Is the warming in the 20th century extraordinary?

WUWT readers, Figure 4 is noteworthy, because it points out the trend of 20th century warming in context with other periods of warming derived from the ice core record. I suggest you bookmark this post and that graph, as it tells a simple but indisputable story. – Anthony

Guest post by Frank Lansner

In a recent article:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/08/working-925-what-a-way-to-make-a-livin-at-agw/

I estimated the total raw CO2 warming to be around 9,25 times the warming effect of one CO2-doubling:

Fig 1

Heat from one CO2-doubling (the “CO2-sensitivity”) has been estimated by IPCC and J. Hansen to be 3K or even 6K, including feedbacks. The 9,25 CO2 “doublings” cannot all have such a huge effect including feedbacks, so present day conditions on Earth must be extraordinarily heat sensitive (at least according to the IPCC).

Claim: Just a tiny temperature increase under present day conditions (like raw effect of one single CO2 doubling) should result in temperature jumps of up to 3 – 6 K.

Is this claim supported by evidence?


Fig 2

I have examined high quality Vostok temperature ice core data from the interglacial periods of the last half million years. These warm periods are the best evidence we have from Earth to examine the dynamics of present day climate on Earth.

We are looking for other huge temperature rises of 3K – 6 K that should result from just minor temperature rises.

Below I have identified all temperature rises of the Vostok data fulfilling the following criterion: “Temperature at the beginning of temperature rise must be at most 1 K below today’s temperatures indicated by -1K anomaly in the Vostok data. Next, the examined periods must be at most 300 years in length (we want to focus on the warming effect of one century time intervals) and finally, the initial temperature increase from glacial to interglacial is not included”:


Fig 3

96% of all temperature increases are between approx 0 and 1,4 K, only in one situation (approx 1 %) we find an interglacial temperature increase of almost 3 K.
That is: Under present day like conditions, temperature rises of 3K are very rare indeed, while smaller temperature rises of around 1 K are abundant and normal.

The interglacial periods shows no temperature peaks of the size interval larger than 3K. If in theory a minor warming of 0,5 – 1 K should lead to a 4-5-6 K warming including feedbacks, why are there no such peaks in the previous interglacial periods? There are plenty of 1K warming peaks (resulting of from all kinds of natural mechanisms) to induce the massive positive feedbacks that IPCC and Hansen expects.


Fig 4

The average interglacial temperature rise (from these data criteria) shows a warming of 0,65 K and lasts 113 years. In average they begin at –0,17K and end at +0,48K. (These averages are only to some degree dependent of my definition of interglacial periods – unless my definition of interglacial periods are totally wrong.)

The average temperature increase for these data of 0,65 K over 113 years – does not exactly make the modern temperature increase 1900 – 2010 of around 0,6-0,7K appear that special, does it?

Fig 5

The data tell us more: When the time intervals exceed around 100 years, the average magnitude of the recorded temperature increase does not increase. This is interesting and surprising because a longer interval should give time for a larger temperature increase. But on average the time intervals in data longer than around 100 years shows smaller net temperature rises indicating – unless this is a coincidence – that temperature peaks of the interglacial periods in average lasts around roughly 100 years.

Via Joanne Nova, I got a feedback to this result from George White:

“The analysis is consistent with long term averages changing more slowly than short term averages.  The correlation drop at 100 years is because of a periodic effect of about 180 years.  After 90-100 years, the direction of the temperature change reverses and the deltaT drops.  If the analysis is continued, a second peak should appear between 250 and 300 years as a result of the second cycle of this period showing up with a minimum centered between the peaks. ”

Interesting, and thanks to George White.

When nature has warmed the planet over 100 years, this warming seems to END rather systematically. If positive feedbacks were strong why do temperature rises end so systematically? At least this warming-turn-off suggest that:

Natural forces or perhaps negative feedbacks are stronger than positive feedbacks after just a limited warming over 100 years

In addition, we see very few small temperature increases (of the order of 0 – 0,15K) for time intervals less than 150 years. On the other hand, the longer time intervals shows several of these tiny temperature increases. This indicates – unless it’s a coincidence – that if at first, temperature is on the rise, it often continues to rise until a significant temperature rise is reached. In other words:  Temperature variability is the norm and constant temperature seems unusual.

Conclusion
Nature has provided us with data telling a simple story: For periods on earth comparable with today, we see many examples of temperature increases in the magnitude of 1 K for all kinds of natural reasons. Very rarely does any temperature rise (via supposed positive feedbacks) reach 3 K within 100 years.

It is thus surprising that IPCC and others with big confidence can claim large temperature rises of up to 3 – 6 K as most likely result from just a minor temperature increase, for example induced by CO2 warming.

More, it appears (fig 4.) that the temperature rise of 0,7K from 1900 to 2010 is as normal as can be when comparing with other temperature rises during other warm periods.

***

Comments

1) I have defined “interglacial temperature rises beginning at -1K  compared to modern temperatures, no lower. On this definition I found that the temperature increase 1900-2010 was normal. If I had defined interglacial periods as starting at -2K, then there would have been a few more temperature increases in the area 1-2K which would make the present temperature rise appear smaller in comparison. However, the limit -1K for interglacial periods mostly is in compliance with the nature of the interglacial periods. When first we have interglacial period its not often we find temperature in the area under – 1K. Therefore I found -1K to be the best choice to limit interglacial tendencies. Also, temperatures should resemble today’s temperature range as close as possible.

2) I have used 0,7K for the temperature increase 1900-2010. This is obviously highly questionable due to significant UHI measuring problems and adjustment issue that is likely to have exaggerated the temperature increase 1900-2010. On the other hand, temperature variations at Vostok are likely to be larger than global temperature changes, so perhaps a qualitative compare is somewhat fair after all. At least, if you claim that the present temperature increase is extraordinarily large, I think one should show data that supports it. And, as I showed, Vostok data does not really support the claim.

3) By Joanne Nova: “In the past natural temperature rises we should also see the positive feedbacks at work. But it is very difficult to isolate the exact amount of warming due to the natural forces vs that due to the natural feedbacks. Where does one stop and the other start? In any 3 degree rise, how much was due to the forcing, and how much to the feedback? If positive feedback was strong we would expect to see examples of it occurring in the past ice cores.”

Frank: This is very true and makes this topic a little fluffy to deal with. However, the absence of 3K – 6K temperature rises in the interglacial periods means that there should not have been any natural warming excl feedbacks of just 0,5 K or so (matching the raw CO2-sensitivity warming). And we still can see that the temperature rise 1900 – 2010 is just a normal interglacial variation.

4) Hereafter it could be interesting to do analysis using Dome C core temperature data that has twice a many data points for temperatures which may refine the results to some degree.

Source used for Vostok data:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/vostok_data.html

See also:
http://joannenova.com.au/2010/08/ice-core-evidence-no-endorsement-of-carbons-major-effect/

http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/925—a-factor-that-could-close-the-global-warming-debate-193.php

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/

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125 thoughts on “Is the warming in the 20th century extraordinary?

  1. More to add to this. Each data point from the Vostok ice core represents about 20 years of the Holocene interglacial period. So each point represents a 20 year average of temperature. That is why only a few points are needed to represent 100 years.

    The average temperature for the past 20 years is 0.26 °C. That is within a single standard deviation of the for the past 8,000 years of the Vostok record.

    Here is a high resolution chart of the Vostok data.

    Within a single standard deviation. That is all the current warming shows…..

    John Kehr

  2. Excellent point! If there were these positive feedbacks they should exist in the real world and not just in models. Wish I had thought of it.

    One small edit. Three paragraphs up from the conclusion:

    “If positive feedbacks where strong why do temperature rises end so systematically?”. “Where” should be “were”. Just pointing it out before the falsus in unum/falsus in omnibus crowd savages you.

  3. Is the warming in the 20th century extraordinary?

    Wouldn´t it be better?:
    Was it the warming in the 20th century extraordinary?. Because “IT WAS” and IT IS OVER. Finito, Kaput, ya fué…. :-)

  4. I have also done this over the entire paleoclimate record. I don’t think there is really a correlation at all of temperature versus CO2 (and it is certainly less than 3.0C per doubling). So, other factors are more important in driving the historical climate. Maybe CO2 contributes, but it can only be 20% to 30% of the variation.

  5. Exactly when was that single cas of 3 K warming? It might be interesting to analyze if there was any known special conditions at that time.

  6. The criticism of this will be that we are now in special times, that is, there is an anthropogenic input of CO2. Therefore there is no reason to expect this warming trend to behave like past warming trends.

    The article is saying that all past warming trends have been self-limiting. The warmists will say (with justification) “but it’s different this time !”.

  7. John Kehr – you have an excellent point. Its true we are to some degree comparing short-term-data with data covering decades, and thus one more reason to suggest that reason warming is anything but possibly the most normal kind of temperature rise for interglacials.

    The problem you mention we see badly carried out by IPCC when their Hockey stick compares strongly averaged data (in medieval times) with just 5 year average data for the very latest year. You try do such in Danish Technical University and you flnk your exams!! See:

    http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/ipcc—how-not-to-compare-temperatures-ndash-if-you-seek-the-truth-175.php

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/04/ipcc-how-not-to-compare-temperatures/

    K.R. Frank

  8. Well done once again Frank.

    I believe this is quite an important piece of work and deserves scrutiny.
    WUWT has a large community of bloggers who understand these types of work.
    I would implore some of you to play the devils advocate (or reviewer if you will) and attempt to falsify or improve Franks already good work.

    Studies like this can put paid to the oft repeated meme ‘unprecedented’

  9. If positive feedbacks are valid it does not matter what has caused the initial warming.

    Global warming: passing the ‘tipping point’
    Saturday, 11 February 2006

    The tipping point warned about last week by the Government is already behind us.

    The 400ppm threshold is based on a paper given at Exeter by Malte Meinhausen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Dr Meinhausen reviewed a dozen studies of the probability of exceeding the 2 degrees threshold at different CO2 equivalent levels. Taken together they show that only by remaining (ABOVE) 400 is there a very high chance of NOT doing so.

    There is another consideration – the fact that the “aerosol”, or band of dust in the atmosphere from industrial pollution, actually reduces the warming.

    However, as James Lovelock points out – and Professor Shine and other scientists accept – in the event of an industrial downturn, the aerosol could fall out of the atmosphere in a matter of WEEKS, and then the effect of all the greenhouse gases taken together would suddenly be FULLY FELT.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/global-warming-passing-the-tipping-point-466187.html

  10. Best part of this article is the recognition that true climate isn’t defined by 20, 30 or even 100 years of data. You must take this longer look to really “define” climate issues.

    A simple analysis but very compelling results. Good work!

  11. Oddly enough, I find this the best argument against CAGW. The idea of an inherently unstable climate has always been a ludicrous concept in my mind. This gives the argument some teeth.

    Many thanks.

  12. I’m a bit slow on “climate science” but how can one trust an ice core to trap a gas like CO2?
    Molecules are slippery things, do we know how cold gas reacts with a frozen liquid?

    too many questions and too little trust in Ph. D’s

  13. The one thing that’s different in the present century is the greatly increased human population and its concomitant influence on the environment. As yet we have not been able to reasonably gauge the degree to which that influence will affect long-term climate. This analysis lends some support to the idea that the impact will be mitigated by natural cycles, but we will not know how much until a few more decades pass.

  14. mrpkw says:
    December 9, 2010 at 4:17 am

    I know you don’t like nit pickers pointing out typos, but should it be “19th” not “29th” century?

    Actually, we should all be cognizant of typos and willing to point them out and have them corrected. Wasn’t it supposedly a “typo” that was used as an excuse by some regarding glaciers that were to disappear in the Alps prematurely? Don’t let critics jump on any of these fine articles and distort the content because of typos.

  15. Stand by for the predictable argument from the advocates of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. It will come in the form along these lines:

    “But by analysis the Earth should be in a cooling phase of 1° per century and we have unprecedented warming of over 1° per century yielding a true rise of over 2°.” Blaw, blaw, blaw … and it is all caused by human activity and carbon pollution from burning dangerous fossil fuels.

  16. So essentially the accused of being oil sponsored by coal inflated conniving heinous evilly grand manipulator of cheating skeptics are essentially right, and the Great Poobah believers are, as always has been, wrong.

    Bloody hell that’s what I’ve been writing when I wrote what I had writ.

  17. The fact that some 4.5 billion years after the creation of the Earth, we are here able to debate this issue in itself establishes that the Earth’s climate is self regulating and that if there are any tipping points, they are almost impossible to achieve. If all the violent forces of nature have not led to a tipping point, there is nothing that man can realisticic do to create one. Just think of the past climatic and geological history of the Earth and what she has been through to realise that the present scaremongering is simply ridiculous.

  18. @Lanser

    “We are looking for other huge temperature rises of 3K – 6 K that should result from just minor temperature rises.”

    While you’re doing that please also look for huge snowfalls that result from just minor snowfalls and huge floods that result from just minor floods.

    Like duh.

  19. Now publish it in a scientific journal … let is stand the critique of people more experienced than us. Of course some would claim the peer review process is corrupted (I strongly disagree), but if that were the case, on what grounds do non-scientists know which plausible person to take seriously.

  20. RockyRoad says:
    December 9, 2010 at 6:04 am

    mrpkw says:
    December 9, 2010 at 4:17 am

    I know you don’t like nit pickers pointing out typos, but should it be “19th” not “29th” century?

    Actually, we should all be cognizant of typos and willing to point them out and have them corrected. Wasn’t it supposedly a “typo” that was used as an excuse by some regarding glaciers that were to disappear in the Alps prematurely? Don’t let critics jump on any of these fine articles and distort the content because of typos.
    ========================================================
    I kind of agree, but Anthony made the (good) point sometime back that he does an incredible amount of work running this blog and it is tiresome to see a lot of nit picking

    Keep up the great work Anthony !!!.

  21. Excellent analysis …

    I think about the only sure thing anyone can say about climate, is ever since plate tectonics closed the Isthmus of Panama, some 3 million years ago, the next glaciation epoc is right around the corner. And nothing we can do about that. If we were smart, we would prepare for that inevitable eventuality.

    BUT — The fact that we try and measure things with the instrument precision we have today, with instrument precision of yesterday, means we have at best a guesstimate. And therefore, most of the deviation what we see would fall within the measurement errors of yesterday’s precision. It’s the dreaded consequence of advancing technology.

    Look at it this way, not too long ago, people thought the Earth was the center of the universe — Just a minor error. BTW, nothing I say here faults the analysis, only adds caution and context.

  22. The standard response to this very cogent post is that CO2 heating is hiding in natural variation just waiting to bite us in the ars when we least expect it. What was that seriously funny statement? Climate change has (or will) worked its way into weather and once there you can’t get rid of it? Or something like that. These pro-AGW pseudo-sciency arguments are beginning to compete with that very funny scene in Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” in the courtyard filled with “The end times are coming” preachers.

  23. The effect of Co2 is COMPLETELY drowned out by other natural processes (i.e. water vapor to name just one of many). I cannot see how anyone can make an issue of Co2.

  24. Anyone trying to claim long droughts, harsh 5 month winters, fierce tempests, devastating floods, or whatever else weather phenomena are “unprecedented” or “extraordinary” they need to read this.

    “Weather has been documented by early meteorologist and historians for many centuries. A Chronological Listing of Early Weather Events provides a weather resource for years 0 A.D. to 1900 A.D. ” by James A. Marusek.

    http://www.breadandbutterscience.com/Weather.pdf

    Fascinating and revealing.

  25. kzb says: The criticism of this will be that we are now in special times, that is, there is an anthropogenic input of CO2. Therefore there is no reason to expect this warming trend to behave like past warming trends.

    The article is saying that all past warming trends have been self-limiting. The warmists will say (with justification) “but it’s different this time !”.

    These are probably the most-feared words on Wall Street: TTID. This Time It’s Different. So many big, bad mistakes there start with thinking that this time is special, and we can blithely ignore all the history. And of course you, the awe-struck customer, can only get that vital insight from little old me, the salesman with the bright idea.

    This approach should always set off loud alarm bells. Always.

  26. First, let me say that I’m firmly in the “skeptical” camp, but one thing concerns me here:

    you’ve looked at the past when natural occurrences, whatever they may be, caused the ebbs and flows of the temperatures.

    The addition of CO2 into the atmosphere by humanity is, arguably, not a natural occurrence, is it not? Does this unnatural act then operate outside of anything we’ve seen in the past?

    According to the first graph, I suspect that if antropogenic contributions were adding to an atmospheric CO2 level of say, 40 ppm, the argument could be made that the additional CO2 might make a noticeable difference, but at the 300 + ppm level the contribution doesn’t seem to be significant.

    Perhaps I’ve answered my own question?

  27. Using the exact same data that is used to prove global warming,
    a person could make a more solid argument that CO2 drives cooling.

    And the CO2/temp data would support it…………

  28. “unless my definition of interglacial periods is totally wrong.”

    more grammar police..sorry.

    Very nice analysis. Yet again it’s up to the CAGW crowd to prove the current warming is unusual, and that their models are realistic.

  29. An excellent and interesting article technically. I was bothered, though, by a number of subjects and verbs disagreeing in number (plural verb with singular subject or vice versa). I would guess that English is not the first language of the author, and I would count myself lucky if I could write even a fraction as well in his language, but having a competent English editor would have helped with the article.

    IanM

  30. Another blow to the modern Puritanical (AGW) belief system….
    Time for another “Sinners in the hands of an angry Gaea ”
    speech by Algore-in the middle of a blizzard.
    Thank you, Frank.

  31. As I understand the graph depicted in your Figure 2 (Petit et al) was produced by applying a 70-year smoothing to the original data. Did you use the raw data before smoothing for your analysis? The one thing the atmospheric CO2 measures from stomata and the 19th century instrumental readings analyzed by Georg Ernst Beck show is higher average levels and considerable variation from year to year.

  32. Antarctic air temperature derived from ice core temperature can’t be used as a proxy for global average temperature with fine granularity. Supposedly these past two decades are the warmest in at least 1000 years but Vostok actually got a little colder. The oxygen balance in snowfall (one method of determining air temperature in the past) at Vostok, which gets about a 2 millimeters snowfall per year, is going to be the average of many years. It takes 500 years to accumulate a meter of snow while fierce winds have been pushing it around relentlessly drifting back and forth keeping it well mixed. The same mixing will also keep absolute ice temperature at best an average over a similar amount of time. So all you can really say from Vostok core data is that there weren’t any lengths of time where average temperature over a period of centuries didn’t exceed this or that and only really at the south pole which may or may not have tracked the northern hemisphere or even much of the southern hemisphere.

    I think the main point is that CO2 is higher now than can be seen in the core data for past periods and while that is also subject to averaging over decades it at least appears to track global CO2 partial pressure (well mixed atmosphere). So assuming the CO2 spike from 280 to 390ppm (and growing) is something novel, which it appears to be at least as far back as ice cores go, then we are in unexplored interglacial territory.

    Personally I hope this unexplored territory is an indefinite and perhaps very long lived end to the ice age of the past few million years but I tend to doubt anthropogenic greenhouse contribution is enough to prevent the return of the glaciers more or less right on schedule.

  33. The false claim about 10th century warming is based SOLELY on Mann’s hockey stick. Neither CET, nor Greenland/Antarctic ice cores suggest anything extraordinary has been happening. Btw, the “anthropogenic” warming is only the post-1975 one according to the IPCC, do not forget.

  34. posted by JohnWho

    >> The addition of CO2 into the atmosphere by humanity is, arguably, not a natural occurrence, is it not? Does this unnatural act then operate outside of anything we’ve seen in the past? <<

    My response to your question is that CO2 levels have been much higher in the past than they are now and yet temperatures obviously didn't go off the charts. In fact, from what I have read, there appears to be very little correlation between historic CO2 levels and temperature. Since the natural CO2 molecule is the same as the anthropogenic CO2 molecule (in fact they are all natural) I see no reason why current (and historically low) levels of CO2 should be any concern at all. I believe most AGW modellers tacitly admit this when they introduce mythical "forcings" into their models to achieve the desired temperature increases.

  35. R. deHaan says:

    NASA/NOAA Climate Sensitivity is below 1.65 degree Celsius.

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/12/nasa-noaa-climate-sensitivity-is-below.html#more

    No…This number, as near as I can determine, comes from looking at the transient climate response, not the equilibrium climate sensitivity. I.e., there would be additional warming “in the pipeline”. You can see the IPCC report for a discussion of the transient climate response and estimates of it; they are always smaller than estimates of the equilibrium climate sensitivity.

  36. Welcome back Mr. Lansner! As a technician, not a scientist, I find it frustrating to argue with doctors and PhD’s trained in the medical sciences who find evidence of CO2 driving temperature in the Vostok (a Vostok series) and Greenland graphics. If one is paying attention to what one sees, it really is inescapable that we are living on borrowed time as far as the amount of time the current interglacial warm period has left. I have used Mr. Lansners ’09 article from WUWT many times. Here is another good reference using the ice core data, from WUWT. I have come to the conclusion that AGW is a belief rather than an evidence based phenomenon. It is the same old thing- you can make people believe anything you want if you present the evidence in the right way- even scientists and doctors. What I can’t understand is why it matters wether or not CO2 is the driver? The evidence from Antarctica and Greenland is clear- the chance of a huge temperature increase in the next 20,000 years or so is remote to nil. The chance of the earth getting very cold for 50,000+ years or so is very high and getting higher with each passing year.

    What does it take to make people see that we are in the midst of only the fifth small interlude where the earth’s temperatures were in an average range equal to current temps? That, as in the story of the ant and the grasshopper, we better start preparing for what the evidence shows is inevitably heading our way. That is if the cycle of the last 800,000 years or so continues. Here and here (see graph- “Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time”) are two graphs that show that what the AGW buffs consider “warming”, is, in reality, not very warm at all! Leave it to the Geologists to bring in a little long term perspective. It appears that on an even longer time scale over many millions of years, we are actually in an “ice-house” period with average temps in the 10 deg C to 12 deg C range. If the earth enters a “hot-house” period, average temps could reach the 25 deg C range! Just the thought that human activity could affect the earth’s climate cycles, or that man could change or alter those cycles significantly is the height of arrogance. As an example, suppose the earth began having eruptions on the scale of the Siberian or Deccan traps? Do these statists actually think they could seriously have an effect on those events??? I think that AGW is more an attempt to gather power and pick our pockets while they have the chance.

    re: the “typos” or awkward enlish phrasing, I would refer readers to the editor’s note in the ’09 article: “(Note from Anthony – English is not Frank’s primary language, I have made some small adjustments for readability, however they may be a few passages that need clarification. Frank will be happy to clarify in comments)

  37. @JohnWho:

    Frank isn’t discussing temperature rise directly attributable to the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. Instead he is looking at the asserted feedbacks which are necessary for AGW proponents to justify 3-6c warming claims (and that have been accordingly built into the models). As I take it, it doesn’t matter what the driver of the initial temperature increase is, with the feedbacks that have been claimed we should be seeing far more pronounced temperature increases in the ice core records.

    One could argue that sharp increases on a small timescale might have been masked by statistical smoothing or inherent flaws in the proxy data, but then you’d have to explain why this wouldn’t also be the case with the ‘Hockey Stick’ graphs.

    I’m no scientist, but this is how I understand it- apologies if incorrect. Thanks for another great article Mr Lansner!

  38. Canadian Mike says:

    My response to your question is that CO2 levels have been much higher in the past than they are now and yet temperatures obviously didn’t go off the charts.

    Well, it may not have gone off the charts but it was much warmer. Note that since temperature depends logarithmically on CO2 concentration, a concentration of 16 times higher is only expected to produce a temperature change 4 times as large as a doubling would.

    In fact, from what I have read, there appears to be very little correlation between historic CO2 levels and temperature.

    That may be so from what you have read…but it suggests that you are not reading the actual peer-reviewed scientific literature. It is difficult to get accurate and high-resolution estimates of both CO2 and temperature but when they have been obtained, the correlation is generally found to be strong. Of course, on long enough timescales, one also has to consider other important factors that affect the climate (like continental drift).

    Since the natural CO2 molecule is the same as the anthropogenic CO2 molecule (in fact they are all natural) I see no reason why current (and historically low) levels of CO2 should be any concern at all.

    Well, those who actually study past climates would beg to differ with you. Their evidence suggests that, if anything, the current model estimates for climate sensitivity may be too low to account for the paleoclimate data: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;306/5697/821

    I believe most AGW modellers tacitly admit this when they introduce mythical “forcings” into their models to achieve the desired temperature increases.

    They don’t introduce mythical forcings. What they do find, however, in looking at the 20th-century temperature record is that it does not constrain climate sensitivity very well because, among other things, there are some very real forcings (mainly aerosols) whose values are very uncertain. This is why better empirical constraints on climate sensitivity are derived from paleoclimate data and such things as looking at the climate response to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

  39. We need more CO2 if we are going to feed the masses. Ooops…there will be no masses when those stuck in ice and snow start eating each other; as they did in Europe just a few hundred years ago. Children were roasted on the fire. Donor Pass Syndrome. Maybe Pfizer can develop a pharmaceutical to reduce DPS.

  40. JohnWho, Canandian Mike has answered you, but I’d like to be a trifle more direct.

    You are committing the “natural vitamin” fallacy, which is humanocentric hubris. Carbon dioxide has no maker’s marks or serial numbers. It has one carbon atom and two oxygens, and if it had more or fewer of either, or something else in addition, it would be something else with different properties and therefore not be part of this discussion. The same can be said with equal force of the carbon and oxygen atoms themselves, and of the protons and neutrons that make them.

    So it doesn’t matter if carbon dioxide is made by little pink daisies or dark satanic mills. It’s carbon dioxide, wherever it came from. There are many sources of carbon dioxide, from the respiration of fleas to orogenic eruptions, and the only question is how much, because once a carbon dioxide molecule has escaped into the wild its source doesn’t influence what effect it will have.

    A huge proportion of the AGW hysteria is driven by the same hubris. We look about us and see great local effects of human activity, and “reason” that our effect on the planet as a whole must be in equivalent proportion. It ain’t so, but try to tell that to the little minds that desperately search for some evidence that they are not just relevant but important to the Cosmos.

    Regards,
    Ric

  41. Tarpon, you write:
    “the next glaciation epoc is right around the corner. And nothing we can do about that. If we were smart, we would prepare for that inevitable eventuality.”

    yes, isnt it funny, We are taking expensive precautions against larger meteor impacts happening with intervals of million years, but an ice age that will occur within thousand years? Nope, NO precautions…. simply because its not politically correct?

    K.R. Frank

  42. GeorgeG says: December 9, 2010 at 9:14 am:
    @Frank Lansner: In several places you have a comma when it appears you intend a decimal point.
    That is the European convention, George. We use decimal points, they use commas. It does take a bit of getting used to though.

  43. John Who, you write: “The addition of CO2 into the atmosphere by humanity is, arguably, not a natural occurrence, is it not? Does this unnatural act then operate outside of anything we’ve seen in the past?”

    John, its widely accepted that CO2 itself will just create a minor temperature increase. The “dangerous” part is that IPCC et al. claims that just a little heat today wil create huge positive feedback and thus huge temperature increase.
    So, John, CO2 – natural or not – is only itself resulting in a tiny temperature increase. The hypothesis is that just a little heat (from human Co2 or anything else) will make the world go hot like h… due to feedbacks.

    What i did was just to check the past, if we earlier has encountered any such huge heat spikes. But there are hardly any. If it takes only a little heating to provoke a big heating then we should have seen big heatings before. And we havent really, thats the point. And more, we also see that the present temperature increase appears very normal in compare with interglacial temperature increases. This does NOT suggest that co2 has the effect you might fear.

    K.R. Frank

  44. Joel Shore says:
    Well, those who actually study past climates would beg to differ with you. Their evidence suggests that, if anything, the current model estimates for climate sensitivity may be too low to account for the paleoclimate data: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/sci;306/5697/821

    Those who study past climates have graphics taken from data that literally unlink CO2 from temperature.
    IceHouse or HotHouse shows that our current avg. temps are in the IceHouse phase of the earth’s climate history, irregardless of CO2. You warmists seem to think that a rise of 2,3, or 4 deg C is alarming. Try global avg. temps of 22 deg C! Or, if the cycle shown in the Vostok graphs holds for another hundred thousand years or so, we will probably see global avg temps in the 6 deg. C range with a mile of ice on top of Chicago! Either way, neither CO2 nor insignificant man has anything to do with it.

    Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time shows that there is no correlation whatsoever between CO2 and temps.

    You just refuse to see what is there.

  45. Tim Ball says:
    December 9, 2010 at 7:45 am
    “As I understand the graph depicted in your Figure 2 (Petit et al) was produced by applying a 70-year smoothing to the original data. Did you use the raw data before smoothing for your analysis? The one thing the atmospheric CO2 measures from stomata and the 19th century instrumental readings analyzed by Georg Ernst Beck show is higher average levels and considerable variation from year to year.”

    Hi Tim Ball! I used raw data from Vostok, not smoothed. In the present analysis I only looked at the temperature data, not CO2.
    BUT! now you mention my hero Ernst Beck, so sad he died, I had some nice mails from him and some of his better stuff is represented here:

    http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/co2-carbon-dioxide-concentration-history-of-71.php

    – Check it out :-)
    Thanks for commenting.

    K.R. Frank

  46. kzb:
    The criticism of this will be that we are now in special times, that is, there is an anthropogenic input of CO2. Therefore there is no reason to expect this warming trend to behave like past warming trends

    Got pretty much that response on another discussion after mentioning Vostok:
    The current warming trend can not be attributed to Milankovitch forcing or vulcanism.

    The argument really IS “This time it’s different”.

  47. Joel Shore says:
    December 9, 2010 at 9:32 am
    Canadian Mike says:

    In fact, from what I have read, there appears to be very little correlation between historic CO2 levels and temperature.

    That may be so from what you have read…but it suggests that you are not reading the actual peer-reviewed scientific literature. It is difficult to get accurate and high-resolution estimates of both CO2 and temperature but when they have been obtained, the correlation is generally found to be strong.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the correlation between temperature and CO2 indicates CO2 concentration LAGS temperature increase, so it is important to note cause and effect when discussing these items. Of course, I’ve seen CAGW proponents argue at length that the lagging increase in CO2 somehow caused the temperature increase 200 to 800 years prior, and some of this is supposedly peer-reviewed (tells you alot about the “peers”, doesn’t it?). How that logic works is beyond me.

  48. Nice work, but the true believers already have answered all such silly questions with:

    Its different this time.

    Much like all the scammers with Ponzi scheme, Internet companies, and what not.

  49. …Their evidence suggests that, if anything, the current model estimates for climate sensitivity may be too low to account for the paleoclimate data:…

    Evidence also suggests that the idea of plates of solidified crust floating around on a liquid mantle is a totally ludicrous assertion. Of course, what have you to say about the thrust of this post and not those commenting?

  50. trying to deduce the sensitivity from the paleo records is well known, and its considerably more complex than you present here. The first problem of course is that all your measures already include the feedbacks so they cannot be so simply distangled.

    If you want to see how its done:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v347/n6289/abs/347139a0.html

    or try this:

    Aerosol radiative forcing and climate sensitivity deduced from the Last Glacial Maximum to Holocene transition
    Aerosol radiative forcing and climate sensitivity deduced from the Last Glacial Maximum to Holocene transition

    Petr Chylek

    Space and Remote Sensing, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA

    Ulrike Lohmann

    Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

    We use the temperature, carbon dioxide, methane, and dust concentration record from the Vostok ice core to deduce the aerosol radiative forcing during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to Holocene transition and the climate sensitivity. A novel feature of our analysis is the use of a cooling period between about 42 KYBP (thousand years before present) and LGM to provide a constraint on the aerosol radiative forcing. We find the change in aerosol radiative forcing during the LGM to Holocene transition to be 3.3 ± 0.8 W/m2 and the climate sensitivity between 0.36 and 0.68 K/Wm−2 with a mean value of 0.49 ± 0.07 K/Wm−2. This suggests a 95% likelihood of warming between 1.3 and 2.3 K due to doubling of atmospheric concentration of CO2. The ECHAM5 model simulation suggests that the aerosol optical depth during the LGM may have been almost twice the current value (increase from 0.17 to 0.32).

    There is a wide range of sensitivity numbers from the lukewarmer end of things
    ( 1C-2C) to the alarmist ranges.

    There are two ways to GUESS at what the sensitivity is:

    1. empirical studies of long temperature records and proxies.
    2. Modelling ( what we use in engineering design)

    Ther is no way to calculate it directly. the ranges of estimates is broad. its not likely to narrow. C02 causes warming. No credible science says otherwise. HOW MUCH warming is a scientific debate. What we should do about it is a MORAL debate.

    If people dont accept the fundamental physics ( C02 warms) then they have no voice in the scientific debate and no standing in any moral debate

  51. Amazing how many seem to miss the point of the original post which I read as this:

    Hypothesis (as espoused by AGW proponents): a small change in the Earth’s temperature from an increase in CO2 will trigger a larger, catastrophic change in the Earth’s temperature due to positive feedback mechanisms.

    The fine analysis – which looks for ANY period in Earth’s history where a small change (regardless of source) triggered a catastrophic, larger change – rejects this hypothesis.

  52. c1ue says:
    Its different this time.

    Much like all the scammers with Ponzi scheme, Internet companies, and what not.”

    “Ponzi schemes” – i.e. Social Security?

  53. steven mosher says:
    If people dont accept the fundamental physics ( C02 warms) then they have no voice in the scientific debate and no standing in any moral debate

    That’s cute. So anyone who disagrees with you is immoral? No matter what their standing in the scientific community? So I guess Mr. Pachauri, by your reasoning, is a moral, upstanding world citizen? Haven’t you posted here before? How about the moral standing of Mr. Watts and all the scientists who visit here? So why do you bother with us?

    Seems to me, if you marginalize us at the start, there is no debate. Oh yeah, I forgot, the debate is settled. There is no science left to explore, there is only consensus…. Says you (and AlBore).

  54. c1ue says:
    Its different this time.

    Much like all the scammers with Ponzi scheme, Internet companies, and what not.

    Ponzi Scheme – i.e. Social Security?

  55. KD in Milwaukee: Spot on! Thank you.

    Steven Mosher, you write: “trying to deduce the sensitivity from the paleo records is well known, and its considerably more complex than you present here.”
    In other articles i have discussed matters with an angle like you mention here. But in the present article you fail to see (?) that i just say that
    1) There are hardly any big warming peaks earlier – how on Earth can IPCC then claim that they will come now?
    2) The present warming 1900-2010 does not really appear that spectacular compared with earlier temperature rises.

    Steven, can you be more specific in where you might disagree here? Im not (in THIS article) using the angles you drag in.

    K.R. Frank

  56. dwright says:
    December 9, 2010 at 5:45 am

    I’m a bit slow on “climate science” but how can one trust an ice core to trap a gas like CO2?
    Molecules are slippery things, do we know how cold gas reacts with a frozen liquid?

    Resolution for temperature signal in ice cores is much better than for carbon dioxide trapped in bubbles. The former is calculated from oxygen isotope ratio of water, which does not migrate much once frozen while the latter one, being in gas phase does, so this temporal resolution for Antarctic plateau, where snow accumulation is slow is anywhere between 2000 to 6000 years. Air bubbles do not get enclosed until the firn-ice transition zone is reached, which is around a depth of 90 m at Vostok and even then there may be some thin super cooled liquid water at ice crystal boundaries, enriched in salts excluded from the solid phase. This can further serve as a vehicle of CO2 migration since this particular gas is highly soluble in cold water.

    Therefore temperature and CO2 signals derived from ice cores are not directly comparable. But this article is about temperature alone, so the caveat does not apply here.

  57. The one thing that’s different in the present century is the greatly increased human population and its concomitant influence on the environment.

    And yet humanoids have been setting fire to the environment for at least 1.6 million years. It doesn’t take many humanoids to burn vast tracts. Even cave men could do it, and did. Burning an acre of forest yields as much CO2 as driving 5 to 10 cars all year. There are some 3 billion burnable acres in North America alone. Do the math.

    The idea that human beings were benign transients flitting around harmlessly like butterflies until 1900 (or whenever) is absurd.

    n.b. If people don’t accept the fundamental ethno-ecology, then they have no voice in the scientific debate and no standing in any moral debate. Or so say some.

  58. RockyRoad says:
    December 9, 2010 at 4:22 am

    “First fix: “the raw total raw CO2 warming ” (remove one “raw”)

    [Fixed, thanks]”

    I would keep both of them for another sentence. Raw, raw for this great article!

    Also, Mike D raises the huge point of the impacts of aboriginal burning which the AGW discussion as well as the so-called ‘wilderness movement’ ignores. The latter ignores it very deliberately because it shatters their whole premise.

  59. Frank Lansner says:

    John, its widely accepted that CO2 itself will just create a minor temperature increase. The “dangerous” part is that IPCC et al. claims that just a little heat today wil create huge positive feedback and thus huge temperature increase.
    So, John, CO2 – natural or not – is only itself resulting in a tiny temperature increase. The hypothesis is that just a little heat (from human Co2 or anything else) will make the world go hot like h… due to feedbacks.

    What i did was just to check the past, if we earlier has encountered any such huge heat spikes. But there are hardly any. If it takes only a little heating to provoke a big heating then we should have seen big heatings before. And we havent really, thats the point. And more, we also see that the present temperature increase appears very normal in compare with interglacial temperature increases. This does NOT suggest that co2 has the effect you might fear.

    Here is where your logic is wrong:

    (1) You are exaggerating the role claimed for positive feedbacks. The “bare” response to the radiative change due to doubling CO2 is about 1.1 C. The prediction is that feedbacks multiply this number by a factor of about 2 to 4 (thus giving us a range of about 2 to 4.5 C). This is hardly turning something “little” into something “huge”. Rather it is making something reasonably big even bigger.

    (2) Given that, you simply haven’t demonstrated that the lack of large heat spikes is due to a lack of feedbacks. It could simply be due to the fact that forcings have been fairly small (especially once you say that “the initial temperature increase from glacial to interglacial is not included”). [You also seem to be ignoring larger temperature changes that are seen over short time periods that are thought to be more local than global changes...but I guess one could at least justify that.]

    So, your conclusion that the sort of rises predicted by the climate models are unprecedented (at least looking back over a short enough period of time and ignoring the larger events I mention) does not imply that they can’t occur. They are unprecedented for exactly the reason that worries scientists: namely, that the perturbation that we are imposing on the climate system by raising CO2 far above levels seen for at least 600,000 years, and probably several million years, is an unprecedented perturbation, at least in recent times.

    Furthermore, by looking further back in time and by not ignoring the glacial-interglacial transitions, one can actually estimate the forcings and get empirical estimates of the temperature change that occurred and can use this to estimate the climate sensitivity. And, as I noted in a previous post, most of the estimates come out in the range of sensitivities that the climate models suggest, if not higher.

  60. Rocky Road says:

    Of course, I’ve seen CAGW proponents argue at length that the lagging increase in CO2 somehow caused the temperature increase 200 to 800 years prior, and some of this is supposedly peer-reviewed (tells you alot about the “peers”, doesn’t it?).

    No you haven’t. You have just misunderstood what you have read. The point is that all because chickens produce eggs does not imply that eggs can’t also produce chickens. The close correlation of CO2 and temperatures over a variety of timescales is suggestive of the correlation going both ways. While the change in temperatures seems to start first in the glacial – interglacial case because those transitions are understood to be initiated by changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun (and axis of rotation), the changes in greenhouse gases follow along soon enough that there is still plenty of room for the change in greenhouse gas levels to amplify the warming or cooling once it has begun.

    The additional evidence for this notion that changes in CO2 are a cause as well as an effect of warming comes from a theoretical understanding of the radiative effects of CO2 as well as from quantitative estimates of the various forcings during the least-glacial-maximum relative to now: Those estimates show that about 1/2 of the forcing comes from changes in the earth’s albedo (due to the growth and decay of ice sheets and changes in vegetation) but that a little less than half comes from the changes in greenhouse gas levels. (I think Hansen estimates about 40% from all the greenhouse gases, or about 1/3 from CO2 alone.)

    The reason that changes in greenhouse gases don’t often seem to INITIATE warming or cooling in the paleoclimate record reflects the fact that there are generally not large and fast spontaneous natural increases in these gases (although the PETM may have been a case where there was). We, however, have figured out a way to very rapidly (on geologic timescales) take greenhouse gases that nature locked away in stores over millions of years and release them back into the atmosphere. It is a likely an experiment with few past precedents, although there is still enough we can understand about past events to determine that the effect of doing this is likely to be significant.

  61. Bill Illis says:
    December 9, 2010 at 4:42 am
    I have also done this over the entire paleoclimate record. I don’t think there is really a correlation at all of temperature versus CO2 (and it is certainly less than 3.0C per doubling). So, other factors are more important in driving the historical climate. Maybe CO2 contributes, but it can only be 20% to 30% of the variation.

    Excellent presentation of an important point. It would be great to have the source data for this chart (the data points at least) – is this available?

  62. Thanks to all who responded to my earlier post.

    Frank Lansner says:
    December 9, 2010 at 9:56 am
    John, its widely accepted that CO2 itself will just create a minor temperature increase. The “dangerous” part is that IPCC et al. claims that just a little heat today will create huge positive feedback and thus huge temperature increase.
    So, John, CO2 – natural or not – is only itself resulting in a tiny temperature increase.

    Essentially then, since man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2 is so minor, it doesn’t have enough effect to make a “look back” at previous data not be germane.

    To Ric Locke –

    I’m just asking if the anthropogenic addition would have any effect which might alter what was put forward by Lansner. I do believe though, that there are many who accept that we humans are adding measurably to the atmospheric CO2 level. I do not agree with Warmists that this contribution makes any appreciable difference to atmospheric temperature, however.

    Thanks also to Canadian Mike and JJB MKI for their responses.

    I appreciate the efforts Anthony and the other contributors, including “repliers”, expend to make clear that which the Warmists deliberately endeavor to keep murky.

  63. nofate says:

    Those who study past climates have graphics taken from data that literally unlink CO2 from temperature.
    IceHouse or HotHouse shows that our current avg. temps are in the IceHouse phase of the earth’s climate history, irregardless of CO2. You warmists seem to think that a rise of 2,3, or 4 deg C is alarming. Try global avg. temps of 22 deg C! Or, if the cycle shown in the Vostok graphs holds for another hundred thousand years or so, we will probably see global avg temps in the 6 deg. C range with a mile of ice on top of Chicago! Either way, neither CO2 nor insignificant man has anything to do with it.

    Indeed, the difference in global average temperatures between the last glacial maximum and now was about 5 or 6 C and, as you note, that difference was enough to make the ice atop Chicago a mile high. It was also enough to make the sea levels many tens of meters (or even a couple hundred meters?) lower. So, yes, global temperature changes of 2, or 3, or 4 C do seem quite alarming to me.

    Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time shows that there is no correlation whatsoever between CO2 and temps.

    Interesting…You have presented a plot that combines together two disparate sources. And, one is a modeling of the CO2 levels (with huge errorbars as that figure indicates if you look closely). It is fascinating that people who call themselves “skeptics” seem to blindly believe any data from sources without any attempt to verify the data, find out what the errors are in the data, or what the time resolution is in the data. And, that is leaving aside the issue of the other forcings that operate on timescales of tens of millions of years, like continental drift.

    The fact is that as the general trend has been that as the resolution and precision of the paleoclimate record of past CO2 and temperature levels improves, any apparent lack of correlation between the two seems to yield to quite good correlation (at least going back a few million years…beyond that the data isn’t generally good enough yet, except for dramatic events like the PETM and the issue of other significant forcings operating on longer timescales becomes more important).

    This is why there is a gulf between what paleoclimate scientists have concluded and what some skeptics have concluded from throwing together a plot using temperature and CO2 data from different sources (one modeled) with large error bars and various problems with resolution, not to mention being over timescales where we know there were other larger forcings operating. This is the difference between using science to learn about the world and misusing it to just confirm what one’s ideology makes one want to believe is true.

  64. steven mosher says:
    December 9, 2010 at 10:52 am
    trying to deduce the sensitivity from the paleo records is well known, and its considerably more complex than you present here. The first problem of course is that all your measures already include the feedbacks so they cannot be so simply distangled.

    This is a classic tactic used by a scientific establishment to counter an inconvenient argument – drown it in irrelevant extraneous complexity and detail. I have seen it in action in other scientific fields such as epidemiology and radiation biology, and am very familiar with it.

    The method used by Frank Lasner is scientifically solid (in science never confuse simplicity with weakness) – restrict the analysed period to the interglacial plateaus only, and analyse only the fluctuations in temperature, not involving CO2 or anything else. Just statistical analysis on temperature fluctuations / oscillations within interglacials. What he targets is not the whole of climate science, just a specific argument within CAGW that a small temperature increase per se, caused by CO2 (or presumably anything else) must set off positive feedbacks resulting in a large temperature excursion highly damaging to the ecosystem – i.e. that the climate and biosphere (in flat contradiction to the voluminous evidence of the palaeo record) are inherently unstable and that the existence of our own life and biosphere after 4 billion years of this precarious instability is in fact impossible and must be some artefact or illusion. Lansner’s well defined and limited argument destroys the possibility that global climate is unstable due to positive feedbacks and that small temperature changes are amplified to larger ones. This is falsified – instead temperature increases occur as expected from a log-log power law distribution in a quasi-chaotic / nonlinear system, and that temperature rises are self-limiting by negative feedbacks and have a well defined distribution of magnitudes and durations.

    Just look at what happens. Just look frankly at the world THE WAY IT IS. Why does this approach give the scientific establishment such difficulty?

    The paper you cite is a good example of bringing in irrelevant detail:

    Petr Chylek (any relative of the Chelsea goalkeeper?)
    Institute for defense of the status quo and cosy government sinecures, Zurich.

    … A novel feature of our analysis is the use of a cooling period between about 42 KYBP (thousand years before present) and LGM to provide a constraint on the aerosol radiative forcing.

    No – not novel at all. Just business as usual for government science minders to escort off the scene an inconvenient argument. Lansner specifically excluded the large temperature changes at the boundaries of interglacials, to characterise fluctuation within an interglacial. So to overwhelm this inconvenient argument with a cloud of unknowing, lets distract attention from this well defined and precise argument by bringing in a completely different argument involving bigger fluctuations from glacial to interglacial.

    Nice try though.

  65. Hi Joel.

    You open up a long row of subjects, so lets start with someting simple:
    In this article “Is the warming in the 20´ieth century extraordinary?” i show the warming 1900-2010 vs the heat spikes of the interglacials. I make clear that the present warming data includes UHI and warming adjustments, but on the other hand the Vostok data normally is expected to vary more than the global average. So its a qualitative compare but stil, these are the data we have and does not really suggest something quite extraordinary about the present heating.
    Can you to some degree agree on this?

    Next you calculate your way to expected CO2-sensitivity of 2-4,5 K. I do something else. I use the IPCC´s own “best estimate” of 3 K and then Hansen older “best estimate” estimate of 6K. I then search for peaks between IPCC best etimate and Hansens estimate. (IPCC gets their 3 K from an average of several different papers, including papers up to 5 K CO2 sensitivity).

    The raw CO2 effect: As demonstrated, there are around 9,25 raw CO2 doublings to equal the total raw total CO2 contribution. Using 1,1K gives a total raw CO2 contribtion of over 10K, that is around a third of the total present greenhouse effect. But due to the greenhouse dominans of mostly water, the real fraction of raw CO2 effect is often reffered to as 15% or so, half you value. If true you should use 0,5-0,6K.
    Or take the MODTRAN model, here you get around 2 – 3 W/m2 per doubling:

    And since its normally accepted that we have 4-5 W/m2 = 1 K, again we end up with 0,5 – 0,6 K for Co2 sensitivity.
    Lindzen even suggests 0,5 K for CO2 sensitivity INCL. feedbacks?
    As I remember, the latest IPCC report uses around 72% feedbacks vs 28% raw Co2 warming. This would give 0,76 K raw CO2-warming from their best estimate of 3K incl feedbacks.
    BUT! lets just use 1 K for CO2 sensitivity as you mention.
    Under these circumstances a warming of 1K should lead to 3K warming incl feedbacks (IPCC) or up to 6K (Hansen and others).

    So if anything gave a direct warming of 1 K earlier in interglacials we should have seen a warming continue to 3 – 6K.

    But this has hardly ever occured in interglacials at all.

    There can be 2 reasons
    1) IPCC and Hansen are wrong
    or
    2) There has never been a direct raw warming of 1 K in the many 10 thousands of interglacial years.
    See temperatures. http://www.physics.rutgers.edu/ugrad/140/vostok_ice_core.jpg

    And what did i then conclude?
    “It is thus surprising that IPCC and others with big confidence can claim large temperature rises of up to 3 – 6 K as most likely result from just a minor temperature increase, for example induced by CO2 warming.”

    Dont you find it surprising, that IPCC and others can claim to be “confident” of the strong feedbacks when we dont see many big warming peaks (3-6K) in the temperature data? Perhaps you think that these ice core data strongly supports this IPCC claim? If so, I would like to know how you argue for this.

    K.R. Frank

  66. Joel Shore and Steve Mosher,

    So what Albedo value was used in all these climate model simulations of the paleoclimate which apparently included all the known forcings?

    They are all “___” because the ice age simulations just made up the forcing numbers especially the solar forcing/Albedo part so they could come up with the result they wanted. The other time-period ones also fail because the climate models they used apparently skipped Grade 3 Math class – like where the teacher explained 2 X 3.0C = 6.0C is the right answer and 2 X 3.0C = 1.5C is the wrong answer. They all assume people won’t actually check their data and their math and apparently no climate scientist actually does and magically, it gets published.

  67. This blog post represents a kind of straw man argument. The statement made in the hockey stick paper, is that the current temperature increase is a unique event in the past 1000, years, and didn’t include the interglacial periods for the past 400,000 years. The projection of global warming does not rely on the hockey stick paper, or any characterization of the current temperature change as being unusual. It relies on the physical understanding of the effect of CO2 on the climate, including feedback.

    In fact a look at the Vostock ice core data, shows how the projected effect of CO2 increases can be associated with huge changes in temperature.
    Looking at the Vostok graphs, one sees that a change in CO2 from 180 to 280ppM was correlated with an increase of temperature of 10C. The CO2 change was less than one doubling. This means it is possible for CO2 to have a huge temperature effect.

    It is true that CO2 increase was not the only change driving temperature. The tilt of the earth’s axis and precession of the earths orbit triggered it, and different feedbacks including changes in albedo due to snow and ice as well as the CO2 changes were responsible for amplification of the intial orbital forcing. Some kind of simulation modeling which takes many factors into account is needed to determine the effect of CO2. This is what Hansen and other researchers have done to come up with the range of climate sensitivity that is quoted by climate scientists.

    http://naturalscience.com/ns/articles/01-16/ns_jeh2.html

    Of course the change in CO2 in the modern period is much faster than what happened during the ice ages, and CO2 is a primary driver of warming, rather than a feedback factor, as it was in the ice ages. The physics behind it is the same. Since the heat capacity of the oceans is large, and the change in net energy flux is small, the full surface temperature change that is associated with the change in CO2 from 280 to 390ppM has not yet occurred. Another 0.4 to 0.7 C increase is expected even if the CO2 concentration stays where it is.

  68. eadler says:

    “…the Vostock (sic) ice core data, shows how the projected effect of CO2 increases can be associated with huge changes in temperature.”

    Your entire argument swirls down the drain due to the fact that rises in CO2 follow temperature rises.

    Want some graphs showing that CO2 follows temperature? How many do you want? Ten? Twenty?

    Just ask.

    Sorry about your repeatedly falsified conjecture.

  69. nofate says:
    December 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

    steven mosher says:
    “If people dont accept the fundamental physics ( C02 warms) then they have no voice in the scientific debate and no standing in any moral debate”

    That’s cute. So anyone who disagrees with you is immoral? No matter what their standing in the scientific community? So I guess Mr. Pachauri, by your reasoning, is a moral, upstanding world citizen? Haven’t you posted here before? How about the moral standing of Mr. Watts and all the scientists who visit here? So why do you bother with us?

    ###############
    Anthony, willis, lindzen,monckton, christy, spencer all accept the basic science
    and the radiative properties of C02. They argue that the effect of C02 while real is small. I will put it to you this way: if a person does not accept the fact that the moon is smaller than the sun, is there any sense in discussing a scientific controversy with them? is there any sense is discussing a moral dilemma with them? I’d say no. It’s largely a waste of time. Simply, skeptics can and do accept the fundamental science of the radiative properties of C02. Those skeptics, Like Lindzen, get a seat for the scientific debate. It is also the case that people are more likely to listen to them about the moral debate as well. But no one who rejects the fundamental science, gets heard in the real scientific debate and people wisely ignore them in the moral debate.
    That’s just some advice, not a judgement.

    “Seems to me, if you marginalize us at the start, there is no debate. Oh yeah, I forgot, the debate is settled. There is no science left to explore, there is only consensus…. Says you (and AlBore).”

    Well, you dont read. There is a debate about the sensitivity. That’s an open complicated issue. If you want to be heard, then there is a ticket to that debate.
    There is also a moral debate: what’s our obligation? If you want people to take you seriously in that debate my suggestion is that you accept that portion of AGW that
    the skeptics like Lindzen accept. That’s practical advice.

  70. KD in Milwaukee says:
    December 9, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Amazing how many seem to miss the point of the original post which I read as this:

    Hoooray at last, thankyou KD.
    I can’t vouch for Franks data or methodology, I don’t have that experise. But as KD says, it doesn’t matter if a period of warming was by the sun, CO2 or dino farts.

    The man is looking for PRECEDENCE. And he is looking for it during a 500,000yr period. And his conclusion is that with the exception of a few outliers, at no stage during that time did Ts rise in an “unprecedented” way.

    Discussions about sensitivity etc are totally irrelevant for the purposes of this paper.
    So, from all the knowledgeable WUWT readers, what we are looking for is for example the following……

    Frank: Below I have identified all temperature rises of the Vostok data fulfilling the following criterion: yada yada yada

    Mosh: No frank, you can’t use that criterion because yada yada yada

    Now c’mon folks, Frank has put time and effort into this, lets help out, it may be a benefitial contributor to the climate debate.

    And to the person who evoked the “get it published in peer review” all I can say is get a life you parrot. HERE IS THE PAPER FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE, it can be reviewed by not just 3 faceless nepotists, but by anybody who wishes to, OPENLY.
    Have you got any constructive comments be they positive or negative? have you got the kahones to review it in full public scrutiny? Do it and gain respect.

    p.s have yet to read comments past KDs

  71. phlogiston says:

    Franks method is solid? Well, I’m sorry he did does not establish a repeatable or testable method. There are methods that mathematicians have developed for diagnosing sensitivity from observations. Schwartz attempted this, I believe spenser has as well. Frank would need to establish that his method works. he could do this with synthetic data ( generate data from a known process, add noise, add dating error, add temperature estimation error and show that his mathematical method could reconstruct the sensitivity from the observations)

    Here is a simple model that uses temperature observations
    to estimate sensitivity ( after Scwhartz)

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2008/how-large-is-global-climate-sensitivity-to-doubled-co2-this-model-says-17-c/

    Or if you want to join my friends Ryan O, JeffId, And Steve Mc and write a paper on diagnosing sensitivity from Vostok, start reading what has already been done. A small sampling.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VF0-48DYTM7-11&_user=10&_coverDate=05%2F31%2F1993&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_origin=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1574162343&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=b26a531bfa36ac1e9e22d49c88677d23&searchtype=a

    Here is something simple on ice sheet forcings. and showing how well you can estimate paleo temps if you do it right.

    You see one test of your method of extracting a sensistivity from observations is how well your method can predict.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CCoQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.atmos.washington.edu%2F~dennis%2F321%2F321IntroLecturea.pdf&ei=WrABTbKACoTQsAO1w9yyAw&usg=AFQjCNHM_vPOaIWsS5C9LxbKu9W3pl7_rQ&sig2=pIQr6K1Kg93hAFulLcSE3w

    Or you could read alley’s paper… or the studies he cites:

    The data thus indicate that the globalization of the orbital ice-age signal was
    achieved by CO2 . The climatic sensitivity to this forcing can then provide a test of
    the sensitivity of climate models.
    A simple way to do this was presented by Hoffert & Covey (1992), who compared
    the global-mean temperature change and the change in forcing from greenhouse
    gases, albedo, etc., to obtain a climate sensitivity to CO2 for both glacial-maximum
    conditions and conditions from the warm mid-Cretaceous of ca. 100 million years
    ago. Hoffert & Covey’s (1992) sensitivities to CO2 doubling were 2.0
    ± 0.5 ◦ C for
    the comparison with ice-age conditions, and 2.5
    ± 1.2 ◦ C for the comparison with
    mid-Cretaceous conditions, or an average sensitivity of ca. 2.3 ◦ C. Models used in
    the IPCC (2001) produce estimates that range from 1.5 to 4.5 ◦ C for the warming
    from a doubling of CO2 from recent values, so the initially reassuring result from
    Hoffert & Covey (1992) was that palaeoclimatic sensitivities were slightly less than
    the midpoint of those models.
    However, it now appears that higher sensitivities are indicated by data from both
    warm and cold climates. Starting with the cold climates, the Hoffert & Covey (1992)
    ice-age estimate was based on early palaeoclimatic data that rather clearly under-
    estimated changes (specifically, the CLIMAP sea-surface temperatures (SSTs)). As
    updated by Cuffey & Brook (2000), improved data yield a sensitivity of ca. 3.9 ◦ C
    warming for a CO2 doubling, which falls towards the upper end of the IPCC sensi-
    tivities.

    Or this to give you some idea of the other forcings you have to consider.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=19&ved=0CFoQFjAIOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.physics.rutgers.edu%2Fugrad%2F140%2FNature_399429a0.pdf&ei=cLMBTc6DBY_0tgPnuPzSAw&usg=AFQjCNFM-QWTaREiLQZfNfMn8-6iBy3HZA&sig2=IEKIh_79zYnQH1VDgN-wyA

  72. Joel Shore says:
    December 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    here is where your logic is wrong……

    Thanku Joel, that’s the type of analysis required, and put politely, thnx again.

    Please answer my dillemma, you say…

    (2) Given that, you simply haven’t demonstrated that the lack of large heat spikes is due to a lack of feedbacks. It could simply be due to the fact that forcings have been fairly small

    Unless I misunderstand your meaning, you are saying feedbacks are/may be limited? i.e. once a forcing induces a feedback, that feedback is used up.
    What are the limitations of feedbacks? Do we know at what level of T do those feedbacks cease?

    If a forcing induces T rise of say 0.1DegC, feedbacks increase that to say 0.25DegC. Why can’t this 0.25DegC induce further warming to 0.375DegC?
    Does a molecule of H2O on the suface skin of the ocean know the difference between 0.1DegC of warming by forcing and 0.1DegC of warming by feedback?
    I can see limitations due to WV saturation, have those limitations been quantified?

    regards

  73. eadler says:
    December 9, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    This blog post represents a kind of straw man argument. The statement made in the hockey stick paper, is that the current temperature increase is a unique event in the past 1000, years, and didn’t include the interglacial periods for the past 400,000 years. The projection of global warming does not rely on the hockey stick paper, or any characterization of the current temperature change as being unusual. It relies on the physical understanding of the effect of CO2 on the climate, including feedback.

    The actual net effect of additional CO2 in the atmosphere is in reality an unknown at present. Any claims that all or most of the warming of the 20th century is due to CO2 are, at full face, inaccurate. Such claims neglect to account for any natural warming OR for other influences by man such as land use.

    On the other hand, the warming is not unique to the Holocene. The warming, statistically, can be said to be expected. It occurred right on schedule. Though at present we cannot explain, in full, what causes the cycle of warming we can likewise, not accurately determine to what extent man has influenced warming until we can separate the natural from that anthropogenically induced. Such task is difficult due to a lack of full understanding of either. At this point theoretical SWAGs are what is being generated. Little more.

    Fortunately there are those who realize the ‘debate’ is not over. They continue doing valid science in search of fact and truth. The ‘debate is over’ group (not a crowd) continue with self-serving rhetoric and little real science. Time and reality will continue to defeat them.

  74. Eadler, you write: “This blog post represents a kind of straw man argument. The statement made in the hockey stick paper, is that the current temperature increase is a unique event in the past 1000, years, and didn’t include the interglacial periods for the past 400,000 years. ”

    Eadler, besides the problems with the Hockey-stick claims themselves …
    (summarized here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/04/ipcc-how-not-to-compare-temperatures/
    1) the Mann material, 2) the Briffa material, 3) The cherry picking done by IPCC to predominantly choose data supporting colder Medieval Warm Period, 4) Problems joining proxy data with temperature data mostly obtained from cities or airports etc, 5) Cutting proxy data of when it doesn’t fit temperatures from cities, 6) Creating and Using programs that induces global warming to the data and finally 7) reusing for example Mann and Briffa data endlessly (Moberg, Rutherford, Kaufmann, AR4 etcetcetc) and 8) Wrong compare. )
    Then the problem is indeed if some “scientists” do not check out the past before claiming “confidently” what will happen in the future. In the periods I analysed, the temperature rises occur around half the time, and if they do not take into account how the Earth reacted for ten thousands of warm years in interglacial periods, then i do think thats a severe mistake. Obviously you need this info before you start shouting out how earth will and should react now under same conditions.

    K.R. Frank

  75. steven mosher says:
    December 9, 2010 at 9:09 pm
    phlogiston says:

    Franks method is solid? Well, I’m sorry he did does not establish a repeatable or testable method. There are methods that mathematicians have developed for diagnosing sensitivity from observations.

    Thanks for these useful references to studies of sensitivity in the palaeo-record. I will try to look them up over the weekend.

    However Lansner’s article and argument were not about sensitivity. Thus my point about inappropriate conflation of his point with other topics. He is just making a simple point in a rather innovative way – starting a new debate, not jumping on board a well-established one i.e. sensitivity.

    Lansner is (if I am right) just characterising the statistical nature of temperature fluctuations in the ice core record, and asking whether the trends and patterns visible in this fluctuation support the hypothesis that small increases in global temperature are inevitable amplified by positive feedback to become larger ones . This argument is implicit in the writings of the IPCC and James Hansen. It emerges instead that the 20th century warming is slap bang in the middle of the “normal” distribution of many hundreds of similar temperature rises during recent interglacials – an in being about 100 years long his approach even suggests (“predicts” would put it too strongly) that this increase is over and that temperature decrease is likely to follow.

    The sort of temperature fluctuation he analyses is of a fractal nature, so in fact although he restricted it to the interglacials, the same analysis would hold true if extended to the whole Vostok and other ice core records. The fluctuations arising from a system exhibiting non-equilibrium nonlinear dynamics is described by a log-log relation – plot log of size of temperature changes with time against log of the frequency of changes of each magnitude, and you get a straight line. This means lots of small changes, fewer big changes, much fewer very big changes. It is a universal feature of such systems.

    Understanding the nonlinear / nonequilibrium nature of the climate system fundamentally changes the role or feedbacks. It is absurd to characterise such a system as having positive feedback at a global level. Instead local and time-limited positive feedbacks operate, but they run their course and terminate (Bob Tisdale uses the term “saturate”). The ENSO is an example of this. The potential for local positive feedbacks to occur characterises the system as a reactive or excitable medium – the tension between positive and negative feedback results in emergent spatio-temporal pattern formation. These patterns are the climate – which cannot be analysed by simple linear global heat balance equations, because it is nowhere near equilibrium.

  76. Steven Mosher, tanks for long and detailed input on Vostok Co2 sensitivity :-)

    But i think you are missing the points. (It reminds me of a study i made giving much more protein from yeast cells for insulin production. One professor was irritated that I had not used more mathematical analysis… but Novo Nordoc used my results for their world wide production…)

    Question:
    1) Do you see the temperature rise 1900-2010 in appear alarming when comparing with the other teperature rises?
    (yes as i wrote in the article, UHI and adjustment likely to exxagerate modern warming while on the other hand the locality of Vostok exxagerates temperature rise to som degree compared to global data)
    Do you think that ice core data thus can be used to claim with big “confidence” that present warming is quite extraordinar?
    If not ice core data can be used, what data can be used?

    2) You are talking a lot about “my method” :-)
    My “method” is simply to look at interglacial data where 3K temperature peaks appears rare.
    And then I ask:
    “How can IPCC etc. be so confident that today Earth will bring about a 3K temperature rise as result of a smaller CO2-warming?”
    Perhaps you can answer then?
    ?

    (Not to mention those who feel “confident” that earth will react even stronger today:

    Here you see an example of “scientists” very very confident that Earth will now react with temperature rise beteen 3K and 7K before year 2100. In this period we wont even have one CO2 doubling so their idea of the earths reaction to a minor Co2 warming to begin with is perhaps 5K – 10K (!) and thus they seem more hard core alarmists with his 6K claim.)

    K.R. Frank

    PS: its NOT because i dont want to discuss all other aspects you drag in(!) but lets first relate directly to the content of the article.

  77. This is a very simple and elegant idea. I hope this can be developed and that in time it will appear in peer-reviewed scientific papers. If this idea is right – and I think it almost certainly is – then it is of the utmost importance, for it strikes at the very heart of that ruinous belief known as CAGW.

    A couple of years ago I read a piece in New Scientist. It said in effect: okay, so the ice core data shows that the CO2 follows the temperature – but this means it’s a positive feedback, so we’re doomed after all. It probably never occurred to the writer that if there were a positive feedback at work then it would appear clearly in the data. As far as I’m aware the ice core data shows no sign of the temperature being driven by CO2. And this excellent piece by Frank Lansner takes it even further. Quite possibly the ice core data provides the biggest and most important disproof of CAGW – and maybe of AGW as well.
    Chris

  78. Hi Chris, and many others for the interest and kind words!

    if interested here some other writings, pretty NASTY in their conlusions as well:
    Dec 2008, WUWT, I show that it takes more and more heat to provoke the same rise in CO2 of the atmosphere. It tells us about future CO2 levels and the mechanisms keeping CO2 levels down:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/17/the-co2-temperature-link/

    Jan 2009, WUWT, I show that CO2 levels have little influence on temperature:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/

    April 2009, WUWT, I collect 59 peer rev datasources to evaluate historic and holocene temperatures.
    I find date with fine Antarctic MWP in higest resolution, I find not so big difference between SH and NH when it somes to MWP and much more:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/11/making-holocene-spaghetti-sauce-by-proxy/

    FEB 2010, http://www.hidethedecline.eu , with the help from Nicolai Skjoldby i got a full sceptic climate A – Z online.
    Examples/”Highlights”:
    The Alps and the MWP: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/alps-the-98.php
    Climategate oveview: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/c.php
    CORAL GATE, I digged in coral data….: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/corals-and-the-great-barrier-reef-43.php
    Why has CO2 level in oceans stopped increasing a decade ago?? http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/co2-carbon-dioxide-concentration-in-the-oceans-72.php
    History of CO2 concentrations: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/co2-carbon-dioxide-concentration-history-of-71.php
    Water gate… About positive feedbacks! http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/feedback-positive-ndash-rdquowhat-makes-co2-heat-dangerousrdquo-29.php
    The “Venus Argument”: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/rdquovenus-argumentrdquo-the-5.php
    and so on and so on :-)

    FEB 2010: UHI – A World tour! http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/urban-heat-island—world-tour-155.php

    MAR 2010: Glaciers, Oerlermans data: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/the-warm-glacier-temperature-reconstruction-of-oerlemans-2005-160.php

    Mar 2010, WUWT, After the apr 2009 article i discovered that result for the MWP to a significant degree changed after IPCC changed viewpoint:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/10/when-the-ipcc-disappeared-the-medieval-warm-period/

    Mar 2010, WUWT, I look into temperature graphs from the 1970´ies:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/18/weather-balloon-data-backs-up-missing-decline-found-in-old-magazine/

    Apr 2010, WUWT, I show severe error on the hockeystick used by IPCC

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/04/ipcc-how-not-to-compare-temperatures/

    MAY 2010: PETM – Finally data that could rescue the CO2 theory? http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/petm-ndash-finally-an-example-of-co2-causing-heat-179.php

    Jul 2010, One of my best writings (!!!!!) I just haven had the time to promote it yet. After the Mar 2010 article about old temperature graphs i made a COMPLETE OVERVIEW of the pre-GW temperature material in easy to understand illustrated writing:
    Here a Core illustration of how IPCC has kept important data from the viewers:
    Check it out: http://hidethedecline.eu/media/PERPLEX/fig2.jpg
    The article: http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/the-perplexing-temperature-data-published-1974-84-and-recent-temperature-data-180.php

    Aug 2010, WUWT, DMI summer data for 80-90N and other data tells a very different story than GISS data where land data is used over ocean:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/dmi-polar-data-shows-cooler-arctic-temperature-since-1958/

    http://hidethedecline.eu/pages/posts/colder-arctic-temperatures-in-the-melt-season-vs.-giss-temperatures-188.php

    sep 2010, WUWT, I show from MODTAN model, that there are around 9,25 co2 “doublings” in total Co2 effect. All has same raw effect, and if the next doubling causes great warming it must have a different effect than the rest of the CO2, more positive feedback:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/08/working-925-what-a-way-to-make-a-livin-at-agw/

    oct 2010, i defend my Aug article, and in this context i would like to focus on this Chryosphere correction so it wont be forgotten:

    And finally, Dec 2010, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/09/is-the-warming-in-the-20th-century-extraordinary

    Before 2008 dec i only wrote for dansih sites.

    K.R.Frank

  79. Like Jo Nova points out:

    “The interglacial periods shows no temperature peaks of the size interval larger than 3K. If in theory a minor warming of 0,5 – 1 K should lead to a 4-5-6 K warming including feedbacks, why are there no such peaks in the previous interglacial periods? There are plenty of 1K warming peaks (resulting of from all kinds of natural mechanisms) to induce the massive positive feedbacks that IPCC and Hansen expects.”

    Assuming the forcings were enough for 0.5 K warming, then the 1 K warmings you observe are consistent with a ~2 K climate sensitivity. The values are consistent with us not getting a forcing of greater than ~1.5 W m^-2 (for 3 K sensitivity) or ~2 W m^-2 (for 2 K sensitivity)

  80. The natural warming of the 20th century is not extraordinary, as the geological record conclusively shows. Changes of several degrees throughout the Holocene have happened repeatedly. In fact, current temperatures are quite normal and benign. Nothing unusual is happening.

    The MWP was warmer than today and the LIA was colder than today. Only climate alarmists like Michael Mann claim that the climate didn’t vary much until the industrial revolution began [the long, straight handle of his fabricated hockey stick chart]. But Mann et al. have been debunked by McIntyre and McKittrick among others, and he is being increasingly marginalized by reputable scientists.

    Someone who only has a hammer will see every problem/solution as a nail that needs pounding. Having met Steve Mosher I can tell you that he is a very nice guy, and knowledgeable, too. I bought his book, and highly recommend it.

    But Steven is a computer model guy. And climate models have an abysmal prediction record. They are all over the map, as Lucia’s chart shows. And of course Hansen’s models could be replicated as accurately by a chimp with a dart board.

    Models have their uses, and they are being constantly improved. But they still can’t predict temperatures a mere two years out, even using 2-sigma error bands. Real world observations are the natural starting point for any scientific conjecture, and real world, unadjusted observations show conclusively that nothing unusual is occurring regarding global temperatures. It has all happened many times before.

    A ±3°C variation in global temperature is completely natural and routine, and has happened throughout the Holocene. Yet the UN’s proposed world regulations would require drastic, very expensive [to U.S. taxpayers] action if the global temperature exceeds a mild 2°. That is not science; that is planning on a statistically likely event in order to extracy hundreds of billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers based on a likely occurrence. The UN is not stupid. But they are very devious and mendacious.

    Finally, the question of climate sensitivity is regularly discussed here. The response of the planet itself indicates a low sensitivity to CO2. The wildly high claimed sensitivities of 2.5°C and above are not supported by empirical observations, but by models programmed by people with a vested interest in showing a high sensitivity number.

    I would personally give great weight to Professor Richard Lindzen of M.I.T., who puts the sensitivity number at not much over 1°C – a very modest rise for a doubling of CO2, which is itself an unlikely event from this point in time.

    We employ true experts in the field such as Dr Lindzen because their many decades of studying the climate is something most of us don’t have the time for. In life and in education, experience counts for more than almost anything else.

    Because Lindzen puts his reputation on the line by citing a specific sensitivity number, rational people will rightly give that number great weight. It is certainly much more credible than the self-serving, unelected, and relatively inexperienced pronouncements of the UN/IPCC committees, whose members are carefully vetted and selected to marginalize any input skeptical of the Party line of looming climate disruption.

    “Carbon” is only a cover story for the UN’s true [and thoroughly immoral] motive: extracting the wealth of the West based on a completely unproven scare story, and handing our national wealth over to corrupt regimes – after first taking its own hefty cut. That is the fraud which we must fight.

  81. What if the Upanishads and Vedas aren’t fiction but in fact historical works and what if there were in fact Human Civilizations in those times that also emitted C02. Maybe there’s also a mechanism that when the earth heats up too much it causes volcanoes to release cooling clouds. Weird theory night tonight.

  82. Joel Shore says:
    December 9, 2010 at 2:19 pm
    The point is that all because chickens produce eggs does not imply that eggs can’t also produce chickens. The close correlation of CO2 and temperatures over a variety of timescales is suggestive of the correlation going both ways. While the change in temperatures seems to start first in the glacial – interglacial case because those transitions are understood to be initiated by changes in the earth’s orbit around the sun (and axis of rotation), the changes in greenhouse gases follow along soon enough that there is still plenty of room for the change in greenhouse gas levels to amplify the warming or cooling once it has begun.

    So, let me see if I understand you, Joel. Those extra CO2 molecules dance around and avoid the photons for 800 years and then they get so tired they give up and start absorbing them. Is that about it?

  83. Baa Humbug says:

    Unless I misunderstand your meaning, you are saying feedbacks are/may be limited? i.e. once a forcing induces a feedback, that feedback is used up.
    What are the limitations of feedbacks? Do we know at what level of T do those feedbacks cease?

    If a forcing induces T rise of say 0.1DegC, feedbacks increase that to say 0.25DegC. Why can’t this 0.25DegC induce further warming to 0.375DegC?
    Does a molecule of H2O on the suface skin of the ocean know the difference between 0.1DegC of warming by forcing and 0.1DegC of warming by feedback?
    I can see limitations due to WV saturation, have those limitations been quantified?

    Your example assumes that the positive feedbacks are sufficiently strong to produce instability. Nobody (or essentially nobody) believes that to be the case. Rather, we are in the regime where the feedbacks amplify the warming … Mathematically, it is the difference between a diverging and converging series.

    For example, if a 1.0 deg C warming due to CO2 increases water vapor causing an additional 0.5 deg C of warming, then the additional feedback on that 0.5 deg C of warming will be an additional 0.25 deg C of warming, and so on. In this example, what you get is the geometric series 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + … which converges to a value of 2, i.e., the feedback ends up doubling the warming.

  84. Hi Joel.

    You open up a long row of subjects, so lets start with someting simple:
    In this article “Is the warming in the 20´ieth century extraordinary?” i show the warming 1900-2010 vs the heat spikes of the interglacials. I make clear that the present warming data includes UHI and warming adjustments, but on the other hand the Vostok data normally is expected to vary more than the global average. So its a qualitative compare but stil, these are the data we have and does not really suggest something quite extraordinary about the present heating.
    Can you to some degree agree on this?

    Not really. First of all, as you note, the Vostok data is expected to have about double the variability of the global average for the glacial – interglacial transitions. I assume it is similar (or maybe more) for fluctuations on shorter timescales. The UHI and warming adjustments, I think is, by contrast, mainly a fictional complaint.

    Second of all, I think you need to talk to someone very knowledgeable about this data to find out how reliable such temperature proxies are expected to be for the sort of timescales and variations that you are looking at. I.e., I could imagine there might be a level of noise in the proxies.

    The raw CO2 effect: As demonstrated, there are around 9,25 raw CO2 doublings to equal the total raw total CO2 contribution. Using 1,1K gives a total raw CO2 contribtion of over 10K, that is around a third of the total present greenhouse effect. But due to the greenhouse dominans of mostly water, the real fraction of raw CO2 effect is often reffered to as 15% or so, half you value. If true you should use 0,5-0,6K.
    Or take the MODTRAN model, here you get around 2 – 3 W/m2 per doubling:

    And since its normally accepted that we have 4-5 W/m2 = 1 K, again we end up with 0,5 – 0,6 K for Co2 sensitivity.
    Lindzen even suggests 0,5 K for CO2 sensitivity INCL. feedbacks?

    Basically, everyone serious agrees that the “raw CO2 effect” is about 3.7 to 4 W/m^2 and that this translates to around 1.0 – 1.2 C warming…Lindzen agrees with this (albeit he thinks the feedbacks are negative and thus reduce it) as does Spencer, as far as I know. If you want to argue about this, you are really headed way out into the weeds.

    So if anything gave a direct warming of 1 K earlier in interglacials we should have seen a warming continue to 3 – 6K.

    But this has hardly ever occured in interglacials at all.

    And, what significant forcings do you propose there were during the interglacials? The reason there haven’t been dramatic warmings is because there haven’t been very significant forcings. Even the total forcing from the glacial to interglacial conditions is only estimated to be about 8 W/m^2 or thereabouts.

    If you can come up with compelling evidence of significant forcings during interglacial times (and small temperature responses to those forcings), then you have something. Just arguing that the temperature doesn’t vary that much during the interglacials without any attempt to figure out what the forcings are doesn’t give you anything useful.

  85. Richard M:

    So, let me see if I understand you, Joel. Those extra CO2 molecules dance around and avoid the photons for 800 years and then they get so tired they give up and start absorbing them. Is that about it?

    Perhaps reading comprehension is not your strong point?

  86. Steve Mosher and Joel Shore:

    This is how one would calculate the climate sensitivity of CO2/GHGs based on the ice age data:

    Fill in this table: the question marks are where one shouldn’t really know what the value is:

    Now suppose I told you the Ice and Vegetation Albedo forcing was really -12.0 watts/m2 (based on the actual climat ice age maps and cloud changes forcing information). Then one can see how cherry-picking values can result in the fake climate sensivities that Hansen’s climate science have indoctrined people with.

    The Real table looks like this which then produces a real climate sensitivity of just +1.27C per doubling of CO2/GHGs.

  87. As Joel says, it is all about the forcing. 3.7 W/m2 for doubling CO2 is exceptional to a degree that is not seemingly realized enough. The LIA and MWP correspond to solar forcing possibly only in the range of 0.5 W/m2, but are generally considered to be significant events. We are at the tail of a growing warming that only will become more obvious with time, especially within the next decade or two. The 0.7 C so far is not much above the noise, but is already comparable with the LIA and MWP, and we have a lot further to go this time. Only the ice ages themselves are comparable, not the little wiggles between that the original post examines.

  88. Joel Shore, You ave some correct points ere and there, but my “stomack” feeling is that your not unbiased – i may be wrong.

    You just start out claiming that UHI has no impact (!???!?!?!?!?) and then you just go ahead as if you where not on thin ice.
    -and you must be claiming the about warming adjustments (!) for your logic to make som sence.

    And: The temperature difference between average interglacial and average glacial is around 8K, and there are souces that suggests that globally its more like 6K. Ok lets say that the difference is 50% then. But the truth is, the availability of real global temperature data for a period like the last ½ mio years is not that impressive, so we are guessing a little here.
    But you just claim 100% without a blink, “it is expected” you say.
    But what really interesting then is that you do not use this “info” in both ways, only in the direction that supports critic of my point. You forgot something, Joel: If you where correct, then all temperature rises in fig 3-5 should be half size when conparing to global. This means, that the IPCC “CONFIDENT” expectations to future temperature rise on fig 3 is not corresponding to 3K but 6K…… and only then can we say with REAL confidence that the IPCC expectations of temperature rise is EXTEMELY UNLIKELY!!!

    Do you undersatnd this? If you are correct in your opninion “global-temperatures-should-be-multiplied-with-2-to-compare-with-Antarctic-temperatures” then the “best estimate” from IPCC is 6 K as reponse to one single CO2 doubling temperature.
    So suddenly IPCC is 4 times higer in their expectations than the normal upper limit of around 1,5 K for these temperature rises.

    And then back to your “fresh” “No-UHI” claim (!)I think a good place to start is the biggest and the best investigation ever, and its done by Thomas Karl. The force of his study is, that he used mostly UNadjusted data, so the issue of how city vs. rural temperatures are alligned are not excisting. UNadjusted because the resaerch took place in the mid 1980´ies.
    More, he used ALL relevant US city-rural pairs yielding around 4-500 compares. US has more long temperature series than rest of the world in GHCN, so a full US resaerch like this is very relevant. Here are his raw results:

    These values are just for the period 1900-1983 so you have to multiply with around 1,3 or so to get nearer the true 1900-2010 values. So very vey fast we will have a UHI signal that covers perhaps 20-50% of the mostly city-measured supposed global warming temperature signal of around 0,65-0,7 K.
    Even Phil Jones later China research show an AVERAGE UHI false warming of 0,5K ! (And you think other developing countries like India, Mexico, Brasil, do not have massively growing cities to yiels a similar result perhaps?)

    And temperature corrections: Alone for the USA, it is directly black on white knowledge that cant be denied: Adjustmet are more than 0,4K ! I can document.

    But you, Joel, just say: NO UHI! NO adjustments! 100% more signal in Antarctic data without using this info as it should: It makes IPCC claims of temperature rise 100% more in dissagreement with previous temperature rises sown on the figures.

    etcetcetc.

    And then if you have time: Can you in any way argue against that we actually have around 9,25 doublings for CO2 ?

    And after you hopefully has explained the above problems, Lindzens 0,5K for CO2-sensitivity (and many others with low feedback expectations): You are missing the point of the article.
    The article baically show ten thousands of years with shorter temperature rises that seems not that large and also timelimited, that is, natural mechanisms normaly make an end to temperature rises. The small earlier temperature rises does not support IPCC in their belief that smaller temperature rises for “sure” will lead to much larger temperature peaks.

    this is the point

    THEN we start explaining WHY that is. WHY are the old temperature peaks small?
    and in this context, it is not important if the small temperature rises in the past are caused by
    1) a small raw CO2 signal of 0,2K + positive feedback of 0,3K
    or
    2) a raw CO2 signal of 1K – negative feedback of 0,5K

    In either way, we end up with a small temperature rise in the past that simply does NOT make IPCC “confident” predictions of large temperature rises now supported in data. So if Lindzens idea is, that is estimation of CO2 is a low 0,5 K due to large negative feedbacks this IS a sound explanation as to why we dont see many IPCC-like large temperature rises in the past.

    I am not religious about WHY the IPCC “confident” large claims are not that well supported by low temperature variability in the past, I just pinpoint the problem.

    ((And finally as a 100% less important side remark: As a real skeptic, yes, I use logic and not “who believes what”. Never mind who says waht, I do NOT find it likely that CO2 should be responsible for one third of the Earths greenhouse effect – 9,25 * 1,1 = on third of greenhouse effect. AND I do NOT find it likely that all heating due to an atmosphere should be caused by greenhouse gasses, and thus i find the Earths combined greenhouse effect of 30 K to be exxagerated. Saturn has hardly any greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere but shows no difference in isolating effect when doing a simple compare. Titan orange-red armophere is STUFFED with greenhouse gasses but may have the very poorest isolating atmosphere in the solar system… But this is another conversation! ))

    K.R. Frank

  89. stephen mosher says:
    “Anthony, willis, lindzen,monckton, christy, spencer all accept the basic science
    and the radiative properties of C02.”

    Your answer perplexed me, as I have not denied “the radiative properties of CO2″. I have a problem with people who use man made CO2 as the reason for a future modeled catastrophe for which the politicians must take money out of our pockets and implement draconian restrictive policies that ultimately impede eventual understanding of climate. Smokey @5:55 AM says it better than I do:
    “Carbon” is only a cover story for the UN’s true [and thoroughly immoral] motive: extracting the wealth of the West based on a completely unproven scare story, and handing our national wealth over to corrupt regimes – after first taking its own hefty cut. That is the fraud which we must fight.

    It turns out that I made an ass of myself. Completely misunderstood your response @10:52 AM, and proceeded to rant on. When I read your reply, I did some back reading on WUWT and your site. If I could take it back, I would.

    My apologies :-(

  90. Bill Illis says:

    Now suppose I told you the Ice and Vegetation Albedo forcing was really -12.0 watts/m2 (based on the actual climat ice age maps and cloud changes forcing information). Then one can see how cherry-picking values can result in the fake climate sensivities that Hansen’s climate science have indoctrined people with.

    The Real table looks like this which then produces a real climate sensitivity of just +1.27C per doubling of CO2/GHGs.

    So basically, you are saying that you have calculated the forcings due to albedo changes between the LGM (last glacial maximum) and now, gotten an answer significantly different (by about a factor of 2) from what scientists have determined, and we are supposed to blindly believe your results?

    And, just as a side note, even if you were correct, your calculation concludes that doubling CO2 produces a warming that is one quarter the size of the difference between the ice age and now. Quadrupling CO2 (which we apparently have enough coal to do quite easily) would produce a warming half the size of the warming between the LGM and now. Those sorts of changes are still nothing to sneeze at.

    Of course, the reality is that scientists have estimated the albedo forcing to be lower than you claim. Furthermore, as Hansen has pointed out, this whole way of estimating the climate sensitivity takes the change in albedo due to ice sheet and vegetation changes to be a forcing, not a feedback. In the present case, such effects will be feedbacks, further increasing the warming due to the change in greenhouse gas levels. (Hansen estimates this doubles the climate sensitivity from ~3 K to 6 K over the long run…although other scientists have noted that the effect will probably not be that great in going from the current state to a warmer state because there is less ice sheets to melt than there were in going from the LGM to the current state.)

  91. Bill Illis posted this data earlier in the thread, which is important and deserves attention:

    The Occam’s razor simplest interpretation of this data is that, rather than 85 or 40% of a greenhouse effect, CO2 is in fact responsible for zero percent of a non-existent greenhouse effect.

    Apart from the very low CO2 end of the graph, where limitation to plant growth may play a role in temperatures, there is no correlation – the only justifiable regression is a null horizontal line. The overlaid colored curves bear no relation to reality.

    In fact, above about 400 ppm CO2, a small downward slope of temp with CO2 is even suggested.

    Of course, the AGW interpretation of this is no doubt to apply special pleading to EVERY SINGLE ONE of these data points, reeling of pages of argument about why – each for its own distinct reason – not one of these data points is valid without a sophisticated adjustment, such as the dim sun argument (not significant from the Phanerozoic onward).

    Every single data point is thus somehow the exception that proves the rule.

    The rule (CAGW) which is supported by no data.

    BTW the only way that the “greenhouse” is a useful metaphor relates to the practice of horticulturalists to add CO2 to greenhouses to boost plant growth.

  92. “Joel Shore says:
    December 11, 2010 at 8:02 am
    Bill Illis says:

    So basically, you are saying that you have calculated the forcings due to albedo changes between the LGM (last glacial maximum) and now, gotten an answer significantly different (by about a factor of 2) from what scientists have determined, and we are supposed to blindly believe your results?”

    Hansen’s “tuned” ice and vegetation Albedo estimate is 0.307 (versus today’s global Albedo of 0.298).

    Well, all that additional ice and desert and grassland and tundra in the ice ages certainly changed the Albedo by more than that.

    This is how Hansen’s estimate plays out by latitude. It is effectively impossible to get a number that low. It is tuned so that he gets a temp C change per watt/m2 of 0.75C/w/m2 so that his 3.0C per doubling still works.

  93. And here is a paper from researchers at NCAR that says the ice-vegetation Albedo forcing in just the northern hemisphere alone was -11.7 watts/m2 at the Last Glacial Maximum. (Throw in a little less for the southern hemisphere and a reduction in cloudiness of 10% or so and you have a number which even greater than the one I used).

    It was not published however (I assume the team got involved). It is the ONLY paper I have found in mega-searching that actually addresses how it should be calculated rather than just throwing a number out.

    http://kiwi.atmos.colostate.edu/pubs/Burt_Randall_Otto-Bliesner_submitted.pdf

  94. Bill Illis
    Dec 11, 4:54 pm

    It was not published however (I assume the team got involved).

    Business as usual for the (climate) science community.

    Human nature is even more difficult to regulate than CO2 emission.

  95. Bill,

    It is hard to argue with someone whose worldview is predicated on conspiracy theories (Hansen “tuned” his albedo estimate, the “team” prevented the paper from being published, etc., etc.) with no evidence whatsoever to back up these wild charges.

    There is in fact something about that paper that doesn’t add up or that we are misunderstanding. Their temperature change of 4.9 C is not compatible with such large forcings given the equilibrium climate sensitivity of the climate model that they are using (which the IPCC AR4 lists as 2.7 C). Now, you may doubt that the real-world sensitivity is that high, but I don’t think you would dispute that this is the sensitivity of the model and so their forcings and temperature change should be roughly compatible with that; as you understand their forcings (and I can’t say where I see that you are wrong), it is not even close. Maybe that is why the paper was never published…that there was some error in what they did that either they or the referees discovered?

    REPLY: Joel, I’m calling BS on your comment, see this email from Phil Jones to Mike Mann
    Thu Jul 8 16:30:16 2004

    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep
    them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is !
    Cheers
    Phil

    source: http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=419

    Mikey is a member of Hansen’s RC “team”.

    You are delusional if you think this group of scientists is above such behavior after reading statements like that. – Anthony

  96. Anthony –

    (1) Were the papers that he referred to actually kept out of the IPCC report in the end?

    (2) Was he objecting to the papers because he didn’t like the conclusions or because he thought they were garbage?

    (3) Even if one could find a situation where a paper was rejected by a referee for questionable reasons, does that we mean that we are entitled to assume that any such paper we find a preprint of that hasn’t appeared in print falls into that category? I have had a paper of mine rejected for reasons that I did not think are justified but I don’t think that justifies me to assume that any time any paper by me gets rejected it must be for unjustified reasons.

    REPLY: Nice spin buddy, your comment is still BS. On #2 I can’t be in the mind of Phil Jones or Mikey, or Jim or any of those. #3 is hypothetically irrelevant. I can only go by what was written. What is written is that Phil Jones said he and Trenberth would work to keep papers out. The central question is: can the team be trusted? The answer that keeps coming back by words and deeds is “no”. Just like in Wikileaks, there’s lots more that we have not seen I’m sure. – Anthony

  97. Sorry for getting you into this Anthony.

    My main point is that there is no way Hansen could have calculated such a low Albedo number for the ice ages.

    If you go region by region – 2km high ice sheet by 2 km high ice sheet, desert by desert, snow covered tundra for 10 months of the year by snow covered tundra, loss of tropical rainforest by loss of tropical rainforest, you are only at a higher number.

    Anyone who argues against the rush-to-judgement of global warming science should recognize that the 0.75C or 0.81C/W/m2 response sensitivity assumed (including all the feedbacks) has to be lower. It is lower to date, it was lower in the ice ages, it was lower in the Pinatubo eruption, it is always lower. It has to be protected by the science at all costs or the +3.7 W/m2 of doubled GHG forcing does not result in +3.0C.

  98. Bill,

    It is not just Jim Hansen who has made these estimates and it is not like Hansen’s are out-of-line with others. Here is a paper from close to 10 years ago: https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/240137.pdf (which just happens to be the first scientific paper that came up when I typed “estimates for albedo at lgm” into google). They conclude that “the climate sensitivity is about 1 K W” m2 with a range of +10%. This would imply a global warming in response to a doubling of CO2 in the range of about 3.1 to 3.7 K”. So, their estimate of the sensitivity is slightly on the high side of Hansen’s.

  99. Joel Shore says:
    December 12, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Nice discussion of some climate model results that have tuned parametres.

  100. Bill and Joel,
    I also looked at that paper and noted a couple of things. First of all 11 W/m2 is very high, and requires a substantial ice albedo equivalent to perfectly whitening everything beyond both arctic and antarctic circle from black before (or the NH alone down to 60 N). Even, if the LGM did that, examining what they mean by that number, it seems to be the surface albedo change only, and would therefore be overestimated by not considering cloud-cover before or after the change which would surely reduce the difference by the pre-existing cloud albedo. I don’t know the average arctic daytime cloud-cover, but I expect it is quite high.

  101. Let’s just take one small 10 degree latitude band – 50N to 60N.

    Right now the average total Albedo (including cloudiness) in this latitude band is 0.41 ranging from 0.37 to 0.56. The lowest amount is in the Pacific and the highest amount is in Hudson Bay and Central Asia.

    At the last glacial maximum, North America is covered in 1 to 2 km high glaciers from 50N to 60N. The Albedo of glaciers this thick and at this latitude is about 0.65 versus the current Albedo of about 0.45 today. The Atlantic is mostly sea-ice covered with some melting in the summer – Albedo in the ice ages about 0.55 versus today of 0.40.

    Europe is covered in 1 km high glaciers – Albedo of 0.65 versus today of 0.42. As we move into Russia and Siberia, there is less glacier and more desert, tundra and grassland. The snow melts in the summer for at least 2 months since the mammoths were eating something. Albedo in these conditions is 0.54 versus 0.46 today. As we move into the Pacific, sea ice covers most of the region for 10 months of the year; Albedo 0.5 versus today of 0.37.

    Put that all together and you have this latitude band changing from 0.41 today to 0.54 in the ice ages (the number I have) versus Hansen’s of around 0.42.

    Given the solar irradiance in this small 10 degree latitude band, the change of Albedo above changes the global solar forcing by -1.7 watts/m2 by itself.

    Now do the same process over the whole globe and you should see what I mean.

  102. Bill,
    Do you calculate albedo from the point of view of the sun? This diminishes the effective values at high latitudes significantly. For example above 60 N is less than 3% of the earth’s disk as viewed from infinity but over the equator, but you should check my geometry, and also I am not sure if this is the relevant value to use.

  103. Jim D says:
    December 12, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    50N to 60N is 5.0% of the global surface area and receives 3.85% of the total global solar irradiance. So, yes, all that was taken into account using the proper solar incidence angle etc.

  104. This makes even a 3% albedo increase very difficult. Wouldn’t you agree? Their glaciers only got to 50 N over some of the continents. Also when considering winter, sea-ice would seem to be a positive feedback compared to water, by radiating less energy to space, and I don’t think that was accounted for.

  105. Jim D says:
    December 13, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I encourage everyone to calculate things for themselves so that they will have greater understanding.

    See what you can come up with for the ice ages with the model below. Investigate the last glacial maximum maps of ice coverage and vegetation changes. Build in about a 10% reduction in cloudiness. Find out how Albedo changes in those changing conditions.

    You will find that is indeed hard to change to Earth’s Albedo, but it changes rapidly as the ice moves toward the equator as in the last glacial maximum when it got to 40N in North America and seasonal sea ice got down to 40N on the North American Atlantic coast.

    Then try Snowball Earth when ice extended to the Tropics.

    [Warning - it will be scary when you try to use Hansen's 0.75C/Watt/m2 for the solar forcing reduction you will calculate].

  106. as the ice moves toward the equator as in the last glacial maximum when it got to 40N in North America and seasonal sea ice got down to 40N on the North American Atlantic coast.

    At least for the land ice, what happened in (eastern) North America appears to be the exception rather than the rule:

    Bill,

    I would say until you make some serious calculations and publish them in the peer-reviewed literature, I am not sure why you expect people (other than those predisposed to believe anything along these lines) will take your claims seriously.

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