Now it’s 2°C climate change target ‘not safe’

Image from Adam Smith, via Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.'s blog - click

Research suggests climate change target ‘not safe’

From the University of Exeter via Eurekalert

An analysis of geological records that preserve details of the last known period of global warming has revealed ‘startling’ results which suggest current targets for limiting climate change are unsafe.

The study by climate change experts at the University of Exeter has important implications for international negotiators aiming to agree binding targets for future greenhouse gas emission targets.

Professor Chris Turney and Dr Richard Jones, both from the University’s Department of Geography, have reported a comprehensive study of the Last Interglacial, a period of warming some 125,000 years ago, in the latest issue of the Journal of Quaternary Science.

Caption: This is Professor Chris Turney in the field in Svalbard. Credit: University of Exeter

The results reveal the European Union target of limiting global temperature rise to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels shouldn’t be considered ‘safe’.

From their analysis, the scientists found 263 estimates of the conditions when sediments and ice were laid down during the Last Interglacial, allowing them to reconstruct past temperatures around the globe. To compare the reconstructed estimates with today, they took the Last Interglacial values away from modern temperatures averaged over the period 1961 to 1990.

The results show temperatures appear to have been more than 5˚C warmer in polar regions while the tropics only warmed marginally; strikingly similar to recent trends. Not only this, but taken together, the world appears to have been some 1.9˚C warmer when compared to preindustrial temperatures. Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 metres higher than today, with a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed.

The higher temperatures seen during the Last Interglacial are comparable to projections for the end of this century under the low emission scenarios contained within the recent Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Turney said: “The results here are quite startling and, importantly, they suggest sea levels will rise significantly higher than anticipated and that stabilizing global average temperatures at 2˚C above pre-industrial levels may not be considered a ‘safe’ target as envisaged by the European Union and others. The inevitable conclusion is emission targets will have to be lowered further still.”

###

The full paper, Does the Agulhas Current amplify global temperatures during super-interglacials?, appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Quarternary Science. It can be viewed here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jqs.1423/abstract

Notes for editors:

A blog by Professor Chris Turney on this subject, called A Lesson from Past Global Warming, can be viewed on his website at www.christurney.com

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164 thoughts on “Now it’s 2°C climate change target ‘not safe’

  1. We can seriously promise an average 2 degrees Celsius less for sure and without the need of carbon sequestering . :-)

  2. Professor Chris Turney:
    “I’m a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Exeter where I’m focussing my efforts on … To do something positive about climate change, I’m a Director of a small company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.”

    No vested interests here … move along people.

  3. Which of the many climate prediction models will be used to determine CO2 quantity needed to raise the (adjusted) temperature by 2 degrees?

  4. “… with a rate of [sea level] rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed”

    Yeah, right. Slightly more than double. LOL. Trying to imply that someone has recently observed sea level rises of 30-45 cm per decade? It really is unbelievable that two professors can present information with this degree of inaccuracy.

  5. “Two degrees C. That’s the amount the planet will be ALLOWED to warm.”

    From WiKi: “Hubris often indicates being out of touch with reality and overestimating one’s own competence or capabilities, especially for people in positions of power.”

  6. Professor Chris Turney:
    “Most recently I’ve been scientific advisor on a new Channel 4 TV series Man on Earth, presented by Tony Robinson, looking at the impact of past climate change on our ancestors.”

    That will be Tony Robinson of Blackadder which was written by Richard Curtis. I seem to recall hearing that Richard Curtis has written another comedy recently. Was it a success?

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/10/enemys-true-face.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2010/sep/30/10-10-no-pressure-film?showallcomments=true#start-of-comments

    It seems NOT!

  7. Exactly 6 months from April Fool’s Day today. Sounded like a joke at first, but unfortunately, these folks are serious. To paraphrase Twain: “Amazing what a wholesale return of conjecture we can get from such a tiny investment of fact.”

  8. The planet was 10 degrees C warmer than today for 300 million years since the Cambrian. That is, 22 degC, exactly room temperature. That is probably optimum. It is also a maximum as feedback mechanisms prevent it from rising any higher than that.

    These alarmists are making out higher temperatures to be bad, but actual science shows that higher temperatures mean fewer extinctions and greater vitality.

    Just today, I looked up all agencies on http://www.grants.gov to see about USA government grants, and two items on the first page mentioned “climate change.” One guess about whether they are looking for “its good” results.

    We have to turn this black is white stuff around for the well-being of Earth’s inhabitants, including you.

  9. I was expecting this right after the Copenhagen confab, if the parties had signed their 2 degree agreement. I wonder if they delayed it after the failure there.

    Now they get to announce it right before the IPCC Cancun round – I am sure its not intentional.

    Seriously though, when was the 2 degree target anything other than an arbitrary goal? Something the politicians could use for a sound bite.

  10. “Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea … rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently ”

    We’re at 1.8 – 3.2 mm/year, or 1.8 to 3.2 CM/Decade. 6.0 – 9.0 cm/decade.

    Ooops.

  11. But, but… before the industrial revolution was as the Little Ice Age ended and you want to kill the opportunity this world has to live in the glorious Modern Warming Period where food and water is plentiful and busted pipes from frigid nights are rare and give nature even a chance to send us back to that horrid period by turning the thermometer back down?

    Science leaders, you are all going crazy!! Most people here like the Earth 2° warmer than the Little Ice Age. ☺

  12. Exeter is a nothing uni in the SW of england and this rubbish confirms that assessment. My god these people are arrogant and thick as two short planks.

  13. “Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 metres higher than today, with a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed.”
    Where did that come from? A rate of 3.2mm per year is no more than 32mm per decade. A far cry from what is indicated above. On the other hand the chap is indirectly admitting that natural climate disruption is nothing new.

  14. Does this not smack of a typical “negotiation strategy” commonly employed when bargaining, given the coming Mexico summit? Go in with inflated demands, and eventually, after a suitable “tough approach” settle for what was always on the table. This way policy makers can claim that “they wanted more”, but we reached agreement on x, thereby (hopefully) appeasing/BS-ing opponents. There’s also a lot of the usual “estimates” and “appears”, together with the obligatory “fear factor” – it’s worse than we thought. Well you know what thought did?

  15. Well, at least one of them is a geographer… I know that’s a lame excuse, not having expertise in or about the subject of one’s paper.

    I’d rather see this sort of work done by geologist(s). But wait, we’re trained to draw lessons from the past records, which is why most of us are unimpressed by the ‘evidence’ as squeezed from ‘data’ by the AGW crowd. And like historians, why our opinions are not welcomed or valued by the samesuch folks.

    Tom Bakewell

  16. Exeter University is next door to the Met Office. Both are full of CAGWers, all paid for by taxpayers.

  17. Maybe yes and maybe no but man had no hand in the last interglacial and does not appear to have much of one in the present one. Hubris is perhaps a little kind for anything thinking humanity has more then a marginal, if that, influence on global climate. I suggest if we are truly concerned about sea level rises we should do two things. First get out the shovels and pumps. Second move our collective butts to higher ground. Lets see how that sells in the world of politics.

  18. “Get along little Hagen, get along…I’m snuffing my last Copenhagen…going to saddle old Al for the last ride tonight”

    EU is nothing to worry an old Cowpoke like MEeeeee!

    I’ snuffing the last Copenhagen…Copenhagen!

    Get along little Hagen, get along.

  19. 60 to 90 millimeters per decade would be double recently observed rises, right?

    Fairly sure water levels haven’t been rising by 1 foot/decade where I live.

  20. “Physical Geography” – does that mean that he just holds the map for someone else to read?

    Or is there more to the (presumably) ‘descriptive science’ of “Physical Geography”?

  21. Anything to get your name in the media , I suppose !!!
    I remember reading in Der Speigel that the 2C figure was “plucked out of the air” by a top German climatologist who did it for the politicians. They had said that all the scientific detail was too hard to use in selling the message. We need a catch phrase or simple “fact”, they said to him. So the guy said use 2C. He had the honesty to tell the interviewer in Der Spegel that he could not scientifically verify the figure.

  22. Hmmmm. No accurate studies on arctic temperatures (ice appears to be a proxy). Antarctica is getting marginally colder and has been trending such for 50 years. Yet the poles are on there way to a 5C temperature hike? Because of CO2 forcing that is so tenuous that it cannot be mathematically described in the real world or even duplicated by actual experimentation (versus computer modeling). Forgive me if I seem uninterested in these gents hysteria.

  23. Everybody wants to draw parallels between 125,000 years ago & today for the scary stuff, while totally ignoring the most important item – the planet warmed, naturally, all on its own, there is GW without the A, and it’s a normal cycle.

  24. Why am I reading this bs? “WUWT?” “WUWT?” “WUWT?” Not a single idea or argument worth examining from you WUWT commenters, just smarty-pants smear by innuendo, displays of ignorance and sheer laziness. “The planet was 10 degrees C warmer than today for 300 million years since the Cambrian. That is, 22 degC, exactly room temperature. That is probably optimum.” — do you really think so? Keep on with the self-reinforcing garbage, hope ya’ll enjoy yourselves here.

  25. What are geographers doing in the geological sphere? Geography means drawing a map of the earth. Geography is an anachronism like alchemy without the latter’s knowledge of science. I remember as a geology student back in the 60s a geography student came over to the geology department to get some data on the glacial history of North America for his thesis. A professor of quaternary geology found that the fellow was several courses short of understanding the material he was asking for. He wound up switching to geology where he picked up courses in math, chemistry and physics along with sedimentology, glaciology, etc and then went on to obtain his degree in geology. It is a geographer from my alma mater (Manitoba) who is running around charting rotten ice – remember him. Geography is fine for school kids who need to learn that Colombia grows coffee and has such and such a population but otherwise it should be given a decent burial. If supposed real scientists seem to make a ballsup of climatology, we surely don’t need liberal arts researchers to help. Imsuspiciouss that it is the U of Exeter, where down the hall we have the meeting of the global temp osterizers deciding whether they were doing a good job or not. Watch for the outcome of this meeting to be that we missed a decimal point in one of the temps and other few small errors but this doesn<t alter the trend of the last 100 years significantly – and Gee new research suggests we have already reached our 2 C limit.

  26. I have a problem when they say that while the temperature at the equator does not go up much, the temperature at the poles goes up a lot.

    Now polar air below zero does not contain much heat, and so requires a tiny amount of heat to change the air temperature a considerable amount. But tropical air above zero contains a lot of moisture, and so requires a lot of heat to change its temperature.

    So , isn’t the whole concept of an average global temperature, based on measurements of the temperature of air, not too relevant?

  27. “both from the University’s Department of Geography.”
    Geography has been prostituted. An inspection of the contents of the NSW curriculum for Geography will demonstrate that. What is supposed to be a descriptive discipline has been turned into a prescriptive and judgemental discourse full of all sorts of agenda driven ideology such as
    • ecological sustainability
    • a just society
    • intercultural understanding
    • informed and active citizenship

    http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/syllabus_sc/pdf_doc/geography_710_syl.pdf

    I have now regretfully discouraged my boys from taking Geography electives.

  28. “a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed.”

    I can beat that easily…….

    The last time I went to the beach, sea levels rose by 3 metres in just six hours!

    Don’t these people realise the enormity of the problem?

  29. Since the thirty year trends for MSU ( middle and lower, UAH and RSS ), Land Ocean ( CRU and GISS) and SST are all at or BELOW 1.7 C per century,
    it looks like doing nothing has got us below 2 C!!!!!

  30. RE: “Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 metres higher than today, with a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed.”

    Recently observed is more like 30 millimetres a decade, but these metric units can be confusing.

  31. The results show temperatures appear to have been more than 5˚C warmer in polar regions while the tropics only warmed marginally; strikingly similar to recent trends.

    Not a surprise at all. Equatorial Atlantic is heated by the solar output which is more or less constant.
    Arctic is warmed by inflow of the Gulf stream, speed it up over the Greenland – Scotland ridge (currently ~ 8 Sv) and the Arctic will go up, Canadian and USA north Atlantic shore will cool down by the extra ice cold water coming back, but the Mid Atlantic will not even notice it (Florida current ~ 30 Sv).

  32. Doug Proctor says:
    October 1, 2010 at 1:53 pm
    “Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea … rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently ”

    We’re at 1.8 – 3.2 mm/year, or 1.8 to 3.2 CM/Decade. 6.0 – 9.0 cm/decade.

    Ooops.
    ————-

    Yeah OOps. What an inflated load of {insert local term for Bovine waste here}
    Only off by a factor of ten
    on observations of current reality.
    We can trust this guy’s interpretation of archeological ClUES as to what causes what in the climate. He’s a genius.

  33. So “world temperature” was nearly 2 Kelvins higher during the (uncivilized) last interglacial, but civilization must be responsible for any warming during this one?

    Do these folks even read what they write?

  34. And the whole 6-9 m of sea level rise will take just 100 years……. Wow, the resolution of their historical reconstruction is fabulous!

    I’m thinking 6-9 mm per decade is what they meant, based on a 6-9 m rise over a millennium (which they might just be able to resolve). Still complete rubbish of course as an arctic melt will do nothing for seal level and the antarctic is stubbornly refusing to follow the script.

    Besides, I’m pretty sure we can survive a 9m rise in sea levels over the next 1000 years. Considering what we have achieved in the last 1000 years, this is a piece of ****!

  35. “Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 metres higher than today, with a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed.”

    This is obviously being promoted by a cabal of boat & inner tube manufacturers.

  36. Jonathan Drake says:
    October 1, 2010 at 1:42 pm
    ‘Professor Chris Turney:
    “I’m a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Exeter where I’m focussing my efforts on … To do something positive about climate change, I’m a Director of a small company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.

    No vested interests here … move along people.’

    I wonder if his side-kick who co-authored the paper is the same Dr Richard Jones, of Met Office Hadley Centre, Exeter??? – Nah… must be a coincidence!

  37. “the planet will be allowed to warm…”
    I wonder if the person who wrote this copy actually read it back, out loud?
    …planet….allowed…
    …8 world leaders…will…allow the planet….
    …allow the planet?
    Huh?

  38. So now these pointy heads are ‘telling’ the climate how much it’s ‘allowed’ to warm? I have to go outside and tell my grass how tall it’s allowed to grow – because I’m tired of cutting it.

  39. Hahah! That is great! He even admits its happened before (2x as fast as today?)! Why is this a bad thing? Means its going slower right? Why presume different! This makes me happy.

  40. What is with this measly 2C BS? The nations of the world need to immediately agree to outlaw winter. That’s right, let’s face it, winter is just a pain in the arse. What the world really needs is global year-round growing seasons with pleasant temperatures.

    There would then be plenty of food for everyone, no need for heating or A.C., and life for all would be just peachy.

    Oh, and let’s not forget about precipitation. You know, sometimes it rains too much, and sometimes not enough. We need to fix that too.

    That is the problem with the so-called “environmentalists”, they just don’t see the “big picture”.

    /sarc

  41. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but these are professors of geography. Do most people know “climatologists” are relegated to the geography departments of most universities. Not that these people are stupid, but…

    Ok. I’m not going to question their mental abilities–just their outlandish conclusions as already pointed out by several of the comments above.

  42. Does this mean that if we burn enough fossil fuels and keep the temperature 2C above where it would normally be (not that I agree we have actually done that) we can put off an ice age?

    Sweet.

  43. Why do our politicians listen to this crap?
    Only the idea that humanity is able to control the temperature of our oceans and our atmosphere is too stupid for words.

    It exposes our political elite as incompetent and their policies as a total fraud.

    Vote them out of office at the first possible opportunity, fight them and prosecute them for treason of their country and their electorate.
    These people belong behind bars.

  44. I am simply disgusted that such clearly politically biased scientific rubbish can be produced by so called scientists – mind you, geography and REAL science are only very loosely connected!

  45. I just moved to the Blue Ridge foothills. These researchers have confirmed that 800 feet above current sea level should keep me safe during my lifetime (I’m 70 years young).
    Those poor folks on the Outer Banks and Carolina lowlands!!! :)

    Are we to believe that the Journal of Quarternary Science is peer reviewed!?!
    I bet at least half the WUWT readers picked up on that gaff at once.

  46. Mr. Brego, you missed the point of this article and of the Greenie movement! They don’t want less winter, they want more! Why on earth do you presume different? All they ever talk about is “lowering temperatures to pre-industrial levels” and sillyness like that. They want ice-ages and glaciers and man-eating polar bears! And so, I guess if we are to let the Greenies have their way, we should modify the azola plant to grow everywhere, eat up the freggin carbon, and drive us into an even greater iceage! But no, they’d rather just tax us to death and ensure their jobs into the next milleneum. Nothing so simple as using an existing plant… ho-hum.

  47. One of the key concepts used in present day efforts to quantify MSL via satellite altimetry, is that of the geoid. In simplified terms it is an artificial construct which attempts to portray what the oceans’ surface would be if all the planet’s land masses were totally pervious to the water in the oceans, with the variations in surface height due to the small variability in the planet’s gravitational strength. Most representations of the geoid give the range of gravitational strength as +/- 50-60 milliGals. When plotted in terms of absolute surface height that results in a range of 250 to over 300 METERS. In other words every milliGal variation in gravity strength corresponds to a change of surface height of 2-3 meters. Efforts have been made for decades to create models of the geoid. Many have been produced, each different in not insignificant ways from the others. The GRACE satellite and the similarly tasked European sat, whose name I’m blanking on at the moment, have revealed over their short lives that the Earth’s gravity is not constant over even a minutely brief period in geologic time.

    The point of all this in the present context is that, even if we stipulate to the thoroughly dubious notion that these folks’ paleoreconstruction of Ancient sea levels is as accurate as they claim, without a similar reconstruction of the Earth’s gravitational properties for the same time period, which is at least a match for present observational data, no conclusions about what created those sea levels are justified.

  48. A rather strange paper really. The Last Interglacial temperature data base is weird. I wondered how they managed to find so many low tropical temperatures, but apparently the tropical SST’s are almost exclusively 30 year old CLIMAP data and ignores more recent studies which generally show tropical SST’s to have been 1-2 degrees warmer than at present.
    The sea level estimate is even more suspect. It is completely dependent on Kopp et al. (2009) which was in turn to a large extent based on pure junk data from ex-glaciated areas where the last interglacial seal level is quite impossible to determine on account of isostasy.
    As a matter of fact the last interglacial sea level is very uncertain. The frequently quoted 6 meters higher than at present seems to be a factoid, at least I have never been able to find any serious study that it could be based on. Measurements on the tectonically very stable Gawler craton in Australia suggests that 2 meters is a more likely figure.

  49. stephen richards says:
    October 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm
    “Exeter is a nothing uni in the SW of england and this rubbish confirms that assessment. My god these people are arrogant and thick as two short planks.”

    Exeter is a well respected uni but with a jumped up climate dept funded by their friends 2 miles away at the Met office.

    tonyb

  50. People, please welcome homo superbus (arrogant man) the species that can control the temperature of our world.

    They walk amongst you!

    But rest easy the UN is appointing an ambassador to facilitate their integration and I am doing the only sensible thing possible and opening another bottle! Today has been amazing, this and 10:10. Whoever is writing this script needs to change whatever it is that they are on.

  51. That’s where the meeting that specifically excluded people such as Pielke Sr. took place… Says it all.
    A drastic reduction in breathing organisms is next…

  52. more than double that recently observed.

    recently observed sea level rise is betweeen 2.8-3.2mm year which is 2.8-3.2 cm per decade, which is 20-30x less than the 60-90 cm/decade trotted out in the article.

  53. Sea level rise is a big red (scary, to some) herring.
    Since the last ice age some 21000 years ago sea levels have increased by 120m. The rise in sea levels was faster at first, slowing and eventually stabilizing 3-4 thousand years ago. It has remained around 10 – 15 cm the last few centuries, with no measurable increase the past century. How can this be? Homeostasis is one way to describe it. With climate, when one thing happens (warming, for instance), other things happen as well. Some are positive feedbacks (melting glaciers), while others are negative (increased humidity = increased snowfall, and ice build up at the poles). Warmists love to ignore the negative feedbacks. It is their stock in trade.

  54. Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 metres higher than today, with a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed.

    Methinks someone misplaced a decimal point. A know of no time when sea levels were rising at 3 cm a year (30 cm per decade). It may (if we can measure accurately enough) have risen as much as 3 mm a year, or 3 cm a decade, but even that is slowing (if we can measure accurately enough) .

  55. We’re back to controlling the climate, again? Well, at least from this is something most people can get a laugh. While they’re at it, can they send some rain this way? We’ve been a bit dry for a week or so and the dust on the roads are getting a bit much. Ego-maniacs and lunatics.

  56. Well:

    “have reported a comprehensive study of the Last Interglacial, a period of warming some 125,000 years ago.”

    I guess …..
    this is the map in the study ….

    “””””””There are many difficulties in the map of South America, including duplication of rivers. Close examination of the coastline supports the alternative theory that the “extra” landmass is simply the South American coast, probably explored in secret by Portuguese navigators,…”””””

  57. It is now beyond ridiculous for these smiling fools to release their “findings”, and proceed to simply lie about such simple facts as the rate of current Sea Level Rise.
    And never a correction.
    It’s just a lie and they do it with a smile.
    No more snake oil.

  58. “”” Lady Life Grows says:
    October 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm
    The planet was 10 degrees C warmer than today for 300 million years since the Cambrian. That is, 22 degC, exactly room temperature. That is probably optimum. It is also a maximum as feedback mechanisms prevent it from rising any higher than that. “””

    Well by all accounts the present Temperature is close to 288 K or +15 deg C so +22 is only seven degrees C higher than today.

  59. I live 50 meters from the beach and about 2 meters above the high water mark.

    Should I sell up now ????

  60. ” “The results here are quite startling and, importantly, they suggest sea levels will rise significantly higher than anticipated and that stabilizing global average temperatures at 2˚C above pre-industrial levels may not be considered a ‘safe’ target as envisaged by the European Union and others. The inevitable conclusion is emission targets will have to be lowered further still.””

    It is just amazing the range of authority attained by a Geographer .
    Shouldn’t he be out measuring a mountain somewhere to see of it conforms to the terrain map ?
    And then cutting or adding some dirt to match it?
    Instead he is pronouncing himself judge, jury, climatologist, and UN General Secretary, dictating the allowable rise in sea level ( over which we have no control) to the governments of the world.
    It is offensive already. I would not trust this liar with directions to the airport.
    The humble Geographer.

  61. Professor Chris Turney:
    “I’m a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Exeter where I’m focussing my efforts on … To do something positive about climate change, I’m a Director of a small company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.”

    Um, Professor: Bi-products???? What?!?! Surely you mean “by-products”? Somebody needs to stop relying on spell-checking, and start spending some grant money on real people who can read…

    By the way, as others have already noted, I detect the pungent and fruity aroma of a conflict of interests here.

    Just saying.

  62. This doesn’t even come up to the standards of “third rate”.

    It is so annoying that these people get public funding. Can’t they do something useful for society that is more suited to their talents like picking up rubbish at roadsides?

  63. Report from Chicago:
    Presently above sea level, about 660 feet.
    I guess that is going to change.
    =========================
    Professor Turney said: “The results here are quite startling and, importantly, they suggest sea levels will rise significantly higher than anticipated and that stabilizing global average temperatures at 2˚C above pre-industrial levels may not be considered a ‘safe’ target as envisaged by the European Union and others. The inevitable conclusion is emission targets will have to be lowered further still.”
    ============
    The term “safe”, is a misnomer.
    The world is not “safe”, ask anybody.

  64. sublime says:
    October 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    ‘Why am I reading this bs? ‘

    Because it makes a whole lot more sense than the bs you’re spouting?

  65. Tom Bakewell says:
    October 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Well, at least one of them is a geographer… I know that’s a lame excuse, not having expertise in or about the subject of one’s paper.

    I’d rather see this sort of work done by geologist(s). But wait, we’re trained to draw lessons from the past records, which is why most of us are unimpressed by the ‘evidence’ as squeezed from ‘data’ by the AGW crowd. And like historians, why our opinions are not welcomed or valued by the samesuch folks.

    As a lurking geologist, I totally agree. I live on the coastal plain in eastern Virginia, and when I hear or read about a few meters of sea level rise (not that I want it to happen), I wonder how many people are aware that ancient marine (i.e. ocean) sediments extend as far west as Richmond (and cover a good bit of the eastern portion of the mid-Atlantic states). The sediments represent several cycles of marine transgressions and regressions with sea level rises much greater than a few meters, but to the best of my knowledge, anthropogenically generated CO2 has never been postulated as the cause.

    As a side note, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of AGW…er CC…CCD alarmists enjoy hunting marine fossils along the cliffs of the Chesapeake Bay, never appreciating the irony.

  66. I think the general numbers are correct. Temps were about 2.0C to 2.5C warmer (4.0C to 5.0C at the poles and 1.0C or so warmer in the tropics) during the last interglacial. Sea level was about 5 metres higher.

    CO2, however, was just 275 ppm (with one short spike at 285 ppm). So CO2 certainly did not cause it.

    The Milankovitch Cycles reached a very rare high peak at the time – summer solar insolation was at a max in the far North – and in the 50,000 year lead-up to this period, it was not that low so there was not as much ice built-up beforehand that needed to be melted first in order for the peak solar insolation to have its greatest effect – both of these effects need to occur for an interglacial to actually happen and for it to have a greater impact). So lots of the ice melted in the Arctic and the planet’s Albedo was lower (probably lower than at any time in the last 400,000 years).
    ———————

    The max limit for +2.0C from temperatures is the same as 450 ppm for CO2.

    +2.0C = 3/ln(2)*ln(450/280)

    It is really a CO2 target of 450 ppm, not a temperature target at all.
    ————–

  67. Without in any way meaning to lend support to this article, I presume the sea level rise of 6 – 9 cm a year is a journalistic slip up. In the paper they say sea level is
    “rising some 6–9 mm a−1 (Kopp et al., 2009) – at least double the current global average.” so I don’t think it’s fair to criticise/ridicule Turney on those grounds.

    What troubles me more is the mixing of campaigning with science. OK, Chris Turney is a populariser but he has written campaigning articles on CAGW (e.g. We must acknowledge global warming, and act, The Times, 21 December 2007;
    Time we acted on climate-change warnings, The Press, 21 February 2007). We can only be ourselves and if as scientists we are convinced (trying not to use the word ‘believe’) of the importance of some issue it’s understandable that we might contribute to the media in some way, I suppose even campaign for a cause. But (and its a big but) once you do that how do can you go on to pursue objective science?

    In my research I try hard to run multiple working hypotheses (mwh), try to argue against what my current understanding suggests is true, argue against my own convictions. I suggest that unless an individual pursues mwh (and if we’ve strong convictions about something then there’s the greater need to aggressively pursue mwh) then dodgy science is the result.

    The stronger your convictions, the more you think you are right and the less necessary mwh seem to be. Individually it’s not easy and corporately it is even tougher to question the ruling paradigms as the team fights against you, (with dirty tricks and all as witnessed by ClimateGate) though I take comfort that truly great individuals (e.g. Steve M) can prevail. On the other hand it’s even more dangerous to play onside, egos are flattered, mwh seem unnecessary and all manner of rubbish slips through if you say the right things. It’s a lesson for WUWT. And if climate scientists (if that’s what they are) had pursued mwh we’d have been saved a lot of grief, including being beaten about by hockey sticks or the hubris of believing we can agree “to the historic deal setting 2 degrees Celsius as the maximum limit for global temperature rise.”

  68. Whatever the shortcomings or otherwise of the abovementioned study, there is a welter of information indicating a doubling of CO2 will likely lead to a global average temperature increase in excess of 2C. Please read a review of various approaches by Knutti and Hegerl 2008 at http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf.

    The paper breaks estimate approaches into:
    - instrumental period
    - current mean climate state
    - GCMs
    - last millenium
    - volcanic eruptions
    - last glacial maximum data
    - last glacial maximum models
    - proxy data from millions of years ago…

    It scores each approach on:
    -similar climate base state
    -similar feedbacks and timescales
    - near equilibrium state
    - most uncertanties considered
    - quality/number of observations
    - uncertainty in forcing
    - confidence from multiple estimates
    - constraint on upper bound
    - overall confidence

    It has an easily digestible summary graphic showing sensitivity and ranges for each approach. Likely climate sensitivity is 3C (+/-1C). (Suggested reading: Mark Lynas “Six Degrees” chapters 2C and 3C for potential impacts. The assumption by many posters that no negative impacts will accrue from such changes is optimistic at best.)

  69. On reading this, I had a picture of a king, drawn by Bulwer, standing on the sand commanding the tide. YCMTSU!

  70. At what point did British academics turn bat-sh*t crazy? When I was in uni, we had a certain reverence for the Brits who came over – their undergrad and pre-uni ed seem somewhat more disciplined and focused than what we Canucks were used to. Current observation tends to suggest that’s pretty much evaporated…

  71. global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 metres

    With a little dredging that would make Exeter a sea port. Does anyone wonder what 3 degrees might accomplish?

  72. “I presume the sea level rise of 6 – 9 cm a year is a journalistic slip up. In the paper they say sea level is
    “rising some 6–9 mm a−1 (Kopp et al., 2009) – at least double the current global average.” so I don’t think it’s fair to criticise/ridicule Turney on those grounds.”

    Has a correction been issued ?
    Am I reasonable to assume that Dr Turney reads his own glowing press ?
    IS saying one thing to professionals and then another to the public at large
    a strategy or an error ?
    Unless a correction has been released I assume the former.

  73. RE: King Cnut

    Henry of Huntingdon, the 12th-century chronicler, tells how Cnut set his throne by the sea shore and commanded the tide to halt and not wet his feet and robes; but the tide failed to stop. According to Henry, Cnut leapt backwards and said “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.” He then hung his gold crown on a crucifix, and never wore it again.

  74. Ammonite says:
    October 1, 2010 at 5:27 pm
    Whatever the shortcomings or otherwise of the abovementioned study, there is a welter of information indicating a doubling of CO2 will likely lead to a global average temperature increase in excess of 2C. Please read a review of various approaches by Knutti and Hegerl 2008 at http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf.

    An “interesting” paper. Based on my own, admittedly brief, perusal of it, I’d have to say that the climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 could be 3C… or it could be a bologna sandwich. I rate it a pick’em.

  75. This is more “science by press release”. I see nothing in the abstract to support the claim of the press release, that the seas will rise significantly more than previously thought.

    BS seeking funding.

  76. David Wendt,

    even if I accepted your “doubling increases 2 centigrade” theory; two piddling centigrade will make no darn difference whatsoever.

  77. So let me get this straight… In the last interglacial, all on its own and without the help of people making CO2, the planet got 5 C hotter than now, then plunged back into ice. And during this interglacial, even though we are approaching the end of it, and are several degrees cooler than then; warming is unprecedented and it’s our fault? And the answer is to reduce CO2 production? Because that was involved how last time?

    Something is not adding up here for me…

  78. A disclaimer is required. That no science was used in the production of this (sciency )product. On reflection, as a WUWT contributer suggested weeks ago, the 1st rank of AWG shills are in full retreat. To cover their retreat they encourage the 2nd raters and useful idiots to publish in support of the great cause.Hence strange claims such as this.

  79. Can we fix the sun, so that it doesn’t interfere with our temperature too? Maybe a big blanket to block the sun out so we can be freezed down to -15 degrees like that new planet in the Goldilocks zone.

  80. Paul Coppin says:
    October 1, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    At what point did British academics turn bat-sh*t crazy? When I was in uni, we had a certain reverence for the Brits who came over – their undergrad and pre-uni ed seem somewhat more disciplined and focused than what we Canucks were used to. Current observation tends to suggest that’s pretty much evaporated…

    I ask myself the same question. When I did my degree (in the UK) it took considerable hard work to achieve a II.I degree classification. Relatively few people got them.

    Now I find that my degree has been seriously devalued. More than 50% of degrees are now II.I classification – because industry wanted more II.I material, so what did they do? they lowered the bar to generate more of them!

    Everwhere I look in the UK university system I see the same lowering of standards.

    Truly sad.

  81. Many critical comments here today. If all any of us read was the press release, they are most deserving. I looked the abstract up, a copy of which is below. Funny thing this, take the title away and it sounds like a different paper. (which is behind a pay wall)

    Does the Agulhas Current amplify global temperatures during super-interglacials?
    “Keywords:

    * abrupt future climate change;
    * El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO);
    * Southern Ocean;
    * Southern Hemisphere westerlies;
    * thermohaline circulation

    Abstract

    Future projections of climate suggest our planet is moving into a ‘super-interglacial’. Here we report a global synthesis of ice, marine and terrestrial data from a recent palaeoclimate equivalent, the Last Interglacial (ca. 130–116 ka ago). Our analysis suggests global temperatures were on average ∼1.5°C higher than today (relative to the AD 1961–1990 period). Intriguingly, we identify several Indian Ocean Last Interglacial sequences that suggest persistent early warming, consistent with leakage of warm, saline waters from the Agulhas Current into the Atlantic, intensifying meridional ocean circulation and increasing global temperatures. This mechanism may have played a significant positive feedback role during super-interglacials and could become increasingly important in the future. These results provide an important insight into a future 2°C climate stabilisation scenario. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.”

    I don’t think you people, including myself, were harsh enough. I just hate it when the press release give a false impression of what the paper or abstract, has to say. It is junk like this that gives us earth scientists a bad name.

  82. E.M.Smith says:
    October 1, 2010 at 6:56 pm
    So let me get this straight… In the last interglacial, all on its own and without the help of people making CO2, the planet got 5 C hotter than now, then plunged back into ice. And during this interglacial, even though we are approaching the end of it, and are several degrees cooler than then; warming is unprecedented and it’s our fault? And the answer is to reduce CO2 production? Because that was involved how last time?

    Something is not adding up here for me…
    ========================
    The only variable at this point is, the profit motive.

  83. Just in time for Mexico!

    How do these idiots expect anyone to believe their pure ranting BS. The more they predict doom and gloom and it’s worse than we thought they lose more supporters. They’d be better off just to STFU.

  84. It seems the global warming debate on blogs like this now boil down to a partisan popularity contest. Meanwhile the world’s major Scientific Bodies still believe Global Warming is a dangerous reality as much as they did before “climategate.” Imperfect as they are, I’ll take “eco-fascist” scientific community over blog chest-thumping.

  85. Of course, in the run-up to Copenhagen last year Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf of Germany’s Potsdam Institute declared that a two-meter sea-level rise [over the next 300 years] had now become almost ‘unstoppable’ unless we could extract enough CO2 from the atmosphere to cool the planet. I suppose we will all just ‘go with the flow,’ whatever that might be.

    Just for reference; as the anthropogenic contribution to the CO2 in atmosphere is assumed to be on the order of 110 ppm, to anthropogenically double the current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, we would need to find and burn almost four times as much fossil fuel as has already been done in the last 100 years. I assume that burning carbon recovered by plants from the atmosphere would not count.

  86. Quote from the report

    From their analysis, the scientists found 263 estimates of the conditions when sediments and ice were laid down during the Last Interglacial, allowing them to reconstruct past temperatures around the globe. To compare the reconstructed estimates with today, they took the Last Interglacial values away from modern temperatures averaged over the period 1961 to 1990.

    unquote

    So they now require to upgrade a 1,000 met stations, when this guy has resolved global climate with 263 estimates. So clearly current efforts are total overkill (snip) sorry sensitive word

  87. Spector says: October 1, 2010 at 9:02 pm
    “we would need to find and burn almost four times as much fossil fuel as has already been done in the last 100 years. I assume that burning carbon recovered by plants from the atmosphere would not count.”

    Burning carbon recovered by plants from the atmosphere would not count?

    Where exactly do you think the carbon in fossil fuels originally came from?

    Are you saying that if you rake the leaves and then burn them it is ok, but if you toss the leaves in a bog and burn them 250 million years later it is not ok?

    Both cases are simply recycling CO2, which is the entry point for all carbon onto the food chain on earth, back into the food chain. Same same.

  88. It would help if these Professors would tell us, or maybe discover, what humans did 125,000 years ago to make the temperature stop increasing – obviously it was not the cessation of burning coal.

  89. Kan says:
    October 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm
    It would help if these Professors would tell us, or maybe discover, what humans did 125,000 years ago to make the temperature stop increasing – obviously it was not the cessation of burning coal.

    ======================================

    The wisdom of the ages.

    -Chris

  90. RE: Andrew30: (October 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm)
    “Are you saying that if you rake the leaves and then burn them it is ok, but if you toss the leaves in a bog and burn them 250 million years later it is not ok?

    Both cases are simply recycling CO2, which is the entry point for all carbon onto the food chain on earth, back into the food chain. “

    The ‘fossil’ carbon has been ‘sequestered’ from previous atmospheres over a long period of time; so that adding CO2 from that source will increase to the overall CO2 in our atmosphere. Burning ‘fresh’ carbon will only restore the status quo ante its removal from our existing atmosphere.

    I am sure there are people who would prefer that we abstain from either process and give nature a chance to replace all the carbon we have removed from the ground.

  91. The UK is facing truly unprecedented cuts in government expenditures – this is now imminent.

    Undoubtedly several climate ‘startle’-mongering institutions will soon be getting the chop.

    The only defence the people in these institutions have to avoid the chop is to ratchet up the scare stories – preferably something with a new twist which requires ‘urgent study’ and large amounts from the dwindling grant trough.

    So expect more of this stuff, but it’s nice to know that at least one of the these guys has a conflict of interest up to his ying yang.

    The article below is from the October 2008 edition of New Scientist – note the comments by Turney. This strikes me as being one of the goofier types of green technology being touted around today.

    “The world’s first commercial plant that uses microwave technology to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce the effects of global warming has started operating in New Zealand.

    Humans emit 8 to 10 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year. While nature fixes about 120 billion tonnes of carbon annually, primarily due to the growth of forests, this natural cycle is in equilibrium, and the same amount is respired back into the atmosphere as trees die and rot.

    One way to sequester this carbon before it’s released is to turn plant waste into charcoal. “It’s a stable form of carbon and can last tens of thousands of years,” says Chris Turney of the University of Exeter, UK.

    Carbonscape, based in Blenheim, New Zealand, has developed technology that turns organic waste, such as wood and wood chips, into charcoal using microwaves. Turney, who advises Carbonscape, says that at full capacity the plant can produce a tonne of charcoal a day. And even when the plant is using electricity generated by conventional non-renewable sources, the process will result in a net reduction of one tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere every day, claims Turney.

    The figure could be significantly higher if the electricity came from renewable sources. “If you have got a green source for electricity, then everything you fix is a net gain,” says Turney. “

  92. stephen richards says:
    October 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Exeter is a nothing uni in the SW of england and this rubbish confirms that assessment. My god these people are arrogant and thick as two short planks.

    Get a load of this, from Chuck Shepherd’s “News of the Weird” in the Oct. 2010 issue of Funny Times:

    “Biologists from Britain’s Exeter university who set out to study the sexual behavior of field crickets in a meadow in northern Spain reported in June that they set up 96 cameras and microphones to cover a population of 152 crickets that they individually identified with tiny, numbered placards on their backs (after DNA-swabbing each one). Publishing in the journal Science, they claimed the study is important in helping us understand how “climate change” will affect habitats.”

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CBoQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fmankatofreepress.com%2Flocal%2Fx1743687355%2FWeird-News-What-a-cricket-sex-researcher-has-to-go-through&rct=j&q=%22Biologists%20from%20Britain%27s%20Exeter%20university%20who%20set%20out%22&ei=AtumTPrZJoH6swPbmpHYDA&usg=AFQjCNEKSljr6YWWiS5Aej-ugbDaPE0xKw&sig2=nk-CWepFFeiuuhfnmQgNNA&cad=rja

  93. Robert of Ottawa says:
    David Wendt, “even if I accepted your “doubling increases 2 centigrade” theory; two piddling centigrade will make no darn difference whatsoever.”

    Hi Robert, I believe David was responding to a post in which I cited Knutti and Hegerl 2008, a climate sensitivity meta-analysis which provides wide ranging evidence for a likely climate sensitivity of 3C (+/-1C). The paper covers ten separate methodologies for arriving at this estimate along with their strengths, weaknesses and uncertainties. David has applied penetrating analysis to the paper’s findings, likening the results to a “bologna sandwich”. I have arrived at a different conclusion, namely that we are
    headed for +3C.

    I recommend Mark Lynas “Six Degrees” to how a +2C, +3C global temperature increase might unfold. In many places it has the potential to push agriculture regimes outside norms established for much of modern human history. Tag this as “alarmist rubbish” or read the book – your choice.

  94. A future temperature of 2°C above “pre-industrial levels” would presumably have to be maintained for several hundreds of years to effect the predicted sea level rise.

    According to giss.nasa, the Arctic temperature rose about 2°C 1880 – 1940,

    without any significant help from human CO2 emissions,

    while the sea level rose about 5 cm.

    It’s interesting that this paper takes CO2 as the current major climate driver as an established fact.

  95. About Professor Turney mixing up metric units: The 60-90 cms are just as wrong in his blog which refers to an article in Nature from last year which says the following: “When global sea level was close to its current level (≥-10 m), the millennial average rate of global sea level rise is very likely to have exceeded 5.6 m kyr-1 but is unlikely to have exceeded 9.2 m kyr-1.”. 5.6-9.2 meters per millennium, that’s 5.6-9.2 centimeters per decade.

  96. So we must have been emiting dangerous levels of CO2 during the last interglacial, too. Amazing what paleoclimatology can reveal.

    I am starting to think that the real “divergence” problem is divergence from reality, although to be fair, paleostuff was neber a very hard core science.

  97. @Patrick Kelly says: October 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm
    In 1996, my daughter, then aged 17 & studying geography seemed to me to be lacking basic facts. I tackled her teacher and was told “Geography is not about that anymore but more about how we interact with the planet; human geography”. I understood the change in ‘geography’ had happened before 1996.

  98. The discrepancy between the paleo sea level in the last interglacial and the present situation does imply that is is worse that we thought; i.e., the overstating of the present warming in respect to past warm periods is apparently more greatly exaggerated than many may have thought and thus does not replicate the past sea level.

  99. Why did the temperature rise then? Not CO2!!! And are we constrained about a 2 deg. rise? or is a 2 deg. fall ok. I would rather it was a rise as I hate cold. CO2 never caused climate change in the past! Why now?
    Exeter University works with Hadley so we can see where this is coming from and the grant season is around the corner.

  100. Christopher Hanley:

    “A future temperature of 2°C above “pre-industrial levels” would presumably have to be maintained for several hundreds of years to effect the predicted sea level rise.”

    Yes, and it would only be after the altitude of the Greenland ice sheet had been significantly reduced that the melting and sea level rise would accelerate. The paper could just as easily have been spun and reassuring, since our lower rate of sea level rise shows we are not at that climate stage yet, and even in the unlikely event we are at that rate of rise in 100 years, we can address any concerns then, when we are wealthier, more technological capable and hopefully understand the climate a little better.

  101. The FUTILITY of Mankind trying to Control Climate

    Just running the numbers

    On average world temperature is +15 deg C. This is sustained by the atmospheric Greenhouse Effect ~33 deg C. Without the Greenhouse Effect the planet would be un-inhabitable at -18 deg C. The Biosphere and Mankind need the Greenhouse Effect.

    Just running the numbers by translating the agents causing the Greenhouse Effect into degrees centigrade:
    • Greenhouse Effect = ~33.00 deg C
    • Water Vapour accounts for about 95% of the Greenhouse Effect = ~ 31.35 deg C
    • Other Greenhouse Gases GHGs account for 5% = ~1.65 deg C
    • CO2 is 75% of the effect of all accounting for the enhanced effects of Methane and Nitrous Oxide GHGs = ~1.24 deg C
    • Most CO2 in the atmosphere is natural, more than 93%
    • Man-made CO2 is less than 7% of total atmospheric CO2 = ~0.087 deg C
    • the UK contribution to CO2 is 2% equals = 1,740 millionths deg C
    • the USA contribution to CO2 is ~20% equals = 17.6 thousandths deg C

    So closing carbon economies of the Whole World could only ever achieve a virtually undetectable less than 0.01deg C. How can the Green movement and their supporting politicians think that their remedial actions can limit warming to only + 2.00 deg C?

    So the probability is that any current global warming is not man-made and in any case such warming could be not be influenced by any remedial action taken by mankind however drastic.

    As this is so, the prospect should be greeted with Unmitigated Joy:
    • concern over CO2 as a man-made pollutant can be discounted.
    • it is not necessary to damage the world’s economy to no purpose.
    • if warming were happening, it would lead to a more benign and healthy climate for all mankind.
    • any extra CO2 is already increasing the fertility and reducing water needs of all plant life and thus enhancing world food production.
    • a warmer climate, within natural variation, would provide a future of greater opportunity and prosperity for human development. This has been well proven in the past and would now especially benefit the third world.

    Nonetheless, this is not to say that the world should not be seeking more efficient ways of generating its energy, conserving its energy use and stopping damaging its environments. And there is a real need to wean the world off the continued use of fossil fuels simply on the grounds of:
    • security of supply
    • increasing scarcity
    • rising costs
    • their use as the feedstock for industry rather than simply burning them.

    The French long-term energy strategy with its massive commitment to nuclear power is impressive, (85% of electricity generation). Even if one is concerned about CO2, Nuclear Energy pays off, French CO2 emissions / head are the lowest in the developed world.

    However in the light of the state of the current solar cycle, it seems that there is a real prospect of damaging cooling occurring in the near future for several decades. And as power stations face closure the lights may well go out in the winter 2016 if not before.

    All because CO2 based Man-made Global Warming has become a state sponsored religion.

  102. About these 2°C:
    Can ANYBODY tell me
    1) the starting year of this calculation, and what the temperature was then?
    2) how much of these 2°C has humanity “used up” up to 2010?

  103. Hail the new emperors of the solar system.

    Can I wish for longer summers to northern Europe? The winter is ok, though a bit harsh, we had -20 for several weeks last year. Surely we should be able to achieve this through controlled carbon release. Also, autumn is a bit too dark, maybe co2 could be used to control this too ?

  104. “2 deg. C”. “That’s how much the planet will be allowed to warm.”

    Say what !?

    The mean global temperature of the Earth rises by 3.8 deg. C from June to January each year and cools by the same amount from Januay to June each year.

    So, the planet warms by nearly double 2 deg. C within each year.
    They intend to stop this?
    How?
    And can they tell us the harm that would be caused by their attempts to stop it?

    Richard

  105. “….study of the Last Interglacial, a period of warming some 125,000 years ago,………The results show temperatures appear to have been more than 5˚C warmer in polar regions”

    Yet the ice caps came back, the polar bear survived, penguins are still here. This study is based on the assumption that co2 is the main cause of the recent warming. If it turns out to not be the main cause then the study itself is wrong in its conclusions.

  106. “I’m a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Exeter where I’m focussing my efforts on … To do something positive about climate change, I’m a Director of a small company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.” – Professor Chris Turney

    Hello everybody, could you do me a favour and forget what you’ve all seen here the past few moments? Thanks. Seems somebody is infringing on my IP. Just some lawyer stuff.

  107. I didn’t notice anything new in this paper. We already knew that the Sangamonian (Eemian) was 2-5C warmer with a 5-10m higher sea level at its peak warmth.

    The climate has cooled by more than 2C since the Holocene Climatic Optimum. The nadir of the Little Ice Age (~1600 AD) was the coldest part of the Holocene so far.

    The climate changes over the last 60 years have not been anomalous relative to the Holocene in general or the Sangamonian.

  108. edmh says: October 2, 2010 at 2:26 am
    … • Man-made CO2 is less than 7% of total atmospheric CO2 = ~0.087 deg C

    edmh, your chain of reasoning assumes the water vapour content would not be affected if all other GHGs are removed from the atmosphere. This is not the case. Your conclusion is flawed.

  109. Politicians are superhuman. They can control the planet’s temperature to a tenth of a degree, providing you give them enough money to spend on their friends.

  110. Since our resources and leaders are focussed on minor warming and have put much resources and research into this, what happens if the BIG FREEZE starts to occur?

    Will they recommend buying condos in the Keys as our only choice?

  111. “I am sure there are people who would prefer that we abstain from either process and give nature a chance to replace all the carbon we have removed from the ground.”

    We can do it, but it will take time.

    18% (by mass) of the human body is carbon, there are about 7 billion people alive today, over the next 75 years about 100% of those people will die, if the average death weight of a person is 60kg; and if they were all buried; it would sequester an average of 1,008,000,000 kg of carbon per year for 75 years.
    7,000,000,000 X 60kg X 0.18 / 75 years = 1,008,000,000 kg/year
    (“18% by mass” from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_makeup_of_the_human_body)

    The only human created long term carbon capture and storage system that has ever worked is a graveyard.

    So when do the graveyard operators start selling carbon-credits?

  112. John Marshall says:
    October 2, 2010 at 1:33 am

    “Why did the temperature rise then? Not CO2!!! And are we constrained about a 2 deg. rise? or is a 2 deg. fall ok. I would rather it was a rise as I hate cold. CO2 never caused climate change in the past! Why now?”

    Milankovitch forcing followed by CO2-CH4-WV feedback.

    BTW folks – in the UK, Glaciology/Quaternary research tends to come under the wing of “Physical Geography”. Geology departments deal with the pre-quaternary stuff. Hope that clears that up!

    Cheers – John

  113. ? they compared 61 to 90?
    and wasnt that when we ere Cooling according to erhlich holdren et al?
    and why not go to 2000 or even to 2010.
    cos it dropped ?

  114. What the……………….!
    “with a rate of [sea level] rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade — more than double that recently observed”

    I think the measured rate is less then 60 to 90 cm per CENTURY… not decade.

    Probably a typo, but is is so typical. Climate science is just sloppy in every respect.

  115. Ammonite,

    “edmh, your chain of reasoning assumes the water vapour content would not be affected if all other GHGs are removed from the atmosphere. This is not the case. Your conclusion is flawed.”

    Water vapour is just one part of the water cycle, and one of the open questions in climate science is whether the net feedback to CO2 forcing is negative, positive or highly positive. Any concerns about AGW are based upon the non-existent evidence that it is highly positive. In the other cases, AGW becomes a minor perturbation of natural variation and we are looking at only 1 degree C over the next century. Since natural variation is greater the decade 100 years from now may well be cooler despite CO2 warming impact.

    Like you I often cite Hegerl and Knutti. Rather than repeat them, you might want to look at previous assessments here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/05/spencer-on-climate-sensitivity-and-solar-irradiance/#comment-406784

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/15/off-to-the-conference/#comment-390880

  116. An analysis of geological records that preserve details of the last known period of global warming has revealed ‘startling’ results which suggest current targets for limiting climate change are unsafe.

    So we have some more CAGW Porn, eh? I’m just soooo excited….can’t wait for the next episode….and Thank You, Climate Scientists!

  117. Am I the only one who reads these articles and then feels like they got hit by a truck at their conclusion? The last interglacial showed sea rise way above the current trend and was much warmer. So manmade CO2 could not have been the culprit. But then WHAM!!! manmade CO2 IS the culprit and we must do everything to lower it.

  118. John Hayte says:
    October 1, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    It seems the global warming debate on blogs like this now boil down to a partisan popularity contest. Meanwhile the world’s major Scientific Bodies still believe Global Warming is a dangerous reality as much as they did before “climategate.” Imperfect as they are, I’ll take “eco-fascist” scientific community over blog chest-thumping.
    Many, many people have taken your route, preferring to simply believe in a (mythical) “consensus”, rather than to do the work required of reading and researching on their own. It’s sort of the sheep approach to knowledge, and exhibits an astounding amount of intellectual laziness, lack of curiosity, and a general dullness of mind. Sad, really.

  119. Surely one of the most obvious points to make here is that:

    “during the last interglacial, tempertures were higher than today and sea levels were higher than today ALL WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF HIGHER CO2 LEVELS”

    (excuse the shouting !!)

    Does it not occur to these folk that today’s warming might also be nothing to do with CO2 but the result of the same natural forces that were at play in the last interglacial (and the 3 before that too…)????

  120. So the earth is now allowed to warm 2 degrees C. But it was a lot warmer (more then 5 degrees C) earlier in history. So how did the warming back then occur? It was through natural causes obviously. So what is there to say that this current warming isn’t through natural causes as well. So there has been a human increase to CO2, but what’s to say that it has affected how much the Earth will warm/has warmed. If the Earth naturally has been warmer and colder then present days, it can NATURALLY warm or cool that much again, and human influence is negligable.
    So why is there now a limit on how much the Earth can warm, if it can naturally warm more than that?

  121. Vorlath says:
    October 2, 2010 at 8:05 am

    “Am I the only one who reads these articles and then feels like they got hit by a truck at their conclusion? The last interglacial showed sea rise way above the current trend and was much warmer. So manmade CO2 could not have been the culprit. But then WHAM!!! manmade CO2 IS the culprit and we must do everything to lower it.”

    Well, that’s the thing about feedbacks, you see. They kick in once an initial forcing agent tips things. Milankovitch forcings affect insolation, especially in the N Hemisphere. Plate tectonics affects weather-patterns e.g. drifting a big continent to occupy the area of the South Pole creates a very dry and very cold place, but with moist fringes with lots of precip there. CO2/CH4 feeds back if Milankovitch forcings cook the permafrost. After that, water vapor follows suit.

    This time – uniquely, outside of the armageddon-style Siberian Traps type events of volcanism on a quite mind-boggling scale, we are the primary forcing agent as a long-life GHG generator. What we are doing is unprecedented in geological history – in fact, the last time an Order of life affected CO2 concentrations so drastically was in the Devonian, when land-based vascular plants went forth and multiplied. That time of course it meant that CO2 levels went down. Antony has posted the graph before.

    It’s a Dirty Harry-style experiment we are performing with our future, and the geezer saying “do you wanna make my day” ain’t Clint. It ain’t Antony, it ain’t Richard Curtis (people should, senso stricto, only explode on Monty Python sketches), and is sure as hell ain’t me. It’s the biosphere.

    Cheers – John

  122. If people think todays climate pseudo scientist will be the laughing stock of the future, it’ll be nothing compared to what will smear on the eurocratic politician who took the pseudo climate fear to heart and actually wrote it in the new law (that also got us a not by the people elected president) that it is now illegal for EU to have world with a global climate that is plus 2 degrees C above the normal 79-00 reference line.

    Imagine the rationale of it all without laughing yer pants off twice on the same day. If you ever have lacked a stellar example of arrogance and hubris working together in perfect harmony we now have it.

  123. John Mason,

    They’ve got you worried, I see. That’s their method: to scare folks so people willingly open their wallets. But nothing unusual is going on with the planet’s climate. Nothing.

    And if the Earth starts to cool instead, then they will make that the new scare tactic. Because CAGW isn’t science, it’s politics. And politics is interested in your wallet.

    “It just goes to show, it’s always something.”

    ~Roseanne Rosannadanna

  124. It really is unbelievable that two professors can present information with this degree of inaccuracy.

    We are all aware in the UK how our education system has been dumbed down from the bottom to the top, this includes these two.

  125. “Peter Miller says: October 2, 2010 at 12:00 am
    The article below is from the October 2008 edition of New Scientist – note the comments by Turney. This strikes me as being one of the goofier types of green technology being touted around today.

    “The world’s first commercial plant that uses microwave technology to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce the effects of global warming has started operating in New Zealand.

    One way to sequester this carbon before it’s released is to turn plant waste into charcoal. “It’s a stable form of carbon and can last tens of thousands of years,” says Chris Turney of the University of Exeter, UK.

    Carbonscape, based in Blenheim, New Zealand, has developed technology that turns organic waste, such as wood and wood chips, into charcoal using microwaves. Turney, who advises Carbonscape, says that at full capacity the plant can produce a tonne of charcoal a day. And even when the plant is using electricity generated by conventional non-renewable sources, the process will result in a net reduction of one tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere every day, claims Turney.”

    —————————————————————————-
    What Turney is saying that this company can make a ton of charcoal with a process hat uses electricity off the power grid. He is also saying: “even when the plant is using electricity generated by conventional non-renewable sources, the process will result in a net reduction of one tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere every day”

    This is the classic perpetual motion machine. Coal burning power plants can be modified to burn charcoal just fine. Using Turney’s process, we can make more than a ton of charcoal by burning less than a ton of coal in a power plant.

    FANTASTIC!!

  126. “Peter Miller says: October 2, 2010 at 12:00 am
    The article below is from the October 2008 edition of New Scientist – note the comments by Turney. This strikes me as being one of the goofier types of green technology being touted around today.

    “The world’s first commercial plant that uses microwave technology to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help reduce the effects of global warming has started operating in New Zealand.

    One way to sequester this carbon before it’s released is to turn plant waste into charcoal. “It’s a stable form of carbon and can last tens of thousands of years,” says Chris Turney of the University of Exeter, UK.

    Carbonscape, based in Blenheim, New Zealand, has developed technology that turns organic waste, such as wood and wood chips, into charcoal using microwaves. Turney, who advises Carbonscape, says that at full capacity the plant can produce a tonne of charcoal a day. And even when the plant is using electricity generated by conventional non-renewable sources, the process will result in a net reduction of one tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere every day, claims Turney.”

    —————————————————————————-
    Turney is saying that this company can make a ton/day of charcoal with a process that uses electricity off the power grid, even if the electricity comes from coal fired plants (which are about 40% efficient).

    This is the classic perpetual motion machine. Coal burning power plants can be modified to burn charcoal just fine. Using Turney’s process, we can make more than a ton of charcoal by burning less than a ton of coal in a power plant.

    FANTASTIC!!

    We can close all the worlds coal mines and run the world’s power plants using Turney’s charcoal, and have charcoal left over to bury!

    Somebody please tell AlGore about this.

  127. John Mason says:

    “Plate tectonics affects weather-patterns e.g. drifting a big continent to occupy the area of the South Pole creates a very dry and very cold place, but with moist fringes with lots of precip there.”

    I hope you’re being sarcastic. I’ve done modelling of the Earth with respect to the seafloor age. New seafloor production has actually been even or going down for the last 30 million years. This production is under water. So there is no drifting of big continents. We’re talking 120,000 years since the last ice age. Not millions required for significant plate movement. And I’m not sure what to say about the rest of your comment except WOW!

  128. Martin Lewitt says: October 2, 2010 at 7:23 am
    Water vapour is just one part of the water cycle, and one of the open questions in climate science is whether the net feedback to CO2 forcing is negative, positive or highly positive. Any concerns about AGW are based upon the non-existent evidence that it is highly positive.

    Firstly, it is a pleasure to converse with someone who is familiar with this literature. In relation to http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf the paper makes a strong case that the lower limit of climate sensitivity is well constrained, at least 1.5C for a doubling of CO2. From their opening paragraph, “various observations favour a climate sensitivity value of about 3 °C, with a likely range of about 2–4.5 °C.” The 10 differing approaches assessed all centre around 3C.

    My reading indicates that 3C is more than enough to initiate large scale changes to the earth’s climate system with the potential to significantly impact agriculture in many parts of the world. My uncertainties are how long, how much and what regional affects will unfold. Many people seem to imagine “catastrophe” as near instantaneous disaster. My concern is more that if CO2 emissions are not addressed a long series of haphazard problems will gradually eat into the surplus and resilience of many nations until they are unable to cope.

  129. Ammonite says:
    October 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    From their opening paragraph, “various observations favour a climate sensitivity value of about 3 °C, with a likely range of about 2–4.5 °C.” The 10 differing approaches assessed all centre around 3C.
    ——————–

    Show me one set of actual observations that results in 3.0C per doubling.

    I’m talking about temperature and CO2/GHG observations (historical or recent).

    That is the problem with these papers, there is no actual data in them. There is a chart that somehow shows 3.0C per doubling and this is just accepted as evidence. However, when looks into any set of actual observations that the chart is based on – it is a mystery where the 3.0C per doubling came from because the math does not work.

  130. Bill Illis says: October 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm
    “Show me one set of actual observations that results in 3.0C per doubling.”

    Hi Bill, my best suggestion is to follow the most promising papers listed in the Knutti and Hegerl summary. For example, some “last glacial maximum data” estimates are listed below. I understand the reticence of many to accept GCM results at face value. Are there bugs? Has data-fitting/parameterisation been (unconsciously) used to generate a pre-determined outcome? Are there factors that are not included or modelled incorrectly (clouds, vegetation, ocean, X-factors…)? For some their value is zero. For me they represent an ambitious endpoint to a series of independent factors pointing to AGW – not hard data, not conclusive, but not worthless either.

    Lorius, C., Jouzel, J., Raynaud, D., Hansen, J. & LeTreut, H. The ice-core record—climate sensitivity and future greenhouse warming. Nature 347, 139–145 (1990).
    Hoffert, M. I. & Covey, C. Deriving global climate sensitivity from palaeoclimate reconstructions. Nature 360, 573–576 (1992).
    Covey, C., Sloan, L. C. & Hoffert, M. I. Paleoclimate data constraints on climate sensitivity: The paleocalibration method. Clim. Change 32, 165–184 (1996).

    From the Hoffert and Covery abstract: “An alternative to model-based estimates is in principle available from the reconstruction of past climates, which implicitly includes cloud feedback. Here we retrieve the sensitivity of two palaeoclimates, one colder and one warmer than present, by independently reconstructing both the equilibrium surface temperature change and the radiative forcing. Our results yield T 2x = 2.3 +/- 0.9 °C. This range is comparable with estimates from GCMs and inferences from recent temperature observations and ocean models.”

  131. I am very skeptical about the ability of climatologists to determine with accuracy the temperature 125,000 years ago from the settling of sediments and especially to determine the ocean rise of 60 to 90 centimeters per decade. I am surprised that they use such rough estimates to suggest that 2 degrees Celsius climate change is unsafe.

  132. Phillip Bratby says:

    Exeter University is next door to the Met Office. Both are full of CAGWers, all paid for by taxpayers.

    Actually they are several miles apart on opposite sides of the city.

  133. Rob Potter says:

    And the whole 6-9 m of sea level rise will take just 100 years……. Wow, the resolution of their historical reconstruction is fabulous!

    That would require 6-9cm per year. Or 60-90 mm/year, 600-900mm/decade…

    I’m thinking 6-9 mm per decade is what they meant, based on a 6-9 m rise over a millennium (which they might just be able to resolve).

    6-9mm per decade would mean that the 6-9m change would require 10,000 years.
    Which is plenty of time for plenty of other processes to alter the level of the land.

  134. JinOH says:

    So now these pointy heads are ‘telling’ the climate how much it’s ‘allowed’ to warm? I have to go outside and tell my grass how tall it’s allowed to grow – because I’m tired of cutting it.

    Given that talking to plants is reputed to make them grow faster (regardless of what you say to them) such an exercise could well be counter productive.

  135. Ammonite,

    Hegerl and Knutti are just presenting a review of the literature, and the published literature, mostly model based, does generally agree on a climate sensitivity of 3 degrees C. But there is more to be learned from reading paper and its references than that. Consider for instance that they don’t discuss the model diagnostic literature. Since all the AR4 models have correlated error in several different diagnostics, including representing less than half the observed increase in precipitation (Wentz), failing to reproduce the amplitude of the observed response to the solar cycle (Camp and Tung) (Lean), more than 3 W/m^2 globally and annually averaged bias in surface albedo feedback (Roesch), errors in tropical radiative suggestive that the net feedback is negative while the models have it positive (Spencer) (Lindzen), etc., Hegerl and Knutti failed to discount the model based results. I don’t see how they can be discounted in a way which has them significantly and credibly contributing to the final conclusion. Please note that in their discussion of “various observations” they admit, not only model dependency, but dependency on just one climate model. It was just slab ocean model, by the way:

    “The main caveat is that all three studies are based on a version of the same climate model and may be similarly influenced by biases in the underlying model.”

    Let’s now consider the model independent estimates of climate sensitivity. Upon closer examination, we find that much of it is actually model dependent, one of the papers of Annan for instance, that claims to arrive at a model independent estimate, uses models to evaluate the maunder minimum and (if I recall correctly) the Holocene optimum and a previous glacial/interglacial transition.

    Note another limitation disclosed by Knutti and Hegerl:

    “The concept of radiative forcing is of rather limited use for forcings with strongly varying vertical or spatial distributions.”

    This does not come as a revelation to those who have thought much about nonlinear dynamic systems. So which forcings have strongly varying vertical or spacial distributions? Well, solar for one, couples more strongly to the stratosphere and surface including 10s of meters of the ocean than it does to the troposphere. The well mixed GHGs couple mainly to the troposphere, with H2O having an uneven distribution, and aerosols couple to the troposphere is a vertically and spatially varying way. For the purposes of the AGW hypothesis, it is climate sensitivity to CO2 and the other non-H2O well mixed GHGs that is over interest. There is no reason to assume that the climate sensitivity to CO2 is the same as that to solar or aerosols, so we can eliminate those estimates based upon solar and aerosol forcings.

    Next we can consider the paleo estimates of climate sensitivity to CO2. The errors in estimates of temperature from proxies and CO2 levels are both high, and the estimates of climate sensitivity based on long term equilibrium responses are of questionable relevance to what will happen in the next century or two, because they either involve a crossover to a different climate mode, or because higher estimates of climate sensitivity require time frames in which significant melting of the Greenland ice sheet can occur. All the glacial outlets of the Greenland ice sheet would have to be galloping continuously at rates only seen infrequently for hours at a time and the elevation of the top of the ice sheet would have to be considerably lowered.

    Rather than just summarily rejecting all these studies, lets also try to understand why the estimates of climate sensitivity might be high. The model diagnostics help here, because they show that the models under represent the observed response to the solar cycle variation. Models that under represent solar might need to be excessively sensitive to CO2 in order to reproduce the recent warming despite the fact that solar activity was at a grand maximum during the latter half of the 20th century. Furthermore, the models might also need excessively high sensitivity to CO2 because they were unable to reproduce the multi-decadal climate modes that were in the positive phases during the recent warming. The under representation of the negative feedback of the water cycle and the questionable positive tropical cloud feedback might be how they achieve this higher sensitivity.

    Lets look at why the estimate of climate sensitivity to solar radiative forcing might be high. Solar variation is admitted by the IPCC FAR to be poorly understood and possibly off by a factor of two. If variation in solar radiative forcing is actually higher, the sensitivity required to explain past climate variation is lower, most studies just use Lean’s estimates without allowance for that uncertainty. But I think the real reason that estimates of climate sensitivity to solar radiative forcing is likely to be too high, is because the climate response to solar is not just to radiative coupling to the climate but to other nonlinear coupling mechanisms. Solar UV variation couples chemically to the stratosphere and a lesser extent to the troposphere through chemistry, the creation of the greenhouse gas ozone. It was already being understood in 2008 that solar UV varied by several percent over the course of a solar cycle. Recent work in the current extended minimum show that these minima are not like the shorter solar cycle minimum. UV varies even more greatly, perhaps by an order of magnitude. Therefore models might have required much higher sensitivities to solar radiative forcing to understand the maunder and dalton minima and the medival warm period because the climate response was not just due to radiative forcing but to this other nonlinear coupling which they didn’t represent.

    The models implement radiative coupling similarly for solar and CO2, for instance CO2 is usually coupled to the whole mixing layer of the oceans even though it barely penetrates microns into the surface while solar penetrates 10s of meters. Similar treatement of the CO2 and solar wavelengths occur at the land surface as well. Therefore model implementations which amp up the response to solar radiation in order to explain past climate response which was due to coupling that wasn’t just radiative, will also have amped up the response to CO2 radiative forcing.

    Past aerosol forcing is poorly understood and is so poorly constrained that it supplies most of the explanation of how models with more than a factor of two difference in climate sensitivity can “match” the same climate. The Pinatubo eruption aerosols are probably better understood, but estimates of climate sensitivity from this event are usually also tainted by models.

    Basically, there is practically no model independent evidence of climate sensitivity to CO2 in the current climate regime. The direct effects of CO2 can only explain about a third of the recent warming and a climate sensitivity of 1 to 1.1 degrees C. Anything more requires net positive feedback. Recent model independent evidence suggests that the net feedback might actually be negative (Lindzen) (Spencer) and at the very least that the models have another important conflict with the observations.

    The science is not settled.

  136. Vorlath says:
    October 2, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    John Mason says:

    “Plate tectonics affects weather-patterns e.g. drifting a big continent to occupy the area of the South Pole creates a very dry and very cold place, but with moist fringes with lots of precip there.”

    I hope you’re being sarcastic. I’ve done modelling of the Earth with respect to the seafloor age. New seafloor production has actually been even or going down for the last 30 million years. This production is under water. So there is no drifting of big continents. We’re talking 120,000 years since the last ice age. Not millions required for significant plate movement. And I’m not sure what to say about the rest of your comment except WOW!
    ******************************************************

    Wow back!

    Antarctica drifted towards the South Pole in late Mesozoic times and was in place by the Cenozoic. The tectonic arrangements were then in place for a cold dry continent at the South Pole. However, the significant global cooling that led to that cold dry climate did not occur until later in the Oligocene and Miocene. Large-scale chemical weathering as a by-product of major orogenesis may have been a cause of said cooling. All perfectly natural.

    Since Miocene times, anyway, Antarctica has had an ice-cap.

    Anyhow, the point I was making is that having a large continent bang-over the south Pole creates, all other things being as they are, the conditions that favour a cold, dry climate over said landmass and lots of precip around its fringes. I do not believe I gave a timeline on it in my original post, although I have now.

    BTW – the last ice-age reached glacial maximum approximately 18,000 years ago, not 120,000 years ago. That latter date you posted is closer to the Eemian interglacial.

    After several glacial-interglacial fluctuations between about 180 and 280ppm during the Quaternary, CO2 levels are now back as high as they were in the late Miocene….

    Cheers – John

  137. Ammonite says:
    October 2, 2010 at 6:25 pm
    ————

    The last interglacial period, which this thread was started on, actually invalidates all those papers you cited (which I have read thoroughly before). Temperatures rose 2.25C above the most recent interglacial yet all of the forcing factors that the papers are based are exactly the same between the two periods. CO2 increased enough to cause about 1.6C of warming (at 3.0C per doubling) in the last interglacial yet temperatures increased 7.0C.

    The Lorius paper starts out by defining the planetary energy balance N as:

    N = (1 – Albedo)/4*Solar – 0.96 * 5.67e-8 * (Temp Surface)^4

    - from there, one can determine all kinds of sensitivities including the CO2 sensitivity because we know Solar, we know most of the Temp Surface numbers, we know CO2/GHG forcing numbers: yet not a single climate paper ever provides what Albedo estimate they used. How can you determine the change in total forcing and energy balance and the sensitivities without it. Well, one can just use whatever estimate one wants to [And they do - It is the major fudge factor in all the paleo climate model reconstructions - basically they just choose to use an Albedo number which gives them 3.0C per doubling of CO2/GHGs].

    Covey’s 1996 paper contains the following quote (in reference to the simulation of the Eocene, a period in which there was no sea ice and no Greenland or Antarctic glaciers) -
    “Covey et al. (1991) estimated that 2 to 3 W m -2 radiative forcing would
    result from the complete disappearance of sea ice from the present-day Earth, but
    we have excluded sea ice changes from our definition of [change in] Q because we want to include such changes in the feedback processes measured by the paleocalibration technique. Accordingly we consider only the remaining contributor to changes in surface albedo, namely higher sea levels and the resulting decrease in the fraction of relatively high-albedo land areas.”
    – ie we just changed our previous estimate so that we could use “the paleocalibration technique” – they just ignored something that is -3 watts/m2 (almost the same number Hansen uses for the forcing change from all the ice and vegetation changes in the ice ages) – which is itself incompatible with the Covey 1991 estimate of losing just sea ice since the ice sea ice and glaciers should be something like -15 watts/m2).
    - etc. etc.

  138. I didn’t see too many Hippos in the London the last time I was there, can someone who lives there now enlighten us on the current population residing near The Tower? Would think they’ve made a mess of it by now. What with Global Warming and all, what? Crying shame!

  139. It’s a pity really – think of the manure potential for the veg-garden!

    As a lad, I was very fortunate to be taken under the wing of Prof. F.W. Shotton, who was something of a big-hitter on the Quaternary of the UK. He used to take me on his research-trips and they were a major education into how the UK had changed from glacial to interglacial and how the resultant deposits & fossil faunas developed as a consequence.

    I know a lot of regulars on here are hostile to my take on climate change, but I’m happy to put that to one side if you are, and to discuss any questions of a more geological nature. My background is in mineralogy & precious metals exploration primarily, but also in the geological evolution of the British Isles, which has some of the most diverse geological history for any comparably-sized landmass around the world. The events of late have again reminded me that, in the climate debate, both sides screw up at times: however, that should not prevent us from talking about the scientific method and the need to apply it rigorously. For all the posts that I have read on here attempting to rubbish climate science, I still stick with what I see as the overwhelming balance of evidence on that front, which is counter-wise to what most posters on here seem to think, but in geology I am happy to drop in and contribute to less controversial topics, from time to time. Apart from anything else, I think it is important to engage with people, rather than the “traditional” wars between “warmists” and “deniers”. We’ll know either way who was right on that within a few years, after all.

    Cheers – John

  140. Martin Lewitt says: October 3, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Hi Martin. Firstly, I am the last person to claim that modeling is perfect. I would be extremely surprised if statistics of precipitation patterns were accurately forecast for example. The Camp and Tung paper on response to solar variation seems to raise some substantive points to me. Without precipitating an ever widening paper hunt, my understanding is that the “annually averaged bias in surface albedo feedback (Roesch)” is very small.

    To be clear, differing climate model results are incorporated into the Knutti and Hegerl summary. To avoid any potential for confusion “…they admit, not only model dependency, but dependency on just one climate model” refers to attempts to determine one particular statistic only.

    “The Pinatubo eruption aerosols are probably better understood, but estimates of climate sensitivity from this event are usually also tainted by models.” Is this the equivalent of saying the models do a reasonable job on this point?

    “There is no reason to assume that the climate sensitivity to CO2 is the same as that to solar or aerosols, so we can eliminate those estimates based upon solar and aerosol forcings.” Given that solar, aerosols, CO2 etc do affect the earth’s energy budget I am quite surprised that nothing at all can be gleaned from such studies.

    Of all the uncertainties, ocean uptake of heat was not mentioned in your response. One of the difficulties in precluding high climate sensitivity is that increased ocean uptake may be masking increased GHG forcing.

    Martin, my point is not that everything is understood or that uncertainties don’t exist or that sensitivity is nailed down to a fraction of a percent. It clearly isn’t. Given differing climate regimes (ice-age, ice-free) and “non-linear dynamics” I sincerely doubt it is a even stable number. And I am not saying you do not raise some valid points (eg. Camp and Tung). My argument is that an array of different approaches are all coming up with a similar result. My experience is that it is unwise to assume that they are all wrong without very strong evidence to the contrary.

  141. Bill Illis says: October 3, 2010 at 7:00 am
    “yet not a single climate paper ever provides what Albedo estimate they used”

    Thankyou for your response Bill. I will take this as a reading assignment (no sarcasm).

  142. It should be noted that there has almost always been a continental landmass astride the South Pole or at least adjacent to the South Pole in the Antarctic Circle and high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere. The climate within the Antarctic Circle has typically been warm temperate and/or cool temperate, except on the rare occurrence of a major ice age. There have been only five major ice ages in about the past 2.4 billion years, and the ice age which began glaciating the Antarcitc 20 mya and which is still ongoing during our present interglacial is among the few coldest in the Earth’s experience. Given the lack of glaciations in the past, it takes more than a continental landmass within the Arctic Circle to result in an ice age.

  143. Passed the point of arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin

    - reached the stage of mandating the maximum number of them that will do it

  144. Ammonite,

    Yes, you are correct that the annually averaged surface albedo bias documented by Roesch is extremly small, however, at about 3W/m^2 it is comparable in size to the Anthropogenic greenhouse forcing and more than 3 times larger than the energy imbalance of less than 0.8W/m^2 that Hansen calculated was being stored into the oceans during the 1990s. The 20th century warming was a small difficult to detect phenomenon, so it should be no surprise that climate models are not up to the task of attributing and projecting the phenomenon yet.

    You sound as if you aren’t familiar with the Wentz publication in the journal science showing that none of the models produced as much as half of the observed increase in precipitation. Not only does correlated under representation of a key negative feedback by more than a factor of two create a credibility and validation problem for attributing and projecting warming, it calls into question all the model based conclusions that there will be increased risk of droughts, that are being funded by countries, states and regions and reported without discussing the model diagnostic literature. The money is just too hard to turn down.

  145. So during the last interglacial period, the Earth was warmer and sea levels rose. All without human intervention.

    The word “interglacial” implies that the Earth’s climate is cyclical.

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