Commentary- Hansen Draft Paper: Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change

Precession of Earth's rotational axis due to t...

Precession of Earth's rotational axis due to the tidal force raised on Earth by the gravity of the Moon and Sun. - Image via NASA - click for more

by Dr. Martin Hertzberg

As the saying goes:

“If all you have in your hand is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail”.

It is hopeless to expect that Hansen could possibly analyze data objectively – all he has in his head is “CO2 climate forcing” and everything else has to be “forced” into that ridiculous paradigm. It makes no difference to him that the predictions of his past half-baked computer models based on “CO2 climate forcing” were completely wrong.

It is not worth my time (or anyone else’s in my opinion) to try to critique the entire paper, but the final paragraph on his p. 11 stands our like a sore thumb. In it he states:

” Earth orbital (Milankovic) parameters have favored a cooling trend for the past several thousand years, which should be expected to start in the Northern Hemisphere (NH). For example, Earth is now closest to the sun in January, which favors warm winters and cool summers in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Those statements are typical of the misunderstanding in the popular literature of the Milankovic cycles. Since we are now further from the sun in the NH summer, he argues that the NH should get less solar insolation in the NH summer thus “favoring the growth of glaciers and ice-caps in the NH”. So why then we may ask are we now in an Interglacial Warming? What Hansen fails to realize is that when we are further from the Sun in NH summer we move more slowly in orbit, and are therefore exposed to the summer sun for a longer period of time.

From the graphs in the web-site http://individual.utoronto.ca/kalendis/seasons.htm , one can calculate that in 2010 the NH summer half of the earth’s orbit from the Spring Equinox to the fall Equinox lasts 186.1 days. The NH winter half of the orbit lasts 179.0 days. So the summer half gets 7.1 more days of solar insolation than the winter half. (Go to your calendar and count!)

Exposure time in this case is more significant that daily insolation caused by our further distance during the NH summer. And that is why we are in an Interglacial Warming and why Hansen is completely wrong in arguing that we should be “favoring the growth of glaciers and ice-caps in the Northern Hemisphere”.

Now some 10,000 years ago, because of the precession of the Equinoxes, summer and winter would have nearly flipped but with not much change in the earth’s orbital eccentricity. From the same web-site, in the year 8,000 BC, the NH summer half of the earth’s orbit lasted 178.5 days while the winter half lasted 186.6 days, so that the winter half exceeded the summer half by 8.1 days.

So 10,000 years ago the earth was further from the sun during NH winter and it spent a longer time on the winter half of the orbit, thus both effects re-enforced each other to give us a marked Glacial Cooling. (Actually the peak in that Glacial Cooling occurred several thousand years earlier than 8,000 BC.) Today, while we spend a longer time during the NH summer half of our orbit, we are further away in the summer, so the effects tend to cancel, but the longer time exposure is more important than the further distance.

The following discussion from my Chapter 12 of our recently published book  “Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory” is a more general critique of the Hansen paper. Simply substitute “Hansen” for “Gore”.

The Legend of the Sky Dragon and Its Mythmakers

There is a simple way to tell the difference between propagandists and scientists. If scientists have a theory they search diligently for data that might actually contradict the theory so that they can fully test its validity or refine it. Propagandists, on the other hand, carefully select only the data that might agree with their theory and dutifully ignore any data that disagrees with it.

One of the best examples of the contrast between propagandists and scientists comes from the way the human caused global warming advocates handle the Vostok ice core data from Antarctica (6). The data span the last 420,000 years, and they show some four Glacial Coolings with average temperatures some 6 to 8 C below current values and five Interglacial Warming periods with temperatures some 2 to 4 C above current values. The last warming period in the data is the current one that started some 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. The data show a remarkably good correlation between long term variations in temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are at a minimum during the end of Glacial Coolings when temperatures are at a minimum. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are at a maximum when temperatures are at a maximum at the end of Interglacial Warmings. Gore, in his movie and his book, “An Inconvenient Truth”, shows the Vostok data, and uses it to argue that the data prove that high atmospheric CO2 concentrations cause global warming.

Is that an objective evaluation of the Vostok data? Let’s look at what Gore failed to mention. First, the correlation between temperature and CO2 has been going on for about half a million years, long before any significant human production of CO2, which began only about 150 years ago. Thus, it is reasonable to argue that the current increase in CO2 during our current Interglacial Warming, which has been going on for the last 15,000 – 20,000 years, is merely the continuation of a natural process that has nothing whatever to do with human activity. Gore also fails to ask the most logical question: where did all that CO2 come from during those past warming periods when the human production of CO2 was virtually nonexistent? The answer is apparent to knowledgeable scientists: from the same place that the current increase is coming from, from the oceans. The amount of CO2 dissolved in the oceans is some 50 times greater than the amount in the atmosphere. As oceans warm for whatever reason, some of their dissolved CO2 is emitted into the atmosphere, just as your soda pop goes flat and loses its dissolved CO2 as it warms to room temperature even as you pour it into the warmer glass. As oceans cool, CO2 from the atmosphere dissolves back into the oceans, just as soda pop is made by injecting CO2 into cold water.

But the real “clincher” that separates the scientists from the propagandists comes from the most significant fact that Gore fails to mention. The same Vostok data show that changes in temperature always precede the changes in atmospheric CO2 by about 500-1500 years.

The temperature increases or decreases come first, and it is only after 500-1500 years that the CO2 follows. Fig 3 shows the data from the termination of the last Glacial Cooling (Major Glaciation) that ended some 15,000 – 20,000 years ago through the current Interglacial Warming of today. The four instances where the temperature changes precede the CO2 curve are clearly shown. All the Vostok data going back some 420,000 years show exactly the same behavior. Any objective scientist looking at that data would conclude that it is the warming that is causing the CO2 increases, not the other way around as Gore claimed. I am indebted to Guy Leblanc Smith (guy.lbs@rockknowledge.com.au) for granting permission to use Fig. 3 as it was published in Viv Forbes’ web-site www.carbon-sense.com .

It is even more revealing to see how the advocates of the human-caused global warming theory handle this “clincher” of the argument. It is generally agreed that the Vostok cycles of Glacial Coolings and Interglacial Warmings are driven by changes in the parameters of the Earth’s orbital motion about the Sun and its orientation with respect to that orbit; namely, changes in the ellipticity of its orbit, changes in its obliquity (tilt relative to its orbital plane), and the precession of its axis of rotation. These changes are referred to as the Milankovitch cycles, and even the human caused global warming advocates agree that those cycles “trigger” the temperature variations. But the human caused global warming advocates present the following ad hoc contrivance to justify their greenhouse effect theory.

The Milankovitch cycles, they say, are “weak” forcings that start the process of Interglacial Warming, but once the oceans begin to release some of their CO2 after 500-1500 years, then the “strong” forcing of “greenhouse warming” takes over to accelerate the warming. That argument is the best example of how propagandists carefully select data that agrees with their theory as they dutifully ignore data that disagrees with it. One need not go any further than to the next Glacial Cooling to expose that fraudulent argument for the artificial contrivance that it really is. Pray tell us then, we slayers of the Sky Dragon ask, what causes the next Glacial Cooling? How can it possibly begin when the CO2 concentration, their “strong” forcing, is at its maximum? How can the “weak” Milankovitch cooling effect possibly overcome that “strong” forcing of the greenhouse effect heating when the CO2 concentration is still at its maximum value at the peak of the Interglacial Warming? The global warmers thus find themselves stuck way out on a limb with that contrived argument. They are stuck there in an everlasting Glacial Warming, with no way to begin the next Glacial Cooling that the data show.

But one has to be sorry for Gore and his friends, for after all, they are in the global warming business. Global cooling is clearly someone else’s job!”

I can think of nothing more inappropriate and insulting to Milankovic than having Hansen speak at a Symposium in his honor.

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

Published originally at SPPI

Reference: Jan. 18, 2011: Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change: Draft paper for Milankovic volume. James Hansen

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198 thoughts on “Commentary- Hansen Draft Paper: Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change

  1. Thanks Dr. Hertzberg good post. Hansen, and Holdren, are certifiable and it is a worry to me that the US government does not gag Hansen since they employ him. Perhaps they are working together to further tax increases on the long suffering Americans.

  2. All I can say is thank you for this remarkably clear explanation of a part of the puzzle I have pondered before and not found included in any of the current Warmist arguments. Sadly I doubt any of the government’s – even if they believe this – will publicly change direction, there is far too much pressure from eco-terrorists like Greenpeace, Fiends of the Earth and WWF for it to happen until we begin to see what I am sure must come soon – a big dip in temperatures and a sudden increase in ice.

    BTW, what would be the likely effect of the sudden flooding of a large part of the Great Rift Valley in Africa? It has been spreading over the last God alone knows how many years, but vulcanologists expect it to rift and flood ‘soon.’ Though I suspect that ‘soon’ on a geological timescale may be several hundred or several thousand years away!

  3. Wow.

    Some times I am baffled by my own oversights. Of course the orbital eccentricity leads to more summertime irradiance. This is the opposite of what I learned at the university, where the view presented by Hansen was the common perception.

    A suggestion:
    I think a thorough presentation of the Milankovic cycles would be much appreciated, as the Wikipedia entry is (methinks) a bit too short and somewhat difficult to comprehend.

  4. @Herzberg
    > So the summer half gets 7.1 more days of solar insolation than the winter half.
    > (Go to your calendar and count!)

    But do those cooler excess 7.1 days (summer= lower insolation rate) somehow make the other summer days warmer? Seems to me that would add up to a net loss (compared to 7.1 days at higher insolation). It doesn’t add 7.1 days to the calendar, so that’s a week compounded at a lower temperature rate.

    The seasonal difference in solar irradiation is about 100 watts per square meter, much larger than the CO2 and other GHG “forcings” that we read about. So the more time spent at the lower insolation means more climate cooling effects. Right?

  5. If the AGW proponents were correct about CO2, the earth would have tipped long ago and had temperatures nearly as high as Venus. The fact that there has never been a tipping point confirms that earth’s atmoshere is remarkably stable and self regulating and the fact that we are here today to debate this issue confirms that the AGW argument is not correct.
    It appears that Hansen only ever half thinks things through, and this explains why he comes up with half baked conjectures. I share the sentiment that Hansen speaking at this symposium is an insult to Milankovic.

  6. Is the graph of Northern Hemisphere seasons is a difficulty when those who estimate global warming find a mismatch between NH and SH temperatures? Or is it already accounted for in the estimates?

  7. In my opinion, beginning a supposedly serious piece of writing by saying

    “It is hopeless to expect that Hansen could possibly analyze data objectively – all he has in his head is “CO2 climate forcing” and everything else has to be “forced” into that ridiculous paradigm. It makes no difference to him that the predictions of his past half-baked computer models based on “CO2 climate forcing” were completely wrong.

    It is not worth my time (or anyone else’s in my opinion) to try to critique the entire paper…”

    makes it not worth my time reading any further.

    It is clear that the author is not objectively discussing the science pesented but is using this as a platform for his own biased opinions.

    I would much rather read an unbiased, balanced, thoughtful critique which this is obviously not.

  8. How long until one of the regular warmists on here get half-way through your post, see the “CO2 lags temperature” bit and jumps immediately to comments to explain to you that “a small warming starts the CO2 increase, which then takes over and makes it worse”? I give it until comment 19.

    I’ve often wondered how they justify it ever getting cold again once that “feedback” starts :)

  9. “It is hopeless to expect that Hansen could possibly analyze data objectively – all he has in his head is “CO2 climate forcing” and everything else has to be “forced” into that ridiculous paradigm. It makes no difference to him that the predictions of his past half-baked computer models based on “CO2 climate forcing” were completely wrong.”

    This is what happens when you put a Venus specialist in charge of researching the Earth’s atmosphere. He knows what happened to Venus, therefore he knows what’s going to happen to Earth: runaway global warming.

    He is the first victim of Venus Syndrome. The sooner he retires the better.

  10. @Herzberg
    So the summer half gets 7.1 more days of solar insolation than the winter half.

    The ‘winter’ [bad word here] insolation is higher because we are closer to the Sun. This is a non-trivial difference. About 100 times larger than the solar cycle variation.

  11. Louise says:

    It is not worth my time (or anyone else’s in my opinion) to try to critique the entire paper…”

    makes it not worth my time reading any further.

    Louise, I remember when I finally decided I had to find proof to back up my assumption that global warming must be true, because there was no way so many people would believe it unless it was well backed.

    After several months wading through paper after paper after paper, trying to track down that illusive “foundation” of manmade global warming theory, I began to realise that there’s nothing behind all these statements except statements that there are statements that back up their statements.

    There comes a point when doing them the courtesy of reading what they wrote … giving them the benefit of the doubt … become gullibility not to see through the blanket that hides the lack of any scientific basis for what they say.

  12. @Louise: agree that the opening is impatient bordering on petulant, which is unfortunate because the substantive discussion that follows is, I think, intriguing and worth closer study and reflection. I would like to see a little math answering John Day’s point (longer summer but at less-intense level of insolation =?= shorter summer at more-intense level of insolation). That kind of accounting for energy/irradiance over time presumably has been done to support the argument about Milankovitch cycles, and it would be good to see it at least summarized or referenced here.

    It would then be appropriate to call Hansen a fool and a charlatan –at the END of the paper!

  13. Louise, your response suggests you are unable to take any science from the discussion, and instead focus on the personalities. Which begs the question, what is more important to you, the personalities, or the science? Your response shouts the answer.

  14. Louise wrote:

    “I would much rather read an unbiased, balanced, thoughtful critique which this is obviously not.”

    So did you read the article to see what it was about and to come to that conclusion?

  15. That’s right Louise, play the man and not the ball !

    Great post, thanks Martin. A very clear explaination for the lay people.

  16. @Louise says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:00 am

    If you have the time, why don’t you look at Hansen’s paper and apply the scientific method to it (I would suggect not using anything that has been produced by a model), I would start by relicating any work you can.

    Although Hansen has proved in just one paragraph that he is wrong and until this is corrected then this paper is bunk. Would you use a drug that had incorrect theories showing it was safe?

  17. Wasn’t at least one of Hansen’s degrees in astronomy/astrophysics or something along those lines? Shouldn’t he understand innately the subtleties of orbital eccentricity? Is there anything left in his head except CO2 forcing? Wow….just wow.

  18. Louise says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:00 am

    You need to get past this reluctance to read papers written in this style. Nearly all comments over at RC, DC etc begin like this. You will never be in a position to make a valid judgement unless you do. I still brace myself to go read RC just in case something important appears among the rubbish. There may be a diamond in the bin but you will never find it unless you wade through the rubbish. Give it a try.

  19. Dear Dr Hertzberg,
    Thank you for this interesting post. In particular your point about the implausibility (or absurdity) of the climate establishment’s explanation of glacial/interglacial transitions as a small initial Milankovic-cycle-generated temperature change kick-starting a delayed and much larger CO2-mediated positive feedback chain reaction deserves wider prominence.

    However I don’t think your argument is strengthened by your statement that “Thus, it is reasonable to argue that the current increase in CO2 during our current Interglacial Warming, which has been going on for the last 15,000 – 20,000 years, is merely the continuation of a natural process that has nothing whatever to do with human activity.” In fact I groaned inwardly when I read that passage.

    Yes, a small part of the recent increase on atmospheric CO2 can be attributed to continued warming and degassing of the oceans. But most of it? Hm. The levels didn’t get much above 300ppm during previous interglacials, so either there is something wrong with the ice core CO2 data, or there is something out-of-the-ordinary causing the recent rise to over 380ppm. I suspect most well-informed people, including sceptical climate scientists, would prefer the latter explanation.

    The misinterpretation by the IPCC and the rest of the climate change establishment of the glacial/interglacial temperature-CO2 relationship is IMO one of the weakest points in the whole AGW paradigm. I fear your attribution of recent CO2 rises to a continuation of the natural post-glacial de-gassing will simply make it easier for your (and my) opponents to ignore or sideline the more telling points you have made. I’d drop that bit.

    But keep up the good work!

  20. The argument put forward in the Hansen quote is puzzling: cool summers and warm winter in the northern hemispere should be a signal of natural cooling?
    My elliptical maths are insufficient to argue in a numerical way against the argument that “the longer time exposure is more important than the further distance”, but I hold that there is no support offered for this pretty crucial statement. The only convincing argument is that it should tend to get colder when shorter time exposure and longer distance coïncide in the northern hemispere. I do not believe that paleoclimatology can contribute a great deal to the current AGW debate, which has a much shorter time span than any of the subject cycles, nor that there will be convincing scientifical evidence for either side, which in fact poses a more than convincing argument for the sceptical position.

  21. I agree that the introduction to this post is a little OTT and may detract from the substance of the post. The introduction is unnecessary and pales beside the significance of the observation made half way through the post, namely that:-

    “There is a simple way to tell the difference between propagandists and scientists. If scientists have a theory they search diligently for data that might actually contradict the theory so that they can fully test its validity or refine it. Propagandists, on the other hand, carefully select only the data that might agree with their theory and dutifully ignore any data that disagrees with it.”

    I think set against that observation, one can see to which camp Hansen belongs.

    sHx says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:13 am
    “This is what happens when you put a Venus specialist in charge of researching the Earth’s atmosphere. He knows what happened to Venus, therefore he knows what’s going to happen to Earth: runaway global warming.”

    I question whether he actually properly understands Venus since he fails to take into account the effect caused by the pressure of that atmosphere.

  22. where did all that CO2 come from during those past warming periods when the human production of CO2 was virtually nonexistent? The answer is apparent to knowledgeable scientists: from the same place that the current increase is coming from, from the oceans.

    These falsehoods damage the skeptic position much more than whatever any warmist may say. Knowledgeable scientists have become convinced long ago that the source of the current increase of atmospheric CO2 is human, and that oceans are currently a sink for CO2 because of the imbalance of the concentrations created by our emissions. It wasn’t like this in the distant past, when there weren’t human emissions. But it is that way now.

  23. Patience is a virtue, Louise, for which you would have been rewarded if you had not been impatient. I, too, found the intro something of a ‘turnoff’, but kept going and now appreciate the authors’ viewpoint in this excellent post. In the recent past I have struggled to understand the import of the Malinkovitch Cycles as much of the referrence material I searched seemed impossibly obscure but this article pulled the curtain of my own ignorance aside for me!
    I guess Hansen’s wildly anti-American and hyperbolic speeches tend to make more rational and patriotic American scientists more than a little scornful of him.

  24. Wow, Nylo, I thought for a second or two you were on to something there, but your last sentence, “but it is that way now” indicates to me that your faith rather than your reason is your driving intellectual force. You must have some sciency sorta reasoning that tells you why “its that way now”, surely.

  25. Nylo,

    Part of the current increase is due to human emissions. But the ocean has been outgassing CO2 due to the natural warming of the planet since the LIA, in the same way that a warm beer outgasses more CO2 than a cold one.

    The colder oceans are a CO2 sink, as you say. The continental U.S. is also a net CO2 sink due to the ≈40% increase in forest cover over the past century.

    However, the central question is this: does the increase in this minor trace gas cause any known global harm? The answer is no. At current and projected levels CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. There really is no verifiable downside to adding more of this completely harmless airborne fertilizer. And the *slightly* elevated temperature due to the rise in CO2 is also beneficial [most of the curent rise in temperature is natural, and is caused by factors other than the rise in CO2].

  26. @Lousie
    I think the opening remark is a perfectly valid observation! It is hopeless to expect Hansen to analyse data objectively – the same as most of the warmist/alarmist team members – they simply do not make scientific assessment of data that does not agree! the reason they don’t seem to make such assessment is because they simply alter the data (or the terms of reference where such data might be applicable) to suit the data they want to use.
    Still, you sit on your high horse if you want too. Arrogance is definitely not a virtue and your offensive yet really defensive position merely demonstrates how worried you are! In other words, your comment was entirely totally and utterly pointless as it has added nothing whatsoever to the climate debate! [did I hear someone say, 'nothing new there then'?]

    W.r.t the article, I think it has raised some valid points and I would also like to see some further explanation as others have commented.

  27. Alexander Vissers says:
    “The only convincing argument is that it should tend to get colder when shorter time exposure and longer distance coïncide in the northern hemispere.”

    IMO that is impossible, or did I miss something?
    A shorter time exposure (shorter summer) means the Earth is in the perihelion
    part of its orbit, and hence the distance is not longer, but shorter.

  28. “Now some 10,000 years ago, because of the precession of the Equinoxes, summer and winter would have nearly flipped but with not much change in the earth’s orbital eccentricity. From the same web-site, in the year 8,000 BC, the NH summer half of the earth’s orbit lasted 178.5 days while the winter half lasted 186.6 days, so that the winter half exceeded the summer half by 8.1 days.”

    In addition, the obliquity 10,000 years ago was approaching 24.5 degrees which put the maximum tilt at the time when NH summer solstice was closest to the Sun. Any wonder why the great ice sheets melted?

  29. I have a question if someone can answer it: If ice ages are brought on by variations in the earth’s orbit relative to the sun, then shouldn’t they predictable? Shouldn’t we then know – perhaps to the year – when the current interglacial will end? My sense is we don’t know. Why?

  30. I’m a bit confused. When I go to Wikipedia, it gives a nice graph, it appears to show that the Milankovich cycles are currently trending down, and have been for some time. Yet the article above seems to be saying that Hansen is a fool for saying this.

    If the trend for the last few thousand years was downwards, it would fit with the fact that we have been cooling for the last few thousand years. Is there something wrong with this thinking?

  31. “How can it possibly begin when the CO2 concentration, their “strong” forcing, is at its maximum?”

    Exactly the question I asked on Little Green Footballs during a discussion of a Peter Sinclair video about this subject. Of course, I didnot understand the complexities going on so my question was not considered serious.

    This is why the logic of CO2 warming fails. In logic for the answer to be true it must be both necessary and sufficient. These Vostok graphs show that CO2 is not necessary nor sufficient. As far as I know all scientific “truths” to problems follow the necessary and sufficient idea. i.e. gravity.

  32. @ Lief Svalgaard

    Although the insolation during the NH winter is significantly higher is it possible that the lower angle of incidence, due to axial tilt, and the higher albedo, due to snow and ice cover, more than compensate for the higher insolation.

  33. I have attempted to engage Believers on the issue of the historical lag between temperature and CO2. Their first response is this theory that the Milankovic cycles are the weak signal that starts the cycle, but the CO2 provides a positive feedback that makes for a much larger swing in the cycle. My response is “then why is it that when CO2 is at its highest, this ‘weak’ signal can start an Ice Age, and when it is at its lowest, the ‘weak’ signal can end it?” The only thing I’ve heard back is a dismissive “you need to be more familiar with the literature; this is old stuff that’s already been dealt with.” But then they don’t actually deal with it. They provide no inkling of how to resolve the conundrum.

    No one has ever answered the question satisfactorily.

  34. Please someone tell Hansen about the difference between a sidereal year and a tropical year. Please someone tell him we’re in an elliptical orbit.

    Combine the two and you get the reason for ice ages. (Sidereal (orbital position) year is 20 minutes shorter than a tropical year (which determines solstice and equinox dates). Every year we come up about 4 earth-diameters short of where we were the year before.

  35. As Leif Svaalgaard pointed out, the total insolation received from the sun would be greater in winter than summer, outweighing the longer summer factor. The glaciers melted 10,000 years ago , when the northern hemisphere winters were longer, but we were closer to the sun in norther hemisphere winter.

    Going on to greenhouse gases, as opposed to Milankovitch theory,

    Some data I picked up surfing the internet:

    “Glaciation
    For a number of reasons, the volume of glacial ice near the poles
    waxes and
    wanes over time. As a result, water is alternately taken from or added
    to the
    world oceans. This can result in sea-level oscillations of up to 200
    meters. For
    example, modern continental glaciers are 1.5 to 2.5 km thick and have
    a total
    estimated volume of 33 million km3. If we assume the maximum volume
    of
    Pleistocene glaciers to have been 71.3 million km3, Flint, 1971 then
    the
    difference is 38 million km3. Using the assumption that glacial water
    volume is
    91.7% of the volume of sea water from which it is derived, a sea-level
    drop of
    106 m can be accounted for by Pleistocene glaciation. Melting of the
    present
    Greenland and Antarctic glaciers would produce a sea-level rise of
    approximately
    60 meters.

    The specific latent heat of fusion of ice at 0 ºC, for example, is 334
    kJ.kg-1.
    This means that to convert 1 kg of ice at 0 ºC to 1 kg of water at 0
    ºC, 334 kJ
    of heat must be absorbed by the ice. Conversely, when 1 kg of water at
    0 ºC
    freezes to give 1 kg of ice at 0 ºC, 334 kJ of heat will be released
    to the
    surroundings. (Note for educators).

    “The total mean mass of the atmosphere is 5.1480×1018 kg with an
    annual range due to water vapor of 1.2 or 1.5×1015 kg depending on
    whether surface pressure or water vapor data are used; somewhat
    smaller than the previous estimate. The mean mass of water vapor is
    estimated as 1.27×1016 kg and the dry air mass as 5.1352

    A 4C rise or higher this century would see the world warm almost as
    much in 100 years as it did during the 15,000 years since the end of
    the last ice age.”

    Putting it all together, 71.3 million k3 ice *0.917 vol ice/vol
    water=
    65.3821 million cubic kilometers of water.

    1 cubic meter= 1000 kg.
    1 cubic km = 10^12 kg
    65.3821 million cubic km= 65.3821*10^18 kg

    Total heat to melt glaciers =65.3821 *10^18 *1000*334 kj=2.18*10^25
    joules

    Cp air= 1.012 joules/gram K
    1012 Joules/kg K * 5.148^10^18 =5.209776 *10^21 joules

    4degree increase=2.0839 *10^22 joules

    So about 1000 times as much heat went into melting the glaciers at
    the end of the Pleistocene as went into heating the atmosphere,
    implying CO2 had only a negligible effect- A. McIntire

  36. Echoing what others have said, I too would like further explanation on the tradeoff between longer summers further from the sun, and shorter winters closer to the sun.

    I am no scientist but the more I read, it becomes clear to me that harmonization of the multitude of exogenous cycles provide a natural explanation for most of the ‘excess’ warming attributed to CO2.

    It seems ignorant to attributute the excess warming to humans when we have yet to fully understand the impact on climate of known exogenous cycles. At the same time, there must be exogenous cycles yet to be discovered whose effect diminishes the variation in climate that is ‘forced’ on CO2.

  37. I can not believe there are still sceptics who believe that CO2 levels didn’t get much above 300ppm during previous interglacials. Amazing. This is the most obvious thing to be sceptical about.

  38. The usual simplistic “if-then” conclusion, forgetting (or ignoring) the complexity of the system, just like the conclusions drawn from ‘studying’ Venus, and ignoring the differences between the planets. Gah. Despite being a demonstrably intelligent man, he seems intent on simply not thinking clearly, or following things through logically.

  39. Nylo says:
    January 24, 2011 at 5:14 am

    “where did all that CO2 come from during those past warming periods when the human production of CO2 was virtually nonexistent? The answer is apparent to knowledgeable scientists: from the same place that the current increase is coming from, from the oceans.”

    “These falsehoods damage the skeptic position much more than whatever any warmist may say. Knowledgeable scientists have become convinced long ago that the source of the current increase of atmospheric CO2 is human, and that oceans are currently a sink for CO2 because of the imbalance of the concentrations created by our emissions. It wasn’t like this in the distant past, when there weren’t human emissions. But it is that way now.”
    =======================================================

    lol, Nylo, your statement harms the warmists position. You and your kindred’s refusal to address this inconsistency speaks volumes. And you didn’t answer the question. The question is, where did all of the CO2 come from when the earth was warmer in the past? Reading your statement, you seem to be asserting that suddenly the oceans are now a sink but have never been in the past. But, even your assertion doesn’t answer the question. OK, for the sake of argument, let’s say it didn’t come from the oceans. Then, where did the CO2 come from?

  40. Precession and orbital eccentricity are hard for a lot of people to wrap their heads around when written in text. I loved this post, but I’m left feeling like pulling out Starry Night and making some videos to explain these cycles to the layperson.

    It shouldn’t be that hard, All you have to show is the eccentricity from the top-down, show the earth orbiting sped up, then zoom in periodically to show the position of the hemispheres at different points back through time (perhaps I could also use an inset of the vostok data to show the temperature). Also, perhaps I should start off with a highly eccentric orbit to show how orbital mechanics “slow” objects down at aphelion. I’m liking this idea more every time I think of it. Someone link me to a video doing this and I’ll stop fantasizing.

  41. John Brookes says:
    January 24, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I’m a bit confused. When I go to Wikipedia,…

    First mistake. Sorry to say that, but it’s true.

  42. Warning: All of science is in trouble because it took the “greenhouse effect” as true, when it is not. Don’t be so quick to take the Milankovitch theory as true. Look into the criticisms of that theory, and take THEM to heart, not the easy speculations of those who uncritically accept them. People who confidently proclaim they know the temperature 500,000 years ago, or how the temperature varied over that long an interval, should be considered as all too likely self-deluded. A science that says, “Venus is hot not because of its huge, dense atmosphere, but because of a runaway greenhouse effect” is not to be trusted when it makes equally self-assured claims that “the Earth regularly goes in and out of ice ages, over millions of years, due to variations in its orbit.” It is a fundamental error to try to disprove one bad hypothesis (the greenhouse effect) with another equally questionable (Milankovitch theory). That is the hard truth.

  43. Smokey,

    I take that graph with a GRAIN of salt. Too corrupted und uncertain.

    I think the CO2 concentration will start dropping soon, following the “global cooling”.

    I think the seasonal variations are oceans breathing and not vegetation cycles.

  44. I saw one commenter on this article who would not read further because of the comment on Hansen’s integrity. It seems to me the article was an opportunity for the commenter to show where the author was wrong with the science. But he did not.
    Dr Hertzberg invites critique when he put in his article “If scientists have a theory they search diligently for data that might actually contradict the theory so that they can fully test its validity or refine it”.
    Much of a congress was just voted out of office because they saw no need to read to know.
    This desire to not know enough and to limit information is no qualification for taxes and regulation based on not knowing and limited information. The climate change crowd has influence because of the acceptance of the claims without the desire of politicians to know for sure. And they would bet the future of Western civilization on it.

  45. Mike says:
    January 24, 2011 at 5:49 am

    “I have a question if someone can answer it: If ice ages are brought on by variations in the earth’s orbit relative to the sun, then shouldn’t they predictable? Shouldn’t we then know – perhaps to the year – when the current interglacial will end? My sense is we don’t know. Why?”

    Good question. Part of the problem is that while the last few ice ages have a 100,000 year cycle that corresponds to the cycle of eccentricity, earlier ice ages have a 40,000 year cycle corresponding to obliquity. We don’t know why.

  46. Edim says:

    “I take that graph with a GRAIN of salt. Too corrupted und uncertain.”

    Really? The graph was made from ice core data. What is corrupted and uncertain about it?

    But if you don’t like that one, here are more showing the same cause and effect; CO2 follows temperature:

    click1
    click2
    click3
    click4
    click5
    click6
    click7

    And a large part of the seasonal CO2 variation is caused by decaying vegetation.

  47. “Really? The graph was made from ice core data. What is corrupted and uncertain about it?”

    I basically agree with this:

    http://www.john-daly.com/zjiceco2.htm

    I also agree that CO2 follows temperature and that some of the annual cycle is caused by vegetation (photosynthesis, decay), but most of it is ocean anual breathing.

  48. James Sexton wrote:

    lol, Nylo, your statement harms the warmists position. You and your kindred’s refusal to address this inconsistency speaks volumes. And you didn’t answer the question. The question is, where did all of the CO2 come from when the earth was warmer in the past? Reading your statement, you seem to be asserting that suddenly the oceans are now a sink but have never been in the past. But, even your assertion doesn’t answer the question. OK, for the sake of argument, let’s say it didn’t come from the oceans. Then, where did the CO2 come from?

    First, I am a skeptic, regarding the effect that CO2 may have in our climate, which I think it is probably very little. I am only not a skeptic regarding where the current increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has come from.

    Oceans are a sink when their temperature is too cold for the ammount of atmospheric CO2, meaning they tend to absorb CO2. They have been a sink in the past, in periods of cooling, when the change in their temperature made them more capable of absorbing CO2. They have been a source of CO2 too, in the past, in periods of warming, as the Vostok ice cores show, again because of their increasing temperature making them less able to have CO2 dissolved.

    What has NOT happened in the past and is happening now, is the oceans acting like a sink while they are warming. And that is because, in the past, there weren’t other significant contributors to the atmospheric CO2. Now there are, it is us.

    The oceans’ role as a source or a sink depends mostly on 2 things: the ocean’s temperature and the existing atmospheric concentration of CO2. A “sudden” (in geological terms) increase of the atmospheric CO2 like the one we have caused breaks the balance between the CO2 concentration in the oceans and in the atmosphere, making CO2 go to the ocean. The ocean acts like a sink. IF the CO2 concentration was now 280ppm instead of 390ppm, the oceans would be acting as a source and not as a sink, given the increase of temperatures. But because the atmospheric concentration is so high, even though the oceans are a little bit warmer now, they are still absorbing CO2.

    To clain that the current increase of atmospheric CO2 has come from the ocean, you have to explain 1) where did OUR CO2 go, 2) why are the oceans releasing that huge ammount of CO2 if they are not anywhere as warm as they would need to be to cause such an effect, nor there has been any sustained warming for 800 years, which is what the Vostok ice cores seem to show that is needed for the oceans to start to release CO2 in significant ammounts.

  49. Looks like the La Nina caused the sea levels to drop. If we are in something like a Maunder Minimum, which looks increasingly likely then with fairly dramatic cooling, we would expect the CO2 levels to drop as well.

    I’m increasingly of the opinion Ernst-Georg Beck was right

    http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/statements.htm

    This statement looks far more likely to be true than it did 3 or 4 years ago.

  50. Alan McIntyre said:

    So about 1000 times as much heat went into melting the glaciers at
    the end of the Pleistocene as went into heating the atmosphere,
    implying CO2 had only a negligible effect- A. McIntire

    Heh. Similar approaches tell us why it is just so stupid to believe that the heat capacity of the atmosphere can drive the melting of the remaining glaciers and the heating of the oceans.

  51. Jeremy January 24, 2011 at 7:03 am:

    OK, so I shouldn’t trust Wikipedia. Do you have a link to a graph showing the Milankovitch forcings for the period of 100k years either side of today? Thanks!

  52. Thanks for the info, Dr. Hertzberg. It hadn’t occured to me that the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit must perforce lengthen the time it spends around aphelion and shorten it around perihelion. This effectively cancels out the difference in insolation between perihelion and aphelion at this point in the cycle:

    http://physics.ucf.edu/~britt/Climate/L12-Astronomical%20control%20of%20solar%20radiation.ppt

    The glacier building, according to the link above, happens when the NH winter is at aphelion which extends the winter instead of the summer by 8 days.

    And yes, being the devoted skeptic and fact checker, I did count the days for myself by entering Mar 20, 2011 and Sep 23, 2011 (spring/fall equinox dates for this year) into a Julian calander converter then subtract the first Julian date from the second which comes out to 187 days centered on summer solstice and 179 days centered on winter solstice.

  53. Nylo says:

    “…nor there has been any sustained warming for 800 years, which is what the Vostok ice cores seem to show that is needed for the oceans to start to release CO2 in significant ammounts.”

    The mechanism seems to be that CO2 follows temperature, with about an 0.8 millennium lag. The MWP was warmer than now. As the climate cooled, CO2 was absorbed into the oceans, where it slowly made its way in currents moving in the deep ocean along the ocean floor. Centuries later the CO2 was outgassed as the currents began rising to the surface and warming.

    That may not be a complete explanation, but the ice core evidence shows that CO2 follows temperature at those time scales.

  54. Said it before & I’ll say it again, that man, Hansen, needs to be fired. His advocacy (in denial of routine scientific principals) if carried through in governmental policy would severely damage the very taxpayers WHO PAY HIS SALARY. People who condemn their employers routinely lose their jobs. Why should ‘that man’ be exempt?

  55. Earth’s orbit is currently nearly circular so, yes, Earth is a tiny bit farther from the Sun in the one season than the other, but that difference is small compared to what it can be when the orbit is more elliptical.

  56. There is no doubt that the Milankovitch theory provides an elegant explanation for ice age dynamics. It links the rate of growth and decay of northern hemisphere ice sheets to the average northern hemisphere July solar insolation at 65 degrees N (c.f. G. Roe, In defense of Milankovitch, Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, L24703, doi:10.1029/2006GL027817, 2006). In fact Nigel Calder first observed the strong correlation between the first derivative of ice volume and northern hemisphere insolation in his Nature paper, Arithmetic of Ice Ages, in 1972. For the past several thousand years the 65 degree north July insolation has been dropping suggesting that northern ice sheets should be experiencing an accelerating rate of growth.

    Given the recent ice age history of the Earth Hansen’s comment (though substituting ice volume for temperature) would seem to be reasonable.

    What Hansen and others are either forgetting, or deliberately omitting from the discussion is the question of time scales. Variations in the solar insolation are on the order of several tens of thousands of years (23,000 years for precessional, 41,000 years for tilt and 100,000 years for obliquity). The current climate variations we are observing are on the order of 10’s to 100’s of years and are almost certainly dominated by features such as the PDO, AMO, solar cycles etc. There is no reason why we should see a Milankovith signal on such short time scales. We do see however, a cooling of Greenland over the past 6000 years that may possibly be explained by the Milankovitch hypothesis. It would be interesting to understand the Greenland ice sheet mass balance over this time too.

  57. Thank you Dr. Hertzberg for a most enjoyable read! Now I understand much more about the implications of the Milankovic cycles. A very nice post indeed.

    Please continue giving the warmers a bloody nose ever so often.

  58. Would the volume of posts here have been greatly reduced if Nylo had entered (sarc off) at the end of his first post?

  59. John Brookes says:
    January 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

    Jeremy January 24, 2011 at 7:03 am:

    OK, so I shouldn’t trust Wikipedia. Do you have a link to a graph showing the Milankovitch forcings for the period of 100k years either side of today? Thanks!

    Well lets first be clear here. Your first graph didn’t specifically attempt to show “Milankovitch forcings”, it was titled “Insolation at 65N Summer Solstice”. There’s a subtle difference here in that insolation is (presuming this theory to be true) the result of a mixing of these multiple orbital-mechanics frequencies. I presume this graph to mean exactly what it says, exposure to the sun at 65N at summer solstice, which does not show all frequencies contributing. Since the periods of glaciation cannot fully be accounted for by the blended “forcing”, it is silly to limit ourselves to just the single blended Milankovich cycle “forcing” and say, “well it’s going down, so this warming cannot be natural.” . Second, your plot didn’t show 100kyear on each side, it showed 800, making your meaning of a “trend” in the plot to mean either an overall trend over a 1.6 million years (half of which are in the future), or you mean to look at the “now” and say, “well it’s going down”, with that very bad resolution. It would be nicer to have a plot closer to the present day, with fewer data points plotted, and ALL of the presumed orbital forcings present in some form, not just the combination.

    I found this one, which I again don’t like as it only shows the “overall forcing” cycle:

    It also comes from a blog source, so look at it with whatever salting you like. What is interesting though is that you see the drop in the cycle started long before Humans ever started pumping CO2 into the air, yet the temperature (as shown in the plot) did not follow. So while the Milankovich cycles aren’t a full explanation as to what the temperature will be in some future date (or the past), they’re at least not so obviously wholly disproven by Hansen’s own reasoning that ‘because the cycle is dropping, only mankinds influence is keeping it warm.’ It simply isn’t CO2, and Hansens usage of the M-cycles to prove his point are amateur at best.

  60. Here is a quote from Prof Michael Marmot of UCL about correlations (specifically it was to do with the correlation between smoking and lung cancer):

    What a good scientist does, if he comes up with a correlation is try as hard as she or he possibly can do to disprove it, to break it down, to get rid of it, to try and refute it; and if it withstands all these efforts at demolishing it and it’s still standing up, then cautiously say we might have something

    Now that is precisely not what all those IPCC climate “scientists” such as Hansen have done with the correlation between CO2 and earth’s temperature. That’s why they aren’t good scientists.

  61. I think that most people who review the Vostok ice core data and argue that the increase of temperature is caused or not caused by CO2 miss a very important detail. Rather than fixating on the rise of the temperature, study should be concentrating on the decline into the glacial period. Although the increase of temperature and CO2 have similar derivatives the decrease in temperature is precipitous compared to the slow decline in CO2. IMHO this is the proof that temperature change is independent of CO2 and that CO2 follows temperature. This fact seems to agree with The Monster’s reasoning.

  62. Great information. I wonder though whether slightly snide comments (true though they may be) discourage the segment of the audience you are trying to reach out to. The fact that Louise didn’t continue reading is perhaps a testament to that.

    On the flip side, some people find any excuse not to address facts that contradict their beliefs.

  63. “”””” redneck says:
    January 24, 2011 at 6:13 am
    @ Lief Svalgaard

    Although the insolation during the NH winter is significantly higher is it possible that the lower angle of incidence, due to axial tilt, and the higher albedo, due to snow and ice cover, more than compensate for the higher insolation. “””””

    What Leif said is absolutely true; the total insolation is highest during Northern Winters since earth is closest to the sun then. So the total Watts (rate of energy input) or the total Joules received by the eath in one 24 hour day (I don’t care which type of day you choose), is greatest during Northern Winter.

    BUT !!

    That greater energy input is falling mostly on the Southern hemisphere; not on the Northern hemisphere, because of the axial tilt.

    So Southern Hemisphere summers receive more solar energy, and Southern Hemisphere winters receive less solar energy; because then the sun is further from earth.

    And since the Southern Hemisphere is mostly ocean, which has a low albedo contribution, then I imagine that the earth stores much more solar energy during Northern Winters (Southern Summers) than the other way round.

  64. Leif Svalgaard says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:16 am

    @Herzberg
    So the summer half gets 7.1 more days of solar insolation than the winter half.
    The ‘winter’ [bad word here] insolation is higher because we are closer to the Sun. This is a non-trivial difference. About 100 times larger than the solar cycle variation.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Herzberg’s claim is a rebuttle to Hansen’s claim and which is scoped only in the NH. Perhaps it should be argued that this NH scope is irrelevant to the larger debate but it seems germane here to compare apples with more apples. Given that much of the NH receives no insolation at all in winter it seems the claim by Herzberg has an element of truth. There are more days of summer and there is more NH being warmed during the NH summer.

    If we set limits for comparing NH and SH warming as beginning and ending at the equinoxes, does the NH or SH receive more insolation during the local summer? I’m just trying to get a better understanding of the process, so it may help to ignore surface features and explain what happens to a planet that is featureless can then compare with the Earth which is both feature rich and asymmetric between the NH and SH regarding land area vs ocean area, and ice cap vs frozen land mass (poles).

  65. Nylo says:
    January 24, 2011 at 7:49 am

    First, I am a skeptic, regarding the effect that CO2 may have in our climate, which I think it is probably very little. I am only not a skeptic regarding where the current increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has come from.

    Oceans are a sink when their temperature is too cold for the amount of atmospheric CO2, meaning they tend to absorb CO2. They have been a sink in the past, in periods of cooling, when the change in their temperature made them more capable of absorbing CO2. They have been a source of CO2 too, in the past, in periods of warming, as the Vostok ice cores show, again because of their increasing temperature making them less able to have CO2 dissolved.
    ======================================================

    Ok, I’ll buy that, but what I don’t buy is how you know this process isn’t occurring now. Later, you state, “The oceans’ role as a source or a sink depends mostly on 2 things: the ocean’s temperature and the existing atmospheric concentration of CO2. A “sudden” (in geological terms) increase of the atmospheric CO2 like the one we have caused breaks the balance between the CO2 concentration in the oceans and in the atmosphere, making CO2 go to the ocean. The ocean acts like a sink. IF the CO2 concentration was now 280ppm instead of 390ppm, the oceans would be acting as a source and not as a sink, given the increase of temperatures. But because the atmospheric concentration is so high, even though the oceans are a little bit warmer now, they are still absorbing CO2.”

    I have a problem with this. Your use of the 280ppm number implies you believe that to be the “normal” atmospheric concentration. I don’t believe this has been demonstrated. What of the Ordovician- Silurian and the Jurassic-Cretaceous periods? Were the properties of CO2 and ocean waters different then? And, again, the question still is, where did the CO2 come from?(Some say the concentration was as high as 4000 ppm.) Given your explanation, how would increased atmospheric CO2 be inconsistent with coming out of the LIA? You speak of “geological terms”, but consider events during a 100 year time period as relevant? Isn’t that like saying the average daily temp for the world is 55 degrees and expressing alarm when the days high temp reaches 100?

    Nylo, at the end of the day, I think the explanation you gave is as credible as Hertzberg’s. But both have questions that need to be answered before they should be asserted as factual.(IMHO) But I do thank you for the time you took to give a greater explanation of your perspective.

  66. Nylo says:
    These falsehoods damage the skeptic position much more than whatever any warmist may say. Knowledgeable scientists have become convinced long ago that the source of the current increase of atmospheric CO2 is human, and that oceans are currently a sink for CO2 because of the imbalance of the concentrations created by our emissions. It wasn’t like this in the distant past, when there weren’t human emissions. But it is that way now.

    The argument you are presenting here is, essentially, “This time it’s different”.

    What has NOT happened in the past and is happening now, is the oceans acting like a sink while they are warming.

    Again, “This time it’s different”. And what you are suggesting makes no sense. Just ask any brewer – when a liquid warms, it releases CO2. If you want to claim otherwise (that the oceans are suddenly behaving contrary to established physical law with regard to CO2), then you need to back up your claim.


    Mike says:
    I have a question if someone can answer it: If ice ages are brought on by variations in the earth’s orbit relative to the sun, then shouldn’t they predictable? Shouldn’t we then know – perhaps to the year – when the current interglacial will end? My sense is we don’t know. Why?

    Mike, my sense is that we DO know, although not “to the year”. Given the time scales at which these things happen, an uncertainty of a few hundred years isn’t unreasonable. Looking at the Vostok charts and extrapolating forward, it looks like we’re right about due for the next cooling trend – starting somewhere around a couple hundred years ago to somewhere in the next couple hundred years. Fairly narrow span for a geologic trend.

    Of course, this is just me looking at the charts – maybe someone else can offer a bit more complete of an answer.

  67. @hr says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:55 am

    Well that is really a point of debate. What were the CO2 levels in the past. There are in fact many reasons to think they were in fact similar to today.

    Plant stomata records indicate the high 300’s as a likely figure.

    The idea we can reconstruct with reliability the CO2 levels of the past from ice cores is seriously flawed. The compaction rate of ice fern, (measured in hundreds and thousands of years to closure to the air), the isotopic fractionation issues, the actual depth to age relationships, all have massive error bars associated with them.

    Not to mention using pelagic fauna for CO2 and sea water temp reconstructions. Well, they are pelagic, (free swimming), and tend to move up and down the water column in oceans in response to temperature fluctuations rather than revealing the absolute temperature.

    The stomata records, paper on WUWT somewhere, seem to be much more interesting with regard to CO2 levels in the past.

    That’s not even considering the fact that there is an a actual limit, (even if you take the CO2=warmer hypothesis as “the truth”), of CO2 forcing, the curve for insolation is strongly asymptotic.

    Up to around 250, there is a strong warming from CO2, after 300, it is pretty much all done and the increase in temperature, (though I strongly dispute the positive feedback AGW followers suggest exists), are so fractional as to be meaningless.

    Perhaps I will find the time to submit a post on ice cores, paleoclimate is a special interest of mine :)

    Albert Frankenstein.

  68. The NH ice sheets indicate cooling over the past 6,000 years. That the summers are a few days longer is less significant than the overall trend. The problem with Hansen and the warmists is that they refuse to acknowledge that the Earth does not trend in a linear fashion.

    The last 1,000 years have been the coldest of the past 10,000 years. It takes time for energy to dissipate, but it is doing so. In each of the past interglacials, there was a period of increasing warmth right before the temperature crash. Much like the MWP happened before the LIA. This warming period will also end in a crash, but one stronger than the LIA.

    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2010/11/the-end-of-an-interglacial/

  69. Well it should be possible to construct a theoretical model; even a simplified one; say no relativistic stuff; just plain Newtonian or Keplerian model of earth’s orbit around the sun, using the current values of orbital elements (ellipse focal length and eccentricity) and take some solar cycle average value for the sun’s total emittance (maybe black body equivalent), and then simply calculate total earth intercepted energy for each day of the year. How difficult is it to make a table of 365 or 366 tabulated values; based on some mathematically tractable and simple eliptical orbit. Why doesn’t such a table exist; or be publshed in say books on solar energy for example. I don’t recall that you need elliptic integrals to calculate that sort of thing; and if you do, then all the more reason for someone to make a table. I’m not going to, because there’s a whole raft of mathematicians out there wasting their time doing trend lines and r^2 calculations, who should be more mathematically fleet of foot than I am. And I’m only casually interested in the result; because I think there are bigger fish to fry.

    Does it not seem odd to you, that Ice Core records, such as Vostok, or Dome C, and the other deep ones, apparently record the last 8 or so ice ages, and interglacial periods; but they also document the simple fat that over that entire 400,000-800,000 year time frame, that Antarctic ice melted has NEVER completely melted or slid off into the southern ocean; yet these Glacial Researchers du jour, keep on telling us how high the sea level is going to rise, when something that has never yet happened in the last million years, suddenly happens.

    It seems that we know from the record at Vostok; for example the existence of Vostok Lake, that the bottom of the ice sheet in contact with the ground, must be constantly melting from internal heat from the earth. And that melt water would either pool in lakes like at Vostok, or else it will runoff through river systems, eventually into the Southern Ocean. And this could have been going on for millions of years. I don’t know how long the Geologist Tectonites believe that Antarctica has been roughly where it now is; but that ice sheet could have been there for many millions of years; we are just seeing the last million years or less of what is left after the earlier layers melted and disappeared. I don’t believe that the bottom of the Dome C ice coresw, was deposited on or near bed rock, 800,000 years ago. It probably was deposited on two miles of thick ice, that has long since melted.

    But why do they keep telling us the whole thing is going to slide into the sea; it hasn’t ever happened in any time frame of interest to us; and isn’t going to happen in any time frame of interest to our descendents.

  70. James Sexton says:
    January 24, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Your use of the 280ppm number implies you believe that to be the “normal” atmospheric concentration. I don’t believe this has been demonstrated. What of the Ordovician- Silurian and the Jurassic-Cretaceous periods? Were the properties of CO2 and ocean waters different then? And, again, the question still is, where did the CO2 come from?(Some say the concentration was as high as 4000 ppm.) Given your explanation, how would increased atmospheric CO2 be inconsistent with coming out of the LIA? You speak of “geological terms”, but consider events during a 100 year time period as relevant? Isn’t that like saying the average daily temp for the world is 55 degrees and expressing alarm when the days high temp reaches 100?

    I don’t know what the “normal” CO2 concentration is. I don’t even think that there is any magical number for that. I used 280 because that’s what the PC stablishment claims that it was the CO2 level before industrialization and I think it is plausible. Perhaps it wasn’t 280, perhaps as much as 300. However I do believe in Mauna Loa measurements, so for me it IS certain that in the fifties we were already at 320ppm. And given the trend since then, it makes sense to me that the pre-industrialization level could have been about 280ppm. Anyway, with 280ppm I was referring to the CO2 concentration by the late 19th century.

    Where did the CO2 come from? In the distant past you refer to, CO2 came from the outgassing of the oceans. But those oceans were quite hotter than they are now. And the process to reach those perhaps 4000ppm took quite long too. It took tens of thousands of years to reach those concentrations. The outgassing of the oceans is a sloooooow process, and it takes hundreds of years of steady warming for it to begin to be noticed (according to Vostok ice cores).

    I would believe in an increased atmospheric concentration due to ocean outgassing as a result of warming from the LIA, if we were talking of an increase of, say, 20ppm in total. But not in the magnitude that has been observed. That’s too much for an ocean which has warmed too little.

    In the same way that we doubt that the current warming is solely due to atmospheric CO2, because of an obvious lack of correlation (those periods of cooling like 1945-1975 in spite of steadily increasing CO2), the same argument goes against CO2 having been released by ocean outgassing. If oceans were the main source, shouldn’t we have seen a CO2 reduction between 1945 and 1975 when the oceans were cooling?

    About your last question: we have lots of evidence that a day’s high temp can reach 100F. But we have no evidence, not even a simple indication that the average atmospheric CO2 concentration can increase or has increased in the past by 60% in little more than a century without a huge catastrophe or really big planetary warming causing it. So I don’t thing that this is a good example. And in any case, you mention being alarmed by it, but I have not expressed any sort of alarm. I am certainly not alarmed by the current concentration of atmospheric CO2. I only know that it is mostly the result of the burning of our fosil fuels. That’s all. Given that CO2 is the gas of life, better out than in. It doesn’t make me alarmed or worried, I’m rather pleased by it.

  71. The key to the onset of an Ice Age is the Solar radiation balance above 65N latitude:-

    Onset of Ice Ages:-
    Ice Ages are cyclical in the Earth’s recent (last 30m years) past.
    Original cause:-
    Continental Drift of Antartica over the south pole 40m years ago. Ice pack at first formed over mountainous regions. This caused a positive temperature feedback due to the increased albedo, eventually the entire continent was covered with ice. This permanently reduced the surface temperature of the earth.
    Cyclical Ice Ages – Why?
    Once the surface temperature is lowered, the variability of the Earth’s orbit around the sun which causes a variation in the balance of solar radiation NH/SH summer/winter leads to summers cold enough to allow snow to remain unmelted and to accumulate.
    Prior to the Antarctic moving over the South Pole, this would not happen as the earth’s surface would have been too warm.
    The 3 parameters and periodicity is as follows:-
    Orbital eccentricity varies between 0 (a perfect circle, sun always 93m miles away) and 0.1 ( min 88m miles max 98m miles) , period 100,000 years.
    Axial tilt varies between 22.5 and 24.5 degrees , period 41,000 years.
    Precession of the equinox , period 26,000 years. This parameter determines which month the summer solstice occurs, and impacts on the first 2 variables.
    To start an Ice Age, the above parameters cause a lowering of solar radiation in the NH in summer. Snow does not melt from the previous winter and a positive temperature feedback driven by increased albedo sets in. The Ice marches south. Typically all of Canada, the Northern part of USA all of Scandinavia and most of Northern Europe have permanent Ice sheets. Obviously, Greenland and Antartica remain Ice covered.
    To end an Ice, the opposite to the above. i.e. increased solar radiation in NH summer.
    As Ice ages typically last 10 times longer then the inter-glacials, it seems clear that Ice Ages are easier to start then to end.
    If the conditions are right, a run of cold winters caused by something like a Maunder minimum solar event could be enough to tip the climate into an Ice Age. This might be less than 100 years from interglacial to Ice Age, though of course this is hard to prove.
    Current orbital parameters would sustain an Ice Age, all that is needed (possibly) is a Maunder minimum to push the climate over.
    Something else to ponder, at the moment the Sun has entered a long period of quiet. This is not a Maunder minimum, yet.
    CO2 is also part of this. As the Earth gets colder , the ocean absorbs CO2. In the ice age CO2 drops to 180 PPMV. This acts as a positive feedback to temp, reducing the temp by another 1C.
    So of the total 5C drop , 4C is Ice/Albedo the other 1C is CO2 positive feedback lagging the intial temp drop.

    I would like to JH explain how an Ice Age would end in his model? Surely the small forcing due the ice age starting would always be overwhelmed by the much larger CO2 forcing.

    I just don’t see it.

  72. I don’t know the details of the Milankovitch cycles myself, but I credit this account of Hansen speaking authoritatively about something while only having a superficial understanding.

  73. Leif,
    I think you’re referring to peak to peak (min/max) power TSI at TOA.
    What is the total power to the NH during ‘summer’ versus what what is the total power to the SH during SH ‘summer’ as defined by the equinoxes and by the incoming power along the orbital path for that time.

    The claim is that the extra days make up for some of the power levels.

  74. Vince Causey, explaining why we cannot mark the end of the interglacial on the calendar, said:

    “Part of the problem is that while the last few ice ages have a 100,000 year cycle that corresponds to the cycle of eccentricity, earlier ice ages have a 40,000 year cycle corresponding to obliquity. We don’t know why.”

    Two questions, neither of which I am remotely qualified to answer, and my apologies if the questions are daft:

    Could the evolving arrangement of the continents account for change in duration of glacial periods?

    Can we be quite certain that that our distance from the Sun, or the eccentricity and obliquity of Earth’s orbit, did not change, perhaps because of some large body passing our system?

    Again, apologies if the questions are crass, but for some reason Vince’s remarks raised the hairs on the back of my neck.

  75. It is encouraging that Dr. James “Thumbs On The Temperature Scales” Hansen acknowledges the work of Milankovich. Perhaps in the not-to-distant future TOTTS Hansen will also acknowledge Landscheidt’s Impulse Of the Torque (IOT) and oscillating transferrence of angular momentum and spin orbit coupling between the Sun and planets, which totally explains the oscillating climates on these bodies. To not acknowledge these titanic forces and spend all your time analyzing a trace gas as the driver of climate is ignoring the elephant in the room to the exclusion of the flea on the elephant’s ass.

  76. As the saying goes:

    “If all you have in your hand head is a hammer messiah complex, then everything looks like a nail positive forcing”.

  77. John Day says:
    January 24, 2011 at 3:50 am

    “The seasonal difference in solar irradiation is about 100 watts per square meter, much larger than the CO2 and other GHG “forcings” that we read about. So the more time spent at the lower insolation means more climate cooling effects. Right?”

    But, that difference is mostly due to lower projected surface area due to tilt, not due to the extra distance. The distance to the Sun is about 150 million km. The radius of the Earth is 6378 km. Multiply that by the sine of the obliquity and, noting that irradiance decreases as 1/r^2, the reduction in isolation at the North Pole during winter is 0.0034%. But, the reduction in exposed surface area is something like 8%.

    oMan says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:24 am

    See above.

    hr says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:55 am

    “I suspect most well-informed people, including sceptical climate scientists, would prefer the latter explanation.”

    Who cares what they might or might not prefer? What are the reasons to prefer it?

    Nylo says:
    January 24, 2011 at 5:14 am

    “Knowledgeable scientists have become convinced long ago that the source of the current increase of atmospheric CO2 is human, and that oceans are currently a sink for CO2 because of the imbalance of the concentrations created by our emissions.”

    A little knowledge is often dangerous.

    “It wasn’t like this in the distant past, when there weren’t human emissions.”

    We do not know that. We only have open ended experimental ice core data which cannot be verified.

  78. Check my math but with the earth slowing its rotation at a rate of 2.2 seconds per year and the moon’s orbit expanding at a rate of 3.8 cm per year, in a wink of the eye in geologic time frames, a mere 100mm years, the moon has moved 1% of its present orbital distance further from the earth 3,800 of 385,000km and the days are now 36 minutes longer than they were when the dinosaurs roamed the planet. Wonder what effects these variables had upon the, volcanism, tides, weather, CO2 etc. back then compared to now? Assuming, of course, constant rates of change, which I doubt. Multiply these by 3 for the beginning of the dinosaur period. So many variables, so little understanding of all of the complex interactions.

  79. Hertzberg say “What Hansen fails to realize is that when we are further from the Sun in NH summer we move more slowly in orbit, and are therefore exposed to the summer sun for a longer period of time.

    From the graphs in the web-site http://individual.utoronto.ca/kalendis/seasons.htm , one can calculate that in 2010 the NH summer half of the earth’s orbit from the Spring Equinox to the fall Equinox lasts 186.1 days. The NH winter half of the orbit lasts 179.0 days. So the summer half gets 7.1 more days of solar insolation than the winter half. (Go to your calendar and count!)”

    Rebuttal from Bob Maginnis
    OK, then 186.1 / 179 = a ratio of 1.0396 to 1, but using the summer and winter distances from the Sun and knowing that radiation will be the inverse square of the distance, then:
    152,097,053 km / 147,093,602 = 1.0399 to one, BUT, we must square that to get a ratio of 1.081, compared to a ratio of days at 1.0399, so Dr. Hertzberg wouldn’t have gotten his doctorate with such sloppy thinking. BTW, I only calculated for the solstice or near solstices, but Hertzberg still flunks physics.

  80. “But, the reduction in exposed surface area is something like 8%.”

    Should have said: But, the reduction in exposed surface area in the Northern Hemisphere is something like 8%. I just calculated that as (1-cos(obliquity))*100%. To get the actual number, you would have to integrate over the exposed surface area of the hemisphere. It’s probably in the neighborhood of 8% or, at any rate, much greater than 0.0034%.

  81. What Hansen fails to realize is that when we are further from the Sun in NH summer we move more slowly in orbit, and are therefore exposed to the summer sun for a longer period of time.

    …………………………………………………..

    This is an excellent point. However, it does cast some doubt over the entire Milankovitch theory per se, since it would imply that contrasts in insolation between the seasons at times when the Earth’s orbit has a high eccentricity would be lower, and therefore less likely to force transitions to and from glacial and inter-glacial periods.

    My own take is that rapid (in geological terms) transitions between solar insolation maxima and minima at high latitudes is the crucial element :

    For example, daily insolation anomaly values at 60N peaked at +120 during the last interglacial (125K yrs BP), but fell to -80 just 10K years later, before rising to +100 at c.105K years BP.

    During this time, the climate appeared to “flip” between inter-glacial to glacial and back to inter-stadial again.

    Between 85K BP and 70K BP there was another rapid transition from +80 to -40 which, possibly combined with the huge volcanic eruption of Toba (c.74K BP) coincided with a transition to glacial conditions which persisted until :

    Another rapid transition from -20 during the last glacial maximum (23K BP) to +80 at 10K BP “happened to coincide” with the end of the last glaciation and the beginning of the current inter-glacial period.

    Feedback mechanisms associated with the building (disintegration) of continental ice-sheets and falling (rising) of sea-levels also play a crucial role, IMO.

    The building of continental ice sheets profoundly changes the topography of the NH, perhaps to a similar extent that the formation of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau did, – before which there is little geological evidence for ice sheet formation in the Northern Hemisphere. Consider the effect that raising the Canadian Shield to 10,000 feet above sea level would have on today’s climate………..

    A sea-level fall (rise) of 150m is, in itself, enough to cause land temperatures to fall (rise) by 1C – a considerable amount. You also have to consider the possible feedback effects of, for example, the building of the Bering Strait land bridge, which sealed the Arctic Ocean off from the influence of the Pacific. Potentially at least, that one event could have had huge implications.

    Could GCM’s not be used usefully to try and quantify the effects of these processes?

  82. Dr. Martin Hertzberg critiques the final paragraph on p.11 of Hanson’s paper that refers to the fact that the Earth should favor a cooling trend because it is now closest to the sun in January, which favors warm winters and cool summers in the Northern Hemisphere. He claims that-
    “Those statements are typical of the misunderstanding in the popular literature of the Milankovic cycles.”
    Perhaps they are, they are certainly an incomplete description of the ‘standard model’ of the Milankovic cycles. At best they are a short-hand reference to the full theory which is shared knowledge within the scientific community even if the popular literature fails to understand it.

    Short warm summers and long cool winters in the Northern hemisphere are observed to coincide with the warming from glacial to interstadial conditions.
    Ice-age cooling is observed when the Northern hemisphere has long cool summers and short warm winters.
    There are plentiful theories about the physical mechanisms that lead to this result grounded in the disposition of land in the Northern hemisphere.

    While there may be misunderstanding in the popular literature I doubt that it is shared by Hanson. It seems unlikely that he is unaware of the fact that when eccentricity maximizes the variation in distance it also increases the difference in solstice length.
    The observational data however clearly indicates that warming occurs when the closest approach is in the N hemisphere summer, and cooling when it is closest in January.

    Pointing out that the eccentricity makes a difference to the ratio of the summer/winter solstice length may have cleared up a popular misunderstanding, but it does nothing to refute Hanson’s accurate, if brief, summary of the Milankovitch effect that is that it is the time of perihelion during the season cycle that matches the cooling and warming periods. The solstice length is inherent in that.

    It could be restated that there is warming when N hemisphere summers are short, and cooling when N hemisphere winters are short. But that seems more confusing because it omits what is clearly the key factor, the intensity of insolation during a certain season, not its duration.

  83. “Multiply that by the sine of the obliquity and, noting that irradiance decreases as 1/r^2, the reduction in isolation at the North Pole during winter is 0.0034%.”

    Or, would be, if the North Pole were in daylight. So, there is greater reduction due to shadowing, but that is part and parcel of the reduced area argument, and not significantly a result of increasing distance from the Sun.

  84. Planets orbit the sun tracing out an ellipse with the sun at one focus of the ellipse, the line connecting the planet and the sun sweeps out an equal area of the ellipse in equal time.
    Planets therefore vary in their orbital velocity and spend more time around the second focus (away from the sun) and less time around the first focus (closer to the sun). This is Kepler’s 2nd Law of Planetary Motion

  85. The polar ice-core data indicates that CO2 levels follow temperature changes.
    CO2ppm hvae varied between ~200ppm during cold periods to 300ppm when it warms. The CO2 level follows temperature up AND down with a lag.
    This ~100ppm change in |CO2 levels flows a temperature change of ~8degC

    The physical chemistry of CO2 solubility in sea water is complex, but it is within human knowledge to calculate the amount of CO2 which will be dissolved or released for a given temperature change or partial pressure of CO2.
    Whatever figures you take for sea surface temperature rise, and how ever much of Tenbreth’s missing heat you put into the deep ocean to warm it and reduce the solubility since the LIA you can’t get to here from there
    The rise in temperature isn’t enough to account for an increase of around another 100ppm when it takes ~8degC to do it during ice-age transitions.

    But the increase in CO2 levels works against the release of CO2 from oceans as they warm. The effect of increasing the partial pressure of CO2 is greater than the effect of warming the oceans.
    After all when they are putting the CO2 into the bottle of soda they put more effort into increasing the pressure of CO2 than in cooling the soda.
    And some may have noticed that if the bottle is at room temperature the bubbles don’t appear until after the pressure is released.
    Works with beer too…

  86. izen says:
    January 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    “Whatever figures you take for sea surface temperature rise, and how ever much of Tenbreth’s missing heat you put into the deep ocean to warm it and reduce the solubility since the LIA I do not understand the mechanism by which you can get to here from where I assume it was. And, if I do not understand it under my assumptions which are non-negotiable, then it cannot be, quod erat demonstrandum.”

    Fixed that for you.

  87. George E. Smith says:
    January 24, 2011 at 10:49 am
    Well it should be possible to construct a theoretical model; even a simplified one; say no relativistic stuff; just plain Newtonian or Keplerian model of earth’s orbit around the sun, using the current values of orbital elements (ellipse focal length and eccentricity) and take some solar cycle average value for the sun’s total emittance (maybe black body equivalent), and then simply calculate total earth intercepted energy for each day of the year.

    I wrote a simple Newtonian simulation model of the solar system a couple of years back (it got briefly wheeled into battle on these threads during the “barycentre” affair). I used NASA data to initialise the planets. And I set up a spinning earth too, complete with a map of the continents.

    It’s not very accurate and has a number of bugs that need fixing, but I occasionally think of dusting it off and developing it further in a variety of ways. One of those has been to take a look at Milankovich cycles.

    Unfortunately it’s too slow and inaccurate to be able to leave just leave it running for 100,000 simulated Earth years. And anyway I don’t understand how to model variations in the Earth’s axial tilt and obliquity and precession (t, o, p).

    But… thinking about it today, it seemed to me that if I could find out how all these things (t, o, p) varied I could run the simulation for one Earth year with the requisite values of t, o, and p at 1000 year intervals. And I could use my tilted spinning earth to total up incident solar radiation over a range of latitudes.

    But what would I find, and what would it tell me? I suspect that I’d come up with some small cyclic variations in surface heat gains which would be Milankovich-like. How would those variations translate into glacial and interglacial periods? Or would I have to build a simple climate model as well? My understanding is the forcings due to these variations are pretty small, and as yet don’t fully explain glaciations.

  88. “…what causes the next Glacial Cooling? How can it possibly begin when the CO2 concentration, their “strong” forcing, is at its maximum? How can the “weak” Milankovitch cooling effect possibly overcome that “strong” forcing of the greenhouse effect heating when the CO2 concentration is still at its maximum value at the peak of the Interglacial Warming?”

    I absolutely love this question, it hits the nail right on the head.

    Unfortunately I don’t think we’re ever going to get an answer to that impertinent query until a large percentage of the scientists out there grow a pair of kajones, step outside of the dogmatic consensus, speak out, start asking the important questions, and thus encouraging true unbiased scientific research.

  89. @-Bart says:
    January 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm
    ” And, if I do not understand it under my assumptions which are non-negotiable, then it cannot be, quod erat demonstrandum.”
    …Fixed that for you.”

    Actually my assumptions ARE negotiable.
    All it needs is evidence rather than latin tags.
    Got any evidence for a mechanism to release as much CO2 from the oceans in the last century as it took 8degC and ~1500 years of warming from the ice-age?

  90. Bob Maginnis says:
    January 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    “Rebuttal from Bob Maginnis
    OK, then 186.1 / 179 = a ratio of 1.0396 to 1, but using the summer and winter distances from the Sun and knowing that radiation will be the inverse square of the distance, then: 152,097,053 km / 147,093,602 = 1.0399 to one, BUT, we must square that to get a ratio of 1.081, compared to a ratio of days at 1.0399…”

    That is the wrong calculation. You need to integrate something proportional to 1/r^2 over each half of the orbit, such as:

    P = integral(dt/r^2)

    For a Keplerian orbit, dP = dtheta/(thetadot*r^2) = dtheta/h

    where theta is the orbit angle (true anomaly) and h is the orbit momentum. Hence, integrating over the two halves of the orbit gives you pi/h, i.e., the ratios are 1:1. So, both you and Hertzberg are wrong. But, so is Hansen.

    izen says:
    January 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    “Got any evidence for a mechanism to release as much CO2 from the oceans in the last century as it took 8degC and ~1500 years of warming from the ice-age?”

    Firstly, you have already assumed you have an incontrovertible record for what happened with CO2 over the last 1500 years. I maintain that you do not. Secondly, the onus is not on me to prove that your hypothesis is wrong, it is for you to prove it is right.

  91. Dr. Martin Hertzberg.
    Thankyou for your post.

    “Pray tell us then, we slayers of the Sky Dragon ask, what causes the next Glacial Cooling? How can it possibly begin when the CO2 concentration, their “strong” forcing, is at its maximum? How can the “weak” Milankovitch cooling effect possibly overcome that “strong” forcing of the greenhouse effect heating when the CO2 concentration is still at its maximum value at the peak of the Interglacial Warming”

    Warmists claim the greenhouse forcing is dependent on the amount of radiation heating CO2. Milankovitch cooling happens because of radiation reduction. I would have thought this reduction would result in a pretty instantaneous reduction in greenhouse forcing. I’m not a climatologist, so I would be quite happy for you to enlighten me if the answer is more complicated.

  92. @-Bart says:
    “Firstly, you have already assumed you have an incontrovertible record for what happened with CO2 over the last 1500 years.”

    I don’t consider the record, direct from ice-cores and indirect from geochemistry, is incontrovertible.
    I am not aware of any strong evidence that calls that data into question. If you have a reason for dismissing the confluence of evidence for the record we have perhaps you can present it. (please don’t cite Beck!)
    And I doubt the basics of physical chemistry that govern the solubility of gases has altered.

    “Secondly, the onus is not on me to prove that your hypothesis is wrong, it is for you to prove it is right.”

    Proof is for maths and liquor.
    I have a hypothesis that is falsifiable, although I have yet to see any evidence that refutes it.
    I can present evidence that supports it.
    A lack of an alternative falsifiable hypothesis does not confer upon you the ability to reject mine.

    A strong alternative or even evidence that falsifies mine does.
    Not word games with provability.

  93. I’ve been ferreting around to get to the root of the hissy fit that drove Hansen from astrophysics into GISS-tampering. What is really going on on Venus, and what deluded Hansen that it was a runaway greenhouse effect transferable to Earth alarms? I haven’t got the evidence quite from the horse’s mouth (so far), but I’ve got second and third best, a reference in New Scientist 1980, and a reasonable account of evidence involving Venus being doctored because it does not fit with scientists’ pre-conceived ideas. Here’s NS 1980:

    Two years surveillance by the Pioneer Venus orbiter seems to show that Venus is radiating away more energy than it receives from the sun. If this surprising result is confirmed, it means that the planet itself is producing far more heat than the earth does.

    F.W. Taylor of the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford presented these measurements at a Royal Society meeting last week. Venus surface temperature is higher than any other in the solar system, at 480 degC. The generally accepted theory is that sunlight is absorbed at Venus’ surface, and re-radiated as infrared. The later is absorbed in the atmosphere, which thus acts as a blanket, keeping the planet hot. It is similar to the way a greenhouse keeps warm.

    Pioneer has shown that there is enough carbon dioxide and the tiny proportion of water vapor needed to make the greenhouse effect work — just. If this is the whole story, the total amount of radiation emitted back into space, after its journey up through the atmospheric blanket must be exactly equal to that absorbed from sunlight (otherwise the surface temperature would be continuously changing).

    But Taylor found that Venus radiates 15 percent more energy than it receives. To keep the surface temperature constant, Venus must be producing this extra heat from within.

    All the inner planets, including earth, produce internal heat from radioactive elements within their rocks. But Taylor’s observations of Venus would mean that the planet is producing almost 10,000 times more heat than the earth, and it is inconceivable according to present theories of planetary formation, that Venus should have thousands of times more of the radioactive elements than Earth does. At last weeks meeting, Taylor’s suggestion met with skepticism – not to say sheer disbelief – from other planetary scientists.

    Taylor himself has no explanation for his result. He simply points out that the discrepancy seemed at first to be simply experimental error – but with more precise measurements, it refused to go away. More measurements are needed before astronomers accept the result, and most planetary scientists are obviously expecting – and hoping – that the embarrassing extra heat will disappear on further investigation.

    Astronomers now claim that Venus is “within error bounds of thermal equilibrium” and cite the noted astronomer Tomasko as a source…

    Problem for NS was that as recently as April that year, they had an op-ed mocking those [Velikovskians] who predicted a hot Venus… Read this explanation – not a website I like unreservedly but that piece seems ok.

    So… Venus is radiating heat. The inescapable (heh, “unequivocal”) logic of that is that Venus has a hot core, which is likely to be causing most of its high temperature, thus relegating CO2 to a minor additional effect. But, but, but, mainstream Science does not want to admit this concession to Velikovskian nutcases. So it cuts off its toes to “fit” the evidence.

    I’d heard rumours of Venus emitting heat, also claims by anti-electric-universers that the EU lot were flat out wrong about Venus. But my New Scientist piece clearly backs up the rumour, and the other reference explains how and why the evidence has been fudged. Ha, so Hansen came to GISS already understanding about data fudging.

  94. Alan McIntire
    Thank you for the maths. I wish more policy were made using it.

    “So about 1000 times as much heat went into melting the glaciers at the end of the Pleistocene as went into heating the atmosphere, implying CO2 had only a negligible effect”

    We should be grateful that 1000 times more heat is being used to melt the arctic ice than its atmosphere. Latent heat used to melt the ice seems to be acting as a brilliant buffer against the warming of the arctic sea and arctic air. I only worry about what will happen when this buffer melts. All that heating will have to go somewhere. Are my worries justified. Everything seems so gloom and doom!

  95. The Monster says: January 24, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I have attempted to engage Believers on the issue of the historical lag between temperature and CO2… The only thing I’ve heard back is a dismissive “you need to be more familiar with the literature; this is old stuff that’s already been dealt with.” But then they don’t actually deal with it… No one has ever answered the question satisfactorily.

    Check my piece (click my name) because I discuss this issue. Nobody has any evidence for the claim that historically CO2 follows temp rise but then amplifies it. It’s sheer bluster.

    Edim and Albert Frankenstein, I’m a great fan of Jaworowski’s analysis of ice core problems (many reasons that ice CO2 could measure too low). Have a look at my introduction & transcription.

  96. izen says:
    January 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    “And I doubt the basics of physical chemistry that govern the solubility of gases has altered.”

    That is the sort of statement which tells me your mind is closed. You don’t really care how CO2 is fixated in the ice or how it diffuses over time, effectively low pass filtering the data and eliminating sharp peaks or rapid cycles. Somebody told you it was a reliable measurement, and you believed them. To the depths you have plumbed, the explanation is consistent with simple models which you can understand so, end of discussion.

    The epochal evolution and regulatory systems of the Earth are not simple, and if you think a simple argument or lab experiment proves your point, then you are evading reality.

    “Proof is for maths and liquor.”

    So saith the Shepard, so saith the Flock! Burn the witches and torch their houses. Who can wait for proof when we have fear to guide us?

    If you want my take on the topic and why I believe the evidence is distinctly lacking, you can read through the thread here.

  97. And, when I say “read through the thread”, I mean read the article, and look for places where I have made comments beneath it.

  98. Thanks Jeremy@January 24, 2011 at 8:45 am for supplying a link to Milankovitch forcing at 65 degrees north – apparently the latitude that the forcing corresponds most closely with the beginnings and endings of ice ages. However, the graph shows exactly the same information as the Wikipedia one – that there has been a steady decline in the Milankovitch forcing since the start of the current interglacial. And there has been a steady decline (with bumps) in temperature over the same period. Hansen says exactly this, and gets taken to task for not understanding stuff. Anyway, it would be pointless to go on about this, other than to ask Hertzberg to provide his calculation of orbital forcings over the last 10,000 years.

    We appear to be at the start of a gentle increase in orbital (Milankovitch) forcing.

    BTW, for those of you wanting to calculate the orbital forcings from first principals, I’m pretty sure its already been done. How else could Hertzberg know that Hansen is wrong?

    The general denigration of Hansen is ridiculously over the top. There is an advertisement currently showing in Australia which starts by saying something like, “Sean of Sydney writes, ‘My gran could bowl Shane Watson'”. The scene then moves to a cricket oval with Sean’s gran bowling to Shane Watson, who proceeds to clobber the ball for six. The commentary then says, “Perhaps you meant your other gran, Sean”. The typical criticism of Hansen in this blog is rather similar to Sean of Sydney’s criticism of Watson.

    And thanks Bart for your excellent comments, particularly the one at January 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm.

  99. Bart says:
    January 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Bob Maginnis says:
    January 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    On this, in case I do not have a chance to return, when I say “half”, I really mean “equinox to equinox”. And, when I say “You need to integrate … over each half of the orbit”, I mean of the part of the orbit between equinoxes centered at Earth aphelion, and then at perihelion.

  100. Lucy,

    That’s interesting reading about Venus. It is not at all surprising to me. The only astronomer who would be slow to consider this result wold be those who have a stake in not looking the fool. Any real scientist would be excited by the new understanding to be gained about planetary formation.

  101. Here are two stupid questions:
    How many poles has the earth?
    Does the answer effect any of the analysis on this post?

  102. If you want actual computations of the insolation over time and latitude, Peter Huyber’s web site at eps.harvard.edu has them. Be aware that nobody has ever been able to produce a quantitative explanation glacial-interglacial climate change by using orbital forcing alone – or even come close. There are a number of reasons – the magnitude is too large, the change is (to zero order) symmetric in both hemispheres, the 23 and 41 kyr orbital forcings are greater than the 100 kyr forcing, but the 100 kyr period dominates the last million years, etc. The work that does the best job of simulating both the onset and end of ice ages includes orbital forcing, CO2 feedbacks, and ice sheet dynamics. In direct contradiction to the claim in the original post, climate models can indeed produce glaciation at 280 pm CO2 (the “warm” interglacial value), triggered by insolation variations but amplified by ice sheet, CO2 and albedo feedbacks. There is simply no basis for the statement about “everlasting glacial warming”. The author is presumably not familiar with the literature, otherwise he’d never say something so far off base.

  103. Here is the crucial mistake in Dr. Martin Hertzberg’s post – “Exposure time in this case is more significant that daily insolation caused by our further distance during the NH summer”.

    This is incorrect. A basic understanding of the Milankovitch cycle concerned, together with some fairly simple maths involving Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, would tell you that total annual solar insolation is not effected – distance from the sun and the length of the seasons effectively cancel each other out.

    So when Dr. Hertzberg says “…the summer half gets 7.1 more days of solar insolation than the winter half…”. – “daily insolation caused by our further distance during the NH summer” cancels out this effect. Total annual solar energy received by the earth is NOT effected. The whole point is how this solar energy is DISTRIBUTED throughout the year/seasons.

    This is fairly basic stuff. It betrays either a complete lack of understanding or willful distortion. Was this article peer reviewed by experts in the field before publication on this site? I think not. Dr Hertzberg is completely and utterly wrong. I find it quite depressing that this has been published as fact and then uncritically praised by readers in the above comments. Although as Louise hints at in an earlier comment, the opening couple of paragraphs of the post should have warned me that this was nothing more than a anti scientific rant.

  104. Regarding the first part of this piece, see Tamino’s rebuttal.

    Regarding the CO2-lags-temperatures argument: Do we really have to go through the “blanket” analogy again? CO2 is not a source of incoming energy – it merely reduces the rate at which energy escapes to space, shifting the equilibrium, but not annihilating long cycles.

    Imagine that you have a heater that works for a few days, then stops working for a few days, then works again, etc. Putting a huge blanket over you and the heater will definitely make you warmer during the times the heater is working (that is, warmer than you would have been with just the heater and no blanket). Try it!

    However, when the heater breaks down, the blanket will allow you to remain warm a little bit longer, but in the end the heat will still escape away, and you will end up just as cold as you would have been without the blanket.

    So a “heat retainer” will increase the warmth from incoming energy, but will not create energy out of nothing when your energy source goes down. Is it really so controversial?

  105. Tamino is correct. But we must add in the final piece of the puzzle, obliquity. Interglacials only begin when NH summers are approaching perihelion, earth’s orbit is more elliptical AND obliquity is approaching it’s maximum tilt. Because the periods of these cycles are not equal interglacials do not happen unless all three favorable conditions are present.

  106. This Dunning-Kruger effect is very interesting:

    Kruger and Dunning proposed that, for a given skill, incompetent people will:

    1. tend to overestimate their own level of skill;
    2. fail to recognize genuine skill in others;
    3. fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy;
    4. recognize and acknowledge their own previous lack of skill, if they can be trained to substantially improve.

    Roughly translated into climate science, most untrained skeptics:

    1. Think they understand it
    2. Think that Hansen at al are grossly incompetent
    3. Don’t realise just how little they actually understand
    4. Well, we don’t usually get to 4, because that would involve learning.

    Now here is the really interesting bit. The Dunning-Kruger effect has been tested in the US, with students at Columbia University, and at least for that group it turned out that the effect was very real. Students in the bottom 12% of ablility tended to rate themselves as being in the top 40%. Students at the top end of ability tended to underrate their ability. But the effect is not as strong in Europe, and doesn’t appear to hold in East Asia.

    So the country with the highest rate of climate change skeptics is the country where incompetent people are more likely to suffer the delusion that they are competent. Hmmmm.

  107. John Brookes says:
    January 25, 2011 at 5:45 am
    “The Dunning-Kruger effect has been tested in the US, with students at Columbia University… So the country with the highest rate of climate change skeptics is the country where incompetent people are more likely to suffer the delusion that they are competent. Hmmmm.”

    You are apparently unaware of Columbia University’s reputation of a grandiose nest of liberals. Perhaps the correlation should read “the university with the highest rate of liberal students is the university where incompetent people are more likely to suffer the delusion that they are competent”. Prime example: President Obama.

  108. Obviously it’s not foolproof – but my little book of skepticism says that if someone is flaunting their academic credentials on a subject outside their area of competency – ie Dr Martin Hertzberg – then it’s time to put my extra woolly skeptic hat and ear-muffs on.

  109. What’s so great about Tamino’s post? He just stole my analysis from January 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm. (OK, OK, it was most likely done by someone else before I came along, but it is Tamino, after all, so you never know). Besides, when he says this:

    “Then midsummer day won’t be as warm as it would otherwise — so you can expect less ice melting.”

    he fails to take account of heat dynamics, and the fact that the time that the heat is applied can matter as much as its intensity. Which gets hotter, a kettle of tea kept at medium temperature for 10 minutes, or one kept at high heat for 10 seconds?

  110. John Brookes says:
    January 25, 2011 at 5:45 am

    John, that’s a double edged sword. From my perspective, it’s the climate scientists whose field of study is at an infant stage, and who overestimate their understanding of a very complex system.

  111. Bart said… “John, that’s a double edged sword. From my perspective, it’s the climate scientists whose field of study is at an infant stage, and who overestimate their understanding of a very complex system.”

    Somehow I don’t think that 150 years of science qualifies as a field of study at an infant stage. Don’t forget much of the physics of atmospheric radiation was worked out by the US military in the 1950’s for work on heat seeking missiles.

  112. On ice ages… I understand that prior to a couple of million or so years ago there were no ice ages. The planet was warmer and then dropped into the ice age cycle. Is this true? If so, what changed to drop us into the series of ice ages this planet has been experiencing since then?

    Was it some change in the configuration of land masses? Something else? Or is this just another unknown?

    On CO2 and out-gassing…

    I think I’m in the camp that says there is too much CO2 in the atmosphere to be accounted for by ocean out-gassing. So how about someone explain this to me a bit further?

    If I take a closed system with:
    * a quantity of salt water with a known CO2 concentration, and..
    * a volume of air, also with a known CO2 concentration, and…
    * both air and liquid are at a known temp…

    I assume that there is an equilibrium point where the water in/out gasses CO2 to the point where there is no longer a change in the CO2 concentration of air or water. (I understand that there is still gas exchange going on.)

    What does artificially changing the CO2 concentration of the air portion do to the equilibrium? Does it increase the CO2 in the liquid? Does the system reach an equilibrium with the airborne CO2 being at a higher level than before injection?

    Back to the initial conditions, What does changing the temperature of the water do? I expect that it will outgas some CO2, changing the equilibrium point.

    If the temperature of the water is increased AND the CO2 in the air is increased (both by exactly known amounts) what does this do to the equilibrium point?

    I think that if the average temperature if the liquid is increased by a small amount and the CO2 of the air portion is increased by a, relatively, larger amount, then the water will absorb CO2. Is this correct?

    Now, since people have brought up beer… how does the above change if the liquid is beer (or soda, for those of us who don’t drink beer?)

    Thanks

    Greg

  113. Apologies if some of the above had already been answered (and I just saw an ice age comment.) I had only read through about half the comments when I wrote that.

  114. Rob Honeycutt says:
    January 25, 2011 at 9:18 am

    “Somehow I don’t think that 150 years of science qualifies as a field of study at an infant stage. Don’t forget much of the physics of atmospheric radiation was worked out by the US military in the 1950′s for work on heat seeking missiles.”

    The physics of atmospheric radiation is merely a subtopic within the field. The big questions have to do with feedback dynamics, system identification and observability, and evolution of systems governed by causal differential equations. These topics have been studied in great depth in the last century, but the most prominent climate scientists have little apparent familiarity with them.

  115. Which is longer, a piece of string, or a piece of rope? Are you serious Bart?

    Total solar insolation is NOT effected, it’s distribution throughout the seasons IS.

    You seem to have an apparent familiarity with a sense of your own self importance. Maybe you would like to submit a paper regarding your expert knowledge to a prominent scientific journal for peer review?

  116. Bart says:
    January 25, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Other food for thought: The Keplerian approximation is just that, an approximation in which the Earth is the only orbiting body and the Sun remains perfectly still. The Sun itself orbits the solar system barycenter, and the other planets perturb the Earth’s orbit as well. The magnetic field of the Sun is complex and undulating, and this could have implications for the incidence of cosmic radiation and cloud formation. And, of course, the Sun’s output varies, too, while the obliquity of the Earth with respect to the ecliptic, and the orientation of the ecliptic with respect to the galactic plane, also vary. There are a host of secondary processes which can also influence the Earth’s climate significantly. So, a statement of the form “For example, Earth is now closest to the sun in January, which favors warm winters and cool summers in the Northern Hemisphere” needs, at least, to be qualified to the effect of “all other processes being equal”, which they are not.

    This is symptomatic of the infancy I have spoken of. All of the models are first order, often unverifiable hypotheses of how the system might work in a simple universe. It’s all spherical cows.

  117. Quentin says:
    January 25, 2011 at 10:51 am

    “Which is longer, a piece of string, or a piece of rope? Are you serious Bart?”

    It depends on which is longer. I think the kettle analogy is rather more transparent, as most of us have at least a vague sense for the thermal time constants of liquids we typically heat on the stove.

    “Total solar insolation is NOT effected, it’s distribution throughout the seasons IS.”

    Or even affected. Yeah, I derived that result before Tamino, Sparky, at January 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm above. But, what you do not seem to grok is that the energy retained by the Earth is affected by that “distribution throughout the seasons”.

    “You seem to have an apparent familiarity with a sense of your own self importance. Maybe you would like to submit a paper regarding your expert knowledge to a prominent scientific journal for peer review?”

    Been there, done that. Not in climate science specifically, mind, but in something rather more rigorous and mature, and sorely needing to be applied in that field.

  118. And, on the subject of heat retention, it is apparent that, if the dominate thermal time constant, call it “tau”, of the Earth is such that tau*omega, where omega is the orbital rate of 2*pi rad/year, is significantly less than one, then the longer duration summer at aphelion will result in greater heat retention, and hence higher temperatures, than the shorter summer at perihelion.

    Hence, I think it is likely that Hertzberg is right that it is the duration which matters more than the distance, and Hansen and (shockingly – well, maybe not so much) Tamino are wrong.

  119. While I knew about the proximity of earth to sun in the Winter (NH), I never counted the days to figure out if there were more days in the summer!

    I’ll take the more days! But it is things like that, while obvious to some such as Dr. Hertzberg, that come as enlightening moments to the less observant of us. Thanks!

  120. Of course, you can reject current best understanding, with all it’s inherent uncertainties, that are fully acknowledged by the scientific community; by invoking a whole series of physical processes that I am sure have never occurred to scientists when they make their calculations. You can ridicule the models with your mocking use of the term “spherical cows”. You can continue to dismiss the infantile scientists with your reasonable sounding intellectual maturity.

    But what are you really trying to achieve ? Are you trying to achieve a better understanding? Are you trying to further the scientific endeavor?

    Or are you just colluding in the great doubt sowing endeavor?

  121. @-Bart

    Thank you for the link to the previous thread on ice-cores -v- plant stomata. I congratulate you on being prepared to present the exchanges that you had with a refreshing lack of bashfulness.
    I would agree with much if not most of what was posted by Joel and especially Ferdinand. If he could not present arguments that would cause you to question your position I doubt I (or anything) can.

    Two points I would make.
    1) The evidence from plant stomata is an extremely poor proxy of global CO2 levels.
    It isn’t even a good proxy of local CO2 levels. Even if you select plants with a good correlation between CO2 and stomata in controlled conditions, the microsite and phenotype variation between plant clones in response to other factors is usually comparable to the CO2 signal. The argument that plants have evolved genetic mechanism to respond to CO2 variations, and therefore it must (have) occurred is mistaken, most plant variation is epigenetic and is a non-specific adaption mechanism at this level of response.
    2) the stability of the CO2 level in the past is indicated by the stability of the C14 dating correction curve over the last few thousand years. The rise since 1890 has required a correction to C14 dating because the amount of C14 created by cosmic rays from Nitrogen is effectively constant in relation to the large change in the C12 and C13 amounts added to the total reservoir. While small correction have to be made for past variations in C14 production rates due to solar/cosmic ray variation, no similar correction is required for changes in the CO2 reservoir to over 320ppm in the timescale of C14 dating.

    Finally, the thread essay author, David Middleton, mentions that the WAIS divide ice core project may provide better temporal resolution over the last few millenia because it is a fast accumulating ice field. There are preliminary results from that source which gives another data-point in the evidence for or against large (+30ppm) variations in past CO2 levels over the Holocene. They claim a resolution of ~20 years over the last 1000 years. They detect variations over that timescale in the CO2 level (if the migration of gases within the ice bubbles incorporated air from more than a 20yr period there would be no variation over that increment).
    The variation is of the order of ~10ppm over the preindustrial era. They mention the largest variation, a fall, they observe… LIA?

    Geophysical Research Abstracts,
    Vol. 11, EGU2009-10845, 2009
    EGU General Assembly 2009
    © Author(s) 2009
    Atmospheric CO2 Over the Last 1000 Years: WAIS Divide Ice Core
    Record
    J. Ahn and E.J. Brook

    “The most striking feature of the record is a rapid atmospheric CO2 decrease of 7∼8 ppm within ∼20 years at ∼ 1600 A.D.”

  122. Quentin says:

    “But what are you really trying to achieve ? Are you trying to achieve a better understanding? Are you trying to further the scientific endeavor?”

    How about: ‘Pointing out that CAGW is pseudo-science’?

    Take away the grant money and the climate scare will fall by the wayside. Word.

  123. Bart says:
    January 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    “Hence, I think it is likely that Hertzberg is right that it is the duration which matters more than the distance, and Hansen and (shockingly – well, maybe not so much) Tamino are wrong.”

    Having thought this over, I would like to retract this statement (except for the gratuitous knock against Tamino, whom I consider insufferable, dogmatic, simplistic, and opposed to the free exchange of ideas). I used too simple a model ;-).

    Quentin says:
    January 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    “But what are you really trying to achieve ? Are you trying to achieve a better understanding? Are you trying to further the scientific endeavor?”

    Yes, and yes. I believe the rush to judgment has been premature, ridden with confirmation bias, cherry picked data, simplistic models, and squelching of honest debate. I see a lot of conjecture accepted as fact. I see evidences which do not fit the narrative which have not been addressed. I have learned the hard way, over a lifetime of experience, that computer models don’t mean a damn thing if they haven’t been verified with extensive data taken from the real world covering a sufficient time interval to observe all the major processes.

    izen says:
    January 25, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    “I would agree with much if not most of what was posted by Joel and especially Ferdinand. “

    What a shock.

    You appear to have missed my main points to Ferdinand and Joel:

    A) the apparent but superficial similarity between the curves quantifying CO2 measurements and accumulated emissions is in no wise remarkable or dispositive

    B) the emissions data contains cycles which do not appear in the measurements of CO2, which is impossible if the emissions data are reasonably reliable, and if they are not, then even the superficial similarity between the curves is open to question

  124. And, by the way, I personally am not going to be able to accept the ice core data as anything but a possibility for many years to come. Why? Because there is no closed loop, no “control” against which to compare the results. Until we reach a point at which the reliable measurement data, which has only been available since 1958, can be compared directly to ice core proxy results, we will not truly know if it is reliable.

  125. Won’t there be an update to this post now that Tamino has clearly debunked its claims?

    A mistake is just a mistake. But a mistake knowingly left uncorrected seems malfeasance to me. I thought WUWT was better than that. I will end up reading only Willis’ posts.

    Yes, yes, I know, the other side don’t correct their mistakes either. Sorry if that doesn’t make me any happier.

  126. “B) the emissions data contains cycles which do not appear in the measurements of CO2, which is impossible …”

    What I mean is, impossible under the paradigm that the emissions are responsible for the majority of the observed rise.

  127. Nylo says:
    January 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    “Won’t there be an update to this post now that Tamino has clearly debunked its claims?”

    Has he? I think he has merely made a conjecture. Temperatures may peak higher in summer at perihelion, but the higher temps last longer at aphelion. Ice melts at 0+eps degC regardless.

    I think there needs to be a great deal more analysis done, or references to such analysis provided, to settle this dispute. Can you explain why you believe otherwise?

  128. In a sincere attempt to avoid the appearance of snark, I will try this again. In light of the response from Tamino, it is clear Hertzberg has made elementary errors in his post. Anthony, I am sure, would not claim expertise in this subject, so I ask again: does he have no resources to review submissions such as this (and Goddard’s) for soundness? If not, isn’t it time he did?

  129. Quentin says:
    January 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    “Are you trying to further the scientific endeavor?”

    One other thing you might consider, Quentin… If this thing comes a cropper, if temperatures fail to rise or, God forbid, I am right and CO2 will eventually begin to decline all on its own, can you imagine the damage that will be inflicted to the name of “Science”?

    Can you just hear the Creationists smirking, “yeah, well, you sure got that Global Warming thing right, didn’t you?” We’ve already got swaths of people refusing to inoculate their children based on incoherent fears that it somehow causes autism. The list is endless. It’d be a complete disaster. The scientific community is betting the ranch on this thing. Personally, I’d prefer better odds with such high stakes. Any responsible scientist, with experience confronting the twists and turns of pernicious Nature, should.

    Adam R. says:
    January 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Adam, I will ask you, too. What is your evidence that Tamino is right beyond his say so? How about asking for a response from Hertzberg before pronouncing him guilty? (Trial first, verdict after. What a concept!)

  130. Adam R,

    I can’t speak for Anthony, but it’s pretty clear he has an open invitation for someone like tamino, or any alarmist to write an article. But none of them do. Why not?

    Because there’s no “there” there. AGW may exist, but it is insignificant, and no global harm has come from a pretty respectable increase in CO2. You would think there would be some global damage that could be cited. But there’s none. The only effect is increased food production.

    Someone writing an article supporting CAGW would be pretty quickly reminded of some inconvenient facts: models are not evidence, and the null hypothesis has never been falsified – thus debunking the alternate hypothesis. And the thermometers used by USHCN aren’t even accurate to a ±1°C tolerance, much less tenths of a degree.

    As for vetting every article, it’s hard to understand how one person can find and post as many articles as Anthony does every day, while helping other bloggers, and running the Surface Stations project, in addition to moderating a good part of the thousands of comments posted here every week, and writing numerous articles himself.

    WUWT publishes articles from all sides, and leaves it up to the [uncensored] commentators to decide if the article has problems or not. There is better peer review here than in any climate science journal — which is why Michael Mann would never dare to submit an article to WUWT.

    If there’s a problem with Dr Hertzberg’s analysis, I’m sure readers will point it out. So far, therre’s only been complaining. Announcing that tamino has found errors is not convincing. Eventually, everything will be sorted out right here on WUWT.

    And no, I won’t go to tamino’s blog. In general, he’s not very credible. And who wants to comment on a censoring, low-trafficked blog, when you can reach thousands more readers here with no more effort?

  131. Well the earth goes around the sun in one year; pick your favorite year; the one that gets you back to the same point in the orbit; discounting the precession of the perihelion; which is quite small for earth.

    In that time frame, which pretty much repeats time and time again, year after year, the earth pretty much repeats its path at the same distances from the sun; not exactly at the same time on the same calendar date; but close enough.

    So we know enough to calculate to total energy received by the earth in the form of solar radiation with a little bit of variation for solar outbursts and the like; but not much of anything in it.

    To a first order; the total energy from the sun received by earth, repeats year after year. There are small changes as to where it lands on earth due to the fact that the orbital year is not an integer number of days; and for the same reason, on each and every calendar date, the rotation angle will not be the same, so again the radiation beam will shift slightly; but who wants to complain about the very small year to year differneces in the toal amount of that solar energy that say enters the deep oceans, for example.

    So you can fiddle with the seasonal changes all you want; the total energy incident on the earth (extra atmospheric) doesn’t change from one year to the next (by anything to worry about). And since the earth’s atmosphere is well mixed; well then that energy ought to spread around until it replicates Kevin Trenberth’s cartoon energy budget.

  132. Adam R. says:
    January 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    ………… I ask again: does he [Anhony] have no resources to review submissions such as this (and Goddard’s) for soundness? If not, isn’t it time he did?

    Could I suggest Adam that it’s not always going to be either practical or appropriate for Anthony to review in depth every article that appears on WUWT. At times surely that’s a role for well meaning and well informed responders to fulfill?

    And another article on this topic – by Ed Caryl at NoTricksZone

  133. Smokey says:
    And no, I won’t go to tamino’s blog. In general, he’s not very credible.

    You prefer, evidently, to take Hertzberg at face value and not be troubled with possibly contrary facts. Wonderful loyalty, sir. You deserve another ribbon on your choir robe.

  134. Bart says:
    Adam, I will ask you, too. What is your evidence that Tamino is right beyond his say so? How about asking for a response from Hertzberg before pronouncing him guilty?

    Tamino’s criticism is valid on the evidence he gives, not on his “say so”. But by all means, let Hertzberg respond. I would be most interested to see him defend fundamental misunderstandings of his subject.

  135. Adam R. says:
    January 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    “You prefer, evidently, to take Hertzberg at face value and not be troubled with possibly contrary facts.”

    Pot, meet Kettle. Did it occur to you, Adam, that Tamino’s response, which boils down to “it’s hotter on midsummer’s day, ergo there is more melt”, is incomplete at best? So, it’s (for the sake of argument) hotter on midsummer’s day. So what? What matters is, how high the temp is above zero degC, how long it is there, and the rate of melt as a function of temperature. In the reductio, if it were 30 degC on midsummer’s day, but -2 degC the rest of the summer, that will cause less melt than if it were 20 degC all summer long.

    This is a typical Tamino analysis – enough info to get the choir singing, but not enough to make a genuine point.

  136. Bob in Castlemaine says:
    Could I suggest Adam that it’s not always going to be either practical or appropriate for Anthony to review in depth every article that appears on WUWT.

    An odd–and oddly revealing–suggestion, indeed.

    Are we to believe that Anthony bears no responsibility for the content of posts he publishes in his blog? And if that’s the case (here’s the revealing part), why is it that every time he allows a howler like this, it’s an anti-AGW screed? Surely, if he were just impartially shotgunning climate posts, the occasional pro-AGW “Oops!” would appear, eh?

  137. Milankovic Cycles and Climate Change
    Is it distance from the sun, or length of summer?

    By Ed Caryl

    A draft paper by Dr. James Hansen and Dr. Makiko Sato triggered a rebuttal by Dr. Martin Hertzberg on WUWT. The Hansen paper made a claim that weaker insolation in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) due to distance from the sun in NH winter should lead to cooling, but that this is offset by increasing CO2.

    The Dr. Hertzeberg rebuttal claimed that the warming was due to the longer length of summer in the NH. Both are wrong! Both are victims of Confirmation Bias, seeing only data that confirms their beliefs.

    http://notrickszone.com/2011/01/25/milankovic-cycles-and-climate-change/

  138. Adam R,

    To be honest about it I didn’t read the article, only the comments. So how about telliing us in your own words what the problem is, instead of making tamino your crutch.

    Better yet, submit your own article. Show us the way you believe the real world works, instead of criticizing Anthony for whatever it is that you don’t like.

  139. I read Hertzberg here, and Tamino, and Tamino seemed more competent to me. Of course I could be wrong, as I don’t know so much, but Hertzberg seemed to be more of a handwaving argument, while Tamino seems to be saying, “Do the maths, and this is what you get”. When talking about quantitative things I prefer maths to words.

  140. Milankovich began his work in 1911 and published “Mathematical Climatology and the Astronomical theory of Climatic Change” in 1930, now accepted as a defintive work on the causes of ice ages. All this without the assistance of computers nor the data from ice cores. What an achievement! ‘When asked if he was planning another major work, Milankovich, somewhat weary, replied: ” Theories of the magnitude of the one I have completed do not grow on trees.” ‘ (John L Daly The Greenhouse Trap). Perhaps AGW proponents should take a leaf from Milankovich’s book

  141. John Brookes says:
    January 25, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    “I read Hertzberg here, and Tamino, and Tamino seemed more competent to me.”

    I wouldn’t say more competent, merely more expansive. I will grant you that Hertzberg has only made an assertion without backing it up. At least, not here. But, I do not see that Tamino has proven anything. His math says the same thing mine said: to first order, disregarding other variables, total input energy is the same. Then, he asserted that the peak temperature for perihelion summer is greater than for aphelion summer*, and furthermore, this proves that it is more propitious for glacial melt.

    But, it does nothing of the kind, as I explained at January 25, 2011 at 7:29 pm. When both sides present incomplete arguments, you do not have to choose sides. You should hold out for more information. I decided that the question is quite complicated, and deserves more thorough analysis than provided by either Hertzberg or Tamino. I think the most important question is, how does the rate of melt depend on temperature? If it accelerates rapidly with increasing temp, then Hansen/Tamino may have the upper hand. If, however, it is roughly flat beyond some threshold, then Hertzberg is more likely correct.

    *likely enough, but I’d like to see proof, taking into account the thermal dynamics – I withdrew my earlier claim at January 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm because I no longer believed it “likely”, not because I thought the opposite was necessarily true, and I did not have enough information or motivation to pursue it further.

  142. Robert says:
    January 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    “Hertzberg doesn’t do the analysis appropriately and it shows.”

    Neither does Tamino.

  143. Looks to me that this case is closed.

    Dr. Hertzberg , thanks for introducing me to some facts I didn’t know about the variability in the length of seasons that was fascinating.

    Thanks to Dr. Tamino for pointing out the incorrect conclusions that the variability of the seasons led DR. Hertzberg to.

    Thanks Anthony for letting it all happen in front of our eyes , good stuff. Presumably Dr. Hertzberg will close off the debate with an appropriate posting in the not too distant future rather than just quietly remove the paper without comment as seems to be the way of other less democratic sites.

  144. Keith Battye says:
    January 25, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    You Tamino myrmidons are really out in force tonight, aren’t you? A complete lack of critical thinking skills. Just sad.

  145. Bart says:
    January 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    “When both sides present incomplete arguments, you do not have to choose sides. You should hold out for more information.”

    But that is not an accurate characterisation of the position. All arguments concerning such matters are incomplete. What is more important is which argument is false: and the laurel for that achievement falls on Hertzberg’s head.

  146. @-Bart says: You appear to have missed my main points to Ferdinand and Joel:
    “…
    B) the emissions data contains cycles which do not appear in the measurements of CO2, which is impossible if the emissions data are reasonably reliable, and if they are not, then even the superficial similarity between the curves is open to question”

    No, I saw that, but the fact that emissions are twice the measured atmospheric rise so that it is logicaly inescapable that they are a component of any measured rise is conclusive IMO.
    The fact that the variations in emissions are also below the annual variation in bio-productivity and sinks also means as far as I can see that it is inevitable that emission variations are swamped in the measured rise by the interannual variations.

    Back on the Milankovic cycle dispute;
    The ‘standard model’ attributes the influence on the climate to the intensity of the insolation at high Northern latitudes, conventionally 65N, during summer. The duration of the seasons is not considered to be much of a factor. This based on observations and the hypothesis that the summer melt is crucial, while winter temperatures just modulate ice accumulation rates.
    This is NOT a popular misconception of the Milankovic theory, its is the shared version in the scientific community and I do not see that Hansen is contradicting that.
    Hertzberg is suggesting an ALTERNATIVE hypothesis about the influence of the Milankovic cycles, that the duration of the seasons is a factor. I dont see any observational or physical processes put forward that supports his contention.

  147. Slioch says:
    January 26, 2011 at 1:33 am

    “What is more important is which argument is false: and the laurel for that achievement falls on Hertzberg’s head.”

    That has not been demonstrated. If you do not understand, review my previous posts on the matter.

    izen says:
    January 26, 2011 at 2:51 am

    “No, I saw that, but the fact that emissions are twice the measured atmospheric rise so that it is logicaly inescapable that they are a component of any measured rise is conclusive IMO.”

    Sure, they are “a component”. They must be. Just like the emissions variation, all inputs must leave their mark in the output. But, they are a small one, if the CO2 feedbacks are robust. And, they must be so, because otherwise, the CO2 measurements would exhibit strong random walk-like behavior. This, again, is what I mean by “infancy”. The climate gurus have constructed a first order model which produces the outputs they want, but they have not taken consideration of the secondary characteristics such a system must produce in the real, noisy and complex world.

    “…emission variations are swamped in the measured rise by the interannual variations.”

    No. I demonstrated that the proportions of the coefficients were high enough to be observable above the noise floor, if the emissions were the major driver.

    “The duration of the seasons is not considered to be much of a factor… This is NOT a popular misconception of the Milankovic theory, its is the shared version in the scientific community and I do not see that Hansen is contradicting that.”

    When you don’t know, always assert that you have the backing of 9_% of authorities. Guys like you would be lost if you imagined yourself to be cut off from the herd. This is known as ad verecundiam argumentation, izen. It is one of the fundamental, classical logical fallacies.

    Milankovic cycles are not in any way, shape or form cut and dried and laid to rest. Again, you have the problem that there is no closed loop, no control experiment you can do to replicate the condition. But, you need to at least dig deeper than Tamino’s shallow assertions. Tell me how temperatures at 65N will vary with insolation, and how melt rates will vary with temperatures, and then we can at least form a more solid hypothesis.

  148. “…emission variations are swamped in the measured rise by the interannual variations.”

    On this, in particular, in interannual variations are at a completely different frequency. They cannot “swamp” anything at another frequency. What matters is the noise floor. Look for that phrase in the thread where I discuss why it is important.

  149. “No, I saw that, but the fact that emissions are twice the measured atmospheric rise so that it is logicaly inescapable that they are a component of any measured rise is conclusive IMO.”

    That is very bad logic, BTW. Even if atmospheric concentrations were falling, the emissions would have to be “a component” of the total. The question is, how much does it add, after all sinks and sources are accounted for? That we do not yet have a full accounting is evidenced by the data.

  150. “I dont see any observational or physical processes put forward that supports his contention.”

    It should be self-evident that both temperature and duration of its application affect quantity of glacial melt. The question is, which dominates? Hertzberg asserted duration. Tamino did some math to say they were equal, then bizarrely proceeded to assert that temperature dominates. And, you guys lapped it up like he had succeeded in some ingenious proof. I guess you were dazzled by the integrals. Note to Hertzberg: next time, throw in some integrals.

  151. bart says:

    It should be self-evident that both temperature and duration of its application affect quantity of glacial melt. The question is, which dominates? Hertzberg asserted duration. Tamino did some math to say they were equal, then bizarrely proceeded to assert that temperature dominates.

    That’s not really a fair summary. It ignores the fact that Hertzberg has no evidence whatsoever to support his hypothesis that the duration dominates and yet he still publishes a grandiose post claiming that Hansen is wrong and going off into talking about propagandists (which is about as good an example of projection as you are ever going to find).

    Not only does Hertzberg’s view go against all of the conventional wisdom, it goes against the climatic evidence from the ice core (or other paleoclimate) records. And, Hertzberg makes some bizarre statements like saying that the fact that we are currently closest to the sun during the Northern hemisphere winter and it is during an interglacial supports his hypothesis when in fact the cycle was close to 180 deg opposite to this at the time when we emerged from the glacial period into the interglacial…and reached the peak warmth of the interglacial, especially for the Northern Hemisphere, at least until very recent anthropogenic times.

    I assume Hertzberg will come here either to offer some real evidence to back up his assertions that the conventional understanding is wrong or he will profusely apologize to both Hansen and readers of WUWT. That would be the honorable thing to do.

  152. I feel confident now in reasserting a modified version of what I stated at
    January 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm. If the dominant thermal time constant (assuming there is one, or constants if there are perhaps several significant ones) is on the order of days, which it almost surely is, then I believe it is likely that Hansen/Tamino are wrong, and Hertzberg is right. This comes about because the thermal time constant acts as a low pass filter which does not so much affect the slowly changing insolation around aphelion, but beats down the faster changing peak at perihelion.

    My analysis is admittedly coarse, based on my knowledge of all the factors involved. It is perilous to project the behavior of complex systems based on simple models without direct observations to confirm it. So, I am not proclaiming my hypothesis to be “truth” absent that. Nor am I going to seek some ridiculous measure of assurance based on whether some other “authority” of unexamined qualifications agrees. The reader would be well advised to be wary of people who proclaim 100% assurance based on such criteria.

    I am merely making a truthful observation without assertion based on known facts: thermal processes are typically low pass, and the insolation at perihelion progresses more rapidly, hence heating will be attenuated by the low pass response. Were it not, the math presented by both me and by Tamino argues that the energy input, and hence the glacial melt, would be approximately equal overall. Any thinking person who can process information logically would conclude that Tamino is out on a limb.

  153. And, now I would like to request that all the lackeys who demanded a retraction from Anthony demonstrate consistency in their actions, and turn their rhetorical guns on Tamino to respond in kind.

    Oh, you can’t, because he won’t let your adverse comment appear on his site, you say? Well, well… what does THAT tell you?

  154. @-Bart says:
    “his is known as ad verecundiam argumentation, izen. It is one of the fundamental, classical logical fallacies. Milankovic cycles are not in any way, shape or form cut and dried and laid to rest. Again, you have the problem that there is no closed loop, no control experiment you can do to replicate the condition.”

    You are misconstruing my argument here, its not from authority.
    As always what Nature does comes first. (and last)
    The OBSERVATIONS indicate that glacial cycles closely match Milankovic cycles. The timing, magnitude and rate of ENERGY delivery (not temperature) at 65N is the largest variable that most closely correlates with the observed climate behavior. When I then give the ‘standard model’ explanation for that observation I am NOT claiming that the standard model is correct because some overriding percentage of scientists accept it. I am showing that what Hansen has referenced with the short paragraph that caused Heretzberg to characterize him as a propagandist is not ‘a popular misconception’ but the explanation of observations that is in current use.

    Given the observations, the description of the system, the usual procedure is to look for physical processes to provide an explanation of the systems observed behavior. The present explanation MAY be replaced by a better one. But I see no evidence that Hertzberg attempts to provide one. He just seems to disparage Hansen for using the current explanation.

    Re; A-CO2 emissions variations swamped by seasonal cycle. –

    “On this, in particular, in inter-annual variations are at a completely different frequency. They cannot “swamp” anything at another frequency. ”

    Okay I take your point, it was badly expressed on my part. Because the magnitude of seasonal variations is greater than changes in A-CO2 emission rates I would not expect the system to show a close correlation between input and output for those variations.
    I compare this to what is admittedly a MUCH more complex system, but it gives me a ‘metaphor’ at least for how such a system might behave.
    If someone has a increased intake of calories then I would expect that they would put on weight faster and to a level not seem before . There may be other metabolic factors that link weight to cal. intake, but while these may cause small variations I would expect to see a first order correlation between calorie intake (CO2 emissions) and weight. (CO2 levels) I would not expect minor variations in cal. intake to show up in matching variations in weight. The observed small scale variability shows there are storage/dissipation processes that can impose variation, or suppress it.

  155. Bart says:
    And, now I would like to request that all the lackeys who demanded a retraction from Anthony demonstrate consistency in their actions, and turn their rhetorical guns on Tamino to respond in kind.

    Oh, you can’t, because he won’t let your adverse comment appear on his site, you say? Well, well… what does THAT tell you?

    It tells me you fear to post any “adverse comment” at Tamino’s blog because you know it would be destroyed, and are creating a straw martyr to strut for the admiration of the WUWT choir.

    Go ahead, Bart: post your stunning “adverse comments” at Open Mind, and let’s see how they fare. I doubt you have the huevos, but perhaps you will surprise me.

  156. Adam R.,

    I have posted – or tried to – on tamino’s blog quite a few times.

    Not a single comment ever saw the light of day. They were all censored out.

    The problem is with tamino, not with scientific skeptics.

    It is tamino who doesn’t have the balls to post opposing points of view.

  157. izen says:
    January 26, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    “Because the magnitude of seasonal variations is greater than changes in A-CO2 emission rates I would not expect the system to show a close correlation between input and output for those variations.”

    I am telling you the way natural systems work, izen. This is non-negotiable. It is known. The input must show up in the output. If there were infinite precision, then it would not matter a wit how large the seasonal variations were. I would always be able to separate out other cycles which occur in the given interval, or are aliased into it. But, there are random errors or “noise” in the data. The only question is whether the spikes I noted are large enough that their effect should be discernible in the measurements will above the noise floor. I have answered that question: they are.

    “The observed small scale variability shows there are storage/dissipation processes that can impose variation, or suppress it.”

    Then, it would have to be an exceedingly low bandwidth system, because there are large cycles are in the range of 10-20 years. Natural systems rarely (probably never) exhibit roll-off of more than -12 dB/octave, so you’d need to start rolling off at least two octaves lower than that. At the very least, this is not consistent with responses seen in the measurements to events such as the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

    Thus, the only way out is the one I myself pointed out to Ferdinand, and he eventually adopted after strenuous objections: the cycles observed in the emissions data must be spurious. I agree, they could be. But, that calls into question the superficial similarity of the integrated emissions with the measurement data, as I explained in excruciating detail in that thread.

    If you want to understand the issues better, I suggest you study frequency domain analysis and estimation of power spectral densities. I mention this because your talk of “correlation” suggests to me that, like so many others, think that you can analyze cyclical systems using statistical techniques intended for simple polynomials whose measurements are corrupted by white noise. Those are the wrong tools, and that is precisely the kind of thing I was talking about at January 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm when I said “in something rather more rigorous and mature, and sorely needing to be applied in that field”.

    Adam R. says:
    January 26, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I have little doubt your statement has been greeted by a merry round of guffaws and derisive tittering by many others besides Smokey. Sorry (not really) to break the news to you that your heroes have feet of clay.

    For others who have been following along: I have performed more numerical experiments. There is little room for doubt that Tamino is wrong. The only quibble possible is that the effect I have noted is quite small for such small eccentricity, and might not rise to significance in a even very long time (though it still tips the balance in Hertzberg’s favor, because Tamino’s idea that all that matters is the temperature on midsummer’s day is weightless). I find myself increasingly disposed to the POV of this fellow, noted by R. de Haan at January 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm that other variations, such as in eccentricity and obliquity, have greater impact.

  158. Bart says:
    January 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm
    “I am telling you the way natural systems work, izen. This is non-negotiable. It is known. The input must show up in the output.
    …If you want to understand the issues better, I suggest you study frequency domain analysis and estimation of power spectral densities. I mention this because your talk of “correlation” suggests to me that, like so many others, think that you can analyze cyclical systems using statistical techniques intended for simple polynomials whose measurements are corrupted by white noise. Those are the wrong tools, and that is precisely the kind of thing I was talking about at January 25, 2011 at 12:45 pm when I said “in something rather more rigorous and mature, and sorely needing to be applied in that field”.”

    ==========

    I don’t doubt you have better math chops than me when it comes to analysis, but I would doubt your first assertion that ‘the input must show up in the output at all time domains and amplitudes in natural systems.

    I can think of several biological systems where that is certainly not true and it is quite possible for a varying input to generate a smooth trend with its own independent inherent variations. The fact that the small variations in input do not show up in the output does not refute the contribution of that input to an observed trend. True such biological systems are much more complex than the A-CO2 => atmosphere, ocean and biosphere system under discussion here, but the presence of a biological component in this system give me some grounds for the suspicion that you cannot dismiss the causal link between the emissions and observed rise in this system.
    Certainly not on the basis of the lack of detectability of variation in the observed atmospheric CO2 level that matches the variation in the emissions.

    The attribution of maximum summer insolation at 65N during summer to glacial age warming is not arbitrary. It is the result of observation.
    What causal chain links those two factors is open to question. But if you have an alternative causal parameter that you can derive from the Milankovic cycles and a physical process that explanians that link, then by all means provide it.

  159. Bart says:

    For others who have been following along: I have performed more numerical experiments. There is little room for doubt that Tamino is wrong.

    I don’t think people on this site are too impressed by “numerical experiments”. The numerical experiments are only as good as the model on which they are based. Your model is confused in that you think that warming always has a certain effect. In fact, warming during the winter season has negligible effect on the melting of the ice sheet and, in fact, tends to be accompanied by higher precipitation, which favors ice sheet growth. This is why your theoretical musings produce predictions that do not correspond to what is seen in the real world and tamino’s and Hansen’s do.

  160. izen says:
    January 27, 2011 at 8:54 am

    “I would doubt your first assertion that ‘the input must show up in the output at all time domains and amplitudes in natural systems.”

    I did not say amplitudes. You are putting your own words in my mouth. Yes, as I explained, every system has a frequency response which modulates the amplitudes as a function of frequency. If there are significant nonlinearities in the system, you also get harmonics of the input fundamental frequencies. But, such filtering must also obey certain laws in a causal system, to wit, as I explained, the lower the frequency you want to attenuate, the longer the lag between input and output.

    “The attribution of maximum summer insolation at 65N during summer to glacial age warming is not arbitrary. It is the result of observation.”

    The devil is in the details, buckaroo. Scientific investigation begins with observation, then hypothesis, then experimental confirmation. In this instance, as in the ice core samples of Co2, there is no avenue for conclusive experimental confirmation, and the hypothesis can not be proven given the available data. The math shows the effects of precession of the equinoxes are equal to first order.

    “But if you have an alternative causal parameter that you can derive from the Milankovic cycles and a physical process that explanians that link, then by all means provide it.”

    I gave you one. The smoothing of temperature due to thermal time constants means the peak temperature for perihelion is less than it otherwise would be. The entire waveform is attenuated and spread out. It is the spreading out that does it, because otherwise, the integrated temperature would still be the same over the orbit. But, there is a threshold of 0 degC below which ice no longer melts, so the spread out waveform translated into rate of melt gets chopped, and the integration is reduced relative to the summer aphelion case, so you get less melt. It actually is faster than I thought last night, though I still think the link I provided’s reference to other changes in orbital variable are probably more powerful. And, that’s another explanation for the different rates of melt: other processes, like the changes in orbital eccentricity and obliquity of the rotation axis.

    Funny how you go on demanding I provide you with alternative explanations after I already have, but you are content with an airy dismissal of my observation that CO2 emissions spectra are not observable in measurement spectra.

  161. Joel Shore says:
    January 27, 2011 at 9:20 am

    The numerical sim is simply an implementation of what I stated, which you should be able to understand and accept:

    I am merely making a truthful observation without assertion based on known facts: thermal processes are typically low pass, and the insolation at perihelion progresses more rapidly, hence heating will be attenuated by the low pass response. Were it not, the math presented by both me and by Tamino argues that the energy input, and hence the glacial melt, would be approximately equal overall.

    As for the rest, so there is more to do with it than merely being closer to the Sun, and now we have to look at other effects, which you assert are exhaustively cataloged and known. More assertions proffered as “proof” with no data which actually confirms the speculation (though, no doubt, you can offer up some cherry picked analogues, while ignoring anything which would tend to go against your narrative)… pretty much par for the course for you guys.

  162. BTW: I LOVE this contorted logic

    “In fact, warming during the winter season has negligible effect on the melting of the ice sheet and, in fact, tends to be accompanied by higher precipitation, which favors ice sheet growth.”

    So, a warmer winter causes more ice. Kind of like Global Warming causes record cold winters.

    Here’s some direct counterevidence to your assertion:

    “Rain is very corrosive to glaciers and at least in part the reason this glacier is retreating,” David Vaughan, a British Antarctic Survey glaciologist, said on an inflatable speedboat in a bay that had been blanketed by ice for thousands of years.

  163. Bart says:

    o, a warmer winter causes more ice. Kind of like Global Warming causes record cold winters.

    Here’s some direct counterevidence to your assertion:

    Bart,

    Try using a modicum of common sense here. You quote from an article that talks about summertime rain becoming more of a factor in melting ice. What I am talking about is wintertime temperatures in places with such cold climates that we are talking about the snowpack being unable to melt away in the summers (which is what causes the ice sheets to advance). In such places, warming during the winter is unlikely to lead to rain and will tend to lead to just more snow.

    Sometimes I think that you like to be contrary just for the heck of it. You know, scientific knowledge doesn’t begin and end with your own personal knowledge. It is worthwhile to understand what other scientists have learned rather than to always start from square-one. It is a character feature called “humility” and one that, when it is lacking, makes for rather strong limitations on one’s ability to be a good scientist.

  164. Joel,

    What you lack in subtlety, you certainly don’t make up for in discretion. Common sense is the sense of the common layman. On scientific matters, it is most often wrong. If it weren’t, we never would have had any Dark Ages.

    It’s Antarctica, Joel. The temperature rarely gets above 0 degC all year long.

    Here’s another randomly selected google:

    The Rhône-Sion hydrograph shows more runoff in wintertime and spring, but less in summer and autumn. This indicates a shift from winter snowfall to winter rain and means, a part of the winter precipitation is not any more stored in the seasonal snow cover, but becomes promptly effective to the runoff. This amount of water is not available during the summer. Furthermore we can observe a seasonal shift of snowmelt from summer to spring time, both due to the temperature increase. The runoff contribution from the glaciers is increasing. This process will continue as long as the main part of the glaciers is melted.

    Next time, save the lecture, and do a little digging.

  165. Joel Shore says:
    January 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    “What I am talking about is wintertime temperatures in places with such cold climates that we are talking about the snowpack being unable to melt away in the summers”

    I thought the baseline was 65° N. The Sheldon Glacier in Antarctica, from the Reuters link, is at 67°30’S.

  166. Bart,

    It is on the Antarctic peninsula, which is the warmest part of Antarctica, as your link shows. So, your logic seems to be that the issue of rain in the warmest season on the warmest part of Antarctica somehow has a lot to say about rain being a problem in the coldest season in cold continental interiors of the arctic?

    I am not even sure what you are arguing anymore since it has become so contorted. It seems to be that some vague armchair theorizing and handwaving overturns decades worth of careful empirical and theoretical study.

    By the way, if you don’t respect common sense and you do not respect scientific authority, what exactly do you respect outside of your own intellect and those who you can find who basically agree with you (and disagree with the rest of the scientific community)?

  167. “It ignores the fact that Hertzberg has no evidence whatsoever to support his hypothesis that the duration dominates”

    This is hardly controversial. Even wikipedia notes that when northern hemisphere winter happens at aphelion that is the most extreme conditions for triggering an ice age.

    Duration of winter probably is more important than distance from sun. As far as total insolation goes it’s a wash. The thing is, when looking for an ice age trigger, any temperature below 32F is important because that produces snow cover and snow lowers albedo which in turn lowers insolation in a vicious positive feedback cycle. You get the most snow when temperatures are brutally cold but rather just cold enough so it doesn’t melt during the day. So the lower surface temperature from greater distance is mostly wasted because decreases rather than increases snowfall. Conversely 8 extra days of winter and 8 fewer days of summer makes for deeper winter snowpack and less time to melt completely through in the summer. Northern hemisphere snowfall over land is the key to interglacial/glacial periods. Nothing else matters a whole lot other than how much snow cover survives the summer. Maximum snow survival happens (no serious dispute exists with this as the beginning of all glacial cycles lines up) when axial tilt is the lowest which diminshes the difference in summer and winter average temperatures – warmer winters and cooler summers. That’s empirical evidence that colder winters are counter-productive to ice age conditions if accompanied by cooler summers.

  168. I really need to proofread BEFORE posting… (corrections in italics)

    Dave Springer says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    January 27, 2011 at 7:36 pm
    “It ignores the fact that Hertzberg has no evidence whatsoever to support his hypothesis that the duration dominates”

    This is hardly controversial. Even wikipedia notes that when northern hemisphere winter happens at aphelion that is the most extreme conditions for triggering an ice age.

    Duration of winter probably is more important than distance from sun. As far as total insolation goes it’s a wash. The thing is, when looking for an ice age trigger, any temperature below 32F is important because that produces snow cover and snow lowers albedo which in turn lowers insolation in a vicious positive feedback cycle. You get the most snow not when temperatures are brutally cold but rather just cold enough so it doesn’t melt during the day. So the lower surface temperature from greater distance is mostly wasted because it decreases rather than increases snowfall. Conversely 8 extra days of winter and 8 fewer days of summer makes for deeper winter snowpack and less time to melt completely through in the summer. Northern hemisphere snowfall over land is the key to interglacial/glacial periods. Nothing else matters a whole lot other than how much snow cover survives the summer. Maximum snow survival happens (no serious dispute exists with this as the beginning of all glacial cycles lines up) when axial tilt is the lowest which diminshes the difference in summer and winter average temperatures – warmer winters and cooler summers. That’s empirical evidence that colder winters are counter-productive to ice age conditions if accompanied by warmer summers.

  169. Joel – I don’t know what to say. I’ve presented the evidence. It’s pretty clear that winter rainfall results in glacial runoff. There’s dozens of other hits you can find which confirm this, if you take time to look.

    Here’s a hint why: rain is liquid water because it contains more ___ energy than ice, and ice melts in endothermic reaction when it absorbs ____. Fill in the blank.

    Do you have some idea that water turns to ice when it comes into contact with ice? This isn’t ice-9 we’re talking about.

    You, on the other hand, have presented zip, nada, nothing, beyond an appeal to unnamed and unreferenced authorities. One gets the impression that you just kind of used your “common sense” and decided, “yeah, that makes sense, therefore everyone must agree with me.” It’s kind of scary. I feel like I’m arguing with a homeless man that the government didn’t implant transmitters in his head.

    Look, forget what I said before. Stop digging, OK? Cut your losses and just walk away.

  170. I mean… dude. Did you read this?

    The Rhône-Sion hydrograph shows more runoff in wintertime and spring, but less in summer and autumn. This indicates a shift from winter snowfall to winter rain and means, a part of the winter precipitation is not any more stored in the seasonal snow cover, but becomes promptly effective to the runoff.

    What part of this is not making sense to you? Do you understand the word promptly means not waiting until summer and higher temperatures?

    I’m genuinely nonplussed by your seeming imperviousness to facts. Do you think the water pools up somewhere and refreezes? Do you think most glaciers are static and level? Where are you getting your ideas?

  171. “So, your logic seems to be that the issue of rain in the warmest season on the warmest part of Antarctica somehow has a lot to say about rain being a problem in the coldest season in cold continental interiors of the arctic?”

    The arctic? There’s no ice sheet in the arctic. That’s an ice pack. It’s even more vulnerable to rain runoff. What in the world are you thinking?

  172. I did some searching on the polar ice pack in particular. I found little besides an offhand comment that rain turning to ice versus snow increases heat absorption in daylight because of the lower albedo. Does that mean more of the ice pack will melt come summer? I will leave that for the reader to decide.

    Then, I was reminded that one of the results of the AGW computer models is that warming should be most pronounced on winter nights at high latitudes. And, that means that, according to Joel, there should currently be more rain at the pole, and the arctic sea ice should be expanding.

    I think that pretty much seals off all his avenues for retreat, at least until the sea ice rebounds convincingly. I’m off on extended business tomorrow so won’t be commenting again for a while.

  173. Joel Shore says:
    January 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    “In such places, warming during the winter is unlikely to lead to rain and will tend to lead to just more snow.”

    Ah, there’s the buried nugget. But, rain at the North Pole is not by any means unheard of, nor do we have a particularly good idea how often it happens. But, any rain will kill off snow accumulation, so its likely to be a wash at best.

    Again, the fact that mainstream researchers are indubitably expecting a retreating ice pack in the face of warmer winter suggests you, Joel, are not in sync with the majority as you think. And, as to that:

    You know, scientific knowledge doesn’t begin and end with your own personal knowledge. It is worthwhile to understand what other scientists have learned rather than to always start from square-one. It is a character feature called “humility” and one that, when it is lacking, makes for rather strong limitations on one’s ability to be a good scientist.

    Thus spake the followers of Ptolemy to Copernicus, and the Vatican to Galileo, and the classical physicists to Einstein, and a host of other hidebound mediocrities to those who revolutionized our scientific understanding.

    FWIW Joel, I have been rather dramatically successful in my scientific/engineering career, largely because I refused to be browbeaten and humbled into accepting at face value the reports of eminent authorities in my field. You are arguing for scientific stasis and squelching of debate, like your counterparts in the examples above. I would admonish you to take a chance once and a while, relying on your own skills, if you want to go anywhere in your career, and have a real and positive impact.

  174. Hahaha. After many headaches trying to get to grips with the convoluted, contrarian, and grandiosely self-important comments of Bart; I finally dissolved into fits of laughter at his latest hubris.

    Yes, the giants of science – Copernicus, Galileo, Einstein and Bart!

    Although I suppose commenting on the threads of WUWT is very much akin to Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems or the Annus Mirabilis Papers. A shame none of us can keep up really. Yes, a “rather dramatically successful” and flowery fail.

    I haven’t laughed so much since WUWT compared Hal Lewis’ letter of resignation from The American Physical Society to Martin Luther’ Ninety-Five Theses.

    Thanks Bart.

  175. It may have been a mistake for me to write down my thought processes as I tried to figure out what the heck point Joel was trying to make. So, let’s recap to soothe Quentin’s aching head.

    1) Total insolation is the same regardless of precession of the equinoxes. Temperature is a low pass filtered variable proportional to the insolation. Glacial melt should be proportional to the integrated temperature above 0 degC. Glacial accumulation occurs at temperatures below 0 degC. If accumulation has a consistent mean rate, then it should be proportional to the integrated temperature below 0 degC. To first order, there should be no difference in glacial melt due to equinoxial precession alone.

    However, the smoothing of input energy to output temperature via the Earth’s thermal time constants should result in lesser melt in the summer perihelion case. Altogether, the result marginally favors Hertzberg’s interpretation over Hansen/Tamino. However, other varying parameters, such as orbit eccentricity and obliquity of the rotation axis to the orbit plane, could have greater impacts. And, now we have rain to consider.

    2) Hansen/Tamino/Shore insist that warmer winters in the NH and cooler summers favor glacier and ice sheet growth. Hertzberg argues the opposite, which is, in fact, what we are seeing. But, HTS argue this is because of the additional effect of AGW.

    In the Antarctic, the seasons are flipped. HTS position would therefore have to be that, in the absence of AGW, the ice sheet should be retreating, and with AGW, retreating even more. In fact, we are not seeing this at all, except in the coastal regions where there has been more rain in summer.

    A key consideration in all of this is the effect of rain. Rain significantly shrinks glaciers and ice sheet/pack where it occurs. So, in fact, what we observe is consistent with the Hertzberg hypothesis: glaciers and ice pack retreating in the NH, advancing in the SH except where there is substantial impact of rain. It appears to be summer rain, which is consistent with Joel’s suggestion that there is greater precipitation in warmer times. Thus, what we are observing in the SH appears to be inconsistent with the HTS hypothesis, even more so with AGW factored in.

  176. This so called Dr Hertzberg has been completely and utterly owned by Tamino.
    Have a look at his blog.

    I expect he will now apologise. As a man of honour, surely he must?

  177. Bob Maginnes calculates correctly that the ratio of the duration of the current NH summer half of the Earth’s orbit relative to the duration of the winter half is
    186.1/179.0 = 1.04. That is the duration ratio.

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