Arizona State: Climate Models Missing Important Aersols

Above graphic for illustration only – not related to study cited below
PHOENIX, Aug. 11 (UPI) — U.S. Scientists say they’ve discovered some measures used in atmospheric science overlook important factors affecting climatic warming and cooling. 
The Arizona State University researchers led by Associate Professor Peter Crozier said their discovery could lead to more accurate forecasting of global-warming activity.


Crozier, along with Ira Fulton and Duncan Alexander, studied nanoscale atmospheric aerosols called brown carbons, which they said are largely being ignored in climate computer models in favor of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.


But the researchers say there are other atmospheric components that can also contribute to climate change — including carbonaceous and sulfate particles from combustion of fossil fuels and biomass, salts from oceans and dust from deserts.


They said brown carbons from combustion processes are the least understood of all aerosol components, but their effect is complex because it both cools the Earth’s surface and warms the atmosphere.


“Because of the large uncertainty we have in the radiative forcing of aerosols, there is a corresponding large uncertainty in the degree of radiative forcing overall”, Crozier said. “This introduces a large uncertainty in the degree of warming predicted by climate change models.”


The research appears in the Aug. 8 issue of Science magazine.

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August 12, 2008 7:39 am

Of course, they’ve left out the most important variable of all: grant money.
Compared with every other variable, grant money is so immense, so overwhelming that it has the capacity to make a mockery of other, minor factors like…oh, the Sun, maybe? [After all, the Sun is a long way away, but grant money is close and, well…tempting!]
In fact, given that we are dealing with temperature differences of less than 0.5C, it’s entirely conceivable that the heat generated by the printing presses, churning out those tens of billions of dollar per annum for global warming research, is what they’re measuring.
Seriously, major centres of climate research (University of…[Insert US Institution Here]) place their measuring instruments in locations designed to measure maximum heat. Isn’t it one of Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics, that “The Heat at the Thermometer is Directly Proportional to the Size of The Global Warming Grant.”

August 12, 2008 7:46 am

I know I’ve laboured the point, but the warmers do it incessantly, so I don’t at all bad about it.

Bill Illis
August 12, 2008 8:19 am

I don’t think the models are missing these aerosols.
In fact, they are building them in so that the models match up with the cooling which occurred from 1944 to 1976 and the fact that temperature increases are only about half of what the CO2 climate sensitivity estimates say it should be.
Aerosols have certainly had an impact on temps but we should be in an ice age already if the effect was really large given how south asia is pumping them out now.

August 12, 2008 8:35 am

The title word “Aersols” should be “Aerosols”.

Leon Brozyna
August 12, 2008 8:53 am

Aerosols are the elephant in the climate room.
I read somewhere that, as far as their role in cloud formation is concerned, they are deliberately ignored on the basis that while some warm, some also cool with what is considered to be a net neutral effect. The truth being, this is a great unknown with huge variables — clouds are a wild card.

Pierre Gosselin
August 12, 2008 9:06 am

There are lots of things the models have ignored, or neglected.
Only politicians who want to regulate the masses actually use the models.
Who commissions all these models?

August 12, 2008 10:04 am

A very interesting study from India. In summary it shows cooling by aerosols in the dry season and warming in the wet season, in records going back a century.
Bear in mind that most temperate areas have a limited ‘dry’ season and surface measurements are biased toward ‘wet’ areas because that’s where people live.
Note, this may be a magic URL. Google ‘Pune temperature trend’ to find it.

Dave ....
August 12, 2008 12:49 pm

Maybe the mis-spelling was for ars-holes! Except then, the headline would be wrong anyway. the warmers are way too involved in the models.

Dave Andrews
August 12, 2008 1:04 pm

Its obviously the scientists who refine the models, and I guess, as has even been argued in the past on RC no less, the scientists themselves have lots of issues with what the models are producing.
But, as in all walks of life, certain scientists are political animals and campaigners for their particular viewpoint. These are the people who have won over parts of the political process. Once they got the UN on board ( and I am not anti many of the things the UN does but there are an awful lot of political reasons to why it does anything!) the political took over from the scientific, but of course its processes provided a lot of money to support the now ‘political correct’ consensus.
So now both most scientists and politicians are tied into the ‘ consensus’ And it takes very brave people to step over the precipice.

August 12, 2008 1:16 pm

Associate Professor Peter Crozier
In the interests of tenure the esteemed Associate Professor did not mention the cooling aspects without also positing some warming somewhere.

Robert Wood
August 12, 2008 1:25 pm

Yes, when I first read the headline, I thought Anthony was being a little too frank, if you mis-read another anagram. Trueful maybe 🙂

Leon Brozyna
August 12, 2008 5:17 pm

Here’s something of interest, though O/T:
From Comment #8 to a post about Hathaway & SC24 at Solar Science is the following animated gif file tracking the changes to SC24 predictions:

Brian D
August 12, 2008 5:54 pm
Bobby Lane
August 12, 2008 6:29 pm

“Wild cards” and other difficult to understand variables are exactly what the Warmists want to avoid. All that does is make it more difficult to explain. Just imagine: “You mean we can’t stop global warming by just cutting our CO2 output?” “Well, with the effect of Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and the uncertainty in cloud formation from aerosols…” Yawn. That’s not a media-friendly explanation. The average man on the street doesn’t understand or even care. He just wants to know if something is going on and, if so, what to do (or not do) about it. He’s far more concerned with his job security, finances, and family-life to give a serious toss about whether coal factories in China are responsible for global warming (or cooling).
But that’s life. Often messy and complicated. There’s hardly ever a straight yes or no that does not come with conditions. But that is exactly what the Warmists want to avoid; they want global warming to be inevitable. And THAT is why the models do not take it into account. It messes with their ideology more than their science.

August 12, 2008 6:29 pm

[…] Arizona State: Climate Models Missing “Important” Aerosols (although replete with carbon… […]

Bobby Lane
August 12, 2008 6:43 pm

Let me add on a bit:
You have to listen to the Warmists to understand their view. Remember, AGW is a settled fact to them. We might as well be arguing about the existence of gravity for all the good it will do. All the “well, what about (fill in the blank)?” types of questions that bring up things we don’t really understand (like the role of aerosols in cloud formation) are disruptions of this world-view. It makes the explanation of the world-view more complicated, its solutions less certain to work, and its acceptance by the public as the sure-fire way to go less likely to happen. That is why they are so dismissive and aggravated with the so-called “deniers.” More to the point, they like to style themselves as unifiers of humanity and saviors of the planet. All this stuff about “uncertainty” disrupts the very important agenda they are trying to implement.
But yet again, that is my point. There is a lot of science involved, of course; however, when it comes to it, it is ideology that rules the day. That is why the IPCC can revise its reports over and over till their numbers mean nothing yet still talk to the public in press-releases about the imminent dangers posed by global warming.

August 12, 2008 7:42 pm

After years of reading and looking at the predictions of both sides of this argument, I won’t call it a debate because it’s not. What I have seen is that the AGW crowd has been wrong on most points. And the skeptics or deniers or whatever they those to call us, have been right on most of our points. I hope we are not going into a severe cooling tread, as I fully understand the implications of this. This is not just about the weather
it’s about integrity in science and environmental and economic policies.
The whole environmental movement is a misanthropic dishonest mess.
I hope they someday have to be held accountable for the job losses and suffering they have caused from DDT bans to Global warming to bio fuels.
it’s the poor and middle classes who have to suffer or pay for their misgiuded policies.

August 12, 2008 8:26 pm

The poor masses are the only ones who CAN pay for it. The money comes from nowhere else. Government and industry, both source their money from the public family workers. So all of the billions of dollars being spent, or ever will be spent, has gone through the hands of the families first, then to goverment as taxes, or to business for products which have carbon tax attached to them.

old construction worker
August 12, 2008 8:52 pm

iceFree (19:42:16)
‘I hope we are not going into a severe cooling tread, as I fully understand the implications of this.’
I hope not, but my old bones tell me different. I think I better stock up on winter gear.
Have you notice that “positive” has been dropped from “feedback”? It sort of like “global warming” to “climate change” since the temperatures have been flat. I think it started shorly after Dr. Spencer had his paper published.

August 12, 2008 9:41 pm

old construction worker: Well if the precip and temp patterns continue into this fall, winter look out. But not to worry we Canadians in our infinite wisdom invented the snowmobile just in case.

David Corcoran
August 12, 2008 11:21 pm

Leon, thanks. That’s flat out amazing how predictions can change in the past and the future. No shame at all.

Pierre Gosselin
August 13, 2008 12:28 am

The animation is like the climate models…keep adjusting, eventually they’ll get it right.
The peak of SC24 has been postponed more than 1.5 years.
I’m sure though, that Hathaway is doing his best, and so we shouldn’t harp on him.
It just goes to show that predícting nature, let alone climate, is no easy or certain thing.
Models, even for the short term, have proven to be hardly better than rubbish.

Pierre Gosselin
August 13, 2008 12:33 am

Ladies and Gentlemen,
In case you have not already, you absolutely have to read about Bishop Hill’s Caspar and the Jesus Paper at CA.
Read it! Read it! read it!
It’s yet another example of how climate science has been taken over by political and science guttersnipes.

August 13, 2008 3:49 am

what I do love about these little debates is that everyone is having them… It’s great that the world over scientists, Engineers and the average Joe Blogg are arguing the facts he/ she has been supplied with. Meanwhile, Global Warming and the dire consequences of it may or may not be happening. Lets put this in black and white people…. on one side, we have the option to cut outputs and sleep at night knowing our gene pool will continue. On the other, we go out and get drunk, sod the idea of kids and consider ourselves as quite possibly being the last generation to live in a civilised world. I don’t really care what others think. I’m trying to make a difference- just in case Global warming does exist. I’ll keep on recycling and cutting my carbon output.

Retired Engineer
August 13, 2008 3:59 am

Emotion and Dogma always prevail over Logic and Reason.
Perhaps someone could chart ‘adjusted’ temperature verses climate study grants? I predict a high degree of correlation.

August 13, 2008 5:06 am

It’s not just the job losses and suffering. The banning of DDT has directly led to the deaths of 100’s of thousands, if not millions.
The shifting of resources from projects that could have benefited mankind to projects that are of no benefit whatsoever, is also a major source of suffering.

Bruce Cobb
August 13, 2008 7:01 am

I don’t really care what others think. I’m trying to make a difference- just in case Global warming does exist. I’ll keep on recycling and cutting my carbon output. Hurrah for you, Rich, you get a Green star. What you choose to do is your own business. The problem is, the AGW alarmist idiots want to (and already have) force energy prices up for EVERYONE via “carbon taxes” and energy fiascos like corn-ethanol, and pass laws restricting individual freedoms under the pretense of reducing “C02 pollution”. You and your AGWer friends are welcome to practice your AGW religion, just don’t expect us (or try to force us) to practice it. We prefer science, thank you. Oh, and BTW, there’s nothing wrong with recycling (though the economics of it are a bit questionable), and looking for ways to cut our energy use, which is financially smart, but it has nothing to do with “cutting carbon”, which is just plain stupid.

August 13, 2008 10:07 am

Bruce Cobb: You just have to ask yourself when does this stuff cross the line? and become mob rule. I will keep this short: America is not a democracy
It’s a constitutional republic. The Founders opposed unlimited majority rule because they recognized that individual rights and liberty would be compromised by mob rule. I think alot of people seem to forget this these days.

August 13, 2008 4:22 pm

I can have some sympathy with your point of view and your philosophical rationale for your decision. It is a traditional position to adopt when outcomes are unknown.
However historically the philosophy has related to the individual’s decision about something that may or may not affect to them. Most notable example is Pascal’s wager.
What is proposed these days as the precautionary principle is not an individual decision it is a mass coercion since nothing else, it is said, will work. And that is probably true, it wouldn’t. But it occurs to me that what is proposed, being something that takes us into the unknown rather quickly, as also contrary to the precautionary principle. However it has a very high probability of creating something close the scenario you, and all of us, wish to avoid. I could echo your concerns, but from the other side of the canyon.
A simplistic example merely for illustration not as a basis for detailed scientific debate.
Mr. Gore and Dr. Hansen, et al, seem to be of the opinion that the world economy and its people somehow find the fiscal and physical resources to virtually eliminate the ‘carbon economy’ in around 10 years. Let’s accept that at face value for now.
To make that change without inducing enormous changes – likely reductions in our living standards and those of developing nations as a start and who knows what effect on the poorest people of the world – to our currently expected ways of life does not sound very feasible. To maintain most of our current life expectations but using new technology (even if possible in the time scale) would require enormous infrastructure changes, steel production, cement output and other things that I’m sure I don’t have to spell out.
All in a 10 year period (make it a little longer if you like, it’s still pretty dramatic) and all using current technologies constrained by currently available energy sources.
Just think how much CO2 all that activity would produce in the execution of the plan.
So if CO2 IS indeed THE problem and the problem is about to be aggravated beyond control by a tipping point a decade or so away, the Gore/Hansen plans would almost certainly guarantee the catastrophe you and we seek to avoid.
Of course were that to happen Gore and Hansen, et al, could point to their predictions and claim they were right all along and then annex their own laudatory chapter in what was left of human history. They would not be the first people to appear in that category.
The honest answer to the wager in this context, at a personal level, my very well be to resist breeding. That would offer a net benefit to the planet for around 80 years greatly reducing energy consumption and use of raw materials. And it would be a way to clearly demonstrate that you were able to make a difference.
I have yet to meet anyone who was infallible though I have known and worked with several individuals who were very strong and motivating other than one or two irrational weak points. They usually fell foul of their weaknesses or lack of complete information at some stage, sometimes quite destructively. They would, mostly, never admit to their mistakes, to do so would be to self destruct. It is the way most humans function I find – with very few exceptions.
Politicians are very familiar with all of this.

August 13, 2008 5:05 pm

The government (via the Fed) caused the Great Depression as Ben Bernanke admits. That, in turn, led to World War II and 50 million dead. It is obvious that even today that the government has NOT learned how to mange the economy.
So, interfering with something so basic to the economy as ENERGY, is fraught with danger.

Brian D
August 14, 2008 5:22 pm

Here’s something interesting. The Kasatochi eruption in the Aleutian Islands has created one of the largest sulfur clouds observed since Chile’s Hudson volcano in 1991.
Here’s an image from Aqua on Aug 12 that shows how it has dispersed.(courtesy of Volcanism blog)

August 16, 2008 7:30 pm

Could people please stop blaming the bio-fuels scam on the AGW believers? Its justified on the grounds of ‘energy security’ (which may or may not be an argument in good faith) and it is, of course, just the usual pork barrel politics, the same thing that drives farm subsidies across the developed world. Its highly doubtful that it does anything to reduce CO2 emissions and it clearly isn’t driven by a desire to do that.
Personally I’m a multiple flip-flopper on AGW. I keep swaying around the agnostic position depending on who I read last.

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