Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – solar and earth wobble – CO2 not main driver

From an Oregon State University Media Release (h/t to Leif Svalgaard)

Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – may also help predict future


The above image shows how much the Earth’s orbit can vary in shape.
This process in a slow one, taking roughly 100,000 to cycle.
(Credit: Texas A&M University note: illustration is not to scale)

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A team of researchers says it has largely put to rest a long debate on the underlying mechanism that has caused periodic ice ages on Earth for the past 2.5 million years – they are ultimately linked to slight shifts in solar radiation caused by predictable changes in Earth’s rotation and axis.

In a publication to be released Friday in the journal Science, researchers from Oregon State University and other institutions conclude that the known wobbles in Earth’s rotation caused global ice levels to reach their peak about 26,000 years ago, stabilize for 7,000 years and then begin melting 19,000 years ago, eventually bringing to an end the last ice age.

The melting was first caused by more solar radiation, not changes in carbon dioxide levels or ocean temperatures, as some scientists have suggested in recent years.

“Solar radiation was the trigger that started the ice melting, that’s now pretty certain,” said Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at OSU. “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”

The findings are important, the scientists said, because they will give researchers a more precise understanding of how ice sheets melt in response to radiative forcing mechanisms. And even though the changes that occurred 19,000 years ago were due to increased solar radiation, that amount of heating can be translated into what is expected from current increases in greenhouse gas levels, and help scientists more accurately project how Earth’s existing ice sheets will react in the future.

“We now know with much more certainty how ancient ice sheets responded to solar radiation, and that will be very useful in better understanding what the future holds,” Clark said. “It’s good to get this pinned down.”

The researchers used an analysis of 6,000 dates and locations of ice sheets to define, with a high level of accuracy, when they started to melt. In doing this, they confirmed a theory that was first developed more than 50 years ago that pointed to small but definable changes in Earth’s rotation as the trigger for ice ages.

“We can calculate changes in the Earth’s axis and rotation that go back 50 million years,” Clark said. “These are caused primarily by the gravitational influences of the larger planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn, which pull and tug on the Earth in slightly different ways over periods of thousands of years.”

That, in turn, can change the Earth’s axis – the way it tilts towards the sun – about two degrees over long periods of time, which changes the way sunlight strikes the planet. And those small shifts in solar radiation were all it took to cause multiple ice ages during about the past 2.5 million years on Earth, which reach their extremes every 100,000 years or so.

Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age – unless some other forces stop or slow it. But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.

“One of the biggest concerns right now is how the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will respond to global warming and contribute to sea level rise,” Clark said. “This study will help us better understand that process, and improve the validity of our models.”

The research was done in collaboration with scientists from the Geological Survey of Canada, University of Wisconsin, Stockholm University, Harvard University, the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Ulster. It was supported by the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

UPDATE: Science now has the paper online, which is behind a paywall. The abstract is open though and can be read below:

Science 7 August 2009:
Vol. 325. no. 5941, pp. 710 – 714
DOI: 10.1126/science.1172873

Research Articles

The Last Glacial Maximum

Peter U. Clark,1,* Arthur S. Dyke,2 Jeremy D. Shakun,1 Anders E. Carlson,3 Jorie Clark,1 Barbara Wohlfarth,4 Jerry X. Mitrovica,5 Steven W. Hostetler,6 A. Marshall McCabe7

We used 5704 14C, 10Be, and 3He ages that span the interval from 10,000 to 50,000 years ago (10 to 50 ka) to constrain the timing of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in terms of global ice-sheet and mountain-glacier extent. Growth of the ice sheets to their maximum positions occurred between 33.0 and 26.5 ka in response to climate forcing from decreases in northern summer insolation, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, and atmospheric CO2. Nearly all ice sheets were at their LGM positions from 26.5 ka to 19 to 20 ka, corresponding to minima in these forcings. The onset of Northern Hemisphere deglaciation 19 to 20 ka was induced by an increase in northern summer insolation, providing the source for an abrupt rise in sea level. The onset of deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet occurred between 14 and 15 ka, consistent with evidence that this was the primary source for an abrupt rise in sea level ~14.5 ka.

1 Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
2 Geological Survey of Canada, 601 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E8, Canada.
3 Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
4 Department of Geology and Geochemistry, Stockholm University, SE-10691, Stockholm, Sweden.
5 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
6 U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
7 School of Environmental Science, University of Ulster, Coleraine, County Londonderry, BT52 1SA, UK.

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538 thoughts on “Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – solar and earth wobble – CO2 not main driver

  1. If it is certain that the earths orbit causes ice ages, then it must stand to reason that the opposite is true that is when the orbit is near or around its least elipical path warming will occur. ie who cares what the co2 levels are!

  2. So how do the changes in total solar radiation incident on earth as a result of these orbital shifts compare to the change in solar radiation caused by the observed waxing and waning of sunspot cycles (which I believe I’ve read here to be about 0.1% difference from sunspot cycle trough to crest)?

    The commentary on the blogs suggests that the sunspot cycle effect (0.1% variation in solar radiation) is not large enough to cause major climate fluctuations without a secondary effect – such as the hypothesized increase in cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere to increase cloudiness and cause cooling. So is the Milankovitch cycle effect (____%variation in solar radiation) much larger? Is that why it can cause ice ages? Does the size of that effect suggest that it is or is not enough to overcome the CO2 forcing thought to be central to AGW?

  3. “…and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    This is an odd statement, if I’m reading it correctly. What “greenhouse has emissions” from 200 yrs ago can he possibly be alluding to? Isn’t the consensus that there could be no AGW effect from GHGs until after WWII?

  4. “due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    They still have the blinkers on. [sigh]

  5. “…these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    So Clark is saying that, in spite of what has happened over geological time, what has happened over the last 200 years is our fault?

  6. “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”

    “They” will take that as complete and total victory….

  7. So Milankovitch was right after all and all those years of labourious manual calculation were not in vain!

    “Long debate ednded” seems pretty final. Somehow I doubt that we’ve seen the last word yet. But I would like to hear more about the details of this latest research in language a layman can understand.

  8. Interesting that it wasn’t CO2 then, but it is now, and over the last 200 years, at that. Wasn’t it a bit chilly til about 1850 or so?

  9. Cathy is right, another interpretation of what Clark is saying is that absent increased CO2, Canada would be uninhabitable right now. The LIA might have just become a BIA.

    The IPCC is claiming that the current interglacial will last 50k more years, even without the CO2 increase. I wonder if this is the “consensus” of scientists who have studied Milankovich cylcles?

  10. When I studied atmospheric physics in graduate school, thirty years ago, this theory about ice ages and planetary cycles was generally well accepted (based purely on OBSERVED MEASURED DATA rather than computer models). Despite the knowledge that CO2 was a “greenhouse gas”, CO2 greenhouse effect was generally regarded as an amusing neat idea that was only suited to high school physics because it was such an oversimplified way to describe such a complex system as the atmosphere – i.e. nobody back then was silly enough to believe computer models more than OBSERVED DATA.

    How the world of science has changed – now we COMPLETELY Ignore observations!

  11. For those of us with gray hair, is this not what we learned in earth science class in high school in the 70s?

  12. Fish Man (18:34:37) :
    So how do the changes in total solar radiation incident on earth as a result of these orbital shifts compare to the change in solar radiation caused by the observed waxing and waning of sunspot cycles

    It is unfortunate that the article uses the word ‘radiation’ in a way that makes it ambiguous as to what it means. It means here the radiation we receive at the Earth [at the 'top of the atmosphere'] which is not the same as what the Sun puts out [even measured at the same average distance from the Sun as the Earth has]. The Sun’s output varies only by about 1 W/m2 over the cycle, but because of the changing distance through the year [we are closest in January], what we receive varies by 90 W/m2 [almost a hundred times more].

    Of course, the article ends with the mandatory statement that man is responsible for the recent [rapid] change.

  13. The orbital cycles do not change the total amount of radiation hitting the earth just the time and locations of peak radiation. The peak effects are around 4 percent for a given location so much stronger than sunspots but localized. 4 percent was for the northern hemisphere summer minimum 115,000 years ago versus the 1950 value at a latitude of 60° N

  14. Their conclusion is more along the lines of “yes, but”. Yes, if the several previously repeated pattern holds true we are about at the end of the warm part of the cycle, and yes that means we could start really getting cold, so cold that humanity would face a crisis that will perturb the world unlike any previous one, yes but, yes but global warming may have delayed it, although we really can’t say how much.

  15. Please correct me, but are we obsessed to look temperature benchmark to suit us, humans? Hockey-stick is dramatic because it referenced to an arbitrary number to magnify the effect.
    The 0.1% TSI variation is bugger all to explain 0.5C referenced @20deg.C

    But if we reference to 300K the delta TSI 0.1% and the orbit variation can explain that.
    Perhaps Leif can explain what is wrong with that?

  16. OT but just had to share this. Just been watching BBC 24 – Hardtalk with Roger Harrabin interviewing the outgoing director of GreenPeace about Climate Change. I’d temporarily misplaced the remote control otherwise I’d have switched the TV off – so glad that I didn’t!
    To my suprised delight the BBC interviewer took an entirely different approach from that which I’d expected and laid into “Mr Green” with aggressive gusto!

    First he attacked the anti-democratic and over-alarmist stance taken by Greenpeace – he was particularl virulent with the Catastrophic Alarmism used by their propogandist wings!

    He then made the claim that Greenpeace was itself tainted with the badge of “Denialism” just as much as the sceptics were. He poo-poohed the idea trumpeted in June by GP that the Greenland Ice Sheets would be gone by 2030 or so – this is unscientific and ridiculous he said- the GP director who by now seemed shell-shocked conceded that he thought it unlikely but was not responsible for all the press releases of his organisation.

    Mr Harrabin finally brought up the subject of Nuclear Power and forced the confession from, by now, visibly sweating interviewee that – Nuclear was and in spite of 20 plus years of reassessment still not on the agenda of acceptability.

    Roger Harrabin – Don’t agree with you all the time mate- but this was the BBC that I once respected. A glimpse of the future. God, I hope so!

  17. You have to read until the last 3 paragreaphs. There, despite his own findings, Mr. Peter Clark kneels in front of the God of Manmade Global Warming.

  18. The surprise is that Science is publishing it, they seem to have been in the same warmist group as Nature.

  19. RoyFOMR (19:21:28) :

    Are you sure it was Harrabin doing the interviewing? I’ve just watched Steven Sacur interviewing the outgoing Green peace guy on Hardtalk… He did give him a hard time though – I agree – is the BBC at last changing it’s tune? Like you – I hope so. The BBC used to make me proud to be British…

  20. Jimmy Haigh (18:47:46) :

    “But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    I’ve worked it out now – it’s the money shot.
    What he is saying is: “Can I have some more funding please?”

  21. So they are now informing us that Milankovitch was always right, after all? Did anyone ever actually doubt that? Well, I hardly think that they have rendered the “debate over”-it still is difficult to understand how exactly those orbital changes influence climate-in particular why changes in solar insolation in the North Hemisphere summer would be connected to climate all the way down in Antarctica. Of course we may some day understand these variations and how the work more precisely, but I doubt these guys have it figured.

  22. Nasif Nahle (18:44:07) :

    That’s precisely what I said in my article on Continents Flooded… (red to purple angry face).

    Well, not exactly; I didn’t say this…

    …and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.

    …because it’s not true. However, they had to twist their conclusions for their paper was “peer reviewed” and published.

  23. “due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    This appears to have been a clipping fallen out of another paper. I’ve noticed the odd fact recently with the tide turning on AGW that papers presenting new evidence for alternative mechanisms to CO2 causing significant climate change have a token, respectful, non sequitur or half-step back or genuflection to the Holy Synod of Gaia. Perhaps this is what one must do these days in academia to get published, to get by the peerage on the subject of Climate Change. Look for these awkward implants or scholarly tumors in future timorous papers that go against AGW alchemy. Maybe we can make a collection for the Smithsonian or some such keeper of artifacts.

  24. Fundamental geometry and physics equations relate a temperature change to distance from the sun. That is obvious. It is not so obvious how to calculate the irregular orbit of the earth around the sun.

    Here’s a small competition. How far into the future can we calculate earth’s solar orbit with adequate accuracy to chart future “global temperature changes” of +/- one tenth of a deg C accuracy? I’ll start the ball rolling with a guesstimate of 500 years.

    Now hindcast that.

  25. Even though,

    ” Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age . . .”

    They still say that,

    “One of the biggest concerns right now is how the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will respond to global warming and contribute to sea level rise . . . ”

    You can certainly tell where their funding is coming from. The headline should be, if you believe that GHG has contributed primarily to the warming observed: MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING WILL DELAY START OF NEXT ICE AGE!!!

    It is clear, the equilibrium condition for our world in the last several million years is iceage conditions. We won’t truly know what will tip us into a new ice age until it happens. However, once we do see another ice age start, I bet we can create a computer model that will predict it in hindsight.

  26. Mick (19:21:24) :
    The 0.1% TSI variation is bugger all to explain 0.5C referenced @20deg.C
    The 0.1% TSI explains only about 0.05-0.1C.
    The 50 times larger Milankovich effect explains 2.5-5 degrees, which applied in the right regions [Land, Northern Hemisphere] is enough to explain the glaciations.

  27. Geoff Sherrington (19:48:29) :
    It is not so obvious how to calculate the irregular orbit of the earth around the sun.
    That is actually even more obvious. I think the consensus is that we can do this accurately [enough for this purpose] for some millions of years.

  28. This article completely disregards Occam’s Razor: “Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.”
    ~William of Ockham, 1285-1349

    Gratuitously throwing in an unnecessary entity — carbon dioxide — is simple rent-seeking behavior by these researchers, who will no doubt attempt to leverage their paper into a financial grant. [Mentioning CO2 certainly got them published in Science, didn’t it?]

    In place of CO2 they could have just as well have mentioned undersea volcanic eruptions, or varying albedo. All three are equally rank speculation.

    Had they not added an unnecessary entity — the cause du jour [the ee-e-vil minor trace gas CO2] — their paper would have come to exactly the same conclusions, and it would have the added benefit of credibility.

    [Cathy (18:34:39),

    You might have been knocked over by Mr Higgs’ boson. But so far, they haven’t apprehended the culprit.]

  29. I see nothing in this research that contradicts AGW theory. The researchers propose a mechanism for the cause of 100,000-year ice age cycles. AGW theory predicts catastrophe within 100 years. If the alarmists are right, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will have melted and flooded much of the world before the next ice age gets out of the starting gate. There is much evidence against AGW theory, but none is provided by this new research.

  30. Back in the bad old days of the Soviet evil Empire scientists in most disciplines had to bend the knee to Marxism. It was often qutie amusing. They would spend the first few paragraphs declaring their allegiance to Karl and Vlad (and the Great Teacher of Humanity Joseph Stalin) and then go on to describe their research in paleontology, math, archaeology, etc., which had absoluteoy nothing to do with Marxism. Some fields suffered more than most: archaeologists had to create a new “culture” in 4th century Ukraine to replace the Ostrogothic state, and Russian SF was denied Einstinian time dilation because Lenin didn’t like it. Something similar seems to be happening here, in as much as Science or Nature will not publish “deniers” and yoiu can’t get NSF funding (and thus tenure) if you are on the outs with the Goracle.

  31. Say it isn’t so, a wobble, a shift? But we were told it was CO2 by the Goracle and other high priests….

    sarc off…

    it shows that actually many factors influence climate, and why we get hung up on co2 blows me away…

  32. “and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    Loosely translated from climatespeak this means the equivalent of “Dad – I am working hard at university – please send more money”

    But seriously, this sounds like a throw away line from a media release that may come back to haunt him or may have been an attempt to avoid antagonising the believers and/or holders of the purse strings.

  33. Careful, alarmists wanting to cool the planet are going to be looking for a way to jolt the earth’s wobble back…

  34. I’ve got a problem with this statement:
    “the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    CO2 levels 200 years ago were about 280 ppm which is around the levels they’ve been since at least 1000 AD.
    And “ordinarily might’ gives a lot of wiggle room.

  35. Richard Muller outlines several problems in the first chapter of his book “Ice Ages and Astronomical Causes. http://muller.lbl.gov/pages/IceAgeBook/IceAgeTheories.html
    Has this paper addressed these problems sufficiently? He also places the date of the end of the last ice age at 10-14,000 years ago. I have a problem with placing the date at 10,000. The GISP2 Ice Core records show 14,548 and 10,276 at approximately the same temperature. Younger Dryas period was most likely caused by a comet impact. The duration of this interglacial period is closer to 14,000 BP than 10,000 BP. Was 10,000 adopted to make global warming a more imamate danger?

  36. Some say the world will end in Eccentricity
    Some say in Obliquity
    But many of my generation
    Tend to favor Inclination
    So we are left to wonder when
    Until our earth returns through dust
    And will again
    As so it must

  37. Jimmy Haigh (19:36:39) :

    You may be right Jimmy, I was only going by what I saw on the animated blurb prior to the program coming on. The name Roger Harrabin was repeated many times but as I was scrabbling for the remote I could well have been mistaken as to the messenger!
    But not the message- that was the old BBC – the one we both grew up with AND loved!
    Whoever he was, I respect him.

  38. But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.

    Well, mr. Clark, as others already observed recorded warming that might be attributed to CO2 took place only in the last part of those 200 years. In addition, CO2 influence is so puny, it cannot even push against the PDO, as the measured global temperatures are decreasing the past ten years.

    I wonder what trust can one have on the rest of your scientific conclusions, when you are so wrong on the obvious recent conclusions from recent measurements.
    Zero?

    To all: we have to be hard on these people that add those warming mantras to get their grants. They should be made aware they are prostituting themselves and their science.

  39. None of this information is really new. However, I have to complain about the graphic and the caption attached to it. Both of the ellipses shown are extremely exaggerated and neither is anywhere close to the actual ellipticallity of the Earth’s actual orbit which ranges from an almost perfect circle to only slightly elliptical. Even at it’s most extreme elliptical orbit, the earth’s orbit is very close to a perfect circle (A perfect circle is e=1, the Earth’s most extreme orbit is e=0.97). In fact it is so close that a human cannot usually distinguish it from a circle.

    In the HS Earth Science classes I teach, I am constantly having to counter these poor graphics that are in every astronomy/ES textbook or website. They just reinforce the common misconceptions that people have about astronomy. Please either fix the graphic or at least reword the caption to something along the lines of: “The Earth’s orbit can vary in ellipticallity in a cycle of approximately 100,000 years. (The ellipses shown above are both highly exaggerated.)” TAMU should be ashamed for having that graphic up at all.

  40. What about the precession of the equinox’s? I was taught back in the ’70s about ice ages and the THREE things that caused them…1) Orbit 2) Tilt 3) Precession

  41. page48 (20:16:26) :

    Am I crazy? I thought I learned this years ago.

    You’re not, and you did.

    Milankovitch cycles plus positive feedbacks (albedo, CO2, and some others) have been the prevailing theory on the causes of ice ages (at least those during the pleistocene) for some time now:

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/FAQ/wg1_faq-6.1.html

    It looks like this latest research has provided additional evidence for that.

  42. OK assuming there argument is correct and when the planet gets warmer the CO2 content increases and that in turn makes it warmer yet and that releases more CO2 witch increases the temperatures even more.
    But where than is the mechanism witch made it all stop and prevented the planet from exceeding temperatures that don’t support live anymore as it did billions of years?
    Could it be water vapor that limits this runaway effect perhaps?

  43. This is (at least) the second time the “ice age mystery” has been solved in recent years. In 2005, Ohio State scientists made headlines when they published a paper claiming ice ages were caused by the CO2 greenhouse gas effect. See STUDY BOLSTERS GREENHOUSE EFFECT THEORY, SOLVES ICE AGE MYSTERY at:

    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/earlyice.htm

  44. Well, this still posses an interesting conundrum. So co2 has never been higher in (take yer pick, but ill go for ) 400thousand years. But the previous four interglacial s peaked warmer than this one has…. And we didnt hit that magical tipping point that prevented re glaciation… Were the wobbles from this interglacial less pronounced than previous interglacial s? Or have we had an ocean circulation change that has moderated the shifts more? (im thinking berring strait)

    And if re glaciation is caused by this effect also, are we that confident that GHG’s trump albedo changes… i know there are instances when the earth has gone into ice ages with higher co2 levels, which would suggest, maybe not? (am aware of resolution problems with far distant record)

    Oh so many questions. :-)

  45. I’m sure I’ve read elsewhere that evidence of glaciations, and interglacials suggest they begin and end suddenly, and NOT over thousands of years.

    I still like the idea that our climate experiences a variety of cyclical effects of independent period, driven by the various heavenly bodies in our solar system or perhaps beyond it.

    Sometimes their amplitudes converge, sometimes diverge. Rogue wave effect.

  46. I first learned about the Milankovitch cycles (about 1972 or so) in the context of hydrology. The topic under discussion was the stationarity of long term precipitation time series and how that impacted the stationarity of long term flood series.

    The take home message was that estimating the x thousand year flood or the Probable Maximum Precipitation at a location were impossible given the Milankovitch cycles making the above mentioned time series non-stationary. Although the Milankovitch cycles could be predicted, their impacts on precipitation and runoff were well beyond our scientific understanding in hydrology. I suspect this is still true in hydrology and climate science.

  47. Mike Abbott (20:54:31) :

    This is (at least) the second time the “ice age mystery” has been solved in recent years. In 2005, Ohio State scientists made headlines when they published a paper claiming ice ages were caused by the CO2 greenhouse gas effect.

    You need to read your link again! That’s not what it says.

  48. I am a little puzzled. If this has conclusively settled the matter, where are the calculations that decisively predict the planet’s future temperatures?

    Or is this simply a rough correlation of cycles with ice ages?

  49. This is so ironic considering OSU is stressing green energy everything. In my field, all we ever talk about is how to generate renewable sources of power. Even the city of Corvallis is rated as one of the “Greenest” of cities under 100,000. The city does everything green here. If you throw a rock into traffic 6 out of 10 times you will hit a Prius. Even the mayor has an electric “mayor-mobile”. I just cannot believe that my university actually produced research that didn’t tell us how horrible CO2 is.

  50. If you actually read the literature written by so-called “alarmists” you’ll see this is nothing shocking. I’d recommend “The Long Thaw” by David Archer as a good readable book with some nice graphs of correlations between northern hemisphere insolation reaching a trigger value and glacial growth. Archer’s book points out that the next potential trigger point would have been in about 3000 years, but that insolation wasn’t predicted to drop quite enough to trigger a new ice age… probably. On the other hand, with long-lived CO2 in the atmosphere, not only will we sail right past the 3000 year trigger, but probably the next potential trigger at 50,000 years.

    I find it amusing that all of you like this paper so much, when the guy who wrote it is probably a proponent of CO2 control because he understands the climate Much Better Than You (TM).

  51. Leif Svalgaard (19:54:27) :

    “The 0.1% TSI explains only about 0.05-0.1C.”

    I reckon the black lines on my mercury thermometer are at least 0.1C thick.

  52. I can’t believe that last statement was included in the submission without lots and lots of whiskey. This is my cow college you be talkin about. The only college that remained above and beyond the hippy generation of Oregon. The only college any respectable (cough cough) 16 year old from Wallowa County could go to back in 73. My University. I lost a LOT of stuff at that college (and gained a bit too). But back then we were firmly steeped in cow &^%$ and completely believed the cheerleader yell. Something about saving a beaver but I forget the exact words. We coulda cared less about nitrogen seeping into rivers along the Willamette Valley. And the cookbook I still have from the Home Ec department makes you gain weight just by readin it. But I guess as time goes by, you will pay the pied piper for a bit o’ grant money to study Earth’s temperature.

  53. Anyone have a link to the paper and the data.

    It seems reasonable to me that as long as Milankovitch cycles result in the snow not melting completely in the summer on Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island and the Torngat mountain range in northern Labrado (still snow on the ground in the Torngats even at this time of the year), that the ice-albedo feedback would put us into an ice age.

    The problem is the estimates for the albedo changes are not enough to drop the average temperature by the -5.0C change of the ice ages. Earlier estimates from the late-1960s, the 1970s and early 1980s showed it could happen, but once climate models came on the scene, there was not enough ice-albedo feedback to meet the temp changes: hence the need for CO2 changes as well – not surprising since the early and modern climate models are based on greenhouse gas sensitivities that can only point in this direction.

    Hopefully, someone (or this paper) has some albedo estimates that I can use for a project I’m working on.

  54. RoyFOMR (20:43:13) :

    Jimmy Haigh (19:36:39) :

    “But not the message- that was the old BBC – the one we both grew up with AND loved!
    Whoever he was, I respect him.”

    Hear hear Sir!

    OT: I still listen to the Beeb’s Test Match Special though on the interweb thingy. Out here in Thailand we don’t get a good picture on the channel which shows the cricket on the telly. ‘T Headingley test starts today. Me Dad were a Yorkshireman – Huddersfield. And a big Boycott fan – like me. He calls a spade a spade.

  55. Chris V. (21:01:50) :

    Mike Abbott (20:54:31) :

    This is (at least) the second time the “ice age mystery” has been solved in recent years. In 2005, Ohio State scientists made headlines when they published a paper claiming ice ages were caused by the CO2 greenhouse gas effect.

    You need to read your link again! That’s not what it says.

    I guess you’re right. They merely say:

    “Our results are consistent with the notion that CO2 concentrations drive climate.”

    “Our results are consistent with the notion that CO2 concentrations drive climate.”

  56. As Mike Abbott said above, I see nothing in this research that contradicts AGW theory. I think the significance of their study may be a better understanding of how earths ice reacts to forcings. Perhaps it will help climatologists gain a better understanding of why the ice is currently melting faster than they had predicted it would.

    However maybe they were already on the right track. This NSIDC site discusses the correlation of cloud cover with rate-of-melt; “In 2007, unusually sunny skies throughout the summer melt season were one of the factors that helped lead to the record low ice extent.”

    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Pete

  57. Marcus (21:06:24) :

    On the other hand, with long-lived CO2 in the atmosphere, not only will we sail right past the 3000 year trigger, but probably the next potential trigger at 50,000 years.

    Your long lived CO2 cannot even push over a PDO shift from hot to cold. ( it was riding a hot PDO when the catastrophic heating was proposed)

    What chance does it have against orbital changes in input energy? Zero.

  58. Marcus (21:06:24):

    I find it amusing that all of you like this paper so much, when the guy who wrote it is probably a proponent of CO2 control because he understands the climate Much Better Than You (TM).

    I don’t think so:

    http://www.biocab.org/Climate_Geologic_Timescale.html

    My article was published on July 11th, 2009, while theirs will be published tomorrow. I win.

    Anyway, I agree with you; they are trying to convince their readers that the solar activity was the culprit of all changes in the geological past, but not now because the climate change nowadays obeys to the emissions of carbon dioxide from human activities.

    For your article to see the light in Science Magazine, you must to include something which blames to human beings of any change in nature, whether it is biological, geological or climatic.

  59. evanmjones (20:42:35) :

    Some say the world will end in Eccentricity
    Some say in Obliquity
    But many of my generation
    Tend to favor Inclination
    So we are left to wonder when
    Until our earth returns through dust
    And will again
    As so it must
    _______________________

    Brilliant. I’m so glad that “greenhouse gas forcing from death trains with positive feedback and boiling oceans” does not scan well.

    I shall try hard not to “steal” that “quote of the week” from you this time.

  60. Marcus,

    ” On the other hand, with long-lived CO2 in the atmosphere,…”

    Sorry, you are wrong again. No such animal as long-lived CO2.

  61. Pete W (21:26:38) :

    However maybe they were already on the right track. This NSIDC site discusses the correlation of cloud cover with rate-of-melt; “In 2007, unusually sunny skies throughout the summer melt season were one of the factors that helped lead to the record low ice extent.”

    Interesting. That may be the first time they have acknowledged the importance of cloud cover. The other factor they increasingly cite is atmospheric circulation patterns, the effect of which have been dramatically demonstrated in animations posted on WUWT.

  62. I’ll just read the paper before passing judgment. These issues are complicated. Meanwhile, . . .

    Over the next few days, while you are engaged with folks about town, ask a dozen of them “What causes summer and winter?”
    Many believe it is because Earth is nearer the Sun in Summer. The truth is difficult to explain without a globe. Think about this when you next enter your child’s classroom.

    If there is fundamental misunderstanding about “the seasons” how much more troublesome are the issues in this paper? CO2 is so much easier.

  63. Seems like the right time to float this comment. Not too long ago, I read an article where the authors noted that as the Sun rotates around the galactic center (pulling the planets along), it “meanders” in both X and Y (Z being the direction of rotation). I did not note the extremes of this “meandering” but it would cause the distance between Sun and Earth to increase and decrease slightly over time. Just wondering if anyone ever calculated the effect of this activity.

  64. Fire and Iceby Robert Frost
    evanmjones (20:42:35) :

    I like it! I Googled the first line and found the poem by Robert Frost called ‘Fire and Ice’.

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I’ve tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Perhaps “Frost” will have the last word…

  65. Nasif Nahle (21:34:56) :
    they are trying to convince their readers that the solar activity was the culprit of all changes in the geological past,
    Solar insolation changes and Milankovich mechanisms are NOT solar activity.

    John F. Hultquist (21:46:13) :
    Many believe it is because Earth is nearer the Sun in Summer.
    It is, if you live in Australia…

  66. Leif Svalgaard (22:36:44) :

    Nasif Nahle (21:34:56) :
    they are trying to convince their readers that the solar activity was the culprit of all changes in the geological past,
    Solar insolation changes and Milankovich mechanisms are NOT solar activity.

    John F. Hultquist (21:46:13) :
    Many believe it is because Earth is nearer the Sun in Summer.
    It is, if you live in Australia…

    I stand corrected.

  67. agesilaus (19:32:47) :

    The surprise is that Science is publishing it, they seem to have been in the same warmist group as Nature.

    Without the obligatory nod to AGW, you can bet Science wouldn’t have touched it with a ten meter bunsen burner.

  68. To Invent Armageddon

    When software supposes the world ends in flame,
    And Hansen and Gore paint brushstrokes of blame,
    And other false prophets scream, “GREEN” in their name,
    I wonder a bit, just a tiny amount, 
    How many people know what it’s about,
    And how many good folk can see past the shame
    While driving around in their carbon-mobiles, 
    immersed in the guilt of spinning their wheels,
    Intent on respecting the earth just the same,
    They play the victim while playing the game! 

    Warming and cooling are twins of the world,
    But one twin is cruel and one twin is good.
    You’d know the cruel one if you saw his work,
    When fog freezes flesh and wolves howl in the murk,
    When glaciers come calling and icy winds blow,
    And summer is absent and death stalks the snow.
    And millions and millions are slain by the cold,
    Crops failed and we died while rats swarmed, we are told,
    When the Vikings were booted from Greenland’s embrace,
    And the so-called “little ice-age” tried it’s best to erase
    All that we made that the warm winds delivered,
    As the darkness descended, we froze and we shivered,
    Awaiting the warming that came far too late,
    A third of humanity slaughtered by fate,
    Four hundred years of freezing and drought,
    And pestilence, plague – that “twin” goes all out!

    The globe still recovers and glaciers still melt,
    And though a chill in the air can almost be felt,
    There’s nothing more normal than warming that’s global,
    Despite Chicken Littles droning on about weather
    And whether or not science daring to question
    Their dogma is legal, and should even be mentioned,
    Their hockey-stick lies tilt mad at the skies,
    To invent armageddon, true science DIES…

    © Dave Stephens 2009

  69. Yes, this is what we learned in high school in the late 60′s.
    There is something left from the last 20,000 yrs to explain, however, and that is the Younger Dryas period. Halfway out of the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and you get a 1,000 yr reversal. For 19,000 of those years, the Pacific Northwest was always either a forest or a woodland. During the Younger Dryas it was supposedly a desert. Go figure. In the 1840′s the Columbia River Basin had a 10 year drought.
    Why would the climate in N. America do a reversal if the only factor was orbital shape?
    This is still not totally solved, but the orbit surely gives a longer and bigger picture.

  70. I have to make two corrections to my previous post Nasif Nahle (21:34:56):

    1. “They are trying to convince their readers that the solar radiation striking on the Earth’s surface was the culprit of all changes in the geological past…”

    2. Clark et al did not mention that the CO2 was the culprit, but that the northern latitude insolation was the main trigger of the initial deglaciation of the northern ice sheets and glaciers, which finally headed to increases of atmospheric CO2.

    Nonetheless, the authors of the paper point to CO2 and oceans as feedbacks which amplified the deglaciation event. From my knowledge, it is true for oceans, not for carbon dioxide.

  71. People here seem to miss the most important argument that this acknowledgement of natural factors gives us.

    The warmists always repeat the mantra “The extra heat from GHG:s will still make the earth warmer than it would be, disregarding natural factors.”

    BUT: This study acknowledges what we all already knew; that the natural process is; increased heat comes first, increased GHG:s comes second.
    So, if all the basics in GHG theory is correct, and this study also is correct it will also mean that:
    Any decrease in heat will also lead to a decrease in GHG:s.
    A process which in turn will amplify any climatic cooling process that starts.

    I write GHG:s here, because it’s 100% logical to assume that for instance H2O gas will decrease.

    So it matters very little if we have 1-200 extra ppm:s of anthropogenic CO2 if such a cooling process starts, since H2O and “natural” CO2 will drastically decrease and over time things will even out.

    And the most important thing is that this is of course the case regardless of what natural climate factors we are talking about:
    The amplified cooling effect must be true if the amplified warming effect is true.

  72. Elizabeth (20:29:31) “Careful, alarmists wanting to cool the planet are going to be looking for a way to jolt the earth’s wobble back…”

    Very Interesting. If they move that far, there will be splintering for sure – and maybe even a split right down the middle.

    -
    Mark (20:35:24) “I’ve got a problem with this statement:
    “the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.””

    Recognize the funding hook. Venality is just as sickening in academia as it is elsewhere.

  73. anna v (20:44:15) “To all: we have to be hard on these people that add those warming mantras to get their grants. They should be made aware they are prostituting themselves and their science.”

    Researchers will change funding hooks with the wind. The needles should be directed strategically into the weaknesses of the funding agencies, which Anna has correctly identified.

  74. I recall that there was some research that showed that ice sheets melted very quickly at the end of the last ice age.

    If my memory is correct, this would be at odd with these latest findings.

    Does anyone know if there is evidence of sudden melting? If so, then this would cast doubt on this paper, as it expects changes to be slow.

    And werent wooly mammoths frozen suddenly as well? Didnt they live in temperate lands, as shown by the grass in their stomachs? And then were frozen solid in some cases, almost overnight?

    I would like to know if this fact I remember is actually true, anyone out there able to confirm or deny it?

  75. Well knock me over with a hv. It wil be very interesting how this is factored into some of the current theories on CO2 vs solar vs GCM’s etc.

  76. David P:

    “This is an odd statement, if I’m reading it correctly. What “greenhouse has emissions” from 200 yrs ago can he possibly be alluding to? Isn’t the consensus that there could be no AGW effect from GHGs until after WWII?”

    Where would you have got a notion like that from? CO2 concentrations started rising when the Industrial Revolution started, and if you know your history you’ll know that was actually a little bit before the Second World War.

    Jeremy:

    “When I studied atmospheric physics in graduate school, thirty years ago… CO2 greenhouse effect was generally regarded as an amusing neat idea that was only suited to high school physics because it was such an oversimplified way to describe such a complex system as the atmosphere”

    Wow, you must have been to a really bad university. Your statement does not correspond to a view ever held by any serious scientists. How can the greenhouse effect be “oversimplified”? That doesn’t even make sense.

  77. Please, please! I have not read any of the comments yet but I do hope that no ‘well meaning person’ has provided the full article for us to read without paying the required coin. Ethics please people!

  78. …OT but since it has surfaced on this thread, the BBC HARD TALK Stephen
    Sackur interview, a little spanky…with outgoing Greenpeace boss{S Sackur’s word} Gert Leipold…
    Can be seen for overseas and non-UK citizens in low quality RM MONO 35KBPS
    making a small window you get a fairly good image too…At 13 min Sackur
    manage to show GP simplified view of Arctic ice…A MUST BE SEEN…

  79. I’m afraid that one statement

    and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years,

    totally negates the value of the rest of the paper. If they are that sloppy in thier work then it has no value whatsoever.

  80. So this DEFINITIVELY proves that CO2 played no part in previous climate cycles.

    There are 2 stunning conclusions from this :
    1) The increase in CO2 that follows about 800 years after each interglacial starts has no (or very little) impact on earth`s climate.
    2) It those massive increases in CO2 had no impact in earth`s climate back then, then CO2 can not possibily have an inpact now.

    This finding proves there is no man made AGW.

  81. Robert (19:15:52) :

    For those of us with gray hair, is this not what we learned in earth science class in high school in the 70s?

    Yes it is odd – I think the diagram is out of one of my old text books….
    Are we going backwards…..?

  82. “Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age ”

    They are right By looking at the past we should be getting an ice age about now.

    Thing is… that you get about 90,000 years of glacial,10,000 years of interglacial (over very many cycles), We are now at the end of the typical interglacial length, in fact we are ‘overdue’….problem is you would look at a graph of these cycles and ‘know’ what will happen next because of the regularity of the cycles….

    However the Earth is not currently in ‘position’ in a Milankovitch cycle to bring about an ice age anytime soon, Therefore I personally don’t think that Milankovitch cycles are the complete answer. unless there is something ‘special’ about the time we now live in and the next Ice age really is 50.000 years away, I will continue to believe the graph, and ponder about what the heck we will do/can do when it happens ‘soon’.

  83. “Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age – unless some other forces stop or slow it. But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    Let us assume for the moment that the above paragraph is true.

    So humanmade CO2 emissions are delaying the next Ice Age by several thousand years.

    Can we now expect Gore LLC to advocate for ever-increasing CO2 emissions to keep delaying the Ice Age? What will Cap and Trade look like under this scenario?

    Listen Big Oil, you will now have to meet or exceed your 1990 greenhouse gas emissions or pay hefty fines. And somehow, we will have to insert a further negative spin to make it all your fault.

    I find it strange that so many people exhibit a Pavlovian hatred for energy companies. Since ~88% of global primary energy is generated from fossil fuels (the remainder is nuclear and hydro, with a trace of renewables), these “evil” energy companies keep our families from freezing and starving to death.

  84. Whoops. Delete the first one for bad spelling, please.

    To the tune of Davy Crockett

    Born in Austria-Hungary,
    Schooled at the U of Technology
    Thought about orbital eccentricity
    Cause he thought insolation was the Ice Age key

    Milutin, Milutin Milankovitch
    King of the science frontier

    Interned during the First World War
    Had the time to take on the chore
    Of calculating wobbles and tilts by the score
    And made himself a legend forever more

    Milutin, Milutin Milankovitch
    King of the science frontier

    Ninety years later at OSU
    The geoscientists there had nothing to do
    So they copied his work through and through
    And presented it all as something new

    Milutin, Milutin Milankovitch
    King of the science frontier

  85. “these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    When will you scientific chaps stop all this double-speak, you have either nailed it or you haven’t. One cannot “nail” something more or less! How many times has a scientific discovery seemed so close to being made suddenly to be dashed against the rocks of reality, or a better theory?

    This was taxpayer funded research one assumes, ergo they have to say this! How much did it cost the taxpayers of Oregon/USA to tell you something anybody over 40 with grey hairs should have already known? We did this in geograhy & history at senior school, it was assumed it was written in stone (more or less)!!!!!!

    RoyFOMR/Jimmy Haigh:-)

    It couldn’t have been Roger Harrabin, he has to many chubby grubby fingers in too many green pies! The leftist-greenie BBC won’t allow this to get out on to the mainstream tv, BBC 1 & 2, I’ll wager!

  86. It always did make more sense for a phenomenon as obviously cyclical as the recent ice ages to be brought about by something else as obviously cyclical as the realtive motions of the sun and planets. Milankovitch recognised this intuitively. The erratic movements of the continents, the wavering of the ocean currents and the occassional outgassings of magma, sediments and regolith never really seemed to fit.

  87. Question, am I seeing this graph right? I mean it looks like when the planet has warmed up it then stays warm for a very short period and then goes cold again. But the most recent warmth has been a sort of plateau. Doesn’t it look like we’re lucky to enjoy a long warm period? Isn’t the concern that we’ll go cold anytime now?

  88. Leif said earlier that insolation varies by 90 W/m2 with a max in January. I note in Dr Spencer’s graph of atmospheric temps, the global max temperature peaks in July. Would this be because summer albedo is greater in the Antarctic than the arctic?

  89. GARY 19:47:19 The paper you cite does actually mention the (unknown ?) anthropogenic effects of burning fossil fuels- page 12 of the pdf-. I was surprised , the paper is 33 years old.

  90. As I read it the article says this:

    1. Exit from the last ice age was triggered by solar forcing.
    2. We slip in the little kicker that the seeohtwo which was released due to warming caused an amplification (did this require the increased solar forcing to produce the amplification?)
    3. Because we belched out lots of seeohtwo recently, we no longer need solar forcing to cause climate change.

    I’m not an expert, so the two questions I would ask are:
    i. Are detailed studies on the relationship between amplification by seeohtwo and solar radiation complete and what do they say?
    ii. Can seeohtwo amplify responses if solar output drops?

    The paper to me reads like the solar deniers now seeking to integrate solar influences into their theories whilst maintaining the moral high ground re seeohtwo.

    It happens in politics all the time. Steal the opposition’s policies and repackage them as your own.

    But I guess if the pure solar folks looked at seeohtwo and the seeohtwo folks looked at the sun, maybe we would reach truth sometime soon?

    Ah well. They need new grants, I guess………

  91. Nobody seems to have mentioned the shape of the temperature curve. For the last several glaciations it has been a sawtooth, temperatures rising rapidly (followed about 1000 years later by CO2) for about 20,000 years before cooling stepwise more slowly. So don’t panic, the full rigours of a new glaciation won’t be felt for at least 50,000 years.

  92. Patrick K (20:44:40) :

    None of this information is really new. However, I have to complain about the graphic and the caption attached to it. Both of the ellipses shown are extremely exaggerated and neither is anywhere close to the actual ellipticallity of the Earth’s actual orbit which ranges from an almost perfect circle to only slightly elliptical. Even at it’s most extreme elliptical orbit, the earth’s orbit is very close to a perfect circle (A perfect circle is e=1, the Earth’s most extreme orbit is e=0.97). In fact it is so close that a human cannot usually distinguish it from a circle.

    It is a simplified figure. Among other things, the relative sizes of the Sun & earth vs. orbit sizes are not to scale. And I don’t think the image plane is to be understood as the plane of the ecliptic, because you see the Earth’s rotation axis indicated as if viewed from some oblique angle.

    We are looking towards the Sun from some point above the plane of the ecliptic, but we are not straight above the Sun. So even if the Earth orbit had been a perfect circle [it isn't], this figure would still show ellipses for both orbits drawn.

    One “extremely exaggerated” thing about the drawing is the large difference in shape of the two orbits ellipses. But I think that is just to make the point that the orbit is in fact changing its shape and orientation. Drawing the orbits to actual scale would be meaningless as they would overlap on the drawing.

  93. Note: The extract from the article above only mention changes to the Earth’s axis of rotation causing Ic ages, nothing about orbital eccentricty, so the graphic is misleading the discussion, unless the Science article (which I cannot access) does refer to this as a cause of Ice ages.

  94. I hope whoever wrote “debate ended” had their tongue firmly in their cheek.

    The Milankovitch “forcings” are embedded in a noisy continuum of greater magnitude than the forcings themselves. The “forcings” are therefore inseparable from background noise. People who have their mindset firmly stuck in 17th century determinism insist there must be a simple cause / effect relationship when one may simply not exist.

    I would encourage people to consider Carl Wunsch’s work on this (ref 1 below) but also take a quick look at the third example in section 2 of Demetris Koutsoyiannis’ work (ref 2 below). The former article shows that the Milankovitch cycles fit equally well with a stochastic model as a deterministic one, the latter notes that even with a leasts squares fit removal of the harmonic associated with the 100ky Milankovitch forcing, the energy even in that spectral band is essentially unchanged.

    Scientifically speaking, the case for a “forced” Milankovitch cycle as opposed to a continuum of unforced natural variability has not been convincingly evidenced. Likewise the 20th century climate change also fits well with unforced natural variability (see ref. 2).

    That is not to say the deterministic view is clearly wrong. But to argue there are no valid alternative hypotheses is also wrong. And I would argue that the stochastic model is a single model that fits all of the data; the deterministic modelling community seem to need a new explanation for every new data set we come across.

    Ref 1. “Quantitative estimate of the Milankovitch-forcedcontribution to
    observedQuaternary climate change”, Carl Wunsch, Quaternary Science Reviews Vol 23 2004 link

    Ref 2. “A toy model of climatic variability with scaling behaviour”, Demetris Koutsoyiannis, Journal of Hydrology Vol 322 2006, link to preprint

  95. From the title of this post:

    Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – solar and earth wobble – CO2 not involved

    From the paper under discussion

    Solar radiation was the trigger that started the ice melting, that’s now pretty certain,” said Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at OSU. “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”

    To be honest this is no different to a post I read on RealClimate about 3 or 4 years ago. The exact same argument was made, i.e. that an initial warming due to a change in insolation was amplified by an increase in carbon dioxide.

  96. Pete W

    Perhaps it will help climatologists gain a better understanding of why the ice is currently melting faster than they had predicted it would.

    What ice? Total sea ice coverage appears to be pretty much steady. Sea level rise is currently miniscule to zero. Ice is accumulating in Greenland and Antartica.

  97. “Jimmy Haigh: OT: I still listen to the Beeb’s Test Match Special though on the interweb thingy. Out here in Thailand we don’t get a good picture on the channel which shows the cricket on the telly. ‘T Headingley test starts today. Me Dad were a Yorkshireman – Huddersfield. And a big Boycott fan – like me. He calls a spade a spade.”

    But when old Geoff beat up his girlfriend, I switched my allegiance (me luv ?) to the late Hansie Cronje; the way he could step on a ball reminds me of the antics of the AGW crowd.

  98. The post is interesting and gives some evidence which gives the milancovitch theory more credibility.
    But it dosn’t explain the multiplicity of glacial advances and retreats over the last 20k years, expecially the 10 to 12 advances and retreats recorded since the Younger Dryas. As outline by Rothlisberger 1986 : Jahre Gletschergeschichte der Erde, and others.
    Glacier activity : BP 350-100, 850-600, 1150-1050, 1500-1300, 2700-2100, 3700-3000, 4900-4500, 5300 -5100, 5870-5700, 6400-6050, 7500-7300, 8600- 8200 etc. There is good evidence that these events occured worldwide.

    A theory which will give us usefull explanations for these glaciation events would advance our knowledge and further undermine the position taken by the IPCC

  99. Hi,

    what I don’t get about this theory: If it’s just ‘local’ orbital mechanics (Saturn, Jupiter, etc) why does the earth stay completely out of the ice age cycles for dozens of millions of years? What causes the deeper phases of “ice age cycles” and “no ice ages cycles”? If causation is purely ‘local’, why do the planets in the solar system stop causing Milankowitch cycles for very long periods?

    My feeling is that any theory of ice ages is fragile at best, without giving a possible explanation of these very long-lasting phases.

    I personally like the Svensmark / Shaviv theory, that these cycles are caused by our position in the galaxy, which sometimes puts us much nearer to clusters of short-lived, hot, heavy blue stars, whose novas causes lot’s of cosmic rays, that will greatly increase cloud formation on earth and thereby cool it. Of course, this is still something of a long shot, but at least it gives a coherent explanation for 4 billion years of history and not just 2.5 millions.

    Regards,

    Marcus

  100. Don’t you love it!

    In a paper that largely destroys the CO2 argument, they still had to mention AGW in order to “get their funding” / “get the paper published” (delete as applicable).

    .

  101. Interesting. ALready 2-3 years ago on Climate Audit I mentioned the Earth tilting to be a factor in the Earth temperatures, but Steve McIntyre immediately chopped off that discussion with the remark “NO Earth tilting discussion on Climate Audit”! hmmm

    REPLY: He probably didn’t want it to descend into Barycentrism arguments. – Anthony

  102. [snip - unnecessarily accusatory Flanagan - if you want to talk about honesty, use your name and university affiliation - otherwise refrain]

    “Our geochronology [...] clearly demonstrates that only northern insolation led the termination and was thus the primary mechanism for triggering the onset of Northern Hemisphere deglaciation. ”

    is a very important first conclusion, but is followed by

    “Although the lead-lag relationships established here [...] point to northern latitude insolation as the primary trigger of initial deglaciation of most Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and glaciers, subsequent increases in atmospheric CO2 and tropical Pacific SSTs (Fig. 5, C and D) demonstrate the importance of carbon cycle and ocean feedbacks in amplifying the deglacial response and causing global warming.”

    So the conclusion is: changes in insolation IGNITED the deglaciation of the Northern hemisphere and CO2 and ocean feedbacks INDUCED A GLOBAL WARMING. This is actually proving CO2 can induce a warming at the global scale. Of course, a these time it was not anthropogenic :0)

  103. “…due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years…”

    I was really enjoying a first class piece of science then they go and ruin the experience with a crass pile of BS warmistry (warmist sophistry). Maybe someone should introduce the authors to the temperature nuances of the Roman Warming Period and the Medieval Warming Period…

  104. Leif Svalgaard (19:54:27) :

    Mick (19:21:24) :
    The 0.1% TSI variation is bugger all to explain 0.5C referenced @20deg.C
    The 0.1% TSI explains only about 0.05-0.1C.

    Depends whose figures you believe, but I’m glad to see Leif has moved on a bit from his previous 0.05C.

    Three factors to consider when trying to see how much difference the change from solar max to solar min has on temperature.

    1) El nino tends to occur at solar min, and is the manifestation of solar input to the oceans at solar max. This masks some of the true solar input to the climate system by ‘flattening’ the temperature curve.

    2) Leif is using PMOD data, which uses a model to calculate TSI, based on the splicing together of records from several satellites used to measure irradiance over the last 30 years. PMOD and the IPCC prefer the use of ERBS data to calibrate the change during the ‘ACRIM gap’. The ACRIM team maintain this is not as good as the data from the other satellite, NEPTUNE which was working when the gap occurred and that consequently, TSI shows a little trend when it should show a rising trend at the end of the C20th.

    3) Additionally, the Acrim data shows that cycle 21 had a difference of nearer 2W/m^2 between solar max and min than the 1W/m^2 Leif cites.

    All this adds up to a spread of uncertainty about the effect of Solar max-solar min on temperatures.

    Leif says 0.05 to 0.1C

    I say it could be more like 0.35-0.4C depending how you account for heat storage in the oceans and heat energy release in el nino.

    If correct, this means the temp change over the C20th can mostly be explained by the sun, as the lower, longer cycles with longer minima of the early part of the C20th averaged out means a lot less TSI recieved at earth.

    It will be interesting to study this new paper and see if any of their figures are applicable to my model which estimates ocean heat accumulation from the sun.

  105. I must be missing something here, but what exactly is new about this? It has long been the view of AGW advocates that the ice ages were terminated by orbital variations and then the increasing CO2 further amplifies the warming. In one paragraph the authors write:
    “But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    So their conclusion is, well, alarmist.

  106. So, the ice ages are explained by changes in earth’s orbit caused by the outer gas giant planets, the ‘earth wobble’, but what about the ‘sun wobble’ also caused by the outer planets mentioned in the thread title. ?

    Is Anthony finally taking a bit more of an interest in the ‘barycentric nonsense’(tm) that Geoff Sharp, myself, and Dr Nicola Scafetta keep going on about? :-)

    And,

    Does the paper also explain the shift from 45,000 year cyclicity in ice ages to 100,000 years? I’m trying to get a copy to find out.

  107. I can see I’m not the only one who’s having a problem with the title. At this stage, what it says is simply a lie. CO2 did not trigger the deglacations, but IS involved in it, it is actually the main conclusion of the paper. Maybe “CO2 not the primary cause” would fit better.

    REPLY: I agree, I was working off the press release. In the paper (which wasn’t immediately available) the presentation is now clear that CO2 has a secondary role but is not the primary driver, so I’ve made a small change to the title. – A

  108. Keep your eyes open for the next great AGW study that will explain the progression of the seasons…

  109. Will someone please put me out of my misery in regard to the Milankovitvh Theory (MT)? Here are my problems. The MT seems to account for the present ~100 K year glaciation periods, but then also for the previous (before 900 K years ago, 45 K year glaciation cycles, and then before that 25 K year cycles. And before that there was a period of about I understand that there was a period of about 13 or 14 million years when there was no glaciation. Maybe this period might be explained by tectonic movement. But then why was there a prior glaciation? And what happens to the MT for those very long periods of time when glaiation is absent? There are hopefully some compresive answers to these questions, but, as in the recent article that is the subject of this series of comments, the MT is discussed as though it could be applied to conditions on the earth is a fairly simple and straightforward manner, and that certainly does not seem to be the case to me.

  110. Its interesting that they used Isotopes generated by cosmic rays to determine the degree of solar radiation (e.g. C14 and Be10) The real effect of the Milankovich cycles may well be the direct effect of the shape of the orbit on sunspot activity as described by Rhodes Fairbridge and Theodore Landscheidt rather than changes in insolation from the changes in orbit as postulated by Milankovich.

  111. agesilaus (19:32:47) :

    The surprise is that Science is publishing it, they seem to have been in the same warmist group as Nature.

    ______________________

    I’d be willing to bet a small sum that, without the obligatory kowtow to AGW, the paper would not have been published and that the author made the statement for that purpose.

  112. Dave (00:00:37) “…And werent wooly mammoths frozen suddenly as well? “

    Here is one conjecture, Dave: “Preserved frozen remains of woolly mammoths have been found in the northern parts of Siberia. This is a rare occurrence, essentially requiring the animal to have been buried rapidly in liquid or semi-solids such as silt, mud and icy water which then froze.

    “This may have occurred in a number of ways. Mammoths may have been trapped in bogs or quicksands and either died of starvation or exposure, or drowning if they sank under the surface.”

  113. Allan M R MacRae (01:18:02): “I find it strange that so many people exhibit a Pavlovian hatred for energy companies. “

    Ditto, Allan… in fact more than strange. I will read with great interest anything I can find on that. Mebbe, as I have ventured before, if we gave them all a government issue of stock they would begin to purr? How deep is conviction?

  114. Dave vs Hal (01:52:13) :

    “Leif said earlier that insolation varies by 90 W/m2 with a max in January. I note in Dr Spencer’s graph of atmospheric temps, the global max temperature peaks in July. Would this be because summer albedo is greater in the Antarctic than the arctic?”

    Nope it’s due to the northern hemisphere have much more land mass than the southern hemisphere. Land heats up far more quickly that the oceans. The total heat content of the oceans shows no such variations.

  115. This is an odd statement, if I’m reading it correctly. What “greenhouse has emissions” from 200 yrs ago can he possibly be alluding to? Isn’t the consensus that there could be no AGW effect from GHGs until after WWII?

    You have to understand that sentences like this are an appeal for further funding from politicians, not statements of Scientific fact.

    I was listening to a podcast from Sceptic Magazine the other day and they were interviewing a Geologist (actually a Palaeontologist). He started his remarks by saying how little funding there is in Palaeontology compared to many other (more politically interesting) endeavours. Of course, he spent most of his time tying advances in Palaeontology with what will happen in future due to Man Made Global Warming. I was a little surprised, given I was listening to Sceptic Magazine, that his bold assertions went unchallenged by the presenters.

    Anyway, yes, as a Scientist it’s useful to add the above to your paper. It helps to pay the mortgage.

  116. Given the links provided in the comment thread, the IPCC’s own literature, and the comments themselves, IMO, think the title of this post goes to far (too much flag waving).

    It really just confirms Milankovitch cycles, with CO2 being a negative feedback going into the ice ages and a postive feedback coming out. Where’s the “debate” that was solved?

    That title is no better than the worst of alarmist media reports. Ought to be fixed lest we look like Joe Romm.

    REPLY:
    I agree. I was working off the press release, which was made available before the paper, the CO2 role is secondary, and I’ve made an adjustment to reflect that – Anthony

  117. I’ve changed the last part of the title to be more reflective of the whole paper, now that it is available. While it is clear CO2 is not the trigger of the ice age recovery event, i.e. not the main driver, it is involved in a secondary way in the recovery.

    Of course this is nothing new, nobody doubts the role of CO2 in providing a portion of the warming effect, so also does water vapor. But it is a lag effect of CO2 released in response to the change in earth’s wobble and thus not the main driver of the event.

  118. tallbloke (04:13:43) :
    Three factors to consider when trying to see how much difference the change from solar max to solar min has on temperature.
    The sunspot number at solar max varies greatly [say a factor of three or more], therefore the TSI variation from min to max will also vary greatly, hence there will be a similar spread in dT. There is no “THE change”, as the change itself varies.
    I think you have misunderstood my statement. In discussing the variation of temp with TSI, it is convenient to state that 0.1% dTSI results in 0.025% dT which is 0.07K. From cycle to cycle, dTSI will vary and hence dT. For the large cycles in the past dT would be more like 0.1K, and for the small cycles to come, more like 0.05K. The oceans with their large heat capacity will tend to dampen any changes, rather than magnify them.

  119. “Dave vs Hal (01:52:13) :

    Leif said earlier that insolation varies by 90 W/m2 with a max in January. I note in Dr Spencer’s graph of atmospheric temps, the global max temperature peaks in July. Would this be because summer albedo is greater in the Antarctic than the arctic?

    The peak to peak current variation in top of the atmosphere solar power is 90 w/m^2 out of 1363 w/m^2 with the maximum in jan and with the temperature peaks in july. On an annual basis there is a somewhat higher power – like about 30w/m^2 during jan which averages out to about 8 W/m^2 above the annual average. Yet, it’s warmer in july, when the power average is about 8 W/m^2 lower than the annual average.

    Why the discrepancy? It’s because in jan. the Sun is in the southern hemisphere which is substantially ocean because most of the land mass is in the northern hemisphere. It would seem this ocean/land difference is responsible for more than overcoming quite a few W/m^2 difference in incoming power. THat difference is even more interesting considering that the surface albedo of ocean is about 1/3 to 1/5th that of land surface . What is happening is the ocean water is involved in a water vapor cycle creating clouds that reduce the albedo – something that can’t happen easily when there is little to no additional water available. The notion that ocean heatsink abilities are better than that of land surface may also play a part but it seems to be problematic for multiple reasons.

  120. Leif Svalgaard (19:56:41) :
    Geoff Sherrington (19:48:29) : “It is not so obvious how to calculate the irregular orbit of the earth around the sun.”
    That is actually even more obvious. I think the consensus is that we can do this accurately [enough for this purpose] for some millions of years.

    Really? I suppose that if the solar system was entirely determinate, and we had perfect knowledge, this would in principle be possible, using our most powerful computers (rather than my notebook PC) to model its behaviour.

    But is it determinate?

    How accurately, for example, do we know where the planets are, and what their masses and velocities are? Isn’t the accuracy of our forecasts or hindcasts dependent on the accuracy with which we know the initial conditions? And surely we need to know all these things with very great accuracy if we are going to make million year predictions? To what degree of accuracy do we know the mass of the Sun? To the nearest 10^6 kg? Or the nearest 10^12 kg? Or what? And isn’t it true that the mass of the Sun isn’t a constant, but is always changing as Coronal Mass Ejections hurl matter out into space, and comets and other bodies fall into it.

    There are large numbers of other unknown bodies – such as comets – in orbit around the sun. These will be exerting a very small gravitational influence on planetary motion. This might have a very small effect over a single year, but over a million years it might accumulate into a very considerable effect.

    Equally, the solar system might periodically pass through clouds of dust, the effect of which (I am guessing) would be to slow the planets slightly, and so change their orbits. If nothing else, there’s all those unpredictable mass ejections from the sun that are striking the planets.

    And then we might ask how many large dark bodies there are floating around in the universe, one of which might pass through our solar system, and screw up the orbits completely.

    In short, given what we know, we may be able to predict the motion of the planets for a million years (hey, why not 500 million years?). But the effects of what we don’t know about could entirely outweigh the effects that we do know about. How much do we think we know? 99%? 99.99%? 99.9999%?

    Or, putting it another way, if we’re sure we can predict the next million years (or the previous million years) isn’t that just the same as saying that we pretty much know everything?

    I think Geoff Sherrington has a point. Forecasting or hindcasting the motion of planets in the solar system may well be essentially as problematic as trying to forecast the behaviour of the Earth’s climate. There’s a’consensus’ about that too, after all.

  121. Dave

    Roger’s link is very good! If you would like to read an account of the finding of a wooly mammoth early in the 1900′s, google Fridtjof Nansen’s book “Through Siberia, the Land of the Future” and read beginning on page 119. He includes his ideas on how the preservation occurred.

  122. Pamela Gray (21:22:00) :

    I can’t believe that last statement was included in the submission without lots and lots of whiskey. This is my cow college you be talkin about. The only college that remained above and beyond the hippy generation of Oregon. The only college any respectable (cough cough) 16 year old from Wallowa County could go to back in 73

    Small world, Pamela. I was also at OSU then. In ’73 I was an undergraduate, in the Economics department, finishing up my B.S. I stayed for two more years, for an M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics.

  123. “TallDave wrote: “So… people with SUVs are making the planet wobble?”

    That would be an even bigger ego boost, wouldn’t it? :-D

    I agree with John Finn. In the title it says that CO2 is not involved. Yes, it isn’t involved in triggering the demise of an Ice Age, but as is stated later on amplifies the process. But I thought it is said CO2 cannot possibly amplify anything? What would happen without this amplification? And what happens when you reach CO2 levels that normally would amplify this process? Interesting questions, eh?

    This is one of those articles, like the one about the PETM event, that really makes me wonder what it’s doing on WUWT. The comments make for entertaining reading, though. The power of subjective interpretation never ceases to amaze me.

  124. I am with all of you who learned this 40-50 years ago. As far as CO2 goes, ie. being a magnifying, enhancing, exacerbating or whatever effect, let it go. The ice records from Greenland show a 15°C increase* in less than a decade. So much for some inexorable-thousands of years creeping up of temperatures. There is obviously a lot more than TSI, GHGs, and whatever else we think we know going on under our sun.
    *Richard Alley, Alley et al, 1993

  125. Pierre Gosselin (03:41:10) :
    This paper only confirms what the ice cores have shown time and again.

    Using ice core data to see which came first (Temp rise/Co2 rise) is next to useless.

    This plot shows the last ice age end. Co2 and temp rise as one. The dust is interesting however.

    note reverse timescale, and temperature plots from NH and SH sources.
    zoomed in a bit:

    or

    etc

    Most exits from ice ages CO2 and temp rise simultaneously. Entry to Ice ages CO2 lags fall in temperature. CH4 and temperature falls are nearly simultaneous

  126. Yikes, sorry for comparing you to J. Romm but I hadn’t had any coffee yet. My sincere apologies.

    REPLY: Heh, no worries.

  127. radar said:

    It really just confirms Milankovitch cycles, with CO2 being a negative feedback going into the ice ages and a

    positive feedback

    coming out. Where’s the “debate” that was solved? (Spelling corrected. I hope I haven’t distorted your meaning.)

    I must have misunderstood feedback for all those years.

  128. tallbloke (04:37:37) :

    Is Anthony finally taking a bit more of an interest in the ‘barycentric nonsense’(tm) that Geoff Sharp, myself, and Dr Nicola Scafetta keep going on about? :-)

    Not very likely tallbloke, but lets hope it doesn’t take another 60 years before the light bulb comes on.

  129. idlex (06:20:40) :
    “I think the consensus is that we can do this accurately [enough for this purpose] for some millions of years.”
    Really?

    Yes, [enough for this purpose]

  130. Anthony Watts:
    While I applaud you changing the title, it came a little too late. Hundreds to thousands of people read your original title and came away with the wrong info.

    It was clear from the start that your title was very wrong — even the press release that you supposedly based the title on says:

    “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”

    That’s been the standard model for at least a decade. Papers from the mid-1990s put the CO2 effect at about 40% (with 60% from the Milankovich cycle).

    You should take the high road and place a comment at the top of the article that you changed the title, instead of quietly making the change with a quick note down here in the comments.

  131. SteveBrooklineMA (06:33:53) :

    < Does anyone know what the extremes of the eccentricity are?

    The extreme values of the eccentricity of the orbit of the Earth are zero and approximately 0.06. Presently it is 0.017, and slowly decreasing.

    < It seems that other universities besides TAMU also exaggerate the
    < eccentricity in diagrams, …

    I think that the diagram is just an oblique view of the (nearly circular) orbit of the Earth.

  132. It seems that it is almost impossible for anybody in US academic circles to openly deny CO2 global warming:
    “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”
    Obviously these words are a dilomatic compromise.
    That is why Anthony’ s WUWT saga is most valuable.

  133. “John R. Walker (02:39:11) : said

    ” So – why am I so sure I have known this for about 50 years?”

    I must confess that I thought this was all well known and established fact that I learnt at school about 45 (gulp) years ago

    tonyb

  134. stephen.richards (00:47:02) :

    I’m afraid that one statement

    and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years,

    totally negates the value of the rest of the paper. If they are that sloppy in thier work then it has no value whatsoever.

    Clark’s is a case of double face, hence the confusion. They do not mention anthropogenic emissions of CO2 in their article; however, Clark made declarations to the Media attributing the recent warming to human beings, not to natural causes.

    @Anthony

    The title of this blog was OK because it referred to Clark’s declarations to the Media of his University. He is writing one thing on his article in Science and saying another thing to the Media.

  135. Has anyone seen the papers by Australian engineer Dr. Peter Harris

    He authored a paper entitled “Probability of Sudden Global Cooling.”

    and “An Urgent Signal For The Coming Iceage”

    Link at Iceagenow

    http://www.iceagenow.com/Probability_94%25_for_imminent_global_cooling%20.htm

    His papers have a nice graph that he uses to show what he thinks is the relationship of Preccssion, Obliquity, Eccentricity, Solar Forcing to each of the
    Stages of recent Glaciation.

    Any comments?

  136. Does some of you know why September (The Seventh month), October (The Eigth month), November (The Ninth month) and December (The Tenth moth), were called like that?
    Did it mean an orbit of less excentricity as to make a year of ten months of 36 days?

    [REPLY - My understanding is that July and August (for J & A Caesar) were later inserted into the 10-month calendar. At least that's what I was told. ~ Evan]

  137. I can’t believe some are complaining about the scale of the illustration… If put to scale the sun and earth would have to be less than a pixel… and still wouldn’t fit on the screen… There is a reason it’s called an illustration…
    Mike

  138. “TallDave (04:26:49) :

    So… people with SUVs are making the planet wobble?”

    Only if they are driving around with tires that are out of balance.

  139. Oddly enough, one of the first posts ever on RealClimate was on this exact issue: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/

    Jeff Severinghaus remarked that:

    “The contribution of CO2 to the glacial-interglacial coolings and warmings amounts to about one-third of the full amplitude, about one-half if you include methane and nitrous oxide.

    So one should not claim that greenhouse gases are the major cause of the ice ages. No credible scientist has argued that position (even though Al Gore implied as much in his movie). The fundamental driver has long been thought, and continues to be thought, to be the distribution of sunshine over the Earth’s surface as it is modified by orbital variations …

    The greenhouse gases are best regarded as a biogeochemical feedback, initiated by the orbital variations, but then feeding back to amplify the warming once it is already underway.”

    Its nice to see more confirmation of Milankovitch forcings as the catalyst for ice ages, but as far as I can tell this study has no real bearing on our understanding of the relationship between the climate and greenhouse gases during glacial periods (which always had CO2 and other GHGs as a feedback rather than a forcing). I also wrote an article on this a few years back: http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2007/10/common-climate-misconceptions-co2-as-a-feedback-and-forcing-in-the-climate-system/

  140. SteveBrooklineMA (06:33:53) :
    Are they serious with that figure showing how much the orbital eccentricity can change? It’s quite dramatic, isn’t it? Does anyone know what the extremes of the eccentricity are?

    REPLY: It seems that other universities besides TAMU also exaggerate the eccentricity in diagrams, see:

    http://www.homepage.montana.edu/~geol445/hyperglac/time1/milankov.htm

    - Anthony

    Why show the eccentricity at all since the authors talk about obliquity (axial tilt?

    “That, in turn, can change the Earth’s axis – the way it tilts towards the sun – about two degrees over long periods of time, which changes the way sunlight strikes the planet. And those small shifts in solar radiation were all it took to cause multiple ice ages during about the past 2.5 million years on Earth, which reach their extremes every 100,000 years or so.”

  141. Then the calendar was corrected during the late roman empire, after the roman empire climate optimum , supposedly caused by a less eccentric orbit, ended. That could be possible.

  142. Ken S (07:58:45) : Only if they are driving around with tires that are out of balance
    That remember us of that preposterous idea of some nasa scientists of changing the orbit of the earth, by conveniently colliding an asteroid on it.
    Your idea is better: To build a gigantic counterweight, which, I suppose had to be pyramidal in shape….

  143. Alan Wilkinson (21:05:42) :

    “I am a little puzzled. If this has conclusively settled the matter, where are the calculations that decisively predict the planet’s future temperatures?

    Or is this simply a rough correlation of cycles with ice ages? ”

    Future temperatures ? Hardly, but ice ages – maybe, see links: in http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/milankovitch.html
    is interesting calculation – (Hollan 2000) http://amper.ped.muni.cz/gw/articles/html.format/orb_forc.html

  144. cba (06:16:14)
    “THat difference is even more interesting considering that the surface albedo of ocean is about 1/3 to 1/5th that of land surface . What is happening is the ocean water is involved in a water vapor cycle creating clouds that reduce the albedo – something that can’t happen easily when there is little to no additional water available”

    If what you say is true, it demonstrates the negative feedback qualities of the oceans.

  145. TallDave (04:26:49) :

    “So… people with SUVs are making the planet wobble?”

    I worked in a very green oil industry service company for a while. Just about everyone there drove to work and a lot of them had SUVs. I was one of the very few sceptics there and about the only one who always got the bus to and from work. (Mind you I was usually hung over in the mornings…)

  146. CheshireRed:-)

    Well done that man, roast the litte so ‘n so. He really looked terribly uncomfortable as if he was desparate for a underwear adjustment period! I just loved that repsonse to the Greenpeace claim that the Greenland ice sheet would be gone by 2020/30 or whatever, “I didn’t check that press release I can’t do all of them”. He’s a CEO for crying out loud, he employs people to employ people to do that for him, just shows what calibre of employee they really do have at Redwar! Just like good old Von-Daniken? of UFO/Aliens fame claiming thay he never took most of the photos in his books but relied on others, when challenged on the scale of them in a “good old” BBC doc years ago. Well done Stephen Sackur! He won’t last.

  147. Jeremy (19:08:36) :

    How the world of science has changed – now we COMPLETELY Ignore observations!

    Yes. Which leads one to suspect virtually the entire creation you call the “world of science.” Only the use of mind altering drugs would explain the collective dyspepsia that has kidnapped good scientific minds and locked them behind a wall of political hysteria.

    Unless the computer models are a spectacular failure. And their supremely arrogant creators are unwilling to acknowledge it.

  148. Interesting paper, which CONFIRMS the overwhelming importance of CO2. Take the last lines:

    “subsequent increases in atmospheric CO2 and tropical Pacific SSTs (Fig. 5, C and D) demonstrate the importance of carbon cycle and ocean feedbacks in amplifying the deglacial response and causing global warming. Whether these changes in CO2 and SSTs were induced by deglaciation of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets (12) or high southern latitude insolation (40, 41), however, remains an open question.”

    That’s right– this paper note the carbon cycle (CO2) has a huge role in amplifying global warming.

    Did any of you read the paper?

  149. edcon,

    The most common explanation for the cause of the Younger Dryas is the shutdown of the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation in response to a sudden influx of fresh water from Lake Agassiz (a massive freshwater lake covering a chunk of North America that spilled into the Atlantic as temperatures warmed). See http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/pubs/broecker_science.pdf for more on this.

    The paper here doesn’t really address these sort of abrupt paleo changes, but rather deals with conventional glacial cycles.

  150. I still don’t think that greenhouse gasses are the main feedback, and certainly not the driver. The melting of the ice seems to have the ability to affect oceanic oscillations. This oscillation disturbance from the ice age to the warmer period more than likely set up oscillations that continued the warming trend, regardless of greenhouse variation. That greenhouse gasses became more abundant seems less of a driver than the disturbed oceanic oscillations and their ability to create weather pattern variations across the land. As the oscillating oceans warmed the land, CO2 became more abundant, but was not the major source of more warming. It was the oceans that done it.

  151. References to months names (above) are from (if I remember well) from Inmanuel Velikovki’s “Worlds in collision”

  152. From the Wikipedia article on Milankovitch cycles:

    The shape of the Earth’s orbit varies from being nearly circular (low eccentricity of 0.005) to being mildly elliptical (high eccentricity of 0.058) and has a mean eccentricity of 0.028 (or 0.017 which is current value, if we take geometric mean, because phenomena in a gravitational field of Lobachevskian pseudosphere as used by Einstein behave logarithmically). The major component of these variations occurs on a period of 413,000 years (eccentricity variation of ±0.012). A number of other terms vary between 95,000 and 136,000 years, and loosely combine into a 100,000-year cycle (variation of −0.03 to +0.02). The present eccentricity is 0.017.

    …Currently the difference between closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) and furthest distance (aphelion) is only 3.4% (5.1 million km). This difference is equivalent to about a 6.8% change in incoming solar radiation. Perihelion presently occurs around January 3, while aphelion is around July 4. When the orbit is at its most elliptical, the amount of solar radiation at perihelion is about 23% greater than at aphelion.

  153. This is an extremely interesting topic for me. But I am utterly unimpressed by the abstract. The evidence is essentially based on one number, between 14,000 and 15,000 years (ago, a timing of some change), and doesn’t seem to say anything about the true problems with the Milankovitch-like theories which is the apparent absence of the 100,000-year timescale in the theory and their excessive presence in the data – even though the latter are heavily discussed in the press releases.

    So in some sense, I remain an agnostic on the question whether the ice age curves are predominantly described by orbital and/or radiation changes of the Earth vs the Sun. They can be due to some new internal solar dynamics, random fluctuations in surrounding galactic cosmic rays, or internal chaotic “weather” on the Earth, too.

  154. Causality and politics? How can the researchers, or the peson being interviewed go from orbital oscillations (which have been known for quite some time) and it’s effects on global weather patterns to short term theorized CO2 induced warming ? To make the leap from a 50 million year time scale to 200 years is simply remarkable.

    Mixing hypothesises is not just irresponsible but irrational.

  155. I keep reading about the recent rapid temp increase! What increase? When I look at the station temps for the well placed stations, most show a decrease since 1934… the few that show an increase can be justified by changing ocean currents, or conditions! The only increase I see is from human manipulation of the data, and or heat island effect! Ice, (like glaciers etc.), will have a rapid melt at the end of its’ life, but that is the result of a natural process, even with a steady temp… set an ice cube out in a warm room and watch it melt slowly and then suddenly vanish at the end. When conditions are warm enough for humans to live comfortably on earth, the ice is going to melt, as it has been doing for the last 19,000 years!
    Stephen

  156. OSU, huh?
    The report (I blogged about earlier this week) that said Americans should quit having children to save the planet from AGW came out of OSU.
    They are obviously awash in Kool Aid.

  157. Interesting article.
    .
    That is it ~was~ interesting until the same old line of BS was shoveled in ‘liberally’ about so-called ‘greenhouse gases’ and the like, effectively killing every trace of the authors credibility.
    .
    Since it’s ALREADY been shown —numerous times— that CO2 is NOT a contributor to warming, and indeed when the Vostok core samples are factored in, CO2 lags and NOT leads whatever degree of warming had already started.
    .
    Allow me to rephrase my first remark: Interesting —yet deceitful— article. A connivance wrapped in a deceit, and proffered as the truth.

  158. Pragmatic (08:50:57) Which remind us the words of our co-blogger Nasif Nahle:
    “Scientia Redivivus” (Tr. Reconstruction of Science)
    .
    Insinuating we must revisit science from the beginning, going back to Pitagoras, Democritus, Johannes Kepler, etc., before changes intoduced by “cultural”, fanatics’, creed’s, or political revolutions.
    Books, knowledge it is out there, waiting for open minded and free individuals.

  159. First, I’ve not read the article as it is still behind a paywall. But from the abstract:

    “Growth of the ice sheets to their maximum positions occurred between 33.0 and 26.5 ka in response to climate forcing from decreases in northern summer insolation, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, and atmospheric CO2. ”

    Am I the only one that sees this language a study in waffling compromise? Hey, let’s tell everyone they’re right and that way no one has to be wrong! Wrong. IMO, the clan that has been force feeding AGW theory and disseminating it like a bad cold across the earth – is wrong. Nothing quoted from this paper so far provides evidence of the empirical correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2. Geologists tell us CO2 changes follow temperature. The paper appears to tell us temperature changes because of earth’s orbital variability (high school physics.)

    Can anyone who has read the paper, confirm the authors’ demonstration of atmospheric CO2 forcing temp change? And if so, what percentage of that change?

  160. andy stoffers (09:00:43) :

    “Interesting paper, which CONFIRMS the overwhelming importance of CO2. Take the last lines:

    “subsequent increases in atmospheric…”

    You lost the word “subsequent” and you’ve added “overwhelming”. Read the whole paper.

  161. Nogw (09:43:26) :

    “Pragmatic (08:50:57) Which remind us the words of our co-blogger Nasif Nahle:
    “Scientia Redivivus” (Tr. Reconstruction of Science).
    Insinuating we must revisit science from the beginning, going back to Pitagoras, Democritus, Johannes Kepler, etc., before changes intoduced by “cultural”, fanatics’, creed’s, or political revolutions.
    Books, knowledge it is out there, waiting for open minded and free individuals.”

    Indeed! Tealc said.

  162. Highlander (09:39:27) : Interesting —yet deceitful—
    Agree!, but, this time, instead of “pouring the empty into the void” they are “pouring the void into the empty”.
    Better let us re-read Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision”, a beautiful book of the pre-global warming era.

  163. I can accept increased insolation and elevated GHG levels as a catalyst for ENDING an ice age. However, decreased insolation, while perhaps resulting in a cooler planet, doesn’t on its own explain (in my mind) glacial genesis and sustained growth (of the extent in the last significant ice age).

    We have glaciers in mountains where precipitation is the result of rising moist air dropping its moisture as it cools and air pressure drops. These glaciers can quickly grow or shrink, based on precipitation feeding them and other conditions. What really drove the continued accumulation of snow/ice in northern Canada? Do we have the zone of glacial genesis pinpointed? Shouldn’t a cooler world be drier? What was the condition of the Arctic Ocean during the last ice age–completely buried or possibly open with warm currents, feeding moisture to the glaciers?

    The science of confirming changes in orbit may be settled, but I remain skeptical about our understanding of ice ages. There are too many other potential factors out there (the Earth has local climates within regional climates within a global climate; Earth is a planet in the ‘climate’ of the solar system, which is in the ‘climate’ of our galaxy, and so on).

  164. re: Richard Thorpe:

    Thanks for the correction. CO2 would be a Positive feedback both into and out of the ice ages, [increasing the perturbation both ways].

  165. rickM (09:27:06) :
    Causality and politics? How can the researchers, or the peson being interviewed go from orbital oscillations (which have been known for quite some time) and it’s effects on global weather patterns to short term theorized CO2 induced warming ? To make the leap from a 50 million year time scale to 200 years is simply remarkable.

    Mixing hypothesises is not just irresponsible but irrational.

    Had you actually bothered to read the paper (or even just the abstract) we would have been spared this irrelevant post!
    The paper considered growth of the ice sheets in response to climate forcing from decreases in northern summer insolation, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, and atmospheric CO2. Given that, it’s hardly surprising that the author when interviewed discusses two of the three forcings they studied!

  166. Patrick K (20:44:40) :

    None of this information is really new. However, I have to complain about the graphic and the caption attached to it. Both of the ellipses shown are extremely exaggerated and neither is anywhere close to the actual ellipticallity of the Earth’s actual orbit which ranges from an almost perfect circle to only slightly elliptical. Even at it’s most extreme elliptical orbit, the earth’s orbit is very close to a perfect circle (A perfect circle is e=1, the Earth’s most extreme orbit is e=0.97). In fact it is so close that a human cannot usually distinguish it from a circle.

    Not only this, but the sun is also plotted at the center of the ellipes rather than at a focus. But the idea is what is important. I have another issue. Lief and other various posters are tossing around Delta insolation figures that are not clar to me. I can see that 0.1% TSI must be just a tad over 1w/m2, and I know that the annual variation is about 90 w/m2, but the only figure supplied for the variation in the orbital cycles is “50 times as much” which must mean about 50w/m2. This is the total, peak to peak, variation including all orbital parameters, and obliquity?

  167. radar (10:12:15) :

    re: Richard Thorpe:

    Thanks for the correction. CO2 would be a Positive feedback both into and out of the ice ages, [increasing the perturbation both ways].
    I think it depends of the CO2 source, if from some grass species, it will undoubtedly provoke some peculiar perturbations, as to believe in global warming.

  168. Indiana Bones (09:56:07) :
    the article as it is still behind a paywall.
    The ‘Supporting Online Material’ that tells what they really did can be accessed [deficiency in Science's paywall system] and is here

  169. Scientifically speaking, the case for a “forced” Milankovitch cycle as opposed to a continuum of unforced natural variability has not been convincingly evidenced.

    In a chaotic system it is possible that cycles will synchronize with small external forcings.

  170. A key to increased ice is lack of Summer melt in-between the Winter moisture and cold needed to build them some more. And the key to increased melting of ice is more and more Summer melt, by whatever means. My hunch is that Summer winds pick up to move the floating ice to parallels that promote melt and Summertime warm rainy days melt glaciers, more than they are restored during each Winter season. I just don’t see greenhouse gas variations being majorly involved. These weather-related long-term trends are ocean sourced that I believe occur with better results when the Earth is tilted to or away from the Sun in these extreme orbital wobbles.

  171. Nogw (07:49:13) :

    < Does some of you know why September (The Seventh month), October
    < (The Eigth month), November (The Ninth month) and December (The
    < Tenth moth), were called like that?

    Those names were devised during the Roman empire. At that time, March was the first month of the year. Consequently, the seventh month was September. Those names were retained when later it was decided to start the calendar year with January.

  172. **************************
    GK (00:57:33) :
    So this DEFINITIVELY proves that CO2 played no part in previous climate cycles.
    There are 2 stunning conclusions from this :
    1) The increase in CO2 that follows about 800 years after each interglacial starts has no (or very little) impact on earth`s climate.
    2) It those massive increases in CO2 had no impact in earth`s climate back then, then CO2 can not possibily have an inpact now.
    This finding proves there is no man made AGW.
    *****************************
    This is such a sweet moment and the authors of this paper either don’t get it or had to bow to the Team to get published. This result completes the process of making a complete fool of the Highest Idiot, Al Gore. He is a total clown and should be thrown in Jail for the harm to society he has done and the flim-flam he has promoted. Here is Al’s own infamous chart. You can see clearly that the temperature goes up first, THEN CO2 goes up. CO2 is the tail, not the dog.

    http://tucsoncitizen.com/wryheat/2009/06/24/al-gores-favorite-graph/

  173. Is it just possible that once in our lives; when somebody says; ‘this is how much the earth’s orbit can change.’ or words to that effect; that they actually make a real drawing that shows ‘how much the earth’s orbit can change’. Is that too much to expect ?

    The drawing above shows two egg shaped orbits that are more pointy on the right (the Little Endians), and less pointy on the left (the Big Endians), and the sun is displaced upwards from the major axis, instead of being at one of the foci of the near elliptical orbits; both of which have vastly excessive eccentricities.

    Oh I see it is an Aggie joke from the chicken farm; well that might explain it.

    Reminds me of a high school Physics (Optics) exam, where a classmate, with fifteen seconds left to tackle one more 15 minute question on eye defects drew some eggs like that and added lenses to show how short sightednesss etc worked; took him five seconds to scribble the eyes, and a couple of rays. Well better than missing an entire question.

    The teacher; on marking his paper wrote in equally scribly red ink; “Anyone with eyes like this would be blind anyway !”

    This is suppoed to be the Premier Science Blog; I’ll not blame you though Anthony; nor Chasmod.

    George

  174. “”” Smokey (19:58:33) :

    This article completely disregards Occam’s Razor: “Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.”
    ~William of Ockham, 1285-1349 “””

    And I believe it was Albert Einstein who said; “Science theories should be as simple as possible ; but no simpler !”

    George

  175. “And the key to increased melting of ice is more and more Summer melt, by whatever means.”

    And that is what I believe not enough people concentrate on. They look only at temperature when considering melt and do not consider changes in precipitation patterns. An area that might have had a dry summer season could see a change in jet stream patterns that brings in more summer rain. A torrential rain can melt a very large amount of ice, particularly if followed by a few sunny days.

    Also, as the ice melts, its surface will become “dirtier” as accumulated dust builds up on the surface. This would reduce the overall albedo and increase heating from sunlight even more.

    There is evidence that the jet stream over North America brought Pacific storms in at a much more Southerly location than it currently does. This has been hypothesized to be the source of such lakes as Bonneville (current Great Salt Lake, UT) and Lahontan (current Pyramid Lake, NV) in the Great Basin region. As this jet stream migrated farther North, it would have brought rains to the upper Midwest and would be expected to greatly impact any ice sheets under these storms.

  176. “…due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    So, serious greenhouse gas emissions occurred 200 years ago? That’s 41 years earler than even “We must return to the Garden of Eden” James Hansen claims anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions were starting to be a problem. U.S. climate “research” is a trainwreck.

  177. Huh.

    Dumb question from the the less well-schooled on this topic:

    What happens when the cooling portion of the Milankovitch cycle combines with an extended solar minimum like the one we seem to be seeing now? Does it amplify the cooling even more?

  178. Jay (11:51:20) :
    What happens when the cooling portion of the Milankovitch cycle combines with an extended solar minimum like the one we seem to be seeing now? Does it amplify the cooling even more?
    The Milankovich variations are 50 times larger than solar cycle effects, so the latter are drowned in the noise.

  179. Only one thing left to do now, cut off all funding to Oregon State University, send out an army of reporters to dig through the trash of Peter Clark, Arthur Dyke, and Jeremy D. Shakun and use all material to attack personally. Heck make a youtube video, picket there places of work and home, link them to the oil companies, compare them to the third reich, etc, etc etc

  180. Does anybody have a link to the actual paper itself (rather than the summary)? Would love to read it…

    Ed

  181. So? They re-observed Milankovitch’s 100,000 year natural cycle?
    There is a 11,500 year cycle between ice ages. We are nearing the end of an interglacial warm period. We are only a few short summers away from an ice age in geological terms. If the sun spots do not ramp up I think we are in for a mini ice age anyway.

  182. How does the theory correlate with other ice ages? During the Pliocene 33 ice ages occurred—every 47,000 years. Then during the present age–the Pleistocene–we have had 16 ice ages which are 100,000 years duration, when seal levels fluctuated 120 meters. How does the time-change affect the above theory?

    See William McClenney’s article for the above data:

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/McClenneyPart_I.pdf

  183. By the way, for those who are interested, McClenney divided his article into five parts. To access those simply change the number after Part_ .

  184. Jay,

    Considering that over the past couple of million years we are 90% of the time in glaciation and 10% of the time in warm interglacial, we would expect to see glaciation continuing over the entire spectrum of solar activity profiles. So glacial periods would continue even during extremely active solar cycles.

    But having said that … there certainly is some “trigger” that very rapidly causes a state change from glaciation to interglacial and back. This change is apparently not gradual at all and happens very quickly … over the span of a human lifetime. Also, climate tends to be very unstable during glacial periods with extreme changes in climate happening very quickly. Areas can change from forest or grassland to tundra and back again in only a couple of human generations.

    This “trigger” could be any number of things … a major volcanic eruption at just the right moment … a change in jet stream location … who knows? We will be finding out “soon”.

  185. Dave:
    And werent wooly mammoths frozen suddenly as well? Didnt they live in temperate lands, as shown by the grass in their stomachs? And then were frozen solid in some cases, almost overnight?

    Chances are that if this happens again….grass will be found in “their” stomachs. :-)

  186. Considering what has been happening at the NSIDC this makes a whole lot of sense to me.

    The melt in the spring has been accelerating over the past couple of years. But the freeze has also been accelerating in the fall. I was wondering what was going on. If the earth’s orbit is slipping into a greater elliptical path this makes complete sense. As it gets closer to the sun the rate accelerates but then when it slips farther away the opposite could be expected.

    Does anybody else see this trend?

  187. Nogw (09:43:26) :

    Interesting you should note Democritus whose atomist theory was developed alongside his euthymia view of cheerfulness. It requires a certain philosophical cheer not to be discouraged by warmist’s need to discard the foundations of science.

    Agreed it takes an open mind to read the books that contain that foundation. But with the vituperous attacks on those critical of AGW “consensus” – it’s hard to find encouragement to do so(this site an exception.) Pythagorus, and Keppler would suffocate on the paucity of intellectual curiosity today. Democritus would likely collapse in a fit of laughter.

  188. Some time ago Danish researchers, looking at Greenland ice cores, noted that we come out of “ice ages” very abruptly–perhaps in a decade air temperature goes from that typical of the ice age to that typical of interstadial. I never recall any data showing a correspondingly rapid descent into the ice age.

    Now a sufficiently large positive feedback can take a slow orbital forcing input and produce a large rate of change in the output. What/where is this feedback? It cannot be CO2, which as someone else on this thread pointed out is positive in both directions. This feedback must be asymmetric.

  189. George E. Smith (11:00:41) :
    The drawing above shows two egg shaped orbits that are more pointy on the right (the Little Endians), and less pointy on the left (the Big Endians), and the sun is displaced upwards from the major axis, instead of being at one of the foci of the near elliptical orbits; both of which have vastly excessive eccentricities.

    I don’t understand those who have so much trouble accepting with this simple sketch. It isn’t perfect, but too bad either. Just consider the oblique viewpoint.

    If you want a slightly more realistic view, I have a simulator with a similar diagram at http://arnholm.org/astro/software/ssg/ (Sun/planet sizes not to scale in web page diagram, but it is an option on the software).

    Actually, the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit is so modest that it is not immediately obvious in such a diagram where the long and the short axes are oriented, especially if you select an arbitrary viewpoint relatively close to the ecliptic.

  190. When talking about ellipses, precessions and other variations we need to bear in mind that there are many bronze age (and later) artefacts designed to let the sun into a specific point at a specific hour on a specific day. The one I saw yesterday still fulfils this function exactly so presumably post ice age ellipses and variations have been minimal for the last ten thousand years and have no impact on climate during this time.

    Tonyb

  191. The basic story is, we have been living in an ice age for the last 2 million years -the pleistocene – and this had been punctuated for brief periods of so called interglacials. Yet there is no Milankovitch cycle that endures for 2 million years so the pleistocene must have been caused by something else.

    The real question is how come we emerge into interglacials for periods of 10 or 11 thousand years? This period is closest to the period of precession. So maybe it is the precession that takes us out, when the NH summer is closest to the sun. Now we are at the exact opposite and are maybe ready to go back in the fridge. Just a thought.

  192. Now if they could only explain–from first principles–how the power of insolation can be amplified by CO2, they’d really have something.
    Have a good weekend everybody, that’s not going to happen today.

  193. crosspatch (12:23:46) :
    But having said that … there certainly is some “trigger” that very rapidly causes a state change from glaciation to interglacial and back. This change is apparently not gradual at all and happens very quickly … over the span of a human lifetime. Also, climate tends to be very unstable during glacial periods with extreme changes in climate happening very quickly. Areas can change from forest or grassland to tundra and back again in only a couple of human generations.

    This bears on the posting I just made. I have no information regarding rapidity of falling into an ice age. Is it as rapid as the climb out appears to be? The paths in and out could involve different geographical areas, but still one needs a large feedback (my term) or trigger (your term) to accomplish this. And CO2 has a long delay–perhaps H2O works better. Coming as it did at the tail end of the LIA, even Tambora was not a large enough perturbation to do the job. It did produce a year without summer. But one of the narratives about initiating an ice age, that it occurs with a summer carry-over of snow cover in northern Quebec, is not actually right. Otherwise 1815 should have done the job, right?

  194. Anthony, July and August were originally named Quintilis and Sextilis as the 5th and 6th months of the roman calendar. They did use a 10 month calendar at one time but that was a long, long time before Julius Ceasar, who had July named after himself after he was assassinated.

    Which is one way to get your name immortalised, but not one I’d pick if I was given the choice…

  195. The significance of this paper as other’s have mentioned is way overhyped.
    The idea that the malinkovich cycles have triggered ice ages has been generally accepted for years.
    However the axial tilt change is only a trigger. It causes the summer ice and snow cover to decrease, reducing the earths albedo. This is a positive feedback, causes further melting and an increase in atmospheric CO2 and methaen. The greenhouse effect causes a feedback cycle which further warms the earth and deglaciation proceeds. When the axial tilt change is reversed, the feedbacks amplify a temperature decrease, and glaciation proceeds completing the cycle.
    This is explained in the following article:

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2003/2003_Hansen.pdf

    “Can we Defuse the Global Warming Time Bomb?”
    “…The natural millennial climate changes are associated with slow variations of the Earth’s
    orbit induced by gravitational torque by other planets, mainly Jupiter and Saturn (because they
    are so heavy) and Venus (because it comes so close). These torques cause the Earth’s spin axis,
    now tilted 23 degrees from perpendicular to the plane of the Earth’s orbit, to wobble more than
    one degree (about 40,000 year periodicity), the season at which the Earth is closest to the sun to
    move slowly through the year (about 20,000 year periodicity), and the Earth’s orbit to vary from
    near circular to elliptical with as much as 7 percent elongation (no regular periodicity, but large
    changes on 100,000 year and longer time scales).
    These perturbations hardly affect the annual mean solar energy striking the Earth, but
    they alter the geographical and seasonal distribution of insolation as much as 10-20 percent. The
    insolation changes, over long periods, affect the building and melting of ice sheets. Today, for
    example, the Earth is nearest the sun in January and farthest away in July. This orbital
    configuration increases winter atmospheric moisture and snowfall and slows summer melting in
    the Northern Hemisphere, thus, other things being equal, favoring buildup of glaciers. Insolation
    and climate changes also affect uptake and release of CO2 and CH4 by plants, soil and the ocean,
    as shown by changes of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 that are nearly synchronous with the climate
    changes (Figure 2)….”

  196. @Mike Abott
    Surely this report totally debunks AGW no matter how you spin it and it is what will always debunk AGW. We’ve had severe temperature swings without man made CO2 which would suggest that AGW has had nothing significant to do with the swings?

  197. Note the safe harbor statement:

    “…and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.”

    Which was neither suppported nor referenced. Nor true.

  198. Bah Goom, clever fellow that J Caeser fellow to get July named after him only after he had been murdered.

    Still probably no problem to a lad used to throwing legions across rivers.

    And no there is nothing new in this paper that you could not have read in papers written a hundred years ago.

    Whih is why when was young the idea was so discredited, the cyles of the proposed mechanism don’t fit with the observation.

    Talk about reinventing the wheel.

    Kindest Regards.

  199. Eric, what then causes the temp to correlate so highly, both in overall trend and ups and downs, historically as well as currently, with oceanic oscillations? Is there no place for oceanic circulation patterns (which have changed over the millions of years) and oscillations (which have also changed over the millions of years) in your model? How can that be when we see direct and obvious cause and affect, complete with data and well-known mechanisms? Just how and when do you jump from Earth bound natural variation ending as the driver to CO2 acting as the driver?

  200. Two other quick questions/thoughts from someone way under-”edumacated” in this area:

    1. Looking at Prof. Steven Dutch’s diagram (3rd down on the page http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/EarthSC202Notes/GLACgeog.HTM ) showing the retreat of the continental ice masses over North America, would it be logical to assume that this ‘retreat’ moved in the direction of the ‘birthing’ of those same glaciers? That ‘point of origin’ appears to be on Baffin Island, on the west side of the mountains. Other than general cooling of the planet, is there any other meteorological (jet stream variation/fixation, persistent storm zone, other), oceanic (current change) or geologic (volcanic or uplift?) mechanism that could have caused massive acceleration and persistence of the accumulation of snow on the west slope of Baffin Island? Or, could there have been a global accelerant (like a sudden doubling of global or hemispheric water vapor due to increased luminosity (driving evaporation) or an oceanic asteroid hit? (I know, reaching on that one–maybe the next Bruce Willis movie plot there)

    2. (Per Nasif’s reference) What effect would the solar system’s passing through in interstellar cloud (for extended periods) have on GCR’s (thinking of the cloud ‘shielding’ the earth from the solar wind) and hence cloud formation? Any? Am I smoking dope here?

    Thanks all–and have a great weekend!

  201. To qualify carbon dioxide as a secondary amplifier of the Earth’s atmosphere warming, answer the following questions:

    What’s the absorptivity-emissivity of carbon dioxide at its current partial pressure in the atmosphere?

    What’s the total emittancy of carbon dioxide at its current partial pressure in the atmosphere?

    What’s the real value for climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide?

    What’s the heat capacity of carbon dioxide at its current density in the atmosphere?

    What’s the specific heat capacity of carbon dioxide at its current density in the atmosphere?

    What’s the thermal diffusivity of carbon dioxide at its current density in the atmosphere?

    What’s the specific volume of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the present time?

    What’s the real effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

    After answering the previous questions tell me if the carbon dioxide is capable of warming up or cooling down the Earth.

    The carbon dioxide more than being an amplifier of warming effects (which definitively it is not) it’s a distributor of heat and a drainer of heat into the outer space. A very different subject is water in anyone of its three phases. I have no doubt; Arrhenius inflicted a great damage to climate science with his assumptions.

    If you accept the “secondary” role of carbon dioxide in warming, you’ll be accepting one more fallacious doctrine from AGW side and you’ll be approaching more and more to the fourth religion.

    As a matter of sane thinking, why the carbon dioxide, during warmhouses does not heat up the Earth stopping the trend to the next icehouse? Evidently, the carbon dioxide is not the powerful “greenhouse” gas proclaimed by AGWers.

    Thanks for reading…

    Nasif Nahle

  202. Just how and when do you jump from Earth bound natural variation ending as the driver to CO2 acting as the driver?

    I can see CO2 content as having a small underlying effect, depending on overall conditions. I could see CO2 driving up surface or tropospheric temps by that much over a century. But I doubt it is a primary driver and I doubt the positive feedback assertions.

    For the IPCC to be correct in its mailine predictions, temps would have to increase 5 times the NOAA-adjusted rate (and it’d have to be faster, after a decade or so of cooling). That seems to be well off the mark.

  203. I haven’t read through all the comments, but I’m not buying this.

    Unless the change in rotation is sudden, we don’t have a sudden triggering of, or out of, ice ages.

    If it’s true, then we only have two sets of orbital parameters: one set which favors an ice age, and lasts a long time, and another set which favors interglacials and lasts a short time. A slow orbital change over 100,000 years doesn’t solve this problem.

  204. The curent climate of the Earth is approx 90,000 years of glaciation and approx 10,000 years of interglacial warmth. The rest is just weather.

  205. MarcusK (02:51:25) : If it’s just ‘local’ orbital mechanics (Saturn, Jupiter, etc) why does the earth stay completely out of the ice age cycles for dozens of millions of years? What causes the deeper phases of “ice age cycles” and “no ice ages cycles”?

    C Colenaty (05:23:29) : Maybe this period might be explained by tectonic movement. But then why was there a prior glaciation? And what happens to the MT for those very long periods of time when glaciation is absent?

    The most popular theory is that the presence of a continental landmass one or both of the Poles prevents oceanic circulation between polar and equatorial regions and causes ice to build up on the polar land mass(es). The tectonic drift of Antarctica brought it over the S. Pole 2.5 million years ago, triggering the current Ice Ages. Pangaea was the landmass over the South Pole during the Permian or Karoo Ice Age from 360–260 Mya. There are other theories, but that one seems most plausible to me.

    On another issue, my understanding is that descent into glaciations is gradual, while the rise into interglacial periods is rapid (relatively). That implies some positive feedback tipping point is reached as Milankovitch insolation approaches maximum, but that such a tipping point is not present during the long neoglaciation descents.

    BTW, we passed the maximum insolation point about 10,000 years ago and are in the gradual descent phase now. If CO2 can forestall neoglaciation (a big if), then it would be a GOOD THING, since warmer is better. So light up your cigars and gun the engines on your clunkers — you might be doing the entire planet a favor.

  206. If I’m reading the abstract correctly, the main accomplishment of this paper is “to constrain the timing of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM)” more precisely than before by using a large number of proxy measurements over the period in question, i.e. 10,000 to 50,000 years ago. As a result, these more precisely dated glacial events can now be better correlated (or de-correlated) with other geological events of the same period. Is that about right?

    If so, then this would seem to be an example of the “improved measurement” type of paper so necessary to science, where the devil really is in the details. Though important to our scentific understanding, such fine tuning papers aren’t terribly sexy, which would explain the unjustified attempt at hype in the press release. While not terribly relevant to the CAGW question of our times, it’s certainly worth covering on a science blog like WUWT.

    BTW, according to Wikipedia the Earth’s orbital eccentricity didn’t change a whole lot in the 40,000 years covered, so the orbital illustration at the top of the article seems a bit misleading. Maybe a better choice would have been one showing changes in axial tilt and precession.

    Thanks for covering this, Anthony. I’ve always thought ice ages are really cool! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  207. “But the freeze has also been accelerating in the fall. I was wondering what was going on. ”

    Changes in Earth’s orbit would not be fast enough to exhibit visible changes in a person’s lifetime. The changes are very slow. If it takes 100K years for a cycle, then it takes 1000 years for 1% of the cycle and a person’s lifetime (for the sake of round numbers) would be 10% of that so over the course of the life of a 100 year old person we see .1% of the total progression taking place.

    There is some sort of a “tipping point” that takes place and flips the state.

    Now that assumes the changes ARE gradual. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe alignment of things causes a sudden change in the shape of the orbit.

  208. find it strange that so many people exhibit a Pavlovian hatred for energy companies. Since ~88% of global primary energy is generated from fossil fuels (the remainder is nuclear and hydro, with a trace of renewables), these “evil” energy companies keep our families from freezing and starving to death.

    Yes this is absolutely true. Think what fossil fuel energy has done for living standards and food production. Look around around your home or office or open the refridgerator – Imagine a world without plastic…

    The sad fact is that “Greens” are completely delusional. Without all this energy and the ability of a few to produce so much stuff for the many, we all would have little time or energy to devote to being Green. We would all be either dead or living in abject poverty, diseased and totally exhausted from 14 hour days breaking our backs trying to scratch out a meagre existance.

    Being “Green” is a luxury that only food and energy surplusses have recently allowed. It is jet aircraft and large diesel powered supply boats that allow some of us to study coral reefs around carribbean islands and worry about sea level rise. The very computers we all use are made from plastics and they are the very tools that help some of us write our Green research papers. Furthermore, the commercialization of these computers were actually pioneered by the massive funding of Oil Companies for seismic analysis long long before these computers found any application in business…without the funding these computers for climate modelling might not even exist.

  209. I haven’t read through all the comments, but I’m not buying this.

    Unless the change in rotation is sudden, we don’t have a sudden triggering of, or out of, ice ages.

    There could be positive feedback that forces things more quickly than the orbital changes in and of themselves.

  210. Peter Jones (19:52:20) :
    Even though,

    ” Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age . . .”

    They still say that,

    “One of the biggest concerns right now is how the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will respond to global warming and contribute to sea level rise . . . ”

    You can certainly tell where their funding is coming from.

    Probably from the nuclear industry concerned about siting their power stations near the sea?

  211. GK (00:57:33) :
    So this DEFINITIVELY proves that CO2 played no part in previous climate cycles.

    There are 2 stunning conclusions from this :
    1) The increase in CO2 that follows about 800 years after each interglacial starts has no (or very little) impact on earth`s climate.
    2) It those massive increases in CO2 had no impact in earth`s climate back then, then CO2 can not possibily have an inpact now.

    This finding proves there is no man made AGW.

    No it proves that you haven’t read the paper, like most of those who’ve commented so far.

  212. “”Dave vs Hal (08:29:53) :

    cba (06:16:14)
    “THat difference is even more interesting considering that the surface albedo of ocean is about 1/3 to 1/5th that of land surface . What is happening is the ocean water is involved in a water vapor cycle creating clouds that reduce the albedo – something that can’t happen easily when there is little to no additional water available”

    If what you say is true, it demonstrates the negative feedback qualities of the oceans.
    “”
    I think most of my comments above are correct or should be acceptible. Some may be just be hypotheses. It should demonstrate the oceans & water vapor cycle provide the negative feedback or even a temperature setpoint and control system. It also should demonstrate the importance of the Earth’s surface configuration and heat dissipation system. After all, this 8 W/m^2 +/- average annual variation which results in a Temperature curve that is maximum during NH summer where the insolation is at a minimum and a maximum during SH summer where the insolation is at a minimum means that the surface configuration related factors over ride this average difference in insolation with room to spare.

    This also adds in the precession of the equinoxes – where the dates for the aphelion and perihelion (furtherest and closest approach to the Sun) shift relative to the tilt direction of the Earth (seasons). When they have shifted by 6 months, then the perihelion will occur in June/July and the aphelion will occur around January so that summer in the NH should be even hotter and winter should be colder (all else being unchanged) – with the exception that if somehow there is persistant snow cover started that reduces albedo then all bets are off on how warm things can get with that extra albedo if it exists. Otherwise, it would seem that perhaps we’d be in more of a hothouse condition as there might be less cloud cover formation and hence lower albdeo. Consequently, I’m not even sure if one could simply predict what portion of these cycles would actually permit the formation of glaciation or would actually cause the opposite or if simply some internal random variation – like ENSO – might be enough to randomly kick us into the other mode (glaciation / nonglaciation).

    Nasif –

    by some altitude, a doubling in co2 will increase clear sky absorption by around 3 1/2 W/m^2. This will also cause an increase in absoption and in emission for any parcel of air at a give temperature. Due to the geometry (cold space outward, warm surface inward) the power is basically absorbed only coming outward but this parcel must radiate inward at the same rate it radiates outward. Increasing the emissivity demands that more power will be radiated if the T remains unchanged – which means that the T will have to drop a bit unless there is more power coming from above as well. Of course, 62% or so of the atmosphere has cloud cover that is already doing substantial blocking as well.

    Considering the whole system has a rough rise of 33 K for all GHGs and that it has around 150 W/m^2 of ‘blocking’, one can simply take 33/150 to see the actual average ‘sensitivity’. This is just under 0.25 Kelvins per W/m^2. One can also determine that a straight radiative solution to an increase in absorption results in the need for the surface to rise in T by around 0.3 K to pass an additional 1W/m^2 all the way out. That suggests that the Earth system has net negative feedback going on. It also suggests that a CO2 doubling results in about 0.75 Kelvins after all feedbacks have been accounted for in the real world.

    That brings us back to the feedback/setpoint mechanism of cloud/atmospheric albedo increasing with increased water vapor – which is the realm where Lindzen’s IRIS effect ideas come from. It also provides us with a rather random sort of a mechanism that can be influenced by cosmic rays, the solar magnetic field, and solar cycle phenomenon affecting Earth’s atmosphere in a far greater fashion than a mere 0.1% solar cycle TSI variation would suggest. It also opens us up to more volcanic influence and potentially pollution factors.

    My own suspicion places this current sensitivity to around half of the simple average or between 0.1 and 0.2 Kelvins per W/m^2.

  213. Back in the bad old days of the Soviet evil Empire scientists in most disciplines had to bend the knee to Marxism. It was often qutie amusing. They would spend the first few paragraphs declaring their allegiance to Karl and Vlad (and the Great Teacher of Humanity Joseph Stalin) and then go on to describe their research in paleontology, math, archaeology, etc., which had absoluteoy nothing to do with Marxism. Some fields suffered more than most: archaeologists had to create a new “culture” in 4th century Ukraine to replace the Ostrogothic state, and Russian SF was denied Einstinian time dilation because Lenin didn’t like it. Something similar seems to be happening here, in as much as Science or Nature will not publish “deniers” and yoiu can’t get NSF funding (and thus tenure) if you are on the outs with the Goracle.

    You have no evidence that the authors put the reference to AGW in because of political pressure. None at all. If you have, I would love to see it.

    If you want my opinion as to why they put it in, it’s because they knew their science would be misrepresented by websites like this. And that’s exactly what happened. Climate scientists have known for years about the Milankovich cycles, and studied them. That was how they knew to use the Milankovich cycles as an explanation for the end of the last glaciation. They didn’t just discover them.

  214. Pamela Gray (14:18:08) :
    Pamela Gray Wrote:

    “Eric, what then causes the temp to correlate so highly, both in overall trend and ups and downs, historically as well as currently, with oceanic oscillations? Is there no place for oceanic circulation patterns (which have changed over the millions of years) and oscillations (which have also changed over the millions of years) in your model? How can that be when we see direct and obvious cause and affect, complete with data and well-known mechanisms? Just how and when do you jump from Earth bound natural variation ending as the driver to CO2 acting as the driver?”

    These ocean oscillations, especially El Nino, affect the sea surface temperature over a wide area of ocean. The sea surface temperature by definition is part of global temperature, and will affect the air temperature over land as well. There is nothing mysterious about that. The coupled ocean atmosphere models show El Nino like phenomena but do not exactly predict the occurence of El Nino’s. The recent data shows El Nino are correlated with the oscillations in global temperature, but are not related to the overall long term 30 year trend.

    http://skepticalscience.com/Global-warming-and-the-El-Nino-Southern-Oscillation.html

    Currently dry conditions in asia resulting from El Nino has lead to buring of huge tracts of forest land releasing large amounts of CO2.

    http://www.eleconomista.es/telecomunicaciones-tecnologia/noticias/1385944/07/09/Emerging-El-Nino-set-to-drive-up-carbon-emissions.html

    In addition there is more naturally occuring emissions of CO2 from the warmer ocean water resulting from El Ninos.
    While the ocean absorbs around half of human CO2 emissions, empirical observations reveal the oceans are losing their ability to absorb CO2.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/human-co2-smaller-than-natural-emissions.htm

    “Quéré 2007 found that the Southern Ocean has reached its saturation point, diminishing its ability to absorb more CO2.

    Schuster 2007 found that CO2 absorption by the North Atlantic has dropped even more dramatically, halving over the past decade.
    Park 2008 found a sudden, considerable reduction in the recent uptake of CO2 in the East/Japan Sea.

    If this trend continues, it potentially leads to a positive feedback where the oceans take up less CO2 leading to CO2 rising faster in the atmosphere leading to increased global warming.”

    We can even see the correlation between emissions of CO2 from portions of the ocean, and El Nino conditions, where the surface temperature of the oceans is warmed.

  215. “”” cba (17:08:00) :

    “”Dave vs Hal (08:29:53) :

    cba (06:16:14)
    “THat difference is even more interesting considering that the surface albedo of ocean is about 1/3 to 1/5th that of land surface . What is happening is the ocean water is involved in a water vapor cycle creating clouds that reduce the albedo – something that can’t happen easily when there is little to no additional water available” “””

    I wouldn’t be hollering about the “surface albedo” of the oceans. Given that the Fresnel reflection for water at normal incidence is about 2% for a refractive index of 1.33, and that reflection coefficient remains reasonably constant out to the Brewster angle which is about 53 degrees incidence angle, the net surface reflection is perhaps 3% for the complete hemisphere sans clouds; which would give the greatest albedo effect from the oceans; that makes the deep oceans a reasonably black body absorber with an emissivity of about 0.97 for the solar spectrum range of wavelengths (albedo applies only to solar spectrum reflections).

    So Nyet for the oceans being a significant albedo contributor.

    And since I just got back from a week of fishing in the Sea of Cortez, which can be as deep as 10,000 feet, I can assure you that that deep water looks visually black when you look down into it, and if you put on your polarized glasses to eliminate surface reflections then it is quite black. Yes of course when whipped up by winds; you do get higher reflections from the white water.

    George

  216. The finding proves that nothing stops the ice age from coming on or retreating. It offers nothing concrete as to how CO2 (AGW) is going to accelerate or prevent an ice age. As for the paper being behind a paywall, that is against the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act.
    So, unless you are on the govt. payola grant, or can afford to throw money around, you get the leftovers (abstract). Science is for sale. I will definately take this up with my Congressman, whose party is not pleased with the lack of transparency.
    4 years ago when I dug into studies of galaxies, it was rare to see papers for sale. Now it’s turned into a big business. Even older studies paid for by taxpayers are behind this paywall.

  217. And on a further note; the albedo component due to clouds exceeds that of any earth surface terrain. so nyet on clouds reducing earth’s albedo by covering up ocean.

    The polar regions ice cover is not much of an albedo component, even though it is most often cited. There’s a reason all that ice and snow is there at the poles; there’s very little solar radiation there to Albedize, in the first place.

    George

  218. Nasif Nahle wrote:
    “The carbon dioxide more than being an amplifier of warming effects (which definitively it is not) it’s a distributor of heat and a drainer of heat into the outer space. A very different subject is water in anyone of its three phases. I have no doubt; Arrhenius inflicted a great damage to climate science with his assumptions.”

    It is pretty clear that you don’t understand the influence of GHG’s on the climate of the globe. Without the GHG’s 100% of the upward radiation from the earth’s surface would escape to outer space. The GHG’s send about half of the radiation they absorb back toward the surface of the earth. That mechanism has been understood by physicists for 150 years since Tyndall pointed this out. This is not an assumpton. It is proven physics and is the basis for the atmospheric greenhouse effect. It has been refined by computer calculations which include the lapse rate of the atmosphere to make more accurate calculations of the greenhouse effect than Arrhenius was able to make in 1896.

  219. By the way, I haven’t read the paper yet; so I haven’t commented on it. I get the dead tree issue of SCIENCE to keep in perpetuity; so I haven’t seen that issue yet.

    But if the headline is meaningful and not hype; then maybe I will get more information out of it than the many times I read that “it is just Milankovitch cycles.”

    All well and good by what exactly are the variable ranges of “Milankovitch cycles” ? I’m too long in the tooth to wade through all that orbital mechanics myself; and just how much do we know about the possible occasional encounter with other truly massive galactic objects that may have come through non-destructively but created one time perturbations of the whole solar sytem orbits.

    Maybe astronomers are smart enough to actually untangle such events from the geologic records; they seem bloody clever at getting answers that would seem to be unavailable given the remoteness of their laboratory knobs.

    George

  220. I actually thought that solar forcing causing the ice age periodicity was accepted science. What else could cause the accuracy of the periodicity? Earthly oceanic or chemical cycles would make them all over the place.

    The periodicity of the ice ages starts 3 million years ago. The only possible cause is continental drift. The forcing, being orbital, was there before. This implies the Earths climate is now in a state where it is highly sensitive to solar variation. This sensitivity, being oceanic, takes hundreds of years to manifest.

    So the question is, why is the Earths climate not equally sensitive to CO2 forcing? It probably is, but only over centuries. Therefore, although CO2 emissions are a problem, there are centuries of time to find a solution.

  221. George E. Smith (17:30:18) :

    So, in this solarly minimumed environment, are clouds or moisture more effective at albedo?
    Would they cause the sun to appear dimmer due to wavelength strength changes?

  222. I would assume that clouds cause albedo and vapor causes greenhouse effect. Same as in any environment.

  223. Well, well, so Dr. Milankovitch has been shown to be correct after all!

    “CO2 forcing”… Carbon Dioxide levels are a following trend, not a leading trend. One thing that really gets me pissed in all the debate about human caused global warming is that carbon dioxide is the least of our worries. It can be and is removed from the atmosphere by biological processes and sequestered in rock in the form of calcium carbonate. There is a real threat however and that is methane. Methane is the fourth most potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere (after water vapor, argon, krypton, then methane). And a lot of methane is locked up on the seafloor in the form of methane hydrates. However, methane makes a lovely fuel … .

  224. eric (17:44:20),

    Why is it that alarmists always leave out Arrhenius’ 1906 correction to his 1896 paper? Maybe because it pulls the teeth from his earlier paper?

    Arrhenius’ 1906 climate sensitivity number was still too high. But those pushing the CO2=AGW conjecture can’t accept a lower number, because it would mean that CO2′s effect is insignificant and can be completely disregarded for all practical purposes.

    But that’s exactly what the planet is telling us: CO2 has much less of an effect than warmists want to believe. In fact, it has no measurable effect at all.

    Carbon dioxide, in the minor trace amounts both current and projected, is entirely beneficial. Why is that so hard to accept? It’s what the real world is telling us.

  225. It is not difficult to imagine the Sun melting the glaciers.

    Anyone ever been in Chicago in July? In Yellowknife in July? How is a glacier going to survive when the snow has melted by March 1st in Chicago and by April 25th in Yellowknife.

    If the Sun is 2 degrees lower on the horizon and the Earth is 1 million kms farther away, I can see some glacier melting in the summer in Yellowknife but by late August, the snow is falling again.

    Chicago? Well the glacier front is going to be melting from March till late September even when the Sun is 2 degrees lower on the horizon and 1 million kms farther away. The glacier front is not going to make it much farther south. Summer temps at the glacial front in Chicago still get to +15C and the ice and snow has completed melted well before the end of the summer – Chicago is glacial termination point, even at the weakest point of the Milankovitch cycle.

    But in Yellowknife, the glacial front is going to be pushed past you south because it is only melting for a few months of the year and snowing for the rest. The 2 km high glaciers north of you are going to push right past you (gravity alone) when the Sun is only melting those glaciers for 1 month of the year and it is snowing for the other 11 months.

    The CO2 changes produce a degree or so of warming, enough to melt the ice in Yellowknife on July 1st instead instead of July 15th. By that time the glaciers in Chicago are long gone because the Sun is now at its present angle in the sky and it is 1 million kms closer in the summer, the ice and snow has been melting since February. It is all gone in Chicago about March 15th so the little 1.0C of CO2 warming has had Zero impact on the glacial retreat.

    Yellowknife just needs to wait the 1,000 years for the glacial front to melt back completely. Another 1,000 years and the glaciers are only left in the Arctic.

    Take Yellowknife and move it 200 kms north (the relative difference in solar energy provided by Milankovitch cycles). The snow and ice will still melt completely in the summer and there will be no glaciers. But put a 2 km high glacier in the Arctic archipeligo in the same conditions and its coming south to Yellowknife.

    It is not CO2 but snow accumulation versus snow melt at the height of the summer in the Arctic archipelgo.

  226. eric (17:44:20) :

    Nasif Nahle wrote:
    “The carbon dioxide more than being an amplifier of warming effects (which definitively it is not) it’s a distributor of heat and a drainer of heat into the outer space. A very different subject is water in anyone of its three phases. I have no doubt; Arrhenius inflicted a great damage to climate science with his assumptions.”

    It is pretty clear that you don’t understand the influence of GHG’s on the climate of the globe. Without the GHG’s 100% of the upward radiation from the earth’s surface would escape to outer space. The GHG’s send about half of the radiation they absorb back toward the surface of the earth. That mechanism has been understood by physicists for 150 years since Tyndall pointed this out. This is not an assumpton. It is proven physics and is the basis for the atmospheric greenhouse effect. It has been refined by computer calculations which include the lapse rate of the atmosphere to make more accurate calculations of the greenhouse effect than Arrhenius was able to make in 1896.

    It is pretty clear that I don’t believe [snip]. Answer each one of the questions from my post at Nasif Nahle (14:34:53), and then we’ll talk.

    Reply: Could use a rephrasing please. ~ ctm

  227. If Milankovich cycles are solely responsible for glaciation, would not the Earth experience a continuous cycle of glacial advance and retreat?

    How do we explain the geological record that suggests glaciation is confined to periods of several million years separated by about 200 million years?

    The Solar System completes its orbit around the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy once each 226 million years – can periods of continental glaciation have an extra-Solar System cause? One that may be modified in some way by Milankovich’s Cycles – but not caused primarily by those relatively short (geologically speaking) variations in planetary orientation and orbit?

  228. Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age – unless some other forces stop or slow it. But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.

    “One of the biggest concerns right now is how the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will respond to global warming and contribute to sea level rise,” Clark said. “This study will help us better understand that process, and improve the validity of our models.”

    One of the most irritating things I see in papers like this is the need of the authors to grovel to the prevailing panic so as not to lose face (or funding) or be a marked man (or woman) by the alarmists.

  229. “Ken S (07:44:03) :

    Has anyone seen the papers by Australian engineer Dr. Peter Harris
    He authored a paper entitled “Probability of Sudden Global Cooling.”
    and “An Urgent Signal For The Coming Iceage”
    Link at Iceagenow

    http://www.iceagenow.com/Probability_94%25_for_imminent_global_cooling%20.htm

    His papers have a nice graph that he uses to show what he thinks is the relationship of Preccssion, Obliquity, Eccentricity, and Solar Forcing to each of the
    Stages of recent Glaciation.”

    Would at least one knowledgable person please look at the paper at the second link Titled – “An Urgent Signal For The Coming Iceage”.

    Here is a different, but direct link to the pdf file.

    http://westinstenv.org/wp-content/ANURGENTSIGNALFORTHECOMINGICEAGE.pdf

    I was wondering what others thought of Dr. Peter Harris’s ideas?

    Thanks,
    Ken S

  230. The recent data shows El Nino are correlated with the oscillations in global temperature, but are not related to the overall long term 30 year trend.

    But, surely, that was never the correlation at all, was it?

    The correlation is with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (et al). And the PDO affects Ninos and Ninas, minimizing the one and enhancing the other, depending on its phase.

    From 1976 to 2001 half a dozen or more major oceanic-atmospheric multidecadal cycles turned from cold to warm. Then, the taps all being on hot, temperatures stabilized–at a high level. Recently, the PDO went cold, and temperatures have dropped. Is that so very hard to assimilate?

    There is your correlation. Your 30-year trend. Not conclusively proven, but standing to reason. Over the last century the cycles correlate better with known climate than does CO2.

    Ninos and Ninas continue, but they are merely short-term drivers which are affected by the bigger picture. Both will occur no matter what the overall phase of the Southern Oscillation and PDO.

  231. Nasif Nahle (19:34:06) :

    eric (17:44:20) :

    It is pretty clear that you don’t understand the influence of GHG’s on the climate of the globe. Without the GHG’s 100% of the upward radiation from the earth’s surface would escape to outer space. The GHG’s send about half of the radiation they absorb back toward the surface of the earth. That mechanism has been understood by physicists for 150 years since Tyndall pointed this out. This is not an assumpton. It is proven physics and is the basis for the atmospheric greenhouse effect. It has been refined by computer calculations which include the lapse rate of the atmosphere to make more accurate calculations of the greenhouse effect than Arrhenius was able to make in 1896.

    It is pretty clear that I don’t believe [snip]. Answer each one of the questions from my post at Nasif Nahle (14:34:53), and then we’ll talk.

    Reply: Could use a rephrasing please. ~ ctm

    Oops! Sorry… Rephrasing my comment:

    It is pretty clear that I don’t believe in arguments made a priori, but in experimentation and good, clear physics. Answer each one of the questions from my post at Nasif Nahle (14:34:53) and then, we’ll talk.

  232. Patrick K (20:44:40) :

    However, I have to complain about the graphic and the caption attached to it. Both of the ellipses shown are extremely exaggerated and neither is anywhere close to the actual ellipticallity (sic) of the Earth’s actual orbit which ranges from an almost perfect circle to only slightly elliptical. Even at it’s most extreme elliptical orbit, the earth’s orbit is very close to a perfect circle (A perfect circle is e=1, the Earth’s most extreme orbit is e=0.97). In fact it is so close that a human cannot usually distinguish it from a circle.

    How do you illustrate an undetectable change without exaggeration?

    Show two identical (to the naked eye) illustrations & the influence is apparently non existent.

    Which part of “not to scale” did you not understand?

    DaveE.

  233. ” Bill Illis (19:13:19) : ”

    Another subtle point people miss. If Chicago is under a mile of ice, then the surface of that ice is at 5000 feet altitude. Temperatures at 5000 feet above Chicago might be somewhat different than at the surface today.

    In fact, the Northern Rockies might practically disappear under the ice. You might be able to walk Westward from Chicago, gaining altitude as you do, and see some hilltops sticking out of the ice, if that.

  234. Archonix (13:49:05) :

    Julius gave us July but you neglected to inform us that Augustus gave us August – maybe it was just too obvious. Maybe the ice ages occurred because there were two months of summer missing.

  235. I am assimilated by PDO. If the Earth plunges into another Ice Age, we will return to the Stone Age, and all that coal & oil in the North will be buried under a mile of ice. Our age will be a strange blip in the geologic record that future geologists will puzzle over. Where’d that radiated soot layer come from? No one will e – ver know.

  236. wattsupwiththat (06:11:17) :

    Of course this is nothing new, nobody doubts the role of CO2 in providing a portion of the warming effect, so also does water vapor. But it is a lag effect of CO2 released in response to the change in earth’s wobble and thus not the main driver of the event.

    I would say a small and lagged portion of the warming effect.

    Consider:
    Water vapor rises immediately according to the heat of the air over the oceans, not according to the temperature of the oceans. The sun heats the air immediately, the oceans slowly. CO2 has a 800 to 2000 year lag in response, while the oceans warm and the permafrost melts.
    In addition CO2 is less than 10% in contribution to the green house effect of the contribution of H2O.

    I am always amazed how people postulating runaway effects from GH gasses can ignore these simple physical characteristics of H2O and can still look at ice age records and talk of CO2 feed backs at the time. It invalidates for me any worth in their paper.

  237. Nassif Nahle wrote:

    “To qualify carbon dioxide as a secondary amplifier of the Earth’s atmosphere warming, answer the following questions:

    What’s the absorptivity-emissivity of carbon dioxide at its current partial pressure in the atmosphere?”
    This question is answered by Modtran based on the HiTran data base:

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

    “MODTRAN (MODerate resolution atmospheric TRANsmission) is a computer program designed to model atmospheric propagation of electromagnetic radiation from 100-50000 cm-1 with a spectral resolution of 1 cm-1.

    The spectral region covered is the far-infrared (100 cm-1 is 100µm wavelength), through visible light, to the deep ultraviolet (50000 cm-1 is 200 nm).

    Some aspects of MODTRAN are patented by the US Air Force. Software licenses are issued by the USAF but distribution is handled by Ontar Corporation. MODTRAN core modules are written in FORTRAN.”
    The answer to your question depends on the partial pressure, altitude and temperature.

    “What’s the total emittancy of carbon dioxide at its current partial pressure in the atmosphere?”
    I am not familiar with the word emittancy. If you mean emissivity this can be found for whatever conditions you like using MODTRAN.

    “What’s the real value for climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide?”
    This is uncertain the nominal value seems to be about 3C with a range of +/- 1.5.

    “What’s the heat capacity of carbon dioxide at its current density in the atmosphere?”
    A question that is irrelevant to the understanding of how CO2 influences the radiation balance of the earth’s atmosphere. Collisions between CO2 and other molecules in the atmosphere will distribute the energy absorbed by CO2
    to the air as a whole. The heat capacity of air depends on its pressure.
    What’s the specific heat capacity of carbon dioxide at its current density in the atmosphere?

    “What’s the thermal diffusivity of carbon dioxide at its current density in the atmosphere?”
    Also an irrelevant question. CO2 is spread from its sources through the atmosphere by the motion of the air due to winds.

    “What’s the specific volume of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the present time?”This depends on the temperature and pressure. Assuming CO2 is close to an ideal gas
    V=RT/PM, where M is the mass of a mole of CO2 or approximately 44gms.
    R is the ideal gas constant and T is the absolute temperature.

    What’s the real effect of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
    It absorbs specific bands of radiation and emits raditiation in all directions equally. As a result of this less radiation emitted from the surface leaves the earth atmosphere system than would be the case without it. The effect of CO2 is amplified by the ability of water to vaporize at higher densities in the atmosphere with increasing temperature. The presence of absorbing gases in the atmosphere makes the temperature of the earth’s surface 33C warmer than it would be without them, and reduces the difference in temperature between day and night, allowing for the survival of complex life forms.

  238. I don’t question the role of the carbon dioxide on rising a little (almost nothing) the temperature of the atmosphere.

    I do question the magnitude of the increase caused by the carbon dioxide and do reject absolutely the argument of taking the carbon dioxide as a black radiator with an emissivity of 50% just because it is not real.

    The flux of heat from the surface (land and oceans) to the atmosphere is continuous, day and night, thus, if carbon dioxide had a radiative power of 50% for emissivity and 50% for absorptivity we had been toasted long ago.

    There is no heat retained by the atmosphere. If heat was retained, it would be as potential or kinetic energy and it would stop being heat, that is, energy in transit or energy in the moment of being transferred from one system to another.

    Water and mud have the capacity of store energy many times more than the carbon dioxide. For example, during a change of temperature of 0.8 K, the dry air absorbs 956.16 J; liquid water absorbs 3.352 x 10^6 J; and dry clay soil absorbs 1.424 x 10^6 J.

    What is the system or systems that maintain the entropy of the air in a quasi-stable state? From the results in the previous paragraph, the systems that maintain the temperature of the air are water and dry clay soil.

    Insolation in the first place, the surface in the second place (Peixoto & Oort. 1992. Page 233). The air (carbon dioxide included) is a distributor of heat and a drainer of heat from the surface to the outer space. Water vapor retains heat, so it is the main cause of the “greenhouse” effect. The time the heat spends in crossing the medium, i.e. the time that the energy spends transiting from one molecule to another molecule, is what is called “greenhouse” effect. Remember, the Earth is not an isolated system in the cold, 3D, unbounded and infinite space.

    Resources:

    Peixoto, José P., Oort, Abraham H. 1992. Physics of Climate. Springer-Verlag New York Inc. New York.

    For carbon dioxide absorptivity:

    Pitts, Donald and Sissom, Leighton. Heat Transfer-Second Edition. © 1998 McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.

    For water absorptivity:

    Chaplin, Marin. Water Absorption Spectrum. http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html (Last reading on 25 April 2009).

    For values of heat capacity of water, air, carbon dioxide and clay:

    Boyer, Rodney F. Conceptos de Bioquímica. 2000. International Thompson Editores, S. A. de C. V. México, D. F.

  239. You can read the article at most public libraries (based on a survey of the local libraries west and northwest of Boston). Many will not have it cataloged and shelved yet, but almost all librarians will get it out of the queue if you ask.

  240. Here is where I think we are regarding the arrival of the next ice age. It’s already here, it’s just slow and steady, the backdrop behind the noise…

    Here’s a graph containing a comparison of GISP2 (Greenland) Northern Hemisphere, and Vostok (Antarctica) Southern Hemisphere. I interpolated the GISP2 and Vostok to have common data points to be able to average the two (the green line in the graph, with trend lines). That’s my best guess as to what “global” temps actually might have been for this interglacial (average the two best ice sheets for each hemisphere). I’ll disregard the hockey stick (NH) pasted onto the Vostok (SH) record thank you.

    Looks to my eyes like we’ve been entering the next ice age for about 3500yrs now (judging by the green average line), and riding the current wave of 1186yr spikes which might not peak until 200yrs from now if you extrapolate from the last 3, being the MWP, RWP and the one before that which peaked at roughly 3100yrs ago.

    Also observable is the obvious saturation effect from the next graph (glacial and interglacial), where the 1186yr spikes are of much higher amplitude during the glacial period, and severely attenuated but discernible during the interglacial . No implication of runaway temperatures here.

    The signal attenuation would seem to support the theory that climate sensitivity decreases with increasing temperatures (regardless of whether CO2 or H2O driven feedback). The same signals are present during both the glacial and interglacial, are severely attenuated during the interglacial (surprisingly so IMO). But when you consider the Vostok record and how repeatable the Min/Max is, it really shouldn’t be. The system has rails/saturation characteristics that make life so comfortable (relatively speaking) but yet allow some evolution pressure.

    Also note the longer term trends during the interglacial (first graph) whereby the Northern and Southern Hemisphere are always diverging (outside of the main interglacial signal which effected both hemispheres). Seems to me this could be that the NH is the main receiver of solar radiation and when heating, initiates cooling in the SH, or that there is a wobble in the obliquity signal which we aren’t yet aware. Anyway, the NH starts entering the Interglacial first, but the Younger Dryas event occurs (a 1186yr spike subsides). The southern hemisphere enters the interglacial and reaches the somewhat saturated shelf of the interglacial, while the NH is in the Younger Dryas event. Then the SH stays pretty flat, while the NH enters the interglacial. Once the NH trends starts to decrease around 8kyrs, the SH trends oppose and increase, peaking at ~5500yrs, where the NH reaches a low point. Then they switch again, reaching another opposition point at roughly 3500yrs, whereby they both start decreasing until the LIA, where they again have opposition with the NH at a null, and the SH at a peak during the LIA.

    If I were to predict temperature trends based on this graph, I would say that we are entering the next ice age (and have been for 3500yrs), but we are finishing a recovery from the LIA (a 6200yr NH null that shows up drastically in the 14C record (I’d have to hunt for that graph, forcing agent source unknown…cosmic?). I’d expect NH temps to increase during the recovery from the LIA (simliar to the event that occurred at 5200yrs), and potentially the NH to peak 200yrs from now. If it were to increase another 0.5C by 200yrs from now, it would still fit in nicely with natural cycles. I’d also say, enjoy the next conjunction of the low point of ocean cycles and solar activity, as it should resume after 2035 or so (as many others suggest).

    That’s my two cents. Hope the links work…

    Ed

  241. Here is the 6200yr cycle referred to above (which coincides with the LIA and the similar NH null at ~5500yrs ago).

  242. Leif Svalgaard (07:01:48) :

    idlex (06:20:40) :
    “I think the consensus is that we can do this accurately [enough for this purpose] for some millions of years.”
    Really?

    Yes, [enough for this purpose]
    ………………………………………………….

    There is no problem with a qualitative description of this process, but the quantitative solutions, via geometry and heat and perturbations upon both, are not quite so simple.

    A poor analogy is that satellites need fuel for in-flight corrections to their paths because the paths cannot be modelled accurately enough at launch. What makes us think that we can model the earth orbit well enough so we can predict remperature changes caused by geometry changes? How about some error estimates?

  243. Old Science is New Science

    This was discovered in 1976
    See http://osec.rutgers.edu/ebme/HistoryEarthSystems/HistEarthSystems_Fall2008/Week12a/Hays_et_al_Science_1976.pdf

    Variations in the Earth’s Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages
    J. D. Hays, John Imbrie and N. J. Shackleton
    Science, New Series, Vol. 194, No. 4270 (Dec. 10, 1976), pp. 1121-1132
    (article consists of 12 pages)
    Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Summary
    5) The dominant, 100,000-year climatic component has an average period close to, and is in phase with, orbital eccentricity. Unlike the correlations between climate and the higher-frequency orbital variations (which can be explained on the assumption that the climate system responds linearly to orbital forcing), an explanation of the correlation between climate and eccentricity probably requires an assumption of nonlinearity.
    6) It is concluded that changes in the earth’s orbital geometry are the fundamental cause of the succession of Quaternary ice ages.

  244. Gosh, whats up with that isotope 12 and 13 marker that identifies that the bulk of the CO2 increase is fuel burning and not from natural sources? Whats up with the fact that the oceans/plants are only able to take out half of what humans are pumping into the air. By comparison, vulcanic sources annual mean is 120 million tonnes. Humans pump out by count of last published figures in 2007, 9.4 Giga Tonnes. So is temperature rise preceding the CO2 ppmv increase or has since CO2 increase overtaken and is now driving temperature increase?

    As for precession, what’s new about that http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/time/precession.html ? What new since Milankovic? Old hat tip I’d say. Very old. The movement has not changed it’s speed, yet the global climate change has. Rutgers reports near record low snow for July. It’s must be global cooling, or no wait it’s the UHT’s doing it?

  245. TIME FOR A NEW PARADIGM ON CLIMATE CHANGE?

    There are two alternative ways to look at how science progresses. In one corner is the concept of the
    falsifiable hypothesis, credited to Karl Popper. Popper argued that all science is based on hypotheses,
    which must be tested to destruction. Sound evidence which does not fit with the hypothesis must logically
    cause it to be rejected. However, the other side of the same coin is that no hypothesis can ever be said to be
    proven. Over time, the body of evidence consistent with a successful hypothesis builds up to the extent that
    it becomes regarded as a theory, for example the theory of General Relativity, or Tectonic Plate theory.
    At this stage, theories are treated, to all intents and purposes, as fact. However, even then, quite basic
    knowledge may, with time, be seen as merely provisional. A classic example is Newtonian mechanics,
    which fully describes the motion of bodies on the scale we are familiar with, but which breaks down both at
    the level of elementary particles (hence the development of quantum mechanics) and at a cosmological
    scale (where relativity comes into play).
    Popper used the concept of falsifiability as his criterion for whether something is genuinely scientific or
    not. Thomas Kuhn, in the other corner of this contest, contributed a different view of how scientists work.
    He introduced the concept of “normal science” to cover the situation where scientists work on various
    topics within a central paradigm. In contrast to Popper, the Kuhnian view is that “wrong” results (ie, those
    which are in conflict with the prevailing paradigm) are considered to be due to errors on the part of the
    researcher rather than findings which jeopardise the consensus view. However, as conflicting evidence
    increases, a crisis point is reached where a new consensus view is arrived at: a so-called paradigm shift.
    These two philosophical approaches represent the extremes of a spectrum. Popper is the purist, who
    describes how scientific progress ought to work in an ideal world. On the other hand, Kuhn’s description is
    more pragmatic and a more realistic view of what actually happens. When a hypothesis is first put forward,
    it would be quite easy to discard it if early experimental results falsified it. However, when a consensus
    builds up over time that a particular view is “correct”, it takes plenty of hard evidence to convince people
    they have been wrong. After all, scientists are only human.
    The example often used of this happening in the fairly recent past was the derision which was directed at
    Wegener’s hypothesis of continental drift, when the prevailing scientific view was that land masses were
    immobile. Although there were some supporters of this view during the first half of the twentieth century, it
    was only in the 1950s that an understanding of plate tectonics led to the general acceptance that continents
    are not static. This was a revolutionary shift in thinking, but the paradigm took many years to change.
    But Popper’s description was more nearly correct in the case of cosmology. In the 1950s, there were two
    competing primary models of the Universe: the Big Bang and the Steady State. By the mid-60s, the
    accumulation of evidence led most astronomers to accept that the Big Bang was the hypothesis which gave
    the better explanation of how the Universe behaves.
    Coming now to the more topical and contentious case of climate change, it is clear that science is
    operating in a Kuhnian fashion. There are a number of observations which would apparently serve to falsify
    the hypothesised enhanced greenhouse effect. Not least of these are the missing signature of CO2-driven
    warming (an enhanced rate of warming in the upper troposphere relative to the Earth’s surface) and the lack
    of warming across the greater part of Antarctica. The response to this – from those who do not simply
    dismiss the evidence out of hand – is to point instead to evidence which is consistent with the AGW
    hypothesis and to introduce a range of fudge factors such as aerosols to account for the observed lack of
    correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide level and average temperatures.
    The behaviour of a great many researchers involved in climate change is far from Popperian. Rather than
    test their hypothesis by trying to falsify it, they look instead for evidence which supports it and, in a deeply
    unscientific manner, will often simply dismiss contrary evidence on the basis of minor flaws or criticism.
    This is research done according to prejudice rather than with an open mind. To compound the error, and
    because evidence can only be gathered by observation rather than experiment, increasing reliance has been
    placed on computer models.
    Making headlines in the Guardian last week was a study not yet even published. Jointly written by
    Judith Lean of the US Naval Research Laboratory and David Rind of the NASA Goddard Institute for
    Space Studies and due to appear in Geophysical Research Letters, this is billed as the first analysis of the
    combined impact of human influences (including CO2 and aerosols), solar radiation, volcanic eruptions and
    ENSO (the El Nino Southern Oscillation) on global temperatures.
    Their main conclusions are that anthropogenic global warming has been masked in recent years by
    reduced solar activity and a lack of a strong positive El Nino, but that a projected increase in solar activity
    will cause temperatures to rise at a rate 50% faster than projected by the IPCC. Many readers will of course
    remember that mainstream researchers have generally downplayed the role of variations in the Sun’s output
    as insignificant in terms of global temperatures, but there now seems to have been a reinterpretation to fit
    the facts.
    But the main criticism of this paper (or at least, what has been reported prior to publication) is that it is
    not a scientific study but the output of a computer model. The study smacks of damage limitation, of a
    desire to find some rational explanation for the lack of temperature rise over the past seven or more years.
    The explanation is that well, yes, natural variation can be important, but that this is only creating a
    temporary masking effect, soon to disappear. Suspicions about the motivation for the paper are only
    increased by the Guardian headline: “New estimate based on the forthcoming upturn in solar activity and El
    Nio southern oscillation cycles is expected to silence global warming sceptics”.
    Highly unlikely, as this is merely hypothesis and, crucially, it is not directly falsifiable. But what is
    important is that the authors are predicting the return of global warming in the next few years, and that the
    upward trend will be higher than before. If this does not occur, then we must conclude that their analysis is
    wrong. If they are wrong, it may be because the coming solar cycle will be a weak one, as many people are
    predicting. And, if so, the logical conclusion may be that natural cycles are more important than carbon
    dioxide emissions.
    In the meantime, Henrik Svensmark and colleagues from the Danish National Space Centre have
    published a paper in the same journal which gives support for the hypothesis that cosmic rays, modulated
    by the solar wind, can indeed alter the degree of cloud cover and hence affect temperature (Svensmark et
    al; Cosmic ray decreases affect atmospheric aerosols and clouds; Geophysical Research Letters; Vol 36,
    L15101, doi:10.1029/2009GL038429, 2009). Their measurements indicate that cloud cover measured over
    oceans decreases to a minimum approximately a week after cosmic ray minima. The effect can take large
    quantities of liquid water out of the atmosphere. This hypothesis may or may not be right, but it remains a
    working possibility and should certainly not be dismissed lightly.
    So, climate science, heavily influenced by global warming politics, continues to adhere to a central
    paradigm as described by Kuhn. Contrary evidence is clearly not going to be accepted as falsification. It
    will be fascinating to see what trends there actually are in climate over coming years and, if the predictions
    of renewed (and faster) global warming come to nothing, then what else will be necessary to cause the
    crisis which will lead to a paradigm shift. In the meantime, we have to hope that politicians do not take us
    too far down the road of trying to control the climate based on the current paradigm.
    ————————————————————-
    The Scientific Alliance 7th August 2009
    St John’s Innovation Centre, Cowley Road, Cambridge CB4 0WS

  246. >>Anthony, July and August were originally named Quintilis and Sextilis
    >>as the 5th and 6th months of the roman calendar.

    I always thought that July and August were the additional months, introduced by Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar respectively, which is why the later months are all displaced by two.

    Month (Latin)
    Sept-ember = 7 (septem)
    Oct-ober = 8 (octo)
    Nov-ember = 9 (novem)
    Dec-ember = 10 (decem)

    So which are the two extra months?

  247. Bob Ramar (18:21:43) :
    There is a real threat however and that is methane. Methane is the fourth most potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere (after water vapor, argon, krypton, then methane). And a lot of methane is locked up on the seafloor in the form of methane hydrates. However, methane makes a lovely fuel … .

    What is the basis for calling methane a threat? I mean, is there any historic evidence at all that large enough quantities of methane has been released over a short period causing noticeable climate change? If not, what is it that makes it a ‘real threat’ now?

  248. Nogw (10:01:45) :

    Better let us re-read Velikovsky’s “Worlds in Collision”, a beautiful book of the pre-global warming era.

    Velikovsky is an original catastrophist/alarmist attempting to prove references in ancient texts to celestial mysteries (sun stood “still” in the sky) are grounded in fact. His dismissal of plate tectonics sufficiently eviscerates his thesis.

  249. Flanagan and John Finn

    Why so excited? You are assuming that once the Milankovitch ‘cycle’ triggered a warming, CO2 took over rather than merely contributed to ongoing warming that was due to the ‘cycle’.

    Think about it. From bottom to top there was a change of about 100 PPM and a temp change of about 10C. Hansen calculates sensitivity based on CO2 being responsible for most of that temp change!

    So where’s the other 9+ C of warming from the latest increase in CO2 of about 100PPM? Under Hansen’s bed?

    Pipeline? You have to show what it is, where it is, how it got there, and how it gets out.

    The truth is neither you, nor anybody else, including Hansen, really knows how much of that warming was due to CO2.

    But we are certainly getting a clue from current conditions. 100PPM of CO2 is not now nor ever going to give us a 10C rise in temperature.

  250. crosspatch (22:03:23) :

    And the North pole is still frozen.

    But if you check the images after 1. August, it is clear that the webcam has reached a tipping point, because it is falling over….

    On August 1., the horizon was maybe inclined ~10 degrees to the horizontal axis of the image. Yesterday (August 7.) it looks more like ~40 degrees.

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/npole/

  251. “Eric: Assuming CO2 is close to an ideal gas
    V=RT/PM, where M is the mass of a mole of CO2 or approximately 44gms.
    R is the ideal gas constant and T is the absolute temperature.”

    Since the standard values (in SI units) are R=8.31, T=273, P=101000 and M=0.044, the Volume would be 0.510 cubic meters ?

  252. We live on a planet which had becomes gradually ice bound for some 85,000 or so years before it warms up for a paltry 15,000 or so. We are approaching the end of our current warming period, and our governments are trying to cool the planet, on the unproven assumption reducing CO2 will do the job. I am not persuaded. In any case, increasing CO2, is good for food production and might reduce the glaciers covering northern Europe, Canada and the northern US by a mile or two. The northern hemisphere breadbaskets will no longer supply our current population with food. We will need all the warmth possible.

    The current weather patterns started some five million years ago, and for some reason we are afraid of a little increase in world temperature? The seas are currently 100 feet below normal for an interglacial, which suggests our period is not as warm as before. Cold kills, as the change in species indicate over time. I suspect pumping CO2 into the atmosphere to stave off cooling will be equally effective as sacrificing a virgin to the Sun God.

    Trust governments to do the opposite of what they should.

  253. Eric,

    With regard to Nassif’s question on the temperature sensitivity of carbon dioxide you wrote 3 C with a range of +- 1.5 c.

    On its own this is a meaningles answer. Do you mean 3 C for a doubling of Carbon dioxide? If so I can only assume you have included the IPCC assumed feedbacks into this. Have you? If so, what is the sensitivity without feedbacks?

  254. Bugs,

    “You have no evidence that the authors put the reference to AGW in because of political pressure. None at all. If you have, I would love to see it.

    If you want my opinion as to why they put it in, it’s because they knew their science would be misrepresented by websites like this. And that’s exactly what happened.”

    And your evidence is, exactly what?

  255. RW

    You state

    Wow, you must have been to a really bad university. Your statement does not correspond to a view ever held by any serious scientists. How can the greenhouse effect be “oversimplified”? That doesn’t even make sense.

    You are right it was and remains BAD. Real BAD. The most difficult Engineering program and University to enter in the country.

    What you and many others do not seem to realize is this:

    The atmosphere is a highly complex system with many other processes (like convection). The modern prevailing view that CO2 is a major force behind global temperatures is WAY “oversimplified” and shows ignorance.

  256. O/T
    BBC repeated Sackur’s interview with the Greenpeace director on Hard Talk last night. I don’t remember them repeating these interviews, certainly not within 48 hours!
    Sackur’s getting there slowly but he’s obviously not prepared to go the whole hog yet. “Let’s see your proof” would have been a nice line at some stage. The mindset is still: it’s happening; it’s our fault; but you’re OTT in your approach. Time to get one of the real fanatics on this prog and really roast them. Sackur’s probably the one to do it if anyone can.

  257. I have one word, Copenhagen. Regardless of what the Obamsiha, KRudd747 and Brown (That seems too exciting even for him), some sort of “cap and trade agreement” will pass, although Penny W(r)ong is not doing any more than “highlighting” their “paper” on climate change for Pacific nations experiencing “sea level” rises (Which isn’t happening). Think Pacific and techtonics.

    There is only one way to fight this, but are we willing to go that far? Too cold outside? Too hot? Footy, Corro, Dead Enders, Bold & Beautiful, or some other shyte TV proggy on? Yeah….

    I think, unlike the US, we in Aus, NZ, and the UK, (I am a “resident” of all three countries in one form of another) we all pay our taxes, sorry, we have taxes removed from our pay *at sourse*, so we cannot not pay income tax.

    There is only one way to stop this.

  258. For this theory to work, there has to be a reason the glaciation ice ages started around 5 million years ago and continue to this day. I wonder, did our solar system suffer an unknown event? or did the earth?

    I can’t access all the papers, do the researchers say what phase of the cycle the earth is currently in?

  259. ralph ellis (02:44:11) :
    >>Anthony, July and August were originally named Quintilis and Sextilis
    >>as the 5th and 6th months of the roman calendar.

    I always thought that July and August were the additional months, introduced by Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar respectively, which is why the later months are all displaced by two.

    Month (Latin)
    Sept-ember = 7 (septem)
    Oct-ober = 8 (octo)
    Nov-ember = 9 (novem)
    Dec-ember = 10 (decem)

    So which are the two extra months?

    The original roman calendar was 355 days (12 months) with a rather random system of an intercalary month added on the end, what Julius Caesar did was to increase the length of each month to their present lengths and included a leap day every 4 years in February and do away with the intercalary month.

  260. Nasif Nahle (22:42:30) :
    If heat was retained, it would be as potential or kinetic energy and it would stop being heat

    Heat is the kinetic energy of the molecules bouncing around or vibrating.

    Geoff Sherrington (23:31:10) :
    “I think the consensus is that we can do this accurately [enough for this purpose] for some millions of years.”
    What makes us think that we can model the earth orbit well enough so we can predict temperature changes caused by geometry changes?

    Predicting the orbit and predicting the temperature are different things. The orbit calculations are accurate to millions of years. The VSOP82 theory is thought to be good to one million years, and the improved VSOP87 to much longer. The latter is good to 1 arc second for many thousands of years [future and past], and for millions with lesser accuracy, so good enough to compute the solar insolation.

  261. anna v (21:16:14) :

    I would say a small and lagged portion of the warming effect.

    Consider:
    Water vapor rises immediately according to the heat of the air over the oceans, not according to the temperature of the oceans.

    No water vapor will rise according to the temperature of the water.

    The sun heats the air immediately,

    Only in the stratosphere, the troposphere is predominantly heated by IR from below.

    the oceans slowly. CO2 has a 800 to 2000 year lag in response, while the oceans warm and the permafrost melts.
    In addition CO2 is less than 10% in contribution to the green house effect of the contribution of H2O.

    Wrong again!

    I am always amazed how people postulating runaway effects from GH gasses can ignore these simple physical characteristics of H2O and can still look at ice age records and talk of CO2 feed backs at the time. It invalidates for me any worth in their paper.

    Likewise concerning your misunderstanding about the way the atmosphere works.

  262. Hi all-

    Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age – unless some other forces stop or slow it. But these are processes that literally move with glacial slowness, and due to greenhouse gas emissions the Earth has already warmed as much in about the past 200 years as it ordinarily might in several thousand years, Clark said.

    This seems to be the simple truth. We are changing CO2 and other greenhouse gases much, much more rapidly than the climate system has ever dealt with before.

    Such long term cycles in solar radiation are largely irrelevant to the debate over AGW, because they happen so slowly compared to our geologically instantaneous increases in CO2.

    What matters are increases in CO2 and methane concentrations of one percent per year or more, caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

  263. Some folks insist that CO2 enhances global warming caused by natural catalysts. But every time we place global warming caused by CO2 into a model we get nothin like what we observe. However, if we put ENSO parameters into a model we get what we observe. This means than global warming cannot be started or enhanced by CO2, based on both modeled and empirical data. The only thing that can continue global warming are El Nino’s. And just to be sure, one can look in the past to see if increased CO2 causes increased frequency of El Nino’s. It does not. Nor does increased warming caused by an El Nino cause more El Nino’s. The mechanisms for frequency of El Nino’s is not in the temperature trend. But the mechanism for the temperature trend is in the ENSO.

    http://www.dse.ufpb.br/Tarcisio/Artigos/Global%20Temperature%20and%20El%20Nino.pdf

  264. Allan MR MacCrae quotes someone:

    Their main conclusions are that anthropogenic global warming has been masked in recent years by reduced solar activity and …

    I suspect that Leif will have something to say about that.

  265. Not a scientist. Isn’t it possible if I may talk politics, that the left believes it will be cooling soon and that what is driving their push to quickly pass Cap and Trade laws? Their laws force Co2 levels down (if they actually worked), then the Earth cools. See how smart we were? You better not believe those right-wing extremist deniers. We saved your lives and the earth…

    Just saying…

  266. Gosh, whats up with that isotope 12 and 13 marker that identifies that the bulk of the CO2 increase is fuel burning and not from natural sources?

    A gedanken experiment. You have a sealed big vat of carbonated water and you very slowly heat it. It evolves CO2. These are red CO2 molecules. You now introduce a bunch of blue CO2 molecules. Due to the equilibrium shift the blues predominate in the gas area while the rate of evolution changes some too due to the equilibrium shift.

    The equilibrium water to gas is 50 to 1. The fact that the blue CO2 predominates in the gas area is not proof of a significant shift in dynamics of the system. It is at least a proof that the evolution of CO2 is somewhat suppressed due to an equilibrium shift. As you would expect.

  267. Vincent (05:41:23) : wrote,
    “Eric,

    With regard to Nassif’s question on the temperature sensitivity of carbon dioxide you wrote 3 C with a range of +- 1.5 c.

    On its own this is a meaningles answer. Do you mean 3 C for a doubling of Carbon dioxide? If so I can only assume you have included the IPCC assumed feedbacks into this. Have you? If so, what is the sensitivity without feedbacks?”
    Assuming everything else remains the same, the answer is around 1C.

  268. Ed (22:48:55),

    I had always wondered about the spikes in the temp record during glacials. It will be interesting to see if what you posit works out.

    Thanks for the effort!

  269. Nasif Nahle (22:42:30) :
    Wrote:
    “I don’t question the role of the carbon dioxide on rising a little (almost nothing) the temperature of the atmosphere.

    I do question the magnitude of the increase caused by the carbon dioxide and do reject absolutely the argument of taking the carbon dioxide as a black radiator with an emissivity of 50% just because it is not real.

    The flux of heat from the surface (land and oceans) to the atmosphere is continuous, day and night, thus, if carbon dioxide had a radiative power of 50% for emissivity and 50% for absorptivity we had been toasted long ago.”
    This is a straw man argument. CO2 only absorbs certain bands of radiation. No one claims that the CO2 in the atmosphere has an emissivity of 50% of a black body. It is clear that you don’t understand the theory you are criticizing.

    “There is no heat retained by the atmosphere. If heat was retained, it would be as potential or kinetic energy and it would stop being heat, that is, energy in transit or energy in the moment of being transferred from one system to another.

    Water and mud have the capacity of store energy many times more than the carbon dioxide. For example, during a change of temperature of 0.8 K, the dry air absorbs 956.16 J; liquid water absorbs 3.352 x 10^6 J; and dry clay soil absorbs 1.424 x 10^6 J.

    What is the system or systems that maintain the entropy of the air in a quasi-stable state? From the results in the previous paragraph, the systems that maintain the temperature of the air are water and dry clay soil.”
    You misunderstand the Greenhouse theory of global warming if you argue that the heat capacity of the air is to small for the theory to be correct. The heat capacity of the air doesn’t determine the greenhouse effect.

    “Insolation in the first place, the surface in the second place (Peixoto & Oort. 1992. Page 233). The air (carbon dioxide included) is a distributor of heat and a drainer of heat from the surface to the outer space. Water vapor retains heat, so it is the main cause of the “greenhouse” effect. The time the heat spends in crossing the medium, i.e. the time that the energy spends transiting from one molecule to another molecule, is what is called “greenhouse” effect. Remember, the Earth is not an isolated system in the cold, 3D, unbounded and infinite space.”

    The greenhouse gases actually reduce the flow of radiation from the warmer earth’s surface by absorbing it and reemitting half it back towards the ground. The topmost layer of the atmosphere, which emits 50% of the radiation it has absorbed, directly upwardunimpeded, toward outer space, where it is lost to the earth, is cooler than the surface of the earth. The fact the top layer is cooler, reduces the emission rate in the radiation frequency band absorbed by greenhouse gases below the rate of emission at the ground level. This is the reason that GHG’s in the atmosphere reduce the rate of energy loss from the earth, and raise its temperature 33C.

    For water absorptivity:

    Chaplin, Marin. Water Absorption Spectrum. http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/vibrat.html (Last reading on 25 April 2009).

    For values of heat capacity of water, air, carbon dioxide and clay:

    Boyer, Rodney F. Conceptos de Bioquímica. 2000. International Thompson Editores, S. A. de C. V. México, D. F.

  270. Lubos Motl (09:24:11) : The evidence is essentially based on one number,

    I also have a problem with them saying, ‘Long debate ended over cause’, since it is does not take in a big enough picture. It should rather say something like ‘More evidence on a hypothesis about climate’.

  271. Geoff Sherrington (23:31:10) :

    “A poor analogy is that satellites need fuel for in-flight corrections to their paths because the paths cannot be modelled accurately enough at launch. What makes us think that we can model the earth orbit well enough so we can predict remperature changes caused by geometry changes? How about some error estimates?”

    Goeff,

    As you say it’s a poor analogy. Satellite orbits are subject to decay from atmospheric drag. The decay is subject to variation caused by variation in atmospheric density. Even if the decay could be exactly predicted, analytical corrections for the effect of the decay on temperature calculations introduces additional uncertainty, which can be avoided be using propulsion to maintain the satellites position. By contrast, the Earth’s orbital elements and orientation are more predictable by orders of magnitude, including the gravitational effects of the moon and planets, the Earth’s oblateness, solar radiation, and even relativistic effects. I think many here underestimate the accuracy with which the Earth’s position and orientation are known through time.

    Having said that, I would second your call for a quantitative statement from a reputable source as to the accuracy of predictions over periods of millions of years, contrasted to a few tens of thousands of years.

  272. Chicago is glacial termination point, even at the weakest point of the Milankovitch cycle.

    Actually it is a little farther south (about 100 mi), but Chicago is a good major landmark – for now.

  273. Syl (03:03:30) :

    “Why so excited? You are assuming that once the Milankovitch ‘cycle’ triggered a warming, CO2 took over rather than merely contributed to ongoing warming that was due to the ‘cycle’.

    Think about it. From bottom to top there was a change of about 100 PPM and a temp change of about 10C. Hansen calculates sensitivity based on CO2 being responsible for most of that temp change!

    So where’s the other 9+ C of warming from the latest increase in CO2 of about 100PPM? Under Hansen’s bed? ”

    There is an assertion that CO2′s influence follows a diminishing returns curve such that a change from 100ppm to 200ppm is going to create a large change in temps while going from 200ppm to 300 ppm is going to create a much diminished change, etc. which is one reason why going back a few ten million years when concentrations were 1500ppm and higher the climate was not more than a few degrees warmer. CO’s influence is capped out at Earth’s current atmospheric density when you exceed 300-400 ppm. You need to significantly change the barometic pressure of the atmosphere to get CO2 to have more influence above these concentrations.. This is a major problem for warmists and why they depend on the water vapor-as-positive-feedback mechanism to create their chicken little disasturbationism. We now know that its not the oversensitive positive feedback theyre claiming (note some of the alarmist geoengineers are now proposing “cloudships” that generate clouds over oceans with windpower to cool the earth).

  274. Bob Ramar (18:21:43) :
    There is a real threat however and that is methane. Methane is the fourth most potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere (after water vapor, argon, krypton, then methane). And a lot of methane is locked up on the seafloor in the form of methane hydrates. However, methane makes a lovely fuel … .

    Indeed, compared to other fuels, burning methane produces less carbon dioxide for each unit of heat released.

  275. “We are approaching the end of our current warming period, and our governments are trying to cool the planet, on the unproven assumption reducing CO2 will do the job.”

    It will be interesting to watch then try to “save” the Great Barrier Reef when it is a few hundred feet above sea level.

  276. ERIC: Assuming CO2 is close to an ideal gas
    V=RT/PM, where M is the mass of a mole of CO2 or approximately 44gms.
    R is the ideal gas constant and T is the absolute temperature.

    ALEXEJ BUERGIN: Since the standard values (in SI units) are R=8.31, T=273, P=101000 and M=0.044, the Volume would be 0.510 cubic meters ?

    ALEXEJ BUERGIN: I will answer myself:
    The correct formula for the ideal gas is pV=nRT, n number of moles. The mass of a particle or of the gas (M) plays no role.
    That changes when one calculates the density M/V; then one can see e.g. why moist air is LIGHTER than dry air.
    The Volume of the ideal gas at 0°C and 1013hPa is about 23 Liters.

  277. Richard Sharpe (08:51:19) :
    Their main conclusions are that anthropogenic global warming has been masked in recent years by reduced solar activity and …
    I suspect that Leif will have something to say about that.

    I think I have said what should [could?] be said already. There are three things wrong with the conclusion:
    1) it is not a given that the warming was AGW
    2) it has not been demonstrated that reduced solar activity has enough effect
    3) it is not certain that we are cooling. What was the recent July anomaly?

    The compounded effect of many wrongs or unknowns does not make a right.

  278. (note some of the alarmist geoengineers are now proposing “cloudships” that generate clouds over oceans with windpower to cool the earth).

    Confirmation that pancients are running the asylum.

  279. eric (10:11:54):

    This is a straw man argument. CO2 only absorbs certain bands of radiation. No one claims that the CO2 in the atmosphere has an emissivity of 50% of a black body. It is clear that you don’t understand the theory you are criticizing.

    Heh! Tell me, what the absorptivity-emissivity of carbon dioxide is? Please answer this question straightly.

    You misunderstand the Greenhouse theory of global warming if you argue that the heat capacity of the air is to small for the theory to be correct. The heat capacity of the air doesn’t determine the greenhouse effect.

    Mm… Am I arguing that? Could you define the term “heat capacity”, and what is the heat capacity of the air? You also must to explain why you say that heat capacity is not important in heat transfer.

    The greenhouse gases actually reduce the flow of radiation from the warmer earth’s surface by absorbing it and reemitting half it back towards the ground.

    There is no back radiation warming up the surface because induced emission avoids it.

    Now tell me, from your suppossition, what’s the percentage of heat radiated back to the surface from the absorbed heat by a parcel of air?

    The topmost layer of the atmosphere, which emits 50% of the radiation it has absorbed, directly upwardunimpeded, toward outer space, where it is lost to the earth, is cooler than the surface of the earth.

    If you have not noticed it, you are agreeing with me when I said that warmists say the air have an emissivity of 50% or of a black radiator. 50% downwards and 50% upwards? Heh!

    The fact the top layer is cooler, reduces the emission rate in the radiation frequency band absorbed by greenhouse gases below the rate of emission at the ground level. This is the reason that GHG’s in the atmosphere reduce the rate of energy loss from the earth, and raise its temperature 33C.

    Water vapor in the first place, carbon dioxide “greenhouse” effect is negligible.

    I will let you to learn something before you say something nonsensical:

    “Substances with high thermal diffusivity rapidly adjust their temperature to that of their surroundings, because they conduct heat quickly in comparison to their volumetric heat capacity.” (Wikipedia)

    The thermal diffusivity of air is 0.0000217 m^2/s
    The thermal diffusivity of water vapor is 0.000302 m^2/s

    Water vapor thermal diffusivity is 14 times higher than that of the air.

    Now let’s see volumetric heat capacity:

    pC of air = 1200 J/m^3 K
    pC of water vapor = 58.3 J/m^3 K

    Wow! The dry air has a volumetric heat capacity 86 times higher than that of the water vapor… So the dry air (carbon dioxide included) takes more time to reach thermal equilibrium than water vapor… Well, who doesn’t understand the “greenhouse” effect?

    I have debunked this kind of nonsensical arguments on volumetric heat capacity, specific heat capacity, thermal equilibrium, etc., in another forum, although it was not Eric, but someone nicknamed “questioner”. He also said that heat capacity, specific heat capacity, etc., were non important for the absorption of heat by any system. Heh!

  280. Leland Palmer:

    “This seems to be the simple truth. We are changing CO2 and other greenhouse gases much, much more rapidly than the climate system has ever dealt with before.”

    But when all else fails, that is the fall back position of propagandists. No matter the lack of evidence of catastrophic warming, mankind is said to be changing the atmosphere much more rapidly than the earths climate has EVER dealt with before.

    Ever dealt with before! Really? Certain periods in the geological past have resulted in vast releases of sequestered CO2. I am thinking of the Deccan Trappes during the Cretaceous. It is estimated that the area covered by these lava flows reached 1.5 million square kilometers – half the land area of India. Could mankinds burning of fossil fuels really match that?

    During the late Ordovician CO2 levels were 16 times higher than today yet a glaciation occurred. During the whole mesozoic era, CO2 levels were between 1500ppm and 2000ppm. It was the oligocene that was the beginning of a long fall in CO2, reaching levels that have hardly if ever occurred before on earth. It was these low levels that led to the evolution of the C4 photosynthesis pathway, an adaptation to carbon scarcity.

    Far from putting the atmosphere into a dangerous and unprecedented composition, we have set the biosphere on its tiny first step back towards home.

  281. Leif Svalgaard (08:27:53) :

    Nasif Nahle (22:42:30) :
    If heat was retained, it would be as potential or kinetic energy and it would stop being heat

    Heat is the kinetic energy of the molecules bouncing around or vibrating.

    Heat is energy in transit from one system to another system, i.e. energy which is introduced into a system. That’s heat.

    Thermal energy is both, potential and kinetic energy stored into a system. Heat is thermal energy transferred between tow systems. You are referring to thermal energy, not to heat; however don’t worry, it is a common confusion.

    When transforming potential energy to kinetic energy (which is moving energy), the system loses energy, that is, photons which are dispersed to cooler systems or heat.

  282. Mike,

    Only time will tell (alas, we’ll be screwing with our climate before we understand it though).

    That 1186 year cycle is a mystery though. I could see the long term recovery from the LIA as potentially a modulation on the Obliquity cycle, but the rate of change of the 1186 yr cycle is absolutely amazing. I believe it’s real because if you pick them out in the GISP2 data, you can see matching and opposing spikes in the Vostok ice core as well. Whether it’s the short spikes or the long term trends, they always seems to be opposing.

    Anybody have any theories as to the driver of the 1186 yr spikes?

    I could see the longer term cycle being of orbital variation (wobble) including the LIA recovery (insolation changes), but not at the rate of the 1186yr spikes.

    Oceanic? Solar? Cosmic?

  283. Oops! I wrote:

    “Heat is thermal energy transferred between tow systems.”

    It should have said:

    “Heat is thermal energy transferred between two systems.”

    Please, correct my phrase. Thank you so much! And sorry. :)

  284. Nasif Nahle Sensei (13:12:29) :
    There must be a serious discussion on the actual heat capacity of some brains vs. empty skulls :-)

  285. Alexej Buergin (11:45:55) :
    ERIC: Assuming CO2 is close to an ideal gas
    V=RT/PM, where M is the mass of a mole of CO2 or approximately 44gms.
    R is the ideal gas constant and T is the absolute temperature.

    ALEXEJ BUERGIN: Since the standard values (in SI units) are R=8.31, T=273, P=101000 and M=0.044, the Volume would be 0.510 cubic meters ?

    ALEXEJ BUERGIN: I will answer myself:
    The correct formula for the ideal gas is pV=nRT, n number of moles. The mass of a particle or of the gas (M) plays no role.
    That changes when one calculates the density M/V; then one can see e.g. why moist air is LIGHTER than dry air.
    The Volume of the ideal gas at 0°C and 1013hPa is about 23 Liters.

    The original question was ‘was is the Specific Volume of CO2′ so Eric is right
    0.510m^3/kgm.

  286. This is just devastating to warmenist claims. It proves that even just over the past few tens of thousands of years, solar effects dominated.

    Most significantly, this says we are almost certainly heading into another Ice Age that will kill billions of people and probably end human civilization as we know it. Cutting greenhouse gas emissions under such circumstances is insane.

    During the late Ordovician CO2 levels were 16 times higher than today yet a glaciation occurred. During the whole mesozoic era, CO2 levels were between 1500ppm and 2000ppm.

    Yes, good point. I have pointed to the Ordovician glaciation and asked warmenists “If CO2 is such a strong driver of temperature, how could there be massive glaciation at levels 16 times higher?” I have yet to get any coherent response. The Ordovician glaciation also has large implications for the next few thousand years, as we head into a cooling phase: it suggests CO2 will not save us.

  287. Nassif wrote:
    “Eric wrote:
    “You misunderstand the Greenhouse theory of global warming if you argue that the heat capacity of the air is to small for the theory to be correct. The heat capacity of the air doesn’t determine the greenhouse effect.”

    Mm… Am I arguing that? Could you define the term “heat capacity”, and what is the heat capacity of the air? You also must to explain why you say that heat capacity is not important in heat transfer.”

    Heat capacity is the change in energy divided by the change in temperature of a specific amount of material. The heat capacity of the air is unimportant in the greenhouse effect, which may proceed even if the temperature of the air is constant. The greenhouse effect reduces the rate of flow of energy toward space, even if the air does not gain heat, below what it would be if the greenhouse gases were absent from the air. The reduction in flow rate does not depend at all on the heat capacity of the air. It does depend on the temperature profile of the air, which gets most of its heat from the ground.

    The rate of global temperature increase will depend on the effective heat capacity of the earth atmosphere system, dominated by the huge heat capacity of the oceans. The ultimate temperature change due to the forcing effect of an increase in greenhouse gas concentration is independent of the earth’s heat capacity.

    Nassif wrote:
    “Eric wrote:
    The greenhouse gases actually reduce the flow of radiation from the warmer earth’s surface by absorbing it and reemitting half it back towards the ground.”

    There is no back radiation warming up the surface because induced emission avoids it.

    Now tell me, from your suppossition, what’s the percentage of heat radiated back to the surface from the absorbed heat by a parcel of air?”
    It is not supposition. The best estimate from peer reviewed research says that
    492W/M2 is sent upward from the surface of the earth towards the atmosphere, and 324W/M2 of this energy flux is returned by downward radiation.

    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf

    Nassif wrote:
    “Eric wrote:

    “The topmost layer of the atmosphere, which emits 50% of the radiation it has absorbed, directly upwardunimpeded, toward outer space, where it is lost to the earth, is cooler than the surface of the earth. ”

    If you have not noticed it, you are agreeing with me when I said that warmists say the air have an emissivity of 50% or of a black radiator. 50% downwards and 50% upwards? Heh!”
    You don’t understand what the meaning of emissivity is and what the concept of an absorption band is. You are so misinformed, you don’t understand what it is that you don’t understand.

    I said the 50% of the radiation emitted goes upwards and 50% goes downwards. This relates to the energy in the absorption band of CO2. A black body will absorb all of the energy that is incident on it regardless of wave length. CO2 gas in the atmosphere, since it has a limited absorption region in the spectrum is not a black body.

  288. The two month difference between the name of the month and the number of the month is due to changing the starting point of the year, not adding two months.
    The year used to start with March. This is similar to the starting point of the Chinese calendar. A similar change happened to the day. We now start a new day at midnight instead of sundown.

  289. Phil. (14:17:51) :

    The original question was ‘what is the Specific Volume of CO2′ so Eric is right
    0.510m^3/kgm.

    Amazing! The density of carbon dioxide in the current atmosphere is 0.000746 Kg/m^3 (or 385 ppmV); consequently, its specific volume is 1340.5 m^3/Kg. This means that one (1) Kg of carbon dioxide is dispersed into 1340.5 cubic meters of air. :)

    As a comparison, the specific volume of Nitrogen in the current atmosphere is 0.625 m^3/Kg, and the specific volume of water vapor at RH = 85% is 39.22 m^3/Kg.

    On the other hand, the absorptivity of water vapor at standard Pp is 0.75, while the absorptivity of carbon dioxide at its current Pp is 0.001.

    Do you still believe the carbon dioxide at its current concentration in the atmosphere and with its current thermal properties is capable of causing a disastrous, horrible climate change?

    What you are doing is resourcing to physical constants of a bottled comercial CO2 with a density of 1.977 kg/m^3, at 0 °C and a pressure of 34.85 bar, not to the real magnitudes found in nature.

    Amazing!

  290. Syl says:

    Think about it. From bottom to top there was a change of about 100 PPM and a temp change of about 10C. Hansen calculates sensitivity based on CO2 being responsible for most of that temp change!

    You’ve crammed several mistakes into one paragraph. First of all, the 10 C or so change was in the polar regions where the ice cores are. The global temperature change between the last glacial maximum (LGM) and now is estimated to be about 5-6 C. Second of all, Hansen most definitely does not claim that CO2 is responsible for most of the change. By looking at the magnitudes of the various forcings, the estimate is that CO2 is responsible for about 1/3 of the change. (See http://www.scientificamerican.com/media/pdf/hansen.pdf … especially Fig. 3 and accompanying text.) It is rather interesting that so many people who think that Hansen is wrong haven’t even bothered to familiarized themselves with the most basic points of his arguments, which are even available in such popularized places as Scientific American. Finally, as Mike Lorrey hinted at (although he got the details wrong), the effect of CO2 is not linear…It is approximately logarithmic, so what matters is the fractional increase, not the absolute increase.

    The truth is neither you, nor anybody else, including Hansen, really knows how much of that warming was due to CO2.

    Actually, the best estimate of how much warming is due to CO2 is obtained by looking at it contribution to the estimated total global radiative forcings…and that gives the estimate of 1/3. However, what is most relevant is that the estimate of the total temperature change divided by the total radiative forcings gives us an estimate of the climate sensitivity in C per (W/m^2), from which we can then estimate the expected temperature change due to the known radiative forcing (~4 W/m^2) that occurs when the CO2 levels are doubled.

  291. You may start a new day at midnight, navies tend to start it at noon.

    But I know what you mean which is why the British army on Z time does not allow the use of 00.00 in orders: it is either 23:59, the day before, or 00:01, the day following.

    As for the ancient Roman calendar it seems the consuls and other magistrates were very lax about trying to keep the calendar in close agreement with the seasons. Whilst sojourning in Egypt after defeating Pompey one J Caeser consulted the astronomers of Alexandria who drew up a new calendar for him. This is the Julian calendar, later slightly amended by pope Gregory into the Gregorian we use today.

    In England there was a lot of opposition to going over to the Gregorian, which is today well ahead of the Julian, hence the famous election slogan of ‘Give us back our eleven days’ when we changed over to the modern calendar.

    Not as foolish as it sounds, rents were payable on the quarter days so the changeover cost many poor people a significant amount of money.

    But it gave the wealthy a handy one off bonus. A bit like cap and trade really except that there were genuine reasons for the change and the financial effect was a one off: it was not a permanent tax.

    Kindest Regards.

  292. Joel Shore (16:58:05) :

    Actually, the best estimate of how much warming is due to CO2 is obtained by looking at it contribution to the estimated total global radiative forcings…and that gives the estimate of 1/3. However, what is most relevant is that the estimate of the total temperature change divided by the total radiative forcings gives us an estimate of the climate sensitivity in C per (W/m^2), from which we can then estimate the expected temperature change due to the known radiative forcing (~4 W/m^2) that occurs when the CO2 levels are doubled.

    4 W/m^2 (a guess) of radiative forcing means that doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere would cause a change of temperature (some people say it’s an anomaly) of 0.7 K.

  293. Does anyone know of objective, factual information that suggests that the earth is approaching another glaciation? We all “know” that we are in an interglacial period that will run out some day, but is this knowledge solely based upon the undoubted fact that it has happened this way in the past? The earth has endured several epochs of glaciation in the past, and each one has come to end at some point. I gather that glaciation is overdue and on average should have started three or four thousand years ago. Please do not assume that I am making a claim that the current glaciation epoch has come to an end — I am simply saying that I think that this possibility should be acknowledged unless there is evidence to the contrary.

  294. To be blunt NO.

    You are right that we live in an ice age and that these interglacials such as the current one are mere fly by nights. They pop up and hang around for a few thousand years before vanishing again for reasons we wot not of.

    But they are very nice and warm and warmer would be even nicer: as would higher levels of CO2.

    Alas it is not within our power at the moment to affect the climate or indeed its levels of CO2 so we must just adapt as best we can.

    Kindest Regards

  295. Nasif Nahle says:

    4 W/m^2 (a guess) of radiative forcing means that doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere would cause a change of temperature (some people say it’s an anomaly) of 0.7 K.

    The 4 W/m^2 is not a guess. It is a value (to within ~10%) that even Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen seem to accept. And, the evidence from what we understand to be the difference in forcings between the Last Glacial Maximum and now is that the change in temperature that this would cause would be more like 3 C, although no serious scientist claims to know this value exactly. You must be the most brilliant climate scientist alive to KNOW that this will cause a change of temperature of 0.7 C.

  296. Nogw (09:13:18) :

    A guess: Are oscillations always harmonic or regular?, what if sudden changes?

    crosspatch (15:59:06) :

    Now that assumes the changes ARE gradual. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe alignment of things causes a sudden change in the shape of the orbit.

    Interesting and perceptive comments. I think sudden changes to Earth’s orbit caused by the periodic motion of the outer planets would be unlikely, but my research shows that changes to the sun’s orbit around the centre of mass of the solar system can be sudden, and the correlations with solar activity do indicate sudden changes to the amplitudes of the sunspot cycles.

    For example, the usual variation of the angle between the COM and the solar equator is around 5 degrees, but when the COM passed very close to the centre of the sun in 1811, the angle suddenly jumped to 17 degrees and back over a couple of months. There followed the lowest sunspot cycle in a few hundred years. On the next occasion the COM passed this close to the solar centre in 1950 it had the opposite effect, the next cycle was the highest recorded.

    The effects of these lurches in the sun – COM relationship seem to last several cycles. Not enough to precipitate ice ages, but analogous to processes which do perhaps.

  297. “”George E. Smith (17:25:30) :

    “”” cba (17:08:00) :

    “”Dave vs Hal (08:29:53) :

    cba (06:16:14)
    “THat difference is even more interesting considering that the surface albedo of ocean is about 1/3 to 1/5th that of land surface . What is happening is the ocean water is involved in a water vapor cycle creating clouds that reduce the albedo – something that can’t happen easily when there is little to no additional water available” “””

    I wouldn’t be hollering about the “surface albedo” of the oceans. Given that the Fresnel reflection for water at normal incidence is about 2% for a refractive index of 1.33, and that reflection coefficient remains reasonably constant out to the Brewster angle which is about 53 degrees incidence angle, the net surface reflection is perhaps 3% for the complete hemisphere sans clouds; which would give the greatest albedo effect from the oceans; that makes the deep oceans a reasonably black body absorber with an emissivity of about 0.97 for the solar spectrum range of wavelengths (albedo applies only to solar spectrum reflections).

    …….

    And on a further note; the albedo component due to clouds exceeds that of any earth surface terrain. so nyet on clouds reducing earth’s albedo by covering up ocean.

    The polar regions ice cover is not much of an albedo component, even though it is most often cited. There’s a reason all that ice and snow is there at the poles; there’s very little solar radiation there to Albedize, in the first place.

    George

    “”

    Uh George – I don’t think you were reading what I wrote. I never said the oceans had a large albedo – in fact I stated it was about 1/3 to 1/5 of land surface values. Land albedo average, I think, tends to be around 0.15 to 0.17 which puts ocean surface at around 0.03 which is not too far from your guess based upon the N. Actual accepted estimates for this is really more like 0.035 to 0.04 which is still extremely low. Surface albedo total contributes about 0.09 out of the total 0.3 with clouds accounting for around 80%. It does have a tremendous effect on albedo not due to its reflecting but due to its high rate of absorption. Another problem some fail to grasp is that while at a given wavelength reflectivity, emissivity and absorption are related so high reflectivity precludes high emissivity. Incoming solar is mostly visible and near IR. Emission from a nominal 288K body is at far longer wavelengths so that even if something had high reflectivity at solar wavelengths, it can and often is pitch black at far IR wavelengths, making for almost a theoretical blackbody and approaching 1 for emissivity.

    My comments on the cloud albedo are that a reduction in cloud cover reduces the albedo and an increase in cloud cover increases the albedo, reducing the incoming power. Only fresh snow has a similar reflectivity and unless one is in glaciation, the snow cover isn’t at low enough latitudes to be reflecting much power.

  298. Joel Shore (19:01:10) :

    Nasif Nahle says:

    4 W/m^2 (a guess)…

    The 4 W/m^2 is not a guess. It is a value (to within ~10%) that even Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen seem to accept. And, the evidence from what we understand to be the difference in forcings between the Last Glacial Maximum and now is that the change in temperature that this would cause would be more like 3 C, although no serious scientist claims to know this value exactly. You must be the most brilliant climate scientist alive to KNOW that this will cause a change of temperature of 0.7 C.

    No matter who accept it or who use that value; science is not dogmatic. It’s a guess because you can find at least five different values for this forcing, starting with Arrhenius’ guess of 5.35 W/m^2.

  299. C Colenaty (18:25:04) :

    “Does anyone know of objective, factual information that suggests that the earth is approaching another glaciation?”

    If you average the Greenland and Vostok ice cores, it implies that we’ve already started our descent into the next ice age starting roughly 3500yrs ago. The average is very flat until that point, but slowly decreasing from that point (the green line is the average). Ignore all of the higher frequency noise…of which we are mostly debating about.

    Nothing abnormal though about this interglacial IMO. It is very similar to the one 420kyrs ago, where similarly obliquity and eccentricity were in phase. When they are not, such as the 225kyr interglacial, you don’t get the nice stable longer interglacial that occurs for the last few 420k intervals (lower eccentricity peaks), you get the split peaks. I’m glad this last interglacial has been of the in phase variety. If they were all of the out of phase variety, we’d probably still be in Africa, and the Neanderthals would still have Europe.

    Ed

  300. Nasif Nahle (21:38:08) : Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Joel Shore (19:01:10):

    You must be the most brilliant climate scientist alive to KNOW that this will cause a change of temperature of 0.7 C.

    Indeed. Nevertheless, I must be honest and declare that I have used a formula developed by other brilliant scientists:

    ΔT = [α] ln [(CO2) ∞ / (CO2) s] / 4 (σ) T^3.

  301. Does anyone have formula to convert ice depth to ice age for CO2 in the GISP2 core?

    GISP2 CO2 concentrations

    REFERENCES:

    Smith, H.J., M. Wahlen, and D. Mastroianni. 1997. The CO2 concentration of
    air trapped in GISP2 ice from the Last Glacial Maximum-Holocene transition.
    Geophysical Research Letters 24:1-4.

    Smith, H.J., M. Wahlen, D. Mastroianni, K.C. Taylor, and P.A. Mayewski.
    1997. The CO2 concentration of air trapped in Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2
    ice formed during periods of rapid climate change. Journal of Geophysical
    Research 102:26577-26582.

    Wahlen, M., D. Allen, B. Deck, and A. Herchenroder. 1991. Initial
    measurements of CO2 concentrations (1530-1940 AD) in air occluded in the
    GISP2 ice core from central Greenland. Geophysical Research Letters 18:1457
    1460

    DATA DESCRIPTION:

    These data are the average CO2 concentrations of air extracted from GISP2
    ice from depths spanning two separate stadials (cold periods) centered at
    approximately 46 kyBP and 63 kyBP. Each measurement was made on 6-8 cm^3
    of carefully trimmed ice using a dry extraction method. Three samples
    (typically) were analyzed for each point, the depths of which differed by
    no more than 2 cm. Analytical details can be found in Wahlen et al.
    (1991) and Smith et al. (JGR special GRIP/GISP2 issue).

    Four columns of data are listed; the first is the uppermost depth (in
    meters) of the samples used for each point, the second is the average CO2
    concentration (in ppm) of the trapped gas, the third is the standard
    deviation (in ppm) of the average CO2 concentration and the fourth is the
    number of samples analyzed for each point.

    DATA:

    depth CO2 +/- # of samples
    top (m) (ppmv) (ppmv)

    1500 269.1
    1583 269.1 17.2 2
    1586.06 268 22 3
    1586.09 270.2 7.1 3
    1592.02 271 4.3 3
    1595.05 258.5 16.6 3
    1598.02 267.7 28.8 3
    1601.125 293.1 7.2 3
    1604.02 236.4 27.6 3

  302. Phil. (08:35:27) :

    Your response explains to me why climatologists do not have a clue about physics.

    Note that I did not refer to mechanisms, just to effects, in my post above. Here are the simple physical mechanisms

    1) infrared heats the first millimeters of the ocean and land, and both radiate it back heating the air, more during the day than at night. It is the harder radiation that heats deep oceans.

    2) Water vapor depends on the saturation of the air above plus the surface temperature, and this will be happening more during the sunlight hours : the heated by direct sunlight few millimeters and the evaporation into the drier from heat air.

    these happen on hourly basis and day night rythms, I call that immediate release of H2O vapor, the main green house gas.

    3) certainly all absorption and emission plots show the dominant role of H20 as a greenhouse gas. It dominates in volume and in spectral range.

    4) ice core data show CO2 lagging by 800 to 2000 years, consistent with time needed for the slow release of CO2 due to the slow heating of the deeps.

    replyng “wrong” does not a wrong make.

  303. Nasif Nahle (13:45:35) :
    You are referring to thermal energy, not to heat; however don’t worry, it is a common confusion.
    Rather than nit-pick about the meaning of heat in strict thermodynamic sense, it is more useful to adopt the more practical point of view as expressed here: http://www.powermasters.com/heat_energy.html
    For example, the following makes sense and is the way this is usually expressed:
    “More heat energy is required to increase the temperature of a substance with high specific heat capacity than one with low specific heat capacity”. In the last two uses of ‘heat’ the reference is to heat retained.

  304. Nasif Nahle (13:45:35) :
    You are referring to thermal energy, not to heat; however don’t worry, it is a common confusion.

    In the [new thread] Steve F uses the sensible phrase:
    “1. Slow heat accumulation in the world’s oceans delays the appearance of the full effect of greenhouse forcing by many (eg. >20) years.”

    Here again ‘heat’ refers to retained heat, not to the transfer of energy. It would be silly to say ’1. Slow transfer of energy accumulation …’. So ‘heat’ has a wider and more useful meaning than the strict thermodynamic one.

  305. Leif Svalgaard (22:41:37) :

    Nasif Nahle (13:45:35) :
    You are referring to thermal energy, not to heat; however don’t worry, it is a common confusion.
    Rather than nit-pick about the meaning of heat in strict thermodynamic sense, it is more useful to adopt the more practical point of view as expressed here: http://www.powermasters.com/heat_energy.html
    For example, the following makes sense and is the way this is usually expressed:
    “More heat energy is required to increase the temperature of a substance with high specific heat capacity than one with low specific heat capacity”. In the last two uses of ‘heat’ the reference is to heat retained.

    That’s the correct way of explaining it and it’s not in contradiction with the distinction between thermal energy and heat. When heat is retained by a molecule it could be as potential energy or as kinetic energy, which is thermal energy. The energy that is being transferred from a warm system to another system, i.e. the energy in transit, not stored or retained, is heat.

    I was looking for an article a bit simpler than the article that you provided for you could see clearly the difference, but my search in the network was not successful.

  306. in my

    anna v (22:12:24) :
    in reply to
    Phil. (08:35:27) :

    I should amend 2) to:

    2) Water vapor depends on the saturation of the air above plus the surface temperature, and this will be happening more during the sunlight hours : the heated by direct sunlight few millimeters and the evaporation into the drier from heat air. Convection of course plays a large role in the evaporation process and in heating the atmosphere too, bringing in unsaturated air sweeping over the waters and heated land. Commonly known as winds

  307. “Phil: The original question was ‘was is the Specific Volume of CO2′ so Eric is right
    0.510m^3/kgm.”

    Except that he wrote V= … , and one should not use the same symbol V for “Volume” and “specific Volume”. Correct would be v=V/m (and that in Italics, but that goes too far here). (And your last m is part of kilogram (kg) and not an abbreviation for mol ?)

  308. “”
    Joel Shore (19:01:10) :

    Nasif Nahle says:

    4 W/m^2 (a guess) of radiative forcing means that doubling the CO2 in the atmosphere would cause a change of temperature (some people say it’s an anomaly) of 0.7 K.

    The 4 W/m^2 is not a guess. It is a value (to within ~10%) that even Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen seem to accept. And, the evidence from what we understand to be the difference in forcings between the Last Glacial Maximum and now is that the change in temperature that this would cause would be more like 3 C, although no serious scientist claims to know this value exactly. You must be the most brilliant climate scientist alive to KNOW that this will cause a change of temperature of 0.7 C.
    “”

    You’re right about the increased absorption of a co2 doubling now not really being a guess to 10%. To go finer than that however is as the effects of line broadening beyond the basic (Voight) curve, dymers, etc. are not that well understood and being that the atmosphere actually varies in gas content in time and position, that information is also not well known. ALSO, it would seem that number is the difference in power output for CLEAR SKY conditions at a particular altitude- such as 70km or 22km or the at the Tropopause. Clear skies is a condition known to be wrong by over 50% at time as cloud cover is around 62%. That number is also closer to 3.5 to 3.7w/m^2 as the number 4 is presumably a rounding up to indicate 1 significant figure of accuracy – but most importantly – to push the number higher by 10%.

    For those willing to look, the sensitivity – or value of Kelvins per W/m^2 forcing variation is not that hard to glean an idea about. For one thing, the Earth actually is warmer than a simple radiative balance blackbody would show by around 33 Kelvins. That means that the average rise in Kelvins per W/m^2 of forcing increase is going to be 33 K divided by the total amount of forcings dues to ghgs. By using the same sort of calculations one must do to ascertain the effect of a CO2 doubling, one finds that there is a total GHG associated forcing of around 150 W/m^2 under clear skies and the results being less than 1/4K per W/m^2. Cloudy skies dramatically reduce the effects of co2.

    Note that while this doesn’t include the amount of increased h2o vapor which is split out already, you need to compare this to a simple straight radiative only solution to see that it is somewhat less than the result expected. That means there is a negative net feedback present reducing the effects of the increased forcing. One still has to deal separately with the h2o effect but this shows there’s no net positive feedback present as the net feedback can’t be both positive and negative.
    more later….

  309. cba (04:31:51):

    You’re right about the increased absorption of a co2 doubling now not really being a guess to 10%.

    Then explain the experimental and/or direct observational process by which the value was obtained.

    Otherwise it’s a guess.

  310. Leif Svalgaard (22:53:09) :

    In the [new thread] Steve F uses the sensible phrase:
    “1. Slow heat accumulation in the world’s oceans delays the appearance of the full effect of greenhouse forcing by many (eg. >20) years.”

    Here again ‘heat’ refers to retained heat, not to the transfer of energy. It would be silly to say ‘1. Slow transfer of energy accumulation …’. So ‘heat’ has a wider and more useful meaning than the strict thermodynamic one.

    Which is quite incorrect because heat is energy that crosses the boundaries of the system out towards another cooler system. Heat is energy in transit and stops being heat in the moment it is absorbed. Kinetic energy is not heat, but internal energy (thermal energy). Other way of classifying potential and kinetic energies is like mechanical energy.

  311. Nasif Nahle (08:09:38) :
    Which is quite incorrect because heat is energy that crosses the boundaries of the system out towards another cooler system. Heat is energy in transit and stops being heat in the moment it is absorbed.
    What I’m pointing out is that the ordinary [and sensible] use of ‘heat’ conflicts with the ‘correct’ term. The ordinary use is preferable as language is communication and communication is hindered by the jargon of specialists. So ‘heat accumulation” as used by Steve F in his article is sensible communication.

  312. Nasif Nahle (08:09:38) :
    Which is quite incorrect because heat is energy that crosses the boundaries of the system out towards another cooler system. Heat is energy in transit and stops being heat in the moment it is absorbed.
    Our esteemed Roy Spencer uses this phrase ["Climate Confusion" page 58] “All the heat [...] accumulating in the lowest layers of the atmosphere…” and [page 60] “a portion of the heat that builds up at the Earth’s surface”, and on and on. This is a very reasonable use of the word.
    What you advocate is better expressed by the word ‘heating’, which is indeed the process that makes heat cross the boundary from one system to another.
    Confusing ‘heat’ and ‘heating’ makes for poor communication.

  313. “”
    Nasif Nahle (07:53:33) :

    cba (04:31:51):

    You’re right about the increased absorption of a co2 doubling now not really being a guess to 10%.

    Then explain the experimental and/or direct observational process by which the value was obtained.

    Otherwise it’s a guess.

    “”

    Getting much better than 10% is a guess. Great effort was put into the study of IR absorption emission lines in the atmosphere. I’m familiar with the Hitran database which has line by line information and it is a combination of lab experiments and theory. Combine the 10s of thousands of lines with reasonable line width forms and atmospheric concentrations and you have the ability to generate a rather complex and fairly accurate rendition of the atmospheric spectral absorption. It is used among other things for the development of military IR hardware. To even try to apply a single lab, a single test, a single researcher or even a single decade when it was done is to grossly underestimate the effort put into this system. It’s not perfect but it should provide an excellent bit of information for the vast majority of molecular emission/absorption modes for co2 and practically every molecule of possible importance to Earth’s atmosphere. It’s also well beyond what could be implemented in any sort of a climate GCM that would be capable of running even real time with modern super computing power.

    Now there again, one can calculate this absorption for a column of atmosphere with particular concentrations, temperatures, and pressures and have a fairly good clear sky value. As stated, toss a cloud in and all bets are off for the ultimate effects and most of the sky in daylight is cloudy.

    About the only way to measure the sensitivity of the atmosphere is to look at a change and determine the change in temperatures. The fun part of this is that the albedo is variable by much larger forcing amounts than by any other factor one might try to measure and that value is poorly measured for thirty years and not measured prior to that. Consequently, there’s practically no capability to measure forcing accurately, without accounting for an unknown that is bigger than the variation being measured. Paleo gets even more fun because who’s to say exactly what the cloud cover was at any point in time prior to our ability to measure it.

  314. Leif Svalgaard (09:02:59) :

    What I’m pointing out is that the ordinary [and sensible] use of ‘heat’ conflicts with the ‘correct’ term. The ordinary use is preferable as language is communication and communication is hindered by the jargon of specialists. So ‘heat accumulation” as used by Steve F in his article is sensible communication.

    And confusing communication because heat could be wrongly taken as kinetic energy or, what is more confusing, as temperature. Don’t you agree?

  315. @Leif…

    Regarding Steve Fitzpatrick’s phrase, “1. Slow heat accumulation in the world’s oceans delays the appearance of the full effect of greenhouse forcing by many (eg. >20) years”, the heat is being introduced into the system “world’s oceans”, but it is not accumulated like heat because it is into the boundaries of the system like internal energy, i.e. kinetic energy. It stops being heat as soon it is accumulated. If a portion of that internal energy accumulated is transferred into another system, as soon as the energy had crossed the boundaries of the system “world’s oceans” in a trajectory towards another colder system, it would be heat.

    Heat can be stored, of course; however, once stored, it stops being heat. Thus, kinetic energy is not heat.

  316. Nasif Nahle (09:23:39) :
    And confusing communication because heat could be wrongly taken as kinetic energy or, what is more confusing, as temperature. Don’t you agree?
    No, I and Spencer and Steve and most other people consider heat to be what you have put into a system by heating it. Your confusion comes from the fact that in the English language ‘heat’ is both a noun [an amount of heat] and a verb [to heat].

  317. Nasif Nahle (09:40:16) :
    Heat can be stored, of course; however, once stored, it stops being heat.

    Tell that to these people

    Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems
    S. Levitus, J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, R. A. Locarnini, H. E. Garcia, and A. V. Mishonov1
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L07608, doi:10.1029/2008GL037155, 2009

    You can only meaningfully talk about ‘heat content’ if that which is contained [stored] is heat.

  318. Nasif Nahle (09:40:16) :

    Heat can be stored, of course; however, once stored, it stops being heat. Thus, kinetic energy is not heat.

    Hi Nasif, sorry to butt in, please could you explain how the storage of the energy as kinetic energy accounts for the thermal expansion seenby satellite altimetry. Is it in the increased vibration of the water molecules or their constituent atoms for example?

    Thanks

  319. Berger (2006( raises some interesting points in the double equatorial insolation maximum/minimum.

    eg .

    Many new paleoclimate information indicate that these regions are indeed more important than previously thought. They seem to play an important role in 5 the glacial-interglacial cycles and even in the warming of the last 50 years (see Kerr, 2001, 2003, for a few references).

    In this paper, we show an additional reason to believe that the tropics can play an
    important role in the response of the climate system to the astronomical forcing. This
    reason is the presence of significant 100-kyr, 11-kyr and 5.5-kyr cycles in the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of the energy that the intertropical regions receive from the Sun, cycles directly related to eccentricity and harmonics of precession.

  320. maksimovich (10:55:19) :
    the energy that the intertropical regions receive from the Sun, cycles directly related to eccentricity and harmonics of precession.
    Explain how there can be any effect from the harmonics of precession… [i.e. with half, third, fourth, etc, the period].

  321. Nasif Nahle says:

    No matter who accept it or who use that value; science is not dogmatic. It’s a guess because you can find at least five different values for this forcing, starting with Arrhenius’ guess of 5.35 W/m^2.

    Yes, it is not dogmatic, but it does progress and indeed progress has been made since Arrhenius’s time. The fact that even skeptics like Lindzen and Spencer don’t dispute this does show how broad the agreement is. After all, Spencer even has done some mild disputing of facts as broadly accepted as the fact that the rise ***in CO2 levels*** is due to humans.

    Indeed. Nevertheless, I must be honest and declare that I have used a formula developed by other brilliant scientists:

    ΔT = [α] ln [(CO2) ∞ / (CO2) s] / 4 (σ) T^3.

    Well, it is a nice formula but you have to use it correctly. Your value of 0.7 C is not what comes out of this formula if you use the accepted value of α and the value of T that is relevant for the effective radiating level in the atmosphere, which is ~255 K. You then get a value of ~1.0-1.1 C. Furthermore, this is the amount of warming the absence of feedbacks, which is a useful starting point, but is not the final answer in regards to the amount of warming that one expects.

  322. Whereas in German “Wärme” is clearly defined as the disordered movement of the molecules, there seems to be an ambiguity about “heat” in English (like “weight” is mass for some people and gravitational force for others). The SI defines only the unit of “amount of heat” (joule, like work or energy). Therefore it is probably better to avoid using the word, or say heat-energy, heat-capacity, heat-flux etc.

  323. Leif Svalgaard (11:39:44) :

    maksimovich (10:55:19) :
    the energy that the intertropical regions receive from the Sun, cycles directly related to eccentricity and harmonics of precession.
    Explain how there can be any effect from the harmonics of precession… [i.e. with half, third, fourth, etc, the period].

    29th February

  324. Joel Shore (11:44:58) :

    Yes, it is not dogmatic, but it does progress and indeed progress has been made since Arrhenius’s time. The fact that even skeptics like Lindzen and Spencer don’t dispute this does show how broad the agreement is. After all, Spencer even has done some mild disputing of facts as broadly accepted as the fact that the rise ***in CO2 levels*** is due to humans.

    Arrhenius said the value for α was 5.35 W/m^2. He was wrong. The science has been progressing since Arrhenius, of course, but not thanks to Arrhenius, whose ideas has not made another thing but paving the road to the greatest hoax in the history of science. In the last 19 years, science has been distorted by solipsists.

    You say science is not dogmatic; you are resorting once and once again to dogmatism, however:

    “…fact that even skeptics like Lindzen and Spencer don’t dispute this…”

    If it is wrong, it is wrong; no matter if skeptics or believers think it is right. Nature is right, so show me any experiment or direct observation from which the value for α could have been deduced. If you don’t demonstrate it, then it is simply and purely guess.

    ΔT = [α] ln [(CO2) ∞ / (CO2) s] / 4 (σ) T^3.

    Well, it is a nice formula but you have to use it correctly. Your value of 0.7 C is not what comes out of this formula if you use the accepted value of α and the value of T that is relevant for the effective radiating level in the atmosphere, which is ~255 K. You then get a value of ~1.0-1.1 C. Furthermore, this is the amount of warming the absence of feedbacks, which is a useful starting point, but is not the final answer in regards to the amount of warming that one expects.

    Joel… sorry, but you’ve got another “F” in mathematics. Heh!

    Come back in few minutes…

  325. maksimovich (12:16:03) :
    “Explain how there can be any effect from the harmonics of precession… [i.e. with half, third, fourth, etc, the period].”
    29th February

    Nonsense.

  326. Jeremy:

    “You are right it was and remains BAD. Real BAD. The most difficult Engineering program and University to enter in the country.”

    So, did you study atmospheric physics, as you originally claimed, or engineering? Strange that you don’t name this university.

    “What you and many others do not seem to realize is this:

    The atmosphere is a highly complex system with many other processes (like convection). The modern prevailing view that CO2 is a major force behind global temperatures is WAY “oversimplified” and shows ignorance.”

    This simply doesn’t make sense. You seem to be just saying phrases without really considering what they mean. If you think that the constituents of the atmosphere do not determine its energy balance, then you are woefully ignorant.

  327. @ Joel et al…

    ΔT = [α] ln [(CO2) ∞ / (CO2) s] / 4 (σ) T^3.

    ΔT = [4 W/m^2 (as you’ve said)] ln [2] / 4 (5.6697 x 10^-8 W/m^2 K^2) (255.15 K)^3 = 0.736 K

    :) :) :)

  328. Nasif (14:17:44):

    I did not say that α has a value of 4 W/m^2. I said that doubling of CO2 produces a forcing of 4 W/m^2. Since ln(2) is not equal 1, these two statements are not equivalent. If you write the formula in term of ln, then 4 W/m^2 for a doubling of CO2 would imply α = 5.8 W/m^2. [Alternately, if you used log-base-2 instead of ln (which is log-base-e), then in such an equation, α would have a value of ~4 W/m^2.]

  329. Nasif says:

    If it is wrong, it is wrong; no matter if skeptics or believers think it is right. Nature is right, so show me any experiment or direct observation from which the value for α could have been deduced. If you don’t demonstrate it, then it is simply and purely guess.

    Well, it is somewhat of a theoretical property…but it is based on experimental observations (of the absorption lines of CO2 and other elements, of their abundances and distribution, of the temperature structure of the atmosphere). You can continue to debate its value if you like, but without any coherent arguments to back up your case, you will find yourself pretty lonely.

    Joel… sorry, but you’ve got another “F” in mathematics. Heh!

    See my previous post. I suggest that in the future, you check your own math more carefully before grading mine!

  330. Vincent (13:39:59) :

    Leland Palmer:

    “This seems to be the simple truth. We are changing CO2 and other greenhouse gases much, much more rapidly than the climate system has ever dealt with before.”

    Yes. And there is also the Devonian with 1800-2100 ppm CO2 during which ferns, seed plants, horsetails and the first trees and forests appeared. Further confirming that elevated atmospheric CO2 neither causes thermal runaway or contraction of life forms.

  331. Joel Shore (14:53:18) :

    Well, it is somewhat of a theoretical property…but it is based on experimental observations (of the absorption lines of CO2 and other elements, of their abundances and distribution, of the temperature structure of the atmosphere). You can continue to debate its value if you like, but without any coherent arguments to back up your case, you will find yourself pretty lonely.

    Joel… sorry, but you’ve got another “F” in mathematics. Heh!

    See my previous post. I suggest that in the future, you check your own math more carefully before grading mine!

    Mm… Give you the chance of fix the value of α. What that value is?

  332. Joel Shore (14:53:18):

    You can continue to debate its value if you like, but without any coherent arguments to back up your case, you will find yourself pretty lonely.

    Oooh! I’m alone on this issue. Scientists working on heat transfer, from whom the world has learned good science, are alone. Good… I win, you lose. :)

  333. Leif Svalgaard (10:22:42) :

    Because you have not answered straightly a single one of my questions in my post Nasif Nahle (14:34:53):, I win, you lose.

    Tell that to these people

    Global ocean heat content 1955–2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems
    S. Levitus, J. I. Antonov, T. P. Boyer, R. A. Locarnini, H. E. Garcia, and A. V. Mishonov1
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 36, L07608, doi:10.1029/2008GL037155, 2009

    You can only meaningfully talk about ‘heat content’ if that which is contained [stored] is heat.

    I have nothing to tell them. If they are wrong in their concepts, they are wrong and point:

    “In thermodynamics, heat is defined as the amount of energy which flows through the boundaries between a system and the surroundings, as a consequence of a difference of temperature between the system and the surroundings. The same as the work, the heat has some important characteristics:

    * Heat is transitory and only appear during a change of state of the system and the surroundings.” (Bolds are mine, i.e. Nasif Nahle’s bolds) (Source: Thomas Engel and Philip Reid. Thermodynamics, Statistical, Thermodynamics & Kinetics. 2006. Pearson Education, Inc. PAGE 16.)

    “Heat is energy transferred across the boundary of a system due to a difference in temperature between the system and the surroundings of the system. A system does not contain heat, it contains energy, and heat is energy in transit.” (Bolds are mine, i.e. Nasif Nahle’s bolds) (Source: Potter, Merle C. and Somerton, Craig W. Thermodynamics for Engineers. Mc Graw-Hill. 1993. PAGE 40).

    I don’t know where that distinctive Leif Svalgaard’s scientific rigorousness has gone to, but it doesn’t seems to be so good.

  334. Leif Svalgaard (10:10:32) :

    No, I and Spencer and Steve and most other people consider heat to be what you have put into a system by heating it. Your confusion comes from the fact that in the English language ‘heat’ is both a noun [an amount of heat] and a verb [to heat].

    Please, Leif; don’t come with that childish argument. This is not a case of semantics, but of physical concepts.

  335. This one was not addressed to Leif, but to Joel:

    “Because you have not answered straightly a single one of my questions in my post Nasif Nahle (14:34:53):, I win, you lose.”

    I apologize, Leif.

  336. Nasif Nahle (17:31:13) :
    “In thermodynamics, heat is defined as the amount of energy which flows through the boundaries between a system and the surroundings
    And everywhere else it is defined simply as ‘thermal energy’ which is defined as the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized movements of the molecules. This is the useful and generally accepted definition and the one that makes sense in climatology and astrophysics. The definitions you mention are just ‘jargon’ and are not useful of sensible. Remember, a definition is neither right nor wrong. It can be more or less useful or sensible, and there is no doubt which is the useful and hence generally used definition. Rigor has nothing to do with it, except perhaps the rigor mortis of being trapped in useless jargon.

  337. Sometime around now, scientists say, the Earth should be changing from a long interglacial period that has lasted the past 10,000 years and shifting back towards conditions that will ultimately lead to another ice age

    From what I understand this theory of orbital shift is what warmists hang their hat on. They say that this proves that human emissions of CO2 are what has prevented us from entering another ice age in our modern era. According to the theory we should’ve entered into another era of glaciation by now, but it’s been prevented by industrialization. Is there evidence that the Earth has re-entered into an orbital pattern that would cause a shift towards glaciation, as this theory suggests?

    I do wish that the warmists would just cut to the chase and try as best as they can to ascertain whether greenhouse warming is occurring, first of all–actually measure tropospheric temperature trends. If it is, if they could please ascertain whether it’s being caused specifically by CO2 emitted by industry. I’m tired of this argument of “This has to be it. What else could it be?” That’s speculation, not scientific analysis.

  338. Leif Svalgaard (18:34:49) :

    Nasif Nahle (17:31:13) :
    “In thermodynamics, heat is defined as the amount of energy which flows through the boundaries between a system and the surroundings

    And everywhere else it is defined simply as ‘thermal energy’ which is defined as the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized movements of the molecules. This is the useful and generally accepted definition and the one that makes sense in climatology and astrophysics. The definitions you mention are just ‘jargon’ and are not useful of sensible. Remember, a definition is neither right nor wrong. It can be more or less useful or sensible, and there is no doubt which is the useful and hence generally used definition. Rigor has nothing to do with it, except perhaps the rigor mortis of being trapped in useless jargon.

    Come on, Leif; it has nothing to do with jargon. They are scientific concepts. The authors I quoted are clear on defining the concepts. Heat is one thing; thermal energy is another very different thing.

    Heat cannot be thermal energy because heat is energy in transit and it doesn’t form part of the internal energy of a system. Thermal energy is the internal energy of a system. The difference is quite clear. Potter and Sommerton say it clear: “A system does not contain heat, it contains energy, and heat is energy in transit.”

    Perhaps there are some climatologists and/or astrophysicists who use the term heat thermal energy; they are wrong. I will tell you something what a friend told me: “Science relies on precision in language as well as the precision of measurements.”

    Bacteria are not protozoans, a star is not a planet, temperature is not heat, and heat is not thermal energy (or kinetic energy), for example. It’s quite simple.

  339. Nasif Nahle (20:30:36) :
    heat is not thermal energy (or kinetic energy), for example. It’s quite simple.
    I’m reading a book [The Black Hole War] by L. Susskind [one of the most prominent physisicts of our time]. On page 141 he says that thermal energy = heat. I, of course, agree with him. Heat can be stored and bodies [e.g. the ocean] can contain heat. So it is indeed simple.

  340. Nasif Nahle (20:30:36) :
    I will tell you something what a friend told me: “Science relies on precision in language as well as the precision of measurements.”
    The precision in language is achieved by making a distinction between ‘heating’ [which is transfer of heat] and ‘heat’ [which is thermal energy]. In other languages [e.g. German as somebody pointed out, and Dutch and Danish that I know well] this problem does not occur. How is it in Spanish?

  341. Leif Svalgaard (21:15:34) :

    I’m reading a book [The Black Hole War] by L. Susskind [one of the most prominent physisicts of our time]. On page 141 he says that thermal energy = heat. I, of course, agree with him. Heat can be stored and bodies [e.g. the ocean] can contain heat. So it is indeed simple.

    Once the heat is absorbed by the system it stops being heat. If your “star” physicist says on page 141 from his book “The Black Hole War” that heat is thermal energy, he’s wrong; no matter if he’s the King of France. If you agree with him, then you also are wrong because you both are creating a new kind of idealized thermodynamics.

    Heat is associated with internal energy, but it is not the internal energy because after it is absorbed, it is no more heat, but potential or kinetic energy. Really, it is so simple.

  342. Leif Svalgaard (21:39:40) :

    The precision in language is achieved by making a distinction between ‘heating’ [which is transfer of heat] and ‘heat’ [which is thermal energy]. In other languages [e.g. German as somebody pointed out, and Dutch and Danish that I know well] this problem does not occur. How is it in Spanish?

    We are not talking about Merriam Webster’s definitions, but on scientific concepts. What’s heat in Svalgaardish? Perhaps a substance or something with mass?

  343. Nasif Nahle (22:07:49) :
    heat is associated with internal energy, but it is not the internal energy because after it is absorbed, it is no more heat, but potential or kinetic energy. Really, it is so simple.
    That kinetic energy is what we call heat, so it is indeed simple. What does ‘associated with’ mean? page 140: “Heat is the energy of random chaotic motion”. How true. “Energy” takes many forms, and one of those forms, heat, is joined at the hip with entropy”. You may say that we are all wrong, but that makes you very lonely.

  344. Nasif Nahle (22:11:24) :
    What’s heat in Svalgaardish?
    The amount of thermal energy in a body. This is a sensible and useful definition. Heat capacity is concerned with how much heat a body can hold, not how much can be transferred to another body [that amount depends on the temperature of the other body in relation to the first]. I’m at a loss why you are hung up on this trivial point.

  345. Leif Svalgaard (12:39:34) :

    maksimovich (12:16:03) :
    “Explain how there can be any effect from the harmonics of precession… [i.e. with half, third, fourth, etc, the period].”
    29th February

    Nonsense.

    Not at all solstices and equinox were”fixed” in most paleo studies eg imbrie et al 1993

    Berger realized this an corrected it around 1997.

  346. Nasif Nahle (22:11:24) :
    What’s heat in Svalgaardish?
    If we really want to be technical. heat energy is that energy that potentially can be transferred to another body without applying any external forces, but not the transfer itself. There is still heat energy even if no transfer takes place.

  347. Leif Svalgaard (22:28:48) :

    That kinetic energy is what we call heat, so it is indeed simple. What does ‘associated with’ mean? page 140: “Heat is the energy of random chaotic motion”. How true. “Energy” takes many forms, and one of those forms, heat, is joined at the hip with entropy”. You may say that we are all wrong, but that makes you very lonely.

    No, that kinetic energy is what you call heat.

    What about all the authors who say that heat is not internal energy or thermal energy? Show me a single scientific article or book where the author says the heat is the same as kinetic energy; a single one.

  348. maksimovich (23:05:08) :
    Not at all, solstices and equinox were”fixed” in most paleo studies eg imbrie et al 1993
    Berger realized this an corrected it around 1997.

    1st: that has nothing to do with Feb 29th
    2nd: correcting an error in the analysis does not create 11ka or 5.5ka real variations in climate, where there are none.

  349. Nasif Nahle (23:31:48) :
    Show me a single scientific article or book where the author says the heat is the same as kinetic energy; a single one.
    I already showed you an article that said that heat could be stored, and that heat did not disappear upon being stored: ‘the heat content of the oceans’.

  350. Nasif Nahle (23:31:48) :
    Show me a single scientific article or book where the author says the heat is the same as kinetic energy; a single one.
    To make it easy on you, here is an online book:

    http://www.lightandmatter.com/books.html

    Chapter six is about thermodynamics:

    http://www.lightandmatter.com/html_books/2cl/ch06/ch06.html

    Here is a section from the book: http://www.vias.org/physics/bk2_03_02.html
    The title of the section is: ‘Heat is Kinetic Energy’
    But perhaps that book is not ‘scientific enough’?
    I also quoted Spencer’s book. Perhaps that one isn’t science either.
    Even wikipedia weighs in:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conduction_(heat)

    “In heat transfer, conduction (or heat conduction) is the transfer of thermal energy between neighboring molecules in a substance due to a temperature gradient. It always takes place from a region of higher temperature to a region of lower temperature, and acts to equalize temperature differences. Conduction takes place in all forms of matter, viz. solids, liquids, gases and plasmas, but does not require any bulk motion of matter. In solids, it is due to the combination of vibrations of the molecules in a lattice and the energy transport by free electrons. In gases and liquids, conduction is due to the collisions and diffusion of the molecules during their random motion.
    Heat can also be transferred by radiation and/or convection, and often more than one of these processes occur in a given situation.”
    So heat is something [thermal energy] that can be transferred. Not just the transfer.

  351. Leif Svalgaard (23:00:59) :

    The amount of thermal energy in a body. This is a sensible and useful definition. Heat capacity is concerned with how much heat a body can hold, not how much can be transferred to another body [that amount depends on the temperature of the other body in relation to the first]. I’m at a loss why you are hung up on this trivial point.

    That’s a confusion, not a sensible+useful definition. You’re confounding the basics, kinetic energy and heat.

    Heat capacity is the capability of a substance to store internal energy during a change of temperature (changes of kinetic energy or 1/2mV^2) without undergoing a phase change. :)

    Is it me who is hung up on this important point? I understand perfectly the difference between kinetic energy and heat. You don’t.

  352. Leif Svalgaard (23:31:10) :

    Nasif Nahle (22:11:24) :
    What’s heat in Svalgaardish?
    If we really want to be technical. heat energy is that energy that potentially can be transferred to another body without applying any external forces, but not the transfer itself. There is still heat energy even if no transfer takes place.

    What a conundrum. Heat is not a form of energy, but it is energy in transit. If that energy is not emitted and/or absorbed, but stored into a system, it’s not heat, but internal energy, i.e. potential and kinetic energy.

    What do you think about Van Ness?

  353. As one schooled in the old way, I have to agree with Nasif that definitions are meant to be precise, necessary and sufficient. Heat need not equate to thermal energy. You can make gunpowder, which when cold can produce thermal energy. In my first post or so on CA I noted that temperatures on earth were a poor proxy for “heat flow” (not “heat”) but temperatures were all we had for a while, which was a pity.

    While Nasif and Leif are quite close to agreement, they are unfortunately far more precise than some other commentators. In the recent past I have seen bloggers rather confused by differences between static and dynamic processes and units. Probably including me.

    While on line, might I please ask Leif a little more about orbits and their future prediction? I gave a poor example of satellites needing orbital correction, but omitted I was thinking more of the Voyager type satellites and thinking away from Earth’s atmospheric drag. There were other reasons why Voyager paths were altered, but some were because prediction did not match actual path.

    There are quite a number of names given to recurrent events, some of which are too irregular in time to be properly named as cycles. These recurrent effects can be shown singly as a function of time, but I have not had the pleasure of seeing all the known perturbations combined and presented as one illustration. As the illustration is calculated further into the future, the uncertainty will increase and I am interested in the error bounds as well.

    The other graph that I would rather like to see is the actual change in total Earth temperature (a horrible concept!) as a result of past and projected orbit perturbations. I have a problem because I can’t think of how to measure the centres of mass of the Earth and the Sun, and also how constant they are. If one is to use classical Newtonian maths, the COM is a good starting pont but I confess I do not know it it was overaken a long time ago by models depart from point sources to ones which inject the change of specific gravity of parts of the Sun and earth inceasingly more distant from the putative centre – and which might move in relation to that centre.

    In this exercise I do not seek a dirty actual case that includes impacts by other bodies, but more a clean case based on formal smooth maths but including observations like tallbloke (19:49:22) : made on 8.8.2009.

    Leif, I note your comment “The VSOP82 theory is thought to be good to one million years, and the improved VSOP87 to much longer.” But this leaves me wondering about climate shifts on Earth that might not be explained by hindcasting these models.

  354. pochas (22:07:26) :

    According to Milankovich theory past ice ages will not recur for 500,000 years.

    I’d say it’s impossible for past ice ages to recur. Y’know, them being in the past and all.

  355. Sekerob (01:44:48) : Gosh, whats up with that isotope 12 and 13 marker that identifies that the bulk of the CO2 increase is fuel burning and not from natural sources?

    Well, it’s seriously impaired by being based on a lot of hand waving:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-trouble-with-c12-c13-ratios/

    Whats up with the fact that the oceans/plants are only able to take out half of what humans are pumping into the air.

    Well, clearly that’s not the case:

    First off, look at the “where carbon goes” graphic on the C12 – 13 link. Notice that total fossil fuels and cement is “5.5″ while ocean is 92 and vegetation is 121.3? Do ya think that maybe 213 is bigger than 5.5?
    (all numbers in Giga tons / year). Then read down to where it references a story about “fish gut rocks” sequestering hugh tons of carbonate that we don’t have a clue about.

    Then take a look at:

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/of-trees-volcanos-and-pond-scum/

    Since a very simple “thought experiment” shows that plants can, and do, suck down all the CO2 we could put out,and then some, until they are metabolism limited due to CO2 shortage in the air. As more CO2 is added, they ramp up absorption until about 2000 ppm. The more we add, the faster they scrub (and grow, and feed us, and make timber, and…)

    And per CO2 from volcanos: Once someone has managed to actually measure all the CO2 from mid-ocean ridges, I’ll start to consider that they might have a tiny bit of clue. Not before. Heck, we don’t even know for sure how many, what size, and how active the volcanos are under the ice cap of the Antarctic and under the Arctic ocean. Oh, and I presume your “annual average” does not include those times when we have a Supervolcano blow off or something like the massive basalt flows in India.

    Oh, wait, supervolcanic eruptions make the world colder with all their CO2… Guess it’s not about the CO2 after all… must be the particulate matter or the sulphates or the winds or the…

    The simple fact is that climate, ice ages, and volcanos all have cyclicality and non-cyclical variations that happen on the scale of 1000s to 10000s of years. Any “average” you have from modern data recording is at best a parody of a joke of a data set that can not even begin to come close to the ranges of what the planet does. When ever it wants to. With us or without us.

    Anyone have a Chaiten update? It was still blowing and picking up steam last time I looked. The earthquake storm outlined a magma reservoir of super volcano size and if the venting continues for a year or two, we are setting up for a caldera collapse. When that happens, it’s going to be a very bad day world wide with dramatic cold and crop failures. All you can do is hope Chaiten and Yellowstone both decide that they can wait a few more hundreds or thousands of years before they let loose…

    From:

    http://volcanism.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/chaiten-update-11-june-2008/

    The LP [long period] earthquakes have been sporadic and HB [hybrid] earthquakes and/or tremors have not been detected, which indicates a new repressurization of the internal system and/or a new injuection of magma into the upper system of the volcano.

    Bearing the above in mind and considering that a new repressurization of the system, with an increase in explosivity and rate of emission of pyroclasts, cannot be ruled out, SERNAGEOMIN maintains Volcanic Red Alert.

  356. JET (19:36:15) : If Milankovich cycles are solely responsible for glaciation, would not the Earth experience a continuous cycle of glacial advance and retreat?

    How do we explain the geological record that suggests glaciation is confined to periods of several million years separated by about 200 million years?

    The Solar System completes its orbit around the centre of the Milky Way Galaxy once each 226 million years – can periods of continental glaciation have an extra-Solar System cause? One that may be modified in some way by Milankovich’s Cycles – but not caused primarily by those relatively short (geologically speaking) variations in planetary orientation and orbit?

    Well, this guy seems to have worked it out (and rather like you suggested):

    http://www.sciencebits.com/ice-ages

  357. I’m not sure what the fuss is about. This paper seems to be in accord with many that have gone before and in line with the consensus view. The CO2 lag has long been a feature of climate science (posited decades ago and firmed up from the mid-90s. It is mentioned in the last 2 IPCC docs.

    I assume that this paper provides finer resolution on dating (wasn’t willing to pay to view), but the basic conclusions, as put in the press briefing, are the same as climate scientists have been working with for more than a decade.

    While news of a ‘confirmed’ CO2 lag seems to have caught the ‘skeptics’ by surprise, it’s old news, and doesn’t remotely undermine the theory of what wil occur under current conditions (where the CO2 rise preceedes any significant glacial/deglacial event).

    I’m sure the paper is interesting and will read it when and if a publicly available copy arrives on the internet. But the title of the top post is years out of date.

    I hope this is not an attempt to revive the chicken and egg argument on this topic. We should know better by now (see – amplification).

  358. [insert - Anthony, I below cite small fragments of the full paper "The Last Glacial Maximum", which I purchased while writing this post. If you think that these quotes go beyond fair use, would you mind deleting just those parts and posting the rest?]

    Having re-read the title of the top post (I glanced at it at first), I think it is misleading. It certainly misled me in my previous post.

    Unless there is a specific accounting in the paper itself about how much of the total warming during deglaciation was contributed to by various components (insolation, albedo, GHG changes) – and which is unmentioned in the top post – then there is no information from the press briefing that justifies which was the ‘main driver’ of global temperature changes. All that is discussed in the press briefing is the timing of events, specifically of Northern Hemispheric glacial retreat. I’ll repeat the bolded part in the top post.

    The melting was first caused by more solar radiation, not changes in carbon dioxide levels or ocean temperatures, as some scientists have suggested in recent years.

    “Solar radiation was the trigger that started the ice melting, that’s now pretty certain,” said Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at OSU. “There were also changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and ocean circulation, but those happened later and amplified a process that had already begun.”

    Having more than passing familiarity with the literature on this topic, I can confirm that the phasing of ice sheets/GHG increase – which drove which – has been the subject of vigorous debate. What is not covered by the above quote, is that the remarks concern the Northern Hemisphere ice (see below).

    However, the title of the top post reads:

    Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – solar and earth wobble – CO2 not main driver

    ‘Main driver’ in the literature refers to the predominant forcing resulting in total temp changes – NOT to the first in the timing of events. In which case, “Insolation changes main driver” would be the lesson here – but that’s not the thrust of the paper. As it says in the press briefing quote, “Solar radiation was the trigger that started the ice melting, that’s now pretty certain” – and that has been ‘pretty certain’ for a decade. The paper is about ice sheet/GHG sequencing.

    There is no reason why the sequence of events postulated in this paper should make a big difference to the generally understood contribution to warming of various forcings in late quaternary deglaciations. The relevance to current conditions lies with the amplification provided by GHGs in past deglaciations, not with the timing of events.

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

    [I paid for the article while writing this and have reviewed it]

    I will cite small fragments of the paper pertinent to this discussion (thereby remaining within fair use parameters).

    Our well-established timing of the LGM also allows us to address the forcing mechanisms that induce changes in ice volume and feedbacks with the climate system. Of particular interest is the role that high northern latitude insolation plays in these changes relative to other mechanisms internal to the climate system. We focus on three of the more widely proposed mechanisms: high northern latitude insolation, atmospheric CO2, and tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs)

    The paper is discussing here what triggered glacial melt in the Northern Hemisphere – whether insolation changes, CO2 or SSTs in the tropical Pacific. One conclusion is that Pacific SSTs cannot have contributed to the termination of the LGM.

    There is no discussion of the strength of relative contributions, just the timing. There is, however, some pertinent commentary in the concluding paragraph.

    Although the lead-lag relationships established here by the timing of the LGM point to northern latitude insolation as the primary trigger of initial deglaciation of most Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and glaciers, subsequent increases in atmospheric CO2 and tropical Pacific SSTs demonstrate the importance of carbon cycle and ocean feedbacks in amplifying the deglacial response and causing global warming. Whether these changes in CO2 and SSTs were induced by deglaciation of Northern Hemisphere ice sheets or high southern latitude insolation, however, remains an open question.

    (Emphasis mine)

    ref – The Last Glacial Maximum
    Peter U. Clark, Arthur S. Dyke, Jeremy D. Shakun, Anders E. Carlson, Jorie Clark, Barbara Wohlfarth, Jerry X. Mitrovica, Steven W. Hostetler, A. Marshall McCabe

    Science 7 August 2009:
    Vol. 325. no. 5941, pp. 710 – 714
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1172873

    That still leaves room for CO2 being a significant, or even main ‘driver’ of global warming during the last glacial termination. The chief proposal in the paper is that insolation changes triggered Northern Hemispheric glacial retreat at termination of the LGM, rather than CO2, and that sea level changes were initially a result of glacial melt. Globally, the phasing is less certain according to the paper. There are differences in sequencing regionally that do not accommodate firm conclusions.

  359. It seems to me that heat is the frictional energy released by rubbing two scientists together resulting in ever increasing thermal talk.

  360. Nasif Nahle (00:07:37) :
    Heat is not a form of energy, but it is energy in transit. If that energy is not emitted and/or absorbed, but stored into a system, it’s not heat, but internal energy, i.e. potential and kinetic energy.

    A definition has to be useful, and the definition of ‘heat’ you offer is not. On the contrary, the various sources you quote go to great length to explain why their definition of ‘heat’ is not what everybody thinks it is. It is useful to be able to talk about the ‘heat content’ [of the oceans, for example]. What would you say if not that? How about ‘the potential and kinetic energy of the oceans’ ? what a stilted and cumbersome [and hence useless - as it will not be used] expression. As I said the problem stems from an ambiguity in the English language. Other languages do not have that problem, e.g. German or Danish. I asked you about Spanish. You didn’t answer. Your definition does not buy you anything. Language will evolve to maximize communication, so ‘heat’ is what you put in by ‘heating’ something, or that which is lost when cooling something. Very sensible, useful, and without any confusion.

    What do you think about Van Ness?
    Who?

  361. Adam Grey (03:45:29) :
    The melting was first caused by more solar radiation,
    There is a possible point of confusion between ‘radiation’ and ‘insolation’. Can you tell from the paper which is meant.

  362. Geoff Sherrington (00:07:47) :
    Leif, I note your comment “The VSOP82 theory is thought to be good to one million years, and the improved VSOP87 to much longer.” But this leaves me wondering about climate shifts on Earth that might not be explained by hindcasting these models.
    Those shifts we can’t say much about, as there are just too many things that can vary, e.g. volcanic activity. People that believe in the cosmic ray hypothesis invoke galactic spiral arm passages and the like and find periodicities, but forget that the modulation of cosmic rays is also determined by random events, such as nearby supernova explosions and [random] long-term variations of the Earth’s magnetic field. BTW, the latter is the most important modulator of cosmic rays, much more important than the Sun and the solar wind. See e.g. http://www.leif.org/research/CosmicRays-GeoDipole.jpg where the large-scale variation is due to the Earth’s magnetic field changes and the little wiggles are solar related changes.

  363. Leif Svalgaard (07:26:12) :

    A definition has to be useful, and the definition of ‘heat’ you offer is not. On the contrary, the various sources you quote go to great length to explain why their definition of ‘heat’ is not what everybody thinks it is. It is useful to be able to talk about the ‘heat content’ [of the oceans, for example]. What would you say if not that? How about ‘the potential and kinetic energy of the oceans’ ? what a stilted and cumbersome [and hence useless - as it will not be used] expression. As I said the problem stems from an ambiguity in the English language. Other languages do not have that problem, e.g. German or Danish. I asked you about Spanish. You didn’t answer. Your definition does not buy you anything. Language will evolve to maximize communication, so ‘heat’ is what you put in by ‘heating’ something, or that which is lost when cooling something. Very sensible, useful, and without any confusion.
    What do you think about Van Ness?
    Who?

    It’s not my definition, but the definition of all physicists and engineers around the world, except for you and your “star” physicist.

    Instead saying “Heat content of the oceans”, I would say it correctly, i.e. Energy content of the oceans”. And yes, I can say “The potential and kinetic energy of the oceans”, because both are stored in the system “oceans”.

    As I have said, it’s not a problem of ambiguity in the language, but a confusion spread out by I don’t know whom, but that was grasped by you. You said the kinetic energy was heat and it is impossible because heat is energy out of the system’s boundaries, being transferred towards other systems, while kinetic energy is internal energy.

    Hendrick C. Van Ness is a distinguished professor of chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He’s unsurpassed as an expert in the field. Well, H. C. Van Ness included in his book Understanding Thermodynamics, on PAGE 17, the definition of heat. Here is it:

    “Remember that Q is a term which is included to account for energy changes in the surroundings. However, we call it heat because it is energy transferred across the boundary of the system as a result of a temperature difference.” (Bolds are mine).

    I’ve shown many authors who confirm what I have said with respect to the difference between kinetic energy and heat. Now, show me a single author who says that the kinetic energy is the same as heat.

  364. If short term oceanic oscillations can overcome CO2 as a temperature driver (which is admitted to by the “consensus”), who is to say that CO2 can overcome long term oceanic oscillations as the driver? On what basis?

    Remember your basic geography.

    1. Major sea level changes can DRASTICALLY change oceanic oscillations in short order, setting up major weather pattern variations that will persist until sea level changes again. Think of all the land bridges that have formed (either through ice or through exposed land) and then been overcome by sea water once again. And think how this would change oscillations. These processes would completely overwhelm what I think is a rather steady state, by comparison, affect of greenhouse gas warmth.

    2. Changes in ice ages brought on by this orbital wobble will also drastically change freshwater access to salt water circulation patterns. This is no small issue at the pole and a broader area in latitude than just the Arctic Circle.

    3. CO2 is such a small player due to plants sucking it out of the atmosphere as fast as you can pump it in. I don’t see how it can be a major driver, or even a minor driver compared to short term and long term weather pattern variation drivers.

  365. *********
    crosspatch (12:23:46) :

    But having said that … there certainly is some “trigger” that very rapidly causes a state change from glaciation to interglacial and back. This change is apparently not gradual at all and happens very quickly … over the span of a human lifetime. Also, climate tends to be very unstable during glacial periods with extreme changes in climate happening very quickly. Areas can change from forest or grassland to tundra and back again in only a couple of human generations.

    This “trigger” could be any number of things … a major volcanic eruption at just the right moment … a change in jet stream location … who knows? We will be finding out “soon”.
    *******

    crosspatch, the trigger IMHO is prb’ly a major ocean-current switch (I’m not sure what else it could be). What that would look like I don’t think anyone knows because the current “interglacial” pattern is all we’ve seen.

    There’s some evidence that the high-latitude Arctic ocean is much more ice-free during glacial than interglacial periods (which provides the extra snow for the ice-sheets), even tho that goes against common sense.

    What would cause such an ocean current change? Some computer models by Gildor-Tziperman (search google) suggest at the end of the interglacials the Arctic ocean becomes ice-free even during much of the winter, providing far more evaporation and snow than the high arctic gets nowadays, and changing ocean currents in a way that keeps the Arctic ocean slightly warmer than now! This “triggers” a new glacial period.

  366. Who may define “HEAT”?
    One of these days the “Bureau International des Poids et Mesures” (the brotherhood of physicists) will have perfected the SI and can start to define all physical quantities and their names.
    Until then I propose to listen to the great ISAAC ASIMOV (who wrote books about physics, too):

    “The heat content of a system is the total internal energy of the molecules making it up. The “internal energy” of a substance consists of the kinetic energy of its constituent particles plus the energy involved in the intermolecular attractions.”

    Isaac Asimov, Understanding Physics

  367. Leif Svalgaard (07:30:12) :

    — “The melting was first caused by more solar radiation”

    — There is a possible point of confusion between ‘radiation’ and ‘insolation’. Can you tell from the paper which is meant.

    Hi Leif,

    I think it’s clear from the concluding paragraph I quoted earlier:

    Although the lead-lag relationships established here by the timing of the LGM point to northern latitude insolation as the primary trigger of initial deglaciation of most Northern Hemisphere ice sheets and glaciers

    From what I can make of the rest of the doc, ‘solar radiation’ isn’t a feature (the term is not used).

    I think the quote from the press statment was casual use. Wherever I’ve read on this subject, insolation has been considered as the trigger for ice ages, with the debate around whether greenhouse warming initiated ice sheet melt or insolation changes at the poles. ‘Solar radiation’ was probably used in lieu of insolation for public consumption.

  368. Pamela Gray (08:05:33) :
    If short term oceanic oscillations can overcome CO2 as a temperature driver (which is admitted to by the “consensus”), who is to say that CO2 can overcome long term oceanic oscillations as the driver? On what basis?

    Remember your basic geography.

    3. CO2 is such a small player due to plants sucking it out of the atmosphere as fast as you can pump it in. I don’t see how it can be a major driver, or even a minor driver compared to short term and long term weather pattern variation drivers.

    That’s because your basic premise is wrong, plants don’t “suck it out of the atmosphere as fast as you can pump it in”, far from it, that’s the whole point!

  369. Hi Pamela,

    If short term oceanic oscillations can overcome CO2 as a temperature driver (which is admitted to by the “consensus”), who is to say that CO2 can overcome long term oceanic oscillations as the driver? On what basis?

    On the basis that oceanic oscillations are.. oscillations. For the current interglacial period, ocean/atmosphere currents have wobbled around a mean. The ‘greenhouse’ effect with increasing GHGs in the post-industrial era has a non-oscillating rhythm (positive in terms of tropospheric temps). Temperature changes from oceanic oscillations (weather/noise) is overwhelmed, in terms of temperature, by the ‘greenhouse’ signal. One of the larger oscillating effects, ENSO, ascillates to produce a maximum range of 0.4C (+/-0.2C). The centennial (ie, long-term) trend is larger than that.

    1. Major sea level changes can DRASTICALLY change oceanic oscillations in short order, setting up major weather pattern variations that will persist until sea level changes again. Think of all the land bridges that have formed (either through ice or through exposed land) and then been overcome by sea water once again. And think how this would change oscillations. These processes would completely overwhelm what I think is a rather steady state, by comparison, affect of greenhouse gas warmth.

    If you’re speaking of glacial change periods, there has been debate on this, but most papers, including this one, posit that GHG changes have a major affect on temps – and sea level via warming. At the same time, i believe the paper leading this thread is saying that initial sea level rise is caused by melting ice (in the NH).

    I would hardly describe both deglacial and post-industrial GHG rises as ‘steady state’.

    2. Changes in ice ages brought on by this orbital wobble will also drastically change freshwater access to salt water circulation patterns. This is no small issue at the pole and a broader area in latitude than just the Arctic Circle.

    The paper mentions fresh water pulses (I don’t feel qualified to interpret). For deglaciation:

    In any event, warming of tropical Pacific SSTs did not begin until after 19 ka and thus did not contribute to the termination of the LGM.

    3. CO2 is such a small player due to plants sucking it out of the atmosphere as fast as you can pump it in. I don’t see how it can be a major driver, or even a minor driver compared to short term and long term weather pattern variation drivers.

    I think you are confusing GHG equlibrium with the biannual fluctuations evident in the famous Keeling curve. Plants (and the oceans and other carbon sinks) have a limited capacity – otherwise we would still be at the ~280 ppm CO2 in the atmos pre-industrial. As we now have 36% more CO2 in the air since the industrial revolution (380+ ppm), clearly the plants aren’t taking it all up. That which is taken up in the Northern Hemispheric growing season, is greatly re-emitted from decaying foliage in the cold seasons. Bending an analogy to the aquatic seems fit – I’d say the CO2 rise is like the tide coming in: the waves come and go, but the water creeps up the shore inexorably. The sand-castle seems safe at first, but eventually it will succumb to the tide.

    PDO, AMO, ENSO – these are oscillating ocean/atmosphere systems. There is some agreement with temp variations, particularly ENSO, but none of them account for the long-term warming signal. They are the waves, GHG warming is the tide. I think this is generally accepted by all now. The question that seems to matter is – how long before the tide reaches the sand-castle?

  370. Alexej Buergin (09:10:08) :

    Who may define “HEAT”?
    One of these days the “Bureau International des Poids et Mesures” (the brotherhood of physicists) will have perfected the SI and can start to define all physical quantities and their names.
    Until then I propose to listen to the great ISAAC ASIMOV (who wrote books about physics, too):

    “The heat content of a system is the total internal energy of the molecules making it up. The “internal energy” of a substance consists of the kinetic energy of its constituent particles plus the energy involved in the intermolecular attractions.”

    Isaac Asimov, Understanding Physics

    I have no conflicts with Asimov’s description; however, we cannot say the internal energy of a system is heat, but the total energy possessed by a system that includes also to potential energy, because heat is energy leaving the system across the boundaries of that system.

    On the other hand, specific internal energy is internal energy per mass of the substance in question. It is clear that heat is not into the system, but it has crossed the boundary of the system towards another system.

    Asimov would have been right if he would have said that he was considering heat and energy were the same thing, which is not real. Heat is energy, but not every form of energy is heat.

    Nonetheless, I agree with you on the convenience of not using ambiguous terms.

  371. Felix will be all over this (if he is not already). Again, although I don’t believe it will be “the end of the world” I do wonder about “something” either happening or starting in the 2012 / 2013 time frame.

  372. Nasif Nahle (07:59:23) :
    Instead saying “Heat content of the oceans”, I would say it correctly, i.e. Energy content of the oceans”.
    And this is incorrect. The oceans currents have bulk kinetic energy, so is part of the energy content of the oceans, but is not heat energy, because that is the random, disorganized kinetic energy, but the kinetic energy of the bulk flow. Nobody is saying that kinetic energy is heat, but rather that heat is the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized motions. This is your confusion. The heat is that part of the total energy that can be transferred without applying any forces, and is still there even if not transferred or ‘in transit’. You can also meaningfully say that ‘heat is added’ to the system [which then contains more heat] and it is in this sense the word is used in the second law of thermodynamics.

  373. Nasif Nahle (10:09:35) :
    heat is energy leaving the system across the boundaries of that system.
    Perhaps this will help: The unit of heat is Joule, because it is an ‘amount’ which you can move from one place to another. If it were a ‘transit’ [leaving], the unit would be Watt [Joule per second], namely leaving at such and such a rate, but the unit is Joule, not Watt.

  374. Nasif Nahle (14:34:53) :
    The carbon dioxide more than being an amplifier of warming effects (which definitively it is not) it’s a distributor of heat
    It would seem to me that this statement of yours conflicts with your definition of heat, as you can only distribute something that is stored or contained, and you say that then it is no longer heat.

  375. Adam

    1. Many oscillations have only recently been discovered and then reconstructed using proxies. With these proxies compared to temperature proxies, the correlation stands up before industrial input of GHG’s. However, I will give you this, you cannot say what the oceanic oscillations are capable of long term when all you have are proxies of long term conditions and observations of short term conditions. Observations are what are needed to solidify or refute what ENSO is capable of. So far, the present correlation is acting like the proxied correlation, regardless of what CO2 is doing now or has done in the past. You also mistate what I wrote. Warmth from CO2 and other GHG’s now and in the past I believe have a relatively steady state warmth, regardless of changes in concentration (because of each individual set of characteristics of greenhouse gasses to absorb, redirect and reach the saturation point when it is no longer capable of absorption). It is Earth’s atmosphere that brings variance to ground and sea warmth provided by GHG’s, just as it does the relatively steady state additions of Solar warmth.

    2. Circulations that have had major interruptions by a glacial period from its beginnings to its end may not act upon geography in a way similar to interglacial periods. The jet streams may have acted in much different ways, been in different places, and reacted to other oscillations in different ways. Storms or the lack of storms may be quite different during these disruptions than during the relative calm of interglacial periods. Proxies of these conditions are hard to come by. But it makes sense to say that when oscillations change from calm to energetic and back again, storm, weather, and cloud patterns will be more active and chaotic, more so than during the calm of interglacial periods.

    3. You know as well as I do that the amount of CO2 in the air caused by industrial emissions are proxied. It is partly made from observations and partly made from dynamical calculations. You also know as well as I do that from greenhouse experiments plants are capable of a very wide variety of CO2 absorption. The rise could be either an ENSO affect (meaning it will fluctuate around a mean as you say), or the proxy dynamical calculation is wrong. The AIRS demonstration is not long enough to show what happens to CO2 when other ENSO parameters are in place.

    Finally, all the ENSO oscillations taken together bring a lot of variables into play. Their alphabet names do not give its complexity justice. We don’t know nor have we experienced all the possible combinations. Therefore it cannot be concluded that this very large set of variables, completely natural in Earth’s systems, is not capable of combining in long-term trend producing ways. The final word would be this: if you removed JUST industrial CO2 from the atmosphere, and you know what a small percentage that is, would the temperature graph be statistically different over the past 100 years? No it would not. Therefore industrial CO2 is not a major or minor player in the last 100 years.

  376. Leif Svalgaard (10:29:07) :

    Nasif Nahle (07:59:23) :
    Instead saying “Heat content of the oceans”, I would say it correctly, i.e. Energy content of the oceans”.
    And this is incorrect. The oceans currents have bulk kinetic energy, so is part of the energy content of the oceans, but is not heat energy, because that is the random, disorganized kinetic energy, but the kinetic energy of the bulk flow. Nobody is saying that kinetic energy is heat, but rather that heat is the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized motions. This is your confusion. The heat is that part of the total energy that can be transferred without applying any forces, and is still there even if not transferred or ‘in transit’. You can also meaningfully say that ‘heat is added’ to the system [which then contains more heat] and it is in this sense the word is used in the second law of thermodynamics.

    It’s not incorrect. Kinetic energy is energy, or not? Kinetic energy is internal energy and the system “oceans” contains kinetic energy. Thus, it is very correct and scientific to say “energy content of the oceans”. You said that heat is kinetic energy:

    Leif Svalgaard (08:27:53) :

    Nasif Nahle (22:42:30) :
    If heat was retained, it would be as potential or kinetic energy and it would stop being heat

    Heat is the kinetic energy of the molecules bouncing around or vibrating.”

    Bolds are mine… :)

  377. One final response comment to the notion that industrial CO2 created warmth and SST posed by a question. Do you know how the oceans are heated? Is it by warm air or by Sunbeams? And which is better at heating anything other than the top few mm?

  378. Leif Svalgaard (11:11:00) :

    Nasif Nahle (10:09:35) :
    heat is energy leaving the system across the boundaries of that system.
    Perhaps this will help: The unit of heat is Joule, because it is an ‘amount’ which you can move from one place to another. If it were a ‘transit’ [leaving], the unit would be Watt [Joule per second], namely leaving at such and such a rate, but the unit is Joule, not Watt.

    And it is Watt [= (J/s)], i.e. power. For example:

    q = Ћ A (Ts – T∞)

    q = 3.6185 W/m^2∙K (1 m)^2 (11.5 K) = 41.61 W

    or 41.61 J/s.

  379. The units for internal energy are Joules. The units for the energy transferred by heat are Joules. The units for the rate of heat transfer are Watts (J/s).

    Heat is energy in transit, so its units are Watts (or Joules/s).

  380. Nasif Nahle (13:00:19) :
    Heat is energy in transit, so its units are Watts (or Joules/s).
    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/heat-units-d_664.html says Joule.
    http://physics.nist.gov/Pubs/SP811/sec04.html says Joule
    http://www.ktf-split.hr/periodni/en/abc/j.html says Joule, and so on.

    Nasif Nahle (12:50:35) :
    It’s not incorrect. Kinetic energy is energy, or not?
    But not necessarily heat. Heat is random, unordered kinetic energy, not the kinetic energy of the a flow. The solar wind is another case. It has a bulk flow of 400 km/s. The kinetic energy of that is not thermal energy or heat. In addition there is a random thermal component of about 50 km/s. That is heat and corresponds to a temperature of 100,000K.

  381. Nasif Nahle (13:00:19) :
    Heat is energy in transit, so its units are Watts (or Joules/s).
    One last time: the unit of an ‘amount of heat’ is Joule. That amount can be stored, moved, distributed [as you said]. The second law deals with an ‘amount of heat’ added to a system which then clearly contains more heat than before, under any reasonable definition. For a gas, the amount of heat is a measure of the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized motion of the molecules [or atoms].
    Heat can be transferred: heat-flux in Watt.

  382. Leif Svalgaard (14:22:10) :

    But not necessarily heat. Heat is random, unordered kinetic energy, not the kinetic energy of the a flow. The solar wind is another case. It has a bulk flow of 400 km/s. The kinetic energy of that is not thermal energy or heat. In addition there is a random thermal component of about 50 km/s. That is heat and corresponds to a temperature of 100,000K.

    Absolutely, nonsense… Heat is photons. Now you’re confunding temperature and heat.

  383. Leif Svalgaard (15:02:20) :

    One last time: the unit of an ‘amount of heat’ is Joule. That amount can be stored, moved, distributed [as you said]. The second law deals with an ‘amount of heat’ added to a system which then clearly contains more heat than before, under any reasonable definition. For a gas, the amount of heat is a measure of the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized motion of the molecules [or atoms].
    Heat can be transferred: heat-flux in Watt.

    What a mess! Energy units are Joules. Heat units are Watts (J/s).

    In your phrase: “For a gas, the amount of heat is a measure of the kinetic energy of the random, disorganized motion of the molecules [or atoms]” You’re confounding temperature with heat. The measure of the average translational kinetic energy of a system is temperature, not heat. For the last time, heat is energy transferred from a hot system to a colder system, so its units are Watts.

  384. Nasif Nahle (17:24:41) :
    For the last time, heat is energy transferred from a hot system to a colder system, so its units are Watts.
    Remember the old definition:
    “One calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water one degree”.
    There are two concepts:
    Amount of heat, measured in Joule [or calories]
    Heat flux, measured in Watts
    You keep confusing the two, and heat is not photons (and if it were its units would be Joule, BTW).
    From your postings it seems that you’ll stay stuck in your confusion. Because of this I’ll advice you of using explicitly ‘amount of heat’ when talking about the heat content, and ‘heat flux’ when talking about heat transfer.

  385. Heat is NOT a noun; it is the process of converting energy (in any form) to the mechanical vibration of atoms and molecules. Arguably then, “heat” has no meaning in the absence of physical material; and certainly heat has no meaning in the context of photons.

    I have to join hands with Leif on this; what we call “heat” in a noun sense applies only to the statistical energy of vibration or real atomic and molecular materials; hence the concept of “the Mechanical equivalent of heat” which used to be 4.187 Joules per Calorie. I used to tell my students that a calorie was a quantity of food, in a vain attempt to wean them off the rod/stone/fortnight system.

  386. Leif Svalgaard (18:15:04) :

    Remember the old definition:
    “One calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water one degree”.

    I have no problem with this given that it is heat transferred to 1 g of water until it reaches a temperature of 1 °C.

    There are two concepts:
    Amount of heat, measured in Joule [or calories]
    Heat flux, measured in Watts
    You keep confusing the two, and heat is not photons (and if it were its units would be Joule, BTW).

    It’s not me, but you. I have shown you that energy is stored, not heat. Heat is energy, so heat is photons; have you forgotten the nature of the heat? Waves and photons, electromagnetic radiation, etc. Please, don’t push me to start explaining those basic concepts. I think your problem resides on your confusion between heat and temperature.

    From your postings it seems that you’ll stay stuck in your confusion. Because of this I’ll advice you of using explicitly ‘amount of heat’ when talking about the heat content, and ‘heat flux’ when talking about heat transfer.

    “Load of heat” sounds better, but there is not heat accumulated in any system. Energy (electrical, chemical, mechanical, etc.) can be “accumulated” by systems.

  387. “”” Leif Svalgaard (07:26:12) :

    Nasif Nahle (00:07:37) :
    Heat is not a form of energy, but it is energy in transit. If that energy is not emitted and/or absorbed, but stored into a system, it’s not heat, but internal energy, i.e. potential and kinetic energy.

    A definition has to be useful, and the definition of ‘heat’ you offer is not. “””

    Pasted from way up above; this exchange would lead me to observe that in the normal course of events; the rate of heat flow between the sun and the earth must be quite small, since “heat” as we know it is a property only of physical materials; composed of atoms or larger units; and although the sun spits out a lot of such matter that reaches earth it is peanuts compared to the electromagnetifc radiation transport of energy from sun to earth;

    If we had to rely on “heat” transport from sun to earth; we would all be in dire straits.

    Note also that EM radiation is quite happy to make the reverse journey; so long wavelength photons of earth emitted infra red radiation; are accepted enthusiastically when the reach the sun; which they do in about equal quantities to those arriving at the moon from earth. So there is no second law violation involved in the mere emission and absorption of radiant energy.

  388. For me, heat is what you feel in the top 5 inches of Wallowa Lake. It don’t matter if it is stored or kinetic, or whatever, it feels warm. Cold is what you feel below that. Any man has my respect who is willing to put his privates below that 5 inch mark. It takes days to “re-emerge” if you catch my drift. On the other hand, any woman worth her salt who has entered the wet tee shirt contest in Joseph takes a dip first in the lake. She also has my respect. And usually gets first prize. Hell, it’s so cold in Wallowa Lake you don’t need a breast lift. Just take one dip a week and you’ll be right perky.

  389. Pamela, as I understand it, the state of the science is that on centennial time scales, ocean systems oscillate. Ocean(/atmosphere) patterns change over the long term (geological) when other components disturb the equilibrium routine: whether significant ice sheet changes (ice age/interglacial change), significant global warming, or significant tectonic movement (eg, gondwanaland). When the system is in equilibrium (a relative term – equilibrium is always changing, but can appear steady in the short term), the oceans(/atmosphere) vary around a mean.

    Oscillating trends for ocean systems have been identified. Long-term (centennial) trends have not. How long do you propose we wait to see if speculations about ocean-driven long global temperature trends are satisfied? Mainstream climate science expresses its ‘predictions’ in terms of probabilities. I see the issue as a risk management exercise (I have no truck with conspiracy theories, BTW). While such speculation is valid and useful, the message we are getting is that we don’t have the luxury to wait and see. I know that much of the thrust at this blog is that the projections are hyped. I’m not convinced.

    I get no satisfaction from accepting the mainstream view. Who wants to tighten their belts when there is so much uncertainty? But there has been no debunking of the mainstream view – despite jubilation over its death throes here. The real debate is about projections, not whether the globe is warming. And that’s just it – a debate. To paraphrase a sensible critic of the IPCC and mainstream view – Roger Pielke Snr – it is not that we know what will happen, it is that we do not know. Things could be worse or better: or the mid-range projections could be very close to what happens. We must act to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels in any case for reasons that go beyond the concerns of global warming. Fossil fuels are finite, we are tied to unsavoury governments for their procurement and securing access is a factor in military policy (I don’t claim that it is inevitably carried out, but it is certainly a feature). There are also positive reasons for changing our energy source – economies are powered by innovation and entrepreneurialism: we should be ahead of the curve.

    I’ve strayed from the topic here: my apologies! I didn’t mean to play the advocate. But having this perspective, I think there are pressing reasons to work with the science we have rather than wait for the science that might be. If indeed we discover long-term signals in ocean patterns that account for the last century’s general warming, then that might be a *good thing* – or it might not. Radiation physics isn’t going to change much, I think, and we will still have a warming signal that lasts while we burn fossil fuels.

    Despite my drift into advocacy there (rather unusual for me) I am chiefly interested, as a layman, in the emerging science, as well as understanding the established science. If a long-term signal is discovered as you’re speculating, then I know that I’ll read about it here.

    I don’t know the answer to your question about sunlight/winds and SSTs. I’ve probably read about it – my interests are broad. I could google it, but I thought I’d be frank. My guess is that many factors play here, but I wouldn’t know how to prioritize their contribution.

  390. Shortwave radiation (direct Sunlight) heats salt water to relatively deep layers, measured in meters. Warmed air (the assumption of of AGW) which is basically longwave radiation bounced off of Earth’s surface, absorbed and then re-emitted by GHG’s, can heat salt water only shallowly, measured in mm. This layer of saltwater loses heat to evaporation like crazy, so it is rather impossible to say with a straight face that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are responsible for stored heat in the oceans. Wind is capable of moving water (and ice). The at rest state would be warmed water that stays in place. If wind moves the warm water, cold water upwelling replaces it. If you want to know what is warming or cooling the Earth, check out what the trade winds do to SST’s. For those who think that SST’s have no real ability to warm or cool land surfaces, all I can say is that you don’t live near an ocean. You must live somewhere in the middle of a rather large continent. As for GHG’s, those are about as steady state as the Sun in their ability to warm the planet. Once again, Earth’s swirling globby mixture of atmospheric substances determines how much Sunlight gets in and therefore how much LWR allows said GHG’s to keep us warm.

    I don’t think I would come down on the side of “let’s tax some entity in order to reduce CO2 to cool us down” just yet. Removing CO2 will not cool us down. Preventing Sunlight reaching the surface has a better chance. Why choose CO2 when it is such a bit player? If I follow your reasoning of lets do something, you should be heralding mirrors and whatnot to keep shortwave radiation from getting to the surface. So tell me Adam, are you a rubber necker in terms of understanding the scene or have you studied this issue for years?

  391. Nasif Nahle (18:40:23) :
    I have no problem with this given that it is heat transferred to 1 g of water until it reaches a temperature of 1 °C.
    It is ~4 Joules, so the unit of the heat is Joules, of course.

    Heat is energy, so heat is photons
    Energy is not photons; photons do have energy, but so does a speeding locomotive, or a planet orbiting the Sun, or a rotating Earth, or the solar wind mass flux.

  392. Pamela Gray (19:19:33) :
    it is rather impossible to say with a straight face that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are responsible for stored heat in the oceans.
    Ah, but according to Nasif, there is no heat stored in the oceans :-)

  393. George E. Smith (18:45:43) :

    “”” Leif Svalgaard (07:26:12) :

    Nasif Nahle (00:07:37) :
    Heat is not a form of energy, but it is energy in transit. If that energy is not emitted and/or absorbed, but stored into a system, it’s not heat, but internal energy, i.e. potential and kinetic energy.

    A definition has to be useful, and the definition of ‘heat’ you offer is not. “””

    Unfortunatelly for you, it’s not my definition, but the definition given in any book or treatise on thermodynamics. Let’s start again:

    Hendrick C. Van Ness is a distinguished professor of chemical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He’s unsurpassed as an expert in the field. Well, H. C. Van Ness included in his book Understanding Thermodynamics, on PAGE 17, the definition of heat. Here is it:

    “Remember that Q is a term which is included to account for energy changes in the surroundings. However, we call it heat because it is energy transferred across the boundary of the system as a result of a temperature difference.”

    Source: Thomas Engel and Philip Reid. Thermodynamics, Statistical, Thermodynamics & Kinetics. 2006. Pearson Education, Inc. PAGE 16:

    “In thermodynamics, heat is defined as the amount of energy which flows through the boundaries between a system and the surroundings, as a consequence of a difference of temperature between the system and the surroundings. The same as the work, the heat has some important characteristics:

    * Heat is transitory and only appear during a change of state of the system and the surroundings.”

    Source: Potter, Merle C. and Somerton, Craig W. Thermodynamics for Engineers. Mc Graw-Hill. 1993. PAGE 40:

    “Heat is energy transferred across the boundary of a system due to a difference in temperature between the system and the surroundings of the system. A system does not contain heat, it contains energy, and heat is energy in transit.”

    Google:

    http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryglossary/a/heatdef.htm

    And so it goes on, and on, and on…

    Pasted from way up above; this exchange would lead me to observe that in the normal course of events; the rate of heat flow between the sun and the earth must be quite small, since “heat” as we know it is a property only of physical materials; composed of atoms or larger units; and although the sun spits out a lot of such matter that reaches earth it is peanuts compared to the electromagnetifc radiation transport of energy from sun to earth;

    Nonsense. Heat is not a property of matter. You’re saying that there is not heat without physical material, which is absolutely nonsense.

    If we had to rely on “heat” transport from sun to earth; we would all be in dire straits.

    Nonsense again. Energy is transferred from one system to another through three modes, convection, conduction and radiation. Radiation doesn’t need a medium.

    Note also that EM radiation is quite happy to make the reverse journey; so long wavelength photons of earth emitted infra red radiation; are accepted enthusiastically when the reach the sun; which they do in about equal quantities to those arriving at the moon from earth. So there is no second law violation involved in the mere emission and absorption of radiant energy.

    Evidently, you’re not taking induced negative absorption into account.

  394. Leif Svalgaard (19:29:31) :

    It is ~4 Joules, so the unit of the heat is Joules, of course.

    It’s not heat stored, but heat introduced to the system “water”. As heat crosses the boundary of the colder system, i.e. water in this case, it is no more heat, but kinetic or potential energy, i.e. internal energy.

    Energy is not photons; photons do have energy, but so does a speeding locomotive, or a planet orbiting the Sun, or a rotating Earth, or the solar wind mass flux.

    Now you’ll come with the novelty that photons have mass. See the mess where you’re sinking more and more each time you say something?

  395. Leif Svalgaard (19:34:16) :

    Pamela Gray (19:19:33) :
    it is rather impossible to say with a straight face that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are responsible for stored heat in the oceans.
    Ah, but according to Nasif, there is no heat stored in the oceans :-)

    It’s not my opinion… Would you like I start again quoting those authors who scientifically define heat?

    Energy is stored. Heat is energy in transit from one system to another, but it is no more heat after it crosses the boundary of the second system (i.e. after that energy in transit is absorbed).

  396. Nasif Nahle (19:47:55) :
    It’s not heat stored, but heat introduced to the system “water”. As heat crosses the boundary of the colder system, i.e. water in this case, it is no more heat, but kinetic or potential energy, i.e. internal energy.

    As I said many times, a definition is neither right nor wrong, but can be more or less useful, and the strict thermodynamic ‘we call it heat’ is not too useful in applications that are not steam engines. It makes perfect sense to say that if dQ is heat added to a system, then it now contains Q+dQ amounts of heat. This does not introduce any contradictions with thermodynamics, and is general usage in climatology, c.f. Spencer and Levitus [and Pamela and tallbloke and Steve F and ...], for example. Strictly speaking, what is called the heat-content is actually the Enthalpy, but that is another story.

    “Energy is not photons; photons do have energy, but so does a speeding locomotive, or a planet orbiting the Sun, or a rotating Earth, or the solar wind mass flux.”
    Now you’ll come with the novelty that photons have mass.

    As Einstein pointed out photons have an energy E = h*f Joule where h is Planck’s constant and f is the frequency of the photon. I don’t know from what mess you get the mass idea from.

  397. Leif Svalgaard (20:40:57) :

    As I said many times, a definition is neither right nor wrong, but can be more or less useful, and the strict thermodynamic ‘we call it heat’ is not too useful in applications that are not steam engines. It makes perfect sense to say that if dQ is heat added to a system, then it now contains Q+dQ amounts of heat. This does not introduce any contradictions with thermodynamics, and is general usage in climatology, c.f. Spencer and Levitus [and Pamela and tallbloke and Steve F and ...], for example. Strictly speaking, what is called the heat-content is actually the Enthalpy, but that is another story.

    I repeat, it doesn’t matter if six billion people use incorrectly the term, it would be incorrect, anyway; your concept of heat is incorrect. Heat is what it is, no matter if it is energy transferred into an engine or in any system in the known Universe. Heat is energy in transit.

    Want to talk on enthalpy? Good, I’m all thermodynamics and know that a photon has not mass.

    As Einstein pointed out photons have an energy E = h*f Joule where h is Planck’s constant and f is the frequency of the photon. I don’t know from what mess you get the mass idea from.

    Your mess, Leif. You’re comparing photons with trains, planets and its orbits, stars, and other lumps of matter’s motions.

  398. Nasif Nahle (20:40:04) :
    “Ah, but according to Nasif, there is no heat stored in the oceans :-)”
    It’s not my opinion… Would you like I start again quoting those authors who scientifically define heat?

    As I said that definition is of little use as it is not really being used in thermodynamics. What is used is dQ, the amount of heat.
    I just got Physics Today [August Issue]. On page 12, in discussing tidal interactions between Jupiter and its moon Io, the author states “It appears, therefore, that Io is close to a thermal steady state – that its volcanic activity is driven by the heat generated by tidal friction now, rather than by heat retained from a past period when tides might have been even higher”. A very sensible statement and yet another example of how scientific practice and word usage have finally moved out of the straightjacket of steam engine terminology.

  399. Nasif Nahle (20:40:04) :
    “Ah, but according to Nasif, there is no heat stored in the oceans :-)”
    It’s not my opinion… Would you like I start again quoting those authors who scientifically define heat?

    Yet another example of how modern science has progressed in usage of the concept of stored heat:
    Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 11, EGU2009-7488-2, 2009 EGU General Assembly 2009
    Accuracy of ARGO-derived global ocean heat content trends, interannual and seasonal variabilities. M. Juza et al.,

    “One of the primary objectives of the ARGO array is to monitor the evolution of the global ocean heat content over a wide range of timescales.[...]”

    “The most obvious benefit from Argo has been a marked reduction in the uncertainty of ocean heat storage calculations. [...]“

  400. it is rather impossible to say with a straight face that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are responsible for stored heat in the oceans.

    I don’t remember saying that. I don’t know the facts either way, and I’m not sure what it has to do with the topic of this thread. One thing I do know is that the purported global warming signal is stronger over land surface than sea surface.

    If you want to know what is warming or cooling the Earth, check out what the trade winds do to SST’s.

    Aren’t you talkling about weather phenomena here? Or are you suggesting that the trade winds create a long-term, climatic signal, rather than vary within an equilibrium?

    For those who think that SST’s have no real ability to warm or cool land surfaces, all I can say is that you don’t live near an ocean.

    I live near the beach. Are you actually attributing these ideas to me, or are you playing to a wider audience? Please, if you discuss with me, attend to what I actually say.

    As for GHG’s, those are about as steady state as the Sun in their ability to warm the planet.

    I don’t understand what this means. The sun oscillates. CO2 is rising. Are you seriously contending that rising CO2 emissions have no affect on global temperatures? That’s an unphysical proposition.

    Removing CO2 will not cool us down.

    I completely disagree. In any case, I’m not interested in cooling us down but rather slowing down the rate of warming caused by us.

    Preventing Sunlight reaching the surface has a better chance.

    Well, it’s a very expensive option, I suppose, but I am leery of geoengineering (or space-based sun-occluding programs).

    Why choose CO2 when it is such a bit player?

    Clearly we disagree on the contribution of CO2 to post-industrial warming, but I would say that without reducing emissions, other options are stop-gaps. We may slow thing down, but the radiative properties of GHGs will continue to push the envelope. Better to turn down the spigot than build more and more dams.

    So tell me Adam, are you a rubber necker in terms of understanding the scene or have you studied this issue for years?

    I have spent most of my spare time reading blogs, studies, books and etc on the general subject of climate change for the past 2.5 years. Some subjects I’m pretty well informed about, and I never forget that there are people who have been studying these subjects in detail for years, who are astronomically more qualified than me.

    I’m no physicist – not even a good mathematician. The subjects I grasp fairly well conceptually are: Ice age dynamics, the ‘greenhouse’ effect and its changing status, the carbon cycle, and am conversant with numerous sub-topics in the general debate. On ice age dynamics, for example, I’ve read about 50 scientific papers, skimmed 50 more, and have read numerous blogs on the matter. I’m not an expert, just an interested observer. I usually spend my time untangling misconceptions on the science – the ones I know something about. As I said, my drift into advocacy was a rare event. I try to be reasonable and hardly ever speculate about the capacity of others to contribute to the discussion (believing it a waste of time). How about you?

  401. Nasif Nahle (21:19:23) :
    I’m all thermodynamics and know that a photon has not mass.
    But apparently not that heat is not photons.

    You’re comparing photons with trains, planets and its orbits, stars, and other lumps of matter’s motions.
    No just giving examples of energy that is not heat, contrary to your claim “Heat is energy, so heat is photons”

    the_butcher (21:20:29) :
    I can’t believe Leif is using other ‘bloggers’ here as references…
    These are respectable people [don't you think] and their sensible usage of terminology matches that of contemporary professional climate scientists and physicists, which is my whole point.

  402. Leif, as a side point, it is an interesting question which part of the energy content in the ocean you can clearly identify as “heat.” That seems to be the key objection to the use (or misuse) of the term “heat.”

  403. Pamela Gray (19:19:33) :

    Shortwave radiation (direct Sunlight) heats salt water to relatively deep layers, measured in meters.

    The depth of SW penetration can be 150 m (!) in some places.

    Warmed air…can heat salt water only shallowly, measured in mm. This layer of saltwater loses heat to evaporation like crazy, so it is rather impossible to say with a straight face that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are responsible for stored heat in the oceans.

    This idea keeps on coming up in discussions. In fact, the mixed layer is often 50-100 m deep, so I would feel quite comfortable saying that the atmosphere is capable of heating the ocean deeper than the few-mm “skin.” Keep in mind that water vapor is also condensing at the sea surface (the transfer of heat is not one-way). In all, the thermal skin idea is not a strong rebuttal of the GHG “heating” idea.

    Wind is capable of moving water (and ice). The at rest state would be warmed water that stays in place.

    Such a quescient state is rather special. A well-mixed layer tens of meters deep is a more usual observation.

    If wind moves the warm water, cold water upwelling replaces it.

    Cold water upwells when there is a divergence in the warm surface layer. On the other hand, where there is a convergence you can have downwelling instead.

  404. Leif Svalgaard (21:50:56) :

    But apparently not that heat is not photons.

    Uh! Oh! Deeper and deeper you sink into waters of thermodynamics. Is heat electromagnetic energy? Yes, it is. What electromagnetic energy is? Waves and/or photons. Are there EM energy transferred by conduction, convection and radiation?

    No just giving examples of energy that is not heat, contrary to your claim “Heat is energy, so heat is photons”

    If heat is not energy, what is it? If heat from the Sun is not photons, what is it?
    Heh!

    the_butcher (21:20:29) :
    I can’t believe Leif is using other ‘bloggers’ here as references…
    These are respectable people [don't you think] and their sensible usage of terminology matches that of contemporary professional climate scientists and physicists, which is my whole point.

    Again, it’s not a matter of jargon, but of good unpolluted physics. Let’s take two professional climate scientists, Peixoto and Oort; from their book on Physics of Climate, PAGE 346, we read:

    “…are the rates of energy storage in the atmosphere, oceans, land, and snow and ice.” (Emphasis is mine).

    Why they didn’t write “heat storage…”?

    From Modest’s book, Radiative Heat Transfer, we read on PAGE 1:

    “All materials continuously emit and absorb electromagnetic waves, or photons, by lowering or raising their molecular energy levels.”

    And on PAGE 3, we read:

    “Thermal radiative energy may be viewed as consisting of electromagnetic waves (as predicted by…) or as consisting of massless energy parcels, called photons (as predicted by…)”

    Only Leif in this world says that heat is not photons and that heat is kinetic energy.

  405. oms (22:17:13) :
    Leif, as a side point, it is an interesting question which part of the energy content in the ocean you can clearly identify as “heat.” That seems to be the key objection to the use (or misuse) of the term “heat.”
    ARGO measures the temperature in the ocean and computes the thermal energy from that. What is important for this thread is that the professionals who designed and run the system refer to the thermal energy stored in the oceans as ‘heat storage’ [in Joules]. Changes in and relocation of the stored heat are referred to as ‘heat transfers’ [in Watts]. This terminology is consistent and does not leave room for any confusion [except for people that think energy cannot be stored]. One of the goals of the ARGO program is to reduce what they call the ‘heat storage errors’. By measuring the temperature, the ‘heat content’ becomes a measure of the random, disorganized kinetic energy we normally associate with heat. This is very different from the energy in the ocean currents which is not heat, but there is no ambiguity or problem keeping these things separate. So the ‘heat content’ of the oceans is not the total amount of energy, but only that part that comes from the random, disorganized kinetic energy of the molecules, and does not include the bulk kinetic energy of the ocean currents. All this is very sensible and straightforward.

  406. Nasif Nahle (22:45:04) :
    Is heat electromagnetic energy? Yes, it is.
    You say that energy is measured in Joule, but heat is measured in Watt, so you were claiming they were not the same, but now they are, all the sudden, and so on.

  407. Leif Svalgaard (22:55:28) :

    Nasif Nahle (22:45:04) :
    Is heat electromagnetic energy? Yes, it is.
    You say that energy is measured in Joule, but heat is measured in Watt, so you were claiming they were not the same, but now they are, all the sudden, and so on.

    You should know what I’m talking about. If heat is energy in transit between two systems, it propagates (flux) in electromagnetic waves and/or photons, as Modest says. That doesn’t mean the units for heat are Joules, but Joules/second, or Watts, because it is power, or total rate of energy transfer, like in an electrical current. If you write J for heat, you’re wrong. You can obtain the load of energy absorbed by the system and express it in Joules, but it would not be heat, but internal energy.

  408. Leif Svalgaard (22:49:01) :

    ARGO measures the temperature in the ocean and computes the thermal energy from that. What is important for this thread is that the professionals who designed and run the system refer to the thermal energy stored in the oceans as ‘heat storage’ [in Joules].

    If heating results in a change to the general circulation, then a portion of the energy input has done work on the system and is stored in some other state. Thus it is still an interesting question re: the “heat balance” to ask where the energy has gone.

  409. oms (23:11:41) :
    Thus it is still an interesting question re: the “heat balance” to ask where the energy has gone.
    That is true and heating [the proper word to describe transfer of heat] can and does alter the bulk energy, but as that is different from the molecular motions, the separation between heat and other energy seems clear enough.

  410. oms (23:11:41) : on 10.08

    Quite so. It’s the same with the atmosphere near the surface. There is frictional drag of air over the solid surface and this tends to a lead to a rise in temperature; but this process cannot go on without limits and does not. Also, sunlight raises the air temperature, also with subsequent loss via heat flow. So the air has both a heat content and a kinetic energy. It is not strictly correct to say that the near-surface air contains heat and leave it at that.

  411. “Nasif Nahle:Now you’ll come with the novelty that photons have mass.”

    Einstein said that the photon has no rest mass Mo, but inertial mass M:
    M = Mo / SQR(1-v^2/c^2)
    For v=c one gets 0/0, so use hf=Mc^2

  412. to Leif & Nasif :

    Thank you guys !!
    Iv’e learnt quite a bit more about the semantics of heat and the science behind it : Its been an interesting debate and we all gain from it !!

  413. oms (23:23:23) :

    BTW, Nasif Nahle, why are you harping on this technicality? It’s obvious what’s being talked about.

    It’s not just technicality; the way Leif offers is as saying that an elephant is a dog because both are formed by cells, which is plainly wrong.

  414. Alexej Buergin (04:07:02) :

    About units, the Bible (http://www.bipm.org/utils/common/pdf/si_brochure_8_en.pdf) only says:
    [amount of heat] = J
    [heat flux density] = W/m^2
    [heat capacity] = J/K
    There seems to be no agreed definition of “heat”; some people use it only for dQ, others also for Q. So it is best not to use it.

    From your Units Bible, PAGE 118:

    Energy, work, joule: J–Nm–m^2 kg s^−2

    Amount of heat, power, radiant flux; Watt W–J/s–m^2 kg s^−3

    That’s the difference; energy is stored, heat is not stored.

  415. Alexej Buergin (03:47:05) :

    Einstein said that the photon has no rest mass Mo, but inertial mass M:
    M = Mo / SQR(1-v^2/c^2)
    For v=c one gets 0/0, so use hf=Mc^2

    That’s precisely the novelty I was referring to. Momentum is not mass.

  416. Lindsay H. (05:35:40) :

    to Leif & Nasif :

    Thank you guys !!
    Iv’e learnt quite a bit more about the semantics of heat and the science behind it : Its been an interesting debate and we all gain from it !!

    You are welcome!!! :)

  417. Once upon a time, Albert Einsten said:

    “It’s easier to disintegrate an atom than a prejudice.”

    “Es ist leichter, ein Atom zu zertrümmern, als ein Vorurteil.”

  418. Nasif Nahle (07:04:07) :
    From your Units Bible, PAGE 118:
    Energy, work, amount of heat, joule: J–Nm–m^2 kg s^−2
    power, radiant flux; Watt W–J/s–m^2 kg s^−3

    You have put ‘amount of heat’ in the wrong box, probably because:
    “Es ist leichter, ein Atom zu zertrümmern, als ein Vorurteil.”

  419. Leif Svalgaard (07:20:12) :

    Nasif Nahle (07:04:07) :
    From your Units Bible, PAGE 118:
    Energy, work, amount of heat, joule: J–Nm–m^2 kg s^−2
    power, radiant flux; Watt W–J/s–m^2 kg s^−3

    You have put ‘amount of heat’ in the wrong box, probably because:
    “Es ist leichter, ein Atom zu zertrümmern, als ein Vorurteil.”

    Nope, It was not “Es ist leichter, ein Atom zu zertrümmern, als ein Vorurteil” the cause… Copied and pasted:

    energy, work, joule J–N m–m^2 kg s^−2
    amount of heat

    power, radiant flux: watt W–J/s m^2–kg s^−3

    Corrected! That doesn’t change anything. Heat is energy in transit and its units are Watts = J/s. Energy units are Joules.

    How much energy in transit is in a radiant flux on 10 J/s? 10 Joules. Heh! :)

  420. ” Nasif Nahle (07:06:33) :
    Alexej Buergin (03:47:05) :
    Einstein said that the photon has no rest mass Mo, but inertial mass M:
    M = Mo / SQR(1-v^2/c^2)
    For v=c one gets 0/0, so use hf=Mc^2
    That’s precisely the novelty I was referring to. Momentum is not mass.”

    I did not mention momentum, but Einstein did by calling M “Impulsmasse”: M = p/v
    Fortunately it seems there is a tendency to name it “relativistic mass”. (“Impuls” is a bad choice of a name for momentum, too, because it normally means something of short duration.)

  421. Alexej Buergin (09:57:42) :

    I did not mention momentum, but Einstein did by calling M “Impulsmasse”: M = p/v
    Fortunately it seems there is a tendency to name it “relativistic mass”. (”Impuls” is a bad choice of a name for momentum, too, because it normally means something of short duration.)

    Yes, it was A. Einstein who did it. The problem is that some people use it as if it was part of the “rest mass” of an object by adding it to the mass described by Newtonian mechanics. Relativistic mass would be, in any case, the total energy of a system.

  422. Hi Vincent:

    “This seems to be the simple truth. We are changing CO2 and other greenhouse gases much, much more rapidly than the climate system has ever dealt with before.”

    But when all else fails, that is the fall back position of propagandists. No matter the lack of evidence of catastrophic warming, mankind is said to be changing the atmosphere much more rapidly than the earths climate has EVER dealt with before.

    Ever dealt with before! Really? Certain periods in the geological past have resulted in vast releases of sequestered CO2. I am thinking of the Deccan Trappes during the Cretaceous. It is estimated that the area covered by these lava flows reached 1.5 million square kilometers – half the land area of India. Could mankinds burning of fossil fuels really match that?

    Being a propagandist generally implies getting paid. Sad to say, I’m not.

    Volcanism generally happens fairly slowly, compared to our geologically instantaneous release of CO2 over the last couple of hundred years. Your statement also neglects the danger from a massive release of methane from the methane hydrates. There appear to be at least three examples of a massive negative C13 ratio shift in the fossil record, fully consistent with the release of massive amounts of methane from the methane hydrates. Ominously, these events are associated with mass extinctions: the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum, the Permian-Triassic mass extinction (which killed about 95% of marine species and maybe 80% of land based species), and a really huge event back in the Precambrian that apparently deglaciated the “snowball earth” state of the earth’s climate.

    The Deccan Traps may have released a huge amount of CO2, but did it really release this CO2 in less than a couple of hundred years? I frankly doubt it. Wikipedia says that the entire Deccan Traps volcanism occurred over a period of 6 million years, and says that the main part of it may have occurred over 30,000 years. Thirty thousand years is 150 times as long as two centuries, and gives the climate system 150 times as much time to adapt to the change.

    Changes in CO2 in the past have occurred generally slowly, giving the self-regulating climate system time to adjust. Higher levels have existed, but the system had time to adjust to those levels. Methane had time to oxidize into CO2, new species of diatoms had time to evolve or adapt, forests had time to advance or recede, rather than burning in huge firestorms. The methane evolving from the melting permafrost had time to oxidize into CO2, and that CO2 had at least some time to end up sequestered as carbonates, and so cushion the blow.

    For a worst case scenario, visit http://www.killerinourmidst.com, to see a well thought out scenario detailing what I belive is our most probable future.

  423. So somewhere in this “heat” donnybrook, I believe it was Nasif who defined what heat was by saying that one calorie of “heat” will raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree C. This would imply that “heat” and temperature are certainly not the same thing; but they are inextricably linked, since absent real atmic/molecular materials, Temperature has no meaning whatsoever. In fact Temperature is measured in terms of the mechanical vibrational energy of atomic or molecular materials. Photons, which are the carriers of electromagnet radiation “energy” are also not “heat” and specifically, photons do not have a temperature; they are quite independent of temperature.

    The microwave background radiation; the remnant of the big bang is often describes as the 3 Kelvin backgound radiation; but this is not the temperature of those microwave photons. The only way that the background radiation photons are linked to that 3 Kelvin temperature is that the observed spectrum of that microwave radiation fits a black body spectrum for the temperature of 3 Kelvins. So any single photon of that microwave radiation carries no other information than its own frequency; and by inference its energy via the Einstein equation; E= h(nu).

    So photons are most certainly “energy in transit” as Nasif and his mentor put it; but having no temperature they certainly are not “heat”.

    Ergo photon energy in transit is certainly not heat.

    It is self evident that photons can travel anywhere they darn well please from the coldest points of the universe to the cores of the hottest stars; and with no second law violation.

    Heat on the other hand cannot do that unassisted; at least not in a reversible system.

  424. Anyway, CO2 is not doing any damage to nature. It’s not the cause of climate changes, but just the opposite: Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere obey to climate changes.

  425. George E. Smith (13:12:33) :

    So somewhere in this “heat” donnybrook, I believe it was Nasif who defined what heat was by saying that one calorie of “heat” will raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree C.

    It was Leif [Leif Svalgaard (18:15:04)] who did it, although defining specific heat capacity.

    This would imply that “heat” and temperature are certainly not the same thing; but they are inextricably linked, since absent real atmic/molecular materials, Temperature has no meaning whatsoever. In fact Temperature is measured in terms of the mechanical vibrational energy of atomic or molecular materials. Photons, which are the carriers of electromagnet radiation “energy” are also not “heat” and specifically, photons do not have a temperature; they are quite independent of temperature.

    The microwave background radiation; the remnant of the big bang is often describes as the 3 Kelvin backgound radiation; but this is not the temperature of those microwave photons. The only way that the background radiation photons are linked to that 3 Kelvin temperature is that the observed spectrum of that microwave radiation fits a black body spectrum for the temperature of 3 Kelvins. So any single photon of that microwave radiation carries no other information than its own frequency; and by inference its energy via the Einstein equation; E= h(nu).

    So photons are most certainly “energy in transit” as Nasif and his mentor put it; but having no temperature they certainly are not “heat”.

    Ergo photon energy in transit is certainly not heat.

    It is self evident that photons can travel anywhere they darn well please from the coldest points of the universe to the cores of the hottest stars; and with no second law violation.

    Heat on the other hand cannot do that unassisted; at least not in a reversible system.

  426. George E. Smith (13:12:33) :

    So somewhere in this “heat” donnybrook, I believe it was Nasif who defined what heat was by saying that one calorie of “heat” will raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree C.

    It was Leif [Leif Svalgaard (18:15:04)] who did it, although defining specific heat capacity.

    This would imply that “heat” and temperature are certainly not the same thing; but they are inextricably linked, since absent real atmic/molecular materials, Temperature has no meaning whatsoever. In fact Temperature is measured in terms of the mechanical vibrational energy of atomic or molecular materials.

    Exactly.

    Photons, which are the carriers of electromagnet radiation “energy” are also not “heat” and specifically, photons do not have a temperature; they are quite independent of temperature.

    Indeed, photons are not heat, but heat is photons.

    The microwave background radiation; the remnant of the big bang is often describes as the 3 Kelvin backgound radiation; but this is not the temperature of those microwave photons. The only way that the background radiation photons are linked to that 3 Kelvin temperature is that the observed spectrum of that microwave radiation fits a black body spectrum for the temperature of 3 Kelvins. So any single photon of that microwave radiation carries no other information than its own frequency; and by inference its energy via the Einstein equation; E= h(nu).

    Agreed, except for your odd phrase “the remnant of the big bang…”

    So photons are most certainly “energy in transit” as Nasif and his mentor put it; but having no temperature they certainly are not “heat”.

    Ergo photon energy in transit is certainly not heat.

    Check! Photons are not heat, but heat is photons.

    It is self evident that photons can travel anywhere they darn well please from the coldest points of the universe to the cores of the hottest stars; and with no second law violation.

    If and only if those photons are traveling from a higher density state to a lower density state. The opposite way is not possible.

    Heat on the other hand cannot do that unassisted; at least not in a reversible system.

    Indeed, it’s the second law of thermodynamics, heat must be emitted from the source system; otherwise, it is not heat, but internal energy. For being heat, the energy must to cross the boundary out of the system with a higher energy density.

  427. “”” “Remember that Q is a term which is included to account for energy changes in the surroundings. However, we call it heat because it is energy transferred across the boundary of the system as a result of a temperature difference.” “””

    Read that statement from your Van Ness Mentor carefully Nasif.

    Note the restriction of his definition of “heat” to only that form of energy that is transported across a bounday “as a result of a temperature difference”

    Radiation which is a form of energy transport (via photons; or electromagnetic (Maxwell) waves; your choice) is transported even where there is no temperature difference; even in the vaccuum of empty space.

    So what is your definition of the temperature of a photon; for example what would be the temperature of a 2.0 eV photon which has a vaccuum wavelength of a bit more than 0.6 microns, as emitted from an ordinary common garden variety red LED; what is the photon temperature Nasif ?

    And you can give me any answer you like, because I am one of those people who believe that nonsense about temperature applying only to matter.

    My Standard Physics Handbook contains zero information about any of the properties of temperature that are unrelated to any real form of matter. In particular it mentions NO thermometric methods of temperature determination that do not require real materials, whether it be the volume of an ideal gas; or the anisotropy of Gamma ray emission from Cobalt 60 monocrystal, due to alignment of nuclear spins. All of them properties of real materials; no thermometers at all for determining the temperature of photons, or electromagnetic waves.

  428. Quite so.

    Which is why after discovering the first and second laws of thermodynamics it was necessary to posit that ‘Temperature Exists.’

    Kindest Regards.

  429. This is surely a distracting argument over semantics.

    As I recall from my O & A level physics, heat is energy in transit.

    Energy in the oceans is forever in transit as in any non-enclosed system so both Leif & Nasif are right.

    Now get back on topic.

    DaveE.

  430. Hm,

    Like others, I really don’t like the graph at the top of this article. Not that the ellipse is exagerated, but since when does a body orbit around the center point of the ellipse and not one of the focal points?

    And Keplers law says that during an elliptical orbit the orbiting body spends more time farther away from the central body than during close approach.

    Would be interresting to calculate how much that changes the solar insolation averaged over a year.

  431. George E. Smith (13:42:09) :

    “”” “Remember that Q is a term which is included to account for energy changes in the surroundings. However, we call it heat because it is energy transferred across the boundary of the system as a result of a temperature difference.” “””

    Read that statement from your Van Ness Mentor carefully Nasif.

    Note the restriction of his definition of “heat” to only that form of energy that is transported across a bounday “as a result of a temperature difference”

    Radiation which is a form of energy transport (via photons; or electromagnetic (Maxwell) waves; your choice) is transported even where there is no temperature difference; even in the vaccuum of empty space.

    From such assertions like yours, I am obligued to ask you, what the outer space is from physics standpoint?

    Energy is always dispersed from high energy density states towards available or possible low energy density states, even in the cold, 3D, unbounded, infinite space; remember that the Universe is oscillating or sliding over Higgs’ fields.

    So what is your definition of the temperature of a photon; for example what would be the temperature of a 2.0 eV photon which has a vaccuum wavelength of a bit more than 0.6 microns, as emitted from an ordinary common garden variety red LED; what is the photon temperature Nasif?

    And you can give me any answer you like, because I am one of those people who believe that nonsense about temperature applying only to matter.

    I will properly answer your question with another question… What’s the topology of a photon? If you answer my question, you will obtain automatically the benefit of an answer to your question.

    My Standard Physics Handbook contains zero information about any of the properties of temperature that are unrelated to any real form of matter. In particular it mentions NO thermometric methods of temperature determination that do not require real materials, whether it be the volume of an ideal gas; or the anisotropy of Gamma ray emission from Cobalt 60 monocrystal, due to alignment of nuclear spins. All of them properties of real materials; no thermometers at all for determining the temperature of photons, or electromagnetic waves.

    Our thermometers work thanks to photons colliding with the material inside the bulb. I have to tell you that I do prefer to use radiometers and IR thermometers instead standard (conventional) thermometers.

  432. Nasif Nahle (09:46:56) :
    Box 1: [energy, work, joule J–N m–m^2 kg s^−2
    amount of heat]

    Box 2: [power, radiant flux: watt W–J/s m^2–kg s^−3]

    The scientific world has moved from the old restrictive and useless definition to the modern one, where heat can be stored and contained [because it is an amount, not a flux]. I have given you enough examples of that. Instead of sounding like a broken record make it easy on yourself and go with the flow.

  433. Leif Svalgaard (18:42:50) :

    The scientific world has moved from the old restrictive and useless definition to the modern one, where heat can be stored and contained [because it is an amount, not a flux]. I have given you enough examples of that. Instead of sounding like a broken record make it easy on yourself and go with the flow.

    You think so?

    Physicists, old and modern, have writen on this issue, and they say just the opposite than you. How many times I have to quote them or 20 or more of them for you understand that heat is not kinetic energy or temperature, and that it is the energy what it is stored and not the energy in transit?

    I don’t need bogus examples trying to demonstrate that science has changed to a more relaxed solipsist version. Science is what it is and heat is the transition between equilibrium states and that is what it is, no matter how hard you work for twisting the concept. Your definition of heat is wrong. Point.

  434. @Leif…

    1. Internal energy is a state function.

    2. Internal energy is stored energy by a system.

    3. You say that the heat is stored by thermodynamic systems.

    4. Consequently, you are saying that the heat is a state function

    Sorry, but this is absolutely wrong. Heat is not a state function.

    Heat is a process quantity, so it cannot be stored

    Can you store a process quantity? Not even relativistically, Leif.

  435. Nasif Nahle (19:27:55) :
    Your definition of heat is wrong.
    It is not my definition. It is what is used in most modern [and many not so modern] papers [and I think that the authors of those would object to have their papers called 'bogus'] on climate, geophysics, and astrophysics, like it or not. Personally I find it sensible and useful and have no problem with it.

  436. Nasif Nahle (19:39:08) :
    Can you store a process quantity?
    The oceans store a large amount of heat, namely XXXX joules [don't remember what XXXX is, you probably know that, so can tell us the amount of heat stored in the oceans].

  437. Leif Svalgaard (19:46:25) :

    It is not my definition. It is what is used in most modern [and many not so modern] papers [and I think that the authors of those would object to have their papers called 'bogus'] on climate, geophysics, and astrophysics, like it or not. Personally I find it sensible and useful and have no problem with it.

    Show me one from serious physics. I have shown you many authors supporting the real definition of heat.

  438. Leif Svalgaard (19:51:27) :

    Nasif Nahle (19:39:08) :
    Can you store a process quantity?
    “The oceans store a large amount of heat, namely XXXX joules [don't remember what XXXX is, you probably know that, so can tell us the amount of heat stored in the oceans]“.

    Leif, Leif… Are you saying that you can store a process quantity into the oceans???? You’re joking, Aha?

  439. Leland Palmer (13:11:50),

    Yo, Leland. I actually read your link, all of it. I read it with a mixture of astonishment and hilarity. The whole thing could have been written: “BUT WHAT IF________?!?” [Fill in the blank with the alarmist story du jour.]

    You can’t actually buy into that scare story, can you? It’s like “When Worlds Collide,” or “Chariots Of The Gods.” Or maybe even “An Inconvenient Truth.” Conjecture based on alarmist opinion.

    It’s hard to find one paragraph that is more “what if” silly than the next, but here’s a representative one I picked at random:

    “Upper ocean temperatures have risen between 0.5 and 1.0°C (0.9 to 1.8°F) since 1960. Deeper water has also warmed, but not by as much. The total amount of energy that has gone into the oceans as a consequence of global warming, however, is staggering: enough to run the state of California for 200,000 years.”

    In three sentences your guy gets everything wrong.

    First, the planet has warmed naturally over the past half century, and the amount of warming is entirely within the parameters of natural historical climate fluctuations. According to Occam’s Razor, it is wrong to add an extraneous entity such as CO2 to the natural global warming question:

    “Never increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.”
    – William of Ockham (1285-1349)

    The biggest mistake the warmist crowd made was to hang their hat on CO2 as the culprit, when there is scant evidence that the existence of a very minor trace gas is necessary to explain natural climate variability. Adding CO2 to the explanation goes well beyond what is necessary. You might as well add the declining number of pirates to explain natural climate variability.

    Next, your “But what if ________!?!” guy states that the oceans have warmed. Wrong. The ARGO buoy system shows gradual deep ocean cooling.

    And his last sentence can be juxtaposed to say that all of the energy produced by 200,000 Californias went into the ocean in a single year. But see, Leland, the oceans are cooling, not warming. Wherever your guy gets his figures, they’re flat wrong.

    So relax, Leland, methane calthates aren’t gonna getcha. I recall when Howard Hughes built the Glomar Explorer to ostensibly mine the methane hydrate ices that were said to litter the ocean floor. There were stories in the media explaining to the ignorant hoi polloi how the methane would be sucked up and turned into natural gas, and how Howard Hughes was the world leader in undersea methane extraction.

    But the truth was more interesting: Hughes had actually been working for the U.S. government. The ship he built had a huge claw, big enough to grab a Russian nuclear sub that had sunk with all aboard. The U.S. military had located the sub, and Hughes’ crash shipbuilding program resulted in the U.S. picking up the Russian sub [IIRC, they got only a part of the sub, possibly including the code books].

    The ruse worked, and the media [and the Russians] only found out the real story well after the fact. Methane extraction was simply a plausible sounding cover story.

    So here’s my point: if methane is all over the ocean floor like your guy claims, that immense load of energy would have been exploited by a lot of countries. The technology isn’t that advanced; we’ve had pretty good vacuum cleaners for a long time now.

    That tells us that methane littering the sea floor is a pipe dream. Why would energy companies go to the immense trouble and expense of locating and extracting natural gas [methane] from deep underground, or from under the continental shelf, when the methane is supposedly there on the sea floor for the taking?

    Hughes picked up the Russian sub a long time ago [late '60's or early '70's, IIRC]. If that methane were really there, a methane calthate industry would have sprung up to convert the methane ice into cash. But nobody is hoovering methane ice off the sea floor. My guess is because the methane isn’t there, or is there in such minute quantities that it debunks your author’s wacky conjecture.

  440. Nasif Nahle (19:57:28) :
    Leif, Leif… Are you saying that you can store a process quantity into the oceans???? You’re joking, Aha?
    I’m not saying that, but very paper in the last few years I have read on that subject say that, so I’ve adopted what seems to be the going definition of this [and, as I've said, it seems to be a sensible, reasonable, and eminently useful definition]. The idea of heat being something in transit implies to me something moved from location A to location B during the time T. That something was clearly present at A before and is now present at B, and was at all times present along the path from A to B. To abstract that into state functions and the like obscures the fundamental physics. The outmoded thermodynamic definition that keeps stressing that ‘heat is not a substance’ was probably in reaction to the old phlogiston theory.

    Nasif Nahle (19:55:16) :
    Show me one from serious physics. I have shown you many authors supporting the real definition of heat.
    I have already [e.g. Levitus, S., J.I. Anthony, T.P. Boyer, et al. 2009: Global ocean heat content 1955-2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems. Geophysical Res. Letters, Vol. 36, L07608], here are some more:

    Di Iorio, D. and C. Sloan, 2009: Upper ocean heat content in the Nordic seas. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 114.

    Johnson, G.C., J.M. Lyman, and J.K. Willis. 2008. Global Oceans: Heat Content. In State of the Climate in 2007, D. H. Levinson and J. H. Lawrimore, Eds., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 89, 7, S39-S41.

    Lyman, J.M. and G.C. Johnson, 2008: Estimating global upper-ocean heat content despite irregular sampling. Journal of Climate, 21 (21), 5629-5641 doi:10.1175/2008JCLI2259.

    Baringer, M.O., S.L. Garzoli, 2007: Meridional heat transport determined with expendable bathythermographs – Part 1: Error estimates from model and hydrographic data. Deep-Sea Research Part I – Oceanographic Research Papers 54(8): 1390-1401.

    Hadfield, RE, NC Wells, SA Josey & JJM Hirschi, 2007: On the accuracy of North Atlantic temperature and heat storage fields from Argo. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 112 (C1)

    Johnson, G.C., J.M. Lyman and J.K. Willis, 2007: Global Oceans: Heat Content. In State of the Climate in 2006, A. Arguez, Ed., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 88, 6, S31-S33.

    Ivchenko, V. O.; Wells, N. C. and D. L. Aleynik,2006: Anomaly of heat content in the northern Atlantic in the last 7 years: Is the ocean warming or cooling? Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 33(22), L22606, 10.1029/2006GL027691, 25 November 2006.

    Yoshida, T. and M. Hoshimoto, 2006: Heat content change in the surface isothermal layer of a warm core ring in the sea east of Japan. JOURNAL OF OCEANOGRAPHY, 62(3), 283-287

    Willis, J.K., Roemmich, D. and B. Cornuelle, 2004: Interannual variability in upper ocean heat content, temperature, and thermosteric expansion on global scales. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109 (C12): Art. No. C12036 DEC 30 2004

    Willis, J.K., Roemmich, D., Cornuelle, B., 2003: Combining altimetric height with broadscale profile data to estimate steric height, heat storage, subsurface temperature, and sea-surface temperature variability. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(C9), 3292, doi:10.1029/2002JC001755.

    etc.

  441. I see that the title in the top post doesn’t reflect the title of the press release, which goes:

    Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – may also help predict future

    The amendment here is what caused my confusion.

    Long debate ended over cause, demise of ice ages – solar and earth wobble – CO2 not main driver

    ‘Driver’ is defined:

    Any natural or human-induced factor that directly or indirectly
    causes a change in an ecosystem.

    http://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.776.aspx.pdf

    There are a number of drivers forcing climate change during glacial terminations. The mid-range estimate for GHG contribution in the overall warming period (~5k yrs) is 50%. CO2 is reckoned at ~33%, albedo at ~30%, and insolation forcing at about 1% – although I did read one paper that postulated insolation contribution could be as high as 20% – definitely an outlier.

    The midrange estimates put CO2 as the main, but not the initial driver.

  442. Leif Svalgaard (20:47:18) :

    Part 1:

    Nasif Nahle (19:57:28) :
    Leif, Leif… Are you saying that you can store a process quantity into the oceans???? You’re joking, Aha?
    I’m not saying that, but very paper in the last few years I have read on that subject say that, so I’ve adopted what seems to be the going definition of this [and, as I've said, it seems to be a sensible, reasonable, and eminently useful definition]. The idea of heat being something in transit implies to me something moved from location A to location B during the time T. That something was clearly present at A before and is now present at B, and was at all times present along the path from A to B. To abstract that into state functions and the like obscures the fundamental physics. The outmoded thermodynamic definition that keeps stressing that ‘heat is not a substance’ was probably in reaction to the old phlogiston theory.

    That is what the definition you adopted says, what it is pure nonsense. A trajectory (path) quantity or process quantity cannot be stored. Heat is a process quantity, so those sources from which you took the definition of heat that you adopted are wrong.

    On the first sentence from your last argument: “To abstract that into state functions and the like obscures the fundamental physics“, I have to tell you that the concepts “state function”, “process quantity”, “trajectory”, and the like, pertain to basic and fundamental physics.

    On the last sentence from your last argument: “The outmoded thermodynamic definition that keeps stressing that ‘heat is not a substance’ was probably in reaction to the old phlogiston theory.” Are you suggesting that heat, a trajectory quantity between an internal energy state and a second internal energy state is a substance or something of the kind?

  443. Nasif Nahle (19:55:16) :
    Show me one from serious physics. I have shown you many authors supporting the real definition of heat.
    I have already [e.g. Levitus, S., J.I. Anthony, T.P. Boyer, et al. 2009: Global ocean heat content 1955-2008 in light of recently revealed instrumentation problems. Geophysical Res. Letters, Vol. 36, L07608], here are some more:

    Sorry, Leif; in no one of your references heat is defined. I’ve checked out each one of them. Sorry, Leif… You need to quote what I asked for, serious physics references which include the definition of heat as you understand it. :)

  444. All right! That’s enough! You! You go to your room! And you! To yours! Neither one of you has done your chores from all this arguing and it is driving mother Batty!!!!

  445. Nasif Nahle (21:07:36) :
    Are you suggesting that heat, a trajectory quantity between an internal energy state and a second internal energy state is a substance or something of the kind?
    What I’m seeing in almost every paper on climate [and related subjects, like geophysics dealing with the heat stored in the Earth - even referred to as 'fossil heat'] that I have come across [of which the ones in the previous post is but a small subset] is that ‘heat’ seems to have been ‘redefined’ as the kinetic energy [measured in Joules] of random jitters and that it with that definition can be stored and moved about [not thermodynamically, but by bulk movement of the medium by external forces], etc. The very idea that you can have an ‘amount of heat measured in Joules’ is perfectly compatible with this. If one does not adopt this new ‘definition’ or at least usage of the word [which is the real definition], the above papers don’t make sense, and I think they do. So, I stop being philosophical about it and stop nitpicking about it and go along, because that improves communication and understanding. That’s all.

  446. Nasif Nahle (21:18:11) :
    You need to quote what I asked for, serious physics references which include the definition of heat as you understand it.
    Why should I do that? All of these papers take their implied definition of heat [as something that can be stored] as a given and don’t burden the reader by stating the obvious. I just go along and understand perfectly well what the papers are about.

    For example, the paper
    Willis, J.K., Roemmich, D., Cornuelle, B., 2003: Combining altimetric height with broadscale profile data to estimate steric height, heat storage, subsurface temperature, and sea-surface temperature variability. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(C9), 3292, doi:10.1029/2002JC001755.
    would not make sense if one beforehand took the view that heat cannot be stored.
    Now, you can take the view that all of these people are completely wrong, confused, and their papers are nonsense. That is IMO much too extreme a view point and it is perfectly sensible to me to go along with their concepts, because they describe a physical, measurable reality.

  447. Pamela Gray (21:29:43) :

    All right! That’s enough! You! You go to your room! And you! To yours! Neither one of you has done your chores from all this arguing and it is driving mother Batty!!!!

    My apologies, Pamela… It was not my intention. Sorry! :(

  448. Leif Svalgaard (21:35:55) :

    What I’m seeing in almost every paper on climate [and related subjects, like geophysics dealing with the heat stored in the Earth - even referred to as 'fossil heat'] that I have come across [of which the ones in the previous post is but a small subset] is that ‘heat’ seems to have been ‘redefined’ as the kinetic energy [measured in Joules] of random jitters and that it with that definition can be stored and moved about [not thermodynamically, but by bulk movement of the medium by external forces], etc.

    That’s the reason by which you’ve got an erroneous concept about heat. If it is not thermodynamically, how one could understand heat transfer? The “redefinition” of heat is plainly wrong. Point.

    The very idea that you can have an ‘amount of heat measured in Joules’ is perfectly compatible with this.

    Whit what? Heat is energy in transit, so it is expressed in Joules/second, watts, etc.

    If one does not adopt this new ‘definition’ or at least usage of the word [which is the real definition], the above papers don’t make sense, and I think they do. So, I stop being philosophical about it and stop nitpicking about it and go along, because that improves communication and understanding. That’s all.

    I agree, the above papers don’t make sense. Heat is not stored, what it is stored is energy, not the process quantity. Once stored, the energy is known as internal energy, that is, a state function. Heat is not kinetic energy and it cannot be stored. That’s all.

  449. Leif Svalgaard (21:46:26) :

    Nasif Nahle (21:18:11) :

    Why should I do that? All of these papers take their implied definition of heat [as something that can be stored] as a given and don’t burden the reader by stating the obvious. I just go along and understand perfectly well what the papers are about.

    No, that’s what you erroneously implied and deduced.

    For example, the paper
    Willis, J.K., Roemmich, D., Cornuelle, B., 2003: Combining altimetric height with broadscale profile data to estimate steric height, heat storage, subsurface temperature, and sea-surface temperature variability. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108(C9), 3292, doi:10.1029/2002JC001755.
    would not make sense if one beforehand took the view that heat cannot be stored.

    And it makes nonsense from your viewpoint on what is heat and heat storage. However, if we understand that the energy in transit (heat) from one system into another colder system is absorbed and stored by the system, it would make sense. But the flux of energy, which is what the term “heat” stands for, cannot be stored. You cannot store Joules/second.

    Now, you can take the view that all of these people are completely wrong, confused, and their papers are nonsense. That is IMO much too extreme a view point and it is perfectly sensible to me to go along with their concepts, because they describe a physical, measurable reality.

    Again, it is your understanding of heat what is wrong, not theirs.

    Now, for respect to other cobloggers, I’ll stop writing on this topic. My last word is:

    Leif, it was a superb debate. Nevertheless, I am right, you are wrong. :)

  450. Nasif Nahle (22:23:41) :
    I’ll stop writing on this topic.
    So, I’ll not expect a reply to this [lest you show disrespect]. I am willing to accept their concepts of heat storage, heat storage errors, and heat content [which you say are not wrong – Their papers make perfect sense [to them and to me], and probably comes from a double meaning in English of ‘heat’, not shared by some other languages [as I have indicated]. There are other situations where ‘heat’ being defined as transit from a warmer to a colder body is being too narrow and not helping. For example, the heating of the solar corona. It was suggested ~130 years ago that the corona must be extremely hot [deduced from its extent and spectral characteristics], but that realization did not become accepted until the 1930s, held back for half a century by people who knew what heat was being strict followers of narrow thermodynamics that held that it was impossible for heat to flow from a colder [6000K] body to a much hotter body [1,000,000K].

    I do not think it was a superb debate. Rather pedantic, narrow-minded, and crummy IMO.

  451. We need an international Organization to define the exact meaning of words in science; just the way the OICM has defined units of measure, ICAO has defined the words used in radio-transmissions in aviation, and the IPA defines the symbols for pronunciation.
    After that is done, Dave and I will discuss why Americans use neither of them.

  452. Leif Svalgaard (23:04:54) :

    I do not think it was a superb debate. Rather pedantic, narrow-minded, and crummy IMO.

    It never is “superb” for the loser.

  453. Nasif Nahle (07:52:50) :
    It never is “superb” for the loser.
    Go tell Douglass and Knox that they are confused:

    Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance
    D.H. Douglass and R, S, Knox
    Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, PO Box 270171, Rochester, NY 14627-0171, USA

    What you don’t get is that ‘heat content of the oceans’ is a convenient short-hand for the cumbersome phrase ‘the amount of kinetic energy of the random, disorganized jitter of the molecules of the oceans, which can be calculated from its temperature’, and as such is a sensible and eminently useful phrasing that hardly could confuse anybody. It is not ‘the total energy in the oceans’ nor the photons in the oceans or any of the other irrelevancies you have brought up.
    I thought you were done bothering the co-bloggers.

  454. Leif Svalgaard (10:38:06) :

    Go tell Douglass and Knox that they are confused:

    Ocean heat content and Earth’s radiation imbalance
    D.H. Douglass and R, S, Knox
    Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, PO Box 270171, Rochester, NY 14627-0171, USA

    What you don’t get is that ‘heat content of the oceans’ is a convenient short-hand for the cumbersome phrase ‘the amount of kinetic energy of the random, disorganized jitter of the molecules of the oceans, which can be calculated from its temperature’, and as such is a sensible and eminently useful phrasing that hardly could confuse anybody. It is not ‘the total energy in the oceans’ nor the photons in the oceans or any of the other irrelevancies you have brought up.
    I thought you were done bothering the co-bloggers.

    I don’t care if Douglas et al are wrong. You are wrong and point.

  455. Hi Smokey-

    You can’t actually buy into that scare story, can you? It’s like “When Worlds Collide,” or “Chariots Of The Gods.” Or maybe even “An Inconvenient Truth.” Conjecture based on alarmist opinion.

    I won’t bother responding to most of your post, based as it is on discredited paid climate skeptic talking points, many of which you have apparently picked up from this blog.

    You actually appear to question the existence of the methane hydrates, when their existence is a simple fact, documented by thousands of observations including sonar, physical sampling of them, and their nuisance value in plugging up gas pipelines.

    What I will say is that yes, I can buy into the scare story of a methane catastrophe.

    Why?

    Because there appears to be an isotope signature left from these methane catastrophes in the rocks, seashells and sediments laid down during these mass extinction events.

    Methane in methane hydrates is isotopically light, meaning that it is depleted in C13.

    If trillions of tons of this C13 depleted methane is dumped into the atmosphere, you would expect that there would be a massive shift in the C12 to C13 ratios, leaving an isotope signature in the sediments and seashells deposited during these events.

    That is exactly what is seen, sad to say, during several past extinction events, according to many scientists. These shifts are so massive, it is difficult or impossible to account for them by any other scenario.

    Some of these peer reviewed scientific papers are listed as references in the Wikipedia article on the “clathrate gun” hypothesis – the hypothesis that methane hydrates can dissociate and lead to runaway positive feedback driven global warming.

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

    Since you got such a giggle out of killerinourmidst.com, be sure to check these out:

    How to Kill (Almost) all Life: The End Permian Extinction Event

    http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Benton/reprints/2003TREEPTr.pdf

    Snowball Earth Termination by Destabilization of Equatorial Permafrost Methane Hydrates

    http://faculty.ucr.edu/~martink/pdfs/Kennedy_2008_Nature.pdf

    Warming the Fuel for the Fire: Evidence of Thermal Dissociation of Methane Hydrates during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

    http://www.es.ucsc.edu/~jzachos/pubs/TZBTB_02.pdf

    As a greenhouse gas much more potent (twenty five times more potent, on timescales of a century) than CO2, methane is the real worry, IMO. Methane concentrations have increased by more than twice, from something like 700 ppb to something like 1750 ppb, in the past couple of hundred years. Like CO2, methane is increasing “geologically instantaneously” at rates close to one percent per year.

    So, yes, I do think that the methane hydrates might “get us”.

    No, I’m not ashamed to say so.

    What I am afraid of is a series of runaway positive feedback effects, such as methane and CO2 evolving from melting permafrost, CO2 being emitted by burning forests, Arctic melting leading to increased heating by the ice/Albedo effect, evolving methane from the Arctic and Antarctic terrestrial hydrate deposits, and so on. Estimates of the carbon contained in the permafrost run to about 1.5 trillion tons, and estimates of the amount of carbon released from melting permafrost run to a couple of billion tons per year – twice as much as U.S. coal use, and some of it in the more potent form of methane as opposed to CO2.

    What I’m worried about is that the pulse of heat generated by these preliminary feedbacks could start dissociating the oceanic methane hydrates, by heating them. Once this is started, it would be essentially impossible to stop.

    As I’ve posted before, it’s a strange value system displayed on this blog. Normal caution with everything in the universe that we know about that is valuable to human beings is portrayed as “alarmist”. It’s a very strange value system, adopted by heavily propagandized people, I think.

    What you should wonder about, Smokey, is where these climate skeptic talking points which you have internalized are coming from. Certainly, ExxonMobil, for example, made something like 40 billion dollars in profit a couple of years ago, and is known to have used some of it’s vast profits to fund a network of climate skeptics.

    Have as good a day as you can, and get your pleasure where you can.

    The sadness of a doomed people may be all we have to look forward to, IMO.

  456. “Leland” says:

    “I won’t bother responding to most of your post, based as it is on discredited paid climate skeptic talking points…”

    Hey! Was I supposed to get paid?!??

    I’m going to talk to my union rep and find out why I wasn’t paid for my “talking points”! [Truly, "Leland", you come across as a goron tool when you try to categorize anyone with a different opinion as being 'paid'. It discredits you.]

    My point, which I think I made very clear, was if methane [AKA energy] was lying around on the sea floor for the taking, energy companies would have long since taken advantage of that essentially free money and harvested the goodies.

    What does that mean? Well, it means that there is no such thing as methane ices lying around ready to be exploited. It would certainly be much easier to harvest methane ices from the sea floor than to drill thousands of feet under the continental shelf in a hit-or-miss chance of finding natural gas.

  457. Hi H.R.-
    About my name- It’s the one I was born with, it’s not a posting name. That David Lynch would use it for a very nasty character on Twin Peaks is just a coincidence. There is also a real actor who has the same name, I think. Of course, I was born long before David Lynch decided to create a fictional murderer with that name. Talk to my parents and David Lynch, I had nothing to do with it. :)

    Hi Smokey-

    Methane hydrates have been investigated as a source of energy, of course, but not as much as they should have been, in my opinion. The Japanese have actually succeeded in tapping into some of this vast source of natural gas:

    Japan’s Arctic methane hydrate haul raises environment fears

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3740036.ece

    Japan is celebrating a groundbreaking science experiment in the Arctic permafrost that may eventually reshape the country’s fragile economy and Tokyo’s relationships with the outside world.

    For an unprecedented six straight days, a state-backed drilling company has managed to extract industrial quantities of natural gas from underground sources of methane hydrate – a form of gas-rich ice once thought to exist only on the moons of Saturn.

    In fact, the seabeds around the Japanese coast turn out to conceal massive deposits of the elusive sorbet-like compound in their depths, and a country that has long assumed it had virtually no fossil fuels could now be sitting on energy reserves containing 100 years’ fuel. Critically for Japan, which imports 99.7 per cent of the oil, gas and coal needed to run its vast economy, the lumps of energy-filled ice offer the tantalising promise of a little energy independence.

    Our National Energy Technology Laboratory is also investigating:

    http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/oil-gas/futuresupply/methanehydrates/about-hydrates/about_hydrates.htm

    Over the past three decades, expeditions to polar regions and deep-water continental shelves all over the globe have consistently returned reports of methane hydrate. Today, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that methane hydrate may, in fact, contain more organic carbon than all the world’s coal, oil, and non-hydrate natural gas combined. The magnitude of this previously unknown global storehouse of methane is truly staggering and has raised serious inquiry into the possibility of using methane hydrate as a source of energy.

    The Russians in Siberia may have been tapping into this source of natural gas for years in their Messoyakha gas field in Siberia, although this has been disputed. Certainly, the Russians have produced huge amounts of gas from this field, which does not appear to be declining as fast as conventional natural gas fields.

    So, yes, although they are fragmented and often thinly distributed, it might be possible to tap into these deposits as a source of energy.

    In a stable climate, this appears to be almost inevitable. This methane could also be burned using carbon capture and storage technology, and the resulting CO2 sequestered.

    There is even a plan to harvest the methane hydrates in situ by exchanging the methane in them with CO2, and substituting CO2 hydrates for methane hydrates, in these huge deposits on the ocean floor.

    Many things would be possible, except that we are now apparently experiencing runaway global warming. The changes we have been seeing in the Arctic and Antarctic are happening much faster than was predicted.

    That’s part of the ongoing tragedy of what we are experiencing. By destabilizing the earth’s climate, we appear to be foreclosing on our future.

    In a stable climate, yes, it would very likely be easy to extract methane from methane hydrates, and even use captured CO2 to displace the methane from them, substituting more stable CO2 hydrates for the less stable methane hydrates.

    With a stable climate, many things are possible. Without a stable climate, many fewer things are possible.

    And if we ignite a methane catastrophe, maybe life itself will not be possible.

  458. Oh, on edit:

    The paragraph below the NETL (DOE) link is quoting from their site, I didn’t write it. I meant to enclose this paragraph in “blockquote” html, but apparently forgot to do so.

  459. Hi Smokey-

    About getting paid-

    What I said was that you had apparently internalized some paid climate skeptic talking points, and that you should wonder what the ultimate source of those talking points was. There are apparently paid climate skeptics, and ExxonMobil has been widely reported to have spent at least 26 million dollars in the last decade supporting a network of such skeptics.

    Another such network of skeptics was apparently being coordinated by Mark Morano out of Senator Inhofe’s office, according to some blogs.

    I did not imply, nor do I believe, that you are getting paid.

    What I do think is that some of the people that you listen to, and whose talking points you have apparently internalized and believe, are getting paid.

    Of course, none of us know, because of the nature of the Internet, if the people we are talking to are actually paid “ringers”. That’s just the nature of this form of communication, I guess.

    One thing I do know is that I am not getting paid.

  460. Leland, cue the world’s smallest violin when you say “The sadness of a doomed people may be all we have to look forward to.” Doomed!! So melodramatic. Do you need a hanky?

    The good news is, you can relax. On another thread Bill Illis pointed out:

    Just noting that Methane levels are now well below the IPCC’s A1B forecast and it seems likely that global levels will stay below 1900 ppb [parts per billion], versus the peak in the A1B forecast of 2400 ppb

    See? You’re worrying about a non-problem.

    Why is an atmosphere whose composition of non-CO2 gases of 99.970 is percent good — but one with 99.955 percent is bad?? Worrying about a change in a very *minor* trace gas is silly. You’re just frightening yourself needlessly, Leland. The climate is well within its normal parameters. Nothing unusual is occurring. Nothing. The climate is normal. Being frightened about a completely normal climate is the real problem. As the esteemed Dr. Richard Lindzen of M.I.T. observes:

    “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”

    The rank hypocrisy of the alarmist crowd is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Are you personally living in a mud hut with no electricity? Have you traded in your car for a mule? Have you repented for having carbon spewing children?

    No.

    Yet you preach at us like a true believer, instructing us that we must get off our fossil fuel use; stop having children, etc., etc. Of course, anyone has the right to be a hypocrite. It’s not against the law. Good thing, huh, Leland?

    Finally, about money changing hands. If a non-government energy company funds their point of view, it’s somehow evil. But when one of your heroes like George Soros lavishly shovels money into James Hansen’s pockets to push his globaloney agenda, and who also financially supports realclimate, it’s A-OK with you. Lucky for you there’s cognitive dissonance, which allows you to justify that contradiction.

  461. Hi Smokey-

    Leland, cue the world’s smallest violin when you say “The sadness of a doomed people may be all we have to look forward to.” Doomed!! So melodramatic. Do you need a hanky?

    Like I said, it’s a strange value system displayed on this blog.

    If we ignite a methane catastrophe, and we do appear to be on the track to doing this, none of the human race’s past accomplishments, including free market economics, matter at all.

    Several past mass extinctions have apparently been associated with catastrophic release of methane from methane hydrates, which you seem to have stopped denying the existence of.

    The bottom line is that there is a plausible scenario leading to another, perhaps even bigger and more abrupt methane catastrophe, triggered by our continued fossil fuel use.

    Quoting IPCC leader Chris Field:

    http://i1.democracynow.org/2009/2/26/member_of_un_environment_panel_warns

    AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask not only about what’s happening in the Southwest, but a vicious cycle you talked about that could do everything from ignite tropical forests to melt the Arctic tundra.

    CHRISTOPHER FIELD: The idea of these vicious cycle feedbacks is that once warming reaches a certain point, the amount of assistance that we’re getting in terms of carbon storage from the land and oceans tends to go down. And this is quite clear from the IPCC models, and it’s clear from a number of other more recent lines of work. In the IPCC, the models characterize a future in which tropical forests at the high range of warming have a potential to release large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere.

    One of the new numbers that’s a great concern to me is that we’ve been doing studies of how much organic matter is stored in these frozen soils in northern latitudes, permafrost soils, and the new numbers are that approximately a billion tons of carbon is stored in the organic matter in these high latitude soils. Climate model projections indicate that at high amounts of warming large fractions of the permafrost could melt, and some of the projections have that at from 60 to 90 percent of the permafrost melting.

    And the surprising thing about these permafrost soils is that the organic matter that’s contained within them is not this incredibly stabilized, difficult-to-decompose stuff; it’s basically frozen plants that have been sitting there for, in some cases, tens of thousands of years. And when the permafrost is thawed, these plants decompose quite quickly, releasing their carbon as CO2 to the atmosphere or as methane to the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas that, on a molecule per molecule basis, is about twenty-five times as powerful as CO2.

    The basic risk is that if we reach a certain point in the warming, what we’ll end up with is a vicious cycle, where the warming causes additional permafrost melt, which causes additional CO2 to be released to the atmosphere, which causes additional warming, which creates this vicious cycle.

    The most likely outcome of business as usual is disaster, IMO.

    This suggests that we need to change.

    It’s a strange value system, that places business as usual over survival itself.

  462. Oh, on edit-

    Chris Field said there was a billion tons of carbon content in the permafrost. He meant a trillion tons, and the latest estimates come in at about 1.6 trillion tons. This is enough carbon to release billions of tons of CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, as permafrost frozen plant material thaws and decays. The tropical forests look ready to release hundreds of billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere before 2100 – a quantity comparable to the industrial revolution.

    And waiting at the bottom of the oceans, are trillions of tons of methane hydrates a greenhouse gas tens of times more potent than CO2, whose zone of stability will shrink under global warming.

  463. @Leland Palmer (02:35:56) :

    “Hi H.R.-
    About my name- It’s the one I was born with, it’s not a posting name. That David Lynch would use it for a very nasty character on Twin Peaks is just a coincidence. There is also a real actor who has the same name, I think. Of course, I was born long before David Lynch decided to create a fictional murderer with that name. Talk to my parents and David Lynch, I had nothing to do with it.”

    Then allow me to change my comment from “interesting choice” to “interesting coincidence.”

    You also wrote:
    ” Certainly, ExxonMobil, for example, made something like 40 billion dollars in profit a couple of years ago, and is known to have used some of it’s vast profits to fund a network of climate skeptics.

    I see that factoid from time to time. You wouldn’t happen to have a list of the network members handy, would you? I’d be interested in seeing it.

    Oh. “profit” is not a 4-letter word. The only reason anyone in the world besides subsistance farmers and hunter-gatherers has a single morsel of food to eat is because of profits.

  464. Hi H.R. -

    Then allow me to change my comment from “interesting choice” to “interesting coincidence.”

    Actually, I misspoke.

    There is no coincidence.

    It’s just my name.

    I used to hate it, because I thought it made me sound old, when I was a kid. One day I blew up, and told my mom that I hated the name, and she explained it was my uncle’s name, who was my father’s favorite younger brother, that he took care of when they were kids. Since then, I haven’t really minded the name, since inflicting that name on the children seems to be a family tradition.

    Leland, by the way, means something like “in the lea of the land” meaning something like downwind? Dunno.

    A palmer though, was a holy man, in England, who had journeyed to the holy land, and gotten a palm tree tattooed on his back, as a sign of his devotion. He could then beg in the streets, and people would give him money because he was so holy. Of course, there are rumors that some people just stayed home and got the tattoo, instead of actually going all the way to the Middle East. :)

    Anyway, enough chitchat.

    Greed in the service of destroying the planet is no virtue, in my opinion.

    People can make a profit in other ways, other than in spinning what I believe is a true threat to the continued existence of humanity and even possibly life itself on this planet.

    Regarding ExxonMobil, much of the money they made during the Bush years was off oil as a commodity, traded an average of something like 30 times before it ever got to the consumer.

    At the same time that they were doing this, they were spending at least 26 million dollars of these inflated profits to fund a network of climate skeptics to tell lies about global warming that their own scientists were telling them were lies.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html

    I’m sorry, but it would take talents of persuasion beyond even those commonly encountered on this blog to sell such actions as a virtue, at least to me.

  465. Leland Palmer (03:03:49) :

    ..you should wonder what the ultimate source of those talking points was. There are apparently paid climate skeptics, and ExxonMobil has been widely reported to have spent at least 26 million dollars in the last decade supporting a network of such skeptics.

    Leland Palmer the funding of sceptics pales in comparison with the funding received by proponents of Man-Made Global Warming Fear mongering.

    And there are many sceptic scientists who have received no funding whatsoever from ExxonMobile like Dr Christy or Dr Bob Carter.

    Prof Bob Carter “In one of the more expensive ironies of history, the expenditure of more than $US50 billion on research into global warming since 1990 has failed to demonstrate any human-caused climate trend, let alone a dangerous one,”

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,21920043-27197,00.html

    The U.S. alone has spent $30 billion on federal programs directly or indirectly related to global warming in just the last six years, according to one estimate.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,249598,00.html

    In addition to this is the funding from the UN, foundations, universities, foreign governments, etc. Huge sums of money continue to flow toward addressing climate alarmism.

    Former Vice President Al Gore’s claimed on August 7, 2007 that $10 million dollars a year from the fossil fuel industry flows into sceptical organizations.

    Gore launched a $100 million a year multimedia global warming fear campaign. Gore alone will now be spending $90 million more per year than he alleges the entire fossil fuel industry spends, according to an August 26, 2007 article in Advertising Age.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/08/26/global-warming-ads-al-gore-coming-soon

    Dr. Roy W. Spencer, formerly a senior scientist for climate studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and currently principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, “Of course, the vast majority of mainstream climate researchers receive between $100,000 to $200,000 from the federal government [to conduct research in] support of manmade global warming,”

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=081307B

    Follow the money. “Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab,”

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=3a9bc8a4-802a-23ad-4065-7dc37ec39adf

    The message – keep people alarmed – thats where the money is.

    My I ask you why you believe in AGW? Have you examined the science and the predictions? What are your scientific credentials?

  466. PS Just to help you with the maths 26 million = 0.026 Billion. 50 Billion spent on Man-made global warming research is 49.974 Billion more than you say is spent by Exxonmobile. Or in percentage terms 192,308% more than the Exxonmobile money.

    And thats “May I ask you..”

  467. I’ve read that the single comapny, ExxonMobil, has produced sufficient fossil fuels to account for roughly five percent of global warming.

    The cost of global warming, if we ignite a methane catastrophe, could be infinite- it could destroy everything.

    Here is a reference to a paper that estimates value of goods and services provided to humanity by the biosphere:

    http://www.uvm.edu/giee/publications/Nature_Paper.pdf

    For the entire biosphere, the value (most of which is outside the market) is estimated to be in the range of US$16–54 trillion per year, with an average of US$33trillion per year. Because of the nature of the uncertainties, this must be considered a minimum estimate. Global gross national product total is around US$18 trillion per year.

    So, speaking roughly and approximately, it seems to me that ExxonMobil should be fined something like 1.5 trillion dollars per year for the damage that they are inflicting on the world’s biosphere, since if a methane catastrophe is ignited, we are talking about an almost complete loss of those goods and services that the biosphere has given us in the past for free. Since a methane catastrophe, once ignited, woud be hard or impossible to stop, it seems legitimate to hold those companies that knowingly profited from igniting it legally liable for all of the damages caused by their actions.

    Since their gross sales are about 350 billion per year, or so, it looks to me like their continued operation is a losing proposition.

    If fighting global warming, cleaning up the mess that the fossil fuel companies have made, becomes too expensive for the public to finance, I think we should just go after the hugely rich stockholders of the fossil fuel companies such as the Rockefeller family, and hold them legally liable for the damage that they have knowingly done to the earth’s biosphere. Since their own scientists have been telling them for a couple of decades now that the link between global warming and fossil fuel use is incontrovertible, and they have been knowingly lying about it, I’d say the public has a very good case for complete nationalization of all oil companies and all profits those oil companies have ever made.

  468. Quoting Harry Truman-

    Oh, I don’t give ‘em Hell, I just tell the truth, and they think it’s Hell.

  469. Continuing with that theme-

    The Council on Foreign Relations has been dominated by the Rockefeller family for decades. This is of course the same Rockefeller family is descended from John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil oil monopoly that once controlled something like 90% of all the refinery capacity in the U.S. The Rockefeller family still retains enough control over ExxonMobil to oust the ex-CEO of ExxonMobil Lee Raymond, and send him back to Texas with his 450 million dollar golden parachute.

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

    The Chairman Emeritus of the CFR, for example, is David Rockefeller.

    Scott Borgerson, a visiting fellow at the CFR, (meaning he’s a member of the CFR think tank and is on the payroll) has been touting the value of Arctic resources lately, in a series of articles in the CFR’s journal Foreign Affairs, and testimony before Congress.

    His message?

    The Arctic is melting, it doesn’t really matter why. It’s just melting, is all, with “stunning speed”, so that the Arctic might be ice free in the summer by 2013.

    This opens up business opportunities in the Arctic including access to many trillions of dollars worth of oil and natural gas, constituting something like 22% of all the remaining undiscovered hydrocarbons on the planet.

    And we better hurry, before the Russians get it.

    In testimony before the House foreign relations committee, Borgerson wistfully noted that the Russians have some really nice ice breakers, and what the U.S. really needs is a really nice fleet of nuclear powered ice breakers ourselves, at a couple of billion dollars per ship, built with public money, of course. We need these icebreakers presumably to break the ice for following oil tankers, especially during the fall, winter and spring. These oil tankers would presumably be harvesting oil from oil wells drilled in the ice free Arctic summers, under what is currently polar icecap.

    Notice the different messages here, for different groups.

    For the poor people duped by their network of climate skeptics, the message is that global warming is not occurring, at all.

    For investors, and people that read the CFR;s output, the message is “Go North, Young Man!”. There’s money to be made in the Arctic, when the ice melts.

    For a list of Borgerson’s articles, and links to his testimony before Congress, go here:

    http://www.cfr.org/bios/13363/

    Here’s a sample:

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/64905/scott-g-borgerson/the-great-game-moves-north

    The Great Game Moves North

    The Arctic is the fastest-warming region on earth and continues to melt at a breathtaking rate. Last summer, for the first time in history, the polar icecap retreated far enough to open sea routes north of Eurasia as well as North America, and it is expected to be completely ice-free during the summer months in 2013….

    ….he polar icecap in the central Arctic Ocean thinned by half between 2001 and 2007. Other signs — such as warmer deep-water ocean currents, greater albedo feedback loops, and massive ice shelves breaking free — point to further melting. Scientists are increasingly concerned that the thawing permafrost will disgorge millions of tons of methane, unleashing what some refer to as a “climate bomb,” a runaway warming cycle that could dramatically raise the planet’s temperature…..

    ….Last July, the U.S. Geological Survey released the first-ever comprehensive assessment of the region’s oil and gas potential, and the numbers are staggering. Based on a resource appraisal of technically recoverable hydrocarbons, the Arctic contains about 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and about 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas. Together this represents 22 percent of all untapped but technically recoverable hydrocarbons. More than 80 percent of these resources lie offshore.

    “The results are staggering”, indeed.

    ExxonMobil appears to want the Arctic to melt, so that they can drill for oil under our current polar icecap, IMO.

    And they are knowingly willing to risk igniting a methane catastrophe, to get that oil and natural gas.

    I’m sorry, I forgot about voting for either Rex Tillerson or David Rockefeller for Emperor of the World.

  470. Leland is such a complete hypocrite, isn’t he? Quoting Truman makes him even more insufferable; Leland actually believes he’s got a handle on the truth! What normal person can tolerate a preachy environut?

    The non-wacko scientific community doesn’t publish about a methane catastrophe because it’s so improbable. If people started sending manuscripts around to be peer reviewed, arm-waving about the danger of the [pretty much non-existent] methane ices supposedly littering the sea floor, the laughter from normal scientists would make them slink away.

    Leland says “if we ignite a methane catastrophe, could be infinite- it could destroy everything.” But at the same time, our favorite hypocrite admits to having carbon spewing children, and he admits to driving a carbon spewing automobile [and most likely more than one], and he admits to using carbon spewing heat for his carbon spewing home. I would ask Leland how he can be so hypocritical, but his cognitive dissonance provides him with logic-free cover. The answer, of course, is for Leland to immediately stop his use of fossil fuels. But like Al Gore, Leland only preaches at everyone else to stop their use of fossil fuels, while Leland enjoys the benefits of his extravagant petroleum burning.

    To solve the invented methane crisis, Leland says, “it seems to me that ExxonMobil should be fined something like 1.5 trillion dollars per year for the damage that they are inflicting on the world’s biosphere.” Of course any such fine would be simply passed on to the consumer in the form of much higher prices, hitting the poorest really hard; Leland likes that, being an elitist. And Al Gore would agree with him.

    Nobody likes a hypocrite. Leland’s only honest course of action requires that he must give up the use of any and all fossil fuel-based energy. Whining that Exxon should be fined, while still using their products, is a clear cop out. When Leland gives up the benefits of petroleum, he will be on the road to credibility. Until then, Leland is a monumental hypocrite, serene in his cognitive dissonance.

  471. Hi Smokey-

    The non-wacko scientific community doesn’t publish about a methane catastrophe because it’s so improbable. If people started sending manuscripts around to be peer reviewed, arm-waving about the danger of the [pretty much non-existent] methane ices supposedly littering the sea floor, the laughter from normal scientists would make them slink away.

    Wrong.

    There are plenty of peer reviewed scientific papers on the clathrate gun hypothesis, several of which I have referenced on this thread, and increasingly serious scientists like Chris Field are taking them seriously. Also the C13 isotope signatures left by past methane catastrophes are real, and are so massive that they are difficult or impossible to explain any other way.

    What can I say about someone so in love with a conclusion that they are able to ignore the fact of the existence of trillions of tons of methane hydrates?

    The Council on Foreign Relations Scott Borgerson himself takes the “climate bomb” scenarios seriously.

    ….The polar icecap in the central Arctic Ocean thinned by half between 2001 and 2007. Other signs — such as warmer deep-water ocean currents, greater albedo feedback loops, and massive ice shelves breaking free — point to further melting. Scientists are increasingly concerned that the thawing permafrost will disgorge millions of tons of methane, unleashing what some refer to as a “climate bomb,” a runaway warming cycle that could dramatically raise the planet’s temperature…..

    Scott Borgerson just looks upon the melting of the Arctic as a business opportunity.

    Regarding hypocracy, is that really what this debate is about? The hypocracy of individuals?

    I thought it was about whether the climate was destabilizing.

    Yes, I use fossil fuels.

    No I don’t like it.

    Yes, I minimize their use, and am looking for alternatives.

    But is this debate really about me, or any other individual, and not about the climate?

  472. Hi Smokey-

    To solve the invented methane crisis, Leland says, “it seems to me that ExxonMobil should be fined something like 1.5 trillion dollars per year for the damage that they are inflicting on the world’s biosphere.” Of course any such fine would be simply passed on to the consumer in the form of much higher prices, hitting the poorest really hard; Leland likes that, being an elitist. And Al Gore would agree with him.

    Also, not so. I’m much more of a populist, than an elitist. For elitists, look among the financial elite, and I’m one of the po’ folk.

    Yeah, we saw some of that financial efficiency of huge oil companies, during the Bush Administration, during which they colluded to drive the price of oil up by excessive futures speculation, and made huge profits from four dollar per gallon gasoline.

    If we nationalized the oil companies, the price of gasoline would go down. If we convert most of our transportation fleet to become plug in hybrids and use electricity, the demand for gasoline will become more flexible, and the price of gasoline will go down.

    That’s really what ExxonMobil’s disinformation campaign is all about. Through paid spokespeople like Rush Limbaugh, they seek to convince people that giving up their really most basic human right – the right to a stable climate – is in their self interest.

    Considering the huge value of the free goods and services we currently receive from the biosphere, an unstable climate cannot possibly be in the self-interest of the great majority of the people.

  473. “That’s really what ExxonMobil’s disinformation campaign is all about. Through paid spokespeople like Rush Limbaugh, [...]”

    It wouldn’t surprise me that $26 million wouldn’t cover Rush’s golf expenses for a year. Where did the rest of the money go?

    “[...] they seek to convince people that giving up their really most basic human right – the right to a stable climate – is in their self interest. [...]”

    Ahhhh… Now we come to the crux of your misunderstanding. Since when has the climate ever been stable? The earth’s climate has always been changing one way or another without the help of mankind, thank you very much.

    Talking about “the right to a stable climate” is nonsense. Be sure to yell that out to the next glacier that plows through Indianapolis, as one surely will. Earth’s climate has never been stable. I’ve got a couple of million years of history on my side of the argument. What do you have; unproven climate models? I’ll stick with geological evidence on the climate change topic.

  474. Hi H.R.

    Rush Limbaugh’s last contract was for 400 million dollars, for 8 years. That’s fifty million dollars per year.

    Limbaugh claims himself to be a “friend to corporate America”.

    Oh really?

    Who knew?

    I’ve been Googling Clear Channel, which is Limbaugh’s employer, and looking for connections to oil. So far, no luck, though. Clear channel is currently controlled by a group of private equity firms. I’ll keep digging, and let you know what I find out, though.

    The climate in the past has changed very slowly, compared to today’s “geologically instantaneous” changes. And the changes are accelerating.

    That’s what Al Gore’s “hockey stick” graph is all about.

    One time that the climate may have changed almost as fast as today, was during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, which killed something like 95 percent of all marine species, and something like 80 percent of terrestrial species. It was the most severe mass extinction in history, and was the only known mass extinction of insects. It was probably due to a methane catastrophe, certainly the isotope signature of a massive Carbon 13 negative shift, almost certainly caused by the release of trillions of tons of isotopically light methane, is there in the sediment. The oceans apparently turned anoxic, there was large production of hydrogen sulfide by the oceans, and it took the earth’s climate roughly 100,000 years to recover.

    One way to think about it is that climate change has been so slow in the past that any systematic change was unlikely to be observed in any single human lifetime.

    Any systematic change within a single human lifetime likely means that the system is out of control. And what we are seeing right now is perceptible (massive) change in the polar caps, for example, within a few years. Also, the vast majority of the changes we are seeing are in a single direction – warming.

    I know that the observational evidence for AGW, which is massive, is ignored or ridiculed on this blog. But it is certainly there. Hundreds or thousands of observations and scientific studies, from many different fields of science, point to warming, as detailed in the latest IPCC report, and other even more alarming findings since then.

    Concerning rates of climate change, the Permain- Triassic mass extinction doesn’t seem like a very good role model, does it?

  475. Howdy Leland:

    “Hi H.R.

    Rush Limbaugh’s last contract was for 400 million dollars, for 8 years. That’s fifty million dollars per year.”

    How much of that $400 million was paid by Exxon Mobil? You’re a little short of pertinent facts. We were discussing Exxon Mobil paying $26 million to Rush et al. Break down that $400 million will ya or are you telling me that Exxon Mobil pays Rush $50 million per year? Heck skip that. All I ever asked for was a breakdown of the $26 million: who, what, when, where, how much?

    “That’s what Al Gore’s “hockey stick” graph is all about.”

    Um… Mann’s methodology produces a hockey stick with random noise as input (see Climate Audit for a thorough discussion of of Mann’s methodology). Mann’s hockey stick is about a couple of years of wasted time and money, not climate change.

    “One time that the climate may have changed almost as fast as today, was during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, which killed something like 95 percent of all marine species, and something like 80 percent of terrestrial species. It was the most severe mass extinction in history, and was the only known mass extinction of insects. It was probably due to a methane catastrophe, certainly the isotope signature of a massive Carbon 13 negative shift, almost certainly caused by the release of trillions of tons of isotopically light methane, is there in the sediment. The oceans apparently turned anoxic, there was large production of hydrogen sulfide by the oceans, and it took the earth’s climate roughly 100,000 years to recover.”

    I agree wholeheartedly that there has and will be mass extinctions such as the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. But where was humankind’s fingerprint in that pie, or in the other mass extinctions for that matter? I’m still having a hard time understanding where the catastrophe is going to come from wrt CO2 if CO2 is increasing but temperatures (or more importantly, ocean heat content as measured by the Argo bouys) is essentially flat.

    So where are the feedbacks that cause runaway global warming? It’s never happened before when CO2 levels were much, much higher than current times. Where were the feedbacks then? Why will they work “this time” but they didn’t work in the past?

    Milankovitch cycles coupled with the positions of the continental land masses get my vote for controlling influence wrt global climate change. Glacials and interglacials are just weather until the continents move about into a position for real global climate change. That is, if an asteroid doesn’t get us first.

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