Why William D. Nordhaus Is Wrong About Global Warming Skeptics Being Wrong…

Guest post by David Middleton

William D. Nordhaus is an economics professor at Yale University. He recently published this essay in the New York Review of Books

Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong

March 22, 2012

William D. Nordhaus

nprdhaus_1-032212.jpg

Photo credit: Olaf Otto Becker Icebergs in Iceland’s Jökulsárlón lagoon, which is constantly growing as the Vatnajökull glacier—Europe’s largest—melts; photograph by Olaf Otto Becker from his book Under the Nordic Light: A Journey Through Time, Iceland, 1999–2011, which has just been published by Hatje Cantz

The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early draft to colleagues, their response was that I had left out the arguments of skeptics about climate change, and I accordingly addressed this at length.

But one of the difficulties I found in examining the views of climate skeptics is that they are scattered widely in blogs, talks, and pamphlets. Then, I saw an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2012, by a group of sixteen scientists, entitled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” This is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement. The basic message of the article is that the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences.

My response is primarily designed to correct their misleading description of my own research; but it also is directed more broadly at their attempt to discredit scientists and scientific research on climate change.1 I have identified six key issues that are raised in the article, and I provide commentary about their substance and accuracy. They are:

• Is the planet in fact warming?

• Are human influences an important contributor to warming?

• Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?

• Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?

• Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?

• Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

[…]

Source: New York Review of Books

Professor Nordhaus then proceeds to address his six strawmen answer his own questions.

Is the planet in fact warming?

First off, the “planet” hasn’t warmed. The atmosphere has warmed and cooled throughout the planet’s history. And, apparently, the ability to conjugate verbs is not a prerequisite for Ivy League economics professors. Professor Nordhaus’ answer is that the lower atmosphere (AKA planet) is warming because it did warm from 1978 to 1998…

It is easy to get lost in the tiniest details here. Most people will benefit from stepping back and looking at the record of actual temperature measurements. The figure below shows data from 1880 to 2011 on global mean temperature averaged from three different sources.2 We do not need any complicated statistical analysis to see that temperatures are rising, and furthermore that they are higher in the last decade than they were in earlier decades.3

Nordhaus-graph-032212

One of the reasons that drawing conclusions on temperature trends is tricky is that the historical temperature series is highly volatile, as can be seen in the figure. The presence of short-term volatility requires looking at long-term trends.

Yes! By all means, let’s have a look at some long-term trends. Let’s take the long-term trend back to a time when mankind wasn’t burning much fossil fuel…

From Ljungqvist, 2010…

The amplitude of the reconstructed temperature variability on centennial time-scales exceeds 0.6°C. This reconstruction is the first to show a distinct Roman Warm Period c. AD 1-300, reaching up to the 1961-1990 mean temperature level, followed by the Dark Age Cold Period c. AD 300-800. The Medieval Warm Period is seen c. AD 800–1300 and the Little Ice Age is clearly visible c. AD 1300-1900, followed by a rapid temperature increase in the twentieth century. The highest average temperatures in the reconstruction are encountered in the mid to late tenth century and the lowest in the late seventeenth century. Decadal mean temperatures seem to have reached or exceeded the 1961-1990 mean temperature level during substantial parts of the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period. The temperature of the last two decades, however, is possibly higher than during any previous time in the past two millennia, although this is only seen in the instrumental temperature data and not in the multi-proxy reconstruction itself.

[…]

The proxy reconstruction itself does not show such an unprecedented warming but we must consider that only a few records used in the reconstruction extend into the 1990s. Nevertheless, a very cautious interpretation of the level of warmth since AD 1990 compared to that of the peak warming during the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period is strongly suggested.

[…]

The amplitude of the temperature variability on multi-decadal to centennial time-scales reconstructed here should presumably be considered to be the minimum of the true variability on those time-scales.

[…]

Source: Ljungqvist, 2010

Ljungqvist is recommending caution in comparing the modern instrumental reconstruction to the older proxy reconstructions because the proxy data are of much lower resolution. The proxy data are showing the “minimum of the true variability on those time-scales.” The instrumental data are depicting something closer to actual variability.

Even then, the instrumental record doesn’t exceed the margin of error for the proxy data during the peak of the Medieval Warm Period…

Horizontal red lines represent the margin of peak warmth of Medieval Warm Period with margin of error.

Since someone is bound to chime in with, “But Ljungqvist isn’t a real climate scientist!”… Let’s compare Mann et al., 2008 (EIV) and Ljungqvist, 2010…

Apart from the 20th century hockey stick, they are very similar. Here’s a blow up of the above from 1950 with HadCRUT3 (NH)…

The entire blade of the hockey stick is post-1995.

Now, on to the verb conjugation. The lower atmosphere is not currently warming, irrespective of what it did from 1978-1998, or what it has done since the 1850’s, or what it has done since 1600 AD…

HadCRUT3 variance adjusted global mean (Wood for Trees)

There has been no global warming for more than a decade. To paraphrase Paul Revere, “None if by land”…

BEST global land mean preliminary since 2002 (Wood for Trees).

“None if by sea”…

HADSST2 global sea surface temperature anomaly since 1998 (Wood for Trees).

All of the anomalous warming occurred between 1995 and 1998. This, amazingly, is what the satellite data indicate…

UAH lower troposphere global mean (Wood for Trees).

 

Are human influences an important contributor to warming?

Maybe. Urban heat islands are “human influences.” Most other land-use changes are “human influences.” Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are “human influences.” Are they important? It all depends on the model.

This model says, “Not very important”…

Although, the authors seem to have concluded that “human influences” related to global cooling were masking the “human influences” related to global warming.

Models are great heuristic tools; but they cannot and should never be used as substitutes for observation and correlation. I can build a valid computer model that tells me that an overpressured Cibicides opima sandstone at depth of 15,000′ should exhibit a Class 3 AVO response. If I drill a Class 3 AVO anomaly in that neighborhood, I will drill a dry hole. A little bit of observation and correlation would quickly tell me that productive overpressured Cibicides opima sandstones at depth of 15,000′ don’t exhibit Class 3 AVO anomalies.

Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?

I thought about answering with a treatise on plant stomata, but this was “easier”…

JPL-Developed Clean Energy Technology Moves Forward

Fuel Cell Technology Engineering Prototype
A team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory originally developed this 300-watt engineering prototype of a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell system for defense applications. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

May 26, 2011

A team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in partnership with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, developed a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell technology for future Department of Defense and commercial applications. Recently, USC and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which manages JPL for NASA, awarded a license to SFC Energy, Inc., the U.S. affiliate of SFC Energy AG. The non-exclusive license for the technology will facilitate the expansion of the company’s methanol fuel cell products into the U.S. market.

This novel fuel cell technology uses liquid methanol as a fuel to produce electrical energy, and does not require any fuel processing. Pure water and carbon dioxide are the only byproducts of the fuel cell, and no pollutants are emitted.

[…]

NASA

If NASA and the JPL say carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, that’s good enough for me. The plant stomata treatise will follow along shortly.

Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?

“Fear” is probably not the right word. However, this kind of attitude from government officials is somewhat disconcerting…

“When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that’s a crime.”

NASA GISS Director James Hansen

It’s of particular concern when the self-appointed inquisitor takes pride in influencing “the nature of the measurements obtained, so that the key information can be obtained” (AKA “Torturing the data until it confesses”…

It’s also a bit disconcerting when the people who make our laws are threatening skeptics with tobacco-style inquisitions. The recent Fakegate shows that the Warmists are quite willing to engage in fraud in order to bring about such an inquisition. Concerned: yes. Afraid: no.

Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?

No, all “mainstream climate scientists” are unpaid volunteers. (/Sarcasm).

Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

Yes, Professor Nordhaus, more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial…

The Little Ice Age was quite possibly the coldest part of the Holocene since the 8.2 KYA Cooling Event…

The climate has oscillated between warming and cooling throughout the Holocene with a period of ~1,000 years, with an underlying secular cooling trend. This millennial-scale cycle is clearly present in the Greenland ice cores…

The millennial-scale cycle is also painfully obvious in non-hockey stick climate reconstructions…

The polynomial trend line simulates a Gaussian filter. It is not intended to be predictive of the magnitude of future climate changes. Its purpose is to highlight the cyclical nature of the climate reconstruction.

If “more carbon dioxide and additional warming” prevent the next “Little Ice Age” from being as cold as the last “Little Ice Age,” it will be very beneficial. If it slows our inevitable transition into the next Quaternary glacial stage by a few hundred years, it will be very beneficial. Although, elevated CO2 levels didn’t make much difference in the Eemian. If CO2 was such a potent forcing mechanism, this shouldn’t be possible…

Sangamonian CO2 levels didn’t start falling (and possibly kept rising) until the cooling into the most recent glaciation had progressed 20,000 years.

The models can’t account for any of the observed cyclicity using only solar forcing. So they assume that CO2 forcing must be about 3-6 times greater than the instrumental data suggest. Funny thing: recent papers have concluded that solar forcing has been underestimated by a factor of six and CO2 forcing is much lower than the so-called consensus estimate.

As promised: A plant stomata treatise!

The so-called consensus will continue overestimating CO2 forcing until they accept the fact that ice core temperature estimates are at least an order of magnitude of higher resolution than ice core CO2 estimates. The ever-growing volume of peer-reviewed research on the relationship between plant stomata and CO2 will eventually force a paradigm shift.

Wagner et al., 1999. Century-Scale Shifts in Early Holocene Atmospheric CO2 Concentration. Science 18 June 1999: Vol. 284 no. 5422 pp. 1971-1973…

In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.

[…]

Most of the Holocene ice core records from Antarctica do not have adequate temporal resolution.

[…]

Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that were .300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception.

The ice cores cannot resolve CO2 shifts that occur over periods of time shorter than twice the bubble enclosure period. This is basic signal theory. The assertion of a stable pre-industrial 270-280 ppmv is flat-out wrong.

McElwain et al., 2001. Stomatal evidence for a decline in atmospheric CO2 concentration during the Younger Dryas stadial: a comparison with Antarctic ice core records. J. Quaternary Sci., Vol. 17 pp. 21–29. ISSN 0267-8179…

It is possible that a number of the short-term fluctuations recorded using the stomatal methods cannot be detected in ice cores, such as Dome Concordia, with low ice accumulation rates. According to Neftel et al. (1988), CO2 fluctuation with a duration of less than twice the bubble enclosure time (equivalent to approximately 134 calendar yr in the case of Byrd ice and up to 550 calendar yr in Dome Concordia) cannot be detected in the ice or reconstructed by deconvolution.

Not even the highest resolution ice cores, like Law Dome, have adequate resolution to correctly image the MLO instrumental record.

Kouwenberg et al., 2005. Atmospheric CO2 fluctuations during the last millennium reconstructed by stomatal frequency analysis o fTsuga heterophylla needles . Geology; January 2005; v. 33; no. 1; p. 33–36…

The discrepancies between the ice-core and stomatal reconstructions may partially be explained by varying age distributions of the air in the bubbles because of the enclosure time in the firn-ice transition zone. This effect creates a site-specific smoothing of the signal (decades for Dome Summit South [DSS], Law Dome, even more for ice cores at low accumulation sites), as well as a difference in age between the air and surrounding ice, hampering the construction of well-constrained time scales (Trudinger et al., 2003).

Stomatal reconstructions are reproducible over at least the Northern Hemisphere, throughout the Holocene and consistently demonstrate that the pre-industrial natural carbon flux was far more variable than indicated by the ice cores.

Wagner et al., 2004. Reproducibility of Holocene atmospheric CO2 records based on stomatal frequency. Quaternary Science Reviews. 23 (2004) 1947–1954…

The majority of the stomatal frequency-based estimates of CO 2 for the Holocene do not support the widely accepted concept of comparably stable CO2 concentrations throughout the past 11,500 years. To address the critique that these stomatal frequency variations result from local environmental change or methodological insufficiencies, multiple stomatal frequency records were compared for three climatic key periods during the Holocene, namely the Preboreal oscillation, the 8.2 kyr cooling event and the Little Ice Age. The highly comparable fluctuations in the paleo-atmospheric CO2 records, which were obtained from different continents and plant species (deciduous angiosperms as well as conifers) using varying calibration approaches, provide strong evidence for the integrity of leaf-based CO2 quantification.

The Antarctic ice cores lack adequate resolution because the firn densification process acts like a low-pass filter.

Van Hoof et al., 2005. Atmospheric CO2 during the 13th century AD: reconciliation of data from ice core measurements and stomatal frequency analysis. Tellus 57B (2005), 4…

AtmosphericCO2 reconstructions are currently available from direct measurements of air enclosures in Antarctic ice and, alternatively, from stomatal frequency analysis performed on fossil leaves. A period where both methods consistently provide evidence for natural CO2 changes is during the 13th century AD. The results of the two independent methods differ significantly in the amplitude of the estimated CO2 changes (10 ppmv ice versus 34 ppmv stomatal frequency). Here, we compare the stomatal frequency and ice core results by using a firn diffusion model in order to assess the potential influence of smoothing during enclosure on the temporal resolution as well as the amplitude of the CO2 changes. The seemingly large discrepancies between the amplitudes estimated by the contrasting methods diminish when the raw stomatal data are smoothed in an analogous way to the natural smoothing which occurs in the firn.

The derivation of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) to atmospheric CO2 is largely based on Antarctic ice cores. The problem is that the temperature estimates are based on oxygen isotope ratios in the ice itself; while the CO2 estimates are based on gas bubbles trapped in the ice.

The temperature data are of very high resolution. The oxygen isotope ratios are functions of the temperature at the time of snow deposition. The CO2 data are of very low and variable resolution because it takes decades to centuries for the gas bubbles to form. The CO2 values from the ice cores represent average values over many decades to centuries. The temperature values have annual to decadal resolution.

The highest resolution Antarctic ice core is the DE08 core from Law Dome.

Law Dome DE08 Ice Core: Reconstruction of 1969 AD depositional layer. Modified after Fischer, H. A Short Primer on Ice Core Science. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern.

The IPCC and so-called scientific consensus assume that it can resolve annual changes in CO2. But it can’t. Each CO2 value represents a roughly 30-yr average and not an annual value.

If you smooth the Mauna Loa instrumental record (red curve) and plant stomata-derived pre-instrumental CO2 (green curve) with a 30-yr filter, they tie into the Law Dome DE08 ice core (light blue curve) quite nicely…

The deeper DSS core (dark blue curve)has a much lower temporal resolution due to its much lower accumulation rate and compaction effects. It is totally useless in resolving century scale shifts, much less decadal shifts.

The IPCC and so-called scientific consensus correctly assume that resolution is dictated by the bubble enclosure period. However, they are incorrect in limiting the bubble enclosure period to the sealing zone. In the case of the core DE08 they assume that they are looking at a signal with a 1 cycle/1 yr frequency, sampled once every 8-10 years. The actual signal has a 1 cycle/30-40 yr frequency, sampled once every 8-10 years.

30-40 ppmv shifts in CO2 over periods less than ~60 years cannot be accurately resolved in the DE08 core. That’s dictated by basic signal theory. Wagner et al., 1999 drew a very hostile response from the so-called scientific consensus. All Dr. Wagner-Cremer did to them, was to falsify one little hypothesis…

In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.

[…]

Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2concentrations that were >300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception (⁠23⁠).

I merged the data from six peer-reviewed papers on stomata-derived CO2 to build this Holocene reconstruction…

Northern Sweden (Finsinger et al., 2009), Northern Spain (Garcia-Amorena, 2008), Southern Sweden (Jessen, 2005), Washington State USA (Kouwenberg, 2004), Netherlands (Wagner et al., 1999), Denmark (Wagner et al., 2002).

The plant stomata pretty well prove that Holocene CO2 levels have frequently been in the 300-350 ppmv range and occasionally above 400 ppmv over the last 10,000 years.

The incorrect estimation of a 3°C ECS to CO2 is almost entirely driven the assumption that preindustrial CO2 levels were in the 270-280 ppmv range, as indicated by the Antarctic ice cores.

The plant stomata data clearly show that preindustrial atmospheric CO2 levels were much higher and far more variable than indicated by Antarctic ice cores. Which means that the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the 1800’s is not particularly anomalous and at least half of it is due to oceanic and biosphere responses to the warm-up from the Little Ice Age.

Kouwenberg concluded that the CO2 maximum ca. 450 AD was a local anomaly because it could not be correlated to a temperature rise in the Mann & Jones, 2003 reconstruction.

As the Earth’s climate continues to not cooperate with their models, the so-called consensus will eventually recognize and acknowledge their fundamental error. Hopefully we won’t have allowed decarbonization zealotry to bankrupt us beforehand.

Until the paradigm shifts, all estimates of the pre-industrial relationship between atmospheric CO2 and temperature derived from Antarctic ice cores will be wrong… Because the ice core temperature and CO2 time series are of vastly different resolutions. And until the “so-called consensus” gets the signal processing right, Professor Nordhaus will continue to get it wrong.

References

Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226.

Davis, J. C. and G. C. Bohling. The search for patterns in ice-core temperature curves. 2001. Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change, AAPG Studies in Geology No. 47, Gerhard, L.C., W.E. Harrison,and B.M. Hanson.

Finsinger, W. and F. Wagner-Cremer. Stomatal-based inference models for reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 concentration: a method assessment using a calibration and validation approach. The Holocene 19,5 (2009) pp. 757–764

Fischer, H. A Short Primer on Ice Core Science. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern.

Garcıa-Amorena, I., F. Wagner-Cremer, F. Gomez Manzaneque, T. B. van Hoof, S. Garcıa Alvarez, and H. Visscher. 2008. CO2 radiative forcing during the Holocene Thermal Maximum revealed by stomatal frequency of Iberian oak leaves. Biogeosciences Discussions 5, 3945–3964, 2008.

Jessen, C. A., Rundgren, M., Bjorck, S. and Hammarlund, D. 2005. Abrupt climatic changes and an unstable transition into a late Holocene Thermal Decline: a multiproxy lacustrine record from southern Sweden. J. Quaternary Sci., Vol. 20 pp. 349–362. ISSN 0267-8179.

Kaufmann, R. K., H. Kauppi, M. L. Mann, and J. H. Stock (2011), Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS 2011 : 1102467108v1-4.

Kouwenberg, LLR. 2004. Application of conifer needles in the reconstruction of Holocene CO2 levels. PhD Thesis. Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, University of Utrecht.

Kouwenberg, LLR, Wagner F, Kurschner WM, Visscher H (2005) Atmospheric CO2 fluctuations during the last millennium reconstructed by stomatal frequency analysis of Tsuga heterophylla needles. Geology 33:33–36

Ljungqvist, F.C.2009. Temperature proxy records covering the last two millennia: a tabular and visual overview. Geografiska Annaler: Physical Geography, Vol. 91A, pp. 11-29.

Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010. A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere during the last two millennia. Geografiska Annaler: Physical Geography, Vol. 92 A(3), pp. 339-351, September 2010. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0459.2010.00399.x

Mann, M.E., Z. Zhang, M.K. Hughes, R.S. Bradley, S.K. Miller, S. Rutherford, and F. Ni. 2008. Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 105, No. 36, September 9, 2008. doi:10.1073/pnas.0805721105

McElwain et al., 2001. Stomatal evidence for a decline in atmospheric CO2 concentration during the Younger Dryas stadial: a comparison with Antarctic ice core records. J. Quaternary Sci., Vol. 17 pp. 21–29. ISSN 0267-8179

Rundgren et al., 2005. Last interglacial atmospheric CO2 changes from stomatal index data and their relation to climate variations. Global and Planetary Change 49 (2005) 47–62.

Van Hoof et al., 2005. Atmospheric CO2 during the 13th century AD: reconciliation of data from ice core measurements and stomatal frequency analysis. Tellus 57B (2005), 4

Wagner F, et al., 1999. Century-scale shifts in Early Holocene CO2 concentration. Science 284:1971–1973.

Wagner F, Aaby B, Visscher H, 2002. Rapid atmospheric CO2 changes associated with the 8200-years-B.P. cooling event. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:12011–12014.

Wagner F, Kouwenberg LLR, van Hoof TB, Visscher H, 2004. Reproducibility of Holocene atmospheric CO2 records based on stomatal frequency. Quat Sci Rev 23:1947–1954

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115 thoughts on “Why William D. Nordhaus Is Wrong About Global Warming Skeptics Being Wrong…

  1. Plenty of good arguements here.
    It would be helpful to read a counterpoint from another geoscientist who believes Middleton to be on the wrong track.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  2. Colder, Warmer, Colder, Warmer, to the 1,000,000,000 power and ever forward the same.

    Before man, the same .

    It is not all about you.

    Get over yourselfs.

  3. Kurt in Switzerland says:
    March 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm
    “Plenty of good arguements here.
    It would be helpful to read a counterpoint from another geoscientist who believes Middleton to be on the wrong track.”

    They’re currently out of stock.

  4. Once again, can some warmer provide actual, real, evidence that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous warming?

    Thanks
    JK

  5. Norhaus on greenhouse. Oh goody. I love it when economists muse about things beyond their own fuzzy discipline.

    I can see why he might believe in the CAGW projections as not so long ago so many ‘top economists’ thought the price of US real estate was on a similar ‘no place to go but up’ trajectory. And others now are doing miraculous work on employment statistics.

    Excellent rebuttal Mr. Middleton.

  6. Dirk:
    Andy Revkin (New York Times Dot Earth opinion blog) interviewed a Geoscientist named Lovell, who had his own epiphanous moment after reading a paper from 1999 (unfortunately paywalled). Anyway, Lovell, who is also president of a UK Geological Society, is convinced that current anthropogenic carbon emissions are unsafe (based on what such a rapid increase in the past did to temperature, ocean pH, and so on…He also is a believer in CCS.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  7. William D. Nordhaus proposals to counter rising CO2 would cost the world trillions of lost GDP.

    This would result in massive starvation, which is what the AGW folks propose as one solution is it not?

  8. Professor Nordhaus doesn’t seem to understand that the global mean temperature graph he presents does not support his case.

    The temperature graph is only “consistent with” CAGW from circa 1980-1998. It’s not consistent with the time periods 1940-1980. It’s not consistent with 1998-2012. The warming from circa 1920-1950 is on a similar scale to that of 1980-1998 yet we are told that part of the warming cycle was primarily natural. In fact, the climate models have difficulties with explaining all of these other time periods without introducing other factors and variables. In fact, they only work ‘well’ for a 20 year time window.

    Here is the best way to look at the situation on the correct scale:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/compress:12/offset:14/plot/gistemp/compress:12/offset:13.885/detrend:-0.02/plot/hadcrut3vgl/trend/offset:-0.42/detrend:-0.23/offset:14/plot/hadcrut3vgl/trend/offset:14.1/detrend:-0.23/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:17/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1880/to:2010/trend/offset:14/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:9

    The question then becomes, looking at global temperatures from 1840 until today, do we observe anything unusual happening recently?

  9. The extreme AGW paradigm is based on fibs, on white lies. It is difficult to imagine any intelligent person supporting the extreme AGW paradigm based on observation of current temperature changes vs CO2 changes and satellite analysis of top of the atmosphere radiation vs planetary temperature changes. The term “white lies” is used as it seems those making the extreme AGW paradigm statements must know that the statements that are being made are incorrect.

    Planetary temperature Vs CO2 increases does not support the extreme AGW paradigm.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/uah/plot/uah/to:1995/trend/plot/uah/from:1994/to:1999/trend/plot/uah/from:1998/trend

    The IPCC extreme warming paradigm requires positive feedback to amplify the CO2 warming. Satellite measurement of top of the atmosphere radiation changes vs planetary temperature changes clearly shows planetary cloud cover increases to resist forcing changes. Feedback is therefore negative (resists) as opposed to positive (amplifies).

    The warming due to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide will be less than 1C with most of the warming occurring at high latitudes which will and has caused the biosphere to expand. Global warming increases the extent of the biosphere.

    http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/236-Lindzen-Choi-2011.pdf

    On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications

    We estimate climate sensitivity from observations, using the deseasonalized fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the concurrent fluctuations in the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) outgoing radiation from the ERBE (1985-1999) and CERES (2000-2008) satellite instruments. Distinct periods of warming and cooling in the SSTs were used to evaluate feedbacks. An earlier study (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) was subject to significant criticisms. The present paper is an expansion of the earlier paper where the various criticisms are taken into account. The present analysis accounts for the 72 day precession period for the ERBE satellite in a more appropriate manner than in the earlier paper. We develop a method to distinguish noise in the outgoing radiation as well as radiation changes that are forcing SST changes from those radiation changes that constitute feedbacks to changes in SST. We demonstrate that our new method does moderately well in distinguishing positive from negative feedbacks and in quantifying negative feedbacks. In contrast, we show that simple regression methods used by several existing papers generally exaggerate positive feedbacks and even show positive feedbacks when actual feedbacks are negative. We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics, and the tropical feedbacks can be adjusted to account for their impact on the globe as a whole. Indeed, we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. The results imply that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity.

    One must turn off logic and reason to support the extreme AGW paradigm. Plants eat CO2. Plants thrive when CO2 levels are increased from 0.0280% to 0.0560%. That is a fact, not a theory.

    http://www.advancegreenhouses.com/use_of_co2_in_a_greenhouse.htm

    Carbon dioxide is one of the essential ingredients in green plant growth and is a primary environmental factor in greenhouses. CO2 enrichment at 2, 3 or four times natural concentration will cause plants to grow faster and improve plant will quality. Carbon dioxide is an odorless gas and a minor constituent in the air we breathe. It comprises only .03% [ 300 parts per million, or PPM] of the atmosphere, but is virtually important to all life on this planet!
    Plants are made up of about 90% carbon and water with other elements like nitrogen calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and trace elements making up only a small percentage. Almost all the carbon in plants comes from this minor 300 ppm of carbon dioxide in the air.
    The reason you will get more rapid and efficient growth and better plant quality with a higher CO2 level is because plants must absorb CO2 in combination with water, soil nutrients and sunlight which produces sugars which are vital for growth. If any of these elements are missing or low, plant growth will be retarded. When CO2 is increased to over 1000 ppm it results in higher production and plant quality.

    When atmospheric CO2 increases plants reduce the number of stomata on their leaves to reduce the amount of water loss due to evaporation.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html

    The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers). Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences. The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.
    In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.

  10. “• Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?”

    ????? Fear for the skeptics? From the skeptics? What does this mean to mean?

  11. Kurt in Switzerland

    Maybe Revkin and Lovell should read all the papers cited by Middleton post 1999, and see if they still disagree. That’s the way science works, isn’t it: new data that either corroborates that which came before and supports previous conclusions or that shows something different and thus provides reasons to question previous “certitudes” and conclusions.
    Unfortunately, willfully disregarding inconvenient new data is part and parcel of the dogmatic “consensus says the matter is settled” approach to climate “science” for the past couple of decades.

  12. Kurt in Switzerland says:
    March 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    It would be helpful to read a counterpoint…

    One criticism that has been made by warmists is that we cherry pick starting and ending times. And by starting at an El Nino peak in 1998 and ending in a La Nina trough today it certainly looks that way. However a stronger case could have been made by going back earlier. For example using RSS, the line is straight as far back as December 1996 or 15 years and 2 months. (slope = -9.04377e-05 per year) Yet this does not include their February anomaly which is sure to add several more months to the lack of warming. Note the red line at the site below starts in a trough and ends in a trough. (By the way, even without the January numbers, Hadcrut3 shows no warming since March 1997. The sea surface does have the January anomaly and goes back to February 1997 without warming.)

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1996.92/trend/plot/rss/from:1990

  13. Skeptics Are Wrong because they are not in power.

    Censorship comes to Australia
    Saturday, 3 March 2012

    Mr. Ray Finkelstein QC, a left-wing former Federal Court Judge with no media experience, at the request of the Gillard Government, issued a 400 page report which calls for a Big Brother Super-Regulator to ‘regulate’ political speech and – among other things – impose new laws with the power to stop climate change realists from speaking up.

    The size and scope of the proposed Super-Regulator is breathtaking. They will have the power to impose a “code of ethics”, force you to print views you don’t agree with as part of a ‘right of reply’, take you to court, and even make you take pieces down! Even personal blogs that get only 40 hits a day will be covered! To make matters worse, the SuperRegulator “would not have to give reasons for its decisions” and the decisions “would not be subject to appeal.” Even climate change websites in other countries like Watt’s Up With That will be covered by this!

  14. Not to put too fine a point on it, but how many times does someone need to establish that there was a little ice age, and medieval warm period, etc.? It’s getting boring.

  15. For more on CO2 see the paper by Jaworowski and paricularly the fig in there from and references to Becks 2007

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/zjmar07.pdf

    These papers emphasise again the appalling quality of the basic IPCC science which relies so heavily on their assumptions re past CO2 , the non science of dendrothermometry a la Mann and their hopelessly flawed GCMs which simply assumed the answer they wanted to find in their basic input structures.
    The problem now is to somehow overcome the vast momentum built up by the climate- academic political-industrial complex based on this great pile of codswallop.

  16. The figure below shows data from 1880 to 2011 on global mean temperature averaged from three different sources.

    Ahhhhh, but that’s a problem. Global temps have been rising from 1880 onwards. During the Holocene (~11,000) we have had higher temperatures that the Modern Warm Period (Minoan, Roman). What is the economist professors point? (I will not be relying on him for any market tips).

    By the way that ice picture up top looks like it’s infiltrated with soot.

  17. The professional CAGW merchants are still seeking gain. But their ability to discredit their opponents since Climategate I & II has significantly weakened.

    Also blogs like WUWT and publications like the 16 in the WSJ are making a pronounced impact upon others to recognize the CAGW scam.

    Thanks Anthony for laying everything out on the table for all to see and openly discuss. I think many are will continue to be attracted to sites like yours and see earth’s climate variables put into proper perspective.

  18. Kurt in Switzerland says:
    March 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    “He also is a believer in CCS.”

    Good for him! I’ll bet his mom is proud!

  19. Now I thought an economist would have a good grasp of supply and demand, but William D. Nordhaus must not have studied the commodities market very much. Bad harvests because of cold weather during the growing season drives prices for commodities such as wheat and corn up, which in turn drives food prices up. This is not a good thing for those of us who require food to survive. Warm weather during the growing season leads to good harvests and lower prices. Now given a choice, the majority of mankind would prefer plentiful food supplies. By the way, currently the price of orange juice is very high because of the cold experienced in the south this year.

  20. Carbon dioxide is a pollutant. It is a toxin. That’ why greenhouse growers pump in 1,000 ppm in order to kill there vegetables and make an obvious loss.

  21. “… market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change”

    ###
    Nice bit of Marxist double speak.

  22. Further to my last comment

    For the majority of greenhouse crops, net photosynthesis increases as CO2 levels increase from 340–1,000 ppm (parts per million). Most crops show that for any given level of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), increasing the CO2 level to 1,000 ppm will increase the photosynthesis by about 50%

    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

    But Al Gore, the botanist theologian (who got rich on Occidental oil), has told us that co2 is a toxin. What is a Mann supposed to do? I am confused. Please help me out William Nordhaus. I need your ECONOMIC opinions on climate (not). Go fiddle a stock market model predictor.

  23. Economists should focus on improving their track record of prediction in the field of economics rather than pontificating on fields requiring a knowledge of physics.

  24. I’d like to take issue with the WfT graph showing BEST land temperature data that is introduced under the heading: “There has been no global warming for more than a decade. To paraphrase Paul Revere, “None if by land”…http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/best/from:2002/plot/best/from:2002/trend

    First, this graph does not in fact span a decade (it runs from Jan 2002 to May 2010 – which is less than 8 1/2 years). Secondly, the last two values, April and May 2010, are anomalous to the rest of the data. They are rated as highly uncertain by BEST’s own analysis and they are not replicated in any other surface temperature record, including UAH. They should be considered as outliers and excluded from the series.

    This leaves us with the last 10 years of reliable BEST data running from Apr 2000-Mar 2010, and gives the following chart: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best/from:2000.25/to:2010.17/plot/best/from:2000.25/to:2010.17/trend, which shows land surface warming of 0.26 C per decade over that period.

    Any chance of a correction?

  25. Nordhaus proffers the question Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial? but then he fails to answer it.

    What he discusses is the “economic efficiency” of “abatement of CO2 emissions”. He does not mention, much less discuss, the benefits of additional warming. These include longer growing seasons, more rainfall, larger crops, fewer crop failures, more agricultural efficiency, cheaper food, reduced starvation and malnutrition, more bio-productivity, more biodiversity, healthier wildlife populations, more fish, more oceanic productivity, more oceanic biodiversity, lower energy demand, fewer deaths from extreme cold, fewer cyclonic storms, etc etc etc.

    Instead Nordhaus brings up that old hysterical crazy talk, “runaway warming”. That’s Hansen’s “Venus Effect”, the tipping point argument, that the seas will boil, indeed are going to boil because the Earth is already 5, 10, 20 years past the point of no return.

    Sorry doctor, your nutball theory of “the end of life on Planet Earth” is complete and utter nonsense. Nobody but extreme lunatics believe that claptrap, that scientific absurdity, that irrational Thermageddon theory anymore.

    Garbage in, garbage out. I don’t care how sterling Nordhaus’ credentials are. He is winging away out in scifi crazy land.

    Walter, Warmer Is Better. The planet could warm up 10° C and life would abound because of it. The seas are NOT going to boil. Calm your paranoid self. Try this exercise: actually do the economic analysis, fairly and straightforwardly, of global warming without the ridiculous Venus Effect prediction. I think you will find that warming the Earth is fantastically profitable for mankind and wonderfully beneficial for Life As We Know It.

  26. Has William D. Nordhaus received funding from US government / agency global warming funds???

    Economics (the inexact science) is a good match for Warmist climate scientists. Go Nordhaus! Please give us more economical truths about the climate. ;>)

  27. “The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe”.

    There is no threat of climate change. The climate is changing. The climate has always changed. The climate always will change. Adapt or die.

  28. So, essentially, the global average temperature was:

    About 14.5 degress C, 5000 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, 4000 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, 3000 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, 2000 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, 1000 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, 500 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, 100 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, 50 years ago.
    About 14.5 degrees C, yesterday.

    Probability then dictates that in the year 2100 the global average temperature will be about the same as it will be in 2050:

    About 14.5 degrees C, or about like yesterday’s global average temperature.

    And for that they want to waste trillions of taxpayers’ euros and dollars to save us all from.

    And they wonder why people think they’re so full of themself. :p

  29. @DWR54

    There has been no global warming for more than a decade. Next time you visit your local library, ask to see a globe. Then take note of the fact that close to 70% of the surface area of the globe is covered by seas. Global actually includes the oceans.

  30. DWR54 says:
    March 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Any chance of a correction?

    I agree with all you have said. What should have been done was take the crutem land value for the last 10 years. See the results below. As for the bad months on BEST, see what happened on crutem since April, 2010. So my guess is that once we do get all corrections from BEST and when the data is right up to date, it will in fact show extremely little change for the last 10 years.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/crutem3vgl/from:1995/to:2013/plot/crutem3vgl/from:2002/trend/plot/crutem3vgl/from:2010.25/trend

    #Selected data from 2002
    #Least squares trend line; slope = -0.00718612 per year

    #Selected data from 2010.25
    #Least squares trend line; slope = -0.0885662 per year

  31. Well to be honest until you Amerians learn how to spell skeptics correctly, you are pissing against the wind. It is sceptics. :)

  32. This novel fuel cell technology uses liquid methanol as a fuel to produce electrical energy, and does not require any fuel processing. Pure water and carbon dioxide are the only byproducts of the fuel cell, and no pollutants are emitted.

    Hahaha. Something from NASA I can finally agree with. The last time was in 1969. “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap…”

    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/onesmall.asp

    Wait…

  33. Not really surprising, since economists are accustomed to working with a set of assumptions and models that are even worse than the warmist assumptions and models.

    At least the warmists start from a single-piece theory about CO2 that works in isolation, if you’re examining nothing but CO2 in an extremely narrow lab environment. After that, everything is intentionally wrong.

    Modern economists start with a set of assumptions that have absolutely zero connection with the way humans work and exchange value. Every one of the assumptions is instantly recognizable as wrong.

  34. Whereas Ice Core CO_2 measures may suffer from inadequate resolution, stomata measures of CO_2 levels have their own problems. In particular stomata measure the CO_2 levels in places where the plants grow.

    It seems like an obvious thing to note, but we simply don’t measure CO_2 levels today in places where plants grow. Why not? Because the CO_2 level in places where plants grow fluctuates so wildly and is influenced by so many different factors that it is almost impossible to obtain any kind of meaningful signal.

  35. There is currently a difference in approach to climate science between the sceptical Baconian – empirical appraoch solidly based on data and the Platonic IPCC approach – based on theoretical assumptions built into climate models.The question arises from the recent Muller – BEST furore -What is the best metric for a global measure of and for discussion of global warming or cooling. For some years I have suggested in various web comments and on my blog that the Hadley Sea Surface Temperature data is the best metric for the following reasons . (Anyone can check this data for themselves – Google Hadley Cru — scroll down to SST GL and check the annual numbers.)
    1. Oceans cover about 70% of the surface.
    2. Because of the thermal inertia of water – short term noise is smoothed out.
    3. All the questions re UHI, changes in land use local topographic effects etc are simply sidestepped.
    4. Perhaps most importantly – what we really need to measure is the enthalpy of the system – the land measurements do not capture this aspect because the relative humidity at the time of temperature measurement is ignored. In water the temperature changes are a good measure of relative enthalpy changes.
    5. It is very clear that the most direct means to short term and decadal length predictions is through the study of the interactions of the atmospheric sytems ,ocean currents and temperature regimes – PDO ,ENSO. SOI AMO AO etc etc. and the SST is a major measure of these systems.Certainly the SST data has its own problems but these are much less than those of the land data.

    What does the SST data show? The 5 year moving SST temperature average shows that the warming trend peaked in 2003 and a simple regression analysis shows an eight year global SST cooling trend since then .The data shows warming from 1900 – 1940 ,cooling from 1940 to about 1975 and warming from 1975 – 2003. CO2 levels rose monotonically during this entire period.There has been no net warming since 1997 – 15 years with CO2 up 7.9% and no net warming. Anthropogenic CO2 has some effect but our knowledge of the natural drivers is still so poor that we cannot accurately estimate what the anthropogenic CO2 contribution is. Since 2003 CO2 has risen further and yet the global temperature trend is negative. This is obviously a short term on which to base predictions but all statistical analyses of particular time series must be interpreted in conjunction with other ongoing events and in the context of declining solar magnetic field strength and activity – to the extent of a possible Dalton or Maunder minimum and the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal a global 20 – 30 year cooling spell is more likely than a warming trend.

    It is clear that the IPCC models , on which AL Gore based his entire anti CO2 scare campaign ,have been wrongly framed. and their predictions have failed completely.This paradigm was never well founded ,but ,in recent years, the entire basis for the Climate and Temperature trends and predictions of dangerous warming in the 2007 IPCC Ar4 Summary for Policy Makers has been destroyed. First – this Summary is inconsistent with the AR4 WG1 Science section. It should be noted that the Summary was published before the WG1 report and the editors of the Summary , incredibly ,asked the authors of the Science report to make their reports conform to the Summary rather than the other way around. When this was not done the Science section was simply ignored..
    I give one egregious example – there are many others.Most of the predicted disasters are based on climate models.Even the Modelers themselves say that they do not make predictions . The models produce projections or scenarios which are no more accurate than the assumptions,algorithms and data , often of poor quality,which were put into them. In reality they are no more than expensive drafting tools to produce power point slides to illustrate the ideas and prejudices of their creators. The IPCC science section AR4 WG1 section 8.6.4 deals with the reliability of the climate models .This IPCC science section on models itself concludes:

    “Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining the future projections,consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed”

    What could be clearer. The IPCC itself says that we don’t even know what metrics to put into the models to test their reliability.- i.e. we don’t know what future temperatures will be and we can’t yet calculate the climate sensitivity to anthropogenic CO2.This also begs a further question of what mere assumptions went into the “plausible” models to be tested anyway. Nevertheless this statement was ignored by the editors who produced the Summary. Here predictions of disaster were illegitimately given “with high confidence.” in complete contradiction to several sections of the WG1 science section where uncertainties and error bars were discussed.

    A key part of the AGW paradigm is that recent warming is unprecedented and can only be explained by anthropogenic CO2. This is the basic message of the iconic “hockey stick ” However hundreds of published papers show that the Medieval warming period and the Roman climatic optimum were warmer than the present. The infamous “hide the decline ” quote from the Climategate Emails is so important. not so much because of its effect on one graph but because it shows that the entire basis if dendrothermometry is highly suspect. A complete referenced discussion of the issues involved can be found in “The Hockey Stick Illusion – Climategate and the Corruption of science ” by AW Montford.

    Temperature reconstructions based on tree ring proxies are a total waste of time and money and cannot be relied on.
    There is no evident empirical correlation between CO2 levels and temperature, In all cases CO2 changes follow temperature changes not vice versa.It has always been clear that the sun is the main climate driver. One new paper ” Empirical Evidence for a Celestial origin of the Climate Oscillations and its implications “by Scafetta from Duke University casts new light on this. http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/scafetta-JSTP2.pdf Humidity, and natural CO2 levels are solar feedback effects not prime drivers. Recent experiments at CERN have shown the possible powerful influence of cosmic rays on clouds and climate.
    Solar Cycle 24 will peak in a year or two thus masking the cooling to some extent, but from 2014 on, the cooling trend will become so obvious that the IPCC will be unable to continue ignoring the real world – even now Hansen and Trenberth are desperately seeking ad hoc fixes to locate the missing heat

  36. Zac says:
    March 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Well to be honest until you Amerians learn how to spell skeptics correctly, you are pissing against the wind. It is sceptics. :)

    As soon as the Brits lean how to pronounce “saw” ;)

  37. Nordhaus’s ‘rebuttal’ would be better if he posited it without riddling it with logical fallacies:

    Strawmen.

    Yes the Earth has warmed but that’s not the question is it? He has to demonstrate (a) that the warming is consistent with climate model predictions, (b) that it’s anthropogenic in origin and (c) that it’s outside the range of natural variability. He fails to address any of these points, much less one of them.

    Argument from ignorance.

    Only CO2 can explain the warming circa 1980-1998. That’s little better than asserting that a light in the sky was a UFO because we ruled out the moon and aircraft. (I really am surprised that this dumb an argument gets repeated over and over again. Of course, certain ‘sceptics’ make an equally silly argument by asserting there is too little CO2 in the atmosphere to influence the Earth’s temperature. Without supporting evidence, this is referred to as an argument from personal incredulity. However, since he takes it upon himself to ‘correct the ignorant’ he should not be asserting claims that are equally ignorant.)

    Begging the question.

    There is little point in discussing impacts and remedies if you haven’t yet put forward a coherent case.

    Non sequiturs.

    Pointing out that CO2 is emitted into the air, therefore by definition it’s pollution? Can anyone follow the logic there?

    Unless you’re prepared to address the sceptical case, not evade it, then you’re engaging in political rhetoric and not scientific debate.

  38. NYT Review of Books

    Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 32,068

    Traffic Rank in US: 9,717
    _____

    WUWT

    Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 16,661

    Traffic Rank in US: 7,336
    _____

    So the probability is that the critique of the Nordhaus article will be more widely read than the original.

  39. Really good article David. Lots to digest. The pro-AGW people cannot be objective enough to see it of course.

  40. David Middleton wrote:

    “Global actually includes the oceans.”

    I’m not disputing that BEST gives land surface data only. In fact the graph is introduced by the author in the following terms: ““None if by land”…” thus signifying that it is indeed land surface temperatures that he is intending to represent.

    What I’m questioning is the use of this graph given the context of its introduction: “There has been no global warming for more than a decade… “None if by land”…” If he wants to show the last ten years (actually *more* than ten years, since the author states “more than a decade”) land surface temperatures then why does *he* use a chart showing less than 8-1/2 years of this data?

    Even ignoring the unreliable data points for April and May 2010, the chart *he* uses as a reference for his claim of “no warming for more than a decade” is not relevant.

  41. Werner Brozek:

    As an alternative to 8-1/2 years of BEST data ending in May 2010, the author could also have used the UAH land surface data for the last 10 years, form February 2002 – Jan 2012. Since Dr Spencer is a frequent guest on this blog I thought this might be appropriate?

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah-land/from:2002.08/plot/uah-land/from:2002.08/trend

    That graph shows that the warming trend in global land surface temperatures over the past 10 years according to UAH is currently +0.15 C/decade.

  42. Well done, Dave!

    I would point out in the Lundqvist vs Mann curves something to throw back at the warmists:

    About the downturn/non-warming/cooling of late, the warmistas tell us, “15 years is too short of a time to draw any conclusions.” Yet the warming of the 1990s is still shoved in our faces, time after time, even though that was a shorter time period than the downturn since then.

    Even if we don’t use the Lunqvist-vs-Mann 3-year, post 1995, period as the difference, even if we use the entire decade, it isn’t as long as 15 years. (I got an “A” in 1st grade for knowing that 15 was bigger than 10…LOL)

    Steve Garcia

  43. All Dr. Wagner-Cremer did to them, was to falsify one little hypothesis…

    In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.

    Far out. This aligns with Slocum 1955 (http://tiny.cc/soubs), which re-assessed the Callendar 1938 (http://tiny.cc/g63qo – paywalled) value of 290 ppm for the 19th century. Slocum arrived at a value of 335 – from the same data – simply by not cherry-picking the data.

    The plant stomata graph also shows a LOT of CE 1000-2000 values above 300 ppm, with 12 values above 350 ppm.

    This “old” CO2 level is very important, not because the recent CO2 values are higher than past values, but because the higher “old” values means the increase isn’t 290>390 ppm, but 335>390 ppm, which percentage-wise is a LOT less of an increase – meaning less alarmism is required, and as far as can be seen from the jumps in the plant stomata graph, such 55 (and more) ppm jumps are apparently common.

    I’d love to see the error bands on that graph, too.

    But also, the one thing people throw in my face is the ice cores, the 270-280 ppm values that Dave mentions for pre-industrial CO2. I am VERY happy to see his bringing this into it, showing that ice cores aren’t the last word, just one voice in the crowd.

    Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution…

    …Most of the Holocene ice core records from Antarctica do not have adequate temporal resolution…

    …Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that were .300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception.

    Now 270-280 ppm vs 335 ppm is a really BIG discontinuity for readings of a time only a bit over 100 years ago. I agree with Dave, when he says,

    The plant stomata pretty well prove that Holocene CO2 levels have frequently been in the 300-350 ppmv range and occasionally above 400 ppmv over the last 10,000 years.

    Steve Garcia

  44. Norman Page says:
    March 3, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Sea Surface Temperature data is the best metric for the following reasons
    ____________________________________________________

    There is a sound logical argument for weighting sea surface temperatures in accord with the thermal energy content of the oceans (~94%) compared with land surfaces (~6%.) because this takes into account what i will call the “thermal inertia” of each.

    So, if you have a measurement which weights land by 30%, give that measurement a 20% rating (20% of 30% = 6%) in order to get the land component, and weight the ocean-only measurement 80%.

  45. Doug Cotton says:
    March 3, 2012 at 7:36 pm
    “There is a sound logical argument for weighting sea surface temperatures in accord with the thermal energy content of the oceans (~94%) compared with land surfaces (~6%.) because this takes into account what i will call the “thermal inertia” of each.

    So, if you have a measurement which weights land by 30%, give that measurement a 20% rating (20% of 30% = 6%) in order to get the land component, and weight the ocean-only measurement 80%.”
    ======================================
    Spewing nonsense will get you nowhere, here.

  46. Neither will an absence of any physical reasoning get you anywhere with myself. So please explain whatever you recommend regarding weighting, supported by cogent reasons.

    Then maybe you’ll like to start debunking my peer-reviewed published paper later this week, whoever you are, Dr Anon?.

  47. DWR54 says:
    March 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm
    That graph shows that the warming trend in global land surface temperatures over the past 10 years according to UAH is currently +0.15 C/decade.

    On the other hand:

    RSS_Monthly_MSU_AMSU_Channel_TLT_Anomalies_Land_v03_3.txt
    #
    #Time series (rss) from 1979 to 2012.08
    #Selected data from 2002.08
    #Least squares trend line; slope = -0.00554226 per year

    Granted, the UAH is more positive than the RSS is negative, so how confident can we really be that warming has occurred? I suppose it can also be debated whether the lower troposphere over the land is the same thing as just land.

    Furthermore, Dr. Spencer also says:
    “Progress continues on Version 6 of our global temperature dataset. You can anticipate a little cooler anomalies than recently reported, maybe by a few hundredths of a degree, due to a small warming drift we have identified in one of the satellites carrying the AMSU instruments.”

  48. @DWR54,

    The Paul Revere bit was meant to be satirical and I was actually paraphrasing Longfellow…

    Paul Revere’s Ride

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Listen my children and you shall hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
    On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
    Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year.
    He said to his friend, “If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to-night,
    Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
    Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
    One if by land, and two if by sea;
    And I on the opposite shore will be,

    […]

    “One if by land, and two if by sea” was the warning signal for the approach of the British army.

    In this case “None if by land, and none if by sea” is a satirical “warning” for the approach of global warming (or lack thereof).

  49. Zac says:
    March 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    Well to be honest until you Amerians learn how to spell skeptics correctly, you are pissing against the wind. It is sceptics. :)

    Not according to Britisher Fowler’s classic Modern English Usage :

    “The established pronunciation is sk-, whatever the spelling; and with the frequent modern use of septic and sepsis it is well that it should be so for fear of confusion. But to spell sc- and pronounce sk- is to put a needless difficulty in the way of the unlearned, for sce is normally pronounced se even in words where the c represents a Greek k, e.g., scene and its compounds and ascetic. America spells sk-; we might pocket our pride and copy.”

  50. Here is a rebuttal I made on Skepticblog: Note carefully that Nordhaus’ conclusion is simply the “insurance argument”.

    William D. Nordhaus (Professor of Economics!!!!!) wrote a rebuttal of climate skeptic claims:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/22/why-global-warming-skeptics-are-wrong/

    (questions in bold and direct quotes in italics .. I hope)

    1.Is the planet in fact warming?

    Answer: A chart starting at a chosen point.

    2. Are human influences an important contributor to warming?

    Answer: Models (need I say more?) (but perhaps very useful things ( – see that with only two cases over 31 years we can explain unforecast extreme snow falls in the Northern hemisphere as caused by melting arctic ice – by modelling)

    3. Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?

    A. He simply quotes definitions.

    4. Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?

    A. I’d agree with him that “a regime of fear” is certainly extreme, perhaps its just a fear of cessation of tenure and/or funding.

    But some direct quotes from the article help:
    “….Indeed, the dissenting authors are at the world’s greatest universities, including Princeton, MIT, Rockefeller, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Paris…. (my note: consensus, anyone?)

    I can speak personally for (my note: in favour of, I presume?) the lively debate about climate change policy. There are controversies about many details of climate science and economics.

    While some claim that skeptics cannot get their papers published, working papers and the Internet are open to all…”

    Sounds to me that a discussion seems warranted, and that the web is the place to do it.

    5. Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?

    A. He notes that IPCC editors/authors and those sitting on NAS panels are unpaid – true, but… some are making millions out of speaking appointments, and almost without exception they are relying on research funding, which ain’t peanuts – see posts above.

    And to quote directly: “…they are subject to close scrutiny for conflicts of interest….”

    Yes, the climategate emails indicated they were indeed very closely scrutinized in regard to where their ‘interest’ lay.

    And further: “ …the argument about the venality of the academy is largely a diversion. The big money in climate change involves firms, industries, and individuals who worry that their economic interests will be harmed by policies to slow climate change…..”

    Probably incorrect; I think we all agreed above re the relative scale of the funding.

    6. Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

    Perhaps not really dealt with here, as he goes on to say “…A final point concerns economic analysis….”, then discusses the economics of the matter. But, that is of great interest also:

    ….One might argue that there are many uncertainties here, and we should wait until the uncertainties are resolved. Yes, there are many uncertainties. That does not imply that action should be delayed.

    Indeed, my experience in studying this subject for many years is that we have discovered more puzzles and greater uncertainties as researchers dig deeper into the field. ……..

    …… Moreover, our economic models have great difficulties incorporating these major geophysical changes and their impacts in a reliable manner. ….

    ….. Policies implemented today serve as a hedge against unsuspected future dangers

    But of course he goes on to say this strengthens his case for “action now”.

    I guess we often look at the same things and see different answers.

    “…in my study A Question of Balance (2008) shows that the cost of waiting fifty years to begin reducing CO2 emissions is $2.3 trillion in 2005 prices. If we bring that number to today’s economy and prices, the loss from waiting is $4.1 trillion. ….”

    This last paragraph above starts to look like an idea to me, perhaps we don’t need to delay 50 years, say by 10 to 20 years, if the ‘modellers’ can convincingly show forecasting instead of “hindcast remodelling to explain every single climatic perturbation” it should be pretty darn clear by then!

  51. While I agree with the general thrust of your article, it would be helpful if you were able to get you running averages in the right place. Numbering figures would also be nice.

    re. the un-number figure under the text “Here’s a blow up of the above from 1950 with HadCRUT3 (NH)…”

    Your running average has an offset, which anyone able to view their work with some objectivity would see instantly. That’s why it’s lower than the non averaged data (red flag no.1), that’s why it does not match Mann’s hockey stick.

    You have made the basic error of plotting the mean at the end point of the window not the middle, hence introducing a phase shift of half the window. Also running mean is about the crappiest filter you could chose as can be seen by the amount of high freq changes left by your 10y average, try a gaussian , binomial or some real freq filter.

    Once you have a correctly plotted line with a decent filter you will find you are quite close to *this part of* Mann’s Hockey stick. That does not mean the hockey stick was in any way valid, just that you have no idea how to point out it’s flaws.

    “The polynomial trend line simulates a Gaussian filter. ” WTF? In what way does a polynomial “simulate” a gaussian filter ???

    “Its purpose is to highlight the cyclical nature of the climate reconstruction.” In what way does a polynomial (ie a power series) tell us anything about cycles ???

    There’s enough bullshit science and incompetent data processing behind AGW. Adding to it is probably not an effective way forwards.

  52. Economic isn’t junks science- the problem is that people actually pay attention to economics and so if you do come up with a way to take advantage of the markets, people will adjust. For issues not directly related to making money, economics get much better predictive power.

    I’m not qualified to discuss the science, but there are economic items that I can cover:

    –“The first problem is an elementary mistake in economic analysis. The authors cite the “benefit-to-cost ratio” to support their argument. Elementary cost-benefit and business economics teach that this is an incorrect criterion for selecting investments or policies. The appropriate criterion for decisions in this context is net benefits (that is, the difference between, and not the ratio of, benefits and costs).”

    What Nordhaus wrote is correct, but not complete. If you have a limited amount of money, than you spend it to recieve the best cost/benefit ratio. Spending until marginal benefit is zero is only an option when you have enough money for all programs.

    Nordhaus book, A Question of Balance is available online:

    http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf

    It is worth reading, if only for the section on the Stern report if only so you can see Nordhaus methodically demolish it. Best line-

    –“In fact, if we use the Stern Review’s methodology,
    more than half the estimated damages “now and
    forever” occur after the year 2800.”

    pg 182

    I can’t comment on the rest of it as I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. However, I’d like to point out that even if you accept that global warming is human caused and a net harm, carbon taxes are not necesarily a sufficient responce. Nuclear power is quite possibly one of the best carbon-free power sources and its price is almost entirely politically determined given that low overall cost of fuel for nuclear power plants. Unnecesary AND necesary regulations control the price of nuclear power and altering them could easily make it more affordable. The latter might seem surprising, but if you believe that global warming is a net harm, than the damage done by redneck atomics- aka “flushing the river through the core” might be acceptable.

  53. Edit- looking at “No Need to Panic” it is unclear what they are implying by referencing benefit to cost ratio. It is a bit vague- I think they are trying to imply that by waiting you can get more bang for your buck, and Nordhaus is saying that ignores the benefits of dealing with CO2 in the interium.

    –“A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls. This would be especially beneficial to the less-developed parts of the world that would like to share some of the same advantages of material well-being, health and life expectancy that the fully developed parts of the world enjoy now. Many other policy responses would have a negative return on investment. ”

    I think they are trying to say that we should wait until we have cheap solar panels before installing them because otherwise we will have to replace them a couple times, and Nordhaus is saying that they are ignoring the benefits of reduce the interium amount of CO2, even though you have to replace obselete gear a couple of times.

    I think Nordhaus is correct- he is basically saying that in the trade off between waste (higher energy costs make recycling less profitable) and CO2 emissions, we should increase waste to decrease CO2 emissions. Of course, if you believe that there is a limited supply of rare earths we can extract (peak cadmium anyone?) or that the mining process’s carbon emission is too high, than it is a bad trade off. I’m not qualified to make any definitive statements on that.

  54. David Middleton says:
    March 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    @DWR54,

    The Paul Revere bit was meant to be satirical and I was actually paraphrasing Longfellow…
    =========================
    David, typically they think too literal to get satire. We got it, but they won’t. I scanned through your post, and I think it very well done. I apologize, but I’ve had too many beers to read such a lengthy post in detail. I do promise to absorb it on the morrow.

    However, this may have been a bit of overkill. The way I see it, Nordhaus invalidated himself. All one has to do is look at the last graphic offered at the book review place. He’s stating GHG’s had no effect prior to about 1964……. It isn’t clear what all the graphs were stating, presumably, his graph without GHGs doesn’t mean extracting H2O, but even so…… this flies in the face of all convention of current theory to my knowledge. It’s not that I buy all of the CO2 meaning much, but it can’t mean nothing for 64 years and then suddenly mean something for the last 40.

    http://suyts.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/super-sciency-guy-stands-cli-sci-on-its-ear/

  55. The stomata analysis is very interesting, however, there is clearly a difference in level (>300 vs 280) that is not explained by time constant averaging.

    Your point about averaging time is valid and a major problem ice core CO2 levels and their dating. However, this issue does not really relate to your core point the correct pre-industrial CO2 concentration.

    Since this is your main point you need to address why stomata give consistently higher levels and why stomata should be regarded as being more reliable. Having a better response time does not by itself show them to be better or worse than ice core CO2 with longer averaging.

    Interesting information though, thanks.

  56. Here is a plot that derives pre-industrial CO2 levels from economic data.

    CO2 emissions are found from economic data, then the emitted amount is scaled by a fixed ratio derived to match the recent atmospheric readings from Mauna Loa.

    It is an approximative method that does not account for out-gassing due to temp rise over last 200y (I’ve seen that estimated as 7ppm total). Also does not account for different rate of absorption due to temp but that is also probably small for the short M.L. period that determines the scaling.

    Fitted pre-industrial level is about 296ppm . That would seem to closely support the stomata data.

  57. The biggest absurdity is that he claims CO2 is pollutant on the basis of US law.
    So in countries where the law does not call CO2 a pollutant, it isn’t a pollutant.

  58. As the Earth’s climate continues to not cooperate with their models, the so-called consensus will eventually recognize and acknowledge their fundamental error.

    Really? Do you have a ‘p’ value for that? How about a single anecdote of a precedent? None come to mind offand.
    :D

  59. RoHa says:
    March 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    The biggest absurdity is that he claims CO2 is pollutant on the basis of US law.
    So in countries where the law does not call CO2 a pollutant, it isn’t a pollutant.

    Carbon (CO2) laws are the actual dangerous pollutant that must be scrubbed and deep-sixed. They are extremely, fatally, toxic.

  60. Maybe Nordhaus would care to address this issue …

    There are two broad classes of radiation from the atmosphere. ..

    (1) That which results from spontaneous emission after a molecule has ended up in a warmer (maybe excited) state due to radiative absorption or from molecular collision. Any of this radiation which heads to warmer targets (lower atmosphere or surface) will by the first half of a standing wave and the second half comes back to it from the warmer target it hit.

    (2) That which emanates from the surface. This heads into the atmosphere and strikes cooler targets at various altitudes. Some of its energy thermalizes, and some just forms the first half of a standing wave which comes back to it. The cooler the target was, the more it will be warmed and the less will be the effect of the standing wave on the rate of cooling of the surface. So molecules closer to the surface have more effect on the rate of cooling, but each CO2 molecule is no more effective than each water vapour molecule.

    [In contrast, the IPCC models assume CO2 sends far more photons back per molecule than water, so they claim the overall effect of only about 4% as much CO2 as WV is that each contributes similar amounts in total. But the concept of standing waves puts each molecule on an equal footing, so CO2 has nowhere near the effect of WV.

  61. A physicist, an engineer and an economist were shipwrecked on the beach surrounded by flotsam and jetsam including cases of canned food. They were hungry.

    The engineer said, “I can make a can opener from this stuff in a couple dof days work, then we can have all the food we need.”

    The physicist replied, “I can’t wait 2 days. I’ll starve. We’ll build a fire and put some cans on it. The water will boil in the cans, they will burst and eject the contents. I’ve calculated the trajectory. We’ll stand over there and catch the food in our hats.”

    The economist said, “My hat is filthy. I’m not doing that. Tell you what; let’s assume we have a can opener.”

  62. There is no “greenhouse effect” – the whole myth is predicated on the supposed difference between observed suface average temperature and the “effective temkperature of Earth.

    But that is simply wrong – solar constant x albedo = ~960 W/sq m over illuminated disk balanced by observed ~ 240 W/sq m over sphere of Earth.so 240 x 4 out = 960 x 1 in – so what ? Simply verifies the geometry used to achiveve radiative balance. The Earth doesn’t need to emit more than 240 W/sq m over the 4 times spherical output area to balance the input disk area @ ~960 W/sq m.

    What’s all the fuss about ???

    There are many laughable claims made by “climate scientists” about “powerful greenhouse gases” but the one “Inconvenient truth” they have to explain is why our atmosphere actually reduces the heating effect of the Sun.

    The temperature reached on the Moon during the lunar day and experiments showing the solar radiation can indeed raise temperatures on Earth very quickly clearly show our atmosphere does NOT add heat – rather it cools the surface thus explaining why the Earth never reaches extreme temperatures the solar radiation is capable of producing.

    Why do they continually refer to the albedo effect of the atmosphere whilst claiming it adds more energy to the surface heating than the solar radiation ?? I also think someone should explain to them that”averages” of 170 W/sq m 24/7 aren’t really appropriate as ther is actually such a thing as night when there is no incoming solar radiation.

  63. Zac says:
    March 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    Well to be honest until you Amerians learn how to spell skeptics correctly, you are pissing against the wind. It is sceptics. :)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    That doesn’t bother me at all.

    But I would like to have the “hockey stick” question cleared up.

    Is the “hockey” part referring to the game played on grass fields, similar in size to soccer fields — the game the Indians, Pakistanis, Dutch, Germans, Spanish, Aussies and Kiwis (occasionally) excel at?

    Or does it mean the violent Canadian game, the Lord Stanley’s Cup game, the one Americans get all misty-eyed over when some long-ago winter Olympics match-up with the Soviet Union is mentioned?

    If it’s the former, OK.

    If it’s the latter (which seems more likely), how about, for the international audience, calling it the “ice hockey stick”?

  64. Nowhere in their article do the sixteen scientists claim that the planet is not warming. Nordhaus begins his rebuttal with a straw man, an argument set up to be defeated. The sixteen scientists rightly point out that there has been no statistically significant warming for “well over 10 years”.
    Nordhaus then uses an argument from ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam ) to claim that because the models cannot simulate the warming “especially…after 1980″ using only known natural forcings then human influence must account for the rest — as if the climate is a fully understood system (which is of course absurd).
    He then claims CO2 is a pollutant because some government agency says it causes dangerous warming, which is begging the question (petitio principii).
    “Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?” probably; and his veering off onto some tobacco comparison is an attempt at guilt by association (ad hominem fallacy).
    The only reason that a bit more CO2 in the atmosphere would not be beneficial is if it led to catastrophic consequences — it never has before otherwise we wouldn’t be here wasting time and money arguing about it.
    Nowhere in his piece does Nordhaus factor in the economic and human costs of CO2 emissions restrictions on the developing world.

  65. David Middleton says:

    “The Paul Revere bit was meant to be satirical and I was actually paraphrasing Longfellow…”

    I see. So when you introduced the BEST graph with the phrase: “There has been no global warming for more than a decade. To paraphrase Paul Revere, “None if by land”…” you were using ‘poetic license?

    We were meant to take the subsequent graph, which shows 8-1/2 years’ data that terminates nearly two years ago, as ‘satire’? It’s odd, because you introduced the next graph as “None if by sea”… and proceed to show a graph of HadSST2 sea surface temperatures?

    The subtlety escapes me. Sorry.

  66. David,
    Is the planet in fact warming?
    Pick the right cherries; you can make a nice pie. Pick some other cherries; your pie will taste completely different.
    Now, on to the verb conjugation. The lower atmosphere is not currently warming, irrespective of what it did from 1978-1998, or what it has done since the 1850′s, or what it has done since 1600 AD…
    HadCRUT3 variance adjusted global mean (Wood for Trees)

    There has been no stopping global warming for more than a decade. To paraphrase Paul Revere,
    “None if by land”…
    BEST global land mean preliminary since 2000 (Wood for Trees).

    “None if by sea”…
    HADSST2 global sea surface temperature anomaly since 1998 (Wood for Trees).

    All of the anomalous warming cooling occurred between 19951997 and 1998 2000. In fact there has been an increase in the rate of warming since 2000. This, amazingly, is what the satellite data indicate…
    UAH lower troposphere global mean (Wood for Trees).

    mmmm cherries…..

  67. Typhoon says:
    March 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm
    Economists should focus on improving their track record of prediction in the field of economics rather than pontificating on fields requiring a knowledge of physics.

    Show some respect please, don’t you know that economists have successfully predicted 8 of the last 3 recessions.

    Oh wait…

  68. @P. Solar,

    The moving averages on the climate reconstructions are Excel trend lines.  I should have calculated centered running averages.  It’s just easier and quicker to use the basic Excel tools.  I do most of this “work” on my lunch hours.  Same thing with the polynomial trendline; plus, I don’t have the foggiest idea how to do Fourier transforms in Excel… Dif. Eq. was, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” (ca. 1979, across town from Yale).  Figuring out how do Fourier in Excel is on my to do list.

    I wouldn’t say that plant stomata are better than ice cores.  They simply have better resolution because of their higher frequency content.  They also have a lower signal-to-noise ratio. Once I figure out a way to do Fourier analysis in Excel, I plan to see if I can use the stomata data to build an operator for a signature deconvolution of the ice core signal. For the best explanation of this, see Van Hoof et al., 2005.

  69. Sceptics make the point that warming has now stopped. A few commentators here have exercised great ingenuity to challenge that point on the basis of carefully selected datasets, carefully selected start and end points and even discarding data which doesn’t exactly fit and so must be wrong. As a reward for their efforts they do eventually succeed in fabricating a trend line showing minimal warming this century. As someone once said, “If you torture the data long enough then it will confess”.
    Putting all this juggling aside, anyone who can read a graph can se that the warming trend at the end of the 20th. century has effectively stopped and assertions that warming is continuing at an accelerating pace are clearly wrong.
    None of the climate models predicted this plateau in global temperatures. In consequence, as Henrik Svensmark says, their future projections are not reliable. The frightening aspect is that if by chance the Kyoto protocol or some other ‘last chance to save the world scenario’ had been successful, so that we bankrupted ourselves back to the stone age, then the prophets of doom would have claimed a great success. They would have said – Look, the warming has stopped now, we were right all along. But in reality CO2 emissions have increased by over 25% this century and the warming stopped anyway. So what happened to the runaway greenhouse effect and the ‘tipping points’ ?
    As the greatest scientific scandal of all time continues to collapse faster than anyone thought possible, the ‘Daughter of Time’ has caught up with the lie.

  70. David,

    There are several problems with your article:

    The actual signal has a 1 cycle/30-40 yr frequency, sampled once every 8-10 years.
    30-40 ppmv shifts in CO2 over periods less than ~60 years cannot be accurately resolved in the DE08 core.

    Here you are completely wrong. There is a lot of exchange in the zone above the sealing depth, even if that becomes less with increased firn density. At sealing depth, the ice age is about 40 years, but the average gas age is only 10 years older that in the atmosphere above (40 years of diffusion!). Below sealing depth, the average gas age is about 12 years older compared to the atmosphere with the bulk of the mixture between 7-20 years. A pulse of 20 ppmv during one year or a continuous increase/decrease of 2 ppmv over 20 years would be detected in the Law Dome ice core. See Fig. 11 in:

    http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf

    Even a sinusoidal amplitude of 2 ppmv with a wavelength of 20 years can be detected in the DE08 ice core. There was no such variability in the past 110 years of direct measurements, ice cores and stomata data (neither in coralline sponges as d13C changes).

    Not even the highest resolution ice cores, like Law Dome, have adequate resolution to correctly image the MLO instrumental record.

    The lowest resolution Law Dome ice cores are below one decade, which gives an averaging over about 20 years, but with an accuracy of 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma). There is an overlap of about 20 years between the average gas age in the ice cores and the South Pole data:

    Thus no problem at all to image the South Pole (or MLO) instrumental record.

    Stomatal reconstructions are reproducible over at least the Northern Hemisphere, throughout the Holocene and consistently demonstrate that the pre-industrial natural carbon flux was far more variable than indicated by the ice cores.

    While stomata index data have some value as a high resolution proxy, one need to be cautious by interpretating the absolute values. By definition, plants grow on land, where huge hour by hour, day by day and year by year changes in CO2 level exist. While the local/regional bias in CO2 level is more or less accounted for by calibrating the SI data against… ice cores and direct data over the past century, there is no way to know how the local/regional bias changed over time. E.g. for The Netherlands, for one of the main places of SI data, the change in landscape/land use over the past millennium in the main wind directions (SW to NW) was enormous and even the main wind direction may have changed over the centuries (MWP and CWP vs. LIA).

    The plant stomata data clearly show that preindustrial atmospheric CO2 levels were much higher and far more variable than indicated by Antarctic ice cores.

    More variable, maybe, but unlikely. Much higher: impossible. While ice cores show an averaged figure over a longer time span, the averaging itself doesn’t change the average CO2 level. Thus if the SI data show an average higher (or lower) value than the ice cores over the same time span, the SI bias has changed and the SI data are too high (or too low).

    The derivation of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) to atmospheric CO2 is largely based on Antarctic ice cores. The problem is that the temperature estimates are based on oxygen isotope ratios in the ice itself; while the CO2 estimates are based on gas bubbles trapped in the ice.

    The ECS can not be deduced from the CO2/temperature ratio, the opposite can: one can calculate the influence of temperature on CO2 levels. In pre-industrial times, the CO2 levels followed the temperature changes with ~800 years for a deglaciation, but with several thousands of years at a glaciation. At the end of the Eemian (the previous interglacial), as you showed, the CO2 levels remained high while temperature reached a new minimum. The subsequent ~40 ppmv drop didn’t show a discernable influence on temperature:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/eemian.html

    that points to a very low impact of CO2 on temperature.

    It doesn’t make much difference for the influence of temperature on CO2 levels if the CO2 levels are smoothed or not. The current seasonal ratio is ~5 ppmv/°C, the year by year variation around the trend is ~4 ppmv/°C and the MWP-LIA and glacial/interglacial ratio is ~8 ppmv/°C. Thus the frequency of the change has very little influence (maximum factor 2) on the CO2/temperature ratio.

  71. Graphite says:

    March 4, 2012 at 1:30 am

    But I would like to have the “hockey stick” question cleared up.

    It’s the Irish kind where the stick is used by the players to batter the hell out of each other.

  72. Professor Nordhaus states,

    Yes! By all means, let’s have a look at some long-term trends. Let’s take the long-term trend back to a time when mankind wasn’t burning much fossil fuel.

    The temperature of the last two decades, however, is possibly higher than during any previous time in the past two millennia, although this is only seen in the instrumental temperature data and not in the multi-proxy reconstruction itself.

    Exactly, If you are confident with the proxi data for the past you should be confident with it in the present, you cannot splice instrumental temperature data onto proxy data, it`s apples and pears, hence the divergence with proxy and instruments after 1960.

  73. Norman Page says:
    March 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    For more on CO2 see the paper by Jaworowski and paricularly the fig in there from and references to Becks 2007

    Sorry, but the objections of the late Jaworowski were rebutted by the work of Etheridge e.a. on the Law Dome ice cores, already published in 1996. Since then, Jaworowski didn’t change his mind. Not really good for a ice core specialist. See:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

    And I had some 2 years of discussion with the late Ernst Beck about the historical data: many of them are measured over land, near huge sources and sinks and are completely unsuitable to know the average CO2 levels in the bulk atmosphere. Measurements taken over the oceans or coastal with wind from the seaside are around the ice core data. See further:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html

  74. feet2thefire says:
    March 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Far out. This aligns with Slocum 1955 (http://tiny.cc/soubs), which re-assessed the Callendar 1938 (http://tiny.cc/g63qo – paywalled) value of 290 ppm for the 19th century. Slocum arrived at a value of 335 – from the same data – simply by not cherry-picking the data.

    The plant stomata graph also shows a LOT of CE 1000-2000 values above 300 ppm, with 12 values above 350 ppm.

    When will some skeptics learn to be real skeptics? Of course one must be skeptic to anything that is said by anyone. But one need to be consequent. If one rejects the temperature readings/trends made on parking lots and asphalted roofs, one must reject all historical CO2 readings taken in towns, forests and fields. That is what Callendar mainly did. If you don’t do that, one can find CO2 levels of over 400 ppmv in Germany and in the same year 1942, 250 ppmv in the USA. Both are biased, as taken over land near huge sources and/or sinks where one can find any level, depending of the time of the day…

    There is a difference between cherry picking data and selecting data based on quality, instead of lumping all data together: the good, the bad and the ugly…

  75. Reblogged this on and commented:
    A pleasantly long post from WUWT, showing, among other things, the absurdity of the brief temperature record used in a recent New York Review of Books piece.

  76. I agree with you, Rosco. The climate academics don’t seem to realize how eminently useful it is to increase the temperature of something by 10% (33c). To build a heater from something cheap and common like cold, rarefied air would be an amazing feat. I don’t need the full 33C, just give me a small part of that heat pump action for my living room. Venture capital would throw heaps of money on a start-up company that could do that–Gleik would be so rich he could buy Nissan Leaf’s for his cats.

  77. A mathematician, a physicist, and an economist were interviewed interviewed by the NYT Review of Books as candidates to write an article on AGW.

    In each case, the interview went along famously until the last
    question was asked: “How much is one plus one?”

    Each of them suspected a trap, and was hesitant to answer.

    The mathematician thought for a moment, and said
    “I’m not sure, but I think it converges”.

    The physicist said
    “I’m not sure, but I think it’s on the order of one”

    The economist got up, went over and closed the door to the office,
    came back, leaned over the desk, and said
    “How much do you want it to be?”.

    The economist got the job.

  78. I am not a “skeptic”, I am a lover of the truth. I expect that people who hold themselves out to be “scientists” do so because they seek where facts, logic and data take them, not because they see “facts, logic and data” can be useful to take them where they desire to go.
    Hardly a week goes by without some new revelation about how a “scientist” has corrupted science, perjured himself or suborned perjury of his peers.
    I had long suspected this was the case. For me the tip-off was when I noticed that coincidentally all the proposed solutions took society to the same place: to a bigger government and to far less personal liberty.
    I am happy to let good research speak for itself. If human activity is in fact giving us a harmful climate, then we must work towards modifying the factors that will cause harm. But we cannot rush to solution first, science later. As it is, we have over-committed our finite economic resources to wealth transfer payments. There is simply no money to waste on impractical and counterproductive schemes, that is unless facts, logic and data simply do not matter.

  79. As an economist, I am completely embarrassed to see Nordhaus stepping out like this to pretend to be an expert in this climate science field. I also feel bad for any students being exposed to this. A lot of economists have been become prominent in the global warming policy and science debates and their lack of perspective is glaring.

  80. @ jim
    Despite my own scepticism, I have a problem with your challemge to the unsceptical.
    What evidence would you accept?
    For the sake of discussion, assume for one moment that they are right. What evidence could they then bring forward that would satisfy you?
    For instance, I’d have accepted it as strong evidence if real world temperatures had followed the model forecasts. I would not accept their proposed solution necessarily follows from that, but its an example of what I mean. The evidence they offer (that I’ve seen) does not prove their case. But if you’re merely looking at the evidence and demanding “show me the evidence, I don’t see any evidence” then you aren’t doing your argument any good, nor the reputation of your fellow sceptics.

  81. Correction regarding the photo at the start of this piece:
    The lagoon is not constantly growing as it exits to the sea within a mile or two from where the glacier calves into the lagoon.
    Any surplus simply spills into the Atlantic.
    I was there last summer. Seals can be observed swimming amongst the calved bergs.

  82. Ferginand Engelbeen
    Thanks for your links to your careful reviews of Beck and Jarowowski. You make very persuasive arguments. Regards Norman Page

  83. Professor William D. Nordhaus claims it’s still getting warmer.

    I just have to question the intelligence or objectivity of anybody who claims it’s still warming. Yes, this decade is warmer than last. No, it hasn’t become warmer this decade. The warming peaked last decade and there is a gradual downward trend.

    Since we haven’t been warmer than the peak last century, it must be a deliberate misstatement to claim it’s still getting warmer. In other words, no the climate is not currently warming.

  84. Bomber_the_Cat says:
    March 4, 2012 at 2:51 am
    Sceptics make the point that warming has now stopped. A few commentators here have exercised great ingenuity to challenge that point on the basis of carefully selected datasets, carefully selected start and end points and even discarding data which doesn’t exactly fit and so must be wrong. As a reward for their efforts they do eventually succeed in fabricating a trend line showing minimal warming this century. As someone once said, “If you torture the data long enough then it will confess”.
    Putting all this juggling aside, anyone who can read a graph can se that the warming trend at the end of the 20th. century has effectively stopped and assertions that warming is continuing at an accelerating pace are clearly wrong.
    None of the climate models predicted this plateau in global temperatures. In consequence, as Henrik Svensmark says, their future projections are not reliable. The frightening aspect is that if by chance the Kyoto protocol or some other ‘last chance to save the world scenario’ had been successful, so that we bankrupted ourselves back to the stone age, then the prophets of doom would have claimed a great success. They would have said – Look, the warming has stopped now, we were right all along. But in reality CO2 emissions have increased by over 25% this century and the warming stopped anyway. So what happened to the runaway greenhouse effect and the ‘tipping points’ ?
    As the greatest scientific scandal of all time continues to collapse faster than anyone thought possible, the ‘Daughter of Time’ has caught up with the lie.

    It’s a funny thing about the models — run the models with the estimated decreases in emissions if the Kyoto protocol was completely enacted. How do the results differ when the models are run with Kyoto and without Kyoto? No practical difference whatsoever.

    Somebody should enlighten Professor Nordhaus.

  85. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    March 4, 2012 at 4:51 am

    “If one rejects the temperature readings/trends made on parking lots and asphalted roofs, one must reject all historical CO2 readings taken in towns, forests and fields. That is what Callendar mainly did. If you don’t do that, one can find CO2 levels of over 400 ppmv in Germany and in the same year 1942, 250 ppmv in the USA. Both are biased, as taken over land near huge sources and/or sinks where one can find any level, depending of the time of the day…”

    That raises the question- is there a “normal” amount of CO2 in the atmospshere, or does it variy all over the place like temperature? If CO2 content varies all over like temperature, then measuring CO2 at Mauna Loa and giving that as the average CO2 in the atmospherre makes about as much sense as taking daily temperatures at Mauna Loa and calling that the average world temperature. It seems to me that it would make more sense to take samples all over the world at different times and altitudes, and use some sort of averaging, as is attempted with temperatures.

  86. Alan D McIntire says:
    March 4, 2012 at 10:36 am
    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    March 4, 2012 at 4:51 am

    “If one rejects the temperature readings/trends made on parking lots and asphalted roofs, one must reject all historical CO2 readings taken in towns, forests and fields. That is what Callendar mainly did. If you don’t do that, one can find CO2 levels of over 400 ppmv in Germany and in the same year 1942, 250 ppmv in the USA. Both are biased, as taken over land near huge sources and/or sinks where one can find any level, depending of the time of the day…”

    That raises the question- is there a “normal” amount of CO2 in the atmospshere, or does it variy all over the place like temperature? If CO2 content varies all over like temperature, then measuring CO2 at Mauna Loa and giving that as the average CO2 in the atmospherre makes about as much sense as taking daily temperatures at Mauna Loa and calling that the average world temperature. It seems to me that it would make more sense to take samples all over the world at different times and altitudes, and use some sort of averaging, as is attempted with temperatures.

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

    The ‘well-mixed background’ of CO2 is a AGW con – from every angle.

    Where was Keeling doing his work before Hawaii? Where there is practically no life producing carbon dioxide, except for some volcanic activity which some reckon interferes with the readings they have there. Not enough to present the ‘coal is bad’ with ‘science’ to back it up, make no mistake here, that was the agenda. And they managed to get funding to measure this ‘well-mixed background’ in – one of the world’s greatest CO2 producing areas! Come off it, if that doesn’t immediately strike you as absurd that any scientist would go to such an area and claim he could separate out this ‘well-mixed background’ levels from the top of the world’s largest volcano, with constant activity from other vocanoes, from thousands of quakes every year in warm seas over a massive hot spot creating volcanic island, and be believed.. And this poster child place is sold as being in a “pristine” spot for measure carbon dioxide.

    Well, it took him less than two years to find a definite trend that man-made carbon dioxide background levels were rising – less than two years. Is that how scientists find annual trends? How on earth from that region could he say anything about ‘man-made CO2′ when there’s no real signature difference anyway? And have you looked at how they get their ‘background’ figures? They set their own limits, they simply decide what is going to be called volcanic and what background! There is no way, no way, that they can separate out anything ‘background’ from that place which is constantly releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It’s all volcanic smoke and mirrors.

    I’m sorry, Ferdinand, I realise these data churning out the ever rising Keeling curve is seldom questioned, but that can only be from those who haven’t taken the history of this into consideration. They began with an agenda, and over the next few decades they got to run the other stations. There was a reason for choosing the lowest numbers they could, and that from discredited surveys.

    However, that aside, where do expect to find carbon dioxide? This isn’t really like uhi, because where there’s life there is going to carbon dioxide. Plants produce it themselves when they’re not using it for photosynthesis, they breathe in oxgen and breathe out carbon dioxide as we do. The more lush the plant life, the more carbon dioxide there will be.

    And, it cannot be separated out from its natural cycle – and here again shows that an agenda is at work to push the ‘well-mixed’. The strange fisics of the AGW energy budget has CO2 ‘accumulating in the atmosphere for hundreds and even thousands of years’ – how? For a start it’s heavier than air and will always sink to the ground unless work is done to move it, and, it is fully part of the great Water Cycle – it spontaneously joins with water vapour in the air and as that condenses out in the colder heights they come down together as rain, all pure clean rain is carbonic acid. There’s no ‘accumulating’ of some supermolecule defying gravity or saying no to water vapour..

    And, my final point, the AIRS conclusion was that Carbon Dioxide was not well mixed – and it surprised them because they thought this meme was real physics. We haven’t got that data – they haven’t released any of the top or bottom of the troposphere. And what we do have from the mid has been air-brushed into oblivion, a couple of well-chosen pics to make it as least representative of the actual shock they got that it wasn’t well-mixed. And, in their conclusion they said they would have to look at ‘winds’ to try and explain what they found. Winds?? Maybe this was lost on most reading it, but they have consistently claimed that carbon dioxide acts like an ideal gas and that the atmosphere is empty space! They don’t have winds in the fisics of their carbon dioxide! It diffuses instantly into this ideal gas empty space atmosphere where all the molecules are zipping through at vast speeds bouncing off each other and so thoroughly mixing, without interactions! They don’t have the water cycle, because that isn’t ideal gas scenario ‘thoroughly mixing’, where it’s just empty space and molecules without volume or interactions apart from bouncing of each other in elastic collisions so ‘thoroughly spreading through the empty space atmosphere’ to create this fictional ‘background’.

    I tried to download the raw AIRS of mid-troposphere a couple of years back, but my computer wasn’t up to it. But their conclusion stands even if we don’t have the raw data. They said carbon dioxide is not at all well-mixed, it is lumpy, and they said that it was insignificant against the water vapour effect.

    Their whole energy budget is nonsense, but certainly their figures for carbon dioxide can’t be trusted, nor their fisics about it. Carbon dioxide by its nature is going to be predominantly localised.

  87. Alan D McIntire says:
    March 4, 2012 at 10:36 am

    There is a huge advantage of CO2 measurements compared to temperature readings. CO2 is quite readily dispersed over the bulk of the atmosphere, what gives that one can find the same CO2 levels within +/- 10 ppmv all over the oceans and above 1000 m over land. That is over 95% of the atmosphere. The problematic readings are in the remaining 5%: near surface over land, because there are most huge and fast sources and sinks. One can find 550 ppmv at night during an inversion and 350 ppmv during the day when there is more wind and photosynthesis is at work. Take a look at the difference in measured CO2 levels during a few days at Giessen (where an important series of historical measurements were taken in the period 1939-1942) and at the South Pole, Barrow and Mauna Loa, where baseline stations are situated:

    All data are raw data without any cleaning or selection.

    Of course, as there are huge sources and sinks at work, not all measurements everywhere in the bulk of the atmosphere are the same at the same moment. The seasonal changes in the NH (with more land/vegetation) can go up to +/- 8 ppmv around the trend, but the opposite variability in the SH (more ocean) is only +/- 1 ppmv:

    And there is a lag in the trend with altitude and for the SH compared to the NH, as the main source of extra CO2 is near ground in the NH and the ITCZ slows the exchange of air masses between the NH and the SH. But if you look at theslope of the yearly trends, these are near equal everywhere in the bulk atmosphere:

    Lots of graphs and data from CO2 (and other gases) in air measurements, as well as over the oceans as over land + airplane can be found at:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/

  88. Myrrh says:
    March 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Please Myrrh, before you accuse somebody of having an agenda, read his autobiography at:

    http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/publications/keeling_autobiography.pdf

    Not enough to present the ‘coal is bad’ with ‘science’ to back it up, make no mistake here, that was the agenda.

    C.D. Keeling was mainly interested in good CO2 measurements. Global “warming” was not even at order in the 1950’s and the global “cooling” scare of the 1970’s was yet to come.

    Come off it, if that doesn’t immediately strike you as absurd that any scientist would go to such an area and claim he could separate out this ‘well-mixed background’ levels from the top of the world’s largest volcano

    If you had read his biography, you would know that the first measurements were at the South Pole, not Mauna Loa. Mauna Loa is mostly taken as base, simply because it has the longest continuous series, the South Pole misses a few years. And as the CO2 levels at Mauna Loa are mostly real background it is quite simple to recognise interferences from the volcano vents (+4 ppmv and huge variability) or upwind depleted air from valley vegetation (-4 ppmv).

    Moreover, as far as I know, there is no vegetation around the South Pole, neither volcanoes for at least 1,000 km, but that station gives near the same CO2 levels, except for less seasonal disturbances and a lag.

    And, my final point, the AIRS conclusion was that Carbon Dioxide was not well mixed

    Depends what you call “not” well mixed. If 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere is exchanged with other reservoirs over the seasons, and AIRS detects monthly average differences of +/- 8 ppmv, that is 2% of the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, well I call that very well mixed. It takes time to mix an extra amount or a deficit into the bulk of the atmosphere. Days to weeks for the same height and latitude band, weeks to months for different latitudes and altitudes in the same hemisphere and months to years between the hemispheres.

    For a start it’s heavier than air and will always sink to the ground unless work is done to move it, and, it is fully part of the great Water Cycle

    Myrrh, have you ever put a few drops of a perfume at one end of a room (molecules which can be tens to hundreds of times heavier than air) and waited at the other end? CO2, once mixed in air by wind or turbulence will stay in the air nearly forever, if not catched by the oceans or vegetation. It is measured in near the same concentrations from near ground to 12 km height and beyond. Lookup Brownian motion… Only in stagnant air, like in firn, it increases somewhat at the bottom: 1% after 40 years…

    CO2 is a little soluble in fresh water, thus rain contains a little CO2, but that was first released when water evaporated, that hardly influences the total amount in the atmosphere.

  89. Daveo says:
    March 4, 2012 at 1:56 am

    Pick the right cherries; you can make a nice pie. Pick some other cherries; your pie will taste completely different.

    I agree! Look at the pie that my cherries make.

    Following is the longest period of time (above10 years) where each of the data sets is at least slightly negative (or flat for all practical purposes).

    RSS: since December 1996 or 15 years, 2 months
    HadCrut3: since March 1997 or 14 years, 11 months
    GISS: since August 2001 or 10 years, 6 months
    UAH: It never quite reaches a negative value but it might with the February or March numbers.
    Combination of the above 4: December 2000 or 11 years, 1 month
    Sea surface temperatures: February 1997 or 15 years, 0 months

    See the graph below to show it all.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1997.17/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2001.58/trend/plot/rss/from:1996.92/trend/plot/wti/from:2000.92/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.08/trend

  90. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    March 4, 2012 at 4:51 am

    I agree for the argument of not using different town and field sites compared with others around the world (absolute values). But, why not use anomaly changes for these sites at the same location up to now, as at least some of these should be reliable and be reasonable data to assist between ice core and instrumental data. (since the 1960’s) Basically this happens to all global temperature stations where only anomaly values are considered.

    For example a town may had values early 20th century around 400ppm, but now could be around 490 ppm. Showing a 90 ppm rise over this period, so the absolute value may not be that important, but the change is. May give a more accurate veiw of how CO2 levels had increased before proper stations were first introduced (around 1960’s)

  91. Daveo says:
    March 4, 2012 at 1:56 am

    mmmm cherries…..

    Speaking of cherry picking – EXCELLENT work doing exactly that :rollseyes

    Since “those that say they know” claim we need 15 years minimum to determine a trend … try HADCRUT, RSS MSU, and HADSST2 for the last 15 years – from 1997 to present – one by land, one by air, and one by sea ….

    http://goo.gl/rE5tZ

  92. Matt G says:
    March 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I agree for the argument of not using different town and field sites compared with others around the world (absolute values). But, why not use anomaly changes for these sites at the same location up to now, as at least some of these should be reliable and be reasonable data to assist between ice core and instrumental data.

    The main problem is that there are very few long term series at the same place. And those which exist show such a huge variability, that it is difficult to draw any conclusion from the data. Modern continuous data over land show an average trend similar to the bulk atmospheric data, but that is of little help if you have a long historical series with three samples a day, where two of the samples were taken at the flanks of rising and dropping CO2 levels. Even a small time change of 15 minutes in sampling gives already a huge change in CO2 levels. See the modern day CO2 levels in one day at Linden/Giessen:

    The historical samples were taken at 7 am, 2 pm and 9 pm.

    High wind speeds are of help in modern day measurements, as that mixes the near ground levels with the bulk of the atmosphere. But unfortunately the interesting historical series have too few datapoints at high wind speed. See for some background information:

    http://meteo.lcd.lu/papers/co2_patterns/co2_patterns.html

  93. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    March 4, 2012 at 4:51 am

    When will some skeptics learn to be real skeptics? Of course one must be skeptic to anything that is said by anyone. But one need to be consequent. If one rejects the temperature readings/trends made on parking lots and asphalted roofs, one must reject all historical CO2 readings taken in towns, forests and fields. That is what Callendar mainly did. If you don’t do that, one can find CO2 levels of over 400 ppmv in Germany and in the same year 1942, 250 ppmv in the USA. Both are biased, as taken over land near huge sources and/or sinks where one can find any level, depending of the time of the day…

    There is a difference between cherry picking data and selecting data based on quality, instead of lumping all data together: the good, the bad and the ugly…

    Hmmm … what do you say about this chart – showing:

    “Monthly average of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere made from data acquired by AIRS during July 2009. Source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory AIRS.”

    A range of 382 to 389 ppmv across the entire world?

    How about the review of author here, using multiple peer reviewed stomata studies, which when smoothed to a 30 year average – which should largely eliminate the point source biases you claim – shows good similarity to a similarly 30 year averaged Mauna Loa and to Law DE08? But also that earlier ice core data substantially under-reported C02?

    It seems pretty clear that the reliance on ice-cores for annual or decadal CO2 levels using ice cores in pre-industrial time periods is unwise – that the record simply does not have high enough resolution or accuracy.

    I understand, from the little I’ve read, that stomatal data has its own concerns – much like tree rings, however, it seems the author’s method of utilizing multiple peer reviewed studies, and then apply a 30 year smoothing at minimum helps moderate those issues.

  94. Pollution: Something which if removed from the environment results in increased health.

    CO2: Something which if removed from the environment causes all plant and animal life on Earth to perish.

    Any questions?

  95. @Rich H,

    See Ward et al., 2005

    The climate of the late Pleistocene involved a series of pronounced glacial/interglacial cycles, with glacial periods characterized by low temperatures and reduced atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) (1). During the last glacial period, minimum [CO2] occurred between 18 and 15 thousand years (kyr) B.P. (radiocarbon age) at values of 180–220 ppm, and modeling efforts suggest that such glacial values were among the lowest that occurred during the evolution of higher land plants (2). Modern plants with the C3 photosynthetic pathway exhibit major reductions in photosynthesis [by 50–75% (3)] and growth [by 52–92% (4, 5)] at glacial versus modern [CO2], and may fail to reproduce as a result of carbon limitations (6). These stress responses are due to limiting CO2…

    […]

    180-220 ppmv CO2 –> Carbon starvation in C3 plants.  I really doubt that we’d have many C3 plants remaining on Earth if the “normal” interglacial atmospheric CO2 concentration was 280 ppmv.

    Neogene Temperature & CO2

  96. A. Scott says:
    March 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    A range of 382 to 389 ppmv across the entire world?

    The exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and oceans/vegetation is about 20% of the total mass back and forth within a year. The range observed by the AIRS satellite is +/- 4 ppmv, or only 1% of the average CO2 level. You can’t expect that huge changes in CO2 level at ground level, like the growing of new leaves in spring in the NH, will be equalised all over the globe within hours. It takes time. See e.g. the (calculated) change over different altitudes for the seasonal variations in the NH:

    Thus yes, CO2 is readily mixed all over the globe, but it takes time to distribute the changes.

    peer reviewed stomata studies, which when smoothed to a 30 year average – which should largely eliminate the point source biases you claim – shows good similarity to a similarly 30 year averaged Mauna Loa and to Law DE08? But also that earlier ice core data substantially under-reported C02?

    Not so difficult to know why the stomata data match the previous century: they are calibrated against ice cores and Mauna Loa data over the past century…
    As said before: ice cores have less resolution, but the averaging doesn’t change the average. If you look at your first reference, the period 1300-1800 shows 280 ppmv in the ice core, while the stomata data show 300-320 ppmv. The DSS ice core has an averaging of 21 years over the past 1,000 years with a repeatability of 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma) and an accuracy of the method of a few tenths of a ppmv. That means that any continuous change of more than 2 ppmv over 21 years would be detected. Thus the stomata data are overreporting CO2 levels during a period of 500 years. The same problem for the Holocene. All ice cores with different resolution (80-600 years) show CO2 levels of 260-280 ppmv over the Holocene:

    So, whatever the stomata people think of the accuracy of their proxy, it is impossible that the average of the SI data is higher than the average of the ice core data for a period longer than a few hundred years, like is the case for most of the Holocene…

  97. David Middleton says:
    March 5, 2012 at 2:43 am

    180-220 ppmv CO2 –> Carbon starvation in C3 plants. I really doubt that we’d have many C3 plants remaining on Earth if the “normal” interglacial atmospheric CO2 concentration was 280 ppmv.

    Keep in mind that the CO2 levels over land in average are 40-50 ppmv higher than in the bulk of the atmosphere. Thus there is some relieve for land plants, but even 220-230 ppmv during a glacial period would have a huge influence on C3 plants and may have induced a shift towards C4 plants…

  98. DWR54 says:
    March 4, 2012 at 1:43 am

    “We were meant to take the subsequent graph, which shows 8-1/2 years’ data that terminates nearly two years ago, as ‘satire’?”

    Here, let me provide the missing data:

  99. Smokey;
    That qualifies as a real “Be careful what you ask for; you might get it!” response.
    Heh.

  100. If he hadn’t made the mistake of admitting he was a fraud, I would expect a robust defense of Diederick Stapel from the same source about now. And largely for the same reasons.

  101. Why is anyone listing to a geoscientist’s views of climate science? Find me a climatologist please.

  102. One thing about this discussion puzzles me. We know that the initial graph (average global temperature from 1880) is a graph of adjusted temperatures. And there is a good deal of evidence that a number of these adjustments are questionable (e.g. “The smoking gun at Darwin”, the recent adjustments of temperatures for Reykjavik, etc.). So there’s good reason to start the argument with an evaluation the validity of this graph. At the very least I would expect a discussion like this to start with the general question of adjustments to the temperature record.

    Now, one might dismiss the evidence I cited above as pertaining to individual sites with little effect on the overall average. But it seems to me that there is more compelling evidence that this graph is incorrect. The graph shows no upward or downward trend between 1940 and 1980, although this period is one in which the PDO was in its descending phase. But if there was no change in temperature, then why were people talking about the possibility of a coming Ice Age in the mid and late 1970’s (i.e. near the end of the declining phase)? Why would they have had that idea at all , if temperatures remained more or less what they were in 1940?

    Given this situation, it’s not clear to me that the present temperatures are really any higher than they were in 1940 (and maybe not even 1880, which was near the beginning of another descending phase of the PDO).

  103. Shooter says:
    March 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm
    Wait…first NASA says CO2 is a pollutant…and now it isn’t? MINDWARP
    —————————–
    Now Winston, how many fingers am I holding up?

    You see, it’s not whether or not CO2 is a pollutant….It is what the EPA says it is.

  104. Kurt in Switzerland says “It would be helpful to read a counterpoint from another geoscientist who believes Middleton to be on the wrong track”

    Within the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and Geological Society of London (GSL) and just about every reputable geoscience body on the planet, you sure have plenty to choose from. For example, the GSL statement on climate change reads as follows:

    “The last century has seen a rapidly growing global population and much more intensive use of resources, leading to greatly increased emissions of gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), and from agriculture, cement production and deforestation. Evidence from the geological record is consistent with the physics that shows that adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere warms the world and may lead to: higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying coasts; greatly changed patterns of rainfall; increased acidity of the oceans; and decreased oxygen levels in seawater.

    There is now widespread concern that the Earth’s climate will warm further, not only because of the lingering effects of the added carbon already in the system, but also because of further additions as human population continues to grow. Life on Earth has survived large climate changes in the past, but extinctions and major redistribution of species have been associated with many of them. When the human population was small and nomadic, a rise in sea level of a few metres would have had very little effect on Homo sapiens. With the current and growing global population, much of which is concentrated in coastal cities, such a rise in sea level would have a drastic effect on our complex society, especially if the climate were to change as suddenly as it has at times in the past. Equally, it seems likely that as warming continues some areas may experience less precipitation leading to drought. With both rising seas and increasing drought, pressure for human migration could result on a large scale.”

    To dismiss this as part of some spurious global conspiracy to foist environmental “alarmism” on a credulous world is both morally and intellectually bankrupt. Furthermore, as ultra-Conservative Mormon Professor of Geosciences at the Brigham Young University in Utah says, “When you have to invoke the views of dog astrologers and people who believe in alien abductions… you are trying to hard to avoid the truth about climate change”

  105. Lack-wit weighs in. The staggered timing graph, showing examples of temperature change preceding CO2 rise, is sufficient to blow his quoted blather to smithereenies.

    Watta loon.

  106. I didn’t know this topic could be so confusing. I’m writing a paper. its 6 o’clock in the morning. My head hurts…you confuse me. But i like it. You make me feel like i’ve been wasting my time. Thank you

  107. I don’t even get algebra. I chose the wrong topic. :p No really cool jumping points. Thanks. Well I’m off to save the world!

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