooseagain (15:14:06) :

    No need to sling ad hominems from the skeptic side, his argument is sufficiently pathetic to prove the point you’re intent on making.

    Mark

  166. “Mark T (15:01:31) :

    Actually, your understanding of feedback is incorrect. If a feedback subtracts from the input, i.e., if the feedback is negative, then it will subtract from the input whether it is trending up or down.”

    Actually Chris V. agrees with your point. He stated that it was impossible for a situation where negative feedback applied in the warming direction but not in the cooling direction. I’m not sure that I would categorically rule out that possibility, however. Certainly it would be unusual, and offhand I can’t think of any natural mechanism that would dampen temperature increases but not dampen temperature decreases, or vice versa, but it’s plausible that you could engineer that effect.

  167. The italics should have ended after the Newsweek link, and begun again at and the rest of MIT seems to disagree.

    How about some of that auto-quote stuff like over at CA, Anthony? :)

    Mark

  168. Ouch. Your right! My grammar ~is~ bad! I blame the speed of electronic communication…

  169. Mark T-Heat O’ the moment as they say-RC generally sets off my “AGH!” meter, which triggers irrational rant mode, which is followed by polite discussion and understanding.

  170. kurt (15:27:30) :

    Actually Chris V. agrees with your point. He stated that it was impossible for a situation where negative feedback applied in the warming direction but not in the cooling direction.

    I disagree. I think that is what the original post said, and Chris V disagreed. Perhaps he, or I, misread the original post, but this:

    may be a negative feedback acting against temperature increases, but not temperature decreases?

    seems to be exactly what you just said, and Chris V disagreed with.

    Mark

  171. Syl (11:27:54) :

    “re feedbacks

    As I understand it before each glaciation started the Arctic may have been ice free (and sea levels were higher than today). The warmists always warn us that an ice free Arctic will mean less albedo and further warming due to this positive feedback. I think the opposite occurs–negative feedback. Less ice means more ocean cooling. In fact I think this may have been a causitive factor (or I could be all wet) in the cold cold winter we had after the ‘unprecedented melt off’ of Arctic ice a couple of years ago.”

    that is a very interesting view.
    all the warm water transported to the arctiv can lose it’s energy much quicker without ice cover.

  172. I’m with Ed Fix, George E. Smith and Kevin. I welcome the post by Prof. Lindzen and his courageous opposition to AGW alarmism. But I disagree with his physics of the planet atmosphere effect, the so-called ‘greenhouse effect’.

    The blanket analogy is an improvement but is still misleading. A blanket prevents convection; it does absorb and radiate energy. Prof. Lindzen’s post will soon join the list of failed explanations of ‘the greenhouse’ effect in this document, by Gerlich and Tscheuschner.

    http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.1161v4

    From a physics view it is the average properties that matter, especially density. All the molecules of the air are quite similar. H2O, O2, N2, CO2 and CH4.

    Is the Earth emitting radation at 255K? I see the average global temperature given as 13oC, that is 286K.

    Appeasing the AGW alarmists by accepting to debate on their terms, greenhouse, forcings, feedbacks and sensitivity is futile.

    If someone mentions a greenhouse or a blanket to me I insist they explain how CO2 does it before go further. I soon mention convection. Most AGW alarmists know little or no physics. So it is quickly clear that we are having a political and not a scientific discussion.

  173. Roger Knights (12:43:40) : 

    Mike Ramsey (06:02:21) wrote:

    Roger Knights (05:29:30) :

    “Excellent, first class. A calm look at reality is what is always needed.”

    But it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, nyah, nyah!

    “Note that these results were sufficiently surprising that they were confirmed by at least 4 other groups:”

    Including a bibliography doesn’t make a paper peer-reviewed. This paper was presented at ICCC and e-mailed to Anthony–that’s all, so far. (AFAIK)

    I was referring to the fact that four cited papers were published in peer reviewed journals.

    Mike Ramsey continued:
    Not sure what your point was.”

    I was parodying a typical Insister response to Lindzen. I could have included “/sarc]” at the end, but that sort of nudge in the ribs spoils the joke.

     I suspected but was not sure that you were being ironic which was why I added the above.  All good fun.

    –Mike Ramsey

  174. Manfred-How exactly would less ice make the oceans lose heat more easily? The ice albedo feedback is actually one of the more convincing, simple, elegant feedbacks-at least in a qualitative sense. Water is less reflective than ice, so it absorbs more light, heating it up, melting more ice, and so on. Are you and Syl suggesting that ice “traps” heat below the surface? How’s that supposed to work?

  175. timetochooseagain (15:50:16) :

    “How exactly would less ice make the oceans lose heat more easily?”

    the water temperature in the arctic ocean is higher than the atmosphere’s temperature for most time of the year. heat should should then flow from the water to the atmosphere. the idea is, that ice cover shields the warm water from the cold atmosphere and also from enhancing transport mechanism such as wind.

  176. Manfred-“water temperature in the arctic ocean is higher than the atmosphere’s temperature for most time of the year”

    Sorry, that’s setting off my counter-intuitive sense-can you provide a ref? In any case, that would make it a negative feedback in the water but a positive feedback in the atmosphere.

    • timetochooseagain

      Remember, liquid water can never be below the freezing point (of salt water). However, in the high arctic the air above typically is less than 29F. I’m not going to dig up references for the seasonal norms though.

  177. timbrom (12:43:51) :

    Graeme Rodaughan (03:00:10) :

    Ha Ha…. Australia will Rule the next (Frozen) Millenium (Post 3000 AD). Just take my word for it……
    ***
    And who are you going to play cricket against? No more fast, dry pitches, that’s for sure!

    Oh my – I really haven’t thought this plan of Australian World Domination during a Glacial period through – (Runs in circles… screams and shouts…)

    Consider the plan debunked… No cricket opponents (although there are the New Zealand team, and Sri Lanka and India are probably OK in a Glacial) – can’t have that.

  178. Chris Colose
    Can’t seem to get this comment on your site so I’ll stick it here:
    Have you had a chance to look at the references Lindzen said backed up the original data? Presumably they don’t now back up the corrected version, or have they all been corrected too? That ocean heat content data which is now apparently comparable – within the uncertainties – is the same data that was also corrected for apparent cooling errors isn’t it? I’ve not heard yet of a data correction made due to an instrument showing too much warming, ie does it make sense that the corrections always seem to go only one way – towards the prevailing theory. I’d need to read that calibration study you mention but I’ve a funny feeling the corrected algorithm was defined with respect to a model output because that’s how the radiosonde corrections were made. After all, if you knew what the answer should be then you wouldn’t need the instrument measurements in the first place would you? It’s all sort of “cart before the horse”. In that light, can these corrections truly be objective? I’ll be interested in Lindzens response to these charges mind you.

    For completeness, the original comment by Gavin on RC on this WUWT post was thus:
    “[Response: A good sign of someone who is acting as an advocate is that they instantly take any unexplained anomaly and declare that it fits their prefered theory without doing any actual analysis or without any consideration of the alternatives. First off, the graph he shows was substantially corrected by the authors to remove some spurious aliasing in response to a comment. Secondly, there may still be issues with the data (since there is a clear jump in 1993) - something in any other circumstance, WUWT would have been all over. Third, the models may well be wrong (though it’s unclear these were the experiments to compare with since they didn’t have any forcings), but there is no analysis to indicate that fixing whatever the issue is would give a lower sensitivity - note that the NET fluxes are still all around zero, so the positive feedback in SW is matching the supposed negative feedback in LW. My take on it is very much a wait and see - wait to see if the CERES data seems to support those earlier results, wait to see whether more appropriate model-data comparisons change the picture etc. It may be surprising to some, but ambiguities abound in science and jumping to conclusions is very rarely sensible. - gavin]”

    I wish some people could see that the criticism they dish out to others is just as appropriate to describe the behaviour of their own collaborators.

  179. Sea ice changes the boundary conditions for the heat and radiation transfer between water and atmosphere.

    The arctic ocean loses more energy than it receives from the sun. That appears to be clear, as the solar input is small and ocean currents transport warm water to the arctic.

    Therefore, it may be not sufficient to look only at albedo and only one way (the incoming way) of transport, especially if the other way is the bigger.

  180. “Chris V. (11:48:52) :

    If clouds are a negative feedback (as Lindzen implies in the opening post) then the cloud feedback would “resist” the ice ages- not help them along.”

    Not true.

    You’re taking the wrong datum.

    0K is the datum. temperature is all relative to that.

    DaveE.

  181. Thank God for Richard. Is he is the only man on the planet who can see the obvious. Keep up the great work Richard. Let the world know what a sham the man made model of global warming is. I say “Down with the New Green Dark Ages”. Let’s bring back common sense, if ever such a thing was common !

  182. What!?

    No mention of Atmospheric Window? (Not once)

    Wien’s Law? (No mention, not once.)

    Steffan-Boltzman? (Once, by 1 poster, different spelling, I searched)

    Planck? (Okay, ONCE by one poster)

    Citing of radiational (radiated) energy being proportional to T4 (Stefan-Boltzman law)? (Not once)

    Not just T-squared mind you, not even T-cubed, but T_to_the_FOURTH power!

    How do all these relate?

    Simple, using Wien’s Law and earth surface temperatures a ‘peak’ can be calculated that according to Wien will land in the area of 8 to 14 um , the Atmosphereic WIndow for LW IR, with WV (water vapor) acting as ‘block’ below 8 um and CO2 above 14 um, although a little less so than what WV does above … and Stefan-Boltzman’s Law gives us continuous spectral curve with a peak where Wien’s Law specifies…

    Is this a coincidence?

    Here on Earth?

    Hmmmmm ….

  183. Kevin (11:47:43) :

    I’m having a problem with this:

    “The wavelength of the heat radiation corresponds to the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere at the level from which the radiation is emitted (ca 255oK).”

    Is he saying that the Earth emits radiation at 255K? Because that’s just not true. I’m sure I’m just misunderstanding something, and would appreciate someone ’splaining it to me.

    Thanks!
    Kevin (11:47:43) :

    This is how I interpreted the “ca 255°K”. The long wave emissions to space from the troposphere are a summation of all the longwave radiative emissions from surface level to the top of the troposphere. Since there is a gradient from maybe 293°K at the earth’s surface to 220°K at the tropopause, 255°K is the average temperature for the purposes longwave emissions. Dr. Lindzen did say it was a simplistic exposition.

  184. This article:

    http://www.dailytech.com/Researcher+Basic+Greenhouse+Equations+Totally+Wrong/article10973.htm

    States that part of the negative feedback is the assumption of an infinitely thick atmosphere. Don’t know exactly how it relates to this posting, but it looks to me like this posting is about observations that there is no runaway feedback whereas the article is citing a particular mechanism for it. Synergy?

    A quote or two:

    How did modern researchers make such a mistake? They relied upon equations derived over 80 years ago, equations which left off one term from the final solution.

    Miskolczi’s story reads like a book. Looking at a series of differential equations for the greenhouse effect, he noticed the solution — originally done in 1922 by Arthur Milne, but still used by climate researchers today — ignored boundary conditions by assuming an “infinitely thick” atmosphere.

    And also:

    So Miskolczi re-derived the solution, this time using the proper boundary conditions for an atmosphere that is not infinite. His result included a new term, which acts as a negative feedback to counter the positive forcing. At low levels, the new term means a small difference … but as greenhouse gases rise, the negative feedback predominates, forcing values back down.

    NASA refused to release the results. Miskolczi believes their motivation is simple. “Money”, he tells DailyTech. Research that contradicts the view of an impending crisis jeopardizes funding, not only for his own atmosphere-monitoring project, but all climate-change research. Currently, funding for climate research tops $5 billion per year.

  185. So Simple, So Beautiful, So Clear.. Dr. Lindzen you are the man!!

    This is Science as it was meant. It cuts to heart of the issue, the core of the hysteria around AGW. If CO2 induces negative feedback effects (as it appears to do from the satellite observations and supported in theory by Lindzen’s IRIS effect) then all else is just noise blowing in the wind…

  186. I’m an electrical engineer. When I was in school, I had a whole semester devoted to stability of control systems with feedback. One thing I learned: When a control system with a significant positive feedback is allowed to run for very long, it will eventually hit some condition that drives into saturation (i.e., it surges to its limits).

    A simple test of a control system’s stability is to hit it with an impulse. For example, if you turn a PA system’s microphone gain up just short of squeeling, it’s fine. But clap your hands together and it takes off.

    What does that mean for climate? Think about the apocalypse that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago and the various volcanic eruptions that caused major climate shifts. These were impulses that caused severe shifts in the system. Like the analogy of the PA system, climate showed no evidence of positive feedback to these impulses; otherwise, the climate would have never recovered to modern, hospitable levels.

    If Earth’s climate system had positive feedbacks of any consequence, the planet would have turned into a ball of ice or another Venus millions of years ago in response to all the meteorites and volcanic activity that have upset the system.

    It’s a no-brainer to anyone with a little common sense, but who said these scaremongers had any sense?

  187. R Chris V. (06:41:10) :

    If the climate sensitivity is only around 0.3 degrees, how do we get ice ages?

    Nobody knows. Some people have hypotheses. Some hypotheses have “greenhouse” gases playing a starring role, some don’t.

    Comparing temperatures during the last glacial maximum to today yields a climate sensitivity of about 3 degrees +/- a degree or so (basically the same as the models get).

    You can derive this sensitivity if you assume greenhouse gases play a starring role. If you hypothesize other mechanisms, you don’t need this much climate sensitivity.

    If the climate sensitivity is only 0.3 degrees, that implies that there is some HUGE completely unidentified forcing responsible for taking us into and out of ice ages. That could be, but it seems unlikely to me.

    So you imply that the “greenhouse effect” is HUGE because you feel that there are no other HUGE forcings that seem likely. It is kind of like rounding up “the usual suspects”. It may be a valid hypothesis but it is yet only a hypothesis. Not having other suspects does not elevate it to theory. Climate science is in its infancy and climate dogma only impedes the acquisition of knowledge.

  188. Robert Austin-the best explanation is still the heterogeneous Milankovitch forcing, which, as Lindzen has noted before, would alter equator to pole heat fluxes even though the net change in radiation is small. Coupled with strong negative feedback in the tropics, that would lead to mean temperature changes. The fact that Chris V hasn’t addressed this argument shows that he isn’t making his argument to illuminate anything, but to further an agenda.
    See here:

    http://eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/171nocephf.pdf

  189. Ice ages are most likely based on our Earth’s wobble as it spins on its axis. Every 10,000 or so years the wobble produces a greater tilt away from the Sun, thus receiving glancing blows from the Sun’s heat during the Summer (and hardly making it to Earth during the Winter), leading to much cooler temperatures and less Arctic ice melt.

  190. Pamela Gray-The change in net radiation is itself small. The real key is the change in the ~distribution~ of incoming solar radiation. See my comments above. :)

  191. Mark T (15:01:31) :

    Actually, your understanding of feedback is incorrect. If a feedback subtracts from the input, i.e., if the feedback is negative, then it will subtract from the input whether it is trending up or down. In other words, feedback is dependent upon its own sign, not the input signal.

    No, your understanding of feedback is incorrect. As is used in climate science, a positive feedback amplifies the signal. If the original forcing is warming, then a positive feedback increases the warming. If the original forcing is cooling, then a positive feedback increases the cooling.

    Think of ice albedo (which is a positive feedback). If the earth warms, you have less ice. Less ice means lower albedo, so less light is reflected, which increases the warming. If the earth cools, you get more ice. More ice means higher albedo, which reflects more light, and increases the cooling.

  192. JamesG (16:46:22) :

    Chris Colose

    For completeness, the original comment by Gavin on RC on this WUWT post was thus:
    “[Response: A good sign of someone who is acting as an advocate is that they instantly take any unexplained anomaly and declare that it fits their prefered theory without doing any actual analysis or without any consideration of the alternatives. First off, the graph he shows was substantially corrected by the authors to remove some spurious aliasing in response to a comment. Secondly, there may still be issues with the data (since there is a clear jump in 1993) – something in any other circumstance, WUWT would have been all over. Third, the models may well be wrong (though it’s unclear these were the experiments to compare with since they didn’t have any forcings), but there is no analysis to indicate that fixing whatever the issue is would give a lower sensitivity – note that the NET fluxes are still all around zero, so the positive feedback in SW is matching the supposed negative feedback in LW. My take on it is very much a wait and see – wait to see if the CERES data seems to support those earlier results, wait to see whether more appropriate model-data comparisons change the picture etc.

    ok lets change the picture.

    sw flux anomaly erbe/isccp

    sw anomaly erbe and ceres

    The International Cloud cover climatology project Icccp is well detailed Kondrateyev (1983). The parametrized schemes to climate sensitivity are part of a number of international projects eg Scaraab, and ERB Marchuk1988 and UKMO Saundes and Mitchell 1988.

    With UKMO the scheme is 11 layers.ie 3 with lower,middle etc. plus convective.

    Each series has 3 schemes

    1)Relative Humidity (rh)

    2)Cloud water (CW)

    3) Cloud water radiative properties (CWRP)

    Enumeration in the UKMO model had the following RH with strong positive cloud feedback, CW was neutral, and CWRP was negative this underlies the importance of correct parametrization with cloud climatologies.

    As we see all phases are possible then why do all the models only include positive feedbacks eg Isaac Held.?

    The importance of SW forcing (ie in the absence of cloud or Ozone attenuation is a significant issue eg Pavlakis et al 2008

    Figure 6b shows the time-series of the DSR-A (black line) in the central Pacific region (7 S–5 N 160 E–160 W) and on the same diagram we have overlaid the time-series of the Ni˜no-3.4 SST index (red line). The DSR-A is out-ofphase
    with the Ni˜no-3.4 index. There is an excellent anticorrelation between the Ni˜no-3.4 index (a sea parameter) and DSR-A over two neighbouring regions: the Ni˜no-3.4 region and the central Pacific region. The latter reflects mostly the
    variations in cloud amount caused by atmospheric circulation anomalies. We have calculated the 3-month smoothed anomaly of the mean monthly total cloud amount with respect to the average monthly total cloud amount for the study period 1984–2004 for the central Pacific region. A linear regression between the DSR-A time series and the total cloud amount anomaly time series yielded a correlation
    coefficient of r=−0.91 (anti-correlation) showing that cloud amount variations are the primary determinants of the DSR variability.

    The Effects of Sea-Ice and Land-Snow Concentrations on
    Planetary Albedo from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment

    Gorodetskaya et al 2006

    ABSTRACT The high-latitude ice/snow-albedo feedback is a principal element in many paleoclimate theories and global warming scenarios. The strength of this feedback is determined by the ice/snow effects on the top-of-atmosphere
    (TOA) albedo, which is also strongly affected by clouds. Using currently available satellite observations, we estimate the radiative effectiveness (RE) of ice and snow with regards to the TOA albedo, which we define as the change in the TOA albedo corresponding to changes of 0% to 100% in the ice or snow cover. The REs of the
    northern hemisphere (NH) sea ice, land snow, and southern hemisphere (SH) sea ice are found to be 0.22, 0.23 and 0.16, respectively. This means that, for an incident solar flux of about 400 W m–2 reaching the TOA in the polar latitudes in summer, local reduction in ice/snow concentrations from 100% to 0% will result in a decrease in reflected short wave radiation of approximately 80 W m–2. These changes in the TOA albedo are significant, yet smaller than the associated changes in the surface albedo. Comparison of the TOA albedo values with available surface
    albedo observations helps to identify the role of clouds in the RE of ice/snow. The analysis is based on the whole time-space domain where the sea ice and land snow appear, and reveals a remarkable similarity in the ice and snow RE in the areas with high sea-ice and land-snow cover variability, despite the varying nature of the surface cover, seasonality, and locations. These estimates provide a useful constraint to test current climate models.

  193. timetochooseagain (14:36:21) :

    Chris V., how about addressing my response to your claims instead of the easy pickings?

    I’m not sure I understand your original response, but here are some numbers for you to mull over:

    According to Lindzen, the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling is 0.3 degrees. The radiative forcing from CO2 doubling is about 3.7 W/m2.

    The climate responds pretty much the same to any radiative forcing of the same magnitude, so any change in radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2 (from a change in solar irradiance, say) should also change temperature by 0.3 degrees.

    During the last ice age, the earths temperature was (off the top of my head) something like 5 degrees colder.

    So if 3.7 W/m2 yields a temp change 0.3 degrees, the total radiative forcing needed to change temperatures by 5 degrees would be about 60 W/m2.

    For comparison, the total solar irradiance striking the top of the atmosphere is about 350 W/m2; the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the earth is about 170 W/m2.

    Where the heck does that 60 W/m2 of forcing come from???? 60 W/m2 is HUGE- that’s 1/3 of the solar irradiance that is absorbed by the earth!

    FYI, the total ice albedo forcing during the last glacial maximum has been calculated to be only 5 or 6 W/m2.

  194. Chris V-Failing to understand my response is not an excuse for simply restating your argument an totally ignoring the point that I made.

    “The climate responds pretty much the same to any radiative forcing of the same magnitude, so any change in radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2 (from a change in solar irradiance, say) should also change temperature by 0.3 degrees.”

    This is true of spatial heterogeneous forcings-but Milankovitch forcing is not heterogeneous!

  195. Chris V. (22:04:33

    Where the heck does that 60 W/m2 of forcing come from???? 60 W/m2 is HUGE- that’s 1/3 of the solar irradiance that is absorbed by the earth!

    You do know how zonal climatology works eg Z. T. Guo et sl 2009

    The cause of the enhanced asymmetry of hemispheric climates
    during MIS-13 remains to be addressed. Greenhouse
    warming may cause similar asymmetry of sea ice (Manabe
    et al., 1992; Cavalieri et al., 1997), but cannot account for
    MIS-13 because of its lower CO2 and CH4 levels.
    Insolation is a possible cause. Although the CO2 concentration
    was 40 ppmv lower (Luthi et al., 2008) in MIS-13
    than the pre-industrial level (equivalent to a radiative forcing
    of −0.82Wm−2), high northern latitudes received more
    energy during their summer when this season occurred at
    perihelion, i.e. three times in MIS-13 at 529, 506, and 485 ka
    BP. For example, summer insolation at 65 N was 50Wm−2
    higher at 506 ka ago (Fig. 2f) when eccentricity was much
    larger (Berger, 1978). The consequent net increase of energy
    received by the northern high-latitudes would favour
    ice melting. On the contrary, summer insolation at 65 S
    was 50Wm−2 lower (Berger, 1978) at 506 ka ago. This, associated
    with the lower concentrations of greenhouse gases….

    ….(Loulergue et al., 2008; Luthi et al., 2008), would favour
    ice building in the Southern Hemisphere. This also happened
    at 485 ka BP, but at 529 ka BP the amplitude of the
    seasonal anomaly was reduced due to a lower eccentricity.
    On the other hand, insolation anomalies at MIS-5e were
    even larger than at 506 ka BP due to a larger eccentricity
    (Berger, 1978), consistent with the stronger summer monsoon
    (Fig. 3a), weaker winter monsoon and lower dust intensity
    in Asia (Fig. 2e and 3a). In addition, MIS-13 and MIS-
    11 coincide with a mid-Pleistocene interval of lower amplitude
    changes of summer insolation at northern high-latitudes
    (Berger, 1978) from 570 to 340 ka BP (Fig. 2f). The higher
    values of the insolation minima would oppose ice building in
    the Northern Hemisphere.

    Chirality a paradox for paleoclimates and Global “averages”

  196. timetochooseagain (22:25:49) :

    Yes- the changes in albedo resulting from the Milankovitch cycles are concentrated around the north pole. I’m not sure why that matters- are you implying that the extra 55 W/m2 of forcing comes from changes in atmospheric/ocean circulation?

  197. Doh! That should be “homogeneous”-of course Milankovitch forcing is heterogeneous-I meant it is not homogeneous! Gah! How’d I miss that?

  198. Chris V-OMG-there is no “extra” forcing, there doesn’t need to be. Milankovitch cycles alter horizontal heat fluxes, which in turn result in mean temperature changes provided the feedback in the tropics is strongly negative. Jeez!

    http://eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/171nocephf.pdf

    The only way you get away with claiming that an “extra” forcing is needed is by focusing on the small net radiation changes in the Global Mean Radiative forcing-but that kind of analysis is not appropriate for heterogeneous forcing like milankovitch cycles. You need to get out of your “Yes, but if we focus on the Global Mean…” mindset here or you will never understand the point I’m trying to make.

  199. dhogaza (21:43:47) :

    [snip - juvenile rant]

    dhogaza (21:48:30) :

    [snip - off topic, Don you don't get to run this thread]
    30 03 2009
    dhogaza (21:57:27) :

    [ snip - Let me make this clear, we are not going to talk about smoking and cancer on this thread, call me what you want, complain all you like here or to your buddies over at Tammy or RC, but it is not going to happen. If you have something to say about the science presented here you are welcome to say it. - Anthony]

    Don,
    This is an example of negative feedback…..

  200. Chris V,
    Solar irradiance at ground level is about 1000 W/sqm. Total solar irradiance in orbit is about 1,350 W/sqm. Anybody messing about with solar panels can tell you that.

  201. Roger Knights (12:43:40) wrote: “I was parodying a typical Insister response///”

    Think most of us picked that up right off, Roger. “/sarc” should not be necessary, and always seems somewhat juvenile to me. If sarcasm (or a joke) needs flagging, then it ain’t.

  202. Steve G, Fred M and Lucy S.

    Its very simple – the graphic in Lindzen’s article is from the 2002 paper in science. This paper was the subject of a comment and later correction. Chris Colose has usefully published the corrected graphic in his response, in which most if not all, of the model/obs mismatch is eliminated.

    Either Prof Lindzen is unaware of the correction, which I find impossibly unlikely, or he has knowingly circulated incorrect information to support his case, an act that one might normally expect would attract severe opprobrium from the posters of an objective science blog such as this. Neither possibility does much for the pursuasiveness of his argument, in my view. Certainly if the Professor were to submit this article for publication, it would be rejected on these grounds alone.

    REPLY: There is a third option, perhapss he doesn’t trust the “correction”. I know that many of us here don’t trust “corrections” applied to data. For example most GISS corrections of weather station data for homogenization are the wrong sign. – Anthony

    REPLY2: John I have deleted your response, and I resent the smear you made against me for publishing this informal essay from Dr. Lindzen. You get a 24 hour timeout. If you wish to continue, lose the ad homs. Otherwise off to the troll bin permanently for you. – Anthony

  203. Glad to see Lindzen citing his peers for their need for perspective. I’m sure any number of observers has pointed out that the warmist case has seen as more not seeing the forest for the trees than real disingenuity.

    The question is whether we’re headed for a catastrophe. It’s too facile to exculpate CO2, but it’s too capricious to have taken 15, then 25 years of data and modeling and declare a certain trend with so many unknowns when the atmosphere and seas are so bloody complex.

    From the source code I’ve seen & the critiques flying about, seems to me that fluid dynamics is best modeled using cellular automata, not formula-based statistical models. The problem is that in order to model the Earth’s atmosphere available computing power probably needs to be increased 1000 fold & a new generation of GCM developed.

  204. Chris V:

    Think of ice albedo (which is a positive feedback). If the earth warms, you have less ice. Less ice means lower albedo, so less light is reflected, which increases the warming. If the earth cools, you get more ice. More ice means higher albedo, which reflects more light, and increases the cooling.

    That’s where you’re going wrong. A higher albedo does not increase the cooling, it decreases the warming.

    An analogy is income tax. Income tax is a negative feedback on your earnings – the more you earn the more tax you pay. the less you earn the less tax you pay, so the less the negative feedback, until your earnings reduce to the point where you no longer pay tax. Below that point the feedback is zero, it does not become positive.

  205. timetochooseagain (22:48:42) :

    Doh! That should be “homogeneous”-of course Milankovitch forcing is heterogeneous-I meant it is not homogeneous! Gah! How’d I miss that?

    In my opinion, the climate community has developed its own version of the wheel, except it tends to be square.

    All this business of forcings, is a convoluted attempt to translate energy. Watts per meter square is radiation and radiation is not conserved, it is energy that is conserved. This means that there are forms of energy that cannot be translated into radiative energy per area. Like convection, and evaporation and condensation and turbulence.
    By sticking to the square angles of their wheels they manage to confuse the issue the way magicians work with audiences, focusing their attention on trivia so they can do their trick.

  206. I’m only a machine designer not a climatologist so this is likely a very simplistic question for the experts who have been posting here. When heat is absorbed by liquid water at the surface, there is a point where continued absorption of that heat does not raise temperature and instead results in the change of state to water vapor. So the amount of energy that went into the water to change it into a gas becomes a locked in quantity that is unaffected by the adiabatic change in temperature as the water vapor decreases in pressure as it rises up to some altitude where it condenses back to a liquid. So, it appears that the portion of heat that went into the change of state at the surface is being physically transported via convection to some high altitude and being released there and is thus unimpeded by any GHG between the surface and the cloud formation altitude.

    Given that I haven’t screwed up the above, my question is, IF it is true that CO2 tends to trap more heat at the surface that then evaporates water more quickly there then, all other things being equal radiation-wise, can it be said that the ‘blanketing’ effect of CO2 to retain heat at the surface actually results in a net global cooling by way of increased evaporation and convection?

  207. Anna v:

    W/m^2 is not just radiation it’s an energy flux, convection and evaporation can certainly be expressed in those terms (and are, see Kiehl & Trenberth for example).

  208. anna v (05:57:06) :

    Yes, phrasing thing in terms of energy and energy density would definitely make things a lot clearer.

  209. timetochooseagain (22:55:47) :

    If i am interpreting the 1993 Lindzen paper you linked to correctly, Lindzen was proposing that atmospheric heat flow from the equator to the poles increases under ice age conditions, and that this process allows ice ages to occur with much lower CO2 sensitivities. To be honest, I don’t quite understand how moving heat around within the system can cause the entire system to cool, but that might very well be from my lack of knowledge on the subject.

    There is a criticsm of Lindzen’s idea here:

    http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/PublicationsRSL.html

    It’s Paper #165 on that list, in the response.

    Among the criticisms are: that moving the heat around doesn’t change the outgoing radiation significantly; and that studies of paleoclimate indicate much higher CO2 sensitivities are necessary to get the observed temperatures.

    In any event, Lindzens 1993 paper was a first-stab, theoretical look at the issue (as the paper itself admits). It did not attempt to compare the theoretical calculations to actual observations.

    The ideas expressed in that paper have not been accepted by the wider climate-science community, and (based on Lindzen’s list of publications) it does not look like Lindzen has followed up on this idea and compared his theoretical calculations to observations.

  210. Mike Lorrey (23:08:28) :

    Chris V,
    Solar irradiance at ground level is about 1000 W/sqm. Total solar irradiance in orbit is about 1,350 W/sqm. Anybody messing about with solar panels can tell you that.

    The numbers I cited are averaged over the entire surface of the earth (day and night side, high and low latitudes). The numbers you have cited are for the daylight side only, at low latitudes.

  211. anna v (05:57:06) :

    If the earths radiation balance is not at equilibrium, the planet must warm or cool until the outgoing radiation equals the incoming.

    Things like convection and evaporation move energy around within the system, but ultimately all energy leaves (and enters) the system in the form of radiation- convection does not extend into space!

  212. John Philip (02:18:46) :
    Either Prof Lindzen is unaware of the correction, which I find impossibly unlikely, or he has knowingly circulated incorrect information to support his case, an act that one might normally expect would attract severe opprobrium from the posters of an objective science blog such as this. Neither possibility does much for the pursuasiveness of his argument, in my view. Certainly if the Professor were to submit this article for publication, it would be rejected on these grounds alone.

    REPLY: There is a third option, perhapss he doesn’t trust the “correction”. I know that many of us here don’t trust “corrections” applied to data. For example most GISS corrections of weather station data for homogenization are the wrong sign. – Anthony

    In which case he should say so and justify his opinion. The corrections are for orbital decay/drift and are described in detail by the original authors:

    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/~tak/wong/f20m.pdf

    This is a similar correction to one of those done by Spencer & Christy, anyone using their early data in a paper without referencing those corrections would be criticized and rightly so. The same applies to Lindzen.

    REPLY: Normally that type of criticsm would be warranted, and I understand where you are coming from, but this was an informal essay passed around on an email list as noted in the beginning. His goal was to help many of the laymen and bloggers get a handle on hist ICC09 presentation, which he has succeeded in doing. If you want to criticize Linden at peer review level, that’s well and good, but you’ll have to publish your full name and university affiliation here. I grow tired of your criticisms from the cloak of anonymity. Step up or shut up. If and when you do, I’ll not only thank and congratulate you, but you’ll also get more respect here. – Anthony

  213. Peter (04:13:06) :

    Chris V:

    Think of ice albedo (which is a positive feedback). If the earth warms, you have less ice. Less ice means lower albedo, so less light is reflected, which increases the warming. If the earth cools, you get more ice. More ice means higher albedo, which reflects more light, and increases the cooling.

    That’s where you’re going wrong. A higher albedo does not increase the cooling, it decreases the warming.

    An analogy is income tax. Income tax is a negative feedback on your earnings – the more you earn the more tax you pay. the less you earn the less tax you pay, so the less the negative feedback, until your earnings reduce to the point where you no longer pay tax. Below that point the feedback is zero, it does not become positive.

    The difference between “less warming” and “cooling” is just semantics- it doesn’t change my point. Your comparison with income tax doesn’t make sense.

    I don’t think you understand the term feedback as it is used in climate.

    To state it slightly differently than my original post, if the earths temperature goes up (from increasing solar output) then some ice at the poles melts. Less ice means more energy from the sun is absorbed, so temperatures go up further.

    If the earths temperature goes down (from a decrease in solar output) than more ice forms. More ice means more light is reflected and less is absorbed, so the temperature goes down some more.

    In both of these situations, the ice is acting as a POSITIVE feedback- pushing the temperature further in the same direction as the initial temperature change.

  214. Chris V-what you say is the equivalent of “look, I can ignore this, because everyone else has. Okay?” Whatever, live in your box if you want.

  215. “focusing their attention on trivia so they can do their trick.”

    Indeed. Lindzen ingenuously uses their heuristic which they ‘prove’ a “strawman” and suppose we’ll miss the significance.

  216. you are STILL refusing to “get it” don’t you? The problem is not if the weather changes are man made or naturally occurring. The problem is that change IS happening, and it will seriously interfere with out ability to grow food for 6.6 billion hungry people.
    Nothing more need to be said.

    REPLY: Actually a warmer planet with more C02 will in fact improve growing conditions, which is why that exact growing environment is created in production greenhouses. Your logic is reversed. – Anthony

  217. timetochooseagain (07:57:37) :

    Like you, i am just an “amateur climatologist”. I do not have the background to judge the merits of Lindzen’s idea myself.

    In situations like that- whether the subject is climate, or medicine, or physics…. – I tend to accept the conclusions of the majority of the scientists in those particular fields. And so do you (in most cases).

    But I am still unaware of any papers that test Lindzen’s idea against real world observations- do you know of any? Without that, Lindzen’s idea represents an untested hypothesis, and one that is in disagrement with many other lines of evidence.

    Given that situation, I think it’s completely reasonable to be very skeptical of Lindzen’s idea- but that’s just me.

  218. Petkov-That’s totally illogical. How could it not “matter” if changes were modest and natural? The whole basis of “mitigation” is that changes will be catastrophic and man-made. If those premises are wrong, then the ~only~ approach that makes sense is adaptation!

  219. George E Smith said
    “I view the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere warming in a very simple fashion. Two sources of radiation try to heat the surface. The first and most powerful is the solar spectrum radiation from the sun. Most of it propagates some considerable depth in the oceans, to cause local water heating. Some of it is absorbed in the upper atmosphere directly and never reaches the ground; at least as solar spectrum radiation. The other main warming component is the long wave thermal IR emission from the atmosphere itself. This of course is a re-emission of energy which got them from somewhere else, either as direct solar heating, or from surface emitted longwave IR, which is usually thought of as the green house component. ”

    I know that the short wave radiation that “tries to heat the surface” does indeed succeed in doing that. At least, for as long as it continues to reach the surface.
    However, my question is ‘does the longer wave radiation, emitted from the atmosphere, that “tries to heat the surface” also succeed? If it does, does it succeed in heating the surface at the same time and place that radiation from the surface is heating the atmosphere?

  220. Regarding positive feedbacks:

    It is entirely possible to have a system with positive feedbacks, and not have that system go into a “runaway” mode. Such systems are “stable”, but responses to inputs are amplified. In some systems, this is a highly desirable characteristic.

    The intuitive response that many have when presented with the notion that some positive feedback causes a signal increase (and that increase in turn causes an increase, and so on) is to assume that any such system must necessarily “go to infinity” or “hit the rail” as was observed earlier.

    However, we should rely on mathematics rather than intuition to determine whether this is actually the case.

    Let me illustrate with an example. Let’s assume a silly legislature which decides to impose a “financial transaction tax”, and they make it recursively applicable. It’s like a sales tax, but the sales tax is also taxed, and that tax is also taxed, and so on.

    This is clearly a positive feedback, but it is not necessarily a RUNAWAY positive feedback. You can have a stable set of values arise out of such a system, where the taxable amount does not grow to infinity. The net effect of such a recursive process is dependent upon the size of the positive amplification effect.

    A practical example: If the financial transaction tax rate is set at 20%, it does not drive prices to infinity. If you do the math, it actually increases costs by 25%. Setting it at 80% increases costs by 500%… If you sold a widget for $100, you would owe $500 in recursive taxes at that 80% rate.

    As the rate approaches 100%, the “apmlification” effect approaches infinity. At or above a 100% rate, the system will be in “runaway”, and will go to infinity or “hit the rail”. Below that rate, the system is stable but amplified(even if it is grossly unethical), despite the fact that it has positive feedback.

    This is the basis for the climate modellers’ “forcings” calculations. They assume that the positive feedbacks are FRACTIONAL… positive feedback, but less than unity. So a given amount of warming is alleged to cause a SMALLER additional amount of warming, which in turn creates an even SMALLER response above that, and so on. Amplified, but not infinite.

    None of which is to say that I AGREE with their conclusions… I certainly don’t. But we should be clear as to the meaning of positive feedbacks in this context, and why they do not AUTOMATICALLY make a system inherently unstable. The instability from positive feedbacks (in this context) arises from pushing the response values near (and especially over) a response value of 1.0

    Hope this helps.

  221. I’m not sure what puts you in a position to judge my ability to judge the idea. And I don’t know why you think that I just take the pronouncements of a “majority” of scientists on faith-to be properly skeptical is to be skeptical of that, too. I’m not sure what these “many other lines of evidence” are-but I’m not surprised that no tests of the hypothesis seem to have been done. For one thing, there is probably insufficient information from the geological record to test some of the theory’s unique predictions. The Milankovitch hypothesis has been viewed as plausible if not probable for some time, but the data are inadequate to confirm it, and many people will point to apparent problems with it. Does that make it wrong? No, and in fact it probably is right, after all, it makes sense-but do I know that for sure? No, nobody does.

  222. REPLY: Normally that type of criticsm would be warranted, and I understand where you are coming from, but this was an informal essay passed around on an email list as noted in the beginning. His goal was to help many of the laymen and bloggers get a handle on hist ICC09 presentation, which he has succeeded in doing.

    [snip BS Phil]

    If you want to criticize Linden at peer review level, that’s well and good, but you’ll have to publish your full name and university affiliation here. I grow tired of your criticisms from the cloak of anonymity.

    Really, well my criticisms are based on the science not authority so my status and affiliations shouldn’t matter, if you don’t like the argumenrs refute them based on the science, this is supposed to be a science site after all. I note that most of the posters on this thread are anonymous and do not post their affiliations, is this new policy reserved for critics or will you be applying it to everyone?

    Step up or shut up. If and when you do, I’ll not only thank and congratulate you, but you’ll also get more respect here. – Anthony

    And based on previous experience I will experience malicious spam attacks so I’ll decline to do so. In a scientific debate respect should be accorded to the content rather than the qualifications of its author. Einstein’s papers were accepted in Annalen der Physik because of their content in spite of the fact that their author was a patent clerk with a teaching diploma!

    REPLY: Cowardice from possible SPAM, wow that’s a new one! You neglect to point out that your email address does not get revealed here. You want to challenge and attack but only wish to do so from the comfort of anonymity, and I find that cowardly and cheap, like so many of the people that attack from the shadows. – Anthony

  223. Here’s what I don’t get. I know this may be unpopular to some of you, but I do not seriously believe that most AGW scientists are actively evil and purposefully engaged in fraud. Wrong, perhaps. A little too in love with being important and well-funded, perhaps.

    Prof L. notes that the models are “tuned” for the results for older periods. Indeed, that’s how you develop/test a model, right? Known beginning point, known end point, give it the beginning point and if it can calculate its way to the end point maybe you’ve got something good going on there.

    Well, fine. But if “positive vs negative feedback” is the key crux that everyone seems to agree it is, then what are they doing to their models in those old test periods that still allows them to calculate their way to the known end point? If that’s a whopper they are missing, their must be elsewhere in the model that is making up for it. The equations must still balance as it were. And, frankly, that would be another check to test the validity, or show the invalidity, of their models –there can’t be *one* place they are off, there has to be at least two.

  224. Chris V:

    I understand feedback very well indeed, having worked my whole life in electronic and software engineering.
    My tax analogy works. What you don’t consider is that any temperature increase or decrease must properly be referenced to absolute zero.
    Your ice analogy isn’t very good either because, although less ice does indeed reduce albedo, it also increases heat loss from the ocean at night, besides which, the energy increase necessary to melt ice is of a greater magnitude than the energy decrease necessary to freeze water.
    More cloud increases albedo as well as transporting more energy from the surface to the upper atmosphere, suggesting negative feedback to temperature increase, but more cloud also serves to inhibit heat loss at night and, conversely, less cloud allows more heat loss at night, suggesting a positive feedback to temperature decrease.

  225. I should have added: positive feedbacks tend to create a bistable system. Even if the amount of feedback is very small, over long timescales positive feedback to any forcing will tend to move things to one extreme or the other.

  226. timetochooseagain (08:52:25) :

    Strangely, I think that a lot of the debaters here may actually be ‘mostly’ in agreement :-)

    Let’s look at the points:

    Q. Are ice ages caused by Milankovitch orbital forcing?
    A. Yes. The periodicity is too strong a feature to ignore, so Milankovitch orbital forcing is the best explanation.

    Q. Do the orbital forcing work by redistributing energy density (temperature)?
    A. Yes. This is how is starts. The poles receive less sunlight in the winter when the earth is tilted more and more snow and ice accumulates there in the winter. In the summer the ice reflects sunlight preventing it from fully melting. The results in a positive feedback loop of increasing ice and decreasing albedo. The reduces water vapor and the greenhouse effect … which is another positive feedback loop.

    Q. Does positive feedback dominant during an ice-age?
    A. Yes. That is why the temperature differences are so large. This can only be explained if there is significant positive feedback occurring during an ice age.

    Q. Is this positive feedback larger than 1 … i.e. a run-away greenhouse effect condition?
    A. Yes. Coming out of the ice-age we are in a run-away greenhouse effect. As Barry pointed out above. You can have a system with positive feedback that doesn’t ‘run-away’ … after all that is what an ‘amplifier’ is. However in such a system, temperature variability would increase as temperature increased. Also there would be no reason to go into or come out of an ice-age. The temperature would simple bounce around amplifying every random event. You would not get a straight line temperature rise out of an ice-age. Events that were large enough to bring the earth out of an ice-age would result in large overshoot and oscilations due to the long delays in the system and in an inter-glacial period temperatures would be very unstable would bounce around like crazy. Like an amplifier, positive feedback that has not saturated the system will result in ‘amplifying’ any signal. Any minor signal would therefore send temperatures careening in one direction or another and the climate would be extremely variable. The only way there can be stability is if the system reaches saturation OR the positive feedback disappears at the top and is replaced by very strong negative feedback.

    Q. Does negative feedback dominate today?
    A. Sort-of but not really. This is the main area of contention I think. As mentioned above, in order to get stable temperatues that we have today, we must either be at saturation level of the system, or have a sudden exponentially strong negative feedback kick in within a very narrow temperature range. Saturation will ‘look’ like negative feedback and it is possible to argue that the difference between saturation and a sudden switch to exponentially strong negative feedback is semantics. My opinion of course is that saturation is a simpler concept and doesn’t require a ‘tailor’ made feedback function to ‘exactly’ balance positive feedback that seems quite artificial … but whatever.

    Ether:
    1. We always have positive feedback and the Earth is just waiting for environment conditions to change beyond a certain threshold to send it careening into a positive-feedback highly-variable glacial stage or a saturated warm and relatively stable stage OR there is a complex.
    2. The earth has positive feedback most of the time except at the very top range where there is exponentially increasing negative feedback that suddenly kicks in.

    Take your pick .. in the end I think they are probably one and the same (saturation will look like this magically strong and sudden negative feedback)

  227. Geo:

    I do not seriously believe that most AGW scientists are actively evil and purposefully engaged in fraud

    I would suggest that most AGW scientists don’t have their voices heard, much less any misgivings they may have.
    Apart from the handful of ‘chiefs’ (Hansen, Mann etc) how many of the other ‘thousands’ have you even heard of?

  228. Barry Kearns (08:50:54) :
    Regarding positive feedbacks:

    It is entirely possible to have a system with positive feedbacks, and not have that system go into a “runaway” mode. Such systems are “stable”, but responses to inputs are amplified. In some systems, this is a highly desirable characteristic.

    Here’s an example that is close to the ghg effect.

    Illuminate an grey surface with visible radiation and the temperature will reach an elevated steady state value.
    Place a dichroic mirror (which transmits vis and reflects 50% of the IR) this will feedback IR to the surface and heat it up, the system will reach equilibrium when the IR passing through the mirror equals the input.
    Therefore Input=100, IR from surface=200, IR from mirror to surface=100, IR though mirror=100.
    That is positive feedback and stable.
    Increase the feedback by replacing the dichroic with one which reflects 60% of the IR and the feedback increases to 150 so a new higher ss temperature will be reached, you’d only get runaway increase if the mirror reflected 100% of the IR.

  229. Geo,

    A stopped clock gives the correct time twice a day. If you can only measure ‘real’ time to an accuracy of, say, plus/minus five minutes, over a ten minute period you could well assume that your clock is correct.

  230. Chris V. (07:30:19) :

    If the earths radiation balance is not at equilibrium, the planet must warm or cool until the outgoing radiation equals the incoming.

    True, for the statosphere. We happen to live on the surface, and climate happens in the 30 or so kilometers of atmosphere and below, + the oceans. What is true for the startosphere, i.e. energy conservation means also radiative energy conservation, is false below. The metaphysical dictum : “as above so below ” does not hold in the physical world.

    Things like convection and evaporation move energy around within the system, but ultimately all energy leaves (and enters) the system in the form of radiation- .
    It is the delays and accelerations that are of interest, and the delays do not come from the pitiful percentage of anthropogenic CO2, but from all other factors. The energy transfers that are not watts per m2 are very important, from the PDO and ENSO ( the hot water bottles of the earth) , to evaporationa nd condensation, to the cyclones that move huge masses of air up towards the stratosphere to radiate away their heat content; so your convection does not extend into space! is not really true..

  231. Peter (09:40:56) :

    I was not trying to explain the entire climate system in my little ice feedback example- just how climate scientists define a positive feedback. I was just looking at ice in isolation from everything else.

    Other posters have complained that climate scientists define positive and negative feedbacks somewhat differently than other in other fields; that may be the source of your confusion.

    The way that climate scientists use the terms (including Lindzen in the opening post) is this- If there is an initial temperature change (either up or down) a positive feedback will increase the temperature change, while a negative feedback will reduce it. That’s it!

  232. Anthony could you give any evidence for the veracity of this comment? It is commonly used on this blog, so ther must be siomething?

    REPLY: Actually a warmer planet with more C02 will in fact improve growing conditions, which is why that exact growing environment is created in production greenhouses. Your logic is reversed. – Anthony

    This may be a true statement for some areas, but it certainly is not for many others already on the edge (I can of course find nothing to back this up in a quick search). If your statement about greenhouses were true then there would be no need to ventilate (for cooling) – this is even necessary in the UK as I found to my cost last year.

    There is of course no way crops can mutate to handle the change in temperature – there isn’t time.

    I also agree with phil that use of invalid data is not excusable on either side of the debate, and as the owner of a scientific blog I am somewhat taken aback by your comments.

  233. geo (09:14:14) :

    Prof L. notes that the models are “tuned” for the results for older periods. Indeed, that’s how you develop/test a model, right? Known beginning point, known end point, give it the beginning point and if it can calculate its way to the end point maybe you’ve got something good going on there.

    There is a quote that is attributed to Von Neumann, a famous mathematician of the last century :”give me four parameters and I can fit you an elephant, with a fifth it will be waving its trunk”. This to illustrate that not many parameters are necessary to fit a known curve. The climate models have a great multiplicity of parameters that allow for tuning and a good fit.This does not mean that there is a predictive power in the fit. A good example is what has happened with the economy, where risk taking was based on fits to existing data. Existing data did not have the instabilities that lay ahead and foundered the economy.

    Well, fine. But if “positive vs negative feedback” is the key crux that everyone seems to agree it is, then what are they doing to their models in those old test periods that still allows them to calculate their way to the known end point? If that’s a whopper they are missing, their must be elsewhere in the model that is making up for it. The equations must still balance as it were. And, frankly, that would be another check to test the validity, or show the invalidity, of their models –there can’t be *one* place they are off, there has to be at least two.

    There is not one equation, there are many connected with tunable parameters.

    There are two problems with the method in the GCModels as used in the IPCC.

    1) Note the purple band around the IPCC temperature predictions. For any other scientific discipline one would think this is an error band, like 1 sigma or such. One would be wrong. This band is a band generated around the initial values of the models perturbed not according to the errors of the contained parameters, but according to the intuitive feelings of the modelers trying to simulate “chaos”. If just one parameter, albedo, were varied within its 1 sigma limit, the purple band would vary by +/- 1C, making a mockery of the plot.

    2) There is a more insidious problem. The whole philosophy of the models depends on first order approximations of solutions of very complicated non linear differential equations. Wherever an average value is taken in the grid approximations, the underlying supposition is that the first order term is a good approximation of the true solution. This is not true of this system of coupled differential equations the solutions of which can be highly non linear: after all they give us tornadoes and lightning storms. It is inevitable that the predictive power of the fits will fail after a number of time steps. The weather prediction programs are of similar philosophy and fail after a week or so, needing to be continually retuned. When turned into climate models, the time limits of failure are extended slightly, but failure will mathematically inevitably occur.

  234. Phil. (10:02:45) :

    Here’s an example that is close to the ghg effect.

    It looks like you actually learned something from the last time you brought this example up (steady state references and that it takes time to get there). Kudos. Just as a check, you do realize that the feedback in your examples are both less than unity, correct (0.5 and 0.6 respectively)?

    Mark

  235. Chris V. (10:35:37) :

    The way that climate scientists use the terms (including Lindzen in the opening post) is this- If there is an initial temperature change (either up or down) a positive feedback will increase the temperature change, while a negative feedback will reduce it. That’s it!

    Chris, I fully understand this distinction, and this use is incorrect by nearly all climate scientists including Lindzen, Spencer, et al.. The primary “other field” in which this term is used differently just happens to be a) the field in which it was defined (control/system theory) and b) what actually gets used by climate scientists when they create their models (which are mathematical representations with real feedback included in the equations), so they should adjust their usage, and understanding, accordingly.

    Mark

  236. bill (10:40:22) :

    There is of course no way crops can mutate to handle the change in temperature – there isn’t time.

    !!!!

    The temperature changes by 15 to 20 C every day/night. There is no need for crops to mutate to handle temperature changes predicted by the IPCC.

    It is the other dire predictions ( floods, droughts) that might need adaptation or change of crop type grown, but not temperature. (Not that I believe them)

  237. anna v (10:33:08) :

    I did not mean to imply that things like convection don’t effect the earth’s temperature- they certainly do (that’s why early simple climate models – which didn’t include convection- yielded higher CO2 sensitivities than current models).

    But my point about the radiation balance (at the top of the atmosphere) is correct- the planet will either warm or cool so that incoming equals outgoing. The exact amount of warming (or cooling) is controlled by other things.

    Convection, etc. may carry energy higher up in the atmosphere (where it is easier for the energy to radiate out into space), but ultimately the only way for it to leave the atmosphere is by being radiated out into space.

  238. correction to my anna v (11:00:08) :

    The purple band is the measurement errors . The corresponding IPCC curves, were they shown, would have the model dispersions instead of errors. It is the grey bands in the plots below given in Watts per m**2, so I do not know what the 1sigma albedo change for the models would look there, but it should be equally large.

  239. bill (10:40:22) :

    Anthony could you give any evidence for the veracity of this comment? It is commonly used on this blog, so ther must be siomething?

    REPLY: Actually a warmer planet with more C02 will in fact improve growing conditions, which is why that exact growing environment is created in production greenhouses. Your logic is reversed. – Anthony

    The Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that the Ca increase alone could stimulate terrestrial carbon (C) sequestration by 350–980 Gt (1 Gt ” 1 # 1015 g) C in the 21st Century (Houghton et al. 2001).

  240. Mark T (11:18:19) :

    You need to take that up with the climate scientists!

    Not coming from a control theory background, their usage makes perfect sense to me. When dealing with responses to forcings, I think it makes everything simpler and easier to understand.

    But whether you like it or not, when you’re discussing climate, you should use the same terminology that the climate scientists use. To do otherwise just leads to confusion. That’s just the way it is!

  241. Chris V. (11:46:22) :

    But whether you like it or not, when you’re discussing climate, you should use the same terminology that the climate scientists use. To do otherwise just leads to confusion. That’s just the way it is!

    No, actually, confusion is sewn by their usage. It does not make mathematical sense, and since they are using feedback in a mathematical manner, the proper usage needs to be understood.

    Just because “it makes perfect sense” to you, does not in any way imply it makes physical or mathematical sense. You don’t need a control theory background to understand a simple difference equation, which is ultimately what feedback boils down to. There is a reason terminology exists, it is so people can communicate ideas freely. Once the climate realm corrupted the usage, they could easily claim, as you do, “you don’t understand our terminology.” A convenient blind to hide behind, IMO.

    And, for the record, I don’t believe all climate scientists use things improperly. I think somewhere along the lines they boiled it down into terms “laymen,” or those without a control theory background, could understand, i.e., in terms that would “make perfect sense” to folks such as yourself. This was egregious since their usage did not make perfect sense, it was actually illogical. Both positive and negative feedback have gain, though it is frequency dependent, and neither is capable of “runaway” without a greater than unity feedback term, which is physically impossible without another source of power other than the input, which is typically assumed to be the sun (now, a constant radiative imbalance is different than this “runaway”).

    In the interview for my first job, I asked “what causes runaway feedback in an op-amp,” and the interviewee’s response, without even a pause, was “new-grads.”

    Mark

  242. John Philip/Phil/Chris
    Yes he does seem to have used an uncorrected dataset without mentioning it, which is disappointing. However we’ve all seen this “correction” story before and it always smells of confirmation bias (no, not a conspiracy Chris). That the authors of the paper are highly pro-agw means they’d be more than happy to homogenize the data just like Willis’s heat content data. But if the other 4 papers confirm the original data then that would excuse the use of the uncorrected data by Lindzen, especially given the purely speculative nature of Trenberth’s original comment and the as yet unknown error calibration technique. I guess we’d have to check those other papers, or hope that Prof. Lindzen clears it up.

  243. Mark T (12:03:16) :

    Why are you playing such a silly game of semantics. Chris V understanding is correct. Positive feedback means that an initial temperature change will be increased. Negative feedback means it will be decreased. The sign of the change doesn’t matter. If negative feedback dominated the climate system this would resist the climate going into an ice age (Chris V original contention, which is correct)

    Y= X + AY

    dY/dX = 1/(1-A)

    Positive feedback, 0>AdX.

    Negative feedback, 0>A>-1 then dY<dX.

    Just what Chris V stated.

    So if there is always negative feedback and the Sun output is constant (or has only small changes), how can an ice age ever occur? It can’t. At some point feedback HAS to be positive in order to cause an ice age. Negative feedback would prevent an ice-age.

    You also state:

    “and neither is capable of “runaway” without a greater than unity feedback term, which is physically impossible without another source of power other than the input”

    Greater than unity feedback is not impossible … why do you think it is? It just means you will “run-away” until saturation occurs. I think that is what happens when we come out of a ice-age. There are 2 meta-stable states. The environment (Milankovitch orbital perturbations) changes which state is the equilibrium point.

  244. For example, if one simply doubles the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature increase is about 1°C. “Doubles” counted from what basis? The level of CO2 -10.000 year, from 1800? 1900? 1970?
    And is this conclusion contrary to the an other statement: that the increase/decrease of the CO2 level follows the increase/decrease of the temperature level (with some delay)?

  245. Dick H. Ahles-Double any level, it leads to the same extra forcing (3.7 W/m2) which, given enough time, such a forcing leads to a certain amount of temperature change (the sensitivity) the lag has to do with outgassing, it is unrelated to the response, except that it makes it difficult to use paleoclimate to calculate sensitivity (which can’t be done for other reasons, which I have elucidated above).

  246. Phil. (10:02:45) :

    “Illuminate an grey surface with visible radiation and the temperature will reach an elevated steady state value.
    Place a dichroic mirror (which transmits vis and reflects 50% of the IR) this will feedback IR to the surface and heat it up, the system will reach equilibrium when the IR passing through the mirror equals the input.
    Therefore Input=100, IR from surface=200, IR from mirror to surface=100, IR though mirror=100.
    That is positive feedback and stable.
    Increase the feedback by replacing the dichroic with one which reflects 60% of the IR and the feedback increases to 150 so a new higher ss temperature will be reached, you’d only get runaway increase if the mirror reflected 100% of the IR.”

    Nice thought experiment, but I would like to see some data from the actual experiment, since I don’t think it works that way.

  247. bill’s statements about agriculture are absurd. As can plainly be seen by looking at historical crop yields, the expectation of ever improving yields should hold up no matter the climate. The increases that any reasonable person would expect would so far out weigh climate impact as to seem ridiculous. Moreover, the increases will occur ~because~ of our use to resources to do important things-if we squander it on pointless mitigation steps, we don’t get the big increase in food, meaning we’re more vulnerable to climate change.

  248. It is not hard to start off an ice age in our current climate.

    The tilt of the Earth is slowly moving from its current 23.5 degrees to 22.4 degrees in about 9,800 years. 1.1 degrees is equivalent to about 110 kms.

    So take the summer temperatures which are about 110 kms north of you now and that is what the summer temperatures will be where you are now in 9,800 years.

    Now take Ellesmere Island and move it 110 kms north and what do you get. The Island turns from a partially glaciated island to a completely glaciated island like it was 15,000 years ago. Baffin Island follows soon after.

    The summer temperatures in the Arctic ocean will not rise to +1.0C like they do now and there will be no polar ice cap melt in the summer.

    Greenland’s glaciers then build up and extend all the way to the southern tip of the island and through all the unglaciated outflow channels and so on.

    Pretty soon it is cool enough so that the snow does melt completely in the summer in northern Nunuvut and northern Quebec and the glaciers start their slow march south toward Chicago and New York.

  249. maksimovich

    Anthony Watts is not correct. The ecological impacts depend on the degree of warming and the location. Losses likely outweigh “growth” at higher temperature gains. IPCC WG2 has more info.

    REPLY: Sure IPCC has lots of info, that doesn’t mean it is correct info. being that it is mostly a political organization, all info put forth by the IPCC should be considered in that context. So you deny that a warmer and higher CO2 environment is beneficial for plant growth?

    -Anthony

  250. “that doesn’t mean it is correct info. being that it is mostly a political organization, all info put forth by the IPCC should be considered in that context. So you deny that a warmer and higher CO2 environment is beneficial for plant growth?”

    Sure. If the plant growth hasn’t been fried to a crisp by heat waves, the result of higher blibal mean temperatures driven by CO2 forcing. This faux argument is a straw man. Let’s see. Watts or the IPCC? That’s a tough choice. See appeal to appropriate authority. You ain’t.

  251. Chris V. (22:04:33) :

    According to Lindzen, the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling is 0.3 degrees. The radiative forcing from CO2 doubling is about 3.7 W/m2.

    Chris V., I see how Dr. Lindzen hypothesized the 0.3° sensitivity to CO2 doubling but I am not sure where the 3.7W/m2 for CO2 doubling came from. i did not see the figure cited explicitly in the essay. For this sensitivity, I would expect that the forcing to be less than 1W/m2 based on this sensitivity.

  252. Mark A York- “fried to a crisp by heat waves”? What hyperbole! What planet do you live on? And “appeal to appropriate authority”? Since when is appeal to any authority a valid argument? But you don’t have to take Anthony’s word for it and he is not staking this on his authority. Jeez. Agriculture isn’t going to decline because of AGW. That’s denial of reality.

  253. Question for the moderation team-What exactly happens to my posts when I try to like to multiple sources of information or images? Could you check your cache?

    Reply: Lots of URLs will often land you in the spam filter, but usually one of us will dig you out. It is possible a post or two of yours looked like spam and was deleted by mistake. Sorry if that happened. There is no cache to look at. ~ charles the moderator.

  254. Phil. (10:02:45) :

    “Illuminate an grey surface with visible radiation and the temperature will reach an elevated steady state value.
    Place a dichroic mirror (which transmits vis and reflects 50% of the IR) this will feedback IR to the surface and heat it up, the system will reach equilibrium when the IR passing through the mirror equals the input.
    Therefore Input=100, IR from surface=200, IR from mirror to surface=100, IR though mirror=100.
    That is positive feedback and stable.
    Increase the feedback by replacing the dichroic with one which reflects 60% of the IR and the feedback increases to 150 so a new higher ss temperature will be reached, you’d only get runaway increase if the mirror reflected 100% of the IR.”

    Nice thought experiment, but I would like to see some data from the actual experiment, since I don’t think it works that way.

    OK which part don’t you think will work?

  255. Robert Austin-qouting from junkscience:

    “The IPCC (alt: IPCC) and the European Environment Agency both provide the formula for calculating change in radiative forcing (ΔF) in Wm-2. For carbon dioxide (CO2) this formula is given as ΔF = αln(C/Co) where C and Co are the current and pre-industrial concentrations of CO2, respectively and α = 5.35.”

    That works out to about 3.7 W/m2 going from 280 to 560. As far as I’m aware, this is not a figure which Lindzen disputes. So Lindzen’s sensitivity works out to about .08 C/W/m2

  256. anna v (05:57:06) wrote: “In my opinion, the climate community has developed its own version of the wheel, except it tends to be square.”

    anna v; that is a brilliant sentence!

  257. Mark A. York (16:45:19),

    I understand that you’re a noob here, but even so, you should know that your last couple of sentences were incredibly insulting to the host.

    You should also know the answer to: “Watts or the IPCC?” The obvious answer is WattsUpWithThat.com — this year’s winner of the “Best Science” site.

    And since you may not be aware of it, the IPCC is a group of entirely political appointees with marching orders. So it’s smart to put your money on the “Best Science” site, if you want honest info.

  258. Pamela Gray (21:02:03) :

    Ice ages are most likely based on our Earth’s wobble as it spins on its axis. Every 10,000 or so years the wobble produces a greater tilt away from the Sun, thus receiving glancing blows from the Sun’s heat during the Summer (and hardly making it to Earth during the Winter), leading to much cooler temperatures and less Arctic ice melt.

    Pamela Gray, correct me if I am wrong but somewhere I read that the ice ages occurred not when the earth’s axis was strongly tilted but when the tilt was at a minimal value. I think the idea was that without strong summer seasons in the polar regions, there was no strong seasonal melting and ice in the polar regions expanded.

  259. //”So you deny that a warmer and higher CO2 environment is beneficial for plant growth?”//

    No I don’t deny broad brush statements without meaningful context. The answer depends on where, type of plant/crop, degree of changes in CO2 and temperature, and also in water availability and soil moisture .

    Please don’t give advice on “being wrong” and advocacy. Almost every thread I see here is a blatant misrepresentation of the science (like your post on CFC’s and ozone) or other analysis problems, and somehow it remains one of the more read blogs on the web.

    REPLY: “it remains one of the more read blogs on the web.” Yeah funny about that isn’t it? maybe it’s because we don’t spend all our time here telling everyone else how wrong or stupid they are. – Anthony

  260. “”” Kevin (11:47:43) :

    I’m having a problem with this:

    “The wavelength of the heat radiation corresponds to the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere at the level from which the radiation is emitted (ca 255oK).”

    Is he saying that the Earth emits radiation at 255K? Because that’s just not true. I’m sure I’m just misunderstanding something, and would appreciate someone ’splaining it to me.

    Thanks! “””

    Kevin, I couldn’t directly see a response to your query so let me take a whack at it.

    If you read Prof Lindzen’s essay carefully, I think you will see when he talks about the earth’s “heat radiation” (oedantically incorrect terminology) he mentions the level at which that radiation is effectively emitted.

    Now 255K (again a slight technical blip), that of course is about -18 deg C, which is certainly not the average surface temperature of the earth. Actually, the earth surface can be radiating at temperatures between about -90 deg C (Vostok Station) all the way up to about +60 deg C and probably higher in the tropical deserts, and it could be doing that all at the saem time, since NH midsummer, is Antarctic winter night. But takign the mean surface temperature as being +15 deg C (this is a nonsense concept and there is no way we can measure that presently), then that would be 288K, and a black body radiation for that temperature would have a spectral peak wavelength of about 10.1 microns (From Wien’s Displacement Law).

    So let’s say a large fraction of the surface happens to be at about 288 K; 15 C. A lot of that radiation gets captured by GHGs such as water vapor and CO2, warming (HEATing) the atmosphere, which ultimately re-radiates long wave radiation, some of which comes back to the surface and some goes upwards towards space. It keeps getting absorbed and re-emitted, and of course the atmosphere gets coolre (for a while) as you go up. What Lindzen is saying; and I have no way of refuting him, is that, in the end analysis, the radiation that does escape as a net loss to the planet, appears to have been emitted by a source that is about 255K, so he is talking about some higher stratum than ground level as being the effective source of the lost radiation.

    That’s a great simplification of what is a very complex iterative process, and the way Prof Lindzen has put it, is not a bad simplification. The full modelling of the “exact” physics, I don’t think has ever been accomplished but a lot of people have tried. It’s reasonable to consider the earth as radiating at some effective temperature, but that temperature evidently does not happen to be the so-called mean global surface temperature.

    So -18C for a high altitude effective final source of earth’s thermal radiation is not too bad a picture.

    I hope that answers your query.

    George

  261. JamesG (12:40:32) :
    John Philip/Phil/Chris
    Yes he does seem to have used an uncorrected dataset without mentioning it, which is disappointing. However we’ve all seen this “correction” story before and it always smells of confirmation bias (no, not a conspiracy Chris). That the authors of the paper are highly pro-agw means they’d be more than happy to homogenize the data just like Willis’s heat content data. But if the other 4 papers confirm the original data then that would excuse the use of the uncorrected data by Lindzen, especially given the purely speculative nature of Trenberth’s original comment and the as yet unknown error calibration technique. I guess we’d have to check those other papers, or hope that Prof. Lindzen clears it up.

    The error and their correction is described here:

    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/~tak/wong/f20m.pdf

  262. The UK has large areas that are 1metre or less above sea level. If the temp rises a few degrees and sea levels rise then much of this land will be underwater or subject to erosion. Much fertile land will be lost. I’m sure this applies in many areas of the world.

    A couple of degrees of global rise may not seem much but it is the heatwaves that will kill and disrupt.

    A real world example in UK (from the docment I referenced above
    The hot summer of 1995
    Cereal yields and quality were good. The protein content of grain rose, which was good for bread-making wheat but not for malting barley. The harvest was large and early, allowing farmers to make a cost saving with fewer working days and less grain drying,…
    Cattle enterprises suffered because of a shortage of grass and forage, although upland forage for beef was less restricted. Many areas could only take one silage cut, and grass production in the driest areas dropped by 20-30%. Maize yields were down by 30%, and other feeds such as potatoes were in short supply. All this resulted in food supply problems over the winter, with farmers buying in feed or selling off animals.
    One beneficial effect of the summer was that, although hay and forage prices were high, cereals had produced a lot of good quality straw, which some farmers used to supplement rations. Dairy cattle had reduced milk yields. Conception rates in dairy and beef were 5% lower during the summer. It is
    difficult to know whether cattle suffered from heat stress or whether decreased production was due to fodder, drinking water and disease problems.
    Sheep also suffered from forage supply and heat problems, and supplementary grass feeding was often necessary. Increased numbers were slaughtered as the summer wore on, reducing the market price. Pigs and
    poultry both responded to the heat by reducing feed intake. This resulted in lower slaughter weights for pigs and reduced egglaying, low broiler growth rates and increased mortality in poultry.

    AND

    Posted 9/25/2003 10:56 AM Updated 9/25/2003 9:23 PM
    PARIS (AP) — The death toll in France from August’s blistering heat wave has reached nearly 15,000, according to a government-commissioned report released Thursday,

    If these “heat waves” become more frequent and just 2degC hotter do you think that Europe will cope and this is a temperate climate?

    Now go to equatorial countries where agriculture is already heat stressed what will happen there?

    Some places will be better off others will go under leading to forced migration polewards. Politics will not allow this.
    Bill

  263. George E Smith says:

    But takign the mean surface temperature as being +15 deg C (this is a nonsense concept and there is no way we can measure that presently), then that would be 288K, and a black body radiation for that temperature would have a spectral peak wavelength of about 10.1 microns (From Wien’s Displacement Law).

    A^4 + B^4 <= (A + B)^4

  264. “Barry Kearns (08:50:54) :

    Regarding positive feedbacks:

    It is entirely possible to have a system with positive feedbacks, and not have that system go into a “runaway” mode. Such systems are “stable”, but responses to inputs are amplified. In some systems, this is a highly desirable characteristic.”

    No arguments with this, per se. When I referred to a “rail”, this simply meant the point at which the system lacks the energy to further supply the positive feedback, which could occur even with a feedback between zero and 1. The federal reserve ratio operates as the type of feedback that you present, for example. A bank is required to keep a certain percentage of its deposits and loan the rest – say keep 10% loan 90%. The 90% loaned gets deposited in a bank somewhere, 90% of that gets re-loaned, etc. This means that a given injection of cash by the federal reserve into the banking system theoretically creates a geometric progression of subsequent injections that gradually reduces to zero, so the sum of the series is a finite value, but much greater than the original injection.

    The assumptions here, however, is not only that the feedback to an input signal is less than 1, but that there is an unconstrained source for the feedback – by unconstrained , I don’t mean infinite, but just that the feedback is not at a point where it is otherwise limited. In the federal reserve example cited above, you get the desired feedback so long as there is enough demand for loans at the interest rates available. If the fed were to inject so much cash into the system, that with all previous multipliers no one needed to borrow money anymore because the economy is so awash in it that there is no desire to take out a loan and pay interest, then the feedback isn’t as effective as it was in the past, even though the multiplier is less than 1. The interest rate thus constrains the supply for the feedback – the more money you inject, the lower interest rates need to be to get the same effect. Eventually, however, even lowering interest rates won’t generate enough demand for loans to sustain the positive feedback, and there is no more source for the positive feedback to reinforce cash injections.

    There is, however, at that point a very large source for positive feedback when taking money out of the economy. When the fed takes cash out, interest rates go up, meaning that people in a cash-flooded economy want to borrow even less under the higher interest rate, and in fact have a further incentive to buy government bonds because they are now more profitable, further sucking money out of the economy, etc. But eventually as interest rates rise rise and the cash supply drops, the higher interest rates get less and less effective at selling bonds and discouraging loans because the economy needs a certain amount of money just to function.

    In the same sense that positive feedback loops should get less effective as you swing to an extreme, negative feedbacks should get more effective. Wind resistance increases with the square of velocity, for example, such that when you increase horsepower to your car by amount X when driving at 10mph the resulting increase in drag isn’t nearly as much as that same HP increase X will produce if you were driving 100 mph. This is why gas mileage drops so rapidly after about 45 – 55 mph.

    These same rules should apply to the climate system. Even if the positive feedbacks inherent in the system have multipliers less than 1, the physical phenomenon that provide the feedbacks will have their own constraints that limit the net amount of feedback they are capable of providing, and will also limit the rate at which the feedback is even capable of occuring. It seems more than reasonable to propose that, late in an interglacial period, positive feedbacks are insignificant and have more capability to reinforce a sustained cooling input than a sustained warming input, while negative feedbacks are likely to be significant. While in the transition between an ice age and an interglacial, positive feedbacks are likely to be the dominant cause of temperature changes, changes at either of the two extremes is likley to be dominated by the inputs rather than the feedbacks.

  265. [snip] you don’t seem to get 1. it is the lower temperatures which warm fastest and 2. the tropics hardly change temperature at all. Food can be ~traded~-if agriculture in the tropics really is threatened, the solution is FREE TRADE-something I doubt you want…

  266. kurt (17:48:34) :

    What you state is very reasonable, except that if what you described occurred, there would be a gradual transition (a gradual reduction of positive feedback, and/or increase or negative feedback). This would show up as a decrease in the rate of change of temperature coming out of an ice-age. However, looking at the little and local data we have (and therefore ‘possibly’ not representative) this is not what happens. From the ice core data it appears that the rate of change of temperature does slowly decrease, but remains pretty much constant until the very end. Possibly ice-core data is not representative … or possibly your theory is incorrect and positive feedback ‘stays on’ and until we hit the limit of the system (saturation).

  267. Mark T (11:02:58) :
    Phil. (10:02:45) :

    Here’s an example that is close to the ghg effect.

    It looks like you actually learned something from the last time you brought this example up (steady state references and that it takes time to get there). Kudos. Just as a check, you do realize that the feedback in your examples are both less than unity, correct (0.5 and 0.6 respectively)?

    I don’t recall saying anything about the time, that would just depend on the thermal mass of the absorber. I chose the feedback value, 0.5, deliberately since that is the ~value needed for the GH effect for the earth.

  268. That should be “from the ice core data it appears that the rate of change of temperature does NOT slowly decrease,”

  269. I vaguely recall something from high school science books some 30 odd years ago, that there’s no such thing as “cold” only a lack of heat.

  270. bill (17:33:17) :

    The UK has large areas that are 1metre or less above sea level. If the temp rises a few degrees and sea levels rise then much of this land will be underwater or subject to erosion. Much fertile land will be lost. I’m sure this applies in many areas of the world.

    What’s that got to do with anything? That “land” has been underwater many many times in the past, and will be in the future, regardless of what humans do. Do you propose we stop Plate Tectonics because it’s slowly killing the planet?

  271. Jeff Alberts-(I know I said I was cooling off, but its hard to resist) You are right about that thing about cold. As for bill’s comment, what on Earth is the concern over a meter of sea level rise about? Best projections, it will be measurable in tens of centimeters at most. It will take centuries to inundate jolly old England. I was concerned about the issue to-the vast majority of the state of Florida is pretty much at sea level. But there is no basis for concern over it. I’ll zip away now.

  272. Oh, wait one moment. Some supporting calcs:

    at 16 milimeters per decade, that’s 160 millimeters per century, or 16 centimeters, or 1.6 decameters, or .16 meters. That’s a little over six inches BTW.

  273. George E. Smith (17:26:59) :

    But [taking] the mean surface temperature as being +15 deg C (this is a nonsense concept and there is no way we can measure that presently), then that would be 288K, and a black body radiation for that temperature would have a spectral peak wavelength of about 10.1 microns (From Wien’s Displacement Law).

    Doesn’t it strike you (or any of the other incurious lot here this evening) as odd that this is/is near the middle of the atmosphereic window (8 – 14 um for the readers out there) here on earth given the transmittance properties of CO2 and H2O in that range?

    Could I not then liken Planck’s spectral curve leading to ‘spillover from a bucket’ as more LWIR energy transmits through this window (DIRECTLY into space I might add, unblocked by CO2 or H2O) as temperatures approach and exceed about 216K ( 0 deg F)? *

    Did I mention that total radiative energy under the curve (for purists) – seems to be proportional to: Temperature_to_the_4th_power )MEANING that energy under the curge and the surge in the curve REALLY FAST)?

    Anyone else notice this particular coincidence? Anyone?

    Bueller?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    BEST interactive demo I have seen of Planck’s curve and temperature (vary the temp and watch Planck’s curve surge and grow!): http://profhorn.meteor.wisc.edu/wxwise/AckermanKnox/chap2/planck_curve.html
    .
    .
    .
    .
    (*I owe credit for this thought to poster “Andrew” who has hinted at this a few times.)
    .

  274. “Jeff Alberts (18:52:22) :
    I vaguely recall something from high school science books some 30 odd years ago, that there’s no such thing as “cold” only a lack of heat.”

    So funny, Jeff… when I tried to explain that to one of my older brothers many years ago, he said, “That is so stupid Mike, heat is also only a lack of cold.” No amount of explanation could make him waver even a little…
    Mike

  275. I’m assuming people are aware that there has been no sea level rise in the last five years in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, or Pacific oceans. The only ocean basin with any sea level rise is the Indian Ocean which has started declining now after being loaded up by successive El Ninos in previous years.

    This data correlates fully with the stable Ocean Heat Content, the lack of any temperature rise and the end of “warming in the pipeline” over the last five to ten years as well.

    Watch the surface temp measurements over the next few months. GISS, NCDC and the Hadley Centre have been struggling in an effort to produce stable let alone increasing temperature data over the last year. The satellite temps have been affected by the record Sudden Stratospheric Warming event and, consequently, won’t show declining temps until April, but the surface temp measurers/adjusters will have a hard time keeping the trend from declining another 0.1C or 0.2C over the next few months.

    We’re not that far off of Zero anomaly right now and they can’t afford to have that show up in the surface temp numbers.

  276. Phil. (17:27:41) :

    . . . The error and their correction is described here:

    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/~tak/wong/f20m.pdf

    Since the principal criticism of Prof. Lindzen’s little essay is that he used data before it was subsequently corrected for technical reasons, which corrections effectly destroy his thesis,

    and since the response seems to be the suggestion that this correction was an underhanded way of better fitting the data to the AGW models,

    then perhaps it would be helpful to have a post from someone relatively impartial (if such a person with the relevant expertise exists) to assess these two competing claims—ideally separate from this now enormous thread, which is mostly devoted to the nature of feedback.

    /Mr Lynn

  277. For those that are interested, here are some graphs and examination of ice-age temperature changes and why this strongly suggests positive feedback driving the system to saturation with no significant negative feedback in sight. At least that is what it suggest to me ;-)

    http://www.ianschumacher.com/iceages.html

  278. Phil. (10:02:45) :

    Illuminate an grey surface with visible radiation and the temperature will reach an elevated steady state value.
    Place a dichroic mirror (which transmits vis and reflects 50% of the IR) this will feedback IR to the surface and heat it up, the system will reach equilibrium when the IR passing through the mirror equals the input.

    Reminds me of J.Peden’s green house oven

    http://www.vermonttiger.com/content/2008/07/nasa-free-energ.html

    You realize that the mirror will stop the incoming that is setting up the steady state of the grey surface by x%? So the surface will lose x% of incoming and get back 50% of less reflected IR,less than it had without the mirror, the temperature will drop, no steady state on previous temperature.

    Therefore Input=100, IR from surface=200, IR from mirror to surface=100, IR though mirror=100.
    That is positive feedback and stable.
    Increase the feedback by replacing the dichroic with one which reflects 60% of the IR and the feedback increases to 150 so a new higher ss temperature will be reached, you’d only get runaway increase if the mirror reflected 100% of the IR.

  279. As explained at /chriscolose.wordpress.com

    “Lindzen’s analysis is based on outdated data that has been revised since 2002, and these revisions are not exactly recent, so he should have been aware of them. Using the more recent data would not allow him to make his argument as presented as WUWT.”

    This was documented by Wong et al 2006, Journal of Climate which inexplicably Dr Lindzen did not refer to.

  280. Bill Illis – You are quite quite simply flat out wrong about sea level rise.

    Whereas sea level is not rising uniformly, it is none the less rising. The current global average trend is 3.3mm/year. The observed rise is just higher than the IPCC predictions. (The IPCC sea level models apparently did not include ice melt (because it isn’t understood well enough yet), and observed rises in CO2 concentrations are currently tracking higher then their worse case scenario).

    See Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) sea level rise pages for data, plots and maps. These are presented for the last few decades, for the last two centuries and for the last 140,000 years.

    Download the data, map, plot and analyse it for yourself. Enjoy!

  281. “What hyperbole!”

    Oh really? Perhaps desertification is a new concept to purveyors of science blogs of this level? It isn’t to ecologists and actual climate scientists. Neither are forcings=CO2 and feedback=water vapor. Lindzen’s grasp of the facts has been dubious and proven wrong on innumerable fronts for years. There’s nothing new here. It’s the same up is down falsehood as the others. There’s a difference between a weathermen and a climate scientist. I’m sure he can teach freshman meteorology 101 just fine.

    This is just more Freeper stuff. Nothing new there either, not if this sort of pretzel logic is any indication.

  282. chriscolose (16:21:58) :

    maksimovich

    Anthony Watts is not correct. The ecological impacts depend on the degree of warming and the location. Losses likely outweigh “growth” at higher temperature gains. IPCC WG2 has more info.

    Let see,species,taxa and biomass geometrically progress from say 90 latitude to the equator doubling every 10 degrees of distance and a temperature increase of say 50-60c.

    We can understand this as a function of metabolism and cell geometry where say species tradeoff size for life functions. So there is an energy curve stepped poleward.(This well described by some very serious scientists eg Schrodinger,Dyson,Eigen, Brioullion ,Morowitz.)

    CO2 is a limiting quality,due to competition etc.

    If we leave co2 and examine say only the response of the c4 dynasty and the effects of say water limitation and temperature then we see some interesting numbers.

    Bjorn et al

    ‘ About half of this planet’s photosynthetic production takes place on land, and the other half in water. According to Sage (2004) the mere 3% of the terrestrial plants having C4 metabolism carry out about half of the production on land. C4 photosynthesis has evolved at least 45 times (Sage 2004).

    The earliest C4 dicots are likely members of the Chenopodiaceae dating back 15–21 million yr; however, most C4 dicot lineages are estimated to have appeared relatively recently, perhaps less than 5 million yr ago. C4 photosynthesis in the dicots originated in arid regions of low latitude, implicating combined effects of heat, drought and/or salinity as important conditions promoting C4 evolution.’

    Lamd use changes and co2 forcing”s are different “animals”

  283. Wow – people here seem to think Lindzens graph is some kind of Holy Grail. Careful not to drink from it too deeply [snip]. That beloved creep of the red line to the north unfortunately corresponds to some damned orbital decay changing the nonscanner instrument’s field of view. Use the ERBS Edition 3 observational data (that compensates for this) instead of the old 2002 that Lindzen uses and sorry dudes – yr silver bullet just shat itself. The observations end up tracking the models like a muther-bitch. What is strange is why Lindzen (or anyone in this thread) fails to even mention that the corrected data even exists. Conspiracy theorists will imply that ERBS Edition 3 data is fraudulent and manipulated but that’s just weak and desperate.

  284. anna v (20:32:25) :
    You realize that the mirror will stop the incoming that is setting up the steady state of the grey surface by x%? So the surface will lose x% of incoming and get back 50% of less reflected IR,less than it had without the mirror, the temperature will drop, no steady state on previous temperature.

    You’re missing the point, let’s take some realistic figures.

    Baseline case 100 input gives surface SS temperature T.
    Insert dichroic 99.5 input and 99.5 IR radiates from surface at a slightly lower T than before. 50% of the IR is reflected back to the surface, 49.75 so the surface is now receiving 149.25 so it heats up further until it radiates 149.25. Now the reflected component is 74.6 and the surface receives 174.1 and so on. The temperature will continue to rise until output equals input at which point 250 is both incident on and radiating from the surface.
    It doesn’t matter what the losses are you still get the amplification.

  285. Mark A. York (21:03:39) :

    “What hyperbole!”

    Oh really? Perhaps desertification is a new concept to purveyors of science blogs of this level?

    Even the deeply biased Wikipedia entry on desertification hardly says anything about the role global warming (might) play.

  286. Dr.Harry Borhlsachs-

    Did you look at the corrected ERBE data carefully? There may be a turd in there, but I suspect it is in the corrected curves. The claimed problem is that it is a field of view variation due to orbital decay of 0.6%. If so, then (as they state in the paper) both the LW and SW curves should have the same correction over time. Instead, the corrected curve for LW shows no change until 1991, followed by a growing correction to the end of the record. The corrected SW curve is, however, essentially identical to the uncorrected SW curve.

    The differences in the shapes of corrected LW and SW curves contradict the reason for the correction. I don’t trust the corrections.

  287. George E. Smith (17:26:59) :

    in your reply to “”” Kevin (11:47:43) :

    So -18C for a high altitude effective final source of earth’s thermal radiation is not too bad a picture.

    I hope that answers your query.

    The basic reason one has to go to high altitude to use the black body mode rationally is because only in that rarefied level one can have a good approximation of energy conservation as “radiation” conservation, because radiation is the main thing available. Otherwise, at lower heights, a lot of the energy is running around in different modes and radiation conservation is meaningless, let alone black body approximations.

  288. Phil.

    There must be a logical fallacy in this train of arguing, otherwise all sun water heaters ( and we have many in Greece) would be having these “dichroic mirrors” of yours.

    Wiki has a different definition
    iDichroism has two related but distinct meanings in optics. A dichroic material is either one which causes visible light to be split up into distinct beams of different wavelengths (colours) (not to be confused with dispersion), or one in which light rays having different polarizations are absorbed by different amounts. [1]

    So that is not what you mean. You mean something like one way transparent to short wave and long wave, and the other mirror. I will think about this.

    As I said, your argument isw like the oven I linked to above.

  289. ChrisColose
    You rail against missing out key information and talk about getting everything in context yet somehow you failed to mention that the IPCC does predict increased overall plant growth for all but the most extreme temperature scenarios. You mention only the losses which are regarded as “likely” under the very extreme scenarios. Physician heal thyself.

  290. One thing you do really notice about the corrections (yes more than one correction) is that the first conclusion says that the newly corrected data now disproves Lindzen’s Iris theory. The second conclusion made is that the corrected data now agrees with the models. One does rather get the impression that it was Lindzen’s use of the data that occasioned these corrections in the first place.

  291. Dr.Harry Borhlsachs (21:42:55) :

    chris y (00:15:25) :

    Sounds like it’s time for Prof. Lindzen to step in and explain why he used the original and not the ‘corrected’ data.

    /Mr Lynn

  292. Craig Allen (20:58:53). Sea level is really only increasing in the Indian Ocean over the last five years as I said

    Here is the North Atlantic.

    Here is the Mediterranean.

    The South Atlantic.

    The North Pacific.

    The South Pacific.

    And finally, the only ocean basin increasing in a statistical sense, but falling now, the Indian Ocean.

  293. Anna the wiki definition is inadequate, dichroic mirrors are filters which pass light at one wavelength range and reflect another, hence ‘dichroic’. The wavelengths used are not confined to the visible and they can be bought covering wavelengths from the UV to the IR, they are frequently used as output couplers for laser cavities. As for use in water heaters I think you’d find them exceptionally expensive, the 1-2″ ones that I used in my lab typically cost several hundred dollars each. Also one such as I described would be a custom design if it were practical because of the large wavelength range required.

  294. Phil and others on feedback-

    GE introduced a filament light bulb about 10 years ago that contains a small glass envelope surrounding the filament. The glass envelope has a multilayer dielectric coating that passes visible light but reflects mid-IR light back onto the filament (the envelope is a cylinder with the straight filament positioned at the focus of the reflecting envelope’s surface). As a result of this positive feedback, the filament requires less electrical power to achieve the same filament temperature. The coated envelopes cost a few pennies each to make (that process was what GE spent buckets of money developing). The efficiency improvement is on the order of 30% if I remember correctly. It does not run away, even though it is positive feedback.

    However, this analogy does not apply to greenhouse gases, since they do not reflect energy back to the surface. They absorb energy and quickly thermalize with the local atmosphere.

    A better analogy would be to place an IR absorbing glass above the surface. The dichroic glass transmits the visible light but absorbs the thermal radiation emitted from the heated surface. Now what do you expect the surface temperature to do? This is not so straightforward a thought experiment.

    In feedback systems with no time delay, the gain of the closed loop is given by G/(1-GH), where G is the forward gain (G>0) and H is the feedback coefficient. If GH=1, the system becomes unstable. If H is positive, a stable system can result if GH<1. If GH is negative, the system will always be stable. The closer GH approaches +1, the more unstable the system, with oscillatory behavior becoming more obvious, even in well-damped systems.

    I think I recall a feedback of GH=0.8 in some of the climate models (a factor of 5 amplification due to water vapor feedback). If this were true, oscillatory behavior in global temperatures following Pinatubo’s eruption (a very nice impulse forcing experiment) should have been observed. It was not. Either the damping effects of the climate are large, or the feedback is much less than 0.8, or both. The months-long drop in global TSI at the surface was on the order of 10% during this eruption.

  295. Linzden has been economical with the truth in this article I have read, using older 2002 datasets that have been updated since. Anyone for peer review?

  296. To” There is a third option, perhaps he doesn’t trust the “correction”. I know that many of us here don’t trust “corrections” applied to data. For example most GISS corrections of weather station data for homogenization are the wrong sign.” (07:44:04)

    Lindzen:

    “Recently, Wong et al (Wong, Wielicki et al, 2006, Reexamination of the Observed Decadal Variability of the Earth Radiation Budget Using Altitude-Corrected ERBE/ERBS Nonscanner WFOV Data, J. Clim., 19, 4028-4040) have reassessed their data to reduce the magnitude of the anomaly, but the remaining anomaly still represents a substantial negative feedback, and there is reason to question the new adjustments.”

    I don’t have the date of the presentation in which he writes this, and perhaps his position has changed, but there it is.

  297. chris y (06:40:41) :

    Many people here (including yourself I think) seem to be implying that run-away means ‘goes to infinity’. That of course is impossible. However if (in the case of the earth) you mean a small perturbation can cause the system to ‘run’ all the way from one extreme state to another, well then that obviously is possible and occurs all the time for the earth (every 100,000 years or so) and all the time for public speakers who turn the volume up too high.

    I agree with you about oscillations. There should be oscillations even with small positive feedback UNLESS of course you ‘run-away’ to pin the system at saturation.

    – Without positive feedback you can’t have an ice-age.
    – With positive feedback you should see oscillations. With the size of the positive feedback required to have an ice-age you should see very large oscillations indeed, unless the positive feedback is driving the system to saturation.
    – We don’t see these oscillations.

    Therefore …

    see

    http://www.ianschumacher.com/maximum_temperature.html

    and

    http://www.ianschumacher.com/iceages.html

  298. Ian Schumacher:

    For those that are interested, here are some graphs and examination of ice-age temperature changes and why this strongly suggests positive feedback driving the system to saturation with no significant negative feedback in sight. At least that is what it suggest to me ;-)

    Aren’t you perhaps reading a bit much into that graph?
    The trend in the ‘rapid’ rises on the graph amounts to something in the order of 0.2c/century, and that of the ‘rapid’ decreases is much slower. It seems to me that the rate of change around the small peaks superimposed on the underlying trend could be much greater.

  299. Bill:

    If these “heat waves” become more frequent and just 2degC hotter do you think that Europe will cope and this is a temperate climate?

    It’s pure conjecture to suggest that “heat waves” will become more frequent.
    Heat waves happen as a result of a high-pressure system which remains stationary for several days, coupled with strong sunshine and, normally, high humidity. With no wind, the area under the high pressure system becomes like a huge greenhouse, functioning similarly to a ‘real’ greenhouse. With little or no air movement to remove the heat from the surface, the temperature gets very high.
    Do you know of any mechanism by which CO2 can create such conditions?

    As an aside, under such extreme conditions, wind turbines won’t generate any electricity to power all the air conditioners. People will die as a result.

  300. Yes the plants will save us. Say hallelujah! Guess it’s time to get back to work on growing back the Amazon rain forest. In addition to unleashing too much CO2 for our own good, our land use practices also screw us in the wrong and not enjoyable way. It’s good to see “science sites” can dispense with major environmental problems so easily. Look ma no hands!

  301. Peter (10:02:00) :

    “Aren’t you perhaps reading a bit much into that graph?”

    Sure, quite possibly … I looked at the data, I have a theory that matches it as closely as I can. I post it here looking for feedback/discussion.

    0.2C might be rapid when you consider the mass of the oceans. I’m just going by what I read elsewhere that this was temperature changes coming out of ice-ages was rapid. I havn’t done the math myself.

    The asymmetry is interesting … what causes it? I don’t know. Hey, its all fascinating. The fractal nature .. also fascinating. I have no idea. Fun stuff :-)

  302. Anthony,

    I got the following from Colose’s blog

    The correction was largely the result of step in the computer code that caters for satellite altitude being effectively ’switched off’. Details were published in the Journal of Climate and also by the Data Product provider. All other researchers who use this dataset use the revised version. The onus is therefore on anyone citing the 2002 version to at least mention that the originators of the dataset have revised it and explain why they prefer the ‘uncorrected’ dataset, especially if the corrected version removes a central plank of their argument. From Prof Lindzen, not even a footnote. Does this qualify as the good and transparent science quite rightly promoted by WUWT?

    REPLY: John I have deleted your response, and I resent the smear you made against me for publishing this informal essay from Dr. Lindzen. You get a 24 hour timeout. If you wish to continue, lose the ad homs. Otherwise off to the troll bin permanently for you. – Anthony

    Say it ain’t so. I’m a skeptic (more accurately a lukewarmer) and John had a good point. I’ve heard talk of censoring on this site and I’d much rather believe that this sort of censorship is generally found only on alarmist sites.

    REPLY: Hi Bill, as I’ve mentioned on the Air vent, I viewed a single statement in the comment “Does this qualify as the good and transparent science quite rightly promoted by WUWT?” as a smear on me, based on my knowledge and history of Mr. Philips here. Maybe I was wrong and overreacted by reading too much into it, but it seemed to me that he was saying I published Lindzens essay with knowledge of the issue beforehand and attempted to mislead people.

    So far John Philips has not weighed in on the Air Vent (even though I’ve asked) on what his intent actually was. In hindsight what I probably should have done is left the main part and snipped only that. That was my mistake. If people expect perfection in moderation, they won’t find it here, or at RC, or at Tamino’s, or or any other blog that is moderated. Yes I’ve deleted comments before, and I’ll do so in the future, as is my perogative, and something that is regularly practiced elsewhere, even at Climate Audit, which is moderated in hindsight.

    Here is what I wrote on the Air Vent

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/04/02/ten-replies-to-gavin-advocacy-vs-science/#comments

    This issue is moot now anyway, since a reference to the newer data by Lindzen was found and I’ve posted it above. (see the update #2) But I’m sure there will be a continuance of “how terrible I am” because I’ve deleted a comment from someone, as is my right n my own blog. For those who wonder about comments, please read the “policy” tab above. – Anthony

  303. Mark A. York:

    Guess it’s time to get back to work on growing back the Amazon rain forest

    Why don’t you spend some time on GoogleEarth and see for yourself how much of the Amazon rain forest has been cleared and how much remains?
    I think you’re in for a surprise – don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself.

  304. I’d like very much to see Lindzen’s response to the criticisms of the data.

    This should be covered as a top level article.

  305. chris y (06:40:41) :
    Phil and others on feedback-

    GE introduced a filament light bulb about 10 years ago that contains a small glass envelope surrounding the filament. The glass envelope has a multilayer dielectric coating that passes visible light but reflects mid-IR light back onto the filament (the envelope is a cylinder with the straight filament positioned at the focus of the reflecting envelope’s surface). As a result of this positive feedback, the filament requires less electrical power to achieve the same filament temperature. The coated envelopes cost a few pennies each to make (that process was what GE spent buckets of money developing). The efficiency improvement is on the order of 30% if I remember correctly. It does not run away, even though it is positive feedback.

    However, this analogy does not apply to greenhouse gases, since they do not reflect energy back to the surface. They absorb energy and quickly thermalize with the local atmosphere.

    You’re right about the GE lights, it’s easier to do with them because the hot bulbs produce IR that is closer to the visible that is emitted, it is the same principle however. Your statement about the GH effect is wrong though, measured downwelling IR at the surface is ~300 W/m^2

  306. Alas.

    Lindzen is always interesting and I thought maybe he had a smoking gun here.

    Unfortunately, this looks like deja vu all over again. These charts are not based on the current ERBS dataset, it appears, which now correctly adjusts for changes in satellite altitude.

    Many of you will recall that disparities between UAH satellite temperature data and other datasets (observations and models) were largely reconciled after the UAH dataset (produced by Spencer and Christy) was updated to version 5.2.

  307. “”” _Jim (19:23:28) :

    George E. Smith (17:26:59) :

    But [taking] the mean surface temperature as being +15 deg C (this is a nonsense concept and there is no way we can measure that presently), then that would be 288K, and a black body radiation for that temperature would have a spectral peak wavelength of about 10.1 microns (From Wien’s Displacement Law).

    Doesn’t it strike you (or any of the other incurious lot here this evening) as odd that this is/is near the middle of the atmosphereic window (8 – 14 um for the readers out there) here on earth given the transmittance properties of CO2 and H2O in that range?

    Could I not then liken Planck’s spectral curve leading to ’spillover from a bucket’ as more LWIR energy transmits through this window (DIRECTLY into space I might add, unblocked by CO2 or H2O) as temperatures approach and exceed about 216K ( 0 deg F)? *

    Did I mention that total radiative energy under the curve (for purists) – seems to be proportional to: Temperature_to_the_4th_power )MEANING that energy under the curge and the surge in the curve REALLY FAST)? “””

    Jim,

    The fact you cited struck me maybe 50 years ago. But it is not practical for me to write a complete encyclopaedia of thermodynamics in answer to any specific question someone has. Even Prof Lindzen, had to curtail his essay, and therby leave openings for critcism, such as he has received here.

    The presence of the atmospheric window from about 6-12 microns is a very key element of the temperature regulation exerted by water; and a thorn in the side of the CO2 haters.
    The real cooling of the earth takes place in the hottest tropical deserts under the midday summer sun, with surface temperatures of +60 deg C or higher. This raises the surface irradiance by a factor of as much as 2x over the global mean energy loss rate, and per the Wien’s Displacement Law, it moves the thermal radiation peak (for those regions) down to the 8.8 micron range, which is well within the window. The thermal continuum radiation has to be bounded by the black body radiation for that temperature, and for BB radiation, only 25% of the total energy is emitted below the spectral peak. So most of the shorter wavelenghts of the desert thermal radiation are also within the window. On the long wavelength tail; the ozone “hole” takes out a chunk in the 9-10 micron range, and at those higher surface temperatures, the 15 micron CO2 band is moved even further down the long wave tail of the thermal radiation spectrum.

    Guess what ! ? ; hot tropical deserts are quite known for being devoid of moisture, and the bottom end of the 9 micron atmopsheric window, is actually a water absorption band from 4-8 microns. So in the deserts of Africa and The Middle East, that atmospheric window is wide open all the way down to around 4.5 microns, where it actually runs into another CO2 band. the 9-10 micron ozone hole is the only missing part of the 4.5-13.5 window, in the absence of water vapor.

    So just what is it, that is going to drive the earth through that atmospheric window till it runs into the 4 micron CO2 band. CO2 isn’t going to do it, even at 10 times the current level, and water vapor isn’t going to do it either because the only parts of the earth surface that get hot enough to move the thermal raidation spectrum into that window, don’t have any water vapor to speak off anyhow; and the contibution of the 15 micron CO2 band is greatly attenuated.

    While to total Stefan Boltzmann radiated energy may go as T^4 for BB like energy losses; the Peak Spectral Radiance at the thermal radiation spectral peak varies as the 5th power of the temperature; not the 4th, so it really goes up fast with temperature; and at the same time Wien’s Displacement Law moves the spectrum further away from the CO2 15 micron band, and eventually even the 9-10 micron ozone band starts to lose its influence in the hottest places.
    It is interesting to note that the ozone band is very much narrower than the 15 micron CO2 band. And that is because the CO2 absorption starts right at ground level for the first few meters; where the atmospheric pressure is highest, and hence the collision broadening is maximised, and also the atmospheric temperature is highest; so the Doppler (temperature) broadening is also highest.

    Ozone on the other hand exists in a thin layer high in the atmosphere, where the atmospheric pressure is much lower and so is the atmospheric temperature; so both the collision and Doppler broadening of the ozone band are much lower.

    So I’m afraid it just is not possible to make a Physics case for CO2 having major influence on the earth’s cooling processes.

    Now at the colder polar regions; the tempertaure can move low enough to move the thermal radiation spectral peak right on top of the CO2 band; but then at those temperatures, the total emittance is at least an order of magnitude lower than for the tropical deserts; so there’s not much IR to be captured by CO2, and the peak spectral emittance at that temperature is down by even more than an order of magnitude; because of the Wien’s Displacement Law.

    Thisa sort of simple physics analysis, demonstrates why the climate science concept of an isotropic earth at +15 deg C emitting 390 W/m^2 everywhere; and the very concept of a “mean global surface temperature” (or lower troposphere); is sheer rubbish; and why standard climatology “science” is in the same category as Astrology and Economics.

    Now Meteorology has fairly sound observationa science behind it, which may be why most Meteorologists, appear (to me) to be IPCC skeptics.

    The ones I know personally; who are paid good money by people who have a highly vested interest in knowing what the weather ahead is really going to be; are first of all excellent meteorologists, and secondly total MMGWCC skeptics.

    George

  308. chriscolose (17:20:58) :

    “Almost every thread I see here is a blatant misrepresentation of the science (like your post on CFC’s and ozone) or other analysis problems, and somehow it remains one of the more read blogs on the web.”

    A rather bold generalization wouldn’t you say? I suspect that the high level of readership reflects the “audience” appetite for balance. Even if your (false) claim were true – WUWT represent a healthy opposing point of view to the massive MSM campaign attempting to prop up AGW.

    What most alarmists don’t seem to fathom is that real people want balance in their decision/learning process. Balance arrives on the wings of debate.

  309. Anthony,

    re: above censorship claim.

    If the Colose (actually, John’s) account is inaccurate and the reprint omitted smears and ad homs (which I think is probable), can’t you just publish the original and be done with it?

    I never like the idea of deleting posts because of situations like this. The best solution would seem to be dumping them into a “troll thread” so that readers could judge for themselves.

    REPLY: Unfortunately, wordpress.com hosting has no “move comment” feature. I wish it did. Maybe that is a case for me to move to a dedicated server. – Anthony

  310. BCC (11:45:22) :

    These charts are not based on the current ERBS dataset, it appears, which now correctly adjusts for changes in satellite altitude.

    Read the update above. Lindzen has apparently addressed this and noted that with the adjustments, the anomaly still represents a negative, albeit with a smaller magnitude, feedback. That he also questions the adjustments would be immaterial if it is still negative, not positive.

    Mark

  311. I have perused most of what is written above; but I can’t claim to have fully digested each post.

    I have to say that reading about feedbacks and ice ages got a little wearying.

    Whatever it is that causes ice ages; either going into one; or coming out of one, it certainly isn’t some minor event like an eruption that blocks a lot of sunlight for a few weeks, and kicks in an ice positive feedback to cover the whole place with ice. It seems pretty clear to me that significant shifts in the earth orbit, and/or solar output are required to cause such events; and to a large extent those things seem to be well understood by geologists and the like.

    But to talk about ice ages in the context of whether water and clouds are positive or negative feedback; is somewhat grasp[ing at straws.

    Water (H2O) in vapor form, liquid and/or solid form (clouds) can be construed to exhibit either positive or negative feedback (if that is what you want to do).

    You can argue that more warming causes more evaporation, hence more water vapor; and more warming; and call that feedback if you like; or if you want to be realistic; you can simply say when the temperature (in some region) changes to a new value (higher or lower); and water is around (oceans lakes etc) the total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere (in that region) also changes to a new value.

    You can find a set of steam tables in the CRC handbooks that relate temperatures and water vapor pressures. You don’t have to invoke feedback to come up with those tabulated values.

    Likewise, if the TSI changes 0.01% for some period of time; and pours some more radiant energy onto planet earth; you can expect that the amount of water vapor in the atmopshere will change to a new value as well.

    Arguably; some initial state might be considered to be a steady state, and after a change, say in TSI, a different steady state might be reached. The change is being caused by a change in some driving variable; such as TSI, and several effect variables such as atmospheric water vapor, and mean temperature may change to new values. It was the TSI change that caused the other two variables to change; and not some feedback effect between the two driven variables.

    Now the problem with all of this is that the earth is never even remotely in an equilibrium state. Every day it rotates on its axis so the solar insolation reaching some portion of the globe over some particular terrain, will cause temperatures, and vapor pressures, and lots of other variable to change, and it won’t ever be in equilibroum.

    Averaging some set of these variable may lead one to think there is an equilibrium; but the mistake is in doing the averaging.

    The earth most certainly does not average anything that happens all over the globe. It does integrate the instantaneous values of everything that is changing to get from one set of conditions to another; but that is not an average result. The system is highly non-linear in any case; so what is the purpose of an average value.

    But as far as water regulating temperatures over any region of the earth; the presence of water in a vapor form tends to cause heating in some locations, and cooling in others; such as when the water vapor absorbs solar near infra-red radiation and heats the atmosphere, but cools (relatively) the surface due to the insolation loss to the atmosphere. But in cloud form; the surface effect is always to cool the surface if there are more clouds. The clouds may be warmed by the energy they absorb; and simple convection forces will transport that heated atmosphere and water to higher altitudes, where eventually that excess energy is lost to space.

    No other so-called GHG exists in all three phases in earth’s atmsopehre, as does water; so none of them do anything like water does in the atmosphere.

    And whether you call it feedback; negative or positive; it is happening on a continuouis 24/7 basis right now; it isn’t waiting for some trigegr to start or end an ice age; so its effect is a part of our everyday weather and our current and future climate.

    George

  312. Mark A York
    Check out this NASA link

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

    Yes the planet is greening. Whether it’s the warming, the CO2 or both, it means that rainforest destruction is definitely balanced elsewhere. While this is fortuitous and accidental, it remains a fact. However there are plenty more environmental problems for you to worry about and every one of them is more urgent than global warming. And that’s the real danger of this issue – it takes all the funding, diverts attention and gives polluters a get out of jail free card: “It’s not us, it’s that global warming”.

  313. Weren’t the corrections made due to decay in the satellite’s orbit? It does make sense that a satellite slightly closer to the ground would detect more radiation.

  314. Phil- you say- “You’re right about the GE lights, it’s easier to do with them because the hot bulbs produce IR that is closer to the visible that is emitted, it is the same principle however.”
    “Your statement about the GH effect is wrong though, measured downwelling IR at the surface is ~300 W/m^2″

    Say what? I didn’t say anything about downwelling IR radiation at the surface, and bringing this up does nothing to refute what I said.

    I said that your analogy using a reflective dichroic mirror is wrong. A layer of clear atmosphere sprinkled with CO2 will not reflect IR. It can absorb IR. It can re-radiate IR over a different blackbody curve having a peak wavelength that is characteristic of the temperature of the atmosphere at that location.

    The dichroic absorber is a better analogy, and multiple spaced plates of dichroic absorbers would be an even better representation of the situation. That doesn’t mean there is no down-welling IR.

  315. Anthony, about update 2:

    The correction made by the satellite people can be found here:

    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/~tak/wong/f20m.pdf

    While the SW reflection is about the same as before the correction, the LW emissions TOA (top of atmosphere) are a lot smaller, with as result that there is no net loss of energy anymore, but a net gain. See Figure 5 in the above link and compare that to the Wielicki 2002 figure in the header.

    Thus there is no negative feedback at all. That is not a “positive feedback” either, as it seems that the change in radiation balance is a stepwise change, not a gradual change linked to GHG increase.

    Further, as the insolation ánd the outgoing LW radiation get up, that points to a reduction in cloud cover, which is not covered by models: still the SW reflection is significant too high in the models and outgoing LW and net difference is (not-significant) too low.

    What I was wondering all the time since the works of Wielicki and Chen in 2002, is if clouds are cause or effect of temperature. It looks like that clouds may be a cause (as Dr. Spencer also suggests), but what causes cloud cover to change?

    Anyway, as several main players have switched recently (PDO, NAO, flattened ocean heat content, temperature,…) we may see interesting years to come…

    REPLY: Thanks Ferdinand, it will indeed be interesting times ahead. – Anthony

  316. Zach:

    Weren’t the corrections made due to decay in the satellite’s orbit? It does make sense that a satellite slightly closer to the ground would detect more radiation.

    Yes, but it would detect more SW radiation as well as LW radiation. So one would expect the same corrections to be made to both. This is reportedly not the case.

  317. “”” Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:16:39) :

    Anthony, about update 2:

    The correction made by the satellite people can be found here:

    http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/~tak/wong/f20m.pdf

    What I was wondering all the time since the works of Wielicki and Chen in 2002, is if clouds are cause or effect of temperature. It looks like that clouds may be a cause (as Dr. Spencer also suggests), but what causes cloud cover to change? “””

    I guess I must be wearing my fingers to the bone for no reason. Nobody ever seems to bother reading it anyway.

    Let’s see if there is any plausible reason for clouds to change.

    See Wentz et al SCIENCE July 7 2007; “How Much More Rain will Global Warming Bring.” This is a satellite data paper; actual real world measured data; not some computer video game.

    In the paper Wentz et al report (Wentz is with RSS in Santa Rosa, CA they seem to know something about climate data measurments.) that a one deg C (1 C) increase in mean global surface temperature results in a 7% increase in total global evaporation. They also report that total atmospheric water content increases by 7%, and so does total global precipitation; which is a no brainer since precipitation and evaporation must always balance (over time).

    The GCMs (video games) on the other hand agree fully with the 7% increase in total atmopsheric water; but for the total evaporation and preciptation increase, they predict only 1-3% increase. Note the obligatory 3:1 fudge factor in the computer simulations.

    You might think about that difference; according to the GCMs the total atmospheric water content increases from 2 1/3 to 7 times faster than the increase in precipitation; care to explain that; let’s say it is 4x with a square root of 3 either way factor to give the 1-7x range

    So according to Wentz who actually measured it; increasing the mean surface temp by one deg C increased the water in the atmosphere by 7% and also the precipitation. It is widely reported in the literature that precipitation; whether rain snow sleet or hail, is often accompanied by the appearance of clouds in the sky; or an increase in the size or density or persistence time of the clouds already there.

    It’s not unreasonable to suggest that their observed 7% increase in precipitation was accompanied by about the same 7% increase in area, density and/or persistence time of the clouds; and that would be a possible mechanism for cloud coverage changing.

    Now these numbers from Wentz et al are rates. They did not actually observe a 1 deg C temperature increase during their data gathering period, which was a total of 19 years of observations. they said during the time involved the temp increased by 0.19 +/-0.04 deg C per decade.

    So the feedback mechanisms are very clear. more surface temp rise (or fall) means more evap/total water, and precipitation and presumably more clouds. The more clouds leads to less ground level insolation due to increased albedo from the cloud increase, and increased absorption due to cloud density/area/lifetime, and that insolation reduction translates directly into surface cooling.

    The erroneous notion that clouds are positive feedback comes from the idea that if the atmosphere warms up, clouds that exist will evaporate reducing the cloud cover. That may certainly be true over areas that lack water; but over the 73% of the surface that is water, any warming will result in the increase in Evaporation water and cloud formation leading to increased precipitation; which Wentz et al reported in 2007.

    Some British video game players reported cloud evaporation resulting from a doubling of CO2 in their simulations; However they also reported that during their simulations their Playstation kept the surface temperature absolutely constant. Not only is that a violation of simple physical laws; but it totally short circuits the very mechanism by which CO2 doubling is supposed to increase the surface temperature.

    I can’t be held responsible when supposed scientists do totally stupid things.

    Bottom line is that cloud cover modulation via the mechanism documented by Wentz et al provides all the negative feedback regulation of the earth’s surface and lower troposphere temperature. Anything that enhances cloud formation such as cosmic rays due to changes in solar magnetism, will result in lower temperatures being necessary to establish the required amount of cloud cover; and anything that inhibits cloud formation will require the temperature to increase, to make more water and clouds in the atmosphere.

    Now this is about the 12th time I have posted this information at WUWT; I don’t plan on posting it again.

    What’s to be said about purpoted “Climate models” or GCMs as they seem to be called; when they don’t even approximate the proper treatment of water in the atmosphere; it is after all only the most plentiful and the most powerful in terms of its spectral range in radiation absorption.

    So would people please stop pestering us with “climate models” or GCMs that do not fully account for the atmospheric water in all three of its phases in which it is present at all times as a permanent component of the earth’s atmosphere.

    George

  318. Was reading more about ice ages and there cause. As pointed out by John Edmondson (11:38:30) , most of us have the cause of ice ages backwards (and I did also) — http://www.livescience.com/environment/050330_earth_tilt.html

    Supposedly we come out of an ice age when the tilt is greatest.

    Also, there is still debate about the causes of ice ages despite some people’s insistence that the science is settled (that sounds familiar for some reason … it will come to me).

    http://www.sentex.net/~tcc/iceage.html

    http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/ice-age-sediments.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age

    We still seem to understand very little. Tilt periodicity is 40,000 years yet ice ages seem to occur only every 100,000 years. The calculated forcing from tilt is far too small to ‘force’ an ice age. In fact from some reading, there is even still some debate about the existence of ice-ages (the ‘ice-ages are fact’ amongst geologists is apparantly a fairly recent phenomenon — who knew).

    Anyways, precision still seems to be the leading contender I think and large positive feedback is required in order to ‘trigger’ an ice age. And yes, I believe trigger is the right word since the length of time between ice ages seems to be random and unpredictable … (which it would not be with an obvious strong forcing).

    So:
    – tilt which doesn’t always ‘trigger’
    – strong positive feed when it is triggered
    – runs to saturation :-)

    But we should be humble and realize we don’t have a working theory that predicts, well anything about ice-ages. We don’t know cause, the timing, not the reason for its structure, how long we are out of an ice age … and so on.

  319. Houston we have a problem

    Toward Optimal Closure of the Earth’s Top-of-Atmosphere Radiation Budget

    Norman G. Loeb, Bruce A. Wielicki, David R. Doelling, Seiji Kato, and Takmeng Wong

    NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

    G. Louis Smith

    National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Virginia

    Dennis F. Keyes and Natividad Manalo-Smith

    Science Systems and Applications, Inc., Hampton, Virginia

    ABSTRACT

    Despite recent improvements in satellite instrument calibration and the algorithms used to determine reflected solar (SW) and emitted thermal (LW) top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiative fluxes, a sizeable imbalance persists in the average global net radiation at the TOA from satellite observations. This imbalance is problematic in applications that use earth radiation budget (ERB) data for climate model evaluation, estimate the earth’s annual global mean energy budget, and in studies that infer meridional heat transports. This study provides a detailed error analysis of TOA fluxes based on the latest generation of Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) gridded monthly mean data products [the monthly TOA/surface averages geostationary (SRBAVG-GEO)] and uses an objective constrainment algorithm to adjust SW and LW TOA fluxes within their range of uncertainty to remove the inconsistency between average global net TOA flux and heat storage in the earth–atmosphere system. The 5-yr global mean CERES net flux from the standard CERES product is 6.5 W m−2, much larger than the best estimate of 0.85 W m−2 based on observed ocean heat content data and model simulations. The major sources of uncertainty in the CERES estimate are from instrument calibration (4.2 W m−2) and the assumed value for total solar irradiance (1 W m−2). After adjustment, the global mean CERES SW TOA flux is 99.5 W m−2, corresponding to an albedo of 0.293, and the global mean LW TOA flux is 239.6 W m−2. These values differ markedly from previously published adjusted global means based on the ERB Experiment in which the global mean SW TOA flux is 107 W m−2 and the LW TOA flux is 234 W m−2.

    http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2008JCLI2637.1

  320. “”” chris y (13:44:30) :

    Phil- you say- “You’re right about the GE lights, it’s easier to do with them because the hot bulbs produce IR that is closer to the visible that is emitted, it is the same principle however.”
    “Your statement about the GH effect is wrong though, measured downwelling IR at the surface is ~300 W/m^2″

    Say what? I didn’t say anything about downwelling IR radiation at the surface, and bringing this up does nothing to refute what I said.

    I said that your analogy using a reflective dichroic mirror is wrong. A layer of clear atmosphere sprinkled with CO2 will not reflect IR. It can absorb IR. It can re-radiate IR over a different blackbody curve having a peak wavelength that is characteristic of the temperature of the atmosphere at that location.

    The dichroic absorber is a better analogy, and multiple spaced plates of dichroic absorbers would be an even better representation of the situation. That doesn’t mean there is no down-welling IR. “””

    I don’t think any “dichroic mirror” model is tenable. Properly designed, dichroic mirrors are spectrum splitting, and what is not reflected is transmitted. In practice, small amounts of energy are absorbed (nothing but vaccuum is totally transparent).

    And almost nothing but water droplets and ice crystals in our atmosphere is in any way refective in the sense of any significant amount of energy.

    It is important to keep in mind that all GHGs including water vapor, are sufficiently low abundance in the atmosphere that they must act (optically) as individual molecules; essentially unaware of anything else like them. CO2 molecules for example are on average separated by about 13-14 layers of other molecules. So their optical activity with respect to any electromagnetic radiation is a property of a single molecule; and those kinds of reactions cover a variety of scattering mechanisms plus photon capture. Since photons are not supposed to be affected by electric fields, I would take a wild guess that some scattering can take place essentially as an optical refraction when the photon is within a certain range of a molecule; but I can’t give a good reason why. I would hope we don’t have to resort to quantum chromodynamics to explain how molecules scatter photons; but there are both elastic and inelastic scatter mechanisms.

    About the only time molecules (gas) don’t act alone is when they are in collision. It has been hinted that while molecules are in collision, for a certain time and spatial distance, their electron orbitals interact in ways that permit otherwise forbidden transitions to occur.

    Something like this is known in the solid state in the case of first generation yellow LEDs made from GaAs(1-x)P(x). GaAs is a direct gap semiconductor so the lowest conduction band minima is located at the same momentum as the valence band maximum, so a direct transition is allowed from the conduction band leading to a photon emission.
    GaP on the other hand is an indirect bandgap semiconductor like silicon is, so the conduction band lowest energy level occurs at a different momentup than the valence band maximum; so a photon emission is quite unlikely, because a second particle (a phonon) must take part in the transaction to conserve the momentum (since photons have no momentum).

    A breakthrough occurred with the discovery that a GAP and also indirect bandgap GaAsP alloys such as the yellow mixture, could be doped with significant amounts of Nitrogen, which replaced the P or AS atom in the lattice forming a so-called iso-electronic trap. In effect in that location you had a Gallium Nitride alloy, whith a somewhat larger bandgap; which readily trapped electrons from the conduction band. Because the nitrogen atom is locked in the crystal lattice, the location of the transition is confinced to the dimensions of the nitrogen atom; so the spatial location of the transition is very localised in space; and by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle; the product of location uncertainty and momentum uncertainty is greater than h/2pi, h being Planck’s constant. So as a result of the tight tolerance on the spatial location of the event; the momentum is more uncertain, so the probablility of the electron jhaving a momentum uncertainty large enough to put it over the valence band maximum becomes large so the previously unfavorable transition now becomes quite likely so only a photon; in this case in the yellow spectral range is emitted. No phonon is requred and there isn’t an energy loss as a result.

    This is the clearest experimental confirmation of the correctness of the Uncertainty principle in ordinary experience that I am aware of. Modern yellow LEDS are extremely efficient, but no longer empoly this Heisenberg effect; so they don’t use nitrogen doping, but are based on a quaternary alloy instead AlInGaP. Teh bandgap of these alloys can be varied over a wide range while keeping the bandgap direct, and simultaneously lattice matching the crystal to a Gallium Arsenide substrate so it can be grown strain free.

    So this is a case where close proximity of atoms alters the material properties in such a way as to make a previously forbidden transition allowable.

    Evidently the intermingling of electron orbitals during gas molecular collisions, is what allows previously disallowed transitions to occurt and premit gases to emit a broad band of continuum radiation governed by similar constraints to black body radiation (but not necessarily black) couold be grey red or blue etc.

    My molecular Physics is sufficiently faded in history to not be able to explain this more rigorously; but I think you should get the general idea.

    It is the thermal agitation collisions of gas molecules that provide the mechanism for continuum radiation; and those same collision statistics define the temperature; whcih is why such thermal radiation from gases is a function of temperature just as in solids or liquids.

    So the atmospheric gases really don’t behave as mirrors; they can absorb photons over certain spectral ranges; but emit a borad emission range unless the gas density and temperatures are so low that spontaneous emission occurs before collisions occur. That depends on the lifetime of the excited state(s)

    The energy involved in the molecular collisions is related to KT, and derivations of the spectrum of BB radiation are based on the assigning of energies like that to the distribution of molecules and the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution of kinetic energies.

    Specific heats can be calculated by somewhat similar strategies; the classical case being that of Sir James Jeans, who first derived the specific heats of solids at low temperatures.

    I think I’m getting a bit out of the box here.

    George

  321. “Ian Schumacher (18:49:40) :

    . . . if what you described occurred, there would be a gradual transition (a gradual reduction of positive feedback, and/or increase or negative feedback). This would show up as a decrease in the rate of change of temperature coming out of an ice-age. However, looking at the little and local data we have (and therefore ‘possibly’ not representative) this is not what happens.”

    Yes – if the feedback multiplier drops when it’s energy source starts deplete itself, you would expect to see a relatively smooth curve at the boundaries of the transition between an ice age (large feedback amplifier) and an interglacial (small feedback amplifier or negative net feedback), and vice versa, instead of a square function. Having said that, my understanding is that the temporal resolution of ice core data is very poor – on the nature of about 500 years. Given what I know about Nyquist sampling frequencies, this means that the ice core data will not be able to reflect changes in temperature that occur at frequencies faster than apporoximately 1000 years, plus or minus a century or so. There could well have been a ramp-down of the feedback multiplier, it’s just that it can’t be detected at the sampling rate we’re stuck with.

    Incidentally, I largely agree with what I think to be the point of George Smith above. Most of the people posting here have technical backgrounds of varying complexity and there is naturally a tendency to try to do what you can to mathematically or scientifically support your opinion based on the very imperfect infomation we have regarding the climate. The only way you can do this is by making a lot of assumptions, such as an equilibrium condition. But at the end of the day, you have to recognize that all you have is an argument – not proof.

    My position on how feedback in the climate system should behave, for example, makes qualitative sense to me (maybe not to others), but I have to admit that I have not quantified any of the important variables. For example, if feedback sources in the climate do deplete themselves, as I think they must at some point, what is the size of each of the sources and what is the rate at which they deplete/recharge? What curve does the rate of depletion follow? I don’t know how someone would even begin to calculate these parameters, and if someone tried it would be hard to say that it is anything other than pure conjecture.

    Even without this type of quantitative analysis, however, and even with the unproven assumptions we all make, I think it’s fair to say that there are VERY rational qualitative reasons for doubting that carbon dioxide plays as important a role in climate as we are supposed to simply accept as a matter of authority. I certainly beleive that no one has ever adequately supported the position that anthropogenic warming is settled, and in fact have a hard time believing that it ever will be settled.

  322. maksimovich (17:42:28) :
    “…After adjustment, …the global mean LW TOA flux is 239.6 W m−2. These values differ markedly from previously published adjusted global means based on the ERB Experiment in which the global mean … LW TOA flux is 234 W m−2.

    so the newest adjustment goes in the other direction by massive 5.6 Wm-2, confirming Prof. Lindzen’s thesis (?)

  323. As a professional flight control systems engineer and aerospace engineering professor, I know an awful lot about feedback loops and their stability, and more than a passing amount about the atmosphere. And to all the people who are trying to detract from Lindzen’s validated science, I’ve got news for you: He is exactly right on this issue. Any and every controls engineer can tell you that getting the phasing (sign) of the feedback correct is the difference between a control system that quickly diverges, out of control and into its destruction, and a well-behaved (well-damped) control system that corrects itself “as if by magic”.

    And then there is the issue of Verification, Validation, and Accreditation (VV&A) of computer models. This is something that people in my business are absolutely forced to do, for all aerospace procurements by the government. To not perform VV&A would be outright stupid, and downright dangerous if you actually built and tried to fly an aerospace vehicle based on models that had not been VV&A’ed. IPCC should be ashamed. And as Hansen once called for “they should be put in jail.”

  324. kurt (18:16:54) :

    I don’t know if CO2 has to play any significant role. CO2 is not required in the ‘theory of strong positive feedback’. We have ice feedback, we have water vapor feedback. That might be enough.

    I totally agree with you about everyone’s selective expertise. It very much colors how people look at things. It even causes some serious confusion over definitions and so on. We should try to show tolerance and patience. Assume that the other person is probably very good in their area, but realize that none of us knows everything and there is so much ‘noise’, measurement error, etc that a lot of different theories are viable — can be ‘justified’ by the data.

    I think it is quite possible that sudden negative feedback kicks in (and positive feedback is reduced) … quite possible, I just wonder if it is likely, or if the much simpler possibility of saturation is more likely.

    Positive feedback is reduced … we know that for sure. Ice near the poles is less important … so yes. Water vapor will be a pure greenhouse gas at first, but then it will be albedo changing clouds.

    But there are 2 issues this theory needs to address:
    1.) The smooth curve problem.
    2.) The large delay problem (which should result in overshoot and oscillations)

    Not impossible for sure, but also not addressed as far as I know.

  325. George E. Smith (15:28:14) :

    So according to Wentz who actually measured it; increasing the mean surface temp by one deg C increased the water in the atmosphere by 7% and also the precipitation. It is widely reported in the literature that precipitation; whether rain snow sleet or hail, is often accompanied by the appearance of clouds in the sky; or an increase in the size or density or persistence time of the clouds already there.

    George, I didn’t even look at the models, as these are way out of reality for cloud cover. The increase of precipitation and thus clouds is real, at least for the Norhern countries: increased snowfall (in most years) in Scandinavia and a 6% increase in discharge of the main Eurasian river over the last 60 years.

    But that doesn’t mean that the effect is the same everywhere. If you read the 2002 Wielicki and Chen papers:
    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/csrl/publications/pub_exchange/Wielicki_et_al_2002.pdf and

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2002/2002_Chen_etal_2.pdf

    There is a sudden decrease in cloud cover in the 20N-20S band (in later papers extended to 30N-30S) between the earlier period (1985-1990) and the later period (1993-1999). This includes an increase of the Hadley cells turnover, drying out of the upper troposphere and less clouds, especially in the subtropics. That allows more sunlight to warm the oceans. This is visible in the heat increase of the oceans: mostly in the subtropics, while GHGs should have an effect more spread over the latitudes.

    That is not directly compatible with the increase in GHGs, as the autors also conclude, but the result of some natural mechanism. Something similar happens (happened?) with the solar cycle and cloud cover: less clouds at high activity and more clouds at low activity. This enforces the effect of the small change in direct radiation…

    The main remaining questions are what caused the shift and what is cause and effect…

  326. “Is it just me? Am I that smart and everyone else that stupid. Isn’t it obvious that for life to exist on earth there must be a strong negative feedback effect in place. Without strong negative feedback does anyone sane really think that the climate on earth would remain stable enough long enough for life to evolve and prosper?”

    On a geological timescale, there are wild swings of climate and mass extinctions of life.

  327. Bill Illis:

    You appear to have presented plots of sea level data from single locations while trying to suggest that these represent ocean-wide trends. I quick look around the site where you found the plots (http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com)reveals maps and plots of global data that clearly demonstrate that sea level is rising by about 3mm/year globally and is also rising in each of the ocean basins.

    Due to the effects of prevailing winds and ocean currents there are places in each basin that do not show rises or in fact show falls. Presenting a single data plot from one of these spots in each ocean does not disprove the observed global rise of sea levels.

  328. “Due to the effects of prevailing winds and ocean currents there are places in each basin that do not show rises or in fact show falls. Presenting a single data plot from one of these spots in each ocean does not disprove the observed global rise of sea levels.”

    Cherry picking.

  329. I once commented that if Al Gore and his advisor Maurice Strong moved south we were in big trouble. Well they did.

    Al Gore owns land in Tennesee and Maurice Strong bought a ranch in the San Luis Valley, Colorado near the New Mexico border. Getting ready for the big freeze perhaps?? Check out the maximum of last Ice age and compare to present USA map. Interesting that Al Gore and Maurice Strong picked very good areas to locate in isn’t it??

    Last Ice age <a href=”http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/NAL2215.gif” map=”
    present USA map. <a href=”http://maps.google.com/maps?q=map+usa&oe=utf-8&rls=com.ubuntu:en-US:unofficial&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&split=0&gl=us&ei=LBPWSdbXN8WJtgf-7JThDw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1″ map=”

    Strong is also sitting on the largest Aquifer in the USA.

    “At the most extreme stage of the last glaciation, most of Canada and much of the northern USA were covered by an ice sheet thousands of metres in thickness. Colder and often drier than present conditions predominated across most of the USA. The eastern deciduous and conifer forests were replaced by more open conifer woodlands with cooler-climate species of pines and a large component of spruce. The open spruce woodland and parkland extended somewhat further west than present, into what is now the prairie zone. As a result of aridity and lowering of sea level (which lowered inland water tables), much of Florida was covered by drifting sand dunes. Notably moister than present conditions occurred across much of the south-west, with open conifer woodlands and scrub common in areas that are now semi-desert.”>

    J. Adams’ reconstruction of North America during last the glacial period – 18,000-15,000 14C ya

    http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/nercNORTHAMERICA.html

  330. Craig Allen (04:49:27) :

    “Due to the effects of prevailing winds and ocean currents there are places in each basin that do not show rises or in fact show falls. Presenting a single data plot from one of these spots in each ocean does not disprove the observed global rise of sea levels.”

    What ‘observed global rise’ are you talking about? http://icecap.us/images/uploads/SEALEVEL.jpg If you have other data -please show it. The worst rate that can be claimed thus far has been 1 foot per century and that apparently took a vacation until we start warming up again. Relax Bangladeshis, AL Gore was just joking; you’ve actually been GAINING ground!

    Mahfuzur Rahman, head of Bangladesh Water Development Board’s Coastal Study and Survey Department: “For almost a decade we have heard experts saying Bangladesh will be under water, but so far our data has shown nothing like this,”

  331. Regarding Lindzen’s use of “Heat Radiation”.

    I have a modern Handbook of Physics, which actually has a heading entitled “Heat Radiation” which it defines as electromagnetic radiation emitted by any body of finite temperature (T>0 K).

    It even says “the earth receives thermal energy from the sun by heat radiation.”

    So I’m not going to browbeat Prof Lindzen for using that terminology. We Physicists do know the difference; and personally I prefer to follow the pedantic line most of the time so as to not confuse non-experts; but I get lax when talking with my fellow Physicists at work; who can get as sloppy as I do. But we do keep it straight in writing.

    I once wrote a technical application note about Photometry, related to Light Emitting Diode measurments. A trade technical journal picked it up and asked me if they could publish a version of it in the magazine, so I modified it to suit the magazine format.
    Well they edited it and sent it back to me to “check for technical correctness.”

    Well I had used terms like Luminance, Illuminance, luminous Intensity and a lot of other photometric technical terms (they’ve all changed now), and the editos simply changed these terms willy nilly, replacing them with ordinary lay synonyms; brightness and a few other things; which turned the whole paper into gobbledegook.
    I had been very careful to be pedantically correct in the original, because photometry is just about the most screwed up section of physics that exists; well it’s nowhere near as bad as climatology, but it is royally screwed up.

    So I simply wrote on the proof copy:- “This paper was technically correct in its original form.” and sent it off with a huff figuring that was the last time they would ask me to write them a paper.
    The magazine published the original paper verbatim; never changing so much as a punctuation mark. The editor called me, and I explained the problem with replacing technical terms with lay equivalents; and after that he and I got along famously.

    George

  332. “”” Craig Allen (04:49:27) :

    Bill Illis:

    You appear to have presented plots of sea level data from single locations while trying to suggest that these represent ocean-wide trends. I quick look around the site where you found the plots (http://www.aviso.oceanobs.com)reveals maps and plots of global data that clearly demonstrate that sea level is rising by about 3mm/year globally and is also rising in each of the ocean basins.

    Due to the effects of prevailing winds and ocean currents there are places in each basin that do not show rises or in fact show falls. Presenting a single data plot from one of these spots in each ocean does not disprove the observed global rise of sea levels. “””

    Sometime in mid 2006, a British Dutch team reported on measurments over ten years of the Arctic Ocean sea level made with a European polar satellite.

    They reported that the Arctic ocean was falling at 2.0 mm per year. They said they were very confident of their data; but didn’t know why that was happening, and would wait till the theoreticians caught up with the experimental data.

    Two years earleir in june 2004; and Published in Letters to Physics Today for Jan 2005, I had predicted that when the floating sea ice melts, the sea level will go down, and not up.

    The reason is 8th grade high school science. When ice melts it absorbs 80 cal per gram of latent heat of freezing, and that energy is extracted from the ocean water surrounding the ice; so it cools an astronomical amount of sea water; and since sea water has an always positive temperature coefficient of expansion; the ocean shrinks, and the sea level falls.

    Of course their measured results confirmed that the floating sea ice was indeed melting over that ten yer period, as we all know. So if the claimed continuous melting doesn’t stop, the arctic ocean will presumably continue to fall as these researchers found.
    No big deal, it isn’t going to drain New york harbor or any such thing.

    But I don’t disagree with the general notion that sea levels are rising; they have been since the last ice age ended, and will likely do so till the next one starts; and there is nothing we could do about it anyway.

    George

  333. When I put my hand near, (not over), burning charcoal I am not technically feeling any heat from it, I am feeling my skin getting warmer because it is absorbing IR radiation. However, if my skin is bombarded by X radiation, it passes through so my skin doesn’t get warmer and I don’t notice anything.

    So… would it be fair to say that the term “heat radiation” is one of convenience to generally describe radiation within the infra-red spectrum?

  334. Bugs says:

    “Is it just me? Am I that smart and everyone else that stupid. Isn’t it obvious that for life to exist on earth there must be a strong negative feedback effect in place. Without strong negative feedback does anyone sane really think that the climate on earth would remain stable enough long enough for life to evolve and prosper?”

    On a geological timescale, there are wild swings of climate and mass extinctions of life.

    Actually, you are wrong on that last part. There are mass extinctions but as far as I am aware life has never become extinct. Perhaps I am mistaken.

    Of course, extinctions occur when species cannot adapt quickly enough to changes in the environment.

    Also, I would dispense with the emotion laden wording. On geologic timescales there have been large changes in climate. It is interesting that H sapiens seems to be able to survive, based on its present range, across most of those environments.

  335. “”” Mike M (08:44:52) :

    When I put my hand near, (not over), burning charcoal I am not technically feeling any heat from it, I am feeling my skin getting warmer because it is absorbing IR radiation. However, if my skin is bombarded by X radiation, it passes through so my skin doesn’t get warmer and I don’t notice anything.

    So… would it be fair to say that the term “heat radiation” is one of convenience to generally describe radiation within the infra-red spectrum? “””

    Mike I would say that is a fair statement; except that most of the radiation that comes from the sun would not be in the IR. Taking 500 nm as being the peak of a 6000K BB radiation spectrum, then 800nm would be 1.6 times the peak wavelength.

    According to the Bible of Color; “The Science of Color” by the Committee on Color of the Optivcal Society of America, luminosity which by definition is an eye response, is measurable from 300nm out to 1000 nm wavelength range; but that is under extreme laboratory conditions. For young person eyes the practical range of “Visible light is 400-800 nm, and the textbook actually gives luminosity numbers from 390 to 780 nm.
    So I think it is reasonable to say 800 =IR

    So the IR is less than 0.8 of the peak wavelength, and about 12% (roughly) of the total solar spectrum is UV.
    About 43-45% of the solar spectrum is beyong 800 and qualifies as IR.

    But that leaves about 44% in the visible.

    If you filter out the UV and the IR, there is plenty of solar energy to cause warming.

    A lot of the IR won’t go through ordinary window glass, but you have to be careful because if it is absorbed by the window glass, the glass gets hot, and then emits long wave IR which will warm you.

    In any case, the sensation which we call “heat” is nothing more than mechanical kinetic energy of molecular or atomic vibration.

    In ideal gases those mechanical vibrations have a velocity distribution that is Maxwell-Boltzman which is of the form:-
    1/N(dN/dv) = 4 pi v^2(m/2pikT)^3/2 exp(-E/kT)

    N is the total number of particles, v is the particle velocity, m the particle mass, and k is Boltzmann’s constant (1.380658 E-23 J/K). E is the particle Energy.

    It might be instructive to note here:-
    E = mc^2 = hf = kT = (mv^2)/2 (I’ll leave out the electric energy equivalent) you can figure out what the other equivalences are.

    Atomic particles have three degrees of freedom; those being translations on the three Euclidean geometry axes. Diatomic molecules, have an axis joining the atoms, and add two more degrees of freedom which are rotations about the two remaining axes perpendicular to the molecule axis. Molecules with three or more atoms usually have three rotational degrees of freedom giving them six total; and in determining things like specific heats; one would typically assign an energy of kT to each degree of freedom; and then do a lot od statistical math to come up with an answer for the temperature rise for a given energy input to a sample of N molecules of mass m.

    You have to figure out the total nuber of degrees of freedom in the system..

    The one thing I remember from Jean’s derivation of the low temperature specific heat of solids, is that to get a final simple answer, you have to cancel out a factor and say it is approximately one (1).

    The factor you just tossed out is actually Avogadro’s number 6.022E23/mol
    which most people would not think of as approximately one.

    But the expression of which this nuisance factor is included, contains factorial Avogadro’s number; which is a bloody big number in anybody’s language, so calling 6E23 roughly one may indeed be justified. The resulting answer was experimentally verified.

  336. “This causes the temperature of the earth to increase until equilibrium with the sun is reestablished.”

    How does a warmer earth facilitate equilibrium?

  337. This needs more follow up. One of my great frustrations in the Climate bloggery is how the sharp criticisms blow up and then fall away without resolution. Somebody is wrong here – is it Chris Colose or Lindzen/you?

    RealClimate.org is trashing your post, claiming that Lindzen’s ignoring the updated data.

    Gavin to me (JoeDuck / Joe Hunkins)
    For people like you to assume that corrections to scientific mistakes automatically imply the same level of advocacy as people deliberately making such mistakes is simply wrong. But quite revealing. – gavin]

    Joe to Gavin:
    A little advocacy never hurt anybody, right? Everybody agrees there should be no advocacy involved that would contaminate data processing, but I think too many now feel we need advocacy in the interpretations of the findings, creating many slippery statistical slopes.

    But isn’t it clear that updating the data along the lines Chris suggests still leaves Lindzen’s point intact, though weaker?

    You seem to be suggesting Lindzen is deliberately choosing the dates when it seems clear he simply used his older analysis to make the same point, which is more along the lines of objecting to the lack of falsifiability rather than the particulars of this data set. That’s the same junk M&M pull on you often.

  338. Mike M:

    What ‘observed global rise’ are you talking about? http://icecap.us/images/uploads/SEALEVEL.jpg If you have other data -please show it. The worst rate that can be claimed thus far has been 1 foot per century and that apparently took a vacation until we start warming up again. Relax Bangladeshis, AL Gore was just joking; you’ve actually been GAINING ground!

    What the?!

    The chart that you have presented demonstrates clearly that you are wrong. The data shows that the trend in sea level rise continues. You can cherry pick numerous short segments along that data plot that you could claim prove that temperatures are going down (or up). But the overall trend is up up up, and recent data does not deviate from that trend.

    Consider this: your chart has a plotted regression trend line with a slope of 3.3mm/year with an error estimate of 0.4mm/year (presumably that is the 95% error estimate). In the last three years (when you claim sea levels have been dropping) the 60 day running mean has intersected or touched that line 15 times.

    Please keep presenting data that contradicts your case. It’s very helpful.

  339. Craig Allen,

    From the IPCC:

    Past changes in sea level

    From recent analyses, our conclusions are as follows:

    *Since the Last Glacial Maximum about 20,000 years ago, sea level has risen by over 120 m at locations far from present and former ice sheets, as a result of loss of mass from these ice sheets. There was a rapid rise between 15,000 and 6,000 years ago at an average rate of 10 mm/yr.

    *Based on geological data, global average sea level may have risen at an average rate of about 0.5 mm/yr over the last 6,000 years and at an average rate of 0.1 to 0.2 mm/yr over the last 3,000 years.

    *Vertical land movements are still occurring today as a result of these large transfers of mass from the ice sheets to the ocean.

    *During the last 6,000 years, global average sea level variations on time-scales of a few hundred years and longer are likely to have been less than 0.3 to 0.5 m.

    *Based on tide gauge data, the rate of global average sea level rise during the 20th century is in the range 1.0 to 2.0 mm/yr, with a central value of 1.5 mm/yr (as with other ranges of uncertainty, it is not implied that the central value is the best estimate).

    *Based on the few very long tide gauge records, the average rate of sea level rise has been larger during the 20th century than the 19th century.

    *No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected. [source]

    It appears that you are repeating what the IPCC says: that the current very small rise in the sea level is an entirely natural function of the Earth’s emergence from the last major Ice Age.

    In other words, there is no measurable anthropogenic “finger print” on the very small, and entirely natural continuing rise in the sea level.

    If the effect of human-produced CO2 on the sea level [and that is the central question in the whole AGW debate] can be separated from what is naturally occurring, please show me. I am a skeptic. You need to provide evidence [and not flimsy, model-based "evidence"] that an increase in human emission of carbon dioxide is causing the sea level to rise faster than it would without those emissions — and in a measurable way [and please, no links to the always-inaccurate GCMs. The IPCC routinely gets egg on its collective face for claiming in its "projections" that its models once again have turned out to be wrong. Real world, empirical evidence will be fine. Thanx.]

  340. Smokey:

    Hmm, I suggest that other readers actually go and read what that IPCC executive summary of the chapter on sea level rise actually says.

    It quite clearly does not say that “the current very small rise in the sea level is an entirely natural function of the Earth’s emergence from the last major Ice Age.”

    Scientists conducting research in the field, and who contribute to research that is summarised in IPCC reports, inclusing organisations such as the CSIRO contend that, based on many lines of evidence, sea levels rose rapidly as we came out of the last ice age, that this slowed markedly and then came to a near standstill for the last thousand years or so and that the rate of rise has then accelerated over the last 150 years or so.

    As the IPCC report and the CSIRO say, there are a number of contributors to sea level change at any particular location. Scientists in the field are continuously working to improve their data and to separate out and estimate the contributions from the various causes. Unsurprisingly, they are very aware of contributors such as isosatic rise and continue to work at better accounting for such factors.

    The effect of human-produced CO2 on the sea level is clearly NOT the “central question in the whole AGW debate”. Although it is of course important. We know that a warming World will cause sea levels to rise through factors such as glacial melt and thermal expansion. This will be a big problem for infrastructure and ecosystems in coastal regions. And evidence is emerging that seems to show that an acceleration is under way.

    You phobia about models is irrational. They are a useful tool for assisting in the understanding of complex systems in just about every facet of science and engineering. Global Climate models are constantly being improved, but they will never perfectly emulate the Earths climate system. None-the-less they do enable scientists to get a much better idea of the likely effects of humanities ramping up of green house gas emissions. But the broad conclusions about the of increasing the concentrations of infrared absorbing gasses in the atmosphere can be made independently of such models.

    By the way, the fact that CO2 emissions are tracking at the high end of the scenarios used as input to climate models. And that sea levels are tracking at the high end of model predictions, is no cause for comfort.

    Also, be aware that the last IPCC report is a summary of the state of knowledge as of about a year before the report has published. A lot has bean learned since then.

    Anyway, the point of my original post to Bill Illis was that he claimed that sea level has ceased to rise over the past few years, whereas the data clearly contradicts that assertion. So, I think you have a bone to pick with Bill. Is it rising as you appear to agree or is it not as he claims in spite of the available evidence?

    Scientists are beavering away at coming to a coherrent understanding of how the climate system works, what it has done, is doing and will do. Where they uncover apparent contradictions in their findings they beaver away to resolve them. By contrast, [snip] seems to be perfectly happy with the contradictory nature of their mish-mass of claims, as longs a each claim on it’s own seems to challenge the existence of AGW, or the seriousness of it’s possible impacts.

  341. “near standstill for the last thousand years or so and that the rate of rise has then accelerated over the last 150 years or so.”

    Really? How do they “know” that?

    You mean to tell me that during the Little Ice Age there was no lowering of sea levels. Things just flat-lined? Are you claiming that sea levels always remain perfectly level between ice ages and that is normal? Based on what measurements? Measurements by our Cro-magnon or simian ancestors? What possible accurate and direct measurements could we have from before the last ice age?

    You have a lot more faith in off the cuff claims than I do. Who’s to say that that “flat-lining” is “normal”. Perhaps normal is that sea levels fluctuate all the time.

  342. JoeDuck (11:05:28) :
    This needs more follow up. One of my great frustrations in the Climate bloggery is how the sharp criticisms blow up and then fall away without resolution. Somebody is wrong here – is it Chris Colose or Lindzen/you?

    Ditto. A response from Prof. Lindzen would be helpful.

    /Mr Lynn

  343. Craig, because much is not clear about sea level, especially in terms of oceanic oscillations, it is best to view the noisy data either without the linear trend line or at most, a moving average. My personal opinion also tells me that the data pool is a rather skinny set that may not even rise to the level of statistically being able to overcome the number of variables that must be considered. Meaning that when a study is done that includes many variables, the number of subjects (in this case sea level gauges) must increase. Global sea level graphs are simply the opening step to the classical model of scientific discovery. Observations, such as sea level, must then be followed by the scientific method to determine what is happening and why. In this case, truth and belief can easily get mixed in the study and at best, bias the conclusion, and at worst, color what you see from the beginning.

    I don’t often refer to Wiki for scientific information but the article on the scientific method is a really good one, well worth the read:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

  344. Craig Allen:

    The effect of human-produced CO2 on the sea level is clearly NOT the “central question in the whole AGW debate”.

    Of course it is. Why else would alarmists keep talking about the mysterious CO2-caused runaway global warming “tipping point”, unless that was the central question?

    If it was agreed that a change in atmospheric CO2 does not matter [and since the data shows that, in fact, changes in CO2 don't matter much, if at all], then we could use those $Billions/$Trillions that are presumed to be required to ‘fight climate change’ on worthwhile projects instead, benefitting the entire human race rather than the relatively few rent-seeking grant applicants and politicians who have learned how to game the system for their own benefit.

    Allowing the repeatedly falsified AGW/CO2 hypothesis to continue to suck up the money available for actual problem solving is simply a devious method to raise taxes. It starves all the other science disciplines of necessary funding… and it’s based on a falsified hypothesis! So, Yes, the AGW/CO2 hypothesis IS the central question in the whole AGW debate.

    If you give up the notion that CO2 significantly matters, then you lose your entire argument. Naturally, then, you must defend the AGW/CO2 hypothesis, right or wrong.

    In this case, it is wrong. Believers in the failed AGW/CO2 hypothesis can not accept reality — because that would result in a major loss of funding. But of course you already knew that.

    [Thanks Pamela Grey for that interesting link!]

  345. Anthony,
    It appears from the comments that Dr. Lindzen is using a data set that has been withdrawn because of substantial errors that were later corrected. Why do you allow this use of outdated data in this deceptive manner in your blog? I thought you always insisted that data be carefully vetted.

    Mike Sweet

    REPLY: I disagree with your characterization of “deceptive”. Please read the update on the main body (at the bottom). Dr. Lindzen has questioned the corrections, which is why I think he chose as he did. – Anthony

  346. In adjustment 2 to this aricle, you say that Lindzen states that there is “there is reason to question the new adjustments.” (The ones that would if valid completely undermine his argument.)

    Can we see his reasons please. It goes to the heart of the legitimacy or otherwise of this article. Many people would be fascinated to understand his reasoning.

    REPLY:I agree, and I’ve inquired. I’m waiting on correspondence from him in that matter. – Anthony

  347. Craig Allen

    “Can we see his reasons please. It goes to the heart of the legitimacy or otherwise of this article.”

    No. it does not go to the heart of the argument. Quit obfuscating!

    It is the responsibility of those promoting the AGW/CO2 hypothesis [like Mr. Allen] to provide substantial, real evidence that CO2 causes runaway global warming.

    So far, neither Allen nor anyone else has provided such evidence. That shows that their conjecture fails.

    If I am wrong, provide us with the evidence.

  348. Smokey:

    How can the validity of the data that Lindzen uses, not be of central importance to the validity of his conclusions? How can pointing this out possibly be considered to be obfuscation?

    By contrast, you are trying to claim that somehow sea level rise is central to everything related to global warming. Talk about obfuscation. It’s one important predicted negative consequence of global warming. It is likely to be a very expensive and troublesome one to many communities, but it will notbe the only consequence. I live in Victoria, Australia, and I know a number of people who have lost their homes in fires recently, and I have family in farming communities that suffering terribly in the ongoing drought. I can assure you that many people here consider the effects of drought and high temperature extremes to be someone more important to them personally than sea level rise. But it does make these effect central to the debate either.

    Anyway, do you think that sea level his been, or is rising? And what is the cause? If the observed rise is due to isostatic land rise that is residually occuring after the melting of ice sheets, how can that be reconciled with the assertions of other people posting here that the rise has ceased? And if the rise has accelerated over the last century or two as the data from reputable research organisations such as the CSIRO suggests, what is causing it?

    Going, back to the topic of the post: Given that it is central to the validity his conclusions, why does Lindzen disagree with the corrections that have been made to the data in order to account for the decay of the orbit of the satelite that collected it? Simple question. What is the answer?

    As for your other comments …

    1) I’m not particularly interested indulging your ideas about a global conspiracy of scientists and politicians colluding to invent global warming in order to enrich themselves. I think it’s more than a bit loopy for you to think like that. I’m sure that there are better ways to make a buck.

    2) Your assertion that because I personally have not provided you with conclusive evidence on AGW the work of the entire scientific community over many decades is somehow invalidated is lame. There is an enormous, coherent body of science pointing toward global warming as a predicted and increasingly observed consequence of increasing the concentrations of CO2 and other infrared absorbing gases. Go check it out for yourself and if you find fault, then engage in questioning and debate about specific aspects of it in an effort to come up with your own internally consistent understanding of what’s going on.

    3) I’m sorry to hear that your views on taxation have such an influence on your assessment of the science.

    4) What particularly do you want me to prove with evidence that you are wrong about?

  349. Pamela Gray:

    I’m very very familiar with the methods scientific in all their chaotic and splendid glory.

    But what exactly are you trying to assert?

    Given the data at hand, do you think that sea levels are rising, falling, staying the same, or do you think that the data is too noisy or unreliable to tell? If it is then what would scientists need to do to reveal the signal through the noise? Do you agree or disagree with the conclusions of the scientists who gather and analyse sea level data? What do you think might be causing it to rise or fall?

  350. Smokey: “No. it does not go to the heart of the argument.”

    It goes to the heart of Lindzen’s argument, which is the argument that is presented in this thread.

    My first reaction on reading Lindzen’s argument was: what’s the catch? If AGW can be so easily overturned, why have no other climate scientists addressed these issues?

    We now know the catch. I’m disappointed that a scientist of Lindzen’s calibre should omit important evidence, especially when his article is written expressly for the layman.

    The positive aspect of this episode is that the additional evidence has been offered by people who adopted a proper degree of scepticism. So it’s a win for scientific scepticism. We can all celebrate that.

  351. Craig Allen (00:52:08) :

    Pamela Gray:

    Given the data at hand, do you think that sea levels are rising, falling, staying the same, or do you think that the data is too noisy or unreliable to tell? If it is then what would scientists need to do to reveal the signal through the noise?. . .

    Well, that’s so easy even I can answer it:

    Scientists need more data. More measurements, in more places, by different techniques, and over longer periods of time. And then, say after a decade or two, the data remain too noisy to discern a signal, then what? Maybe there’s no signal there.

    /Mr Lynn

  352. Craig Allen (00:44:30) :

    Smokey:

    . . . There is an enormous, coherent body of science pointing toward global warming as a predicted and increasingly observed consequence of increasing the concentrations of CO2 and other infrared absorbing gases. . .

    But it would appear that this hyperbolic “enormous, coherent body of science” has yet to validate its central hypothesis with successful prediction or observational confirmation. Smokey as asking for evidence—any evidence, really—(a) that “increasing the concentrations of CO2 and other infrared absorbing gases” does in fact cause “global warming”; and (b) the AGW corollary, that the human-generated contribution to this hypothetical effect is significant or even discernible.

    To the contrary, as I understand it, the argument from many scientists here and elsewhere is that both hypotheses have been falsified, (a) from paleo-climactic data (CO2 follows warming, so it cannot be a cause), and (b) from contemporary measurements (e.g. no equatorial ‘hot spot’ signature).

    Given that the output of climate models is not evidence, other than the very sloppy correlation of increasing CO2 with more or less increasing temperatures in the 20th century, what evidence for the AGW hypotheses is there?

    /Mr Lynn

  353. Mr Lynn.

    1) Physicists predict that increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will cause the world to warm. It is observed to be warming through numerous lines of evidence (unless you want to cherry-pick short time periods in particular datasets). What specific evidence are you after?

    2) Scientists already contend that the data clearly shows that sea levels are rising. Why do you think otherwise? When I look at the data it is clear to me that the rise is statistically significant (having done a few regressions in my time). Get the data and do a regression for yourself if you like. I guarantee you that the trend for the satellite data is significant. And the longer data sets will be significant also (although doing the statistical test is then complicated by the nonhomogeneity of the data). Why do you demand more data, more measurements, in more places, by different techniques, and over longer periods of time. How much is enough to convince you? What criteria are you using to quantify your demands.

    3) Regarding the 800year delay:
    As has been is explained in many many places on the internet and elsewhere, climate scientists argue that when Milankovitch cycles cause warming (primarily by causing increased sunlight at the north pole) the warming causes the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses from the oceans and probably from sources such as methane emitting permafrost. This in turn acts as a feedback which kicks temperatures up a great deal higher than they would have due to the Milankovitch cycles alone. This is the reason that temperature changes between ice ages and interglacials are rather saw toothed (rapid increase slower decrease) rather than following smooth curves that mirror the direct effect of the Milankovitch cycles. There is a delay of about 800 years between the initiation of the warming process by the Milankovitch cycles and the CO2 ramp up. So CO2 has in the past been both a response to and a cause of warming. This delayed release of CO2 following warming a big concern. This time it is us who are initiating the warming through preemptive CO2 release. If, as expected, this then causes a lot more CO2 to be release, then we are in big trouble. That release is an example of the positive feedback that everyone is so concerned about. If we get to that point there will probably be no return and we will just have to cope with what comes our way until the feedback runs it’s course (over a millennium or more). This is unknown territory because we will head into a climactic situation that has not been experienced on earth since the dawn of the age of mammals.

    4) Regarding the missing equatoral hot spot:
    As explained here in spite of claims to the contrary there is no missing hot spot. And besides, a hot spot is predicted regardless of the source of warming. A more relevant signature of infrared absorbing gas induced warming is in fact a cooling of the stratosphere, which has been observed, although the data is still noisier than the climatologists would like.

    5) Lets flip the question about whether CO2 will cause warming. Can you come up with a reason why it won’t? I’m not a physicist, but the basic explanation of why it will makes perfect sense to me. I intend to use the same phenomenon to keep myself warm tonight, namely throwing over a blanket that will intercept my heat loss and reflect it back to me.

    P.S. I wish someone would convince me that Dr Lindzen is right. It would let me sleep better.

    But then I would be kept awake wondering why the ice ages occurred given his assertion that negative feedbacks preclude the possibility of such wild fluctuations in temperature!

  354. Craig,

    let me correct four of your misinterpretataions:

    – there is no trend in satellite sea level data.
    the trend has been adjusted (or”calibrated”) to match the trend of a number of selected boyes. this is no independant measurement.

    – there has been a massive buildup of ice during the little ice age, that has been partly removed until now, contributing to sea level rise.

    – australia did not experience a draught recently. rainfall anomaly is actualy positive for the last 36 months (longest period from this source). there is a negative and very local anomaly only in parts of the southwest. you appear to generalize a very local and limited personal experience:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/rain_maps.cgi?map=contours&variable=anomaly&area=aus&period=36month&region=aus&time=latest

    – bush fires were caused by Green policy. this has been easily proven elsewhere on his blog.

  355. “”” Craig Allen (08:22:39) :

    Mr Lynn.

    1) Physicists predict that increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will cause the world to warm. It is observed to be warming through numerous lines of evidence (unless you want to cherry-pick short time periods in particular datasets). What specific evidence are you after? “””

    Interesting; specifically what Physicists predict that. According to the media that generally inform the public about such things; it is only computer climate models that predict that.

    I’d be interested in reading a paper by a Physicist; who can report on actual Physical data; including the full effect of water in all three phases; that is including the full effect of clouds etc.

    As for feedback; water alone is perfectly capable of warming up planet earth from its sub zero (C) orbital BB equilibrium temperature to our comfortable living temperatures; without any triggering mechanism from CO2 or any other trace gas.

    If there really was a feedback linkage, including an 800 year delay; you would have a free running oscillator; that would run by itself without any help from Milankovitch or anybody else.

    If you can cite a reference to this CO2/water feedback equation including either the frequency response or the Step function of impulse response of this feedback system; that would be very instructive for all of us; and I am sure any real Physicist making any such claims would have ready access to te real feedback equations for this system including the time or frequency response.

    George

  356. Ian Schumacher’s point about the maximum possible temperature of a planet is important . In fact , on average , the planet MUST obey the Stefan Boltzmann and Kirchhoff laws for radiative equilibrium . All “feedbacks” in the end must net out to match those laws . I have implemented these classic equations for non-uniformly shaded gray balls at http://cosy.com/Science/TemperatureOfGrayBalls.htm . Extension to colored spectra is not difficult and will yield quantitative , experimentally verifiable , values for the effects of CO2 couple of lines or any other particular change in planetary color . However , that will have to wait for either time , or support .

  357. Bob! Thank you! I love your thought experiment of a Magnesium Oxide ball in a vacuum. That example alone makes the fallacy of current thinking crystal clear. Otherwise … what a great idea for an energy free air conditioner ;-) Put ball in vacuum outside, let cool off. Bring inside take out of vacuum … cool down house, repeat.

    I brought up the fallacy of planets absorbing more radiation then a black body on the Wikipedia “Black Body” talk page a long time ago and like here and many other places, it was ignored and dismissed. It was not ignored because anyone could point out anything wrong with the logic (and I asked many to do so, because I believed I must be wrong, but couldn’t figure out where), but I believe because people thought that there was no way physicists could be making such a fundamental error (and I didn’t either).

    I have asked many people if they could supply an outline for a lab experiment that would demonstrate this effect (of an object becoming warmer than a black body), but of course they could not, having to rely on the complexity of the Earth’s systems to obscure the fundamentals, or simply point to Venus and shrug their shoulders.

    Cheers.

  358. George E. Smith:

    I’m not a physicist.

    Real physicists are remarkably adept at understanding of the physics of the climate system and then knitting that knowledge together in models that do a remarkable and ever improving job at emulating the planet’s climate. I’m currently running three of them as a volunteer with the Climateprediction.net project. I don’t understand the details of how they work. But they seem to purr along fine. (The weather patterns that they produce look real, and none have gone obviously wonky yet. The models that Climateprediction.net puts out run in the background of users operating systems. Each one is variation on the base model of a particular experiment, so that the scientists can learn about how uncertainty about the values of certain parameters may or may not affect outcomes.

    I would be fascinated to see all the anti-AGW knowledge knitted together in any manner. It would be hard though because so much of it is so contradictory.

    Here’s the kicker: If a significant body of scientific knowledge can’t (or can’t conceivably) be knitted together into a conceptual, mathematical or computer model it doesn’t really rate as science. Climate scientists, like scientists in other fields are constantly beavering away at this, so that they can’t make better and more useful predictions – not just with global climate models, but with many others that address various sub-components of the system and it’s physics.

    But global models will never be attempted by ant-AGW proponents because that would expose the inadequacy of the anti-AGW crowd’s pretence at real science. So what they do instead is try to discredit the very notion of using models. You might as well try to win your argument by setting about to discredit the notion of the scientific method.

    You say:

    If there really was a feedback linkage, including an 800 year delay; you would have a free running oscillator; that would run by itself without any help from Milankovitch or anybody else.

    Why? I imagine that without the Milankovitch cycles the climate would indeed fluctuate. As it observably does over shorter cycles (ie through mechanisms such as El Nino/La Nina and the Indian Ocean Dipole). The key question with regard to the CO2 feedback is, has the climate system behaved as if there is a feedback or as if there isn’t one. It is of course possible to use computer models to predict what would happen if there wasn’t one. And I suspect that climate physicists have done this. But lets do it conceptually. Can you think of a reason why the temperature fluctuations between glacial and interglacial periods would be saw toothed in shape if there is no greenhouse gas feedback? Why is the rate of the ramp up in temperature at the beginning of an interglacial generally faster than the rate of decrease at the end, and why don’t the temperatures follow smooth curves like the Milankovitch cycles

    With regard to your request that I explain to you the details of how radiation physics play out in the atmosphere – if you want to understand physics, go read or talk to an atmospheric physicist.

    My favourite one likes to blog as Eli Rabbit.
    The following posts should provide you with lots of food for thought. I repeat, I’m not a physicist, so direct your questions to Eli.
    The greenhouse effect is a wicked combination of spectroscopy, radiation and collision dynamics superimposed on fluid flow …
    Calculators for spectra, atmospheric profiles and much more …
    Modelling the effects of pressure on spectral broadening 1
    Modelling the effects of pressure on spectral broadening 2

    A complaint:
    How come no one here can be bothered to respond to any of my rebuttals of plainly wrong ideas or straight forward requests for clarifications of things that they assert? Because it’s easier to change the subject?

    And back to the questions that I started with but no-one wants to respond to:
    A) Why specifically does Lindzen not want to use the more up-to-date corrected data?
    B) Are sea levels going, up, down or staying the same. And if they have been and are changing, then what is causing them to do so? (To me, the data clearly shows that they are rising, and that the rise has accelerated. The scientists actively conducting research and gathering data say that the observed rise is primarily due to warming which cause thermal expansion of the ocean, and to due glacial melt. I accept this as a sensible conclusion.)

    Another one into the mix: Is there any limit to how high ant-AGW proponents think CO2 concentrations could safely go? 1000ppm? 2000ppm? 5000ppm?
    Do you think that it can never have any effect?

  359. Oops, I mistakenly pasted in my entire record of posts (I write into a text file before copying across).

    In the previous post, please remove everything above

    ————————

    GGeorge E. Smith:

    I’m not a physicist.

    (And while you are at it, can you correct the double G in GGeorges.)

    Or just delete it and let me know so I can repost.

    Thanks

    Reply: Done. Just this once. ~ charles the moderator.

  360. The official rate of sea level rise has just been downgraded from 3.3mm per year to 3.2mm per year.

    Must be all that rampant global warming that is accelerating faster than the models predicted.

    Accelerated yes (i.e. changed) – but perhaps the sign of the acceleration (as opposed to feedback) (+ve/-ve) is in the wrong direction (once again…)

  361. Craig Allen (18:18:21) :


    And back to the questions that I started with but no-one wants to respond to:
    A) Why specifically does Lindzen not want to use the more up-to-date corrected data?
    B) Are sea levels going, up, down or staying the same. And if they have been and are changing, then what is causing them to do so? (To me, the data clearly shows that they are rising, and that the rise has accelerated. The scientists actively conducting research and gathering data say that the observed rise is primarily due to warming which cause thermal expansion of the ocean, and to due glacial melt. I accept this as a sensible conclusion.)

    WRT Point B) Above – The official rate of sea level rise has just been downgraded from 3.3mm per year to 3.2mm per year.

    WRT Point A) Above – On using up to date data – you assert that sea level is accelerating. Pot – please meet Kettle.

    BTW 1: The site http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_ns_global.jpg has for some time held a graph that rated sea level rise at 3.3mm per year.

    BTW 2: Lot’s of fully official data to debunk the rapid sea level rise notion is at http://jer-skepticscorner.blogspot.com/search/label/Greatest%20Lie%20Ever%20Told%3F

  362. Craig Allen:

    “I’m not a physicist.

    “Real physicists are remarkably adept at understanding of the physics of the climate system…”

    You can stop right there.

    This is just MHO, but there is so much misinformation in your post @18:18:21 that it’s pointless to refute all of it — and it’s all been refuted plenty of times here in the past.

    Suffice it to say that this site is run by a meteorologist, and this article was written by the climatologist who heads M.I.T.’s atmospheric sciences department. Should we listen to these two gentlemen — or to a clown like Eli Rabbet?? Please. It’s no contest.

    The entire AGW/CO2 hypothesis boils down to this question: will an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide cause runaway global warming?

    The real world answer is: No.

    Keep in mind for a change that skeptics need not prove anything. The burden is entirely on the alarmist crowd to show that their [repeatedly falsified] AGW/CO2 hypothesis explains reality better than the long accepted theory of natural climate variability. The AGW contingent has completely failed at this, according to the Scientific Method. No AGW argument has ever falsified natural climate variability, but they still keep digging their hole deeper.

    Since alarmists have failed to make their case hold water, they always fall back on computer models — which, as you admit above, are incapable of predicting the climate. Models cannot even predict yesterday’s climate, when they have input all available past climate data at their disposal.

    Climate models are always inaccurate. Not a single one of them predicted this N.H. winter’s temperature extremes. All they are good for is generating grant money. But all two dozen ± supercomputer models have failed to falsify natural climate variability — a central requirement of the Scientific Method. In other words, they fail at being scientific. They are just a tool for obtaining grant money; the only thing they are good at.

    WUWT is this year’s “Best Science” site, and deservedly so — while Eli Rabbet’s propaganda site didn’t even qualify for the finals. Why waste your time with a loser?

    There’s a good reason Rabbet’s Run failed to qualify: The bunny’s site is simply a partisan political site; he has already made up his mind, and all the facts in the world will never change it. His mind is closed tight.

    You are much, much better off seeking the truth from the meteorologists, climatologists, physicists and many others here who were educated in related sciences, rather than drinking propaganda from a wannabe bunny, who is only able to keep his job because of tenure. And as you can see from the link, he certainly appears to be grossly unqualified to teach.

  363. Smokey,

    I don’t try to put words in your mouth. Don’t try to put words in mine.

    Weather is not climate.

    If you are unwilling to try to understand the nature and purpose of models, “models have failed, are just ways of generating money blah blah blah” then what is the point of discussing them with you.

    Let me repeat. Every significant realm of science and engineering uses models. Models are useful and in fact essential tools in all fields of science.

    You keep saying things like “But all two dozen ± supercomputer models have failed to falsify natural climate variability — a central requirement of the Scientific Method.” For a strawman to be useful. It at least has to make sense.

    The comedian Stephen Colbert managed to get his audience to win the vote on getting the latest Space station mudule names after him. Doesn’t make him a astronaught. Science is not a popularity contest.

    Eli Rabbit presents rational discussion. He partisan to careful thought and meaningful discourse. He is certainly not always going to be right, but at least he honestly explains his reasoning. By dissing people just because you don’t like their well thought out conclusions, and then providing nothing meaningful in return you reveal a great deal about yourself.

    I note that you continue to be unwilling to engage in any actual substantive discussion of any thing I have raised.

    Please give me some useful information/reasoning to get to grips with. How exactly has the “AGW/CO2 hypothesis” been disproved?

  364. Craig Allen (18:22:15) :

    5) Lets flip the question about whether CO2 will cause warming. Can you come up with a reason why it won’t? I’m not a physicist, but the basic explanation of why it will makes perfect sense to me. I intend to use the same phenomenon to keep myself warm tonight, namely throwing over a blanket that will intercept my heat loss and reflect it back to me.

    Allow me the liberty to narrow the question to, “Can you show me a reason that an INCREASE in CO2 won’t lead to an INCREASE in temperature?” Given that, I can — or at least show that the increase will be very small. The key is this chart:

    If you look at the important band for CO2’s role in global warming (~15-20 micro-meters) you can see that it’s already pretty much blocked. If CO2 doubled, only the left fringe of that band (where the absorption is <100% now) would be changed. Most relevant frequencies are either already 100% blocked or not affected by CO2 anyway.

    This is why, without some positive feedback mechanism, the temperature sensitivity to CO2 is tiny. The catastrophic AGW theory depends on a very large multiplier due to positive feedback. In fact, if that positive feedback is strong enough, then we could reach a tipping point where we wouldn’t need any more CO2, the feedback alone would take over and temperatures would shoot up without limit (until some other mechanism came into play at a higher temperature.) This scenario is getting a lot of play in the media right now.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2005/aug/11/science.climatechange1

    Depending on which data set you use, Dr. Lindzen’s analysis either shows a negative feedback, or no feedback. In either case, AGW isn’t catastrophic.

  365. Craig Allen:

    Please give me some useful information/reasoning to get to grips with. How exactly has the “AGW/CO2 hypothesis” been disproved?

    *sigh* OK, one more time:

    It is not the duty or the responsibility of those skeptical of the AGW/CO2 hypothesis to disprove anything. It is those promoting a new hypothesis who must do the convincing — not those questioning it. Unless you can get your head around that basic fact, there’s nothing to discuss.

    The Scientific Method is based on falsifiability. That means that any new hypothesis proposed [such as AGW/CO2] must, first, be falsifiable. Second, those putting forth the hypothesis must transparently provide the full, raw and adjusted data and methodologies used to arrive at the hypothesis, which must be validated by other scientists who were not in the original loop.

    None of those requirements have been met by the purveyors of the AGW/CO2 hypothesis. So it doesn’t really even rise to the level of a hypothesis. At this point it’s just a conjecture.

    Furthermore, the AGW/CO2 hypothesis must be able to explain reality better than what it is intended to replace; in this case the long-standing theory of natural climate variability. Predictability is involved at this step. Natural climate variability predicts the general parameters of a climate cycling around a trend line. AGW/CO2 predicts climate catastrophe resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which will lead to runaway global warming at some vaguely defined “tipping point.” The planet itself is falsifying CO2’s role click

    Here, this is what really happened with the AGW/CO2 “hypothesis”: click

    If you want to believe in runaway globaloney, that’s your prerogative. But don’t confuse it with real science. For more information on the shenanigans behind the corrupted climate peer-review process, read the Wegman Report to Congress.

    Here is an excellent summary of what’s behind these shenanigans: click

    There’s some ‘useful information’, as you requested. It’s all about the money, Craig. If it was about the science, the AGW scoundrels you’re listening to would be happy to publicly archive their data and algorithms. Instead, they run and hide whenever someone asks. That should tell you all you need to know about the AGW/CO2 scam, and the people behind it.

  366. We clearly have a polarised debate between those who are convinced of the AGW CO2 hypothesis, and those who are sceptical. A question that I haven’t seen addressed that I think would be very interesting is “is there are relationship between the views of those supporting the AGW CO2 hypothesis and their funding sources (viz grants primarily from government)”. It has been observed that many, if not most, of the sceptics are older retired guys who, by definition, are not grant recipients.

    My guess is that the AGW CO2 enthusiasts will be demonstrated to be mostly drawing their paychecks from grants funded by governments, whereas the sceptical views are coming from those who are not grant recipients.

    I don’t know how such a survey could be done, but it sure would be interesting. BTW, maybe I am wrong! If the survey results show that, I would happily concede.

  367. Obviously global cooling would be more catastrophic than global warming. The millions of people displaced by GW would easily be accommodated in a defrosted Siberia, Alaska, or Greenland. However the Global warming industry is more than just jobs-for-scientists supporting a theory-of-the-day. It’s more about where we go from here as a technological world culture. It’s not about global warming or cooling as much as global economics. Oil will run out one day, as will coal. Our present record world population is supported by the earth’s diminishing energy capital. When it runs out, so do billions of people. We need to balance the world’s energy books into sustainability, because energy = food supply+distribution. Global warming is not the main agenda; it’s about planning for a shrinking supply to meet an increasing demand; a shrinking horse trying to pull an ever larger cart. Global warming panic is comparable to George Orwell’s 1984, where the population believed in a non-existent space war, in order to create a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good. It’s socio-psychology, hence the politicization of the GW issue.
    It’s “end justifies the means” reasoning, which I have grave reservations about. If AGW is shown to be not-the-case, then the fuel austerity message goes out the window with it. Politicians of course always assume you can fool most of the people most of the time, but what is needed here and now is an honest message. Politicians must bite the bullet rather than lie through their teeth. The truth is, no-one knows about AGW, but proceeding with caution is sensible. Planning to avoid energy shortfalls is absolutely vital.
    Interesting that GM and other producers of Yank tank guzzlers are near bankruptcy. A sensible first step would be limiting the size of private motor car engines, except where a genuine need was shown. (farmers, families of ten, etc.) I predict this will happen in the next six years. Now get-on-yer- bikes and do some multi-disciplinary science instead of bickering about what constitutes a positive or negative feedback in climate science.
    Cheers, if that’s possible.
    Rex

  368. Rex (16:28:50) :
    . . . It’s not about global warming or cooling as much as global economics. Oil will run out one day, as will coal. Our present record world population is supported by the earth’s diminishing energy capital. When it runs out, so do billions of people. We need to balance the world’s energy books into sustainability, because energy = food supply+distribution. Global warming is not the main agenda; it’s about planning for a shrinking supply to meet an increasing demand; a shrinking horse trying to pull an ever larger cart. . .

    I suggest you read this terrific discussion of ‘peak oil’ (and ‘peak’ everything else) from a regular contributor to this blog, E. M. Smith, here:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/

    Bottom line: We’re not going to run out of energy or raw materials.

    . . . A sensible first step would be limiting the size of private motor car engines, except where a genuine need was shown. (farmers, families of ten, etc.) I predict this will happen in the next six years. . .

    Gad! If it ain’t the madcap global warm-mongers, it’s the fear-mongering head-in-the-sands ‘sustainability’ folks. Watch out guys, they’re coming for your muscle cars! Instead of the cool new Camaro, here’s what Obama and G(overnment) M(otors) are offering for our cruisin’ future:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123906731177395605.html

    /Mr Lynn

  369. Craig Allen (08:22:39) :

    1) Physicists predict that increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will cause the world to warm. It is observed to be warming through numerous lines of evidence (unless you want to cherry-pick short time periods in particular datasets). What specific evidence are you after?

    That there has been some warming since the Little Ice Age, and that CO2 has increased from 280 ppm to 380 ppm (still a trace amount) does not demonstrate that one caused the other. As is oft repeated, “Correlation is not causation.” Indeed, the predictions by ‘physicists’ have failed for the last decade.


    2) Scientists already contend that the data clearly shows that sea levels are rising. Why do you think otherwise? When I look at the data it is clear to me that the rise is statistically significant (having done a few regressions in my time). Get the data and do a regression for yourself if you like. I guarantee you that the trend for the satellite data is significant. . . .

    Even a cursory reading of today’s sea-level thread,

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/06/sea-level-graphs-from-uc-and-some-perspectives/#more-6827

    makes it clear that ‘the data’ is anything but clear. Indeed, AJStrata’s comment on the satellite data was stunning:

    AJStrata (07:34:42) :
    OK, stopped being lazy and did a quick search and noticed that the TOPEX altitude can only be determined via differential GPS to 5-8 cm, which means the measurement of sea surface is probably in the 10 cm range. There is no statistical basis for +/- 25 mm shown in the chart. It would seem to me this is statistically zero rise in sea level.
    AJStrata (07:35:06) :
    Forgot the link: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1992…/91JB02562.shtml


    3) Regarding the 800year delay:
As has been is explained in many many places on the internet and elsewhere, climate scientists argue that when Milankovitch cycles cause warming (primarily by causing increased sunlight at the north pole) the warming causes the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses from the oceans and probably from sources such as methane emitting permafrost. This in turn acts as a feedback which kicks temperatures up a great deal higher than they would have due to the Milankovitch cycles alone. . .

    Interesting hypothesis. That warming oceans would release CO2 is not in dispute, but whether the CO2 would affect climate beyond a certain saturation point is in dispute, and the effect of increased evaporation of H2O (the more potent GHG) from the warming ocean is even more problematic, as it forms cooling clouds.


    4) Regarding the missing equatoral hot spot:
As explained here in spite of claims to the contrary there is no missing hot spot. And besides, a hot spot is predicted regardless of the source of warming. A more relevant signature of infrared absorbing gas induced warming is in fact a cooling of the stratosphere, which has been observed, although the data is still noisier than the climatologists would like.

    From the Comments thread in your first RealClimate link, it appears that the principle criticism of the discovery of the missing hot spot is the quality of the data vis-a-vis the variability of the models’ output (not dissimilar from the issue here with Prof. Lindzen’s claims). Obviously if the data are too ‘noisy’ (like global atmospheric and sea-surface temperatures?) we should hesitate to draw conclusions. But if the data are too noisy to falsify model predictions, they are also too noisy to confirm them. My inclination is to go with observation, unless the data are just plain crappy (like that from the weather stations Anthony has been studying, and on which the whole edifice of ‘global warming’ has been erected?).


    5) Lets flip the question about whether CO2 will cause warming. Can you come up with a reason why it won’t? I’m not a physicist, but the basic explanation of why it will makes perfect sense to me. . .

    Well, there are several possibilities: the fact that CO2 is a trace gas, comprising only .3% of the Earth’s atmosphere; that water vapor forms clouds and blocks sunlight; that CO2 absorption of infrared drops off quicly; that CO2 levels have been much higher in the geologic past without causing temperature to run away catastrophically; and that anthropogenic CO2 is only 3% of the .03% in the atmosphere, which suggests that its effect would be trivial to nonexistent.

    All of which have been discussed here by experts. Listen to them.

    /Mr Lynn

  370. Smokey (14:59:22) :

    “It is those promoting a new hypothesis who must do the convincing”

    Or, as Carl Sagan* put it: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”

    *After Marcello Truzzi – I know.

  371. Mr Lynn,

    The fact of the matter is that the account of how the climate work which I get from scientists conducting active research in the field if coherrent. The account that I get from the anti-AGW grows is endlessly contradictory. The scientific argument is constrained by the requirement that it all make sense and does not contradict itself. The anti-AGW “experts”, as amply demonstrated throughout this website, clearly do not feel constrained in this manner. They are happy to throw up all manner of objections, even if their objections in one rhetorical argument contradict the logic of their objections in another. And I am stunned by the frequency with which people here present data as support for their arguments, that clearly contradicts what they have said!

    Mr Lynn, I would be very pleased if some enterprising Ant-AGW proponent would set about documenting exactly what it is that you all believe, identifying and resolving the myriad of contradictions.

    As for the consensus among scientists on how greenhouse gasses affect the atmosphere this set of pages at NASA is a readable summary for the non-scientist.

    Please, please, please could some one produce something this coherent, which presents the anti-AGW point of view.

    I mean you can’t even decide whether sea levels are rising or not, and what the cause is if they are, or for that matter why it slowed to a near standstill a few thousand years ago and then started to rise again. And why are people so keen on making links to plots that clearly contradict what they believe that it has done or is doing?

    As for your bogus trace gas argument Mt Lynn:
    The Atmosphere has not been over about 280ppm for 100,000 years, and not over about 300ppm for many hundreds of thousand years (see here. That is a 35% increase since the dawn of the industrial ages. C02 accounts for at least 9% of the infrared adsorption in the atmosphere as explained herehere. And given our accelerating rates of emissions, we may be heading for over 1000ppm by the year 2100.

    Mr Lynn, the percentage that a gas accounts for by weight or volume gives you almost no information about it’s importance. For example, try breathing air containing a tiny percentage by weight of cyanide. Or for that matter consider how little sunburn screen you need to apply compared to the total weight of atmosphere that sits above your body as you bask on the beach.

    I repeat, how could this ramping up of CO2 concentrations not have a significant affect on the temperature of the atmosphere?

    I note that 9% is way higher a change than the variation in irradiance we see over the course of the solar cycle.

    And back to the topic of this article. Why is Lindzen using the old data?

  372. Anthony,

    Apparently from your comments Dr. Lindzen has not bothered to tell you what his concerns with the data are, although he has had plenty of time to do so if he choose. Do you care what these reasons are? In any case, in order to be honest with your readers, he is obligated to state in his article that he is using data that has been updated and he has decided not to use the current data. The average person reading this post in your blog would think he is using a data set the the scientists who measured still support. This is not the case. The scientists who made the measurements say the data Dr. Lindzen uses are incorrect and should not be used. Nowhere in your blog does Dr. Lindzen state this or give any reason for using data that has been withdrawn. You claim that you have a much higher standard for data. Put your claim in place here and retract the article or put a much stronger warning of deceptive use of data on the article– a much stronger red flag at the start would be a start.

    Mike Sweet

  373. Craig Allen (01:55:09) :

    I agree with you in that the objections are scattered and sometimes incoherent. Heck, some of the AGW skeptics are uneducated and their objections are silly. But there can be multiple disproofs of a theory and there are more than one of this theory. Frankly, my favorite counter-argument is that warmer is better. The growing season will be longer; energy bills will be lower; life flourishes in warmer climates. Al Gore has had to back down on his silly claim that hurricanes would be worse, since the second law of thermodynamics makes the simplistic argument go the other way. (Note: the truth isn’t simplistic anyway, but Gore made his argument in that realm so the counter-argument belongs there.)

    There are important direct arguments against the AGW theory and on April 6th, I tried to lay out one of them for you.

    I repeat, how could this ramping up of CO2 concentrations not have a significant affect on the temperature of the atmosphere?

    Please see my earlier post (about 8 posts up from here), which is directly aimed at this question. However, since posting it, I have noticed that my tipping point link might be a bit off topic. I just picked the first link off a google search for “global warming tipping point.” The search has zillions of results — which, by itself, makes that point.

    Lastly, let me commend your patience is persisting with this dialogue. I tried going to a blog “on the other side” (Greenfyre) and found them insufferable. I think we are better (personal attacks are not the norm here) but I’m sure this has not been easy.

  374. Craig Allen (01:55:09) :

    The fact of the matter is that the account of how the climate work which I get from scientists conducting active research in the field if coherrent. The account that I get from the anti-AGW grows is endlessly contradictory. The scientific argument is constrained by the requirement that it all make sense and does not contradict itself. The anti-AGW “experts”, as amply demonstrated throughout this website, clearly do not feel constrained in this manner. They are happy to throw up all manner of objections, even if their objections in one rhetorical argument contradict the logic of their objections in another. And I am stunned by the frequency with which people here present data as support for their arguments, that clearly contradicts what they have said!

    Mr Lynn, I would be very pleased if some enterprising Ant-AGW proponent would set about documenting exactly what it is that you all believe, identifying and resolving the myriad of contradictions. . .

    I appreciate that parsimony and coherence is of major importance in scientific explanation (Occam’s Razor); look how Newton encompassed a huge variety of events under a few laws. But in the zeal for parsimony there lurks the danger of oversimplification.

    Contrary to the claims of the AGW movement (encompassing not just scientific proponents of the hypothesis, but the lay advocates from politics and ‘environmentalism’ and the media), the Earth’s climate is by all objective accounts an enormously complex phenomenon, the result of multifold inputs and factors at various levels of scale, from very local to solar-system-wide. To call the climate a ‘system’ might be a stretch, because it appears so chaotic.

    I suspect that most climatologists of whatever AGW persuasion would admit this. Some just seem to think that it is possible to reduce this complexity to a few basic assumptions and principles embodied in computer models. Others object that these models incorporate faulty assumptions, leave out important elements, including many we don’t understand at all, and operate with flawed and unreliable data.

    This type of critique inevitably will be messy, inelegant, even ‘incoherent’, because it comes from multiple directions, often focusing on observational minutiae. But that’s an essential part of the scientific enterprise. It’s the failure of hypotheses, theories, and paradigms to account for increasingly anomalous evidence that eventually leads to their falsification and replacement.

    The Realists are engaged in exactly this kind of enterprise, spurred by appalling arrogance of the Alarmists in the AGW movement who, not only convinced that they have solved the mysteries of the chaotic climate ‘system’, are engaged in political action to remediate a predicted consequence of their models (AGW), even while it is increasingly evident to many that these predictions are unwarranted and invalid.

    This attempt by AGW proponents to establish a scientific orthodoxy and to silence and disparage any dissent is contrary to whole idea of scientific inquiry. Maybe it will turn out that the reductionist ‘coherent’ models of the AGW proponents are essentially correct. But in the minds of many, that conclusion is entirely premature. One way of demonstrating that is to point to the inherent complexity of, and apparent contradictions in hypotheses about, the Earth’s turbulent climate.

    /Mr Lynn

  375. Craig Allen: You say: “The fact of the matter is that the account of how the climate work which I get from scientists conducting active research in the field if coherrent.”

    It might help your cause if you took the time to ensure that your sentences are coherent. I think that you meant to say “The fact of the matter is that the account of how the climate works which I get from scientists conducting active research in the field is coherent”.

  376. Anthony,
    Still no word on why Dr. Lindzen used data that has been withdrawn by the scientists who measured it??? Seems like you have been had. It makes your blog look bad when you cannot defend the data that you publish. You state that you feel that the reference wmanny found is good enough for you. That footnote gives no explanation of any objections that may exist and serves only to prove that Dr. Lindzen knew he was using deceptive data when he wrote this blog for you. If this data were used by a supporter of AGW you would have a fit. You cannot have it both ways. You should obtain a response from Dr. Lindzen and explain to your readers why we should accept data that has been withdrawn from informed discussion, or you need to withdraw this post.

  377. “Gad! If it ain’t the madcap global warm-mongers, it’s the fear-mongering head-in-the-sands ’sustainability’ folks. Watch out guys, they’re coming for your muscle cars! Instead of the cool new Camaro, here’s what Obama and G(overnment) M(otors) are offering for our cruisin’ future:”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123906731177395605.html

    Ain’t NO way you’re getting a date for prom in That thing…

  378. Michael Sweet,

    My, my, aren’t we full of demands today. Instead of trying to give marching orders to our host, maybe you should start your own blog. You might even get a comment in response.

    There is nothing stopping you from writing to Prof. Lindzen on your own. It’s not worth my time to go back and research the answer given on another blog [Jeff Id's, if I recall correctly] that explains why Prof. Lindzen used the data that he did, instead of the data that you insist he should have used.

    But I do have this link handy [click], which shows that Lindzen has forgotten more climatology than you will ever know. Like most people, I prefer to listen to M.I.T.’s head of its Atmospheric Sciences department when it comes to a question of climatology.

    And it should be pointed out that after all the impotent arm waving by the AGW/CO2 contingent, there is still no explanation of why skeptics are required to prove anything. The AGW folks have failed to make a successful argument that shows their hypothesis conjecture is anything other than speculation based on a series of “what if” arguments, which are in turn based on always-inaccurate computer climate models.

    So, one more time: the burden is entirely on the purveyors of the AGW hypothesis to show that their new conjecture explains reality better than the theory of natural climate variability. In fact, it does not. If it did, then the AGW/CO2 hypothesis would have predictive value. Since AGW/CO2 has repeatedly failed to successfully predict the climate — including this N.H. winter’s extraordinary temperatures — then it must be discarded.

    When/if your new hypothesis can make better predictions than the theory of natural climate variability, get back to us. In the mean time, the climate will continue to oscillate within historically defined parameters around a trend line that goes back to the last great Ice Age.

    That is the theory of natural climate variability’s predictive value. Despite the climate alarmists’ pretending otherwise, there is no vague “tipping point”. There is no runaway global warming. And CO2 has only a very minuscule effect on the climate — an unmeasurably small effect that is overwhelmed by numerous other factors, to the point that it doesn’t even matter; as CO2 rises, the Earth continues to cool. That fact alone destroys the AGW/CO2 claim.

    If the AGW/CO2 hypothesis was backed by empirical, real world science, then well known proponents like Gore, Hansen and others would have no fear of publicly debating their position, as Prof. Lindzen repeatedly does.

    Instead, they run and hide out from debate, tails firmly tucked between their hind legs. That tells you all you need to know about the confidence they have in what they’re trying to sell us.

  379. Smokey:

    Fact of the matter is, that Dr Lindzen is one of the very few so called experts that the anti-global warming crowd have who actually has any credible record in research and scientific publishing.

    He had a good idea with his Iris Effect, but it wasn’t born out by subsequent work. Sadly, rather than moving on to explore other ideas, he refused to face facts, and is now reduced to misrepresenting other scientists work as demonstrated in this blog post.

    The fact that you and your fellow travelers put so much store in obviously dodgy stuff like this says a lot about the weakness of your case.

    As does your insistence that people adhering to anti-AGW hypotheses, are somehow exempt from normal rules of scientific debate and evidence, such as coherence, logic, and not misrepresenting facts and other peoples work.

  380. Smokey:
    AGW predicts global CLIMATE will shift, the weather last winter in NH is not relevant to global climate. Climate is defined as the 30 year trend.
    1. According to the National Climate Data Center, this winter was the 8th warmest GLOBALLY in the 130 year record. That seems to me like a pretty high value, as predicted by AGW.
    2. Surface temperatures are warmer but the stratosphere was the second coolest (of 31 years) as predicted by AGW, but not by Natural Climate variability.
    3. Record setting heat is becoming common. The climate has not yet gotten warm enough to eliminate all cold records, but they are far fewer than record heat events.
    4. As predicted 30 years ago, the Arctic and
    5. Antarctic ice is melting.
    6. The Audubon Society reports birds shifting northerly in the USA.
    7. Spring is earlier and
    8. fall is later.
    9. The sea level is rising at an increasing pace.
    Natural climate variability does not predict any of these events, but AGW did decades ago. How many more examples do you need?

    This thread was started with a post by Dr. Lindzen where he claims data shows there is a problem with AGW. He is using data that was withdrawn several years ago by the scientist who measured the data. It is up to Dr Lindzen to document why we should accept this data, since the scientist who measured the data says it should not be used. It is deceptive to post the data without stating that it has been updated and giving the reason it is being used. Mr. Watts obviously expected a response since his first note says it is three hours after he contacted Dr. Lindzen. Why should I contact Dr. Lindzen when he does not bother to return Mr. Watts’s e-mails?

    Mike Sweet

  381. Michael Sweet (10:23:51) :

    4. As predicted 30 years ago, the Arctic and. . .
    
5. Antarctic ice is melting. . .

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/09/wuwt-ice-survey-shows-thickening-arctic-ice/#more-6910

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/08/polar-ice-worries-north-and-south/


    9. The sea level is rising at an increasing pace. . .

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/06/sea-level-graphs-from-uc-and-some-perspectives/

    Just from those recent threads here, it is clear that three of Michael Sweet’s claims are anything but ‘settled’.

    The experts here can deal with the rest of them.

    /Mr Lynn

  382. “AGW predicts global CLIMATE will shift, the weather last winter in NH is not relevant to global climate.”

    Of course not since the NH is not part of the globe. (sarc/off)

    “AGW predicts global CLIMATE will shift”

    Ya… but when????

  383. Let’s dispose of Craig Allen first: Anyone who labels an internationally esteemed climatologist, and the head of M.I.T.’s atmospheric sciences department as a “so-called” expert has zero credibility here.

    So, on to Michael Sweet.

    Thanks for responding. You do know, however, that every single one of your points is highly debatable, if not wrong outright. Rather than put up my citations on a week old thread, I’ll just leave you to explain these charts:

    click1

    click2

    click3

    click4

    click5

    So who are you gonna believe? James Hansen? Al Gore? The UN/IPCC? Or your own lyin’ eyes?

  384. Smokey:

    Your click 1 is a of a single station cherry pic.
    As you know, continental analyses demonstrate that Antarctic sea and air temperatures are rising.

    Your click 2 and 3 is a presentation of data from just 2002 to 2008. Why not present the entire instrumental dataset as shown here at the Australian Bureau of Meterology, or presented by Global Warming Art
    You will note that there are many periods through the data where the temperatures drop for a few years, only to resume the upward trend.

    Your click 4 shows a clear upward trend through the data. It seems to have been plotted with a fourth order polynomial fit, which will always curve down at each end regardless of the data! There is no possible defence for applying such a fit to such data.

    In click 5 the claim implied by the stylised graphic seems to be that the leveling of in temperatures in the last few years is due to a multi-decadal oscillation, but that temperatures will none-the-less continue to trend upward at a linear rate. So going by this, you don’t believe that we are heading into a cooler period after all, as is otherwise implied by the way the plot at click one is presented.

    The creator of that graphic accepts that the World is warming, in contradiction to many other posts on this website. So is the World warming or isn’t it? The incoherency of anti-AGW position shines through again and again.

    For those interested in the Decadal Oscillation mentioned in the last graphic, there is a good discussion of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, along with plots of actual data here. A key point is that it is not periodic or even pseudoperiodic as implied in that last plot.

  385. Craig Allen:

    “So is the World warming or isn’t it?”

    Answer: the climate is cooling. And it is cooling at the same time that CO2 is increasing.

    CO2 has almost nothing to do with global warming. Its effect is so minimal it is down into the noise. And I notice that you avoided the CO2 question like the plague. I would too, if I were trying to support the repeatedly falsified AGW/CO2 conjecture.

    Every one of your inaccurate talking points are garnered from the lame websites that only wish they were voted the “Best Science” site. They all have an opinion, just like you do.

    But most uninformed opinions are wrong. So is yours. I have many, many more charts showing that the Earth is cooling. If you like — and if you ask me politely — I will provide them for your edification.

  386. Smokey;

    So you think that the World is cooling. Excellent, I think that this is the first time you have made any concrete assertion. By all means please do edify me. I’d be fascinated to see your evidence in favour of this hypothesis; it runs counter to anything I have seen that doesn’t involve cherry-picking or otherwise misrepresenting data.

    As for CO2, lets start with this handy and very readable summary of how the greenhouse effect works. As far as I can see, it accords with the views of most of the World’s scientific institutions who express an opinion on these matters.

    The contributions of the major greenhouse gasses to the greenhouse effect are
    * water vapor = 36–72%
    * carbon dioxide = 9–26%
    * methane, = 4–9%
    * ozone, = 3–7%
    As stated in the article, “It is not possible to state that a certain gas causes an exact percentage of the greenhouse effect, because the influences of the various gases are not additive. The higher ends of the ranges quoted are for the gas alone; the lower ends, for the gas counting overlaps.” (Where overlaps refers to the fact that the infrared radiation absorption frequencies of the gasses overlap.)

    I understand that in the absence of any greenhouse effect, the Earth would on average be 30ºC cooler.

    So the contribution of C02 is significant.

    I’m not a physicist, but lets have a go at a quick calculation.
    > Take the lower number for C02 = 9%.
    > The contribution of C02 to the greenhouse effect is therefore at least 9% of 30ºC = 2.7ºC
    > Humanities emissions have caused C02 to increased in concentration by roughly 30% since the dawn of the industrial revolution.
    > So prior to the industrial revolution its affect was 25% less than now
    > That gives 2.7ºC / 4 = 0.675ºC
    > This is roughly the increase in global average temperature that has been observed so far.
    > Throwing in feedbacks will account for the the extra temperature rise that scientists say is still on the way as we approach equilibrium.

    Bloody hell, I’m stunned that that calculation worked so well!

    Over to you Einstein.

  387. Craig Allen wrote: “> This is roughly the increase in global average temperature that has been observed so far.”

    Except that “global average temperature” is a meaningless metric. Some places have cooled, some have warmed, some have done neither. Because some may have warmed more than others have cooled does not mean the globe is warming.

  388. Craig Allen labels Prof. Lindzen as a “so-called expert.” That makes Allen a troll, no?

    Yes.

    An apology to Prof. Lindzen is called for.

  389. Humanities emissions have caused C02 to increased in concentration by roughly 30% since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

    So what caused it on previous occasions? Perhaps dinosaurs were more advanced than we thought (about 2000ppm during the Cretaceous period)…

  390. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and avoid descending into a personal back-and-forth. Craig Allen did not label Prof. Lindzen a so-called expert. He said that Lindzen is one of the few who actually has credentials.

    We can parse grammar all day but that is exactly what we should not do. Watts Up With That has little chance of winning the weblog award for best grammar. This is a science blog and one of the keys to good science is to treasure disagreement. Always try to think, “How am I wrong?” and your science will be better.

    CO2 may currently contribute 9-26% of total global warming but its contribution is virtually maxed out already. The wavelengths it blocks are almost all 100% blocked already. Increasing CO2 won’t make much difference.

    Look folks, if we don’t get some sunspots soon, we’ll know who’s right by September. Either the ever increasing CO2 is going to melt ever more polar ice or the increased cloud cover from “the chilling starts” is going to yield further recovery in the ice. There ain’t much middle ground on this one.

  391. Craig Allen (07:17:50) :

    ..people adhering to anti-AGW hypotheses

    But you’re the one with the hypothesis! As Smokey keeps pointing out, we are just testing yours – we don’t have anything to prove.

    ‘Climate change’ is not news – ‘climate stops changing’ would be.

  392. I must say, for a bunch of people who so liberally fling outright abuse at all manner of well respected climate scientists, James Hansen for example, or the climatologists who run and participate in the RealClimate website you are remarkably sensitive to my applying the relatively mild “so called expert” label to Dr Lindzen.

    Dr Lindzen is, I agree, an expert in his field. This makes it all the sadder that he has taken himself so far to the fringes of climate science that he is resorting to the obvious misuse of data as in this article. The ‘so-called’ epithet is more appropriately applied to the sort of people who’s highest claim to expertise is being an expert reviewer of the IPCC reports (given than anyone was welcome to sign up for this). The fact remains that very few people who have any significant publication record in climate science to speak of, disagree with the existence or seriousness of AGW.

    James P:

    One again I assert that the “we don’t have anything to prove” line just demonstrates how weak your case is. The unwillingness to engage in rational debate, demonstrates that you have no rational case to put. It is effectively an admission that the anti-AGW stance is not scientific.

  393. Craig Allen (08:28:17) :

    One again I assert that the “we don’t have anything to prove” line just demonstrates how weak your case is.

    Actually, it demonstrates how weak yours is that you cannot prove your case, then resort to “well, what is your alternative?”

    The unwillingness to engage in rational debate, demonstrates that you have no rational case to put. It is effectively an admission that the anti-AGW stance is not scientific.

    Last time I checked, it is AGW proponents that repeatedly refuse to debate the issue by claiming “the science is settled.” Pot.Kettle.Black.

    Mark

  394. To all arguing with Craig Allen:

    “It is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into.”

    Jonathon Swift I think.

    Craig Allen — a concise list of arguments against AGW … citing empirical data and scientific papers … but of course you aren’t ‘really’ interested in such things, are you ;-)

    http://www.ianschumacher.com/global_warming.html

  395. I’m not a physicist, but lets have a go at a quick calculation.
    > Take the lower number for C02 = 9%.
    > The contribution of C02 to the greenhouse effect is therefore at least 9% of 30ºC = 2.7ºC

    Bloody hell, I’m stunned that that calculation worked so well!

    Is it possible that the choice of the 9% figure may have been made made essentially to give the result you were trying to prove?

  396. Frederick Michael (06:07:03) :

    I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and avoid descending into a personal back-and-forth. Craig Allen did not label Prof. Lindzen a so-called expert

    Craig Allen wrote, at 07:17:50:

    “Fact of the matter is, that Dr Lindzen is one of the very few so called experts”

    QED

  397. Frederick Michael (06:07:03) :

    Craig Allen did not label Prof. Lindzen a so-called expert.

    @07:17:50 Craig Allen said: “Fact of the matter is, that Dr Lindzen is one of the very few so called experts…”

    See?

  398. “It is futile to reason someone out of a thing that he was not reasoned into.”

    I think that most of us on here were reasoned into it. I accepted the conventional wisdom (is that the word?) on AGW for some time before stopping to think and read about it, and I changed my mind. I do not do that lightly, but it seems to me that the whole AGW edifice is a house of cards, and I regret that I did not see this sooner.

    However, I am slightly comforted by the words of Edward de Bono: “If you never change your mind, why have one?”

  399. Regarding water vapour representing between 26% to 72% of the greenhouse effect …

    … the global warming formulae and the climate models are based on greenhouse gases controlling over 95% of the water vapour so it is all greenhouse gases.

    The theory is structured so that without the greenhouse gases there would be very little water vapour and very little greenhouse effect. So, water vapour technically represents a few per cent of the greenhouse effect.

    If you don’t agree with this, then the global warming formulae have to be rewritten.

    Take the log warming formula for CO2 (which is just one of the ten or so GHGs)

    Temp C change = 0.75 * [5.0 Ln (1 ppm/280 ppm)]

    Temp C change = -21

    Now take the same formulae for the other greenhouses and substitute 1 ppm or Zero and you find it adds up to 33C greenhouse effect.

    This is also related to the assumption that relative humidity stays more-or-less constant with temperature change. As the greenhouse gases fall to zero, there is very little water vapour left.

    I have also found this by doing the math from a different angle and came to the same result.

    Logarithmic CO2 warming illustrated once again.

    As you can tell, I am saying the theory is wrong. [But one could go to the places on the planet which have an average temperature of 15C - 33C (or -18C) and find there is very little water vapour there, but there would be enough to say the theory is wrong.]

  400. Folks, I made reference to parsing grammar for a reason. Craig Allen’s reference to the collective “so called experts” and noting that Lindzen is one with real credentials can be interpreted different ways. My point was to NOT try to turn this into a grammar blog but to act like good scientists and avoid getting personal. Many of the AGW blogs are childishly nasty (as is Al Gore with his calling us “holocaust deniers”) and I PLEAD with y’all to show we are better than that.

    I fully expect Al Gore and his minions to make it into the history books as the Elmer Gantrys of our generation. In the end, we will look better if we are patient now.

  401. Craig Allen’s reference to the collective “so called experts” and noting that Lindzen is one with real credentials can be interpreted different ways.

    Really? CA called Lindzen “one of the so called experts” which is an insult whichever way you slice it. Drawing attention to this or asking for an apology is not getting personal – making the original comment is.

    IMO, we who reject AGW are the patient and generally polite ones, but it takes a lot of willpower in the face of such mendacity and disinformation. How much damage should we put up with?

  402. FYI Dr. Lindzen sent me a response today, for which I am grateful that he took time from his busy schedule to do.

    I have posted it as update #3 in the body of the article. – Anthony

  403. Thanks to Dr. Lindzen and Anthony for the update.

    “It has become standard in climate science that data in contradiction to alarmism is inevitably ‘corrected’ to bring it closer to alarming models. None of us would argue that this data is perfect, and the corrections are often plausible. What is implausible is that the ‘corrections’ should always bring the data closer to models”.

    In short, we are being screwed!

    What further proof do you want for the fact that science is politicized!

  404. OK, since I have to get into grammar, the phrase, “so called,” means, “those who are called,” and is not always derogatory. For example, if I said, “Stevie Wonder is one of the few so called musicians who actually sings exactly on key,” am I insulting Stevie Wonder?

    Since I anticipate more of this, let me use as an example an often cited passage in Josephus, Antiquities, XX 1:9 which is sometimes translated, “Jesus, the so called…” or “Jesus, who was called…” It was just his literal recording of what someone was called and nothing more. Both translations are common.

    The meaning of the term is debatable. Whether or not Craig used the best syntax is not a worthy subject here.

    Lindzen’s reply is MUCH more interesting.

  405. Good on Dr Lindzen,

    He rises in my estimations a notch. I await his update eagerly.

    And while I didn’t per mean to imply the his expertise was “so called” by placing him grammatically so close to other “so called experts”, I can see how I left the door open in that sentence for the rhetorical games of other posters.

    So Dr Lindzen, I apologise unreservedly for any offence I may have caused you.

    Oms:

    “Is it possible that the choice of the 9% figure may have been made made essentially to give the result you were trying to prove?”

    Yes, I considered that, but when you eyeball the adsorption spectra (neatly presented here) you can see that the location and size of the CO2 band within the thermal radiation absorbing section of the spectrum looks about right for it to be accounting for 9%.

    And besides, this is the fundamental core of the greenhouse hypothesis. It’s at the heart of every climate model. The whole notion stands and falls by this. A scientists who proves it seriously wrong (assuming I haven’t made a dumb mistake – I’d hate to be seen to be setting up a straw-man!) will be famous forever. You’d have to think it is pretty much nailed down by now.

    Ian:

    I looked over your list of arguments. I am in fact very much interested in the arguments contained therein. I’ve seen most of them discussed and debunked in various other fora. Some of these are amazingly easy to refute. (Any conclusions drawn from unbelievably Beck’s dodgy CO2 measurement melange for example. Or how about the Greenland and grape growing in England bogies.) Others take a little more time. I guarantee that there is not a single one you might like to choose that I could not demolish. Please choose one. I enjoy the exercise. (Mind you, I’m, about to move house, so I’m about to leave you all in peace for a week or two. Won’t that be a relief.)

    James P;

    So which particular card brought the house of cards down for you? I hope that as you consider it further you will realise you’ve abandoned a house of bricks to take up residence in a house of straw.

  406. Craig Allen, being in the throes of Cognitive Dissonance, has already made up his mind and it’s shut tight. As a result, he will blithely assume he has “demolished” anything that threatens his CD.

    OK then, for the rest of the folks who have an open mind, here’s a medium length graph of temps: click

    Notice it’s data from GISS, HadCRUT, RSS and UAH. Unless they’re all in some kind of conspiracy, they all show current temps are now below the 30-year trend, and dropping fast.

    Same here: click Note that the planet’s temp is below the zero point trend line. That means it’s cooling.

    Is three decades too long? OK, here’s a more recent chart: click Dang! There’s that unexpected cooling again.

    And what about that evil carbon dioxide? The tiny trace gas that’s gonna push the climate over a nasty tipping point, causing runaway global warming: click Oh well, back to the GCM drawing board… oh, wait. Now I remember. Global warming causes global cooling! Of course.

    Here’s our old friend GISS, showing that they’re out of step with the consensus: click Notice the GISS trend line compared with the others. It appears that someone is “adjusting” their numbers.

    Another Temp/CO2 chart: click. Someone had better notify the UN/IPCC: “Bali, we have a problem.”

    Here’s a more intermediate chart: click. Maybe everyone is lying except Al Gore, huh?

    Hadley weighs in: click. Never fear, Cognitive Dissonance will find a way to argue around it.

    Polynomial bait: click. Forget the trend line. But notice the planet is at about the same temperature as it was in 1982. Sorry about busting the GW bubble.

    Another 30-year chart: click. Everybody panic! …NOT.

    Maybe a century long chart will show the planet is warming: click. Nope. Sorry.

    Think the planet’s been here before? click. Yep. Pre-SUV, too.

    The UN/IPCC AR-4 falsified by Lucia: click. But what else can we expect from 100% political appointees? The truth?? No, there’s too much money at stake. Those appointees have their marching orders.

    Maybe those charts just don’t go back far enough to show that CO2 causes runaway global warming: click. Well, so much for that conjecture.

    But the models! They say the planet is heating up, and the GCMs are never wrong, are they? click. Well, it turns out they’re almost always wrong.

    EVERYBODY PANIC!! Clicknot. Ho-hum.

    Been there, done that, got the T-shirt: click

    OK, gotta go, but I have plenty more like these. In the mean time, sorry about that AGW/CO2 conjecture: click.

  407. For pities sake Smoky:

    Fit a regression line through those plots. It’s slope is significantly positive.

    But for any of the following short excerpts the trend is significantly negative.

    1981- 1983
    1983 – 1985
    1987 – 1989
    1990 (and a half) to 1993
    1995 – 1997
    1998 – 2000
    2007 – now

    You are trying to use short term noise (caused by phenomomen such as el nino/la nina and the Indian Ocean Dipole) to refute a long tern trend which is up up up.

    Looking at it another way. Compute the average for the last ten years and compare it to the average for any previous decade. It is significantly higher.

    You even go so far as to present a graphic showing 30 years of data, but then compare the value of just two of the data points!

    If scientists did this the ~snip~ would go apoplectic! And they would be right to do so (ignoring the minor issue of hypocrisy).

  408. Smokey (19:49:14) :

    Nice set of graphs. I like the first one the best. All of this sophistry on the AGW side about how we are all idiots and well … given the only set of reliable temperature measurements we have there doesn’t even appear to be any warming at all. Never mind explaining the warming .. what warming? The emperor has no clothes.

    Actually that is one of the aspects of this I find the most interesting. The AGW anger. This is epitomized in the theme of the new movie “The age of stupid” i.e. we the skeptics are well … so incredible stupid LOL and this makes the believers really angry. They just can not believe that maybe, just maybe, they might be wrong. I’m willing to believe I am wrong as is any true skeptic. Being a skeptic means that you are ‘skeptical’ not that you believe the opposite. While AGW seems blatantly obvious to the believers, we take a look at the graphs and ask “warming, really? where? Catastrophic you say … nothing like this in history before?” … pauses to look at more graphs, ice-ages, MWP, LIA looks at photos of temperature stations beside air conditioners, on top of pavement, water markers in Maldives that are still visible, historical accounts showing that warm periods actually seem to be beneficial … “Catastrophic … are you sure?” LOL.

    Go to a skeptic site, what do you see. Data, graphs, references, thoughtful discussion, courtesy, interesting thoughts, interesting anecdotes, humility. Go to a believer site, what do you see. Insults, personal attacks on good scientists, outright dismissal, contempt, arrogance. They don’t even bother to address questions except to say how unbelievable stupid you are for your ‘obvious’ misinterpretation of even that most basic science. Ahhh ok …

    Anyways that is kind of fascinating. Seeing mass social delusion develop and flourish right before our eyes .. just like we read about in history books and thought could never happen again .. not in this era of science …

  409. Ian Schumacher,

    I’d argue the exact inverse.

    This article – Blind to Facts and Reason: The Role of Ideology – reflects my understanding of the relationship between the two sides of this debate pretty well.

    And consider this, where does almost all of the primary data and presentations of it come from? Climate scientists and the many climate science publications and websites that provide it to the public.

    There is a big list of the primary data sources here where you can go to download the raw data. You will find that not one of the institutions providing the data disputes the AGW hypothesis.

    Same goes for all the Worlds major scientific academies”.

  410. Craig Allen (18:43:10) :

    You said you would could address any of my talking point and provide strong evidence against any of them (I am paraphrasing). Ok, that’s cool, in all seriousness I am interested in counter arguments. Why not start with point #1. No significant trend. Lets stick with the satellite data if possible. There is a trend. If one assumes a linear fit is the best fit and does linear regression there will be a positive slope. That we agree on, so my question would be:
    1.) What is the error of the slope i.e. is the slope statistically significant and how significant i.e. 1/1000 this slope could occur randomly.
    2.) What evidence do you have this level of change is unprecedented? Has never occurred in the past and could not be due to natural variability (within reasonable probability of course). i.e. proof that the MWP and/or LIA did not exist.
    3.) If the trend is within natural variability (which I think it is, pending your proof against it of course), would you conclude that there is room for doubt/skepticism and if not, why not? Of course no need to address this depending on #1 and #2.

    I will look at your links tomorrow. I have downloaded and plotted the ‘raw’ data. That is what point #1 is, but I’ll take a look a tamino links tomorrow also.

    Cheers,

    Ian

  411. Re: Craig Allen:

    “Is it possible that the choice of the 9% figure may have been made made essentially to give the result you were trying to prove?”

    Yes, I considered that, but when you eyeball the adsorption spectra (neatly presented here) you can see that the location and size of the CO2 band within the thermal radiation absorbing section of the spectrum looks about right for it to be accounting for 9%.

    And besides, this is the fundamental core of the greenhouse hypothesis. It’s at the heart of every climate model.

    In your argument, you chose the lower value for CO2 in isolation, and then found the linear calculation “confirmed” by observation, with space to spare on the upper side of temperatures due to feedback.

    However, CO2 warming does not exist in isolation in any climate model. At the least, the very large H2O feedback (larger than CO2 sensitivity by itself!) must be included.

    Hence if you were to choose a single number for effective sensitivity (without the feedback calculation), 9% would be a bit “coincidental” to arrive at a 0.675°C figure which happens to agree with observed warming, when the upper bound of 26% would have been much more defensible with feedbacks included.

    There is a big list of the primary data sources here where you can go to download the raw data. You will find that not one of the institutions providing the data disputes the AGW hypothesis.

    I think it would be fair to point out the difference in content between the various agreements that human activity has an effect on the earth’s climate, and a strong assertion such as the IPCC 2007:

    Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

  412. Craig Allen (22:14:43) :
    There is a big list of the primary data sources here where you can go to download the raw data. You will find that not one of the institutions providing the data disputes the AGW hypothesis.

    Same goes for all the Worlds major scientific academies”.

    I would like to remind you that if scientists were not able to break through this consensus mentality, of ” all the worlds major scientif academis” we would still be in the middle ages counting the number of angels on the end of a pin.

    Science is not about voting, or consensus. Science is not about data gathering, though honesty in data gathering is important ( and this blog has shown great errrors in that, if not dishonesty in the land temperature data). Science is to be able to make hypothesis about the data and see if they hold, and to have integrity enough to throw away the hypothesis that does not fit the data.

    Any “model” that is not falsifiable is not part of science, but video games, world views,political theories etc.

  413. Craig Allen

    I’ve watched the debate between you and Smokey. Let me come clean. While I agree with Smokey’s conclusions, and like the approach of giving snappy references, I often have sympathy with you as you are generally courteous, and sometimes (eg the Tasmanian sealevel mark) I feel your input trumps that of Smokey. I will further come clean: I too get ratted and descend into invectives at times. But I do two other things as well: I apologize, and I often learn from the warmists and say thanks – and mean it – because you warmists have really helped me sharpen up my attention to data, details, and what to put first – BEFORE ATTENTION FAILS.

    Skeptics have been disjointed in their evidence. And yes, we often lack consensus. However, the real cutting-edge of Science is untidy and could never progress unless lone voices spoke out against consensuses. And the history of Science shows that these lone voices have often been treated not just badly but very badly. Sometimes they eventually win and become part of the new consensus. Sometimes they stay buried for a long time. Faraday’s observations of the liquid condition existing in ice (on its surface in particular) is one of those – and it’s relevant to the capacity of Vostok to record CO2 levels accurately.

    The creative edge of Science is untidy. The transmitted tradition of Science is the very opposite: beautiful, clean, simple-looking laws that explain Reality. These two contradictory aspects of Science attract very different kinds of people. Most people want simple, clean truths: but are unwilling to dirty their hands to get those simple distillations for themselves. Anything messy HAS to be wrong. Anything outside the box, not agreed by the “experts”, HAS to be wrong. See, I too have difficulty, from my side, with the use of that word “expert”!! It is the rarity amongst experts who like everything clean and neat, to find one who is also open to the creative edge of evidence that does not fit. Lindzen is just such a rarity. Always such paradigm-shifters have been attacked – read Thomas Kuhn “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”.

    Now we are at a great paradigm shift: maybe each of us has to be a lot more responsible for our effects on a fragile planet. However, most of those who face this do so from urban environments that have lost almost all sense of sacred connection with Nature. Technology, enabled by Science, often seems like the bogeyman. But it is not. Science and Technology are also gifts: but their first requirement is that all theory must fit all available data. And the CO2-drives-temperature theory does NOT fit ANY of the available data. We all know it’s a greenhouse gas that probably stops us freezing. But there is NO evidence for CO2 having any warming power at current levels. See my Primer (click my name) on this; show me where I’m factually wrong; if you can, I would be grateful. But give me space to respond in case you’ve missed my point because I worded it badly.

    If you like, join our Forum: but it’s only a small Forum unlike WUWT.

  414. James P;

    So which particular card brought the house of cards down for you?

    Well, since you ask…

    I originally accepted the general AGW consensus unthinkingly, conflating it with other environmental issues with which I agreed, such as pollution/waste reduction and sustainability. I have a long time friend who likes to play devil’s advocate and who realised long before me that this was a scam. If I mentioned CO2, he would ask how I knew it was a greenhouse gas, knowing that I then spent some of my time actually working in greenhouses where, ironically, we would pipe extra CO2 in to help the plants grow faster! This prompted me to check the numbers, and we had people working quite happily in an environment with over 1000ppm, so I had to find out a bit more about its contribution to GW, which seems to be rather less than advertised. The A of AGW seems to be 3% of the overall 0.04% which doesn’t sound a lot to me.

    We also discussed carbon trading, both concluding that this is pure hokum. Planting trees, while a worthy occupation, simply defers the release of the carbon while the tree is alive, so it is, at best, only a temporary measure. In any case, by now, I had come to question the whole business of ‘climate change’ and its political exploitation. A science project into our local red squirrel population (I live in the Isle of Wight, where the grey variety is absent) found that normally hard to acquire funding became magically available when they linked the study to global warming!

    Other signs that political capital was being made included the car tax changes in the UK (now based on CO2 emissions) and the promotion of CFL bulbs, for which the law of unintended consequences could have been invented (cheap to run, but expensive to make and recycle, use noxious materials, have an unpleasant spectrum and use more power than advertised due to an awkward power factor).

    I remembered the big ‘ice age’ scare in the 70’s and via blogs like this discovered that James Hansen had had a part in that too, which I’m sure is something that no longer appears on his CV! I also found this, which is one of the best expositions of a technical subject I have ever read. I am a technical author by trade and I appreciate this sort of thing.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2008/8/11/caspar-and-the-jesus-paper.html

    As one of the commenters wrote of the AGW protagonists: “If everything is settled in their favour, why are they resorting to this sort of mendacity?”

    Why, indeed.

  415. I’m a simple man: However the negative feedback effect how strong is it? I mean if the earth negative feedback system is constantly adjusting and tweaking to maintain temperature equilibrium does that mean the temperature can never really change up or domwn that much, which is evidently no the case.
    So my question is can the negative feeback response be overwhelmed by factors like the Milanokovich model.

    Thanks

  416. PeteB (07:50:47) :

    Yes that is interesting and I agree with them for the adjusted surface temperature record. UHI and the bizarre adjustment process (historical temperature being revised down, current temperature revised up) explains this for the surface record. But I’m still interested in their methodology.

    That’s why i think the surface record is useless. The built-in and manufactured bias far out ways any GW signal. This means only the satellite data is reliable and unfortunately we only have a short amount of data for that.

  417. but if you compare surface temperatures over the satellite era between data sets

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1979/trend/plot/rss/from:1979/trend/offset:0.15/plot/uah/from:1979/trend/offset:0.15/plot/gistemp/from:1979/trend/offset:-0.1

    (I’ve offset to try to compensate for different base periods)

    hadcru, rss and giss have nearly identical trends with uah slightly lower which makes me think the surface temperature record isn’t that far out.

    There is still a disceprancy between the 30% higher trend you would expect from the models in the global lower trop record and the surface temperature. That could be

    1) Models are wrong
    2) Surface Temperature record overestimates the true warming
    3) Satellite temp are wrong (there’s a significant difference between UAH and RSS based on the same data !) and some of the other satellite records e.g. Fu et al. (2004)finds trends (1979-2001) of +0.19 °C/decade when applied to the RSS data set.[6] A less regularly updated analysis is that of Vinnikov and Grody with +0.20°C per decade (1978–2004) show much greater warming (again based on the same data)
    4) Some combination of the above

  418. Re Surface Warming

    This also gave me some confidence in the surface temperature record – John V took the raw data from ‘good’ stations, used his own methodogy and compared it against the GISS. Unfortunately the graphs no longer show up but there was near total agreement from the trend calculated independently by John V from the good stations (he did this for USA only) and the GISS record (with what I agree is a rather confusing methodology !)

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2061#comment-137949

    Whatever happened to the Open Temp project ?

  419. Yes over the satellite era the surface temperatures match fairly well, but the data keepers are constantly adjusting the data so I don’t think this is a reason for confidence, more likely a condition of the adjustments (i.e. they can’t disagree with the satellites too much and are adjusted so they do not ).

    Most skeptics believe there has been warming, they just believe that it is due to natural cycles, the sun, etc. I’m a bit rare in that I’m ‘skeptical’ about whether there has even been any warming. It is my understanding that even the satellite temperature have been adjusted, although only a small amount. I can not believe in the corrections when the corrections always (to the best of my knowledge … any one know of a counter example) result in increased warming. Its just too improbable, and obvious to anyone with a hint of objectivity — fraudulent.

    When you combine these small but many one-way adjustments, the sparse and poorly distributed sensor network, UHI, and other factors, I think people forget exactly how small the supposed warming is. It was 0.64C supposedly before they did a bunch of adjustments and made it 0.8C. That’s a 0.2% change in temperature. To me, if we took out the obvious bias of the constant one-way adjustments, took UHI into effect properly, then I doubt we would see any warming beyond noise.

    Take a look at sea level rise as another example. We are told it rises a few millimeters a year. That is fine in theory, but how do we ‘know’ this? The equipment we are using (tide gauges) where not designed to detect differences this small over such a long period of time. The satellites are calibrated to the tide gauges (another one-way adjustment). Maldives being a very good counter-example of actual visually verifiable data where there is no detectable water rise and where if there was, they should notice it.

    My opinion is that everyone is arguing over noise and ‘adjusted’ noise at that. First, let’s adequately explain the ice-ages. Let’s have a model of the ice ages that fully explains what happened. It boggles my mind how the science community can go on modeling noise and pretending they understand when they don’t even have an adequate model for ice ages where there is an actual and obvious ‘signal’. Let’s understand massive climate change first before we spend billions of dollars trying to explain undetectable climate change.

    http://www.ianschumacher.com/iceages.html

  420. Ian Schumacher (09:35:10) :
    Yes over the satellite era the surface temperatures match fairly well, but the data keepers are constantly adjusting the data so I don’t think this is a reason for confidence, more likely a condition of the adjustments (i.e. they can’t disagree with the satellites too much and are adjusted so they do not ).

    Yet when the satellite data was first produced there was a very large discrepancy with the surface data. By your logic the surface data would have been adjusted to match the satellites, in fact that was not done, however errors were subsequently found in the satellite data and the discrepancy reduced.

  421. Phil. (09:57:26) :

    By your logic the surface data would have been adjusted to match the satellites,

    Actually, by his logic the satellite data would be adjusted to be a closer match to the surface… which was what happened.

    Mark

  422. Yes, ‘errors’ are always being found, but strangely the errors only ever go one-way ;-) I’m sorry, I can’t believe in a system that can only find errors that go one-way. Also it is my understanding that adjustments of surface temperatures have been done which decreases past temperatures. Beyond the obvious question and reaction – ‘wtf?’, this has the effect of increasing temperature rise over the past while not getting out of line with the satellites too much. Ya … adjust the period before satellites downward … hmmm ok.

    Maybe there has been warming, maybe there hasn’t. I’m skeptical because I can’t believe in data that is only being adjusted one-way and doesn’t take into account UHI (Anthony’s own passion for surface station evaluation shows UHI is real and has a huge effect, beyond any reasonably doubt) Given that, finding room to fit a measly 0.7C temperature rise through these kinds of error mechanisms would seem rather easy.

    On a completely different note and something I have been thinking about … how are temperatures averaged? I believe that it is a simple average … which is obviously plain wrong. Temperature average should be the 4th root of the average of the 4th power of temperature, because outward thermal radiation is proportional to the 4th power of temperature. NOT doing it this way means that if temperatures around the world became flatter (i.e. distributed more towards the poles and reduced at the equator) then this would ‘look’ like an increase in average temperature when it is really just a change in the distribution of energy and the total energy remains unchanged. Not too even get into taking specific heat values into account and so on. How can we trust a system to come up with an average temperature that doesn’t know how to properly average temperature?

  423. Antony,
    I’m a reader of your blog, and I’ve found this news today on a Italian meteorological site, probably you already aware of that, anyway it says:

    “Cosmic rays and clouds, Europe will finance a research project to discover causes of global warming.”

    2.3M euro will be spent to research correlation between solar radiation, clouds and global temperature change.

    (i.e : EU start to have doubt on the famous AGW, a start to give credit to other theory)

    You can find the Italian article here : http://meteolive.leonardo.it/meteolive-notizia-25185-raggi_cosmici_e_nuvole,_lue_finanzia_il_progetto_di_ricerca_per_scoprire_le_cause_del_global_warming.html

    It’s in Italian, if you need a complete translation let me know

    Regards

    Paolo

  424. Ian,

    Thanks for your detailed response

    As for the satellite ‘adjustment’ there is no mystery to this – one of the corrections in the UAH analysis (related to the drift in crossing times at the equator) had the wrong sign and this is acknowledged by Christy / Spencer.

    I still find it hard to believe that 3 independent groups (GISS, HADcru and NSDC) would end up with temperature reconstructions that are essentially identical, coupled with the work that John V did at climate audit reconstructing the US temperature from the only good stations using a totally different method from GISS again should end up essentially identical.

    Again – from my woodsfortrees plot, rss, hadcru and giss are showing just a shade under 0.5 deg C change in the satellite era – most of the change has happened in the satellite era

    Totally take the point that a lot of this is finding a signal in noisy data.

    As for adjustments – I can see that when a theory disagrees with measurements they will try and find a source for that disagreement, whether that be a change to the model (eg Hansen’s early GCM s ended up with a climate sensitivity of 4 Deg C – the current GISS model, I think, has a climate sensitivity of 2.7 Deg C) or checking if there is something wrong with the observations (e.g. the ocean cooling that was not cooling)

  425. PeteB (02:20:37) :

    Just out of curiosity let me ask you a couple questions:
    1.) Do you think adjusting past temperatures downward is valid? I haven’t bookmarked one, but many people have done blink comparators that show how the hot 30s were reduced .. making a wavy graph look more like a straight line.
    2.) Do you have a counter-example of corrections going the other direction? It seems every time there is a correction recent temperature are moved up, past temperature are moved down. Does this seem reasonable to you?

  426. 1) OK – from the IPCC Assessment Reports – I apologise this is big picture – but I’m interested in if this had made a significant difference

    1st Assessment Report (1990) – Our judgement is that: global mean surface air temperature has increased by 0.3 to 0.6 oC over the last 100 years…;

    2nd Assesment Report (1995) –
    Global mean surface air temperature has increased by between about 0.3 and 0.6°C since the late 19th century; the additional data available since 1990 and the reanalyses since then have not significantly changed this range of estimated increase.

    3rd Assement Report 2001 – The global average surface temperature has increased over the 20th century by about 0.6°C;

    4th Assesment Report (2007) The 100-year linear trend
    (1906-2005) of 0.74 [0.56 to 0.92]°C1 is larger than the corresponding
    trend of 0.6 [0.4 to 0.8]°C (1901-2000)

    Those all seem pretty consistent to me given the temperature has risen 1988- 2005 (the cutoffs for AR1 to AR4) by a fraction under 0.4 deg C (from the woods for trees plot)

  427. PeteB (04:05:06) :

    I think you misunderstood my question #1. I mean the temperature measurements of the 30-40s, which were hotter then today, have been adjusted downward. This makes all the difference between having a trend and no trend …

    I found a link to a blink comparator to show what i mean — http://zapruder.nl/images/uploads/screenhunter3qk7.gif

    And I assume you were not able to find a counter-example (where adjustments went against the trend). When we are dealing with a signal buried in noise and all adjustments go one-way, well .. that seems unlikely, to put it mildly :-) .

    I think we are at an impasse. I respect your position; its logically and you have done your research and I concede might be correct, however I remain skeptical. There is a LOT of room for skepticism as the above graph shows just one piece of. If there was a strong and obvious ‘unadjusted’ signal … there would be no argument … but we to have succumbed to arguing over noise.

    Cheers to you and thank you for your respectful and intelligent debate.

  428. Apart from the predictable direction of every correction made to data in disagreement with alarmist models, I do not understand the changes in orbit depicted in Wong paper (http://asd-www.larc.nasa.gov/~tak/wong/f20.pdf figure 1). How can a satellite orbit decay be stepwise? It should be gradual, with almost constant slope until final re-entrance.

    any explanation to that?

  429. Dear Prof. Lindzen, Thank you for your clear and concise thoughts on this matter. So few published articles employ scientific fact and hard data to make their point, thank you. If people only knew that these proposed “solutions” to a non-existent problem will so deadly to the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us, they would call these snake-oil salesmen on their lies. But as always, hindsight will be 20-20 for most. Please keep up the good work.

    Steven M.
    Lexington MA

  430. I like this quote from Lindzen:
    “That said, it has become standard in climate science that data in contradiction to alarmism is inevitably ‘corrected’ to bring it closer to alarming models.”

    It sort of reminds me of how computer simulations were run regarding ice melting on Mars and they concluded “that the planet’s albedo-induced warming may be responsible for as much as 60 percent of that loss.”

    “May be” and “as much as 60%” is an awful lot of wiggle room.

  431. bill (17:33:17) : A real world example in UK (from the docment I referenced above
    The hot summer of 1995

    I find this amusing. A tale of woe and disaster from the runaway heat wave in the UK causing drastic failure that can not be mitigated… sheep dropping like flies from the heat… Why amusing?

    Because I grew up in farm country in one of the most productive places on the planet, regularly attending the county fair in August to tour the animal barns (including cattle, sheep, pigs, etc.) When it was regularly 110 F in the shade (and there aint no shade…)

    Now if you hit over about 105 F for long times it’s a good idea to swap over to heat tolerant breeds like the brahman breeds, but my Dad ran a standard brown / white beef breed with no ‘issues’ and the hotter it got the more the pasture and grains grew. Oh, it it’s a good idea to shear the sheep at the start of summer. (You know, last time I looked they grew a lot of sheep in Australia out in the way hot… I remember driving past a lot of them on a very hot day)

    Cereal yields and quality were good. The protein content of grain rose, which was good for bread-making wheat but not for malting barley. The harvest was large and early, allowing farmers to make a cost saving with fewer working days and less grain drying,…

    Yup. More food more easily. Oh, and it’s OK to malt high protein barley, but if it really bothers you, just constrain the nitrogen fertilizer a little.

    Cattle enterprises suffered because of a shortage of grass and forage, although upland forage for beef was less restricted. Many areas could only take one silage cut, and grass production in the driest areas dropped by 20-30%. Maize yields were down by 30%, and other feeds such as potatoes were in short supply. All this resulted in food supply problems over the winter, with farmers buying in feed or selling off animals.

    Sounds more like a drought / planning problem than a heat problem. Plant more dry tolerant varieties and move on. As a one time fluke, you got caught unprepared; longer term this is very manageable. (I remember my Mom saying that she was going to visit home in England during July in the hope of finding the sunny day that year ;-) She got rained on the whole time… An English drought is when the frogs don’t drown… BTW, burmuda grass is highly productive in heat and we always had clover / vetch growing like crazy in the summer. At most you need to slightly change what you plant to take advantage of increased heat, if you get any.

    One beneficial effect of the summer was that, although hay and forage prices were high, cereals had produced a lot of good quality straw, which some farmers used to supplement rations.

    OK, maybe it’s a language issue, but where I grew up it was “straw” when it was loose and it was “hay” when it was bailed, but more specifically straw was the stem of a grass. So I’m having trouble with the idea that hay was having problems but straw wasn’t… Maybe you had a particular kind of hay in mind, like Alfalfa, that doesn’t have a straw since it’s not a grass?

    Pigs and poultry both responded to the heat by reducing feed intake. This resulted in lower slaughter weights for pigs and reduced egglaying, low broiler growth rates and increased mortality in poultry.

    Unless you have the wimpiest pigs and sheep on the planet, this is just silly. I’ve slopped pigs on a friends pig farm in Illinois one summer and Dad raised them on the farm in Iowa as a kid. Summer in either one is not exactly cool. Again, unless you were over 100F every single day for 30+ days with many days in the 110 F range, you are not talking heat… Iowa is rather well know for producing a lot of pork products… I can’t imagine England ever coming close to an Iowa summer. But for real heat, let’s talk Texas. There is a wonderful part of Texas called “The Hill Country”. About 5 years ago I drove across it in July. Darned Hot. 100 something and not much cooler at night (unlike California). Stopped a couple of times to admire the goat herds and once or twice to look at some fine cattle.

    Based on your description of Dire Straights all of the American Heartland, our most productive farming on the planet, is on the verge of sterility and animals are prostrate and wasting away…

    Now go to equatorial countries where agriculture is already heat stressed what will happen there?

    You mean places like Brazil, the rising star of global agriculture with record yields of sugar cane and a growing force in the global soybean industry?(since they have enough heat to really crank out the production!) I expect them to record continuing record production of sugar, beans, grains, cattle, etc. They have some fine cattle and great beef steak (for darned cheap prices!) Though they did have snow in southern Brazil this last year, a bit of a surprise…

    Some places will be better off others will go under leading to forced migration polewards. Politics will not allow this.

    Pardon me, but your silliness is showing… There is a large and persistent migration happening, but it’s from North to South. Loads of folks have turned Phoenix into a major metropolitan region. BTW, Phoenix is an example of where heat does limit production. During the peak of summer when it hits 120+ there are some crops you can’t grow. So you end up with only a 9 month growing season for some crops. I’ll let that soak in a minute.

    OK, so that’s your limit case. If you presently don’t have a 9 month growing season due to cold winters, you gradually move through ever longer growing seasons until you reach the 12 months of California. Then, and only then as you reach 120 degrees F, you will compress your growing season back to 9 months for cool season crops. But in exchange for this you get to have all the citrus, strawberries, sweet corn, soybeans, nopalitos (nopales – cactus pads, it’s a TexMex CaliMex, Mexican thing…) tepary beans, black eyed peas, collards, etc you could ever want. Oh, and sugar cane if you have the water. The Phoenix area production in it’s two major growing seasons exceeds that of most areas in their seasons.

    Heat grows more food, not less. It moves when you grow them. Period.

    It lets you choose to grow cold season crops in the winter (like kale, cabbage, peas, etc.) and heat tolerant in the summer for year round production. You just can’t do that under 4 feet of snow or at minus C or F in winter.

    So until the entire planet is as hot as the center of one of the hottest deserts in North America, we get more production not less.

    If you would like to test this for yourself, get a “planting calendar” for Fairbanks Alaska ( peak temp 60F to 70F some years for a couple of months maybe) and for Phoenix. Then plan you garden, orchard, and pasturing. Figure out the degree-day needs of each species and variety you will grow. Then show your work.

    You will find that in Alaska, it’s a race to get 60 day crops to mature (though the 24 hour sun helps) and things like 120 day corn (maize) are just not possible. For Phoenix it’s ‘anything goes’ but you may need to limit your cold season crops to around December and not plant some things in June July August (time for the hot plants instead: Tomato, Peppers, tepary beans, letting early season beans and corn dry for dry grains, canning nopales, harvesting citrus etc.)

    Which is easier to live with? 60 days of maybe growing a few varieties of fast foods or year round production with a bit of care to avoid peas and kale in summer? Now you know why folks move to Phoenix from Boise…

    BTW, TWC is reporting Colorado getting “pounded with this one” at Vale with new snow and a late skii season… I’m looking forward to an early skii resort report from New Zealand too…

  432. George E. Smith (APR 03, 13:08:06) to Mike M ((APR 03, 08:44:52) :

    “Mike I would say that is a fair statement; except that most of the radiation that comes from the sun would not be in the IR.”

    Well I certainly wasn’t insinuating that it was.

    What I believe it overlooked by modelers is that UV that is not reflected by concrete makes the concrete hotter and re-emit IR but much of the UV that is not reflected by plant leaves is converted into chemical energy – NOT re-emitted as IR. (Thus a partial explanation of the “UHI effect”.) So… doesn’t it stand to ponder that because more CO2 causes most plants to convert UV energy into chemical energy at a higher rate, that more CO2 it also therefore a negative feedback to temperature especially in the tropics in addition to convection per Dr. Lindzen?

    It has to be true. Though I do not have a clue how much, it ain’t in any climate model I’ve ever heard of.

  433. Off topic a litte but…. E.M.Smith (21:42:29) – Adding insult to injury, even IF warming was as pronounced as claimed and we ended up getting much more expanded agricultural capacity as you rightly point out – it still will not be enough to feed all the IC machines in rich countries like ours and in Europe exclusively with “bio-fuels’ thus starving the third world where some families cannot afford to feed their families right now at the current prices. So mandating bio-fuel while trying to stop global warming at the same time is shear insanity.

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