Is Jim Hansen’s Global Temperature Skillful?

Guest Post By John R. Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville

via Dr. Roger Pielke Sr’s blog: Climate Science

The three warm-color time series are taken from Hansen’s published testimony in June 1988 in which global surface air temperatures were projected under three scenarios by his global climate model.

The red curve follows a scenario (A) of continued emissions growth based on the previous 20 years before 1988 (which turned out to be an underestimate of actual emissions growth.) The orange represents a scenario (B) of fixed emissions at the rate achieved in the 1980s. The yellow curve portrays a scenario (C) in which “a drastic reduction” in GHG emissions is assumed for 1990-2000. The observations are global tropospheric temperatures adjusted to mimic the magnitude of surface temperature variability and trends according to published climate model simulations (i.e. a reduction in satellite anomalies by 0.83.)

After tying all time series to a 1979-83 reference mean, one can see the significant divergence in the results. (Notes: 1. observed 2010 is Jan-Jul only; 2.) tropospheric temperatures are used as the comparison metric due to many uncertainties and biases in the surface temperature record, i.e. Klotzbach et al. 2009, 2010 ; 3.) both models and observations included the 1982 eruption of El Chichon while B and C scenarios included a volcano in the mid 1990s – not too different from Mt. Pinatubo.)

The result suggests the old NASA GCM was considerably more sensitive to GHGs than is the real atmosphere since (a) the model was forced with lower GHG concentrations than actually occurred and (b) still gave a result that was significantly warmer than observations.

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152 Responses to Is Jim Hansen’s Global Temperature Skillful?

  1. What I find equally disturbing is how Hansen is continuing to adjust post 1998 numbers upwards, and now shows a strong warming trend over the last 12 years which is not seen by UAH, RSS or HadCrut.

  2. latitude says:

    First the hockey stick and now this……

    …..what is this world coming to?

    Thanks for the science John

  3. Robert says:

    What does this mean?

    (i.e. a reduction in satellite anomalies by 0.83.)

  4. JinOH says:

    What’s with looking at the facts? That doesn’t instill a sense of fear. Hansen is an environmental wacko and should probably seek help.

  5. Wind Rider says:

    So, he was wrong even if we had followed his advice. Nice.

  6. Jim says:

    Thank you Dr. Christy.

    For the sake of us unwashed, could you explain “The observations are global tropospheric temperatures adjusted to mimic the magnitude of surface temperature variability and trends according to published climate model simulations (i.e. a reduction in satellite anomalies by 0.83.)” in a bit more detail? I am guessing it lowered the overall height of the observation curve?

  7. oMan says:

    Is Hansen waiting for someone to offer him ketchup for the crow sandwich?

  8. terrybixler says:

    “After tying all time series to a 1979-83 reference mean, one can see the significant divergence in the results.” Divergence is in the eye of the beholder, just ask Lisa Jackson or Obama. Divergence what divergence indeed!

  9. James Sexton says:

    My thanks to Dr. Christy for this insight.

    So, if I use the name “Monckton” will our new found friends from RC come back and take a look at this? Many of them seemed convinced of Hansen’s infallibility.

  10. Jimbo says:

    “The result suggests the old NASA GCM was considerably more sensitive to GHGs than is the real atmosphere…..”

    Amplification of Global Warming by Carbon-Cycle Feedback Significantly Less Than Thought, Study Suggests. See here and here.

    A little known 20 year old climate change prediction by Dr. James Hansen – that failed badly – WUWT

    Model use and abuse?

    U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming,” blares the headline of the July 9, 1971, article, which cautions readers that the world “could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts.”

    The scientist was S.I.Rasool, a colleague of Mr. Hansen’s at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The article goes on to say that Mr. Rasool came to his chilling conclusions by resorting in part to a new computer program developed by Mr. Hansen that studied clouds above Venus. ”
    Source: Washington Times

  11. Pascvaks says:

    Prognostication is an art, not a science. Hansen is neither but he does seem to have a PhD in BS. If the poor guy weren’t in such demand and so busy on the Snake-Oil Salesman Chicken or Beef Circuit he’d have starved in the early 1990’s. Fortunately, it’s still true that there’s a fool born every minute; and some people like Hansen and his mentor (FatAlbert) have a gehnak for the theatric.

  12. Village Idiot says:

    I perceive that we have an honored guest with us in The Village (a hero some might say!). So the village idiot promises to be on his best behaviour (as he was when Lord M. dropped by – though my appropriately servile comments were restrained in the Gatekeepers – oops Moderators – dungeon).

    Just one point, JC. You’re a busy guy, slagging off Jim ’bout his take on things in June 1988 (22 YEH 22 years ago!!). With all due honor and respect that applies to this domain, I don’t seem to be able to ferret out what you had to say for youself back then. Care to enlighten us?

    Hey, I’m just an idiot..but i thought science sort of…moves forward…I certainly have in the last 22 years. Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago? Don’t you feel fulfilled in the way your own career has panned out? Do you feel that slight envy that Hansen is in fact…..well….pretty close?

  13. Jimbo says:

    It looks to me like some others need this skills testing:

  14. ZT says:

    But aren’t these actually scenarios where scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures? They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold. Hence the fact that scenarios show little resemblance to actuality is in no way indicative of a problem with the underlying model. In fact, the models have proven themselves to be robust, in that they are consistent with climatological belief.

  15. peterhodges says:

    fortunately hansen has his own temperature dataset which more closely corroborates his testimony.

    and every month, it gets closer!

  16. Jimbo says:

    By the way here is the Rasool and S. H. Schneider paper predicting an ice age in 1971.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/173/3992/138

    From Climate Audit – 2006
    “Willis E on Hansen and Model Reliability

    http://climateaudit.org/2006/08/26/willis-e-on-hansen-and-model-reliability/

  17. Lance says:

    It’s about time somebody in the field called out Hansen on his out of whack “scenarios”.

    Dr. Christy,

    Please know that however much derision and approbation you may receive from “consensus scientists” your efforts to uphold the standards of impartial, empirical science are appreciated by a great number of people.

  18. Deanster says:

    John ….
    Excellent article. And I agree .. Hansen is not skillful.

    ON ANOTHER NOTE … I have ONE HUGE question. I’m beginning to wonder if something has gone ary with the data sensor on the satelite.

    Looking at all the previous years of data, it seems there is a relatively sharp peak of temperature in the summer. However, this year looks like a car that the power steering has gone out, and it making this wide swing.

    Have you guys noticed this at UAH? Is this wide swing at the top for real?

  19. John F. Hultquist says:

    To paraphrase Richard Feynman:

    When the theory makes a prediction that does not agree with observations then the theory is wrong.

  20. paulhan says:

    Wow, if this La Nina matches 1999, he’ll be off by 0.7C, the same amount as all the warming since 1850, based on the fact that CO2 levels will be at his scariest scenario.
    Unfortunately, other than the fact that this tells us his analysis was not “skilful”, this doesn’t inform us about what would be a more realistic number for a doubling of CO2, because he only based his assumptions on that one variable, when we know there have been far more factors at work, like the PDO and AMO warm phases, the active sun now gone quiet, and the extra El Nino.

  21. Rick Bradford says:

    Hansen treats facts like a vampire treats sunlight.

  22. Ed Caryl says:

    V. Idiot
    Yes, science has moved on…. But Hansen hasn’t. He has “adjusted” the GISS data to conform with his 1988 vision, which is why it diverges from the satellite data. His current projections are just like his 1988 projections, way high.

  23. Curt says:

    Why the reduction to 0.83 of measured?

    The models typically predict more warming aloft than at the surface — typically 1.2 times as much. So if you have measurements aloft (as from the satellites), and you want to infer the comparable surface values, you multiply by 1/1.2 = 0.83.

  24. Jimbo says:

    Village Idiot
    “Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago?”

    Because if he was so wrong in the past why should we re-structure our whole global energy infrastructure based on anything he says today? People are more cautious than you perhaps as our careers earned us what we have and we’ll be damned if we rely on someone as dangerous for humanity as Jim. If his prediction was about the frequency of supernova in our galaxy no one would give a damn if he got it wrong.

  25. Stephan says:

    A wild guess but I am venturing tthat looking at time lapse CT and the shape of DMI NH ice extent curve, that melt is about over and that we are about to get one hell of a surprise.

  26. JamesS says:

    @Village Idiot
    The point in question is not what anyone else said about the climate 22 years ago, but what someone DID say about it, and how those predictions have turned out.

    Also: “pretty close”? I may be misreading the chart, but it looks like Hanson’s predictions were for a 0.8 C to 1.2 C rise by 2010, whereas the observed is around 0.5 C.

    I don’t think most scientists would consider an error of 60-140% “close.”

  27. RACookPE1978 says:

    ZT says:
    August 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    But aren’t these actually scenarios where scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures? They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold. Hence the fact that scenarios show little resemblance to actuality is in no way indicative of a problem with the underlying model. In fact, the models have proven themselves to be robust, in that they are consistent with climatological belief.

    —…—…—…

    ??? The models have proven themselves dead wrong, since they model/predict climate behavior that does NOT occur, even when actual CO2 levels – the models’ most important input (CO2 levels) – are far greater now than the levels used in the models. Reid/Obama/Pelosi are DEMANDING new taxes of 1.3 trillion dollars as a penalty/requirement for using energy based on Hansen’s predictions for the next 90 years.

    Well, here we have Hansen’s predictions for the past 20 years. And, we find Hansen is dead wrong. And, further, we find that the entire CAGW community of supposed scientists completely unable to either explain their problem, recognize their problem even exists, nor correct their problem with their precious CO2-induced CAGW theory.

    Is there a problem using 20 year old theories? Well, Hansen relies on his (unverified and unsubstantiated) 1987 paper to justify extrapolating temperatures 1200 km away from measurement sites. What “new” and “corrected” temperatures has Hansen predicted the past few years? Or has he been too busy talking to friendly reporters, supporting riots and testifying (falsely) in British courts to stop badly-needed new energy sources to actually do “research”?

  28. Snowlover123 says:

    So, NASA was completely wrong, as usual. What’s new? ;)

  29. Benjamin says:

    Guys, i got a question about HadCRUT temperature record.

    Anyone knows what happened in 1879 ?
    I mean that has to bo the strongest warming and cooling rate ever.

    +0.4°C for 1879-1880 (so 0.2°C per year)
    -0.3°C for 1880-1881 (so -0.3°C per year)

    And that’s a warming event lost in a cold background, so it’s kind of an anti-volcano event.

  30. James Sexton says:

    Village Idiot says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    “……Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago? …..”
    4 years ago recent enough for you? See below.

    oMan says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    “Is Hansen waiting for someone to offer him ketchup for the crow sandwich?”

    Naw, he simply did a study himself stating that he was essentially correct. lol, somethings a man has to do himself. And if you don’t know who to believe about Hansen’s study, well, just ask him! He’ll tell you he was right!

    Stay tuned! He’ll be right back with yet another self-validating study real soon!(Some results may vary. Invented temps used.)

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2006/2006_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

  31. John Whitman says:

    This post adds more weight to my idea that we might see some career moves in NASA during their next human resource evaluation cycle.

    Good luck to NASA.

    John

  32. Wayne Delbeke says:

    Does the recent satellite sensor issues affect UAH temperature data? Just curious.

  33. Jimbo says:

    Here is the global warming signal at the Arctic.

  34. James Sexton says:

    Deanster says:
    August 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    “Have you guys noticed this at UAH? ”

    I have, it seems a bit off to me, too.

  35. Wayne Delbeke says:

    Oops – Do the recent ….

  36. Jeff L says:

    This is elegance in simplicity.

    The true d[snip] are the warmers.

    Wait & see the divergence increase over the next decade as 1st the PDO goes cold (already starting), followed by the AMO next. Then everyone will come to the same conclusion most skeptics have already come to – natural cycles dominate the signal & GHG’s are bit players at best.

  37. latitude says:

    Village Idiot says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm
    Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago?
    ==================================================

    Simple answer, because their predictions do not pan out. Not even in 20 years.
    No one’s understanding of things has changed that much in 20 years.
    What we don’t know still far surpasses what very little we do know, and that has not changed.

    Jim?? I hope you meant that as some sort of idol worship thing.

  38. carrot eater says:

    Robert,
    The 0.83 is a cheeky ploy. Christy is assuming there is tropical tropospheric “hot spot”.

    Christy is taking a model result that tropospheric warming should be amplified by 1.2 over the surface. Then he’s taking the satellite record, and using that ratio to work backwards to what the surface trend would be. This, because he says the actual measurements at the surface can’t be used at all.

    So basically, Christy assumes the models are correct, (and also that UAH/RSS are correct), and ends up deciding the models are incorrect.

    This is nothing new; it’s just the same old argument over the existence or non-existence of the predicted tropospheric hotspot, inverted. But it lets you make a more impressive looking chart.

  39. Village Idiot says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    “Hey, I’m just an idiot..but i thought science sort of…moves forward…I certainly have in the last 22 years. Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago?”

    Because if Hansen’s mythic powers of prognostication are going to be used as an excuse to shatter the remnants of our economy then we should know just how accurate he really is. Since we are unable to know for certain what the future will look like in 20 years, much less the 50-100+ year scarenarios propagated by Hansen and his ilk, then we must look at their older prophecies rather than checking their constantly updated ones which can’t diverge as much from observed reality (and how Hansen observes it) for simple temporal reasons.

  40. James Sexton says:

    Jim says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Thank you Dr. Christy.

    “For the sake of us unwashed, could you explain “The observations are global tropospheric temperatures adjusted to mimic the magnitude of surface temperature variability and trends according to published climate model simulations (i.e. a reduction in satellite anomalies by 0.83.)” in a bit more detail? I am guessing it lowered the overall height of the observation curve?”

    Yeh, I hate it when they start going all “satellite climate science” wordspeak. Makes for a hard read, fortunately this was a short article. I’ll try to give an explanation.

    The “observed” temps are temps from satellites, apparently both RSS and UAH data sets are used. However, these are not the same data sets used in Hansen’s models. Hansen used surface temps, (I presume his own, GISS) A surface temp reading does not equal a satellite read. The satellite is measuring the heat in the troposphere. So, an adjustment must be made to attempt to equate the temps. In this case, apparently -0.83. I hope that helps you and some of the others.

    I don’t favor this kind of comparison, but given the corruption of surface temps data, this is probably the best set of tools, and obviously, Dr. Christy used accepted scientific methods for the comparison.

  41. MikeC says:

    … shouldn’t the comparrison be used with GISS rather than UAH and RSS?

  42. Dr. Dave says:

    I think folks like James Hansen and Tom Karl realize they have a rapidly approaching expiration date. In a couple of years a new administration will likely scour the pseudo-sciences out of NOAA and NASA/GISS. Then what will they do?

    Gentlemen like Drs. Christy and Spencer (and Lindzen, Soon and many others) are at the top of their game right now. What was Dr. Christy doing 22 years ago? Probably trying to figure out if any of this made any sense in the real world. I see folks like Briffa and Mann slipping into irrelevance and…alas…James Hansen slipping into something akin to pre-senile dementia.

  43. Kforestcat says:

    Thanks John

    Your fine example of integrity, honesty, and adherence to sound scientific principles are primary reasons why I send my daughter and money to UAH (budding electrical engineer). I find these commendable values throughout UAH and the Huntsville area.

    I intend to encourage my son to attend UAH when he graduates from high school and will continue to support UAH in any way I can.

    Kforestcat

  44. Bob Tisdale says:

    Benjamin says: “Anyone knows what happened in 1879 ?”

    Looks like an exaggerated and lagged response to the 1877/78 El Nino. Keep in mind that the global coverage was very poor back then, so the data is more volatile.

  45. James Sexton says:

    ZT says:
    August 13, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    “But aren’t these actually scenarios where scenarios are images of the future, or alternative futures? They are neither predictions nor forecasts. Rather, each scenario is one alternative image of how the future might unfold. Hence the fact that scenarios show little resemblance to actuality is in no way indicative of a problem with the underlying model. In fact, the models have proven themselves to be robust, in that they are consistent with climatological belief.”

    Three things ZT, first, of course they are predictions. If they weren’t predictions then why didn’t he list 10 alternate future paths? He only listed 3 because that is the way he thought things would most likely turn out.(many of us call that “prediction”) The reason why this matters, is because HE TESTIFIED IN CONGRESS ABOUT THIS LUNACY. LAWS HAVE BEEN PASSED BECAUSE OF HIS UNFAMILIARITY WITH THE WORDS, “I DON’T KNOW.” Industries have died, careers and livelihoods ruined, resources have been diverted from real problems. In many ways the EPA’s new found authority to regulate CO2 as a harmful gas stems from this wildly irresponsible man’s actions.

    Secondly, “….in that they are consistent with climatological belief.” Yep, belief is about the way I’d put it too. Perhaps theology, but belief is good.

    Thirdly, “..In fact, the models have proven themselves to be robust,…” If by robust you mean consistently wrong, then yes. See the 3 alternate paths of the future, none of them happen to be correct. Oddly, they undershot the CO2 ppm but still overshot the temps in every case, (I feel the need to reiterate the Dr. Christy’s conclusion) meaning they have no idea how much CO2 effects the earth’s temperatures. But what we can conclude from Dr. Christy’s submission, is that they greatly exaggerate its importance. But, I digress. What, pray tell, does robust mean in the sentence you used?

  46. James Sexton says:

    MikeC says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    “… shouldn’t the comparrison be used with GISS rather than UAH and RSS?”

    No, it probably should be if there were any reasonable belief in the validity of the data set. Hansen arbitrarily alters historical temps on a fairly consistent basis. There is no reason to believe (and ample examples to the contrary) that the more recent data is valid. Even HadCrut is diverging from GISS in a significant manner, and they use essentially the same temps. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1998/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1998/trend

    Also, Dr. Christy is more familiar with the sat. temps, it’s what he works with, so naturally, he’d use them.

  47. bubbagyro says:

    Village Idiot says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm
    Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago?

    Dawson died before his Piltdown Man skull was exposed as a fraud. It took 40 years to expose the fraud.

    How many years, V.I., should we give Hansen and Karl before they are exposed to the world? I expect they are conjuring up their next “skull” as we speak.

    Hansen disqualified himself as an expert after his first model. He lied and Karl swore to it. Allegedly. We are charitable to concede that this was an honest mistake or an unintentional prevarication. Their “models” should have the same position of honor in history that the Piltdown Skull has today.

  48. Joel Shore says:

    There’s a number of questionable assumptions and statements in this post.

    First, as carrot eater notes, the actual empirical temperature trend has been made as small as possible by first using the satellite data and then further reducing on the basis of the model prediction that the temperature trends should be larger at the surface than in the LT satellite product. So, you have a bizarre mishmash of data and model put together in such a way as to minimize the temperature trend.

    The justification for this…and not using the actual surface temperature record (which would show about a 1.5X trend) is the surface record being unreliable; however, the satellite trend is not gospel either (and I believe that there are in fact two groups besides RSS and UAH who have done the analysis and reported higher trends than either RSS or UAH).

    Secondly, statements are made concerning the actual emissions in relation to the scenarios that contradict not only Gavin Schmidt’s analysis but even Steve McIntyre’s ( http://climateaudit.org/2008/01/24/hansen-1988-details-of-forcing-projections/), as both concluded that the actual forcings turned out to be closest to Scenario B (if not a tad below in Gavin’s analysis).

    Thirdly, the relative alignment of the three scenarios is different than in Hansen’s original graph (the most complete version of which is available in Fig. 3 of this publication http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1988/1988_Hansen_etal.pdf ). In Hansen’s graph, Scenarios A and B were clearly further apart in the later years than they have become under the current alignment. I assume this has to do with the tying of all graphs to a 1979-1983 mean, but it seems to me that performing such ana alignment actually changes Hansen’s projections from those that he presented…and seems to do so in a way that exaggerates the trend under Scenario B, at least relative to Scenario B.

  49. TerryS says:

    Re: Village Idiot

    You’re a busy guy, slagging off Jim ’bout his take on things in June 1988 (22 YEH 22 years ago!!).

    I guess thats why its good to be a climate modeler. In the short term you just claim “thats weather not climate” and in the long term you just say “22 YEH 22 years ago” and claim the latest batch of models are so much better.

  50. Bill Hunter says:

    Just to think we could have tanked the economy in 1988 ended up with the blue temperature curve and been singing Shèhuì zhǔyì hǎo, shèhuì zhǔyì hǎo! around the sun warmed stone.

  51. boballab says:

    Wayne Delbeke says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:10 pm
    Does the recent satellite sensor issues affect UAH temperature data? Just curious.

    No. UAH stopped using the NOAA 16 satellite way back in Dec 2006 aand went back and deleted out all NOAA 16 AMSU data from Oct 2005 to Dec 2006. From there they only used NOAA 15 AMSU until the NASA Aqua satellite cam along. Now they use Aqua and NOAA 18 AMSU data.

    Update 5 Dec 2006 *******************************

    Data products are still 5.2 and 5.1. For LT 5.2 and MT 5.1 we have
    eliminated the data from NOAA-16 after September 2005 when NOAA-16
    began to diverge in a manner that suggested NOAA-16 was having problems.
    Thus, the data since Oct 2005 is based on NOAA-15. The net effect on this
    change was to increase post-Oct 2005 temperatures slightly, and thus the
    global trend is increased by about 0.01 C/decade.

    ftp://ghrc.nsstc.nasa.gov/pub/data/msu/t2lt/readme.13Apr2010

    RSS dropped NOAA 16 shortly after that in 2007, also the sensor used for UAH and RSS is the AMSU, what went wrong this time with NOAA 16 was the AVHRR sensor (something that had been wonky on that bird since 2003).

  52. James Sexton says:

    Bill Hunter says:
    August 13, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    “Just to think we could have tanked the economy in 1988 ended up with the blue temperature curve and been singing Shèhuì zhǔyì hǎo, shèhuì zhǔyì hǎo! around the sun warmed stone.”

    Sadly that lot is a patient lot. They’re still working on it. So, it that Cantonese or Mandarin I need to be brushing up on?

  53. Richard M says:

    carrot eater says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    So basically, Christy assumes the models are correct, (and also that UAH/RSS are correct), and ends up deciding the models are incorrect.

    I see math is not one of your strong points. Assuming something is correct and finding a contradiction is one of the most powerful mathematical tools. Your ignornace is noted.

  54. JER0ME says:

    Village Idiot says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Just one point, JC. You’re a busy guy, slagging off Jim ’bout his take on things in June 1988 (22 YEH 22 years ago!!). With all due honor and respect that applies to this domain, I don’t seem to be able to ferret out what you had to say for youself back then. Care to enlighten us?

    Hey, I’m just an idiot..but i thought science sort of…moves forward…I certainly have in the last 22 years. Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago? Don’t you feel fulfilled in the way your own career has panned out? Do you feel that slight envy that Hansen is in fact…..well….pretty close?

    Hah, hah! That was very funny.

    I do hope that was meant to be funny. I mean, if all you can say about completely failed predictions is “science sort of…moves forward”, then you are effectively saying that all predictions are useless and we should not discount failed ones, and presumably still have faith in current ones from the same source.

    And because I made no predictions 20 years ago (at least on this matter) does that negate my right or ability to comment on other people who did? Why is that exactly?

    I think you entirely miss the point when you ask: “Why are you so hungup about Jim’s understanding of things 22 years ago?” The reason is that he is telling us we must do what he says or we are all going to die horribly, and based oin his current predictions.

    Good choice of moniker, it seems to fit, I’d say.

  55. rbateman says:

    ‘Is Jim Hansen’s Global Temperature Skillful?’

    If what is meant by skillful equates to taking the temperature of rooftops, parking lots, tarmacs and AC exhaust, then yes.
    Representing that as the real Global Temperature is the half-baked part.

  56. evanmjones says:

    So the village idiot promises to be on his best behaviour (as he was when Lord M. dropped by – though my appropriately servile comments were restrained in the Gatekeepers – oops Moderators – dungeon).

    Our main weapon is fear. Fear and surprise . . .

  57. flyfisher says:

    ok, I’ll admit I’m pretty naive about computer modeling of climate. Does it strike anyone else as odd that one can predict temperatures several years out that follow a non-linear trend? There are several sharp up and down trend lines in the three predictions shown above. What are the parameters in the future that cause these? Isn’t CO2 going up at a steady rate? What could cause the jump in line C around year 2015? I can’t say I’ve seen a graph of future predictions that is not linear, log or follows some sort of general mathematical formula. Any help here?

  58. old construction worker says:

    I seem to recall when the climate model computers were not matching “temperature with amount of Co2″, the operators started pumping more “cooling aerosol” into the computers saying “now we have a match”.
    Is that practice still going on?

  59. KTWO says:

    If Hansen is indeed fiddling with the numbers, or is unhinged, or is no longer competent then we are better off if he produces work that cannot be defended at all.

    Then everyone would be sure, he would be neutralized, and eventually ignored.

    It is material that looks plausible and assertions that seem somewhat reasoned that lead to bad policy.

  60. Jeff L says:

    Anthony,
    You know it would be good to keep the plot (History lesson 1988) up to date going forward – maybe on the world climate widget – since the sat data is already on it – give people the context of how bad the AGW forecast has been (and it will only get worse). Similarly, if the authors of the “Our Climate” app are reading – putting that plot on the app (with permission) – regularly updated – would have a huge impact. As they say, a picture is worth a 100 words. The average Joe will get this – it is not nearly as warm as the alarmists said it would be.

  61. Mike says:

    [snip - try again, but lose the ad hom against Dr. Pielke and Dr. Christy ~mod]

  62. James Sexton says:

    Joel Shore says:
    August 13, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Yes it is a mixed bag of data, but what do you expect? If GISS would quit with their constant adjusting of historical temps(always lower the further back in history, higher the closer to the present) it may be regarded as a bit more reliable.

    When you say, “(which would show about a 1.5X trend)”, isn’t that only true in regards to GISS’s temps? I agree, it isn’t idea to marry sat data with surface temps, but as pointed out, in the article “due to many uncertainties and biases in the surface temperature record, i.e. Klotzbach et al. 2009, 2010 ;” Given the knowledge of the studies, what choice does he have? Should he just ignore them?

    “both concluded that the actual forcings turned out to be closest to Scenario B”, true, both did. I went to the original source of the article, but sadly there was no additional information to be gleaned, so after reading your view and re-reading Dr. Christy’s statement, I think we need a bit more clarification on that point from Dr. Christy.

    I’m looking at the graphs, this one, the one from the original study and Hansen’s 2006 paper. There may be a slight difference in the A/B divergence, but I think mostly it is the graph’s dimensions that throw the visual off. Hansen’s original graph is so poorly delineated, it looks like a free hand, pencil job.(It was 1988) I’m having a difficult time discerning the actual predicted locations for July 2010, but the graph here seems pretty close to the original in terms of lines and points on the graph.

  63. April E. Coggins says:

    KTWO: Hansen is unhinged, as are many in academia who must keep up the lie or lose their lofty lifestyle. It would shock most people if they ever had a conversation with an academic loon.

  64. Oliver Ramsay says:

    Village Idiot says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    “Hey, I’m just an idiot…”

    Quoted in context.

  65. Idiot,

    You think 22 years in the past is a long time for a model prediction? So why do you accept model predictions 90 years in the future?

    They will be just as screwed up as the 1988 predictions.

  66. KTWO says:

    April: Yes such a conversation would shock many. I often have conversations with academics and I detect (perhaps wishful thinking?) growing disenchantment with Hope and Change. The retired are far less cautious about saying so, they risk less.

    Most people are unaware of how much outside funding enhances the academic’s income. Faculty salaries after tenure are usually quite adequate but not lucrative. Grants and consulting fees often bring in far more. It depends upon the field of course.

  67. KTWO says:

    April: forgot to say, unhinged seems likely but time will tell.

    As I said, it isn’t the obvious madman that produces much harm.

  68. eudoxus says:

    Dear Prof. Christy,

    What were your predictions of global temperature through 2020 in 1988? You didn’t graphs those. As I recall, your original claim, based on your original analysis of satellite data, asserted there was no global warming tread. I take it that your current argument is that the earth is warming but not as fast as Hansen predicted it would in 1988, but you do now agree with him that the earth is warming. Do you agree the surface of the earth is warming? Is there something in the UAH record that suggests the surface of the earth is not warming?

    Does the reported UAH temp attempt to measure the temp at the surface of the earth or is it some weighted average temperature in some range of altitudes in the troposphere? Hansen’s GISS data are about surface temp, and don’t measure temps in the troposphere.

    Your claim that Hansen’s 1988 predictions were biased would have had more weight with me if you had graphed your observed troposphere temp data along with some of the standard graphs of surface temp, say GISS, HadCrut, or NOAA.

    I mean what is your claim? Are Hansen’s predictions bogus or is the UAH data not actually intended to measure what Hansen was discussing?

    When you tell me how to calibrate the UAH troposphere data so that it predicts the observed surface temps through 2010, and show that it does, then I will be much more receptive to an argument that compares Hansen’s predictions of surface temp made in 1988 to observed UAH estimates of surface temp (and not some troposphere average temp over some range of altitudes.)

    What is you current formula for converting observed temp in troposphere to observed temp at surface?

    Regarding skill, in 1988, even by your UAH troposphere analysis, Hansen was correct in predicting the earth would enter a period of observable warming. You denied it for many years and for many reasons. But now your UAH data shows it.
    Hansen’s skill, however weak, was greater than yours, in any case.

  69. Alexej Buergin says:

    Dr. Christy
    I would have preferred a simplier diagram. It makes no sense to show the scenarios that turned out to be wrong about CO2-emissions (B and C), and I do not understand why there are different scenarios even for the time before 1988.

  70. Nick Stokes says:

    What a contrived post? Hansen wasn’t predicting LT, or LT (SfcAdj) or whatever. He was predicting measured surface air temperature. His plot showed the prediction against GIStemp.

    And the prediction of GMST was pretty good.

    The author may not like GMST measures, but that’s what H was predicting. As Carrot says, using models to contrive an adjustment to satellite readings to emulate GMST is an amazing contortion.

  71. richard telford says:

    “Is Jim Hansen’s Global Temperature Skillful?”
    That is a question that calls for a test more robust than eyeballing the data. This is not impossible to do, which makes this post so disappointing, indeed it was done recently: http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/08/wiley-interdisciplinary-reviews-climate.html

  72. son of mulder says:

    “Alexej Buergin says:
    August 13, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    ….I do not understand why there are different scenarios even for the time before 1988.”

    Looks to me like empirical evidence of an agenda back then.

  73. Peter Plail says:

    Village Idiot says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    “Hey, I’m just an idiot..but i thought science sort of…moves forward…I certainly have in the last 22 years. ”

    I’m glad to see an admission from a warmist that the science isn’t settled!

  74. Neil Hampshire says:

    Many people have pointed out Hansen’s 2006 paper compared his 1988 predictions to GISS Station Data and Land Ocean Data

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2006/2006_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

    Hansen’s 2006 paper only contains data up to 2005
    Try a straight forward up date of Hanse’s data on his 2006 graph.
    Plot the GISS station data for 2006-09 (0.65 0.73 0.55 0.72) on Hansen’s graph.
    You will find it follows quite close to his Scenario C
    No wonder he is keeping quiet.
    Scenario C assumed green house gas emmissions stopped increasing after 2000.

  75. Jimbo says:

    Village Idiot,
    here is an opinion about AGE and JamesHansen from his former supervisor at NASA, Dr. John Theon.

    “Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon, the former supervisor of James Hansen, NASA’s vocal man-made global warming fears soothsayer, has now publicly declared himself a skeptic and declared that Hansen “embarrassed NASA” with his alarming climate claims and said Hansen was “was never muzzled.”
    ………….
    “I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man-made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009.
    ………….
    Theon declared “climate models are useless.” “My own belief concerning anthropogenic climate change is that the models do not realistically simulate the climate system because there are many very important sub-grid scale processes that the models either replicate poorly or completely omit,” Theon explained. “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results.
    …………
    Award-winning NASA Astronaut and Physicist Walter Cunningham of NASA’s Apollo 7 also recently chastised Hansen. “Hansen is a political activist who spreads fear even when NASA’s own data contradict him,” Cunningham wrote in an essay in the July/August 2008 issue of Launch Magazine. ”
    read more….

  76. Jimbo says:

    Correction:

    Village Idiot,
    “here is an opinion about AGW

  77. tallbloke says:

    carrot eater says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm (Edit)

    Robert,
    The 0.83 is a cheeky ploy. Christy is assuming there is tropical tropospheric “hot spot”.

    He is not assuming there is anything of the sort. The ocean has a much bigger thermal capacity than the atmosphere, and a small change in ocean temperature causes a correspondingly larger change in atmospheric temperature, which lags the ocean temp by 3 months on average.

  78. Johnb says:

    AlexJ,

    B and C were part of the original and are there to display that if we either kept CO2 at a standstill or dramatically reduced our CO2, then according to the model, our temperatures would have turned out to be higher than current. In actuality, CO2 increased and yet the model overshot the result in all 3 scenarios. If the real temperature had fallen somewhere between A and C, then the model maker would at least be able to claim that he was in the ballpark. John C’s criticism is stronger for including B and C compared to reality.

  79. Jimbo says:

    Finally Village Idiot,
    the scientific method demands that a theory makes predictions / forecasts about the future and if those predictions / forecasts are wrong then………… [fill in the space yourself].

    This is why he is under attack for something he said 22 years ago and this is why climate scientists will continue under attack for the continued failed prediction while currently releasing press releases and spreading alarmist stories among naive members of the public.

  80. Jimbo says:

    “The red curve follows a scenario (A) of continued emissions growth based on the previous 20 years before 1988 (which turned out to be an underestimate of actual emissions growth.) “

    Can you imagine what Hansens red curve would have looked like had he known what the actual emissions of co2 was going to be? It would have looked closer to a hockey stick and he would have been even more wrong. :o)

  81. Not Toobrite says:

    Lets leave the scientific aspects of this blog and look at the logic !
    I have a Pierce-Arrow value $1,000,000 I decide to get it repainted, I am introduced to a man who says that he is a professional painter and will paint the car for $50,000.
    He gets the work !
    He did not tell me he was a house painter !
    Value of the car now $10,000.
    I would equate this with J. Hansen, if I had asked the house painter to show me some of his work, my car would still have a value of $1,000,000
    If J. Hansen is all he claims to be, lets see a exact forecast (day by day for next month) if he can tell the world that on Tuesday 14th of September 2010 at 0800 hours in New York it will start to rain and continue until 1327 hours when the wind speed will drop from 10 knots to 2.4 knots etc., THEN and only THEN will his predictions ( ah, excuse me, his self generated models) could be taken seriously for short term weather pattens.

  82. John Finn says:

    tallbloke says:
    August 14, 2010 at 12:45 am


    carrot eater says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm (Edit)
    Robert,
    The 0.83 is a cheeky ploy. Christy is assuming there is tropical tropospheric “hot spot”.

    He is not assuming there is anything of the sort. The ocean has a much bigger thermal capacity than the atmosphere, and a small change in ocean temperature causes a correspondingly larger change in atmospheric temperature, which lags the ocean temp by 3 months on average.

    This is wrong. Carrot Eater is right. John Christy has, effectively, assumed that the model predictions of enhanced warming in the troposphere are correct and has adjusted the troposphere anomalies accordingly. He says as much in this extract from his post:

    The observations are global tropospheric temperatures adjusted to mimic the magnitude of surface temperature variability and trends according to published climate model simulations (i.e. a reduction in satellite anomalies by 0.83.)

    I’ve got a great deal of respect for both Roy Spencer and John Christy, but I’m not comfortable with this sort of thing. I’ve been very critical of Hansen’s predictions in the past but, in the interests of fairness, there are a couple of other points that should be considered.

    1. As someone has already commented, Hansen gave a prediction/forecast/projection of warming and that’s what happened. We can argue about the magnitude of the warming but we can’t deny that warming has taken place. Hansen got the direction of temperature change right. Which (if any) of the solar theorists who are now trying to attribute recent warming to solar infuences predicted a 20-30 year warming trend in the 1970s or 1980s?

    2. I don’t know but I assume Hansen’s 1980s model was relatively crude and it’s not clear (to me) that he correctly factored in ocean heat capacity. It’s worth noting that both surface and LT temperatures over land have increased at a faster rate than over the ocean and that land temperatures (only) show much more agreement with the Hansen prediction than do global temperatures.

    I’m quite happy to argue with anyone who claims that the Hansen predictions have been validated but equally I”ll argure with anyone who claims that the predictions have been a total failure.

  83. Christopher Hanley says:

    Professor Christy’s graph does appear to differ from Hansen’s original in that scenario B overlaps scenario A around 2015, but the relationship between scenarios A and C looks about right.

    The criteria for the scenarios was clearly stated:
    “Scenario A assumes continued exponential trace gas growth, scenario B assumes a reduced linear linear growth of trace gases, and scenario C assumes a rapid curtailment of trace gas emissions”

    On a previous thread, warmers were insistent that the increase of CO2 concentration since c. 1950 was exponential (not linear) which may be correct because it is impossible to tell over such a short period but linear or exponential, there is no way that it can be claimed that there has been a reduction in the linear growth, let alone a rapid curtailment.

    The question as to whether human GHG’s (mainly CO2) emissions are having a profound effect on the climate will not finally be answered for decades unless there is a temperature plunge in the next few years and no one wants that.

    Sophistry doesn’t help the alarmists’ case.

  84. BarryW says:

    Stokes

    Is to laugh. Yeah, Hansen did a “pretty good”. He hit the target, except it was the wrong one. Scenario C is the one it should not have matched. Scenario A is closest to what happened in emissions, not C.

    Say Hansen predicted that if I doubled the amount I put in my stock account over 20 years (Scenario A), I would have X and if I put nothing in (Scenario C) I would have X/2. If I wound up with X/2 after doubling the amount I put in my stock account would you say he did “pretty good”?

    Show us how hitting the wrong target is “pretty good”.

  85. Jimbo says:

    An extensive oral interview with James Hansen and GCMs. October 23, 2000

    “In the early 1970s, my interest was in planets, and the editor of Science invited me to write a review paper on the clouds of Venus.
    …………
    ….I never did get that paper done for Science. So I missed that opportunity. But at the same time, Jastrow had realized that there wasn’t much money left in planetary studies. He was trying to get the Institute more directed towards practical applications. ”

    http://www.aip.org/history/ohilist/24309_1.html

  86. Jimbo says:

    James Hansen interview part II

    Q. If you look back over the last 20 years, how do you think climate science has changed?

    A. I’m afraid that it’s changing in the sense of more emphasis on models, which I think is a mistake.

    Part 2

    http://www.aip.org/history/ohilist/24309_2.html

  87. Roger Knights says:

    April E. Coggins says:
    August 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    KTWO: Hansen is unhinged, as are many in academia who must keep up the lie or lose their lofty lifestyle. It would shock most people if they ever had a conversation with an academic loon.

    Academia nuts.

  88. Joel Shore says:

    Christopher Hanley says:

    The criteria for the scenarios was clearly stated:
    “Scenario A assumes continued exponential trace gas growth, scenario B assumes a reduced linear linear growth of trace gases, and scenario C assumes a rapid curtailment of trace gas emissions”

    Actually, that is only the summary of the general basis of each sceneario. The actual details of each are in this paper: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1988/1988_Hansen_etal.pdf (section 4 and appendix B). That is what allows one to determine that overall we most closely followed Scenario B.

    flyfisher says:

    ok, I’ll admit I’m pretty naive about computer modeling of climate. Does it strike anyone else as odd that one can predict temperatures several years out that follow a non-linear trend? There are several sharp up and down trend lines in the three predictions shown above. What are the parameters in the future that cause these? Isn’t CO2 going up at a steady rate? What could cause the jump in line C around year 2015? I can’t say I’ve seen a graph of future predictions that is not linear, log or follows some sort of general mathematical formula. Any help here?

    Climate modeling doesn’t just predict by fitting to some sort of mathematical formula. It is instead an actual simulation of the climate system and it captures many of the features of the actual climate system including the chaotic behavior that is responsible for the global temperature bouncing around as you observe. Such behavior is due to things such as ENSO (El Nino – La Nina). However, because this behavior is chaotic and thus very sensitive to initial conditions, the climate is not expected to follow the exact up-and-downs of this jiggles: the behavior of this “noise” in the system should be the same only in a statistical sense between the simulation and the real climate. Indeed, simulations with perturbed initial conditions show different patterns of jiggles…but the same overall trend due to the forcings when you look over long enough times.

  89. Nick Stokes says:

    BarryW says: August 14, 2010 at 4:13 am
    No, scenario B is the closest, roughly linear increase in CO2, with a El Chichon type volcano (we got Pinatubo). Hansen said in 1988 that B was the most plausible.

  90. Frank K. says:

    Re: Global Mean Temperature predictions

    Does anyone know the absolute global mean temperature predicted by Hansen’s code (not the anomaly) – how does this compare to the “actual” absolute global mean temperature. Also, how does his code determine the global mean surface temperature? I’ve looked through the mess that is Model E and could never find out where it is they integrate the global mean surface temperature.

    As an aside, it is amazing that people put so much faith in poorly documented and validated code that purports to solve highly coupled, non-linear partial differential equations (we don’t know which ones due to the poor documentation) with very approximate boundary and initial conditions, for solutions extending decades into the future. This exercise (particularly at GISS) is all just a colossal waste of taxpayer money. In my opinion, the government should consolidate all of the GCM research efforts at NCAR and zero-fund the rest of these redundant programs…

  91. James Sexton says:

    eudoxus says:
    August 13, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    “Hansen’s skill, however weak, was greater than yours, in any case.”

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    “And the prediction of GMST was pretty good.”

    And to the rest of the defenders of Hansen. These two comments are what seem to be representative of much of the Hansen defense. They seem to be saying, 1. You didn’t predict warming back then. And 2. Hansen was pretty close.

    First, as I’ve pointed out many times, HANSEN MADE 3 DIFFERENT PREDICTIONS!!! What are the odds that some of the prediction may resemble reality in some way? Well, pretty good seeing that we was all over the board with GHG’s and temps. Let’s review, his predicted temp trend look a lot like scenario 3, yet his GHG prediction is similar to scenario 2. Unless, you want to refer to his 2006 paper regarding himself. You guys can’t seriously use Hansen’s paper as proof he’s right because he thinks he’s right. That’s ludicrous. If you prefer to use land temps as opposed to sat. data, find some other data set that would collaborate Hansen’s. Oh, what’s that you say? It doesn’t appear there are any like his? Here is the other land temp trend since the greatest increase of observed temps. Given that they share 90% of the same temps, there is absolutely no way they can both be correct. One obviously has a bias. Q,”Dr. Hansen, were you correct on your 1988 predictions” A,”Of course I was, all I had to do was tweak with the temps a bit. Here’s my 2006 study that says I was right.”<——————————– Unbelievable, but some here and other places actually do this.

    Here's why it doesn't matter if Dr. Christy was as skilled as Hansen in predicting the state of climate 20 years latter. We didn't pass any laws based on Christy's erroneous judgment. We passed laws that literally affected the entire world based on Hansen's erroneous judgment. Apparently, the twit doesn't know how to say "I don't know." Even when it is obvious he doesn't.

    I predict some will agree with me on this, but others may not. I also predict some will simply ignore and disregard this post. I'll submit this to congress and see if there are any industries, careers, jobs, lives and livelihoods we can destroy based on my predictive prowess. I'll probably do a study that looks into whether I was correct or not later and we can use that as justification for the damage done.

  92. James Sexton says:

    Dang, forgot to include the link that shows the 2 land temp groups and the divergence.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1999/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1999/trend

  93. Nick Stokes says:


    Frank K. says: August 14, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Does anyone know the absolute global mean temperature predicted by Hansen’s code (not the anomaly) – how does this compare to the “actual” absolute global mean temperature.

    Hansen doesn’t do that. He has a standing post at GISS on why it’s virtually impossible to even define a global surface absolute temperature, and why anomalies are essential.

  94. Very similar analysis here with Hansen’s original graphs:

    http://tinyurl.com/6cms9f

  95. greg2213 says:

    JinOH says:
    August 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    What’s with looking at the facts? That doesn’t instill a sense of fear. Hansen is an environmental wacko and should probably seek help.

    Hansan has help. Lots of help. Billions and billions of dollars worth of help. Not all to him, of course, but to people and groups that think along the same lines.

    Dr. Dave says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    I think folks like James Hansen and Tom Karl realize they have a rapidly approaching expiration date. In a couple of years a new administration will likely scour the pseudo-sciences out of NOAA and NASA/GISS. Then what will they do?

    Who are you assuming will be in the new administration? With maybe one or two exceptions the likely candidates will probably continue with business as usual.

  96. Richard M says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:03 am
    BarryW says: August 14, 2010 at 4:13 am
    No, scenario B is the closest, roughly linear increase in CO2, with a El Chichon type volcano (we got Pinatubo). Hansen said in 1988 that B was the most plausible.

    Wrong. Emissions have been exponential. The fact that the CO2 rise has not been is just one more example of the failure of Hansen to understand the climate system. The emissions that he has actively tried to reduce have followed scenario A (or worse). I love to see this kind of cognitive dissonance. It shows how CAGWers bend reality to fit their beliefs. Very telling.

  97. Policyguy says:

    Instead of scrapping the space shuttle, NASA should scrap GISS.

  98. Tsk Tsk says:

    eudoxus says:
    August 13, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Dear Prof. Christy,

    What were your predictions of global temperature through 2020 in 1988? You didn’t graphs those. As I recall, your original claim, based on your original analysis of satellite data, asserted there was no global warming tread. I take it that your current argument is that the earth is warming but not as fast as Hansen predicted it would in 1988, but you do now agree with him that the earth is warming. Do you agree the surface of the earth is warming? Is there something in the UAH record that suggests the surface of the earth is not warming?

    Regarding skill, in 1988, even by your UAH troposphere analysis, Hansen was correct in predicting the earth would enter a period of observable warming. You denied it for many years and for many reasons. But now your UAH data shows it.
    Hansen’s skill, however weak, was greater than yours, in any case.

    —-

    Please. Only those that offer counter predictions are allowed to debate this? Yeah, that’s science at its best. BTW, based on what I’ve read from Christy he HAS clearly stated that the Earth is warming, just not primarily due to human influences.

    Your final paragraph is even more precious. So as long as I get the sign of a problem right, I’ve got the right answer?! OK, I predict US GDP will grow for the rest of the year. When do I get my Nobel? Hansen’s slope is clearly wrong and even more so when you compare the actual CO2 emissions and the predicted temperatures.

  99. Caleb says:

    If Hansen had been in charge of the Apollo Program the moon landing would have been in Fort Lauderdale.

  100. DirkH says:

    carrot eater says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm
    “[...]So basically, Christy assumes the models are correct, (and also that UAH/RSS are correct), and ends up deciding the models are incorrect. ”

    Would that not constitute a 100% proof by contradiction?

  101. John M says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    “And the prediction of GMST was pretty good.”

    Why does your graph stop in 2005?

    Wouldn’t this be more appropriate?

    And even with 2010 in record territory (barely), Scenario B is toast.

    I notice that Village Idiot weighed in with “who cares about 22 years ago” and Hansen defenders come out of the woodwork arguing “if ands or buts” to try to show that he was right.

  102. Bill Tuttle says:

    “Today, I will testify to Congress about global warming, 20 years after my June 23, 1988 testimony, which alerted the public that global warming was under way. There are striking similarities between then and now, but one big difference.
    “Again a wide gap has developed between what is understood about global warming by the relevant scientific community and what is known by policymakers and the public. Now, as then, frank assessment of scientific data yields conclusions that are shocking to the body politic. Now, as then, I can assert that these conclusions have a certainty exceeding 99 percent. ” [my emphasis]
    –James Hansen, 23 June 2008. Opinion piece for Worldwatch Institute

    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5798

    What Hansen in effect said was that *each* of the three scenarios he outlined in 1988 were almost guaranteed to occur. Talk about hedging your bets. From the same editorial:

    “I noted that global warming enhanced both extremes of the water cycle, meaning stronger droughts and forest fires, on the one hand, but also heavier rains and floods. ”

    Hansen’s a con artist. No matter what happens, he’ll insist he predicted it.

    Has anyone reminded him lately that he predicted the West Side Highway would be under water due to rising sea levels by last year?

  103. Caleb says:

    I have never understood how Hansen got away with the “adjustment” of the GISS records back in 2000, where the 1930’s were demerited and shrank to temperatures colder than the present. That, (and also Mann’s demeriting of the MWP,) have always struck me as “cheating.” They seem such a flagrant disregard of scientific objectivity that I feel there needs to be some sort of punishment for it. Instead people are, it seems to me, far more patient with Hansen than he deserves.

    I cringe when I think of all the tax dollars he has blown. I would like to interview all the people who have worked with him at NASA over the past two decades, “adjusting” temperatures. Surely one could be found who would tell the truth about what went on.

    We need a good whistle-blower, or someone in the mood to write a book, “The corruption of NASA.”

    People are far too kind to Hansen. He ought have the book thrown at him.

  104. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    John F. Hultquist says:
    August 13, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    To paraphrase Richard Feynman:

    When the theory makes a prediction that does not agree with observations then the theory is wrong.

  105. John Finn says:

    DirkH says:
    August 14, 2010 at 10:16 am
    carrot eater says:
    August 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm
    “[...]So basically, Christy assumes the models are correct, (and also that UAH/RSS are correct), and ends up deciding the models are incorrect. ”

    Would that not constitute a 100% proof by contradiction?

    No – not in this particular case. Hansen’s model predicts (or predicted) the surface temperature trend. John Christy has used the UAH LT record to “mimic the surface temperature variability and trends according to published climate model simulations” . He needs to explain how this is relevant to Hansen’s model.

  106. rbateman says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:42 am

    If global absolute temps are a virtual impossibility, then why not invent an anomalymometer, and do away with useless thermometers? I don’t need a tarmac thermometer to tell me that it is unbearably hot on my rooftop in summer.

  107. Frank K. says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:42 am

    “Hansen doesn’t do that. He has a standing post at GISS on why it’s virtually impossible to even define a global surface absolute temperature, and why anomalies are essential.”

    So…even though all of thermodynamics associated with atmospheric heat transfer depends on absolute temperatures, they don’t want to deal with that at GISS. For example, would the radiation heat transfer be different if the average surface temperature is 55 F vs 60 F? So why, again, are anomalies essential? And, again, how do they calculate the surface integral of the anomalies in the GCMs? Where are the node points in the computational mesh located? Do they even care? Hmmmm…let me check their documentation…ooops….

  108. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    It looks unusually warm in the Arctic in James Hansen’s temperature set this year. Yet it may have been the coolest summer on record there this year.

    In 1988 they opened the hearing room windows so the air conditioning would be overcome. Now they are dropping Arctic temperature stations so cooling in the earth is overcome.

  109. Phil. says:

    Dirck Noorman says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:43 am
    Very similar analysis here with Hansen’s original graphs:

    http://tinyurl.com/6cms9f

    I suggest you reread Hansen’s paper and testimony again more carefully since you are mistaken. In particular look at Fig 2 and reconsider your statement that the GHGs continued to increase at the same rate.

  110. Jim says:

    To Joel Shore:

    “(and I believe that there are in fact two groups besides RSS and UAH who have done the analysis and reported higher trends than either RSS or UAH).”

    What do you mean by this. Either there are one or more groups other than RSS and UAH or there isn’t. You say there are, so supply ID and preferably links.

  111. Bill Tuttle says:

    Caleb: August 14, 2010 at 11:01 am
    I have never understood how Hansen got away with the “adjustment” of the GISS records back in 2000, where the 1930′s were demerited and shrank to temperatures colder than the present. That, (and also Mann’s demeriting of the MWP,) have always struck me as “cheating.”

    It’s making the data fit the agenda — in other words, fraud.

    If anyone here tried “demeriting” his or her income for tax purposes, we’d be in jail — unless, of course, we were cabinet-level nominees in the current administration…

  112. Henry chance says:

    If Hansen’s own boss admitted Hansen was way off in more than one way, why is he still getting an audience?

  113. BarryW says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:03 am
    BarryW says: August 14, 2010 at 4:13 am
    No, scenario B is the closest, roughly linear increase in CO2, with a El Chichon type volcano (we got Pinatubo). Hansen said in 1988 that B was the most plausible.

    Hansen said the B scenario was the most plausible but we didn’t get B for the CO2 values, they were at or above A as has already been pointed out. So he was wrong on the most plausible scenario and we got between C and B temperatures from A+ CO2 input, so he was wrong about the sensitivity of the climate to CO2.

  114. toho says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:03 am

    “No, scenario B is the closest, roughly linear increase in CO2, with a El Chichon type volcano (we got Pinatubo). Hansen said in 1988 that B was the most plausible.”

    So you agree with Monckton about a linear increase in CO2 then. But w r t Hansen you are confusing concentrations with emissions. Emissions have not been linear.

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm
    “What a contrived post? Hansen wasn’t predicting LT, or LT (SfcAdj) or whatever. He was predicting measured surface air temperature. His plot showed the prediction against GIStemp.”

    “And the prediction of GMST was pretty good.”

    It was only good if you omit the last five years, deprecate scenario A and use modelled GIStemps rather than the measured satellite temperatures. At least Christy’s multiplier is based on solid physics, whereas Hansen’s 1200 km extrapolations and arbitrary adjustments are just based on hand waving and a mis-use of statistical formalism.

  115. Nick Stokes says:

    Richard M says: August 14, 2010 at 7:48 am
    “Wrong. Emissions have been exponential.”

    Nope. Here’s the AR4 graph. Ups and downs, but basically linear.

  116. Nick Stokes says:

    Frank K. says: August 14, 2010 at 11:55 am

    “So…even though all of thermodynamics associated with atmospheric heat transfer depends on absolute temperatures, they don’t want to deal with that at GISS.”

    Nonsense. Of course regular temp is used in modelling and analysis. But you need anomalies to calculate a meaningful global surface temp average, and hence global trend.

  117. Joel Shore says:

    rbateman says:

    If global absolute temps are a virtual impossibility, then why not invent an anomalymometer, and do away with useless thermometers? I don’t need a tarmac thermometer to tell me that it is unbearably hot on my rooftop in summer.

    Absolute temperatures are useful locally. However, on a global scale, absolute temperatures are not a good thing to use because they do not have very good properties in that they can vary dramatically over large distances, which means you need a very large distribution of closely-spaced stations to get an accurate result. Consider the weather station located at the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire and imagine a station located in a nearby valley. The two would record very different temperatures. The advantage of anomalies are that they are correlated over large distances. Thus, a much sparser set of readings suffices to determine the trends in the global temperature anomaly.

    Richard M says:

    Wrong. Emissions have been exponential. The fact that the CO2 rise has not been is just one more example of the failure of Hansen to understand the climate system. The emissions that he has actively tried to reduce have followed scenario A (or worse).

    Actually, emissions of CFCs were cut even more drastically than Hansen could have possibly imagined. You have to include all parts of the equation. Also, in terms of CO2, the question is not just linear or exponential but how fast an exponential. I.e., if emissions increase 1% year-upon-year or 3% year-upon-year, both yield exponential growth but with different factors.

    There are separate issues to consider in terms of how well he did predicting CO2 levels on the basis of emissions vs how well he did predicting climate on the basis of CO2 levels. You seem to be claiming that there was some major error in the first part. Do you have evidence to back this up or are you just talking off of the top of your head?

  118. Joel Shore says:

    James Sexton says:

    Here’s why it doesn’t matter if Dr. Christy was as skilled as Hansen in predicting the state of climate 20 years latter. We didn’t pass any laws based on Christy’s erroneous judgment. We passed laws that literally affected the entire world based on Hansen’s erroneous judgment.

    I do not understand the distinction. On the basis of Dr. Christy’s and Dr. Spencer’s flawed analysis of the satellite temperature record, there was a considerable period of time when it was erroneously claimed that the troposphere was cooling…and this likely played a significant part in delaying the sort of laws of which you speak.

    Now, if you don’t like such laws, you might think that delaying laws is not a bad thing. However, for those of us who don’t like people freeloading off of us by using fossil fuel energy irresponsibly (e.g., driving Hummers on their city commute to work) because they can offload the consequences onto the rest of us, that is not a good thing. I would prefer to have these people pay for the full costs for their decisions, so that they will hopefully make more responsible decisions (or, so even, if they don’t, they at least bear the full cost of their irresponsible decisions themselves rather than having everyone else share the cost). That is what market economics is supposed to be about, but alas things have been co-opted by what I call “free market fundamentalists” who believe in “free markets” as a religious tenet rather than believing in the (social) science of market economics as understood by economists.

  119. Tangeng says:

    Can anyone tell me what “skillful” means. Mann talked about skillful in his “reconstruction” of temperatures to the medieval period. Then he could produce a skillful reconstruction.

    What does “skillful mean”?

  120. Joel Shore says:

    Jim says:

    To Joel Shore:

    “(and I believe that there are in fact two groups besides RSS and UAH who have done the analysis and reported higher trends than either RSS or UAH).”

    What do you mean by this. Either there are one or more groups other than RSS and UAH or there isn’t. You say there are, so supply ID and preferably links.

    Good question. I just tried to research this by looking at the U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s report on Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere ( http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/saps/291 ). It turns out that, as I vaguely remembered, there are two other groups that have analyzed temperature trends, at U. of Maryland and U. of Washington. However, it seems that both these groups just report trends (or corrections to trends) for the middle troposphere, not the lower troposphere as is being talked about here. I do think that at least one of those groups was arguing that the way that UAH was determining lower troposphere (LT) temperatures still has some contamination from the stratosphere (where the temperature trend has been quite strongly negative, as expected due to decreased stratospheric ozone and increased GHGs), and I believe there is still an ongoing debate about this, but from what I can tell from that report the only two numerical trend values that we have for the LT are from UAH and RSS. So, those are apparently still the only two games in town for actual numerical trends in the LT.

  121. Joel Shore says:

    Jimbo says:

    Village Idiot,
    here is an opinion about AGE and JamesHansen from his former supervisor at NASA, Dr. John Theon.

    Henry Chance says:

    If Hansen’s own boss admitted Hansen was way off in more than one way, why is he still getting an audience?

    It is wrong to claim that Theon was Hansen’s supervisor in any realistic use of the term. Apparently, Theon was a bureaucrat reasonably high up in the bureaucracy at NASA who had some responsibility for funding of various agencies within NASA, including GISS. In my experience in industry (and I assume government is no better), such people often have very little scientific expertise or judgment in the areas in which they may have bureaucratic control. You know the old saying: If you can’t do, teach; if you can’t teach, administrate. (I’ve recently gone from doing to teaching…but I hope to avoid that last transition!)

  122. John M says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    August 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Richard M says: August 14, 2010 at 7:48 am
    “Wrong. Emissions have been exponential.”
    Nope. Here’s the AR4 graph. Ups and downs, but basically linear.

    Probably a distinction without a difference, but there’s a definite bow in that curve.

    Anyway, it’s the total ghg forcings that should be considered, not just CO2.

    Either way, Scenario B (if you consider now and not 2005) looks pretty bad. Hansen adherents have admited that he overestimated ghg sensitivities in 1988. Why keep trying to salvage Scenario B?

    Perhaps like the Hockey Stick, too much invested in it?

  123. Pete Olson says:

    @Roger Knights:

    Lost in all this controversy was a mighty fine pun on the psychological state of some researchers: Academia Nuts

    (I saw it, Roger…nice one.)

  124. Dave F says:

    Nick Stokes @ August 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm said:

    Nonsense. Of course regular temp is used in modelling and analysis. But you need anomalies to calculate a meaningful global surface temp average, and hence global trend.

    And when you get to the models, there are parts of the temperature that cannot be explained by anything but CO2, right?

    Why can meteorology explain the physical reasons (humidity is this, this much sun, and so on) the temperature is 75F tonight, but the models can’t? Might the process remove information from the data (outliers come to mind as one possibility)? You certainly wouldn’t find out by looking through the data that something was missing if that was the case.

  125. DL says:

    Tangeng says:
    August 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm
    Can anyone tell me what “skillful” means. Mann talked about skillful in his “reconstruction” of temperatures to the medieval period. Then he could produce a skillful reconstruction.

    What does “skillful mean”?
    ***************************************************************
    It’s called magic
    ****************************************************************
    Nick Stokes says:
    August 14, 2010 at 6:42 am

    Frank K. says: August 14, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Does anyone know the absolute global mean temperature predicted by Hansen’s code (not the anomaly) – how does this compare to the “actual” absolute global mean temperature.

    Hansen doesn’t do that. He has a standing post at GISS on why it’s virtually impossible to even define a global surface absolute temperature, and why anomalies are essential.
    ***********************************************************************
    How do you have a global temperature anomaly with no global temeperature?
    Wouldn’t the averaging of global anomolies imply an average global temp using the same method. Being virtualy imposible to calculate a global surf temp, would that not also imply a virtual imposibility to calc a global anomoly?

  126. Frank K. says:

    Nick Stokes @ August 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm said:

    “Nonsense. Of course regular temp is used in modelling and analysis. But you need anomalies to calculate a meaningful global surface temp average, and hence global trend.”

    Why do you need anomalies? I think the argument goes that surface temperatures vary greatly with position but somehow anomalies don’t. They are magical in that they vary smoothly. Why can we assume this smoothness? And what thermodynamic principal permits us to take a surface integral of anomalies – is that surface integral meaningful? At what level is surface integral evaluated – does it matter?

    The reason I ask these questions is that people take the global surface temperature anomaly “index” and assume it has something to do with heat transfer or thermodynamics in the atmosphere when clearly it doesn’t…

  127. eudoxus says:

    @Sexton
    ” We didn’t pass any laws based on Christy’s erroneous judgment.”
    Good we agree that Christy was erroneous and others had to clean up his analysis of the UAH satellite data, in (was it?) 2004.

    We did, however, fail to pass laws, in part because of Spencer and Christy’s botched analysis of microwave sounding units, which they used to impune Hansen’s thermometers. Now Spencer and Christy are on board that the earth is heating, but Christy is still hammering Hansen. It is an infantile behavior. The climate models have moved on since 1988. Why doesn’t Christy? I know, I’ll take the MSU analysis Christy used in 2000 and use that to estimate post 2000 surface temps from the post 2000 MSU raw data and compare to the results of the current UAH analysis of post 2000 temps. How ‘skillful’ would Christy appear to be then?

    Science moves on over the course of decades. It is not about “counting coup.”

    Are you, Sexton, in disagreement with Spencer and Christy about whether the Earth is now warming? If you think it is warming, what is causing it? If humans were a cause, would it make sense for governments to pass laws to mitigate and accommodate the effects?

    What is Christy currently asserting the temperature will be in 2060? It would be good to have rational estimates; will it be hotter or colder than this year? Does he claim that there is no way to make a reasonable estimate? Is the Earth’s temp just a random walk?

  128. Alexej Buergin says:

    Anomalies:

    According to Spencer satellite temperatures may have an error of up to half a degree Celsius, but that error would stay the same. And UAH is not synchronized to ground data.
    But changes of temperature are exact to within an error of 0.01 °C. Thus one can compare anomalies.

  129. DirkH says:

    Joel Shore says:
    August 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    “[...]However, for those of us who don’t like people freeloading off of us by using fossil fuel energy irresponsibly (e.g., driving Hummers on their city commute to work) because they can offload the consequences onto the rest of us, that is not a good thing. [...]”

    Hummer drivers get fuel for free in the U.S.?

    Joel, you should really up the ante re the “offloading the consequences on the rest of us”; don’t stop with punishing Hummer drivers. You need to get all combustion engines outlawed if you want to achieve what you think is necessary. Concentrate citizens near their place of work and force them to bicycle to work. Every car driver is a criminal according to your logic.

  130. Joel Shore says:

    DirkH says:

    Hummer drivers get fuel for free in the U.S.?

    Joel, you should really up the ante re the “offloading the consequences on the rest of us”; don’t stop with punishing Hummer drivers. You need to get all combustion engines outlawed if you want to achieve what you think is necessary.

    It is not about punishing people and outlawing things. It is about internalizing the externalized costs so that people make choices based on those costs rather than offloading the costs on everybody else. It is about the assumptions under which markets produce the most efficient outcome and when those assumptions fail. It is basic market economics…Look up “externalities” in any intro economics textbook or on the web.

  131. Jim says:

    Joel S. – Thank you for the clarification of the satellite temps.

    Society does bear some burden (costs) that result from the actions of others. It is unavoidable. But generally, if a real cost is incurred – such as loss of health for example – those costs can at least be compensated for via the courts; so there is a mechanism in most cases to adjust for “distributed” costs. I feel that we as a society should be willing, in general, to suffer some consequences of what is, net-net, a positive improvement in our standard of living and quality of life. But beyond that, the problem with the government assigning external costs to this or that activity is that the government must first understand the true costs of a given activity or technology. Generally, people smart enough to completely understand complex systems do not exist. Therefore, it is better to take a laissez-faire approach and let the courts handle any non-obvious consequences.

  132. Chris R. says:

    To Tangeng:

    You asked “What does ‘skillful’ mean?”.

    It’s a technical term used by computer modelers. Stripping out a whole bunch of verbiage, a model is considered “skillful” based on how well it predicts. The point is that Hansen’s original models don’t do too well versus the later measurements.

    Now, it may be that, as others have pointed out, that Dr. Christy’s method of taking what the satellites actually measure and mapping that to surface temperatures is a little suspect. However, given the documented evidence given elsewhere on this site of the corruption to the surface temperature record from:

    poor siting of surface thermometers,

    statistically shaky “adjustments” of the surface data,

    the admissions of various leading climate scientists made public by the ‘Climategate’ e-mails that they were engaged in something that smacks more of advocacy than science,

    it seems that the surface record must be regarded with suspicion, too. So I would claim that Dr. Christy’s use of a simple factor is probably not a reason to write this post off.

  133. Roger Knights says:

    Pete Olson says:
    August 14, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    @Roger Knights:

    Lost in all this controversy was a mighty fine pun on the psychological state of some researchers: Academia Nuts

    (I saw it, Roger…nice one.)

    Actually, I was just recycling it, although I do come up with puns like that about once a month. The only one that’s caught on widely recently was my pun on the commonly used phrase during the financial crisis, “too big to fail”: My variation was, “too big to jail.”

    A few decades ago I also was the first (I think) to come up with “Hype springs eternal.” Here are the most recent ones that have popped into my head:

    Crass-section
    Scientwist
    Bulloney
    Silt of the earth
    Mockraker
    Follywood
    Smilie when you say that
    Woodoo
    Jawsuit

  134. Roger Knights says:

    PS: I haven’t googled for those neologisms of mine, so it’s possible that some have been independently invented.

  135. Oliver Ramsay says:

    Joel Shore says:
    It is wrong to claim that Theon was Hansen’s supervisor in any realistic use of the term. Apparently, Theon was a bureaucrat reasonably high up in the bureaucracy at NASA who had some responsibility for funding of various agencies within NASA, including GISS.
    ————————-
    Honestly, what do you really know about John Theon?
    You asseverate that “it is wrong…” blah, blah, blah and then you start your next sentence with “Apparently…” , meaning you went and looked up what somebody had to say about it. Just as I did.
    From Wiki:
    In the 1960s and 70s, Theon worked at the Goddard Space Flight Center, performing meteorological research.[2]
    At NASA from 1982 until he retired in 1994, he was responsible for all the agency’s climate and weather research, including the work of James Hansen, Roy Spencer, Joanne Simpson, and several hundred scientists at NASA field centers and in academia.[1]
    He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and an associate fellow of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. He was twice awarded the NASA Exceptional Performance Award, and received the Radio Wave Award by the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Japan for his contributions to the joint U.S.–Japanese Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission.

    James Hansen is “a bureaucrat relatively high up in the bureaucracy… blah, blah, blah.”

  136. Bill Tuttle says:

    Roger Knights: August 15, 2010 at 7:38 pm
    PS: I haven’t googled for those neologisms of mine, so it’s possible that some have been independently invented.

    So far, you seem to have brag rights, Roger.

  137. Joel Shore says:

    Oliver:

    Your quotes about Theon (which aren’t from an official Wikipedia page, by the way, but only one specific user’s page) don’t really contradict anything that I said. Theon did have a successful career as a researcher in meteorology, but that essentially ended about 30 years ago, after which he spent 12 years in an administrative role, after which he retired. As near as I can tell, none of his own research was in the area of climate change.

    While he is entitled to his opinions, I don’t really see how his administrative role back in the 1980s up to 1994 nor his meteorology research career in the 1960s and 1970s particularly qualifies him to make the pronouncements that he has, so I don’t understand why we are supposed to endow them with so much weight.

    As for being a fellow of the AMS and having won two NASA awards and such, well that’s great, but James Hansen is a fellow of AGU and has received many NASA awards…plus, he has received awards from AMS, APS, AGU, and AAAS ( http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/HansenCV_200912.pdf ) and the difference is that Hansen’s are recent and for his work in the particular field that we are talking about.

  138. Tim Clark says:

    Joel Shore says:
    August 15, 2010 at 5:59 am
    It is not about punishing people and outlawing things. It is about internalizing the externalized costs so that people make choices based on those costs rather than offloading the costs on everybody else. It is about the assumptions under which markets produce the most efficient outcome and when those assumptions fail. It is basic market economics…Look up “externalities” in any intro economics textbook or on the web.

    How does that basic economic analysis justify the current tax system where 47% of U.S. population don’t pay any “externalities”? Liberals pay for what they want, not what is “efficient”. Don’t attempt to justify your ideology with economics.

  139. George E. Smith says:

    Professor Christy,

    Thanks for the short post here to review some of the prediction; excuse me, that’s projection history from Dr Hansen.

    At WUWT you are likely to raise more discussion than in ANY peer reviewed Journal.

    So would you consider giving us a short update on the status of the study of ocean buoy near surface (-1 metre) water and (+3 metre) air temperatures, that you reported on in Jan 2001 in I believe Geophysical Research Letters; wherein you reported not only that the water and air temperatures during that 20 or so year period gave different amounts of warming; but you also reported that they were not even correlated; which to me would mean that all of the previous 100 years or so of oceanic water temperatures; could not be rectified to recover oceanic air temperatures dating back to the beginning of global temperature recording.

    It would be nice to know what the data has been showing since 2001, if you have time to fill us in.

  140. PhilJourdan says:

    Based upon the actual temperatures, we have done better than the proposed “drastic reduction” of GHGs. So if we continue with this “drastic Reduction” then we should be seeing even better results than the blue lines?

    New campaign Ad – Drive a car to save the world!

  141. Oliver Ramsay says:

    @ Joel Shore,
    I completely agree that Theon’s opinion, (which he’s fully entitled to express) of Hansen and/or his opinions is a complete red herring, but it was a fish that you had casually cast at and it seemed your line was tangled.
    I enjoy your stuff on physics.

  142. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Regarding Academia Nuts,

    Back in college, Jeremy Rifkin came by to do some class presentations. He took us all outside where we took off our shoes and sat on the grass, then he regaled us with tales of wondrous village life with tight-knit communities (circa the Dark Ages in Europe). His most memorable item, which has stuck with me, was how after a wedding the next day the bed sheets would be hung out for public display so people could tell the bride was a virgin by the blood on the sheets.

    *shudder*

  143. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Frank K. says:
    August 14, 2010 at 7:14 pm
    Nick Stokes @ August 14, 2010 at 2:49 pm said:

    “Nonsense. Of course regular temp is used in modelling and analysis. But you need anomalies to calculate a meaningful global surface temp average, and hence global trend.”

    Why do you need anomalies? I think the argument goes that surface temperatures vary greatly with position but somehow anomalies don’t. They are magical in that they vary smoothly. Why can we assume this smoothness? And what thermodynamic principal permits us to take a surface integral of anomalies – is that surface integral meaningful? At what level is surface integral evaluated – does it matter?

    The reason I ask these questions is that people take the global surface temperature anomaly “index” and assume it has something to do with heat transfer or thermodynamics in the atmosphere when clearly it doesn’t… “””

    Well the problem with anomalies is that they compare inadequately sampled spatial and temporal Temperature data to some 1961-1990 baseline that itself is an inadequately sampled data base.

    So we don’t have any idea what the true mean global Temperature was at any time during that 1961-1990 base time frame; let alone what the true average was; and since the sampling regimen is inadequate; there is no basis for believing that the anomalies some how tell us how the whole globe is changing temperature.

    If the original baseline sampling strategy conformed both temporally, and spatially with the Nyquist sampling criterion; then we would know what the true global average was over that baseline period; but we don’t because the average is corrupted by aliassing noise. And that same aliassing noise corrupts every subsequent computed “average” in a quite unknown manner.

    And if the whole earth continued to report zero anomalies; that would still tell us exactly nothing about energy flows in the environment. You have to have Temperature differences to have energy transport certainly in the form of heat and you need real Temperatures to know anything about the radiant energy flows.

    Let’s face it; on average nothing happens.

  144. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Joel Shore says:
    August 14, 2010 at 3:16 pm
    James Sexton says:

    Here’s why it doesn’t matter if Dr. Christy was as skilled as Hansen in predicting the state of climate 20 years latter. We didn’t pass any laws based on Christy’s erroneous judgment. We passed laws that literally affected the entire world based on Hansen’s erroneous judgment.
    ………………….
    Now, if you don’t like such laws, you might think that delaying laws is not a bad thing. However, for those of us who don’t like people freeloading off of us by using fossil fuel energy irresponsibly. “””

    So Joel are we to presume that you don’t ever use any fossil fuels irresponsibly ? Is somebody who goes fishing in other than a sailboat using fossil fuels irresponsibly ?

    Who among us is so smart that we are able to judge what is responsible and what is not. Was it responsible for The President to take his family swimming in a Florida Bay and then tell the American people that they were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico; when they were doing no such thing, and the beach they swam at had never had ANY oil Contamination from the Gulf spill. He could have taken his daughter swimming in a Washington DC swimming pool; or maybe the Potomac river; and saved all that fosslil fue on Air Force One.

    You should be careful of judging other people’s daily lives; lest yours become the subject of scrutiny to see that you are not doing anything the elites want you to not do.

  145. Joel Shore says:

    George E Smith:

    So Joel are we to presume that you don’t ever use any fossil fuels irresponsibly ? Is somebody who goes fishing in other than a sailboat using fossil fuels irresponsibly ?

    I don’t think I have ever tried to claim that I should have a special dispensation so that I don’t have to pay carbon taxes or any higher fossil fuel prices that might result from a cap-and-trade system. The point of correcting externalities is that so everyone is basing their purchasing choices on something that more approximates the true cost…and that includes me. (In the interests of disclosure, I might add that for a number of years when gas prices were low, I actually imposed a 100% gas tax on myself by meticulously keeping track of my gas purchases for the year and then donating that amount of money at the end of the year to an organization working on climate change or other environmental issues.)

    I used the example of the person with a Hummer to point out an example of someone who is disproportionately benefiting from having their use of fossil fuels subsidized, but I believe that all of us are having the choices distorted from those that we might make if we paid the full costs at the point-of-sale.

    And, I’m not trying to pass moral judgments on other people’s choices; I am trying to correct a problem that exists in the current market system that is distorting the choices that people make (by having us all collectively bear the costs and thus effectively subsidizing those choices).

  146. Joel Shore says:

    Tim Clark says:

    How does that basic economic analysis justify the current tax system where 47% of U.S. population don’t pay any “externalities”? Liberals pay for what they want, not what is “efficient”. Don’t attempt to justify your ideology with economics.

    I don’t understand this comment. Are you saying that 47% of the U.S. citizens don’t pay gas taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, the portion of corporate taxes that is passed on to consumers (which is presumably most of it), or any other taxes? In fact, some people have argued that carbon taxes or higher energy costs due to cap-and-trade would disproportionately hurt the less-well-off, although I would prefer to try to fix the externalities and then offset any disproportionality by other means.

    I think what you are referring to is the percentage that don’t pay federal income taxes (which is, in contrast to payroll, sales, and some other taxes, a tax that is actually progressive rather than regressive). And, the fact that such a small share of the wealthiest Americans pay the majority of the federal income taxes is due in largest part to the fact that they have such a large fraction of the income and to a considerably less extent due to the fact that the federal income tax (as opposed to the other taxes that I mentioned) is in fact somewhat progressive, taking a larger proportion of income from the rich than the poor.

    But the equities of tax policy are, in my mind, largely separate from the issue of correcting large externalities in the market that may result in us doing considerable damage to our environment.

  147. Oliver Ramsay says:

    If I might externalize a little bit here, I’m wondering who to scowl at the most as I cycle along; the guy in the Hummer taking his grandmother to the hospital, the soccer mom heading to Starbucks in her mini-van, the dude in the Elantra running for a pack of smokes or the Mack trucker with a load of garden tractors.

  148. John Christy says:

    A few points.
    (1) The temperature values in the evolution of the scenarios (A, B, C) will not exactly match Hansen’s pub because I have referenced them to a particular 5-year period (which represents the start of the satellite data.) They are the same values, but just relative to a different reference period, so appear shifted up or down relative to Hansen’s pub.
    (2) To do an apples to apples comparison, we could compare the tropospheric values from old model (evidently not available) and satellites (available). To keep the apples to apples comparison valid we can use the model amplification factor (troposphere is 1.2+ times the surface) and either (a) multiple A, B, and C by 1.2 or divide the satellite data by 1.2. Either way, the plot is the same in terms of divergence – we chose to divide the satellite data by 1.2.
    (3) NOAA-16 does not impact the trend of UAH (or RSS) data since it is not used as a component in the backbone.
    (4) This diagram was made because there was a recent comment that suggested Hansen’s 1988 forecast was accurate.
    (5) This is a plot of global trends, not tropical trends (ref. to “hot spot”). Had this been tropical trends, the results would likely be worse since the amplification factor there is about 1.4 (see many pubs on this.)
    (6) Through 1994 the satellite trend was slightly negative which prompted our Letter to Nature (Christy and McNider, 1994) to show how Mt. Pinatubo had tilted the trend to the negative, and once that was accounted for (along with El Chichon and ENSOs) the trend was in fact +0.09 C/dec. For the past several years the trend appears to have settled down to +0.14 +/- 0.02 C/dec.

  149. Steven Mosher says:

    any opinion on Zou’s work?

  150. sky says:

    George E. Smith says:
    August 16, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Hi George,

    Having worked extensively with marine data, I concur with Christy’s view about the lack of correlation between air and sea temperatures. Yes, you get a seasonal cycle in both of them that is reasonably coherent, but at frequencies both lower and higher the lack of coherence is what really stands out. That’s one of the many reasons why I consider all pre-satellite-era land-and-sea temperature anomaly series to be an excercise in data manufacture.

  151. Joel Shore says:

    Dr. Christy,

    Thanks for your reply in which you addressed some of my comments. Here are some further comments on your responses.

    (1) The temperature values in the evolution of the scenarios (A, B, C) will not exactly match Hansen’s pub because I have referenced them to a particular 5-year period (which represents the start of the satellite data.) They are the same values, but just relative to a different reference period, so appear shifted up or down relative to Hansen’s pub.

    Okay…I know you have to line things up somehow but I am just wondering if that relative shift could be somewhat of a problem.

    (2) To do an apples to apples comparison, we could compare the tropospheric values from old model (evidently not available) and satellites (available). To keep the apples to apples comparison valid we can use the model amplification factor (troposphere is 1.2+ times the surface) and either (a) multiple A, B, and C by 1.2 or divide the satellite data by 1.2. Either way, the plot is the same in terms of divergence – we chose to divide the satellite data by 1.2.

    Well, this assumes that the satellite data is perfect…I.e., the remaining discrepancy in trends between the satellite data and the surface temperatures is all the fault of the surface temperatures (and that the 1.2 factor is correct). I think that is a questionable assumption, especially given the history of the satellite data analysis corrections over the years. [There is also apparently some issue of whether the trend that should be compared to is the land meteorological stations trend, the only one available at the time of Hansen's prediction, or the Land + Ocean trend.]

    (6) Through 1994 the satellite trend was slightly negative which prompted our Letter to Nature (Christy and McNider, 1994) to show how Mt. Pinatubo had tilted the trend to the negative, and once that was accounted for (along with El Chichon and ENSOs) the trend was in fact +0.09 C/dec. For the past several years the trend appears to have settled down to +0.14 +/- 0.02 C/dec.

    I don’t think that is a completely fair accounting of the history. There were also several corrections that needed to be made to the satellite data analysis…and these corrections were mainly in one direction, i.e., they made the temperature trend more positive than what was originally reported. A while ago, in response to a thread here, I actually went back and computed the trend with the current version of your UAH analysis over various past time intervals and compared it with the trends you had reported in older papers (actually focussing mainly your 1998 paper http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0442/11/8/pdf/i1520-0442-11-8-2016.pdf ) in order to see what part of the difference in trend was due to the longer data series and what part was due to changes in the analysis. My conclusion at the time was that the two effects where approximately equal. I.e., that about half the change in the trend between that 1998 paper and now was due to a longer time series and half was due to fixing the errors in the analysis. Here is what I said at the time in detail based on my trend calculations from your data that I did in Excel:

    Their pre-1998 analysis method gave a trend of -0.076 C / decade for the Jan 1979 – Apr 1997 data (as per their 1998 paper that I linked to); their current analysis gives +0.029 C / decade for that same data … That is a change in trend of +0.105 C / decade due solely to changes in their analysis.

    Since the trend for the full data set we now have through Dec 2008 is +0.127 C / decade, the change due to the longer time series is +0.098 C / decade.

    Thus … a tiny bit over half of the change in trend is due to changes in the analysis, not the longer data series.

    (My calculation was performed in January 2009. As I understand it, you have made some further small changes to your analysis since then too, although I thought you concluded that they don’t affect the long-term trends very much?)

  152. Joel Shore says:

    I noticed that my link to the 1998 is no longer working. Here is one that seems to: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0442%281998%29011%3C2016%3AAOTMPF%3E2.0.CO%3B2 Just to be clear, that 1998 paper reports a new trend of -0.046 C / decade for the January 1979–April 1997 period but notes that this is a change from -0.076 C / decade over the same period with the previous analysis procedure. As of January 2009 when I looked at the data, the latest version of the UAH analysis gives a trend of +0.029 C / decade for the January 1979–April 1997 period.

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