# Global warming – splodeified

Via Tom Nelson, no wonder they hate nuclear power so much, they don’t see any difference!

Global warming increasing by 400,000 atomic bombs every day | The Vancouver Observer

The amazing persistence of CO2 in the air has allowed billions of our small emissions, like those from the Enola Gay, to amass into an ever growing threat to civilization. How fast is that threat growing? In a must-see TED talk, NASA climate scientist James Hansen say the current increase in global warming is:

“…equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.”

That’s 278 atomic bombs worth of energy every minute – more than four per second — non-stop. To be clear, that is just the extra energy being gained each day on top of the energy heating our planet by 0.8 degree C. It is the rate at which we are increasing global warming.

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Update: I think we need a new unit to quantify ridiculousness. I propose the Hansen Ridiculae Scale, somewhat like the Richter scale, logarithmic in nature.

Turning up the thermostat at a senate hearing in 1988 would rate a 5.0 Death Trains might rate a 6.0, this would rate an 8.0.

I’m afraid to imagine what a 9-10 on the Hansen Scale might look like.

ALSO: I’m busy at work right now, so I don’t have time to research it fully and calculate it, but if somebody wants to quantify the solar insolation received by Earth each day in “Hiroshima units”, I’ll add it to the main thread. That number will dwarf Hansen’s claim.

UPDATE2: Willis helps out:

Willis Eschenbach says:

1 ton of TNT = 4.184e+9 joules (J) source

Hiroshima bomb = 15 kilotons of TNT = 6.28e+13 joules (ibid)

Hansen says increase in forcing is “400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day”, which comes to 2.51e+19 joules/day.

A watt is a joule per second, so that works out to a constant additional global forcing of 2.91e+14 watts.

Normally, we look at forcings in watts per square metre (W/m2). Total forcing (solar plus longwave) averaged around the globe 24/7 is about 500 watts per square metre.

To convert Hansen’s figures to a per-square-metre value, the global surface area is 5.11e+14 square metres … which means that Hansens dreaded 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day works out to 0.6 watts per square metre … in other words, Hansen wants us to be very afraid because of a claimed imbalance of six tenths of a watt per square metre in a system where the downwelling radiation is half a kilowatt per square metre … we cannot even measure the radiation to that kind of accuracy.

w.

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

As do others:

bvdeenen says:

Napkin calculation, no calculator needed: Hiroshima was ca. 63 TJ = 6E13J. The earths circular area is 3 * (6E6m)^2 = 1E14m2. The suns TSI is ca 1kW = 1E3 J/s, so the earth gets ca 1E17 J/s on the sunlit side, so the sun explodes about 1E17/6E13 = 1E3 Hiroshima atomic bombs on this planet. EVERY SECOND.

Mr. Hansen: the sun explodes about a thousand Hiroshima bombs on this planet. EVERY SECOND. DO something about it!

## 173 thoughts on “Global warming – splodeified”

1. Chris B says:

I think it’s divined from, Levitus et al. (2012), which estimates two bombs per second in excess heat absorbed by the oceans. Moreover, if all that extra stored heat went into the bottom 10 k of atmosphere instantaneously it would heat it by 36 degrees C.

Yikes!

2. TFNJ says:

Funny: a guy called Evans( think) recently showed a graph here showing that while 11 IPCC type models showed the earth receiving net heat the only actual; observation (via NASA satellites) showed the opposite. Nullius in verba, as the Royal Society used to say, before it became a missionery Society.

3. Garry Stotel says:

speachless. and this person has a standing in NASA??

4. BargHumer says:

If it is gaining the energy, where is it supposed to be storing it?

5. Tom in Worcester says:

That is, quite possibly, the most stupefying thing I have ever heard. Wow.

6. Dave Irons says:

And this guy uis stilll getting acheck from the taxpayers!!!!!!

7. Algebra says:

How much is that in birthday candles?

8. Cam_S says:

As human beings, we cannot adapt to massive amounts of nuclear radiation.
But we can adapt to a few degrees of temperature change.

Aren’t even the greenest of warmistas embarrassed by his ridiculous comments?

10. klem says:

Do people forget that this guy is now a millionaire for saying things like this?

If I were paid his income, I’d say the same things.

11. Ged says:

This guy is hilarious.

The Hiroshima atomic bomb gave off 63 Terajoules (TJ) of energy. So, 400,000 of these per day would be 2.52 x 10^19 joules of energy delivered to the Earth.

Contrast that to the binding energy of the Earth (the amount of energy that would take to literally blow the planet apart) which is 2.24 x 10^32 joules.

So, he’s basically saying we are delivering more than half of the energy needed to physically destroy the planet per day?

12. Mr Squid says:

I am actually beginning to pity the man. I think he may be in need of some professional help.

13. Frank K. says:

Expect the shrillness from the CAGW types to increase exponentially up to the US election in November. They know their funding will be cut substantially if things don’t go their way, politically speaking.

14. Tom in Worcester says:

Does anyone here post on RC? If so, make sure to put in a post about this NASA “scientists” observations. I would love to see what they have to say about it.

15. Gail Combs says:

I am speechless.

Talk about scare tactics, this guy is no scientist he is a cult evangelist.

I do like the idea of the hansen scale though. I can think of no better way for Hansen to be remembered in the history books.

16. Ged says:

Oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to say “half of the energy”, since it’s order of magnitude and thus not even close. My goof!

To put this into daily solar energy input: “The total solar energy absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land masses is approximately 3,850,000 exajoules (EJ) per year.” Or 10,547 EJ per day. Hansen is saying we’re adding 25 EJ per day, or 0.27 % of the Sun’s daily input.

I guess it really isn’t all that much after all.

17. In the style of Hansen: alarmism is burning a hole in the soul of every human on the planet. It especially targets babies and small cuddly animals. I swear Hansen will tell us next that carbon will evolve into a polar bear eating entity and use slide shows from the film Alien as ‘proof’. In fact i’m sure he is hoping for collective amnesia and tell us that the eclipse next month which will darken the earth is caused by Mann made carbon. Heck nighttime didn’t exist until T-Rex had one bronto burger too many and had bad gas. In light of his ‘standards’ i’d like to share my own talk about how the Kraken has been released and is going to eat the world’s supply of polar bears (that is if the alarmists don’t charter ships so they can eat all the polar bears first-thus proving Mann was a threat afterall). I will also detail how global warning sharks (hybrid/jumping) are seen swarming around all climate variations…sorry disaster /sarc

18. Werner Brozek says:

Ged says:
May 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm
which is 2.24 x 10^32 joules.

So, he’s basically saying we are delivering more than half of the energy needed to physically destroy the planet per day?

Half of 2.24 x 10^32 is 1.12 x 10^32.

Half the energy to destroy the planet? I’m pretty sure powers of ten don’t work like that… More like 1/10^13 of the energy needed.

This guy is a complete farce. My credulity in people’s ability to believe this utter tripe, and the media’s insatiable appetite to print it is at breaking point. It really does now bear all the hallmarks of a religion.

20. FergalR says:

I’ll get my calculator out but Leif will probably ninja me.

21. Don’t knock him; let him bang on and show the World how stupid he and his AGW disaster story are.

22. dmmcmah says:

If that many Hydrogen bombs can only warm the earth by less than a degree I’d suggest a more efficient energy source.

23. Latitude says:

good grief…..and that’s only with an extra 200ppm CO2…above the level that plants won’t grow

Just Imagine how bad it was when CO2 levels were in the thousands!

24. “Hansen Scare Scale”… catchy, catchy. :-)
Let it be known as the HSS factor.

25. EternalOptimist says:

Is that Hansen in the photo ?
Can’t we get one of him in handcuffs
/joking

26. Willis Eschenbach says:

1 ton of TNT = 4.184e+9 joules (J) source

Hiroshima bomb = 15 kilotons of TNT = 6.28e+13 joules (ibid)

Hansen says increase in forcing is “400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day”, which comes to 2.51e+19 joules/day.

A watt is a joule per second, so that works out to a constant additional global forcing of 2.91e+14 watts.

Normally, we look at forcings in watts per square metre (W/m2). Total forcing (solar plus longwave) averaged around the globe 24/7 is about 500 watts per square metre.

To convert Hansen’s figures to a per-square-metre value, the global surface area is 5.11e+14 square metres … which means that Hansens dreaded 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day works out to 0.6 watts per square metre … in other words, Hansen wants us to be very afraid because of a claimed imbalance of six tenths of a watt per square metre in a system where the downwelling radiation is half a kilowatt per square metre … we cannot even measure the radiation to that kind of accuracy.

w.

27. bvdeenen says:

Napkin calculation, no calculator needed: Hiroshima was ca. 63 TJ = 6E13J. The earths circular area is 3 * (6E6m)^2 = 1E14m2. The suns TSI is ca 1kW = 1E3 J/s, so the earth gets ca 1E17 J/s on the sunlit side, so the sun explodes about 1E17/6E13 = 1E3 Hiroshima atomic bombs on this planet. EVERY SECOND.

Mr. Hansen: the sun explodes about a thousand Hiroshima bombs on this planet. EVERY SECOND. DO something about it!

28. beesaman says:

It should be Omgwtfs….

29. Olaf Koenders says:

Maybe we should equate Hansen’s dribblings to unicorn farts..

30. WTF says:

How do you convert Suzuki’s and Gore’s into Hansen’s? What is the exchange rate? ;-))

31. bvdeenen says:

Here is my napkin calculation, no calculator needed: Hiroshima was ca. 63 TJ = 6E13J. The earths circular area is 3 * (6E6m)^2 = 1E14m2. The suns TSI is ca 1kW = 1E3 J/s, so the earth gets ca 1E17 J/s on the sunlit side, so the sun explodes about 1E17/6E13 = 1E3 Hiroshima atomic bombs on this planet. EVERY SECOND.

32. Werner Brozek says:

equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.

Even if we assumed this to be true, what is the problem? Let us assume this heat is all going into the ocean. (It certainly has not warmed the air over the last 10 to 15 years!)

The energy of one bomb is 6.3 x 10^10 kJ, so in one year, that would be 6.3 x 10^10 kJ x 400,000 x 365.24.
The mass of the ocean is 1.4 x 10^21 kg and its specific heat is about 4 kJ/kgK. So we can equate
6.3 x 10^10 kJ x 400,000 x 365.24 = 1.4 x 10^21 kg x 4 kJ/kgK x change in t. The temperature change turns out to be 0.0016 C per year. At this rate, it would take over 600 years to warm 1 C.

33. Jos says:

Did a quick math calculation based on Levitus 1993-2010, approximately 10 ZJ (10^21 J) per year, which gives you about 2.7 10^19 Joules over a day. Given Hiroshima produced 63 TJ (63 10^12), you get 434877 Hiroshimas.

Yep, calculation is correct. But what is the point?

34. Chris B says:

Could we have that in Manhattans of ice melted please. I was raised on the old system.

35. tty says:

0,6 Watt increase per day equals 220 W after a year, and since the Earth only receives about 340 W per square meter as it is, Hansen’s figures implies that we may expect the oceans to start boiling in August or September.

36. As always, when Willis has his say there is not much more that needs to be said.

Thanks, Willis, from your Gualala neighbor.

37. Mike McMillan says:

Inspirational image behind Hansen. Thanks.
Mike
ex B-52 driver

We’re warming the planet by the equivalent of burning 1.5 billion polar bears EVERY DAY!!

Sheesh.

39. It’s Bush’s fault, for not making Hansen understand the muzzle was for Hansen’s own good.

40. FergalR says:

RE:Willis Eschenbach says:
May 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm

That’s interesting and not just because it saves me from from a headache. The models for AR5 are supposed to be programmed to believe that greenhouse gas forcing has increased by ~3.5W/m^2 since industrialisation – leading to ~0.8°C warming.

[self-snipped so you don’t have to]

41. Gary D. says:

Chris B

Thank you, I needed a laugh.

42. Bart says:
43. Stephen Richards says:

It’s a shame he is standing in front of a volcano and not in it. Now that would be global warming on a Hansen scale.

44. Kelvin Vaughan says:

On average about 700,000,000,000 Watts every hour 24 hours a day 365 days a year or 6,132,000,000,000,000 Watts per year are generated by the entire human race.

Exterminate.

45. Resourceguy says:

It’s called one upmanship versus the EU climate crazy. Its a form of giantism in evolution such as dinosaur development and liars.

46. Berényi Péter says:

The energy emitted by the Little Boy was not so much, it was just released fast. The Hoover Dam produces the same amount in about half a minute. Therefore 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day is equal to 140 Hoover Dams.

47. Jenn Oates says:

Yeah, and people will believe it because a scientist said it, without even bothering the check where he got his numbers, not unlike the reaction my students give to numbers that don’t make sense. They just don’t have the ability to judge whether something is reasonable or not. It’s a result, so it must be right (plus it’s too much work to try to do it again).

48. Babsy says:

R Taylor says:
May 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Of course it’s Bush’s fault. It was George Bush that started the illegal Peloponnesian War for oil!

49. Berényi Péter says:

Or it is 42,000 high end industrial windmills, for that matter, provided of course the wind is always blowing (which is not the case).

50. Interstellar Bill says:

If we even had enough uranium on Earth to build just the first 400,000 bombs,
all we’d have to do instead is build enough reactors to power the entire world
and synthesize all its motor fuel out of atmospheric CO2.
That much uranium would run the world for millenia,
and by then we’d be on thorium or Helium-3.

51. wayne says:

Or, if CO2 is 0.4 MHiroshimaBombs per day, then the sun delivers 956.4 MHiroshimaBombs per day. If you just count the fact that the sun only shines on one side, it’s 1913 MHiroshimaBombs every day on the lit side compared to 0.4 including night.

Jos, I know the point Hansen is making… a fainted lie, in that people need to worry. Besides, the concentration of CO2 does not affect our surface temperature.

This is even worse than lying by graphs and statistics !! Thank you NASA for the constant stream of this type of lies, it is sinking you. Fire the fool.

52. Jim Clarke says:

Okay, so the numbers are in and 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day is almost nothing compared to the energy we receive from the sun each day. And that 400,000 is probably an exaggeration. I am assuming that Hanson is including the water vapor feedback that, so far, has only been found in the models. The actual increase from carbon dioxide alone, is probably around 150,000 Hiroshima bombs per day. That amount of energy may easily be radiated back into space by just a slight change in the amount of cumulonimbus activity on the planet, with almost no change to global average atmospheric temperature.

So what is Hanson doing with this? The same thing that the Heartland Institute did with their Ted Kacsynski/Global Warming Billboard, only worse! In fact, it is drivel like this from Hanson (and other warmistas) that prompted H.I. to put up their ridiculous billboard. The billboard was factually correct, but implied that all warmistas are crazy like Ted Kacsynski. Hanson’s statements are in the realm of scientific accuracy, but equate global warming to nuclear bombs. Nuclear weapons are far more terrifying and despised than little Teddy K. Hanson’s objective is to use the general populations ignorance of scale to terrify them and manipulate them emotionally. His statements do not educate, but obfuscate and exaggerate the reality.

The Heartland Institute was soundly and justly ridiculed for their billboard, from both sides of the AGW debate, but will the same thing happen to Hanson? If he is not vilified from both sides, than Hanson will end up proving the point Heartland was trying to make in the first place (albeit, distastefully)!

So what do you say, warmistas? Who will be the first to step up and publicly chastise Hanson for this ill-found propaganda. Who will be the first to demand he retract his statements? Who will be the first to show some moral character, some sense of justice and fair play, and demand that Mr. Hanson apologize for his deliberately equating CO2 emissions with an hourly global nuclear holocaust!

Our will you try to say that this is different? (Hint…it isn’t)

53. Berényi Péter says:

Which means a windmill is worth nine or ten Hiroshima atomic bombs per day. Horrible, is not it?

54. wayne says:

I think I just doubled the difference…. but the points I was making still stick.

55. Jim Clarke says:

Sorry…Hanson should be Hansen.

56. TomW says:

So if we leave our lights off for a few minutes, can we nuke somebody in an environmentally friendly way?

57. MJ says:

Can I just get by with buying another fan or should I plan for another AC unit? Just trying to think ahead here.

58. Tom J says:

I can’t tell; is that supposed to be a mushroom cloud behind Hansen’s head or does that represent hot air coming out of his mouth? Now look at the stupid way it’s posed. The sappy melodrama. A balding twit standing there as if he’s a Grecian god of the future. I’d be genuinely embarrassed if I was him.

59. Ally E. says:

I can’t stand it. No more, please, I’m still coming to grips with spilt milk leaving a carbon footprint. Okay, okay, I ‘fess up, I like watching them implode. You’d think, as rational beings… *cough, cough, splutter* sorry about that… they’d twig to the fact that they are undermining their own argument by repeatedly trying to outdo their own scare stories. I guess they don’t understand the meaning of overkill. But c’mon, they must realize IT’S NOT WORKING ANYMORE.

60. Kit Blanke says:

I read the source article, lots of pix from the nevada test site. generally caused my brain to shrink away from the inanity of the comparison. This is Hansen (trying to) scarifying the public…again.

61. Now this idiocy ,this is what should be on a billboard, Just saying.

63. Ted says:

Thanks Willis Eschenbach & bvdeenen : For another WUWT slap down/home run. Great blog and support team.

64. TRM says:

Every time I see the pic of the doc speaking at TED I can’t help but think of the ending of this TED talk

“Some people have crazy ideas” :)

65. otsar says:

He should be encouraged and applauded for his wisdom and insight and encouraged to do more. This way he will be more of a rotting albatross around NASA’s neck. Useful idiots can be used by more than one party.

66. Berényi Péter says:

The sweetest spot is that nuclear weapons are absolutely carbon free. So changing our economy to 400,000 bombs/day should be a good business, dare you deny it, Hansen?

67. – Meanwhile back in the world
the average temperatures around the globe were in 1998 were ?
and now in 2012 they are ?
Ans = not much different,
same for : polar ice coverage, same for sea level, same for desertification etc. etc.
– to mother nature everything is still going within the natural variability we’ve known in the last 1000 years …. there’s still grass for the rabbits to eat

68. To the descendants of those whose lives were snuffed out in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings:

Speaking as a North American, I apologize for the despicable vulgarity that has been uttered by this person, Hansen. Please believe that not all of us are like this. Some of us do not believe that these horrible events should have happened, and some of us are also very sickened by the fact that such an event could be used in such a disgustingly insensitive way, thereby seeming to cheapen the lives of those that were made to suffer — though one human being can never really cheapen the life of another.

I am sorry that you have had to be exposed to the rhetorical filth that the American, Hansen, has produced at your expense and that of your lost family members. As I cannot think of anything I can do to stop him or force him to retract his vile statement, I can only humbly beg your forgiveness.

With greatest regrets,
Richard T. Fowler

69. joeldshore says:

The quote of Hansen’s is taken out-of-context. Here is more of the context. (To see the full context, he starts talking about the energy imbalance at about 6:15 in the TED talk.)

The total energy imbalance is about six tenths of a Watt per square meter. That may not sound like much but when added up over the whole world, it’s enormous. It’s about 20 times greater than the rate of energy use by all of humanity. It’s equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day

I don’t see what is wrong with that quote. His point is that a small imbalance in W/m^2 adds up to a large amount of energy over the Earth’s surface.

BargHumer says:

If it is gaining the energy, where is it supposed to be storing it?

Primarily in the oceans.

70. joeldshore says:

Jim Clarke says:

Okay, so the numbers are in and 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day is almost nothing compared to the energy we receive from the sun each day. And that 400,000 is probably an exaggeration. I am assuming that Hanson is including the water vapor feedback that, so far, has only been found in the models.

Hansen is basing it on the energy imbalance as empirically diagnosed by looking at the net warming of the oceans over several years.

71. Kasuha says:

This is propaganda at its finest. Post-scientific era, I’d say it’s the right definition for Anthropocene. The time when humanity is driven not by reason but by emotions.

72. Scarface says:

This man is having a permanent bad trip. He needs help asap.
Or he has to visit the Heartland Conference, to get some real-world visions on CO2 and climate.

73. Mooloo says:

The energy calculations are not the only innumeracy.

“The amazing persistence of CO2 in the air “

I don’t believe CO2 has a small effect just because it is a trace gas (which is not to say that I think its effect is large). But there is no getting around that it is present only in trace amounts.

Given that nature and us produce prodigious amounts, the fact is that it must be sequestered very quickly indeed.

That it persists at all is only because below the current concentration the plants struggle to absorb it quickly enough. The “persistence” of CO2 is clearly bogus.

74. David Ross says:

Anthony wrote: “I think we need a new unit to quantify ridiculousness.”

I propose the Watt-TF, WTF or Watthifuq. More specifically it could measure the rate at which credibility is used up or destroyed.

We could store Hansen in a climate-controlled vault in Paris so that future generations can use him as the standard by which all future watthifuqometers will be made.

75. Streetcred says:

There’s an implant in his head and he’s remotely managed …

From JunkScience:
Conflict of Interest in Hansen’s NYT Op-ed
Subtly revealed by Andy Revkin…

[…] Dan Miller, an engineer and venture capitalist focused on non-polluting energy technologies who blogs on climate at ClimatePlace.org […] helped Hansen craft his Times piece […]

There is no mention whatsoever of any venture capitalism interests in the original Op-ed.

76. Interstellar Bill says:

Richard Fowler
Slightly straying from the main topic, but you brought up Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
Isn’t it true that at great danger to our pilots we dropped warning leaflets on both cities,
leaflets that today are in the Hiroshima Museum?
Isn’t it true that the authorities could have evacuated the city,
so nobody died at all?
If there were leaflets then the dead of those cities were the victimes of the Japanese Govt, not ours.
P.S.
By my logic these two were the only justified city-bombings of the entire War,

77. DirkH says:

“The suns TSI is ca 1kW = 1E3 J/s, so the earth gets ca 1E17 J/s on the sunlit side, so the sun explodes about 1E17/6E13 = 1E3 Hiroshima atomic bombs on this planet. EVERY SECOND.”

Insolation at TOA is 1350 W/m^2, so 1.3 times of 1E3.

1.3E17/6E13 = 2*1E3

A factor of 2 is too large to be omitted IMHO. We’re talking about small nukes here, after all. 2,000 Hiroshima bombs a second.

78. Willis Eschenbach says:

Interstellar Bill says:
May 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Slightly straying from the main topic, but you brought up Hiroshima & Nagasaki.
Isn’t it true that at great danger to our pilots we dropped warning leaflets on both cities, …

True indeed, but (AFAIK) only for Nagasaki, not for Hiroshima … but what do I know?

TO THE JAPANESE PEOPLE:
America asks that you take immediate heed of what we say on this leaflet.

We are in possession of the most destructive explosive ever devised by man. A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s can carry on a single mission. This awful fact is one for you to ponder and we solemnly assure you it is grimly accurate.

We have just begun to use this weapon against your homeland. If you still have any doubt, make inquiry as to what happened to Hiroshima when just one atomic bomb fell on that city.

Before using this bomb to destroy every resource of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, we ask that you now petition the Emperor to end the war. Our president has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrender. We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better and peace-loving Japan.

You should take steps now to cease military resistance. Otherwise, we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all our other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war.

and …

ATTENTION JAPANESE PEOPLE. EVACUATE YOUR CITIES.
Because your military leaders have rejected the thirteen part surrender declaration, two momentous events have occurred in the last few days.

The Soviet Union, because of this rejection on the part of the military has notified your Ambassador Sato that it has declared war on your nation. Thus, all powerful countries of the world are now at war with you.

Also, because of your leaders’ refusal to accept the surrender declaration that would enable Japan to honorably end this useless war, we have employed our atomic bomb.

A single one of our newly developed atomic bombs is actually the equivalent in explosive power to what 2000 of our giant B-29s could have carried on a single mission. Radio Tokyo has told you that with the first use of this weapon of total destruction, Hiroshima was virtually destroyed.

Before we use this bomb again and again to destroy every resource of the military by which they are prolonging this useless war, petition the emperor now to end the war. Our president has outlined for you the thirteen consequences of an honorable surrender. We urge that you accept these consequences and begin the work of building a new, better, and peace-loving Japan.

Act at once or we shall resolutely employ this bomb and all our other superior weapons to promptly and forcefully end the war.

Source: Harry S. Truman Library, Miscellaneous historical document file, no. 258.

w.

79. William H says:

As there is no response or other repudiation from NASA, one must assume that this ‘information’ coming from a senior staff member/employee of NASA is agreed by NASA as an organisation.

I suggest that each time Hansen announces such ‘results’, or puts himself in a position to be arrested, then we can assume that NASA is in full agreement with his actions. Otherwise, they would surely say “These statements or actions do not portray the truths or otherwise of NASA”.

Let us assume that each of Hansen’s actions and utterances is an official NASA statement by a senior NASA scientist, and broadcast it to the world as such. How long will NASA stay silent while they are being ridiculed?

80. Don Keiller says:

Hansen needs professional help.
Cue men in white coats with straightjacket.

81. Willis Eschenbach says:

Jenn Oates says:
May 15, 2012 at 1:38 pm (Edit)

Yeah, and people will believe it because a scientist said it, without even bothering the check where he got his numbers, not unlike the reaction my students give to numbers that don’t make sense. They just don’t have the ability to judge whether something is reasonable or not. It’s a result, so it must be right (plus it’s too much work to try to do it again).

I ascribe what I call my “nose for bad numbers” to using a slide rule as a kid. A slide rule has no decimal, so it is absolutely necessary to estimate the order of magnitude of the answer … a hugely valuable skill, in my estimation, and one which is sorely lacking in the modern world.

w.

82. ScientistForTruth says:

It’s ridiculous. No-one can imagine the energy of an atomic bomb, never mind an atomic bomb spread out over the whole of the globe.

How about something a bit more domestic. Everyone knows what a 60 watt incandescent lightbulb is. The additional ‘greenhouse’ forcing of 0.6 watts per square metre is the energy incident on the inside of a sphere of around 16 metres (say, around 50 feet) diameter with the lightbulb at the centre since that sphere has a surface area of around 100 square metres. Now imagine standing 8 metres or around 25 feet away from the 60 watt lightbulb. That imperceptible warmth on your face is equivalent to that greenhouse forcing in watts per square metre. Not a lot, is it?

83. DirkH says:

Interstellar Bill says:
May 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm
“If there were leaflets then the dead of those cities were the victimes of the Japanese Govt, not ours.”

Interesting – the web says you’re right – this looks like a source from the PC side which sounds a little skeptical but even they admit it. I hadn’t heard of that before.

Even the king of PC, wikipedia, admit it here, buried deep within the ton of text and kept in check with caveats. Search “leaflets” in this page and you even find a photo of a leaflet, they seem to exist beyond doubt.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki
“The US had previously dropped leaflets warning civilians of air raids on 35 Japanese cities, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki,[45] but not of the atomic bomb as such”

Oh yeah, Uncle Sam forgot to explain nuclear technology to Japanese city dwellers…

84. wayne says:

Joel Shore, when Hansen said:

“The total energy imbalance is about six tenths of a Watt per square meter. That may not sound like much but when added up over the whole world, it’s enormous. It’s about 20 times greater than the rate of energy use by all of humanity. It’s equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day

did he not also “forget” to mention that the Earth is also now outputting and additional 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year? This additional energy is not cumulative, it is being spoken as a forever-and-ever accumulation where in reality it is just a one-time shift in the base energy and therefore temperature, am I not correct? Is he not lying by omission too let alone the type of lying I mentioned above?

James Hansen should be replaced prompt for such “scientific” statements to the public that don’t have the wherewithal to see mathematically through his propaganda.

Come on Joel, you going to continue the lie by your following statements or are you just that blind?

85. John M says:

Gosh, and here the Japanese response to Fukushima was to shut down their nuclear power plants and burn more fossil fuels. Don’t they realize that even if another couple of those suckers went haywire they’d still be net ahead?

86. Anthony, you asked for solar insolation received by Earth each day in “Hiroshima units”

Well, I think it’s “much worse than we thought”. My calculations come out a bit different from others as I’m using the earth’s cross section, not total area to calculate the Joules per day for the earth. This of course does not include the atmosphere so its only approximate (and I probably made some mistake, so correct as needed…).

One HU = 6.300E+13 Joules (1 Hiroshima Unit)

Sun’s Luminosity = 3.827E+26 W (variable)
Sun’s Flux at Earth Distance = 3.827E+26 /(4*pi*149597870691^2) = 1360 Watts/square meter
SecondsPerDay = 86400

EarthCrossSection = pi* 6378000^2 = 1.277E+14 square meters

EarthJperSec = 1360 * EarthCrossSection = 1.738E+17 J/S
EarthJperDay = EarthJperSec * SecondsPerDay = 1.501E+22

HiroshimaUnitsPerSec = EarthJperSec / HU = 2759 HU/S
HiroshimaUnitsPerDay = EarthJperDay / HU = 238,358,496 or 238 MHU/day

((Hu * 400000) / 86400) / EarthCrossSection = 2.28 extra W/m2/Sec

87. KnR says:

joeldshore ‘Primarily in the oceans.’ Oh yes the magical and ever so useful , because it can’t be ‘disproved’ missing heat BS game . One small problem with that idea, like much in climate game its has virtual no scientific value and its science which is after what is supposed to be happening hear.

88. Curiousgeorge says:

Nukes are scary scary. Unless you know something about them, then not so much. Hence the Hiroshima reference. I’m dissapointed he forgot to mention Nagasaki. Very nice place. I’ve been to both a few tiimes. Nice folks. Great city. :)

Whereas the Sun is our friend. Watch the commercials. And then there’s all that sun worshiping that has gone on for thousands of years right up to present day (life’s a beach).

So, anyway, Hansen is still treading water in the deep end. Somebody throw him a cinder block.

89. old44 says:

Would anybody object if the 1,460,000 atomic bombs were exploded over Vancouver very year?

90. Julian Flood says:

An interesting BBC R4 programme this evenng talked about the psychological need of certain people for the threat of doom: for those in the UK see

R4
20:00
Things Ain’t What They Used To Be
Available to listen
David Aaronovitch investigates ‘declinism’ – the idea that human society is in decline.

It perfectly describes the symptoms shown by the good Dr Hansen.

JF

91. Robert of Ottawa says:

Willis, only half the earth is insolated at any time, so your number must be double – Oh, the Horror of an Error. So we are up to an average of 1.2W/M2.

92. Jim Clarke says:

joeldshore says:
May 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm

“I don’t see what is wrong with that quote. His point is that a small imbalance in W/m^2 adds up to a large amount of energy over the Earth’s surface.”

Hansen’s statement may be factually correct, although his calculations are likely derived partially from assumptions that may or may not be true. It is also factually correct to say that Ted Kacsynski was a warmista who spoke about it in language that was almost indistinguishable from Al Gore’s language. Yet, implying that there is equivalence between T. K and the leaders of the AGW movement is foul play. Implying that there is equivalence between global warming and 400,000 exploding Hiroshima bombs per day is also foul play. The point is to mislead and emotionally charge up people who have no concept of the amounts of energy we are talking about. Hiroshima may be the single most emotionally charged topic on the planet. Hansen went there. It is shameful.

93. Robert of Ottawa says:

I must say, I love the new Loon Unit (David Bowey anyone?)

We have Manhattens as a unit of area and now Hiroshimas per Day as a unit of energy. Brilliant … just brilliant. How much daily lightning in Hiroshima units?

94. Disko Troop says:

Chris B says:
May 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Could we have that in Manhattans of ice melted please. I was raised on the old system.
———————————-

Winner!

95. I wonder if Hansen has ever heard of Erwinia Caratovora.
This is a bacteria that lives in the clouds and has effect on the weather. Discovered by Prof.s Gary Franc at U of Wyoming and Paul Demott, Colorado State U. (Yahoo Them)
I just now heard of this myself. Amazing stuff.

96. Err, I forgot to mention in my calculation: the extra W/m2 (cross section) / total received per m2 (cross section) is still microscopic: 2.28 / 1360 = 0.167%, and roughly equivalent to Willis’ 0.6 W/m2 I believe.

97. Kev-in-UK says:

Willis Eschenbach says:
May 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm

well said – but sadly something I don’t think any folk under the age of about 40 can comprehend. I still have my slide rule (a good ole British Thornton, FWIW) and likewise on a sailors theme – few folks can use a sextant or even do dead reckoning! Nobody teaches correct ‘evaluation’ anymore to check equipment funtioning or even mental arithmetic to check your workings….sad really, because when you look at the AGW claims, 80% can probably be debunked with mental arithmetic!

98. Luther Wu says:

WUWT has become my go- to source for comic relief. Reports come in day after day of one howler after another.

99. Paul R says:

I think It’s pretty clever really, he’s working his crowd nicely. They’re the crowd that believe the Earth is insulated by a blanket of “carbon pollution” and that the sun is a distant bright light that disturbs the average warminista at about 10.00 am.

100. I can not believe what Hansen said, I can not believe he believes it, I can not believe he believes we will believe him.

101. Robert of Ottawa says:

In my research (for fun only), I have discovered that a bolt of lightning conatins enough energy to toast 100,000 slices of bread http://www.physics.org/facts/toast.asp OMG we’re all toast :-)

A lightning strike emits 5GJoules of energy apparently http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning#Harvesting_lightning_energy

Now, apparrently, there are 16 million lightning “storms” per year http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning (ed’s note(me) this is a distraction :-)

According to this site http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00239.htm , there are 8,640,000 lightning strikes per day .

Warning: I do not buy any of these numbers, they may or may not be trustful; but this is a very quick web-study, not a serious investigation.

So we have 8,640,000 x 5 x 10**9/ 24×3600 joules per second (or Watts) total over the world’s surface. (resorts to trusty ancient solar-powered manual button calculator) or 5×10**11 watts so this suggests lightning’s added energy is about one thousandth in HUs.

102. Robert of Ottawa says:

For those who are alert, one link states there are 16 million lightning storms per year, and another staters the are (roughly) 8 million lightning strikes per year. Obviously someone is wrong; probably both. Any lightning storm produces, from my exprience, 10 lightning bolts. YMMV. It certainly does in Darwin, Australia, (brilliant beautiful place … gets wiped out every 20 years by cyclones or the Japanese). Hottest place in the world for lightning.

103. John M says:

OK, I know I’m pushing the envelope here, but wouldn’t this have been a more appropriate background for the Hansen photo?

“This paper shows that you could go 400 times higher than average background levels and you’re still not detecting genetic damage.”

New Look at Prolonged Radiation Exposure: At Low Dose-Rate, Radiation Poses Little Risk to DNA, Study Suggests http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120515181256.htm

105. Robert of Ottawa says:

BTW It was Moon Unit, and she is Frank Zappa’s daughter.

106. Chuck Nolan says:

Chris B says:
May 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm
Could we have that in Manhattans of ice melted please. I was raised on the old system.
————————-
How much is that in Olympic size swimming pools.
I have trouble with conversions also.

107. Willis Eschenbach says:

joeldshore says:
May 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm

The quote of Hansen’s is taken out-of-context. Here is more of the context. (To see the full context, he starts talking about the energy imbalance at about 6:15 in the TED talk.)

The total energy imbalance is about six tenths of a Watt per square meter. That may not sound like much but when added up over the whole world, it’s enormous. It’s about 20 times greater than the rate of energy use by all of humanity. It’s equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day

I don’t see what is wrong with that quote. His point is that a small imbalance in W/m^2 adds up to a large amount of energy over the Earth’s surface.

There are several things wrong with that quote. First, we don’t have anywhere near the accuracy in the ocean data to support his claim of an imbalance. See my various posts on Argo for context, particularly “Decimals of Precision“. If you have problems with that analysis, bring them up …

Next, invoking atomic bombs is not an attempt to measure a “large amount of energy”. It is a way to try to alarm people.

You claim to give the number some “context”, but here’s the real context. It’s six-tenths of a watt per square metre in a system with a total downwelling radiation at the surface of about half a kilowatt (solar plus longwave).

In other words, he wants us to get all alarmed about a change of ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT in an active, dynamic system … surely, as a physicist, you can see the alarmism in trying to build a tenth of a percent change into hundreds of thousands of atomic bombs …

w.

108. Glacierman says:

BargHumer says:
“If it is gaining the energy, where is it supposed to be storing it?”

In the deep ocean (Trenberth), or deep space, or in a black hole waiting till a tipping point is reached to rear it’s ugly head. It doesn’t matter what the “explanation” is, you can bet it will be somewhere where it cannot be measured until all the current rent seeking, post-normal government scientists have long since retired.

109. Billy says:

Never mind the math, isn’t destroying civilisation the goal of the enviro movement? Why the alarm?

110. sophocles says:

umm: The Ridiculous Hansen Scale … perhaps?

Units are Hansens, part units are James where a James = 1/1000th of a Hansen or 1000James = 1 Hansen.

Hansen is standing in front of a volcanic eruption, which even Hansen would agree causes climate cooling from aerosols and particulates.

I’ll note the irony of this picture probably telling us more about the cause of the late 20th century warming (lack of volcanic eruptions) than the rest of the article.

112. Sean says:

“I’m afraid to imagine what a 9-10 on the Hansen Scale might look like.”

See the post on the “Million Idiots Caravan” for an example of 9 on the Hansen Scale…

113. Babsy says:

Jim Clarke says:
May 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

“Hiroshima may be the single most emotionally charged topic on the planet. Hansen went there. It is shameful.”

Yes, but it was for the CHILDREN!

114. Steve P says:

Robert of Ottawa says:
May 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm

For those who are alert, one link states there are 16 million lightning storms per year, and another … (roughly) 8 million lightning strikes per year.

Back on 5/5 Anthony posted his article on the Schumann Resonance…

Every second, lightning flashes some 50 times on Earth. Together these discharges coalesce and get stronger, creating electromagnetic waves circling around Earth, to create a beating pulse between the ground and the lower ionosphere, about 60 miles up in the atmosphere. This electromagnetic signature, known as Schumann Resonance…
–A. Watts

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/05/lightning-induced-schumann-resonance-may-divine-exoplanets/

50/sec=3,000/min=180,000/hr=4,320,000/day=1,576,800,000/year

Elsewhere on the web, as you note, there are various published figures on the peak power output of a single lightning stroke (1 trillion watts=one terawatt), amounting to 500-774 megajoules, or 215 Kwh

According to Wikipedia: How lightning initially forms is still a matter of debate… When it occurs between two separate clouds it is known as inter-cloud lightning, and when it occurs between areas of differing electric potential within a single cloud it is known as intra-cloud lightning. Intra-cloud lightning is the most frequently occurring type.

“The frequency of Schumann Resonance depends not only on the size of the planet but on what kinds of atoms and molecules exist in the atmosphere because they change the electrical conductivity,” says Fernando Simoes…

–from the 5/5 WUWT article

“Lightning striking again and again and again and again..”
–Lou Christie, Lightning Strikes

115. Howling Winds says:

But we must accept what Hansen says about the atomic bombs, otherwise Chris Mooney might show up over here accusing WUWT of waging “a war on science”.

116. Is this .00167% increase, or any part of it, cumulative?

117. Howling Winds says:

What were the names of those three hockey players in the movie Slapshot? The Hansen brothers? We need to find three warmistas to fill those roles…

118. joeldshore says:

Willis Eschenbach says:

In other words, he wants us to get all alarmed about a change of ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT in an active, dynamic system … surely, as a physicist, you can see the alarmism in trying to build a tenth of a percent change into hundreds of thousands of atomic bombs …

Well…One can argue about various things regarding your numbers: Is it really the total downwelling radiation we should compare to rather than the 240 W/m^2. And, note that Hansen is talking only about the current radiative imbalance, not the part that has already been neutralized by increases in temperature (and thus increases in outgoing radiation), and the NET amount that includes aerosol cooling. Maybe if Hansen wanted to be more dramatic, he should have used the 4 W/m^2 that is the known effect from doubling CO2, which we will almost certainly do (relative to pre-industrial levels) by the time the century is out…and we will do much more than that if people like you have your way and we go completely to town burning all the coal and tar sands and what not we can get our hands on. 4 W/m^2 is getting up to close to 2% of the net amount of radiation the Earth’s climate system absorbs.

However, more importantly, saying that a small percentage is nothing to be alarmed about it sort of a silly argument itself. For example, with such logic, I could dismiss the whole glacial – interglacial cycles as pretty much inconsequential themselves as they result in only about a 2% change in global temperatures on an absolute scale.

So, your “context” is really no more objective than Hansen’s context. You just like your context better because you want to believe that the results of AGW are going to be inconsequential (and contradiction to what most scientists in the field believe).

119. Alex Heyworth says:

Is that Joe Romm’s head exploding in the background?

120. joeldshore says:

wayne says:

did he not also “forget” to mention that the Earth is also now outputting and additional 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year?

Hansen only talked about the current imbalance, that is the current rate by which input exceeds output. So, no, he didn’t forget anything. To the extent that the Earth has already warmed and adjusted, it is not counted in his figure of the current net imbalance as measured by ocean heat accumulation.

This additional energy is not cumulative, it is being spoken as a forever-and-ever accumulation where in reality it is just a one-time shift in the base energy and therefore temperature, am I not correct? Is he not lying by omission too let alone the type of lying I mentioned above?

You are not really correct. Yeah….It won’t accumulate forever because eventually a new radiative balance will be established but that takes quite a long time. But, he didn’t say it would accumulate for ever and ever. And, on the time scale of a year that he was talking about, it is most certainly cumulative.

121. Katherine says:

The fact that this was a TED talk lowers my estimation of TED. If they feature a crank like Hansen, what does that make those featured in other TED talks?

122. a dood says:

Do these catastrophists ever leave their models and go outside? My god, it’s just been the most beautiful spring. With a complete and total lack of climate catastrophe, I might add! Blue skies and green grass and fresh air. 400,000 Hiroshima bombs? LMAO!!

123. Alex says:

How energy much is that in death train kilometers?

124. joelshore says:

“Maybe if Hansen wanted to be more dramatic, he should have used the 4 W/m^2 that is the known effect from doubling CO2, which we will almost certainly do (relative to pre-industrial levels) by the time the century is out…and we will do much more than that if people like you have your way and we go completely to town burning all the coal and tar sands and what not we can get our hands on.”

“Known effect”?? Not quite. More like presumed effect.

I know that joelshore does not want to be seen as a flagrant hypocrite, so I’m sure he does without the benefits of “burning all the coal and tar sands”. No doubt joelshore will report back here and tell us what it’s like to go without most of his electricity, and explain how nice it is to do without any petroleum burning engines. Because, like, we wouldn’t want to think that joelshore is a hypocrite, scoldlding the rest of us for doing something that he does, too.

For my part, I am burning every last carbon molecule I can get my hands on, because CO2 is harmless, and more CO2 is greening the planet. It’s a win-win!

125. joeldshore says:
May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

So, your “context” is really no more objective than Hansen’s context.

Then you agree that it’s OK to measure greenhouse warming in ‘Hiroshimas’? I guess in your view it’s also OK to measure statements by climate scientists as ‘Kaczynskis.’

126. DocMartyn says:

I Britain we have a chocolate bar called a Mars Bar. To teach bioenergetics I used to point out that each Mars Bar eaten (202 Calories 0.85) was approximately equal to a half a stick of dynamite.(2.1 MJ of energy.)

The energy density (J/kg) of dynamite is approximately 7.5 MJ/kg, TNT is 4.0-4.7 MJ/kg and a Mars bar is 24 MJ/kg.

The heating power of corn is equal to 15.88 MJ/kg

As a standard 1 gram of TNT is 4184 J; thus 1 ton of TNT = 4.184 x 10^9 J. 1 kT of TNT is 4.184×10^12 J.

So we have 400,000 x365x 15x 4.184×10^12 J = 9.163×10^21 J.

The 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake was 4×10^22 J, 4.4 times bigger.
The total energy from the Sun that strikes the face of the Earth each year is 5.5×10^24 J, or 600 times the nuclear weapons going off.

127. Allan MacRae says:

I get the same answer as Willis, but in different units.

400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year
equals
1 standard Farticane*

Definitions:
* 1 Farticane = 1 Fart in a Hurricane, at standard temperature and pressure

128. Willis Eschenbach says:

joeldshore says:
May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:

In other words, he wants us to get all alarmed about a change of ONE TENTH OF ONE PERCENT in an active, dynamic system … surely, as a physicist, you can see the alarmism in trying to build a tenth of a percent change into hundreds of thousands of atomic bombs …

Well…One can argue about various things regarding your numbers: Is it really the total downwelling radiation we should compare to rather than the 240 W/m^2.

Well, let’s see. You want to compare a change in downwelling radiation at the surface to just solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere … you’ll have to justify that one to me, I don’t see it. Hansen is talking about a claimed increase in total downwelling radiation at the surface that he says is being absorbed by the ocean … so what is the justification for comparing it to anything but total downwelling radiation at the surface? What’s next, comparing it to the energy required to send a spaceship to Mars?

And, note that Hansen is talking only about the current radiative imbalance, not the part that has already been neutralized by increases in temperature (and thus increases in outgoing radiation), and the NET amount that includes aerosol cooling.

Say what? AFAIK, his 0.6 W/m2 number is calculated from the post 1950 change in ocean heat content. IOW, he is saying that there has been an ongoing imbalance of that amount.

Maybe if Hansen wanted to be more dramatic, he should have used the 4 W/m^2 that is the known effect from doubling CO2, which we will almost certainly do (relative to pre-industrial levels) by the time the century is out…and we will do much more than that if people like you have your way and we go completely to town burning all the coal and tar sands and what not we can get our hands on. 4 W/m^2 is getting up to close to 2% of the net amount of radiation the Earth’s climate system absorbs.

No, that’s not the “known effect from the doubling of CO2″. It is the figure used by the IPCC, and it has been estimated to be both above and below that. But I still don’t understand your logic. You are comparing a change in forcing due to CO2 to incoming radiation from the sun, a number that has nothing to do with CO2.

Surely, a change in downwelling surface radiation from CO2 must be compared to total downwelling radiation at the surface, not to the solar radiation at the TOA.

However, more importantly, saying that a small percentage is nothing to be alarmed about it sort of a silly argument itself. For example, with such logic, I could dismiss the whole glacial – interglacial cycles as pretty much inconsequential themselves as they result in only about a 2% change in global temperatures on an absolute scale.

In that case, I guess you’ll just have to learn to distinguish between a tenth of a percent and two percent. A tenth of a percent change in global temperature is a swing of three tenths of a degree … are you claiming that we should be concerned about that? Two percent, on the other hand, is six degrees … definitely consequential. I’m not saying it is inconsequential because it is smaller than 10% or something. I’m saying it is inconsequential because it is a tenth of a percent.

So, your “context” is really no more objective than Hansen’s context.

If there is an increase in consumer prices, we don’t compare them to solar radiation. If there is an increase in the Dow Jones Average, we don’t compare that to solar radiation. In all cases, we compare it to the total of what is being measured. In this case, Hansen claims an increase in downwelling radiation at the surface, and wants to compare it to atom bombs … and I want to compare it to downwelling radiation at the surface.

So contrary to your claim, my context is the context that we use everywhere else—comparing a change in some measurable quantity to the quantity being measured.It’s called a “percentage”, Joel, you should look into it, and it is not calculating by dividing by the energy per atomic bomb.

You just like your context better because you want to believe that the results of AGW are going to be inconsequential (and contradiction to what most scientists in the field believe).

Oh, right, I forgot, it’s necessary for you to bring out the “head-count fallacy” … Joel, first, we don’t really know what “most scientists in the field believe”, because the polling that has been done doesn’t involve “most scientists in the field”, only a few and often self-selected, and because the questions are usually on the order of “Is the world warming (Yes/No)”. Pull out your poll if you disagree.

Nor do the claims by “The National Academy of XYZ” impress me in the slightest. I have not seen a single one of them where they actually polled the members. Instead, they are merely the politically correct posturing of a few leaders of the organizations in question.

But at the end of the day, none of that matters, because science is not settled by voting, that’s the “head-count fallacy” … no matter how much you’d like for it to be.

w.

129. Justa Joe says:

joeldshore says:
May 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I don’t see what is wrong with that quote. His point is that a small imbalance in W/m^2 adds up to a large amount of energy over the Earth’s surface.
———————————-
Nope, it may sound like a lot, but it’s still six tenths of a Watt per square meter of “imbalance”. What’s the point of totalling it up as if this globally dispersed amount of energy could come together and affect something by releasing the accumulative energy all at once?

130. gregole says:
131. DirkH says:

Katherine says:
May 15, 2012 at 6:51 pm
“The fact that this was a TED talk lowers my estimation of TED. If they feature a crank like Hansen, what does that make those featured in other TED talks?”

There are quite a few cranks amongst the TEDtalkers, and snakeoil salesmen, and also geniusses.
Barry Schwarz, for instance, was happier when there was only one ill-fitting brand of jeans.

Does this mean that all TEDTalks are crap? No. But the burden of choice might make you unhappy, according to Schwarz.

132. GeneDoc says:

This is the kind of crap that teachers love to pick up on. Stop scaring the children with AGW. Stop the alarmism. Fight the temptation to turn kids into fatalists. We need to be raising optimists. It used to be logging the rain forest that was going to kill us. Now it’s simply our very existence. Atom bombs. Sheesh.

133. Barry Schwarz needs to get out more… I think a year in North Korea or maybe South Sudan might change his world view a wee bit.

134. stan stendera says:

Attention mods. I’m trying to be nice while commenting about James Hansen. That is a very hard thing to do so please don’t snip me unless I step way, way over the line.

@ Jim Clarke

The Heartland people were right. Warmistas are very like Ted Kacynski. Full Stop. That is a true statement. Period. Full Stop. In fact if you look at photos James Hansen looks very like Ted Kacynskj.

135. Crispin in Waterloo says:

The Hansen Scale of Alarm

The Hansen Scale of Alarm is logarithmic and open ended. It is ten times the Log of the ratio between the number claimed and the actual number. A true answer is 0 which means no alarm is warranted.

For example if someone says the doubling of CO2 will lead to a temperature increase of 6 degrees, and the actual value is 0.5 degrees, that gives ((6/0.5) Log10) = 1.0792 Multiplying the result by 10 and rounding gives 10.8 on the Hansen Scale of Alarm (HSA).

The reason to make the scale logarithmic is the need to accomodate statements like ‘1 billion people will die by…’ when the actual number is 8 or 15. For 15 the Hansen Scale of Alarm rating would be
10((1E9/15)Log10) = HSA 782.4 The number of significant digits could be limited to 3, for example 782. Similarly, 1050 but not 1051.

A slight exaggeration would be saying the pH of the ocean will drop from 8.13 to 8.05 for a quadrupling of CO2 when it might actually drop to 8.10. The difference is 0.08 v.s. 0.03 for a ratio of 2.666 giving analarming exaggeration of HSA 4.3.

For a forecast temperature rise of 2.o degrees and a real drop, the negative can be accomodated by using the *FAIL* sign because the forecast is beyond *ALARM* into the universe of *WRONG*. Remember, being out by miles is not the same as being wrong. We have to be fair.

136. Mac the Knife says:

Tom_R says:
May 15, 2012 at 7:31 pm
” ” joeldshore says:
May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm
So, your “context” is really no more objective than Hansen’s context.”

Then you agree that it’s OK to measure greenhouse warming in ‘Hiroshimas’? I guess in your view it’s also OK to measure statements by climate scientists as ‘Kaczynskis.’ ”

Tom_R,
‘Kaczynskis.’ – Brilliant! Perfect unit of measure for the climate science statements from TED!

137. Brian H says:

But how much is that in anti-neutrons?

138. Here’s another way to put it, which Hansen apparently missed: The extra forcing is 2.7 10^19 joules every day. The energy of a typical rifle shot is 2.7 10^4 joules. This makes the anthropogenic impact of CO2 emission equivalent of killing one quadrillion polar bears every single day.

139. All of the estimates are wrong.

The correct answer is as follows.

The daily impact of global forcing of 0.6 W/m^2 is not even equal to one Hiroshima bombing.

Not even close.

That is the only correct answer, my friends.

140. wayne says:

Richard T. Fowler: “Not even close.
That is the only correct answer, my friends.”

Maybe you should provide some deeper explaination, maybe the simple math, that brings you to this conclusion. If you are correct, so be it, I’ll listen, and I’m sure others are also wondering why you would say that. Or maybe just show where the other calculations went horribly wrong. We all err sometimes, especially in fast conversations.

141. Chuck says:

Hansen will be remembered as a “Peace in our time” scientist. In other words, 20 years from now he will be one of the “Chicken Littles” of the global warming alarmist era.

That is the price one will pay and must pay for ignoring science for PR and newspaper coverage. Shame on him and he deserves his small spot in the ignorance and ignoring the history and research of the Milankovitch Cycles Theory.

Chuck

142. H.R. says:

@wayne says:
May 15, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Richard T. Fowler: “Not even close.
That is the only correct answer, my friends.”

[wayne puzzled by Fowler’s statement]
=============================================
It took a moment, but I got what Richard meant. The REAL effect of that one bomb on Hiroshima was horrendous in lives and property lost or ruined.

A little extra warmth per Willis’ and others’ calculations? Just makes a day at the beach a little more pleasant, eh? No comparison.

(Okay. How much is it in ant farts? Now that would be a really big number.)

143. blogagog says:

If I’m reading this correctly, it’s time to max out my credit cards, right?

I’m still a little hesitant though. These AGW alarmists have lied to me before…

144. alex says:

Hansen ‘s trickery knows no bounds. He uses a very terrifying thing, an atomic explosion, to terrify us into obedience. Just like how my mummy used to make me obey her by telling me that the bogeyman will come and get me.
The truth is that the 0.5 W/m2, if correct, is being, more or less equally distributed on the surface of our planet (not in destructive burst concentrated in some places), during daytime, and lost to space during night time. Hansen failed to tell us that we are losing the energy to space equivalent to 400,000 x 1000/0.5= 800 million atomic bombs per day.
Meanwhile we are burning HC fuels at a rate of 2.41096E+17 per day, besides nuclear power.

145. Richard111 says:

Gosh! And there are people who believe we can control these forces simply by imposing taxes.
/sarc

146. Gail Combs says:

Interstellar Bill says:
May 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm

If we even had enough uranium on Earth to build just the first 400,000 bombs,
all we’d have to do instead is build enough reactors to power the entire world
and synthesize all its motor fuel out of atmospheric CO2….
___________________________
Please do not say that synthesizing motor fuel out of atmospheric CO2, and thereby possibly decreasing the amount in the atmosphere is a really really dangerous idea and these nutters are idiotic enough to try it.

THINK OF THE PLANTS!

147. Mr.Fowler is correct. He’s not talking joules or W/m2, He talking about the effect of a Hiroshima bomb on humans. There’s no doubt nukes are weapons of terror.

148. Gary Pearse says:

“global warming is:

“…equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year. That’s how much extra energy Earth is gaining each day.”

Hmmm… so it is safe to persue nuclear power generation after all.

149. Gail Combs says:

Anthony, could you add Richard T. Fowler’s open letter at the top of this thread?

Mr Fowler is correct. This is equivalent to those supporting “the Cause” using the term “Denier.” It is another cheap trick that diminishes the deaths and suffering of those who were sacrificed during the power games of WWII.

150. John Whitman says:

In Hansen’s view fossil fuel use is absolute evil.

That is his whole argument.  So he does not argue.  He makes no pretence at being open to scientific doubt.  He pontificates.

Thus I find it is not logically possible that Hansen can represent the scientific process.

John

151. joeldshore says:

Willis Eschenbach says:

Well, let’s see. You want to compare a change in downwelling radiation at the surface to just solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere … you’ll have to justify that one to me, I don’t see it. Hansen is talking about a claimed increase in total downwelling radiation at the surface that he says is being absorbed by the ocean … so what is the justification for comparing it to anything but total downwelling radiation at the surface? What’s next, comparing it to the energy required to send a spaceship to Mars?

No, he is not talking about a change in total downwelling radiation at the surface and I am surprised that you are confused on this point. He is talking about the NET imbalance in radiation at the top of the atmosphere, which ocean heat content is a pretty good proxy for because most of this net imbalance between what the Earth+atmosphere receives and what it emits back out into space goes into heating the oceans, given that is where most of the available heat capacity is. It makes no sense to think he is talking about downwelling radiation at the surface…After all, the surface budget is determined by much more than just the downwelling radiation there; it is also determined by the upwelling radiation, the convection, evaporation, etc.

Say what? AFAIK, his 0.6 W/m2 number is calculated from the post 1950 change in ocean heat content. IOW, he is saying that there has been an ongoing imbalance of that amount.

Yes…This is the current radiative imbalance. However, that imbalance represents just the NET radiative forcing due to everything we have added to the atmosphere (or done to alter the surface albedo) that changes this balance (greenhouse gases, aerosols, …) minus the amount of adjustment (due to increase in temperatures) that has already occurred.

No, that’s not the “known effect from the doubling of CO2″. It is the figure used by the IPCC, and it has been estimated to be both above and below that.

No serious scientist, including Lindzen, Spencer, etc. seriously disputes that value, at least to within about 10%.

In that case, I guess you’ll just have to learn to distinguish between a tenth of a percent and two percent. A tenth of a percent change in global temperature is a swing of three tenths of a degree … are you claiming that we should be concerned about that? Two percent, on the other hand, is six degrees … definitely consequential. I’m not saying it is inconsequential because it is smaller than 10% or something. I’m saying it is inconsequential because it is a tenth of a percent.

As I have pointed out, your tenth of a percent number is problematic for various reasons. And, a more realistic number for the effect that we will cause on our current trajectory, the one that you want us to remain on, is easily up in the couple of percent range.

Furthermore, it is not clear to me how you have reached your conclusion about what matters. What from first principles tells you that a 2% increase in temperature makes a hugely dramatic difference in climate and sea levels (talking on the order of 100 meters, if I recall correctly) but that a change somewhat smaller than that suddenly ends up being inconsequential?

But at the end of the day, none of that matters, because science is not settled by voting, that’s the “head-count fallacy” … no matter how much you’d like for it to be.

What has gotten us beyond the Dark Ages is the willingness of all but the most extreme parts of the political spectrum to generally accept the conclusions of the scientific community, as expressed by organizations chartered to provide input on science to the government, like the National Academy of Sciences. What will put us back in the Dark Ages is if one extreme of the political spectrum becomes so mainstream in one of the two political parties (speaking about things here in the U.S. specifically) that their notion of rejecting science that disagrees with their ideology actually becomes a matter of public policy. It is an extremely dangerous precedent, which is why most of the scientific community is so alarmed by it.

152. Justa Joe says:

Hansen didn’t invent the Hiroshima unit of measurement for radiative energy “imbalance”.

The heat trapped by global warming equals 1 million Hiroshima bombs a day
By Christopher Mims
http://grist.org/list/the-heat-trapped-by-global-warming-equals-1-million-hiroshima-bombs-a-day/

“The radiative forcing of the CO2 we have already put in the atmosphere in the last century is … the equivalent in energy terms to almost half a billion Hiroshima bombs each year.”

153. Myron Mesecke says:

I wish I could remember where I recently read a quote from Hansen where he says that CO2 adds 0.64 watts to warming. Very close to the 0.6 watts that Willis calculated for all the bombs. I think that Hansen realized that 0.64 watts didn’t sound scary so he converted the energy to A-bombs.

154. dmmcmah says:
May 15, 2012 at 12:28 pm

If that many Hydrogen bombs can only warm the earth by less than a degree I’d suggest a more efficient energy source.

The Hiroshima device was not a hydrogen bomb.

155. Andy Wehrle says:

Mr. Eschenbach says:

“Hansens dreaded 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day works out to 0.6 watts per square metre”

Said differently, 400,000 of the most powerful devices mankind can build amount to squat when compared to what the sun pumps out daily. Mankind is NOT powerful enough to effect global climate change — period, end of sentence — the science is settled!

156. techgm says:

As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a maroon.”
(And Jimmy looks like Elmer Fudd.)

157. I was thinking of a way to calculate the amount of radiation from the sun that is actually absorbed by the earth.
Since I am not good at math, I will try to set the problem as I see it and will be happy if anybody could do the actual math:
* The direct radiation on the earth over 24 hours is only over its half side. So it is the earth’s surfase divided in 2.
* This area is also not quite right. only about 8 hours of the day have high radiation ratio, and also the equivalent of this length on the vertical dimension. When moving towards the poles or the sunrise/sundown line, the radiation quickly goes down. This suggests a rather small area of actual energy absorbtion.
* All through the dark hours of the day (night side) there is a NET OUTGOING RADIATION. This means energy lost to space, even from the CO2 molecules previousely heated during the daytime.
All this seems to me much less energy budget than people here suggest.

158. Willis Eschenbach says:

joeldshore says:
May 16, 2012 at 7:34 am

Willis Eschenbach says:

Well, let’s see. You want to compare a change in downwelling radiation at the surface to just solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere … you’ll have to justify that one to me, I don’t see it. Hansen is talking about a claimed increase in total downwelling radiation at the surface that he says is being absorbed by the ocean … so what is the justification for comparing it to anything but total downwelling radiation at the surface? What’s next, comparing it to the energy required to send a spaceship to Mars?

No, he is not talking about a change in total downwelling radiation at the surface and I am surprised that you are confused on this point. He is talking about the NET imbalance in radiation at the top of the atmosphere, which ocean heat content is a pretty good proxy for because most of this net imbalance between what the Earth+atmosphere receives and what it emits back out into space goes into heating the oceans, given that is where most of the available heat capacity is. It makes no sense to think he is talking about downwelling radiation at the surface…After all, the surface budget is determined by much more than just the downwelling radiation there; it is also determined by the upwelling radiation, the convection, evaporation, etc.

Thanks, Joel, as always good to hear from you. Hansen is talking about the energy taken up by the ocean. He calculates this imbalance as being the equivalent of 0.6 W/m2 being absorbed by the ocean. Obviously, the ocean is not located at the top of the atmosphere, so he must be talking about the energy imbalance at the surface. In fact, there is no way to determine whether that change in ocean heat content is related to a global TOA imbalance or not. It is obvious that the ocean can warm or cool without the earth being out of energy balance, see the PDO and the El Nino cycles as examples.

Say what? AFAIK, his 0.6 W/m2 number is calculated from the post 1950 change in ocean heat content. IOW, he is saying that there has been an ongoing imbalance of that amount.

Yes…This is the current radiative imbalance. However, that imbalance represents just the NET radiative forcing due to everything we have added to the atmosphere (or done to alter the surface albedo) that changes this balance (greenhouse gases, aerosols, …) minus the amount of adjustment (due to increase in temperatures) that has already occurred.

Again, no, that’s just the change in the ocean. It may or may not be related to an equal, or a larger or smaller, change at the TOA. Energy is moving into and out of the ocean constantly, whether there is an imbalance at the TOA or not. If you have evidence that changes in ocean heat content are by definition equal to TOA changes, you’ll have to present that, because I know of no such evidence.

No, that’s not the “known effect from the doubling of CO2″. It is the figure used by the IPCC, and it has been estimated to be both above and below that.

No serious scientist, including Lindzen, Spencer, etc. seriously disputes that value, at least to within about 10%.

You make my point exactly. There are many things about the climate that we do not know to an accuracy greater than 10%. Indeed, some things, like the effect of clouds, we do not even agree about the sign of … and despite that, he claims that we should be worried about a tenth of a percent change somewhere in the system.

In that case, I guess you’ll just have to learn to distinguish between a tenth of a percent and two percent. A tenth of a percent change in global temperature is a swing of three tenths of a degree … are you claiming that we should be concerned about that? Two percent, on the other hand, is six degrees … definitely consequential. I’m not saying it is inconsequential because it is smaller than 10% or something. I’m saying it is inconsequential because it is a tenth of a percent.

As I have pointed out, your tenth of a percent number is problematic for various reasons. And, a more realistic number for the effect that we will cause on our current trajectory, the one that you want us to remain on, is easily up in the couple of percent range.

Furthermore, it is not clear to me how you have reached your conclusion about what matters. What from first principles tells you that a 2% increase in temperature makes a hugely dramatic difference in climate and sea levels (talking on the order of 100 meters, if I recall correctly) but that a change somewhat smaller than that suddenly ends up being inconsequential?

You are talking theory, bring it back to what I actually said. I said that a 2% change in earth’s temperature (six degrees) is a consequential change, while a 0.1% change (three tenths of a degree) is not.

If you disagree, you’ll have to explain why a change of three tenths of a degree should be a matter of concern.

Also, even by your numbers (using the TOA solar insolation of 240 W/m2 instead of the total surface DLR of about half a kilowatt), 0.6°C is still only two tenths of a percent, not 2%, so I’m totally unclear what you are talking about.

0.6 W/m2 is two percent of 30 W/m2 … what on earth are you comparing with Hansens 0.6 W/m2 that is only 30 W/m2 ???

But at the end of the day, none of that matters, because science is not settled by voting, that’s the “head-count fallacy” … no matter how much you’d like for it to be.

What has gotten us beyond the Dark Ages is the willingness of all but the most extreme parts of the political spectrum to generally accept the conclusions of the scientific community, as expressed by organizations chartered to provide input on science to the government, like the National Academy of Sciences. What will put us back in the Dark Ages is if one extreme of the political spectrum becomes so mainstream in one of the two political parties (speaking about things here in the U.S. specifically) that their notion of rejecting science that disagrees with their ideology actually becomes a matter of public policy. It is an extremely dangerous precedent, which is why most of the scientific community is so alarmed by it.

Absolutely not. What has gotten us beyond the Dark Ages is that time after time scientists have gone against the consensus. If we were to follow your plan, we would still be believing what the consensus was in the Dark Ages, because according to you, science is settled by consensus.

Your claim is that the consensus of the experts is what we should listen to. I follow Richard Feynmann, who famously said “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts”.

Finally, the problem is not that people reject scientists who “disagree with their ideology”. The problem is that the leading lights of the AGW movement were shown by their own words to have lied, cheated, subverted the system, and likely broken the law in their attempts to advance their alarmism and punish anyone who disagree with their ideology … and the honest climate scientists said nothing, there were no consequences for the perpetrators of those actions.

THAT is the the extremely dangerous precedent, and the disbelief of much of the populace, rather than being dangerous, is a very logical and reasonable response to being lied to.

w.

159. Alan Bates says:

Just a couple of comments/questions re the picture:
It really doesn’t look like a standard mushroom cloud of Hiroshima/Nagasaki size. I can’t find any pictures of genuine A bomb explosions that look like it.
Personally, I think it looks like a volcano, possibly one where the heat of the magma is being dispersed into that well known global warming agent – water. There appears to be little or no dust.

Can anyone identify the location? My guess would be Iceland – not too disimilar from the unpronouceable volcano from 2 years ago.
Was Dr Hansen responsible for the montage?

160. What’s really terrifying is that a overtly mentally deranged personality like this has any credence at all. The man is criminally insane methinks, and ought to be in the State Pen (Rather than in Penn State) …..hoho :lol:

161. @Alan Bates: I believe it is one of several St. Helens eruptions in Washington State. (Looked familiar as I watched it as a child.)

162. KLA says:

Gail Combs says:
May 16, 2012 at 5:51 am
Interstellar Bill says:
May 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm

If we even had enough uranium on Earth to build just the first 400,000 bombs,
all we’d have to do instead is build enough reactors to power the entire world
and synthesize all its motor fuel out of atmospheric CO2….
___________________________
Please do not say that synthesizing motor fuel out of atmospheric CO2, and thereby possibly decreasing the amount in the atmosphere is a really really dangerous idea and these nutters are idiotic enough to try it.

THINK OF THE PLANTS!

No Gail,

Using nuclear power to synthesize motor fuel out of atmospheric CO2 would not starve the plants. After all, the point of synthesizing it is to sell and burn it and thereby give it back to the atmosphere. Basically it would be a seperate nuclear driven carbon cycle with no net change of atmospheric CO2. It would even be doable (but not economical) using current technology, and not politically feasible given the current state of public brainwash on nuclear technology.

163. Ed Barbar says:

I think this is a great point. Better run the planet a little bit warm than cold. As Hanson notes, it would take 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day to raise the temperature a small amount.

The lesson: it’s much harder to warm up the planet than cool it down! Cooling it down takes pushing up some sulfur compounds into the atmosphere, and Nathan Myhrvold thinks he knows how to do it for \$250M per year. At least, it would work in a pinch.

164. Gail Combs says:

…THINK OF THE PLANTS! [Gail Combs says: @ May 16, 2012 at 5:51 am]
_______________________________
KLA says: @ May 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm
No Gail,

Using nuclear power to synthesize motor fuel out of atmospheric CO2 would not starve the plants. After all, the point of synthesizing it is to sell and burn it and thereby give it back to the atmosphere. Basically it would be a seperate nuclear driven carbon cycle with no net change of atmospheric CO2. It would even be doable (but not economical) using current technology, and not politically feasible given the current state of public brainwash on nuclear technology.
___________________________
The comment was sort of tongue in check.

However the “natural” carbon cycle also includes geochemical processes that take CO2 out of the cycle with the laying down of limestone and coal. This has gradually decreased the amount of CO2 to a rather dangerously low level. Plants starve below 200 ppm therefore increasing the levels to between 500 ppm and 1000 ppm as it was in much of the past would make for a much lusher biosphere.

A decent balance of nuclear (fusion/fission) for electrical generation and perhaps for mass transit such as ship and rail combined with the use of hydrocarbons for personal transport is what we should have been striving for all along IMHO.

165. Brian H says:

Gail;
+1
You must be right. We agree!
>:)

166. Allan MacRae says:

Billy Liar says: May 15, 2012 at 11:47 am
Take a look at the observed Rose Park data in SLC:
http://co2.utah.edu/index.php?site=2&id=0&img=30

Thank you Billy.

This daily CO2 data profile is very interesting.

Please examine the Daily CO2 and Weekly CO2 tabs for all measurement stations.

These are current CO2 readings taken in May 2012.

Peak CO2 readings (typically ~470ppm) occur during the night, from midnight to ~8am, and drop to ~400 ppm during the day.

1. I assume that human energy consumption (and manmade CO2 emissions) occur mainly during the day, and peak around breakfast and supper times.

2. I suggest that the above atmospheric CO2 readings, taken in semi-arid Salt Lake City with a regional population of about 1 million, are predominantly natural in origin.

IF points 1 and 2 are true, then this urban CO2 generation by humankind is insignificant compared to natural daily CO2 flux, in the same way that (I have previously stated) annual humanmade CO2 emissions are insignificant compared to seasonal CO2 flux.
[video src="http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4" /]

IF these results are typical of most urban environments (many of which have much larger populations, but also have much greater area, precipitation and plant growth), then the hypothesis that human combustion of fossil fuels is the primary driver of increased atmospheric CO2 seems untenable. Humanmade CO2 emissions are lost in the noise of the much larger natural system, and most humanmade CO2 emissions are probably locally sequestered.

There may be some large urban areas (perhaps in China) where concentrated human activities overwhelm natural CO2 daily flux, but on a global scale these areas are miniscule. In winter,

when plant growth is minimal, concentrated human activities may also overwhelm natural CO2 daily flux.

These observations, if correct, suggest that human combustion of fossil fuels is NOT the primary driver of atmospheric CO2.

These observations are consistent with my 2008 paper, which notes that CO2 lags temperature at all measured time sales.

In what has become “mainstream climate science”, there are many inconsistencies that have been resolved by data fabrication and contortions of logic.

There appears to be a much simpler explanation. Temperature primarily drives atmospheric CO2, not the reverse.
___________

Occam’s razor (also written as Ockham’s razor, Latin lex parsimoniae) is the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness. It is a principle urging one to select among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions and thereby offers the simplest explanation of the effect.

Uniformitarianism is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe, have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe.

167. joeldshore says:

Willis Eschenbach says:

Thanks, Joel, as always good to hear from you. Hansen is talking about the energy taken up by the ocean. He calculates this imbalance as being the equivalent of 0.6 W/m2 being absorbed by the ocean. Obviously, the ocean is not located at the top of the atmosphere, so he must be talking about the energy imbalance at the surface. In fact, there is no way to determine whether that change in ocean heat content is related to a global TOA imbalance or not. It is obvious that the ocean can warm or cool without the earth being out of energy balance, see the PDO and the El Nino cycles as examples.

Good to talk to you, Willis.

“Top-of-the-atmosphere” refers to the idea of computing the energy balance for the entire Earth system. Saying that the ocean isn’t at the top of the atmosphere is a red herring. The point is that just over 3 m layer of ocean has the same heat capacity as all of the atmosphere above it. So, if the Earth system is in net absorbing heat because of a radiative imbalance in the atmosphere, it is going to show up in the ocean. At shorter timescales, you can trade energy between, say, the oceans and atmosphere but over several years the oceans are going to be the dominant reservoir for any extra energy that the Earth system is receiving relative to what it is emitting back out into space.

Also, even by your numbers (using the TOA solar insolation of 240 W/m2 instead of the total surface DLR of about half a kilowatt), 0.6°C is still only two tenths of a percent, not 2%, so I’m totally unclear what you are talking about.

0.6 W/m2 is two percent of 30 W/m2 … what on earth are you comparing with Hansens 0.6 W/m2 that is only 30 W/m2 ???

My point is that the 0.6 W/m^2 is just the current imbalance. If we double CO2, the change in radiative forcing is about 4 W/m^2, which is almost 2% of 240 W/m^2. The reason why the current imbalance is less is because:

(1) We haven’t yet doubled CO2…but we will, and in fact will do much more than that if the folks who don’t want any limitations on CO2 emissions have their way.

(2) Anthropogenic aerosols have likely canceled a significant fraction of the greenhouse gas radiative forcing, but we can’t continue to rely on this because CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere whereas the aerosol concentration is proportional mainly to the current emissions rate. And, of course, aerosols have other negative effects on us that cause us to rightfully make laws to reduce their emissions.

(3) Some of the imbalance has already been alleviated by the Earth warming.

Absolutely not. What has gotten us beyond the Dark Ages is that time after time scientists have gone against the consensus. If we were to follow your plan, we would still be believing what the consensus was in the Dark Ages, because according to you, science is settled by consensus.

You are confusing two different things. Science isn’t settled by consensus and I agree that it is good to have scientists going against the consensus. However, what is not good is to say that as long as there are a few scientists going against the consensus, we are paralyzed from using the current consensus in the field to inform public policy. That is a recipe for paralysis, i.e., never using science to inform public policy decisions because you can always find scientists who are willing to buck the consensus!

I have yet to hear anybody come up with a viable alternative that would better use science to inform public policy decisions. You have to base decisions on principles. You can’t just make yourself King of the World and say that what you think the science says is what the science says and to heck with what the scientific community has determined! That’s a disastrous idea. Another disastrous idea is to have politicians decide what they think the science says independent of the opinions of the scientific community.

Actually, I have rarely heard anybody on the “AGW skeptic” side ever make even a coherent statement of how science should be used that isn’t disastrous in this way or doesn’t bias things in the direction of their own political ideology. (E.g., something like “When scientists warn of environmental dangers, we should not take any action as long as we can find any scientists who are willing to express doubt about this.”)

168. Willis Eschenbach says:

joeldshore says:
May 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

Willis Eschenbach says:

Thanks, Joel, as always good to hear from you. Hansen is talking about the energy taken up by the ocean. He calculates this imbalance as being the equivalent of 0.6 W/m2 being absorbed by the ocean. Obviously, the ocean is not located at the top of the atmosphere, so he must be talking about the energy imbalance at the surface. In fact, there is no way to determine whether that change in ocean heat content is related to a global TOA imbalance or not. It is obvious that the ocean can warm or cool without the earth being out of energy balance, see the PDO and the El Nino cycles as examples.

Good to talk to you, Willis.

“Top-of-the-atmosphere” refers to the idea of computing the energy balance for the entire Earth system. Saying that the ocean isn’t at the top of the atmosphere is a red herring. The point is that just over 3 m layer of ocean has the same heat capacity as all of the atmosphere above it. So, if the Earth system is in net absorbing heat because of a radiative imbalance in the atmosphere, it is going to show up in the ocean. At shorter timescales, you can trade energy between, say, the oceans and atmosphere but over several years the oceans are going to be the dominant reservoir for any extra energy that the Earth system is receiving relative to what it is emitting back out into space.

Joel, the -0.6 W/m2 is the heat actually absorbed by the ocean. It is not the TOA imbalance, nor does Hansen claim that it is the TOA imbalance. You are claiming that. I don’t know why you think that it must reflect a TOA imbalance of 0.6 W/m2.

As you point out, the top 3 m of the ocean have the same heat capacity as the atmosphere. You say that “at shorter timescales” they can trade energy … but the PDO trades them on half-century scales. And given the huge difference in heat capacity, that is by no means the limit.

Also, even by your numbers (using the TOA solar insolation of 240 W/m2 instead of the total surface DLR of about half a kilowatt), 0.6°C is still only two tenths of a percent, not 2%, so I’m totally unclear what you are talking about.

0.6 W/m2 is two percent of 30 W/m2 … what on earth are you comparing with Hansens 0.6 W/m2 that is only 30 W/m2 ???

My point is that the 0.6 W/m^2 is just the current imbalance. If we double CO2, the change in radiative forcing is about 4 W/m^2, which is almost 2% of 240 W/m^2. The reason why the current imbalance is less is because:

(1) We haven’t yet doubled CO2…but we will, and in fact will do much more than that if the folks who don’t want any limitations on CO2 emissions have their way.

(2) Anthropogenic aerosols have likely canceled a significant fraction of the greenhouse gas radiative forcing, but we can’t continue to rely on this because CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere whereas the aerosol concentration is proportional mainly to the current emissions rate. And, of course, aerosols have other negative effects on us that cause us to rightfully make laws to reduce their emissions.

(3) Some of the imbalance has already been alleviated by the Earth warming.

Look, what we are discussing is the CURRENT IMBALANCE. However, even your example is wrong. You are comparing a change in total downwelling radiation to solar radiation … but that’s not a true comparison. A change in total downwelling radiation can be compared only to total downwelling radiation.

Also, you still have not given me any reason to believe that we can measure the temperature of the top mile of the ocean to anywhere near 0.6 W/m2 … and I have specifically asked for that and pointed to why I think it is inaccurate. In other words, I think Hansen’s claim is neither supported nor supportable by the observations we have available at this time.

Absolutely not. What has gotten us beyond the Dark Ages is that time after time scientists have gone against the consensus. If we were to follow your plan, we would still be believing what the consensus was in the Dark Ages, because according to you, science is settled by consensus.

You are confusing two different things. Science isn’t settled by consensus and I agree that it is good to have scientists going against the consensus.

No, that’s not what you said. You said:

What has gotten us beyond the Dark Ages is the willingness of all but the most extreme parts of the political spectrum to generally accept the conclusions of the scientific community …

However, what is not good is to say that as long as there are a few scientists going against the consensus, we are paralyzed from using the current consensus in the field to inform public policy. That is a recipe for paralysis, i.e., never using science to inform public policy decisions because you can always find scientists who are willing to buck the consensus!

Joel, we don’t know a) what your claimed consensus involves, or b) who actually believes it. The polls I’ve seen have been self-selected and so poorly written as to be a joke, on the order of “Is the world warming (Yes/No)”, at the end of which a “consensus” is declared.

You refer to the National Academies as though they represented the scientists, or as though they asked their members. To me, the fact that they make such statements indicates that there is no consensus … when’s the last time that they made a statement about the consensus regarding the existence of DNA, or the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

I have yet to hear anybody come up with a viable alternative that would better use science to inform public policy decisions. You have to base decisions on principles. You can’t just make yourself King of the World and say that what you think the science says is what the science says and to heck with what the scientific community has determined! That’s a disastrous idea. Another disastrous idea is to have politicians decide what they think the science says independent of the opinions of the scientific community.

Actually, I have rarely heard anybody on the “AGW skeptic” side ever make even a coherent statement of how science should be used that isn’t disastrous in this way or doesn’t bias things in the direction of their own political ideology. (E.g., something like “When scientists warn of environmental dangers, we should not take any action as long as we can find any scientists who are willing to express doubt about this.”)

Important contentious public policy decisions have almost always been made either in ignorance of, or in defiance of, or disregarding science. When science is being claimed as a reason for a public policy decision, I reach to make sure my wallet is still there, because you can lay good odds that the science is flawed. Look at the EPA for one of many examples.

You seem to think that science is “used to inform public policy decisions”. Yes, for non-critical decisions it might occasionally be. But everything that is at all contentious, from AIDS to CO2 to fracking to whether there are WMDs in Iraq, is ruled by politics, not by science.

So I fear that you are envisioning an idealistic technocracy, a political system where decisions by scientists actually make a difference. I don’t know of any society like that anywhere.

Joel, the EPA CO2 regs, presumably following the dictates of consensus science, are set to cost us untold billions of dollars. Their hugely expensive regulation are predicted by the EPA itself to make a difference on the order of hundredths of a degree. THAT is what your “follow the consensus science” has brought us.

And to cap it off, folks like you expect us to just shut up and fall in line and say OK, the National Academy of Science and the EPA says its a brilliant plan to waste billions and billions of dollars in the hopes of cooling the world by three hundredths of a degree, and the consensus must be right, guess I should just go along …

Do I have a better system? No, I don’t, because I fear that would require rewiring the human race … but that doesn’t make your consensus claims worth following. James Hansen picked the warmest time of the year for his Congressional testimony in 1988, then turned off the air conditioning … and you still claim that the science is on his and your side? Sorry, if the science is on your side you don’t need to resort to scabby underhanded tricks. If there truly were a consensus your side wouldn’t need to subvert the IPCC rules to get the Jesus Paper accepted.

Given the fact, not theory but fact, that the leaders of the AGW movement have been shown by their own words to be very adept liars, cheats, and crooks, as well as very adept at rousing public opinion to form a consensus through such tricks and subversion, I’m not surprised that there is a consensus.

I’m surprised, however, that there are still folks out there foolish enough to think it means something, particularly folks as smart as yourself …

w.

169. anticlimactic says:

The only support for AGW is junk science and propaganda, like this. It is a fairly standard tactic. Few people realise how big the Earth is so by calculating a large number without putting it into context it can appear to be catastrophic. It is most often used with regards to ice melting where the figures appear huge, but in context it would take thousands of years to be noticeable.

These are desperate and increasingly pathetic tactics.

170. tckev says:

Yet again he shows that my euphemism for him is Shroud-Waver-General.