NSIDC' s Dr. Walt Meier Answers 10 Questions

Regular readers may recall some of the posts here, here, here, and here, where the sea ice data presented by NSIDC and by Cryosphere today were brought into question. We finally have an end to this year’s arctic melt season, and our regular contributor on sea-ice, Steven Goddard, was able to ask Dr. Walt Meier, who operates the National Snow and Ice Data Center 10 questions, and they are presented here for you. I have had correspondence with Dr. Meier and found him straightforward and amiable. If only other scientists were so gracious with questions from the public. – Anthony


Questions from Steven Goddard:

Dr. Walt Meier from The US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has graciously agreed to answer 10 of my favorite Arctic questions. His much appreciated responses below are complete and unedited.

1. Many GISS stations north of 60 latitude show temperatures 70 years ago being nearly as warm as today. This pattern is seen from Coppermine, Canada (115W) all the way east to Dzardzan, Siberia (124E.) The 30 year satellite record seems to correspond to a period of warming, quite similar to a GISS reported period in the 1920s and 1930s. Is it possible that Arctic temperatures are cyclical rather than on a linear upwards trend?

No. Analysis of the temperatures does not support a cyclic explanation for the recent warming. The warming during the 1920s and 1930s was more regional in nature and focused on the Atlantic side of the Arctic (though there was warming in some other regions as well) and was most pronounced during winter. In contrast, the current warming is observed over almost the entire Arctic and is seen in all seasons. Another thing that is clear is that, the warming during the 1920s and 1930s was limited to the Arctic and lower latitude temperatures were not unusually warm. The recent warming in the Arctic, though amplified there, is part of a global trend where temperatures are rising in most regions of the earth. There are always natural variations in climate but the current warming in the Arctic is not explained by such variations.

2. The US Weather Bureau wrote a 1922 article describing drastic Arctic warming and ice loss. In that article, the author wrote that waters around Spitzbergen warmed 12C over just a few years and that ships were able to sail in open waters north of 81N. This agrees with the GISS record, which would seem to imply that the Arctic can and does experience significant warming unrelated to CO2. Do you believe that what we are seeing now is different from that event, and why?

Yes. The current warming is different from the conditions described in the article. The Weather Bureau article is specifically discussing the North Atlantic region around Spitsbergen, not the Arctic as a whole. The Arctic has historically shown regional variations in climate, with one region warmer than normal while another region was cooler, and then after a while flipping to the opposite conditions. As discussed above, the current warming is different in nature; it is pan-Arctic and is part of widespread warming over most of the earth.

3. A number of prominent papers, including one from Dr. James Hansen in 2003, describe the important role of man-made soot in Arctic melt and warming. Some have hypothesized that the majority of melt and warming is due to soot. How is this issue addressed by NSIDC?

NSIDC does not have any scientists who currently study the effect of soot on melt and warming. Soot, dust and other pollution can enhance melting by lower the albedo (reflectance of solar energy). However, it is not clear that soot has increased significantly in the Arctic. Russia is a major source of soot in the Arctic and Russian soot declined dramatically after the break-up of the former Soviet Union – just as sea ice decline was starting to accelerate. Furthermore, while soot on the snow/ice surface will enhance melt, soot and other aerosols in the atmosphere have a cooling effect that would slow melt. Thus, the effect of soot, while it may contribute in some way, cannot explain the dramatic rate of warming and melt seen in the Arctic seen over the past 30 years.

4. The NSIDC Sea Ice News and Analysis May 2008 report seems to have forecast more ice loss than has actually occurred, including forecasts of a possible “ice-free North Pole.” Please comment on this?

What NSIDC provided in its May report was “a simple estimate of the likelihood of breaking last year’s September record.” This gave an average estimate that was below 2007, but included a range that included a possibility of being above 2007. With the melt season in the Arctic ending for the year, the actual 2008 minimum is near the high end of this range. In its June report, NSIDC further commented on its minimum estimate by stating that much of the thin ice that usually melts in summer was much farther north than normal and thus would be less likely to melt.

In the May report, NSIDC also quoted a colleague, Sheldon Drobot at the University of Colorado, who used a more sophisticated forecast model to estimate a 59% chance of setting a new record low – far from a sure-thing. NSIDC also quoted colleague Ron Lindsey at the University of Washington, who used a physical model to estimate “a very low, but not extreme [i.e., not record-breaking], sea ice minimum.” He also made an important point, cautioning that “that sea ice conditions are now changing so rapidly that predictions based on relationships developed from the past 50 years of data may no longer apply.” Thus NSIDC’s report was a balanced assessment of the possibility of setting a new record, taking account of different methods and recognizing the uncertainty inherent any seasonal forecast, especially under conditions that had not been seen before.

For the first time in our records, the North Pole was covered by seasonal ice (i.e., ice that grew since the end of the previous summer). Since seasonal ice is thinner than multiyear ice (i.e., ice that has survived at least one melt season) and vulnerable to melting completely, there was a possibility that the ice edge could recede beyond the pole and leaving the pole completely ice-free. This would be fundamentally different from events in the past where a crack in the ice might temporarily expose some open water at the pole in the midst of surrounding ice. It would mean completely ice-free conditions at the geographic North Pole (just the pole, not the entire Arctic Ocean). The remarkable thing was not whether the North Pole would be ice-free or not; it was that this year, for the first time in a long time it was possible. This does not bode well for the long-term health of the sea ice

The fact that the initial analysis of potential minimum ice extent and an ice-free pole did not come to pass reflects a cooler and cloudier summer that wasn’t as conducive to ice loss as it might have been. There will always be natural variations, with cooler than normal conditions possible for a time. However, despite the lack of extreme conditions, the minimum extent in 2008 is the second lowest ever and very close to last year. Most importantly, the 2008 minimum reinforces the long-term declining trend that is not due to natural climate fluctuations.

5. The June 2008 NSIDC web site entry mentioned that it is difficult to melt first year ice at very high latitudes. Is it possible that there is a lower practical bound to ice extent, based on the very short melt season and low angle of the sun near the North Pole?

It is unlikely that there is a lower bound to sea ice extent. One of the things that helped save this year from setting a record was that the seasonal ice was so far north and did not melt as much as seasonal ice at lower latitudes would. The North Pole, being the location that last sees the sun rise and first sees the sun set, has the longest “polar night” and shortest “polar day.” Thus, it receives the least amount of solar radiation in the Arctic. So there is less energy and less time to melt ice at the pole. However there is a feedback where the more ice that is melted, the easier it is to melt still more ice. This is because the exposed ocean absorbs more heat than the ice and that heat can further melt the ice. Eventually, we will get to a state where there is enough heat absorbed during the summer, even at the shorter summer near the pole, to completely melt the sea ice. Climate models have also shown that under warmer conditions, the Arctic sea ice will completely melt during summer.

6. GISS records show most of Greenland cooler today than 70 years ago. Why should we be concerned?

We should be concerned because the warming in Greenland of 70 years ago was part of the regional warming in the North Atlantic region discussed in questions 1 and 2 above. Seventy years ago one might expect temperatures to eventually cool as the regional climate fluctuated from a warmer state to a cooler state. The current Greenland warming, while not yet quite matching the temperatures of 70 years ago, is part of a global warming signal that for the foreseeable future will continue to increase temperatures (with of course occasional short-term fluctuations), in Greenland and around the world. This will eventually, over the coming centuries, lead to significant melting of the Greenland ice sheet and sea level rise with accompanying impacts on coastal regions.

7. Antarctica seems to be gaining sea ice, and eastern Antarctica is apparently cooling. Ocean temperatures in most of the Southern Hemisphere don’t seem to be changing much. How does this fit in to models which predicted symmetric NH/SH warming (i.e. Hansen 1980)? Shouldn’t we expect to see broad warming of southern hemisphere waters?

No. Hansen’s model of 1980 is no longer relevant as climate models have improved considerably in the past 28 years. Current models show a delayed warming in the Antarctic region in agreement with observations. A delayed warming is expected from our understanding of the climate processes. Antarctic is a continent surrounded on all sides by an ocean. Strong ocean currents and winds swirl around the continent. These act as a barrier to heat coming down from lower latitudes. The winds and currents have strengthened in recent years, partly in response to the ozone hole. But while most of the Antarctic has cooled, the one part of Antarctica that does interact with the lower latitudes, the Antarctic Peninsula – the “thumb” of the continent that sticks up toward South America – is a region that has undergone some of the most dramatic warming over the past decades.

Likewise, Antarctic sea ice is also insulated from the warming because of the isolated nature of Antarctica and the strong circumpolar winds and currents. There are increasing trends in Antarctic sea ice extent, but they are fairly small and there is so much variability in the Antarctic sea ice from year to year that is difficult to ascribe any significance to the trends – they could simply be an artifact of natural variability. Even if the increasing trend is real, this is not unexpected in response to slightly cooler temperatures.

This is in stark contrast with the Arctic where there are strong decreasing trends that cannot be explained by natural variability. These decreasing Arctic trends are seen throughout every region in every season. Because much of the Arctic has been covered by multiyear ice that doesn’t melt during the summer, the downward trend in the summer and the loss of the multiyear ice has a particularly big impact on climate. In contrast, the Antarctic has very little multiyear sea ice and most of the ice cover melts away completely each summer. So the impact of any Antarctic sea ice trends on climate is less than in the Arctic. There is currently one clearly significant sea ice trend in the Antarctic; it is in the region bordering the Antarctic Peninsula, and it is a declining trend.

Because the changes in Antarctic sea ice are not yet significant in terms of climate change, they do not receive the same attention as the changes in the Arctic. It doesn’t mean that Antarctic sea ice is uninteresting, unimportant, or unworthy of scientific study. In fact, there is a lot of research being conducted on Antarctic sea ice and several scientific papers have been recently published on the topic.

8. In January, 2008 the Northern Hemisphere broke the record for the greatest snow extent ever recorded. What caused this?

The large amount of snow was due to weather and short-term climate fluctuations. Extreme weather events, even extreme cold and snow, will still happen in a warmer world. There is always natural variability. Weather extremes are always a part of climate and always will be. In fact, the latest IPCC report predicts more extreme weather due to global warming. It is important to remember that weather is not climate. The extreme January 2008 snowfall is not a significant factor in long-term climate change. One cold, snowy month does not make a climate trend and a cold January last year does not negate a decades-long pattern of warming. This is true of unusually warm events – one heat wave or one low sea ice year does not “prove” global warming. It is the 30-year significant downward trend in Arctic sea ice extent, which has accelerated in recent years, that is the important indicator of climate change.

9. Sea Surface Temperatures are running low near southern Alaska, and portions of Alaska are coming off one of their coldest summers on record. Will this affect ice during the coming winter?

It is possible that this year there could be an earlier freeze-up and more ice off of southern Alaska in the Bering Sea due to the colder temperatures. But again, this represents short-term variability and says nothing about long-term climate change. I would also note that in the Bering Sea winds often control the location of the ice edge more than temperature. Winds blowing from the north will push the ice edge southward and result in more ice cover. Winds blowing from the south will push the edge northward and result in less total ice.

10. As a result of being bombarded by disaster stories from the press and politicians, it often becomes difficult to filter out the serious science from organisations like NSIDC. In your own words, what does the public need to know about the Arctic and its future?

I agree that the media and politicians sometimes sensationalize stories on global warming. At NSIDC we stick to the science and report our near-real-time analyses as accurately as possible. Scientists at NSIDC, like the rest of the scientific community, publish our research results in peer-reviewed science journals.

There is no doubt that the Arctic is undergoing dramatic change. Sea ice is declining rapidly, Greenland is experience greater melt, snow is melting earlier, glaciers are receding, permafrost is thawing, flora and fauna are migrating northward. The traditional knowledge of native peoples, passed down through generations, is no longer valid. Coastal regions once protected by the sea ice cover are now being eroded by pounding surf from storms whipped up over the ice-free ocean. These dramatic changes are Arctic-wide and are a harbinger of what is to come in the rest of the world. Such wide-ranging change cannot be explained through natural processes. There is a clear human fingerprint, through greenhouse gas emissions, on the changing climate of the Arctic.

Changes in the Arctic will impact the rest of the world. Because the Arctic is largely ice-covered year-round, it acts as a “refrigerator” for the earth, keeping the Arctic and the rest of the earth cooler than it would be without ice. The contrast between the cold Arctic and the warmer lower latitudes plays an important role in the direction and strength of winds and currents. These in turn affect weather patterns. Removing summer sea ice in the Arctic will alter these patterns. How exactly they will change is still an unresolved question, but the impacts will be felt well beyond the Arctic.

The significant changes in the Arctic are key pieces of evidence for global warming, but the observations from Arctic are complemented by evidence from around the world. That evidence is reported in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and thousands of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.

Let me close by putting Arctic change and climate science within the broader scientific framework. Skepticism is the hallmark of science. A good scientist is skeptical. A good scientist understands that no theory can be “proven”. Most theories develop slowly and all scientific theories are subject to rejection or modification in light of new evidence, including the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Since the first thoughts of a possible human influence on climate over a hundred years ago, more and more evidence has accumulated and the idea gradually gained credibility. So much evidence has now been gathered from multiple disciplines that there is a clear consensus among scientists that humans are significantly altering the climate. That consensus is based on hard evidence. And some of the most important pieces of evidence are coming from the Arctic.

Mr. Goddard, through his demonstrated skeptical and curious nature, clearly has the soul of a scientist. I thank him for his invitation to share my knowledge of sea ice and Arctic climate. I also thank Anthony Watts for publishing my responses. It is through such dialogue that the public will hopefully better understand the unequivocal evidence for anthropogenic global warming so that informed decisions can be made to address the impacts that are already being seen in the Arctic and that will soon be felt around the world.  And thanks to Stephanie Renfrow and Ted Scambos at NSIDC, and Jim Overland at the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory for their helpful comments.


Thanks once again to Dr. Walt Meier from NSIDC. He has spent a lot of time answering these questions and many others, and has been extremely responsive and courteous throughout the process.

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kim
September 21, 2008 10:04 pm

Well, excellent, but he ignores the present global cooling, as manifest in lower tropospheric temperatures via RSS and UAH, lower oceanic temperatures via Argos buoys, and dropping sea level via TOPEX/Jason. He also ignores the effect of a PDO in a cooling phase, and a hibernating sun.
The data is consistent with a new trend of increasing freezing in the Arctic Ocean as the globe cools. The tipping point from the melting trend to the freezing trend was last year, before the last winter’s tremendous ice maximum.
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Jeff Alberts
September 21, 2008 10:07 pm

How does he know that warming 70+ years ago was regional? It’s not as if we had as many people out gathering data then.

anna v
September 21, 2008 10:22 pm

Fair enough ; until AGW was stuck in I was following willingly the analysis of a scientist of the data infront of him.
It is becoming a belief mantra in the climate science community, me thinks. Like the standard “InshAllah” of Muslims ( God willing). Or “knock on wood”

September 21, 2008 10:37 pm

It was good to see that Dr. Meier acknowledged the role of skeptic as the scientist.
Importantly, Dr. Meier laid to rest one of the oft repeated mechanisms of arctic melt – soot.
That being said, IMHO it is about the mechanisms of climate change, not the effects.
The underlying assumption in the AGW camp is that the primary mechanism is anthropogenic. But the mechanisms they have put forth so far may sound possible at first, don’t stand up to closer inspection.
The burden of proof is upon the claimant. Where is the mechanism?

Scott
September 21, 2008 10:40 pm

Well. Increased snow cover last year, cooler temperatures, higher temperatures in the 1920’s and 1930’s, etc. are all discounted as regional or temporary, because of the fundamental belief that the earth is warming due to man-made causes.
Strip away the belief in universal global warming and the whole thing would fall like a house of cards.
The next few years will be interesting.
By the way, how does the ozone hole strengthen ocean currents around Antarctica as stated in the answer to question 7?

Flowers4Stalin
September 21, 2008 10:46 pm

The Arctic is warming, the ice is melting, and, as a result, growing seasons are lengthening as sea level rises. It is all YOUR fault and is very, very bad for all of life on this planet as life infests the Arctic like a swarm of termites as that’s what carbon dioxide pollution-induced heating does. How do I know everything? Because the Arctic ice is melting, and will affect everyone and everything on this planet-no, check that, the universe. Climate has never warmed so don’t be silly. Planet Earth, in its 4.6 billion year history, has never been this hot or uninhabitable, and, I’m tellin’ ya, if it warms up 0.01C in a year, it is all your fault, but if it cools 0.75C in a year it is purely natural. Why are you still reading this? Aren’t you supposed to be buying carbon credits to pay for your sins?

Editor
September 21, 2008 10:54 pm

As for soot, he mentioned Russia, but did not mention China.
And, most of Russian industry was and is well south of the 60th parallel (while Manchuria extends north of the 40th).
So I think there needs to be a more complete explanation–such as how much soot there is “now” as compared with “then”. (How hard can that be to measure? Seems as if a couple of well dated ice cores should do the trick.)
Some NASA scientists claim that around a fifth of melt is due to “dirty snow”.

September 21, 2008 11:08 pm

Global warming must go on, even if there is a little break these days. When the data do not help, Innuit studies do: ‘The traditional knowledge of native peoples, passed down through generations, is no longer valid’
Is there an Innuit saga on the warm period of Greenland 1000 years ago, when the Vikings settled there?
Are there any hard data on permafrost losses during the last ten years? There are of order 20 million km2 of permafrost areas in the artic regions. How much is lost?

Steven Goddard
September 21, 2008 11:13 pm

I’m not certain if Dr. Meier is going to be directly answering questions in the forum – but I would be happy to package up clear and concise questions/comments, and ask him if he wishes to respond.

September 21, 2008 11:16 pm

Methinks he doth protest too much…
And I began reading with an open and hopeful mind. Disappointing.

kim
September 21, 2008 11:27 pm

It’s sophistry. It’s clever, plausible, answers to all the questions. It’s not open-minded about the possibility that there are other explanations besides AGW. I hate to think it, but it looks crooked, to me. Why cannot these climate scientists re-examine some assumptions.
=========================================

kim
September 21, 2008 11:28 pm

Steven (23:13:32) Ask him about my first comment. Don’t ask him my most recent one.
=======================================

John Philips
September 21, 2008 11:33 pm

We need more like Dr Meier. Kudos to him for responding to Goddard, especially after Goddard misrepresented the NSIDC data in a piece described by Meier as :-
” the article consists almost entirely of misleading, irrelevant, or erroneous information about Arctic sea ice that add nothing to the understanding of the significant long-term decline that is being observed.”
One of a series of ‘sceptical’ pieces (of similar quality) published in that major academic journal ‘The Register’
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/15/goddard_arctic_ice_mystery/

Demesure
September 21, 2008 11:34 pm

By the way, how does the ozone hole strengthen ocean currents around Antarctica as stated in the answer to question 7?

@Scott (22:40:09) :
A hint for the mecanism : it’s manmade. It can’t be natural.

September 21, 2008 11:35 pm

I was pleased to read Dr. Meier’s mini-discussion of Antarctica: ” Antarctic is a continent surrounded on all sides by an ocean. Strong ocean currents and winds swirl around the continent. These act as a barrier to heat coming down from lower latitudes.”
This is, in mini-essence, the keystone of the Ice Age theory elucidated by John Imbrie in his fine book, Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery, 1986, Harvard University Press. The Ice Ages began roughly 2.5 million years ago when Antarctica drifted (tectonically) over the South Pole and broke away from South America. Since then the Earth has been subject to a deep cold interspersed with interglacial periods that coincide with Milankovich Cycles.
It is thought that continents over a pole induce ice ages. A previous ice age possibly occurred in the Permian Period around 250 mya. At that time southern Gondwana was the culprit continent. Between the Permian and the Late Miocene, there were no ice ages and global temperatures were much higher. For instance, fossil dogwoods, pines, larches, ginkos, beeches, and elms are found above the Arctic Circle, evidence of paleo boreal tropical forests during the Cretaceous Period about 75 mya.
Or so goes Imbrie’s theory. The implication is that Life On Earth, including gymnosperms, angiosperms, and all terrestrial animals, evolved in much warmer global climates than today. We live in an unusually cold epoch compared to the rest of the last 250 million years.
The paleo-botanical evidence seems to support Imbrie’s theory, at least in regard to paleo-climates. That evidence is summarized in one the greatest works (IMBO) of western science, Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic History of North American Vegetation, 1999, Oxford Univ. Press, by Alan Graham.
All of which is my way of pointing out that warmer is better. It’s the normative condition. If anthropoids have altered the climate and made the Earth warmer, good for us. We need to learn how to do that, because another 100,000-year-long glaciation is coming, and it would be best if we could mitigate that somehow.

Pieter Folkens
September 21, 2008 11:40 pm

“the minimum extent in 2008 is the second lowest ever . . .”
“Ever” is a very bold (even hyperbolic) statement. However, evidence (R.W. Fairbridge and others) strongly indicates that the sea level was a meter higher when the vikings were in North America and more than two meters higher during the time of the first Egyptian dynasties. The Eemian Interglacial was also warmer than now with an ice-free Arctic across which gray whales made it from the Atlantic to the Pacific. If Dr. Meier is so completely wrong on the statement of “second lowest ever,” what else of what he said is also exaggerated? Such loose use of exaggerated statements makes one doubt much of the rest of it.

Demesure
September 21, 2008 11:46 pm

@Steven Goddard
My question to Dr Meier would be :
The arctic ice cover in 2008 is higher than last year. If for the NSIDC, that “underscores accelerating decline” (its Sep 16, 2008 press release’s headline), what should the 2008 ice cover have been for a hypothetical title such as “underscores a possible recovery”).

Mattej
September 21, 2008 11:49 pm

What are the Ozone holes doing? have they grown or shrunk? never seem to hear about them any more. Any links?

September 21, 2008 11:53 pm

*cough, cough* funding *cough*
Ahem. sorry ’bout that. Now, as I was saying: click
But of course, if it’s a natural cycle, then there’s no extra grant money.
Not saying Dr. Meier isn’t being 100% honest in every answer, but the term cui bono? comes to mind. After all, there’s this: click
and this: click
and this: click
and this: click
Nice of Dr. Meier to respond. However, I remain highly skeptical that these are not simply routine natural climate fluctuations. But unlike others, I have no financial motive in this discussion.

J.Hansford.
September 22, 2008 12:05 am

All he explains would also be observed in a natural warming of the climate…. His assumption that CO2 is the culprit, is founded on nothing but computer models. Computer models that were wrong about the warming of the tropical troposphere. They showed more warming than what is actually observed.
I also noticed this statement he made.
“…. This does not bode well for the long-term health of the sea ice….”
Huh? Sea ice has a Health?…. What is this Healthy sea ice?
With descriptions like that…. It is no wonder AGW is embraced so warmly by Catastrophists, the Gaia crowd and other misanthropic groups.
….. Oh well. I suppose only time will tell.

Richard Hill
September 22, 2008 12:07 am

The most disappointing thing is that scientists who acknowledge the A in AGW still ignore the point that Dr Pielke Snr keeps making. There are many things that the A’s are doing, particularly, changes in land use, that could be causing GW.

Austin Spreadbury
September 22, 2008 12:27 am

I won’t comment further than to say this: it’s funny how all the warming is an ongoing process due to mankind, but any cooling there might be is a random fluctuation on top of an overall warming signal.

September 22, 2008 12:36 am

To Steven Goddard:
Please ask about hard permafrost area data.

September 22, 2008 12:45 am

Sheldon Drobot at the University of Colorado, who used a more sophisticated forecast model to estimate a 59% chance of setting a new record low – far from a sure-thing.
Well, I have an even more sophisticated model which predicts a 51.08% chance that next year we will have more ice and and a 48.92% chance that next year we will have less ice. Can I get my research grant now?
No. Hansen’s model of 1980 is no longer relevant as climate models have improved considerably in the past 28 years
Hansen’s model has been around long enough that we can actually see that it’s probably wrong. However, if we switch to models which are less than 5 or 10 years old, then any divergence from reality can be conveniently dismissed as short-term variation.
I basically agree with Kim. This is just epicycles being added to an hypothesis which is getting weaker and weaker.

James S
September 22, 2008 1:26 am

Got to agree with Dr Meier’s penultimate paragraph; a good scientist is always sceptical.
However adding further to this a scientist (full stop) will always share his or her data and findings with other people. Until this happens climate science is actually climate pseudo-science and I will not trust anything that comes out of its practitioners.

Alan the Brit
September 22, 2008 1:49 am

Dear Sirs,
Perhaps it’s just me & I have lost it completely (there’s always that possibility I suppose) but I have a real issue here. How does warming cause cooling, & as has been stated here & elsewhere, why is cooling a natural variation but any warming is “impossibe to explain” by natural variations? When I stand next to my woodburner roaring away I get hot, when I move away I get cold. I don’t get cold next to the heat, nor do I get warm in the cold, please discuss. Perhaps my understanding of physics is too limited, yes that must be it. There appears to be some evidence mentioned somewhere that a “study” has shown CO2 causes cooling as well as warming, well I suppose it’s always possible. But I cannot help thinking that the wool is being pulled in one direction or another! If the evidence doesn’t fit the theory, amend the theory to adopt the new evidence as proof of the original theory.
Many years ago, & I think I have used this illustation before, they used to tie a wise woman (young or old it didn’t really matter as rugby/football hadn’t been invented yet) to a ducking stool for practicing Witchcraft, they would continually dunk her until she drowned or had a great pair of lungs, the thought processes being that if the water accepted her, eg she drowned, she was innocent, however if the water rejected her, eg she was survived & was guilty, the poor woman would then face the somewhat daunting prospect of having survived a drowning, she be tied to a stake & burned to death for being a witch. Is it only me who can see a similarity in the hypocracy here? If it warms its proof, if it cools its proof, but of what precisely, that the climate varies over all time scales & all continents & that we really don’t have much of a clue as to how it ALL works? It really seems to me that the world has moved nowhere in its mental state for hundreds if not thousands of years. Perhaps the Large Hadron Collider really is working after all!
There is also merrit in observations of the need to maintain funding, salaries, pensions, expenses, equipment, scientific studies, food on the table etc, so when one digs oneself into a hole, one should always take a ladder with them just in case they need to get out of it at some stage. (Now there’s an engineer thinking!)
Alan the Brit

Pierre Gosselin
September 22, 2008 2:21 am

Does anyone really expect anything other than the official green propoganda lines from the NSIDC?
Dr Meier has his job and career to worry about.
His answers are a MACK-truckload load of BS.
Ask him these 10 Qs when he’s retired.

Pete Stroud
September 22, 2008 2:27 am

Could Dr Meier explain the melting ice cap on Mars and recent warming on other planets and moons?

CodeTech
September 22, 2008 2:34 am

I especially like the way Dr. Meier acknowledges that hyperbole exists (question 10), then indulges in a whack of it himself. In my also-biased opinion, that throws a grain of salt into virtually every other answer.
1. Evidence does not show a cyclic explanation because you don’t want it to. Nobody can, with any level of seriousness, compare records from the 20s and 30s to today’s observations.
2. As with 1., um, nope. I’m not buying what you’re selling.
3. “the effect of soot, while it may contribute in some way, cannot explain the dramatic rate of warming and melt seen in the Arctic seen over the past 30 years” — apparently Dr. Meier is unaware of a country called “China”, which has quite the reputation of not being exactly, how do I say it, “environmentally conscious”. I live in a winter climate, and am WELL aware of how little material it takes on snow to cause one area to melt faster than another. Hint: it’s not visible.
4. “Most importantly, the 2008 minimum reinforces the long-term declining trend that is not due to natural climate fluctuations” — by being higher than last year. I’m sorry, but you’ll never convince me that something higher than last year indicates a downward trend. Well, except my income, which is higher than last year but still buys me less.
5. Unfortunately, this simplistic explanation fails to account for ocean temperature variation, which could be affected by long or short term current changes, or volcanic vents, or any number of non-anthropogenic things. I’d be interested in seeing the documentation of this.
6. “This will eventually, over the coming centuries, lead to significant melting of the Greenland ice sheet and sea level rise with accompanying impacts on coastal regions” — if this was a court of law, which it isn’t, someone would be jumping up and yelling, “objection”. The correct phrase, as I believe Dr. Meier intended, is “If this continues for several more centuries, it would lead to…”
7. Hmmm… parsing that reply, it appears to say “we’d rather not look at an area that is cooling… but I’m sure others are, and I’m certain they must be very competent.”
8. Sorry, if I want this kind of non-answer, I know which other sites can provide them.
9. I’m not sure why we are supposed to buy this. Let me rephrase it: OUR theory is supported by this short-term variability, therefore YOUR observation must be invalid. As others have pointed out, a short term (yes, 30 years or 100 years is short term) warming trend is a reason to panic, but a 10 year cooling trend is short-term variability.
10… Nah, I don’t even want to get into this… if I need pontificating of this sort there are THOUSANDS of sites I can find it at.

September 22, 2008 2:35 am

Steven Goddard: Based on the availability of GHCN data (data ends in 2005 on NOAA NOMADS), it’s tough to tell if Dr. Meir’s assessment of regional Arctic temperatures is correct through 2008.
http://i37.tinypic.com/sv00nm.jpg
However, his failure to acknowledge the 97/98 El Nino as a significant contributor to the recent bout of high Arctic temperatures is very telling.
http://i34.tinypic.com/2cxasl3.jpg

September 22, 2008 2:44 am

To Steven Goddard:
Please ask why we cannot have a graph that shows the extent of the ice for the whole year and why the average cannot be for 1979 to 2008 (or to the last complete year) instead of 1979 to (an arbitrary?) 2000.

JamesG
September 22, 2008 2:55 am

No he didn’t lay the soot idea to rest – he said none of his guys studied it but he surmised, based apparently on complete guesswork, that it wasn’t significant. Bear in mind this is not an issue raised by skeptics, but by many reputable scientists who have trudged through the ice and snow and published peer-reviewed work which conclude that a great deal of the Arctic warming can be blamed on soot. A NSIDC spokesman should at least have read this body of work and be able to address it properly rather than guessing based on dogma. There are actual satellite plots available of soot distribution where you can easily see a build up in the Arctic, wherever it comes from. Moreover, his statement about Russia ignores the fact that they have very much increased oil and gas explorations in Siberia.
Also quoting IPCC as saying that extreme events will increase with warming, ignores that this was merely stated opinion, not scientific fact. The facts say that most studies fail to detect any increase in extreme events that can be laid at the door of AGW. One could equally glibly opine that cooling would cause more extreme events – certainly the la niñas seem to cause more than el niño’s.
Like a previous commenter I am struck by the absolute certainty of the effect of AGW in the Arctic warming, compared with the “natural variation” and “delayed cooling” wooliness about the Antarctic.
As for the models agreeing with observations – that’s only because they tweaked the previous models that didn’t agree so well, which gives no weight to the idea that the models are any good. Only when they predict something correctly then they’ll be useful. Until then they represent merely a mathematical wrapper around the man-made assumptions which direct their calculations. Every computer modeler knows that!

Nick Leaton
September 22, 2008 3:06 am

If the previous melt was localised around Spitzbergen, why hasn’t he offered any evidence of extensive ice coverage elsewhere at the time?
Coverup or spin springs to mind.
Hansen’s model of 1980 is no longer relevant
Yet another case of a model that fails to work, so junk it. Put a new model in place. Can this be tested? Well, you have to wait, keep the funds flowing. If it doesn’t work, we’ll get a better one. Eventually, they might hit one that works for a while, or they will retro fit one to historical data.
The main problem with the Arctic is that it is being used in the media and by alarmists as a proxy for GW. If the ice is melting, the world is getting warmer.
However, we know from the temperature record that the world isn’t getting warmer. The artic is melt is negatively correlated with global temperatures.
The hockey stick if real has been dramatically reversed with recent drops. That’s the real issue. Take the loonies word that the hockey stick is real. Then show that there has been an equally dramatic reversal. Very hard for them to explain. Most here will know why, the hockey sticks an artifact.
Nick

Jerker Andersson
September 22, 2008 3:41 am

“No. Hansen’s model of 1980 is no longer relevant as climate models have improved considerably in the past 28 years”
If we would have spent money to prevent climate change based on Hansens predictions ~30 years ago we would by now have realized it was pure waste of money since the temperature did not increase as predicted.
Or maybe not. If we would have reduced our emissions by close to 100% until 2000, the AGW crew would have said: “Look, the models where right. Temperature leveled off and matches Hansens C-scenario”. Unfortunatley (for the AGW crew) temperature still matches C-sceanrio while we emitt more CO2 than predicted.
I agree on the statement that the model is old and we have gained knowledge since then.
But it still shows how wrong things can get if you belive in a model that has not been validated.
It will take 10-20 years before we can say if the current models are working or not. Meanwhile we treat them as absolute truth allthough they have not yet proved that they are working.
So if next model shows that it matches actual temperature meassurements. How do we know it is just a short time coincidence as it would have been with Hansens scenario C if we would have reuced or emissions completley?
About the decreasing ice.
Decreasing ice is not a proof of AGW itself, just a symptom IF it would turn out to be true. We know for a fact that temperatures and glaciers started to retreat over 100 year before CO2, according to AGW hypothesis, could have had any significant impact.
The retreat has continued more or less at same speed after CO2, according to IPCC, could have an impact on temperatures.
And as some have mentioned above, his use of “ever” when it comes to the low sea ice last summers I think it more reflects his belive in man made global warming (which may or may not turn out to be wrong) rather than actual meassurements that can back it up.
If he would have said highest since records started year 19xx then it would have sounded as a scientific conclusion. I think he got carried away there trying to make an AGW-point.

Onanym
September 22, 2008 4:04 am

I’m impressed by the level of ignorance in the replies to this post. Very few of the replies seems to appreciate that somebody from the other camp took the time to answer these 10 question. Kudos to Watts for posting this. The rest of you: behave.

September 22, 2008 4:17 am

It will take 10-20 years before we can say if the current models are working or not. Meanwhile we treat them as absolute truth allthough they have not yet proved that they are working.
I agree, and it’s extremely convenient for the warmists. Their position is basically unfalsifiable. If the latest model diverges from reality after 5 years, they can blame it on short term variation. If the model diverges from reality after 15 years, they can dismiss it as an obsolete model and offer up a new (untested) model which conveniently makes the predictions they want it to make.

Novoburgo
September 22, 2008 4:32 am

Pure, unadulterated, company propaganda. The answers come of as stiff and very rehearsed. No mention of the effects caused by ocean currents, especially from the NE Atlantic?
When are they going to remove that ridiculous quote of Al Gore’s from their home page?

Billy Bob
September 22, 2008 4:32 am

In 2007, the NSIDC explained the ice loss as “the atmospheric pressure pattern over the Arctic has been unusual this summer. Sea-level pressure over the Arctic Ocean has tended to be fairly high, while pressure has been fairly low over northeastern Siberia. This has given rise to a pattern of winds bringing in warm air from the south over the coastal seas of eastern Siberia, fostering strong melt and tending to push ice from the coast into the central Arctic Ocean. Melt has been further enhanced by the fairly clear skies under the high-pressure area.” Likewise, the 2008 ice loss was explained as “The shift in location of maximum ice losses was fueled by a shift in atmospheric circulation. A pattern of high pressure set up over the Chukchi Sea, bringing warm southerly air into the region and pushing ice away from shore. ”
To me, the NSIDC has described weather patterns, not generalized warming.

Brian Johnson
September 22, 2008 4:34 am

Behaviour mode/computer predictions – on
And the answers that were given were………….
Just firing up the Ignorance Meter…………tap, tap………hmmmmmm.
Anyway as you say, Dr Meier did answer.

Jeff Wiita
September 22, 2008 4:36 am

To Mattej (23:49:34)
I got this link on the Ozone Hole from Lief the other day.
http://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html

Jordan
September 22, 2008 4:36 am

To Steve Godard: The whole case of Dr. Meier is based on “the warming during the 1920s and 1930s was more regional in nature and focused on the Atlantic side of the Arctic (though there was warming in some other regions as well) and was most pronounced during winter. In contrast, the current warming is observed over almost the entire Arctic and is seen in all seasons. Another thing that is clear is that, the warming during the 1920s and 1930s was limited to the Arctic and lower latitude temperatures were not unusually warm.” At least the temperatures in continental USA (lower latitudes) during this period doesn’t support the view of Dr. Meier. Also, in Russia there where also documented exceptional high latitude seas free form ice exactly in the same period – 20′ and 30′. So, where are the data and the studies that support Dr.Meier’s claim?

Novoburgo
September 22, 2008 4:38 am

“there is a clear consensus among scientists…” Really!

Denis Hopkins
September 22, 2008 4:42 am

Yes. It is good that he took the time to reply.
It is important that Goverenment organisations explain their work and the basis for their conclusions as they are to be used to influence public policy.
What we really need is for active journalists to pose tough questions and for the answers to be reported prominently, along with some comments along the lines of those in this blog.
Once more thank you Anthony for an always interesting and stimulating discussion page.
I hope that more Govt funded organisations take note of your influence.

September 22, 2008 4:46 am

I was really hoping for a fresh prediction of next year’s ice extent melt, but understand that it’s too soon for that. I am curious to hear any fresh predictions of an ice free North Pole in 2009, given this year’s melt information.

Tom in Florida
September 22, 2008 4:47 am

Philip Bratby:”Please ask why we cannot have a graph that shows the extent of the ice for the whole year and why the average cannot be for 1979 to 2008 (or to the last complete year) instead of 1979 to (an arbitrary?) 2000.”
Thank you for asking the question that always bugs me.
Dr Meier: “The North Pole, being the location that last sees the sun rise and first sees the sun set, has the longest “polar night” and shortest “polar day.” Thus, it receives the least amount of solar radiation in the Arctic. So there is less energy and less time to melt ice at the pole. ”
Well, duuuuugh! Since he doesn’t mention the South Pole, is there a different cause there? Isn’t that “natural” or has the Earth been titled due to having so many more man made buildings in the northern hemisphere?
Dr Meier: ” For the first time in our records…”
That’s a great cop out line, kind of like saying “if 2 + 2 = 5, then …”
Dr Meier: ” There are increasing trends in Antarctic sea ice extent, but they are fairly small and there is so much variability in the Antarctic sea ice from year to year that is difficult to ascribe any significance to the trends – they could simply be an artifact of natural variability”
So, Arctic sea ice decline is caused by AGW which is global but Antarctic sea ice increase is caused by nature which is not global. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.
Dr Meier: ” The significant changes in the Arctic are key pieces of evidence for global warming, but the observations from Arctic are complemented by evidence from around the world.”
Except the Antarctic.
This man could be a political speech writer, in fact, all his answers remind me of a political speech.

Alan Millar
September 22, 2008 4:48 am

“Changes in the Arctic will impact the rest of the world. Because the Arctic is largely ice-covered year-round, it acts as a “refrigerator” for the earth, keeping the Arctic and the rest of the earth cooler than it would be without ice. ”
So manmade atmospheric CO2 has been increasing beyond estimates this century, the cooling Arctic ice has decreased significantly at the same time. Scientists state there is a huge increase in Greenland and Glacier ice melt and that SLR will be accelerating rapidly leading to coastal inundation.
Yet global temperatures have shown a declining trend for the last eight years, sea temperatures are not increasing and the rate of SLR instead of accelerating at a dramatic pace has actually shown a declining trend for the last six years or so.
Alarmists pooh pooh and say eight years is nothing. However when Hanson first tried to sow the seeds of a Global panic in 1988 he did so on the back of a ten year trend only. Which, apparently, was enough to overcome his Global cooling panicy forecasts of a decade or so before.
If we had said to Hanson in 1988 come back in 2008 (ie the thirty years alarmists say is necessary to confirm a trend) we could now have patted him on the head and said ‘Don’t worry Jim satellite data shows that it is no warmer now than when you raised the matter in 1988!”
Alan

September 22, 2008 4:49 am

As Roger Carr did, I also began reading with hope which was dashed. Disappointing. Dr Meier is refreshing in his politeness, but all too formulaic in ascribing long-term climate change to AGW.
AGW goes unmentioned until his answer to question ten. After reviewing evidence with apparent objectivity in response to Anthony’s questions, he (suddenly) says this:

There is a clear human fingerprint, through greenhouse gas emissions, on the changing climate of the Arctic.

This conclusion is advanced without evidence of any kind, before or after, which makes it stand out rather from the surrounding material, like bright orange smoke against a blue sky. He does state that “more and more evidence has accumulated” yet still refrains from citing any for us.
His conclusion that global warming stems from Man’s greenhouse gas emissions is the only part of his otherwise credible contribution that I cannot accept. If only he gave us some reasons for doing so…
Cheers,
Richard Treadgold,
Convenor,
Climate Conversation Group.

stan
September 22, 2008 5:10 am

Several references to computer models. (not good) Reference to the IPCC as THE scientific standard. (really not good)
I expect a non-scientist who is unaware of the facts to accept the IPCC as some kind of real authoritative science. But a scientist should be aware of the BS that has been packed into the IPCC. Reference to it, in a discussion with another scientist, should be a huge red flag.

Editor
September 22, 2008 5:20 am

I’m surprised at some of the negative reaction to Dr. Meier’s answers. Sure, there are things I disagree with, but that’s inherent to scientific progress. Given some of dialog from earlier this summer, I’m pleased to see the kiddies playing together so well (I had a manager who reminded every so often that I needed to play nicely with the other kiddies).
Dr. Meier’s comments include statements that have yet to be verified, (someone needs to keep track of them), which is also good science.
It’s a pity that Dr. Meier’s tone isn’t matched in their web site. Hopefully they’ve learned a bit this year from their increased scrutiny and next year’s reports (an science?) will be more balanced. I trust Steven Goddard will be keeping their feet to the fire and their reports under the microscope.

Syl
September 22, 2008 5:34 am

I appreciate that he answered those questions.
I also find the range of responses interesting. From an absolute rejection of warming, to an acceptance of warming but no manmade cause, to an acceptance of AGW but so what?
Let me thrown in my 2cents. I’m a lukewarmer. As for the manmade part, I accept it only in part. Only as part of the CO2 as well as land use (and misuse). I’m in the adapt camp–my degree was in geology so I tend to take the long view and think that warming will actually be a good thing.
I also believe we are currently cooling. The warming is so slight that it seems this cooling trend has overcome it. How long the cooling will last I know not. But, to me, that means that the positive feedbacks put forth in the models are exaggerated.
Nobody can claim that we all think alike. That’s for sure. Love it.

Editor
September 22, 2008 5:39 am

Tom in Florida (04:47:26) :

Philip Bratby:”Please ask why we cannot have a graph that shows the extent of the ice for the whole year and why the average cannot be for 1979 to 2008 (or to the last complete year) instead of 1979 to (an arbitrary?) 2000.”
Thank you for asking the question that always bugs me.

If monthly data is acceptable, that’s readily available at their FTP server. It’s missing two adjacent months of data (Dec 1987 and Jan 1988), but they aren’t critical. I’m not sufficiently interested to go off and make the graph.
On my weather station’s reporting, I used to graph the last 24 hours of data, but switched to 48 hours – that makes it easy and convenient to compare today’s weather with yesterday. It is a tad annoying that NSIDC likes to display the same(!) portion of a year for both hemisphere. Cryosphere has the decency to show an entire year’s data, but in space that covers two years! Both sites would benefit from hiring a tech writer who has a well-worn copy of Edward Tufte’s books.
As for the 1979 to 2008 average, the rationale at the time may have been to have a fixed reference period to permit statements like “Minimum ice extent in 200x is XX% lower than the reference period,” and have that statement be true for several years. Now that the satellite record covers 1/2 a full PDO cycle, now would be a good time to reset the reference period to “the 30 year satellite record.” A lot of meteorlogy records set an average to a 30 year period.
For all that, I’d prefer comparisons refer to the “reference period,” and not “average” and particularly not “normal.” Only the most abnormal weather here has high and low temperatures that are exactly “normal.”

Phil.
September 22, 2008 5:40 am

kim (22:04:11) :
He also ignores the effect of a PDO in a cooling phase,

A cool phase PDO leads to increased sea temperatures in the N Pacific so you’d expect it to enhance melting.
http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/
Nick Leaton (03:06:15) :
If the previous melt was localised around Spitzbergen, why hasn’t he offered any evidence of extensive ice coverage elsewhere at the time?

In 1921 an American/Canadian expedition to Wrangel Island was cut off from their supply shipments by pack ice, two years later the only survivor was rescued.

Harold Ambler
September 22, 2008 5:45 am

“The remarkable thing was not whether the North Pole would be ice-free or not; it was that this year, for the first time in a long time it was possible. This does not bode well for the long-term health of the sea ice.”
As others have said, the emotional connection to the melting ice of one’s own lifetime is not exactly science. The Arctic ice has, for the most part, been melting and refreezing for a very long time — or else it would be a hundred meters thick! I’m willing to buy the idea that the recent melting is being exacerbated by fine particulates, in conjunction with warm ocean currents. It was notable a few weeks ago, when Arctic temperatures were already below freezing for days on end, that the ice continued to melt at a good clip.
That said, I would like scientists sure of the unique and terrifying warming of today to spend a calendar year in Greenland, living in the same type of dwellings used by the Vikings, managing sheep, and practicing agriculture as they did. That would be a reality show that I would buy TiVo for!
The sense one gets listening to the Meiers and Hansens and Hathaways of this world is that the fortress is on the verge of being over-run. They’re pushing back the ladders from the top of the walls, but you can see the fear in their eyes as the truth gets nearer.

Arthur Glass
September 22, 2008 5:45 am

Dr Meier is insistent on the distinction between a short-term ‘fluctuation’ and a long-term ‘trend’. But given that the Earth’s current atmosphere has been sloshing around chaotically for a billion years or so, how significant, for any such distinction, is the difference between its behavior over, say, a ten-year period and that over a century? Or over a complete interstitial, for that matter?

Gary
September 22, 2008 5:49 am

We should thank Dr. Meier for his responses to the questions and realize that what he has written is a professional opinion and not a treatise on the subject of AWG. He could very well be wrong in his acceptance of the work of others (eg, Hanson’s models), but his own work forms the basis of his opinions. Subject what he says to the same scrutiny you would give to any other claim, but unless there is evidence, to impugn his motives is uncalled for.
Mike Dubrasich – the tectonic rise of the Central American isthmus 5-6MYA had a lot to do with the onset of glaciation as well. It caused major changes to the global ocean circulation patterns. Coupled with the opening of the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica, the way the Earth handled the energy balance was fundamentally altered. The uplift of the Himalayas and the Indian monsoon are other contributors, too. The Milankovich cycles (variations in orbital parameters of the Earth) regulate the ice ages (“pacemakers” Imbrie called them) by controlling insolation above 65 degrees N latitude. Imbrie was one of the leaders of the CLIMAP and SPECMAP projects that nailed this down in the 70s and 80s.

Robert Wood
September 22, 2008 5:50 am

Well, he was good to answer your questions, Anthony. But he toed the parety line very tightly, except when he admitted, in response 7, that global warming wasn’t, in fact, erm, global:
“…Antarctic sea ice is also insulated from the warming because of the isolated nature of Antarctica.”

Arthur Glass
September 22, 2008 5:53 am

“AGW goes unmentioned until his answer to question ten. After reviewing evidence with apparent objectivity in response to Anthony’s questions, he (suddenly) says ….”
That last paragraph does have the air of standard cut-and-paste, press release boilerplate.

Bruce Cobb
September 22, 2008 6:03 am

Sure, he’s polite and all that. Still, he finds it necessary to hide behind the “authority” of IPCC, and the “consensus” meme. In my book, that makes him just another pathetic bureaucratic pseudoscientist.

Steven Goddard
September 22, 2008 6:04 am

Re: John Philips
Are you still working for the UK Met Office?

Neil Crafter
September 22, 2008 6:16 am

While it was nice of Dr Meier to answer the questions, clearly these were his written responses to 10 submitted questions. What would have been good would have been some follow up questions to some of his statements if it was a live interview, but I don’t suspect he would have agreed to one of those.
As for his statement that Antarctic was ‘insulated’ from global warming, well I thought Antarctica was still a part of the globe and that it still had atmosphere (with that pesky CO2 in it). So what is insulating Antarctica then? The ocean?

Perry Debell
September 22, 2008 6:22 am

I am puzzled why Dr Meier did not include any references to peer reviewed published papers to support his opinions. E.g. in answer to Q1. “The recent warming in the Arctic, though amplified there, is part of a global trend where temperatures are rising in most regions of the earth.”
I am not persuaded by that statement, especially in view of the articles available on WUWT.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/?s=Are+global+temperatures+down
Nevertheless, our thanks are due to Dr Meier for his courtesy and it is devoutly to be wished that this important line of communication can be continued. The next months will reveal many more opportunities to revisit the subject of “AGW, true or false?”

Bill Illis
September 22, 2008 6:22 am

We could ask them to explain the change they made to the historical sea ice records in March 2007 (which contributed significantly to the record low sea ice area numbers in 2007).
The March 2007 sea ice data was reduced by 750,000 km2 while the previous record in 1995 was adjusted upwards by 500,000 km2. The changes made to all years just made the sea ice trend look like it was a straight line going down (while before there were ups and downs and a slight downward trend.)
This Before and After animation shows the changes made (which were never explained by the NSIDC.)
http://img401.imageshack.us/img401/2918/anomalykm3.gif
Meanwhile, the Sun will set for the winter and six month of darkness will set in at the North Pole in just a few hours.

JP
September 22, 2008 6:39 am

Most of the explainations the good doctor offered have been out in some form at Real Climate for years. I have to give him an A+ for consistency. The explaination for the the divergence of surface temps between the NH and SH (the Ozone factor) is pure conjecture – it is model based. And none of the old newspaper articles from the 20s and 30s that I read explicitly mention Spitzbergen as the only source region of warming. The old Wash Post article from 1921 was fairly explicit mentioning the Artic Circle. But then again, Doctor Meier assumption of a regional temp variations of the 20s and 30s isn’t far off. It’s just that he is making an assumption. His certainty is at best 50/50. In that case, his explainations hold no more wieght than do ours. The only difference is we make our uncertainty evident.

Steven Goddard
September 22, 2008 6:40 am

There have been several questions about ice extent for the whole year. Dr. Meier has informed me that daily data is not available on the NSIDC web site. However, you can get equivalent data here.
http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/plot.csv
The average daily extent for 2008 has been higher than any of the previous three years, and as Steve McIntyre posted – April, 2008 had the third highest April extent on record.
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=3066

Stefan
September 22, 2008 6:43 am

Bill,
I simply don’t understand how data can lead to a conclusion when the size of the adjustment is larger than the amount needed to reach that conclusion. That’s me as a layman saying that. If the data is already in the right ball park, before and after adjustment, then fine. If the adjustment is what sways it one way or the other, then not fine.
Yes I get that there are times when data needs adjusting, but the point is, how can we really check and confirm that the adjustment is correct? Before we base something else on it?
On a related note, there seems to be this thing where scientists simply go forward with the evidence that they have. But why don’t scientists sit back and say, sure, all the evidence we have, on its own, points to warming… but, we have only surveyed 1% of the system, and no matter what we have so far, there must be 99% out there that is unknown and relevant.
Instead, scientists just seem to say, well, the bit of evidence we have says this, and that’s the end of the story, and we can just assume the rest will continue to confirm our theory, and we know enough already.
We seem to spend a lot of time talking about what we know, and yet it’s what we don’t know that really matters.
Is it simply that scientists are people paid to “know” stuff?

Editor
September 22, 2008 6:45 am

Bill Illis (06:22:11) :

Meanwhile, the Sun will set for the winter and six month of darkness will set in at the North Pole in just a few hours.

Only in a simple model! Sunset is defined as the time the upper limb of the Sun goes beneath the horizion (assuming the event can be viewed). (The UK and other places may say the center of the Sun, but the US has always referred to the upper limb.)
The solar radius is 16 arc-minutes, the atmosphere refracts sunlight by some 34 arcminutes, possibly more in cold conditions, so the sun won’t set at the North Pole until the center is 50 arcminutes below the horizon. That will be around the 24th.
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/RST_defs.php has more details.
BTW, at “reasonable” latitudes, i.e. where fast food restaurants are located, the time between sunrise and sunset is about 12 hours and 9 minutes on the equinoxes. Every claim you’ve heard about the equinoxes are the dates the day and night lengths are both 12 hours long is wrong!

JP
September 22, 2008 6:47 am

“That said, I would like scientists sure of the unique and terrifying warming of today to spend a calendar year in Greenland, living in the same type of dwellings used by the Vikings, managing sheep, and practicing agriculture as they did. That would be a reality show that I would buy TiVo for!”
I always thought that that would be a good lesson, at least from an anthropological point of view. The problem as I understand it is that the Norse in the Northwest Settlement had quite a bit more grazing land available to them back in the 11th and 12th centuries. Thier cattle and sheep grazed in pastures at least 10km inland. They also had schools of Cod not too far offshore to supplement thier diet (which is a good indication of how warm the SSTs were between Canada and Greenland). When the end came, it came quick (according Fagan). The Northwest settlement could have died out in under 5 years. The problem today is that those grazing pastures are now just beginning to re-emerge from 500 years of ice. I don’t think anyone today can replicate the harsh life-style the Norse were subjected to in the 12th century.

George Patch
September 22, 2008 6:55 am

What I find so interesting is that there appears to be an unspoken assumption that observations of the past, such as 1922 arctic observations or 1750 sun spot counts, are somehow equivalent to today’s.
We are collecting more data today, hopefully more accurate and consistent even though we still haven’t figured out what to do with it.

kim
September 22, 2008 6:59 am

Phil. (05:40:07) The PDO also leads to cooler global temperatures, so you’d expect it to enhance freezing.
Your errors are of omission, not commission. You fool yourself to think you fool others.
============================================

John McDonald
September 22, 2008 7:03 am

What the hell does he know about Tribal Native teachings. I bet wearing gortex, shooting with high powered rifles, and driving snowmobiles has more to do with loss of Tribal Native teachings than ICE Loss. Does anyone really like seal meat when you can order a Big MAC Super sized? Think about, a lot of European gave up seal and whale meat for a good Angus burger, why won’t we let the Alaskan natives do the same thing. Now this guy is not only a scientist but also an antropologist … quite the renaissance man we have. BTW my tribe’s range extends into Alaska. I’d be happy to share some of our ancient tribal teachings. How to rot salmon perfectly in dirt pit, so you can have a good nasty smelling stew anytime during the winter, How to dig clams with a stick, and proper candle fish oil receipes. Also, how to throw cannonballs with your barehands. My tribe actually did this. When European ships fired off a few rounds to wake the natives up for fur trading, members of my tribe found the cannonballs, brought them to the waters edge, and attempted to throw them back, much to the amusement of the Europeans who natually had to fire off a few more so the sport could continue. etc.

kim
September 22, 2008 7:07 am

Walt (04:46:34) On the basis of van Loon’s prediction of a mild winter and a cold summer I’ll predict now that this winter’s Arctic ice maximum will not exceed last winter’s and that next summer’s melt will be even less than this year. I also believe the value of the Arctic ice as a proxy for global temperature will overwhelm the strong local effects on ice. I believe that because the temperature drop over the last year has been so dramatic.
=============================================

kim
September 22, 2008 7:12 am

John McDonald (07:03:13) That’s pretty funny. I knew of a doctor in the lower 48 who recognized a case of botulism because she’d been a nurse in Alaska and had seen cases caused by your rotting fish.
=================================================

Philip_B
September 22, 2008 7:17 am

The arguement that previous warming was regional and the current warming is not is false.
Were we seeing similar ice melt across both polar regions then a case could be made we are seeing a global phenomena. However, the melt is restricted to the Arctic and there is nothing comparable in the Antarctic. The current Arctic melt is a regional phenomena, which may be occuring over a larger region than earlier melting.
As a general rule, I distrust anyone whose argument shifts from anthropogenic climate change to GHG warming, to global warming. Shifting of the basis of the argument (as Dr Meier does above) in this way is a sure sign you are reading propaganda rather than science.

Nathan Stone
September 22, 2008 7:25 am

“Weather is not climate.” That statement always bothers me. The statement “A second is not time” follows the same logic. Climate is in fact weather averaged over time, so any weather event is a part of climate. How big a part is solely dependent on the time that weather is averaged over to obtain “climate”.
Here’s another one “Such wide-ranging change cannot be explained through natural processes.” Would not the statement “Such wide-ranging change cannot be explained through natural processes with the knowledge we have now of how these processes work” be more accurate? Are we so arrogant now that we think we know all there is to know?

Don B
September 22, 2008 7:43 am

In “The Chilling Stars,” (2nd edition published last month), Swensmark has an explanation for the historical contrariness of Antarctic temps vs. the rest of the globe. Anarctica is isolated, and a cloudy blanket keeps that ice-covered area warm, while cooling (by solar reflection) the rest of us. Thin clouds let the sun in for most of us, while increasing heat loss down south.
OT–It looks like we have a SC 24 sunspot.

Jeff Alberts
September 22, 2008 7:43 am

Perhaps it’s just me & I have lost it completely (there’s always that possibility I suppose) but I have a real issue here. How does warming cause cooling,

One popular hypothesis is that melting ice reduces salinity dramatically, and also pours cold water into the North Atlantic thereby shutting down the Thermohaline circulation. But there’s no evidence that such a thing can happen, unless the continents suddenly shift, or the earth stops spinning…

jorge a.
September 22, 2008 7:45 am

“The winds and currents have strengthened in recent years, partly in response to the ozone hole.”!?!?!?
totally new for me… could someone explain it????

David
September 22, 2008 7:46 am

The May report is interesting. Especially this chart:
http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/200805_Figure4.png
Out of 25 scenarios for minimum sea ice extent in 2008, 24 of them came in below 2007. I think some people need to rethink their assumptions about how sea ice melt works.

September 22, 2008 7:49 am


Ric Werme (06:45:43) :
Bill Illis (06:22:11) :
Meanwhile, the Sun will set for the winter and six month of darkness will set in at the North Pole in just a few hours.
Only in a simple model! Sunset is defined as the time the upper limb of the Sun goes beneath the horizion (assuming the event can be viewed). (The UK and other places may say the center of the Sun, but the US has always referred to the upper limb.)
The solar radius is 16 arc-minutes, the atmosphere refracts sunlight by some 34 arcminutes, possibly more in cold conditions, so the sun won’t set at the North Pole until the center is 50 arcminutes below the horizon. That will be around the 24th.

But it is usually cloudy all the time anyway….
I don’t think direct sunlight is the most important thing to govern amount of ice at the north pole. Wind and currents is more important as far as I understand.

September 22, 2008 7:50 am

Kim and Phil:
Kim, you wrote, “He also ignores the effect of a PDO in a cooling phase…”
Phil, you wrote, “A cool phase PDO leads to increased sea temperatures in the N Pacific so you’d expect it to enhance melting.”
In looking at a graph of the North Pacific SST anomaly and PDO data, there’s no long-term correlation between the two.
http://i38.tinypic.com/6p70nk.jpg
There’s also no correlation between the PDO and the North Pacific Residual (North Pacific SST anomaly minus Global SST anomaly):
http://i27.tinypic.com/2n1sv49.jpg
The only index that the PDO correlates with reasonably well is NINO3.4.
http://i25.tinypic.com/14dj904.jpg
Additional info:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/06/common-misunderstanding-about-pdo.html
Regards.

Editor
September 22, 2008 7:51 am

It seems to me that the notion that the arctic warming of the 30’s was localized, and not like the recent warming, is very easily debunked with a couple of spatial temperature maps from Global Climate at a Glance (GCAG). Here’s a link to the first one, showing temperature trends from 1880 through 1940:
http://i38.tinypic.com/m784lh.jpg
The size of the dots indicate the size of the trend, and there is warming of .2-.4C per decade all across the globe at arctic latitudes. While strongest in Greenland, the warming is still apparent elsewhere, i.e. Alaska and Siberia.
Here is the rest of the story, from 1941 through 2007:
http://i37.tinypic.com/v79hs8.jpg
There is warming in parts of the arctic, but not as much, and there’s been cooling in parts (i.e. Greenland).
While there may well be differences in the regional character of the arctic warming of the early 20th century, and the arctic warming of the late 20th century, I don’t think that Dr. Meier really answered Mr. Goddard’s question about the possibility of a cyclic pattern in both warming periods. He is implying that the recent arctic warming is relentlessly upwards, i.e. not part of natural climate variability (cyclic). Well, then, explain the following, which is the global map since 199 (i.e. 2000 through 2007):
http://i37.tinypic.com/xqjabm.jpg
Opps. I guess Alaska (and portions of Greenland) didn’t get the memo.

Joel Shore
September 22, 2008 7:56 am

Syl says:

I also believe we are currently cooling. The warming is so slight that it seems this cooling trend has overcome it. How long the cooling will last I know not. But, to me, that means that the positive feedbacks put forth in the models are exaggerated.

This logic would make sense if those models with the positive feedbacks showed that such short periods of cooling are very unlikely in a world with steadily increasing CO2. As it turns out, however, they don’t: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say
stan says:

I expect a non-scientist who is unaware of the facts to accept the IPCC as some kind of real authoritative science. But a scientist should be aware of the BS that has been packed into the IPCC. Reference to it, in a discussion with another scientist, should be a huge red flag.

Perhaps you are unaware of the fact that almost every paper that appears in the peer-reviewed journals on the subject of AGW makes reference to the IPCC report in summarizing the state of the science (as do the statements on climate change from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the analogous bodies in all the other G8+5 nations, from the AAAS, from the AGU, from the APS, …)? Perhaps that should cause you to wonder if it is you, rather than Dr. Meier, who is out of step with his fellow scientists.

Leon Brozyna
September 22, 2008 7:59 am

It was very gracious of Dr. Meier to take the time to answer the questions posed above. However, he appears to be ensnared, like many other scientists, in the AGW meme. To dismiss reports of previous melt as being purely regional seems to ignore the fact that the previous records, such as they are, are limited in scope and uniformity {almost rather anecdotal in nature}, unlike today’s program of a broad systemic effort. It will take at least another quarter century of such a systemic program to determine whether this is a more or less continuing trend of greater melt or if such melts are of a regular cyclic pattern. Once again, only time will tell.
And a bit O/T – looks like there’s a clear SC24 event happening on the sun. There was a clear magnetogram signal yesterday that has now become very clearly visible. I expect that this is one that everyone will be able to agree on.

Jonathan
September 22, 2008 7:59 am

Gary (05:49:03) said:

We should thank Dr. Meier for his responses to the questions and realize that what he has written is a professional opinion and not a treatise on the subject of AWG. He could very well be wrong in his acceptance of the work of others (eg, Hanson’s models), but his own work forms the basis of his opinions. Subject what he says to the same scrutiny you would give to any other claim, but unless there is evidence, to impugn his motives is uncalled for.

I completely agree with Gary on this. As a professional scientist I completely recognise the style of answer Dr Meier is giving. On topics where has has significant personal expertise his answers are detailed and thoughtful. On topics he knows little about he just parrots the “consensus” (and make no mistake, in science there is always a “consensus” even where there is no consensus). Fair enough; it is precisely what I would do in his place.
The topic I would want to follow up is that addressed in questions 1, 2 and 6, namely whether previous high temperatures in the arctic were global or local; this is a topic he really should know something about. But you’re not going to get a sensible answer by shouting at him.
Reading the recent scientific literature with an insider’s eye one is struck by the careful nuance that is creeping into recent papers. If you have access to a decent library take a look at “Climate: past ranges and future changes” in Quaternary Science Reviews 24 (2005) 2164–2166. Very interesting stuff, very carefully expressed.

September 22, 2008 8:06 am

Basil: Graphs of the cyclic nature of polar amplification are here:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/07/polar-amplification-and-arctic-warming.html
Most alarmist representations only include the graph of the last 30+ years. Refer to figure 3. And they always forget the impact of the 97/98 El Nino, Figure 7.
Also, Basil, do you have a link to the source for your maps?
Regards

Dill Weed
September 22, 2008 8:16 am

Dr. Meier leaves open the possibility of modification or even refutation for AGW. All scientific theories are open to rejection or modification in the light of new evidence.
Skepticism is essential to the progress of scientific understanding because it demands proof and alternative explanations while allowing the possibility that the skeptic could be wrong. Denial, on the other hand, chooses a position and refuses to be open the possibility of error in one’s understanding. That’s dangerous foolishness.
I’ve been following the AGW story intently on many sites pro and con. I have yet to see a comprehensive argument put forth to undermine the current AGW theory. There’s no shortage people taking shots at the data which is fine even helpful or people simply hacking away with little or no or cherry picked data (not good). I relish a good counterargument, but not arguing for the sake of arguing.
There are some trends that conflict with AGW – recent global cooling, etc. I look forward to seeing these play out. Certainly, there will be modifications to AGW. Maybe, it will be refuted completely. It seems to me that the current data set when taken as a whole favors AGW. But one must allow for further challenges of evidence and argument and then step back and reassess.
I read often a Science Daily News under the Global Warming section where often I find interesting studies and articles on AGW subjects, but sometimes articles appear that really reach to blame things on AGW like some guy carrying a bowl of cereal across his living room accidently slips his big toe under a loop in his carpet, trips falls, spills his cereal, falls over a piece of furniture and exhales a abnormally large amount of CO2 followed by a burst of expletives (more CO2) leading to increased warming in his neighborhood.
All joking aside, if you disagree with AGW, make your case. If your simply denying and sniping, you’re not helping.
Dill Weed

Jeff Alberts
September 22, 2008 8:37 am

The so-called “ozone hole” is a seasonal anomaly that hasn’t changed appreciably since we “discovered” it in the mid 1950s.
http://www.junkscience.com/Ozone/plot9552.gif
And at Mauna Loa the graph is pretty much flat:
http://www.junkscience.com/Ozone/plot35910.gif

Alan Chappell
September 22, 2008 8:42 am

I am very disappointed with the response from Dr. Meier. Taking into account that he cannot be expected to equate all the hypothesis in an abbreviated answer he could of at least acknowledged that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the worlds most active volcanic regions.
Until he stops huffing and puffing about wind and spends time underwater, ( is there CONSTANT underwater temp., current/depth, seabed temp., monitoring system? etc., etc., ) I would think that his answers are as about as affective as Dr. Jim’s models. Arctic sea ice is effected not only from (hot air) the top!

JacobS
September 22, 2008 8:51 am

If Arrhenius, at the beginning of the 20th century, hadn’t published his work on the IR scattering effect of the CO2 molecule,
if Bert Bolin of IPCC fame hadn’t followed suit many years later and argued, in front of politicians and all and sundry kinds of NGO people, that the world was heading towards catastrophic positive temperature anomalies due to a revised version of Arrhenius and, finally,
if Al Gore hadn’t released his charmingly cherrypicked end-of-glaciers and software-based apocalyptic saga,
would then today’s serious climatologists and glaciologists be wringing their hands and getting grayhaired because they wouldn’t be able to come up with a natural Milankovic type or other explanation for the present post-LIA interglacial warming of the world and imminent disappearance of Tuvalu?
Being an expatriated Swede I note with some surprise (if that’s the correct word) that two Swedes (Arrhenius and Bolin) happen to loom large in this end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story; obviously, both were very instrumental in creating the present hype around the +0.7C drama. OK, even Al Gore is supposed to have some Swedish ancestry remotely tucked away in his CV. Or maybe I’ve mixed him up with some other global celeb.
My apologies to all of you, nevertheless. 😉 It won’t happen again.

Bruce Cobb
September 22, 2008 8:51 am

if you disagree with AGW, make your case. If your simply denying and sniping, you’re not helping.
You first, Dilly. Make your case for AGW. IPCC? Consensus? Because Gore said so? What?

AAzure
September 22, 2008 8:52 am

I, too, am humored by the answer that the 1920’s warming was regional – as if they had concurrent measurements across the entire Arctic in 1920. Or am I guessing the satellite data back then demonstrated this regionalism … 🙂
It is truly disappointing that the good ‘scientist’ continues to claim that warming is man-made, but cooling is ‘natural variance’ – without any scientific explanation demonstrating what makes this difference. Reference to computer models as proof is a horrible (but continual) misapplication of hypothesis.
Cudo’s to Mr. Watt for bring these response to our attention – however, the answers are disturbing for a scientist – a real scientist – to read. We are truly moving into the Age of Endarkenment.

September 22, 2008 8:52 am

If I may be so bold as to summarize:
All evidence of past warming or present cooling is due to localized weather.
All evidence of present warming is due to AGW.
The central meme strikes me as profoundly unscientific. Dr. Meier asserts without evidence the unprovable claim that this time is different. Indefensible advocacy at best.

Pierre Gosselin
September 22, 2008 8:52 am

His whole attitude is know-it-all, the-debate’s-over. Note how he always has an obvious explanation for every logic conflict in the AGW hypothesis and how he expects the rest of us to be stupid enough to accept them – as weak as they are.
Many readers here have presented strong counter arguments that demand to be explained.
I urge Anthony to select a few and see if Dr Meier can answer them.

David Jay
September 22, 2008 9:01 am

Joel:
You make a great point!
1. Virtually every paper makes reference to the IPCC.
2. The only work that the IPCC references that points to “unprecedented” current temperatures is Mann.
3. Mann’s algorithim creates hockey sticks from red noise!
Therefore, virtually every paper is based on bad science…

Bill Illis
September 22, 2008 9:05 am

Carsten Arholm – I don’t think direct sunlight is the most important thing to govern amount of ice at the north pole. Wind and currents is more important as far as I understand
It sure does since temperatures reach 1C or 2C at the height of the summer and -40C to -60C in the winter. The average annual temperature at the North Pole is -24.5C so there would no melting at all if not for the 24 hour sunshine in the summer.

paminator
September 22, 2008 9:07 am

Anthony, as usual another great post. I also wish to thank Dr. Meier for providing answers to Anthony’s list of questions. Lots of the usual focus on data and observation windows that support GHG AGW, and hand-waving of historical data and cycles.
I think this statement is wrong- “Because the Arctic is largely ice-covered year-round, it acts as a “refrigerator” for the earth, keeping the Arctic and the rest of the earth cooler than it would be without ice.”
Averaged over the year, an ice-free Arctic will lose much more energy to space than an ice-covered Arctic. Heat transported to the Arctic through ocean currents will be lost at a higher rate to space if the Arctic could be ice-free all year round. The average annual solar insolation in the Arctic region is less than 100 W/m^2. Radiative losses alone from open ocean at 32 F is more than twice this value, and evaporative losses would remove additional heat from the ocean surface to the tropopause where it can radiate to space. In my opinion, the whole notion of the Arctic acting like a giant refrigerator for the globe is ok, but the role of sea ice has been greatly exaggerated, and perhaps reversed.
I’ll definitely watch the reality show in Greenland, especially if the participants are picked from Berkeley or NYC 🙂

AAzure
September 22, 2008 9:08 am

Joel,
Your presentation of the ‘peer review’ process of IPCC is flawed.
If you would review Dr. Wegman (chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics and is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a Senior Member of the IEEE) report on this subject.
He essentially demonstrates this ‘peer review’ is merely an exaggerated boy’s club – where the reviewers are also co-authors on other, interrelated, papers creating quite an ‘incestuous’ mix of peer reviewing. The extent that any peer review can be effective in this environment is very limited.
Further, one must remember that only 52 scientists signed the IPPC Summary to Policymakers – and it is a myth that 2500 “scientists” of the IPCC agree with such conclusions. One only needs to read, with great irony to Kyoto, that Dr. Kiminori Itohas, a top UN IPCC Japanese scientist, calls warming fears the “worst scientific scandal in the history.”
It has come to a point that referencing the IPCC as an authority only generates laughter.

Jeff B.
September 22, 2008 9:11 am

Dr. Meier repeatedly argues that localities of cooling in the Arctic have no bearing on the overall Arctic. So by the same reasoning, how could warming in the Arctic have any bearing on the overall cooling of the earth as shown in many other data sets and regions?
I don’t believe for a second that the Arctic is more important with respect to the Earth’s climate than the Antarctic or say, the Pacific Ocean or the Sun.

Steven Goddard
September 22, 2008 9:14 am

Dr. Meier has again graciously offered to answer a select set of questions from the group. I will make a list from the responses here – and of course concise, polite questions will be favoured.
Anthony, If you have any favourites please send me an E-Mail.

Editor
September 22, 2008 9:23 am

Bob,
You can build your own versions of those spatial temperature maps here:
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/gcag/gcag1b.jsp
I select “January” and “December” (to get whole years, not just individual months), and then the dates I want.
Basil

Bob B
September 22, 2008 9:39 am

Steven, please ask him why the recent divergence between satellite and surface temps? UAH shows a cold August for example.
REPLY: Bob, that’s not his area of expertise. – Anthony

darwin
September 22, 2008 9:42 am

Hmmmm … when anyone starts referencing Hansen I immediately suspect a loss of objectivity.

Ed Scott
September 22, 2008 9:47 am

Parroting the words of the esteemed climatologist, Al Gore.
NSIDC’s Dr. Walt Meier along with Dr. Ted Scambos (his surname a play on words? Scam-bos?) seem to be in Al Gore’s back-pocket, according to an article,
Does Al Gore get the science right in the movie An Inconvenient Truth? 07 July 2006,
on the NSIDC’s website: http://nsidc.org/news/press/20060706_goremoviefaq.html.
Dr. Scambos: I think An Inconvenient Truth does an excellent job of outlining the science behind global warming and the challenges society faces in the coming century because of it.
Dr. Meier: I agree. I think Gore has the basic message right. But we thought we could clarify a few things about the information concerning snow, ice, and the poles.
Dr. Meier: It’s also important to note that even though the full impact of that gradual melting won’t be for 500 years or so, we are reaching a point where we can’t turn back. The system is slow to change, but the change is somewhat unstoppable once it gets going. Unless we quickly reduce the present rate of carbon dioxide increase and subsequent temperature rise, we will be committing ourselves and our planet to that melting, and to the rise in sea level that will follow.
Dr. Scambos: Records taken from ice cores do show the close relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature over the past 650,000 years. Gore basically says that the full relationship is very complicated, but that the main point is carbon dioxide and temperature have always moved together. This implies that, in the past, when carbon dioxide has increased it has led directly to a warmer Earth.

Manfred
September 22, 2008 9:49 am

@Bob Tisdale:
http://i37.tinypic.com/sv00nm.jpg
in contrast to mr. Meier’s opinion, the temperature setup just before 1940 appears to be very similar to the recent highs with all arctic regions in positive territory.
this is quite logical:
after a long positive enso combined with long high solar activity, temperatures should be expected to arrive at these 1930’s maxima and even above, as 70 years ago, we were still emerging from the little ice age.
you may add some additional contribution from co2, land use, black dirt etc.
but this temeprature graph then speaks completely against an additional 800 pound gorilla like co2 triggered feedbacks.

Jeff
September 22, 2008 9:54 am

JP:
“The explaination for the the divergence of surface temps between the NH and SH (the Ozone factor) is pure conjecture – it is model based.”
This is not correct. The principle reason that the stratosphere exists is because ozone is warmed by the absorption of solar radiation. Some of that heat is radiated downward. The decreased absorption because of the ozone hole reduces the downwelling longwave radiation, which will obviously contribute to cooling in the troposphere.
This cooling increases the temperature gradient between Antarctica and the surrounding oceans, which in turn leads to stronger winds and ocean currents.

Bill Junga
September 22, 2008 10:38 am

Okay, let me see.
An upward trend
From my early academic career of decomposing times series into trends, seasonal, cyclical and irregular components, a trend was defined as a long duration harmonic arc where the reversal has not yet been exhibited.
So who says this socalled trend is not part of a long duration cycle.
Is it not possible?
By the way, where’s the proof that manmade emissions of CO2 are causing the Arctic to melt.
Dang,that CO2 must be some powerful stuff to cause all that warming and melting!

Scott Covert
September 22, 2008 10:38 am

I can see how swirling winds and sea currents might isolate Antarctica from warm water and air, aresols, soot etc… but how does it stop AGW caused by CO2?
Shouldn’t the greenhouse effect work there also? If CO2 warms everything else….

John B
September 22, 2008 10:42 am

Hansen’s model of 1980 is no longer relevant as climate models have improved considerably in the past 28 years.
This is one area that is clearly misrepresented by scientists. A model is only as good its ability to predict the future. Any model created today will fit to data from 1980 to 2008 better than a model created in 1980 because the model has been created to fit that data. That is no proof of being a better model, nor is it proof of the models predictive ability.
Most theories develop slowly and all scientific theories are subject to rejection or modification in light of new evidence, including the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Since the first thoughts of a possible human influence on climate over a hundred years ago, more and more evidence has accumulated and the idea gradually gained credibility. So much evidence has now been gathered from multiple disciplines that there is a clear consensus among scientists that humans are significantly altering the climate. That consensus is based on hard evidence.
You would think that theories develop slowly, and yet Hansen and the consensus of 1970 was global cooling. It took nearly no time to adjust from a catastrophic global cooling model to a catastrophic global warming model.

AnonyMoose
September 22, 2008 10:43 am

Importantly, Dr. Meier laid to rest one of the oft repeated mechanisms of arctic melt – soot.

But he dismissed soot after stating that they don’t have someone studying soot. He starts by appearing to say that they don’t really know because they don’t have someone studying it, and then concludes by saying what soot has been doing. Do they not study it because they already know? Or is he saying stuff that they don’t know?
I also agree that question 7’s statement that Antarctic ocean currents are caused by the ozone hole is interesting. I would like to subscribe to his newsletter.
The believability of his explanations seem to be related to their distance from the North Pole.

Gerald Machnee
September 22, 2008 10:51 am

It appears that if they do not like it – then it is regional. If they like it – it is global.

Slamdunk
September 22, 2008 10:58 am

I would like to ask Dr. Meier this: Are you aware of any evidence that shows the earth, at a certain point in time, began an unstoppable trend of warming?

September 22, 2008 10:59 am

“Because the Arctic is largely ice-covered year-round, it acts as a “refrigerator” for the earth, keeping the Arctic and the rest of the earth cooler than it would be without ice.”
Duh. A refridgerator for the earth? As if the arctic cools the planet? Where’s the university that teaches this stuff? The ice forms at the poles from a lack of heat from the sun, not because there’s a huge air conditioner under the ice generating ice cubes to cool the rest of the planet. To paraphrase — “It’s the SUN (or lack thereof), stupid”. As for the rest of the interview, file it under ‘Speculation’, along with 99% of AGW theory being published. Sheesh, these government scientists must think we are all complete morons. Apparently, once you get on the government payroll, truth and ethics go out the window, and you say whatever it takes to keep the grants rolling in.

Richard S Courtney
September 22, 2008 11:07 am

Dr Meir deserves congratulation and thanks for his openness and courtesy in responding to questions. He deserves especial gratitude for his agreement to reply to subsequent questions from Steven Goddard.
I write to request that Dr Meir be presented with a follow-up question in response to his answer to a previous question (i.e. Question 2 above).
Dr Meir was asked:
“The US Weather Bureau wrote a 1922 article describing drastic Arctic warming and ice loss. In that article, the author wrote that waters around Spitzbergen warmed 12C over just a few years and that ships were able to sail in open waters north of 81N. This agrees with the GISS record, which would seem to imply that the Arctic can and does experience significant warming unrelated to CO2. Do you believe that what we are seeing now is different from that event, and why?”
and he replied:
“Yes. The current warming is different from the conditions described in the article. The Weather Bureau article is specifically discussing the North Atlantic region around Spitsbergen, not the Arctic as a whole. The Arctic has historically shown regional variations in climate, with one region warmer than normal while another region was cooler, and then after a while flipping to the opposite conditions. As discussed above, the current warming is different in nature; it is pan-Arctic and is part of widespread warming over most of the earth.”
Dr Meir’s answer pertains directly to the fact that the cited article “is specifically discussing the North Atlantic region around Spitsbergen, not the Arctic as a whole”. From that he asserts that the Arctic at that time – and all other previous times – had “one region warmer than normal while another region was cooler”.
However, Dr Meir cites no evidence for his assertion and published papers dispute it. For example, Polyakov et al. (2004) analysed thousands of published measurements taken from around the Arctic circle and they concluded that the current warming is part of a 50-80 years cycle (mean of 65 years).
Ref:
Polyakov, I. V. et al. ‘Variability of the Intermediate Atlantic Water of the Arctic Ocean over the Last 100 Years’, Journal of Climate, vol. 17, no. 23, (2004)
In the context of this question, the historical measurements have to be trusted because if they cannot be trusted then that would demonstrate Dr Meir’s assertion cannot be justified.
But, if the analysis of Polyakov et al. is correct, then
(a) the present Arctic warming is similar to Arctic warming that has repeatedly happened previously, and
(b) the present warming and that of 1921 could both be part of the same cyclical phenomenon.
So, does Dr Meir dispute the measurements analysed by Polyakov et al., or does he dispute the analyses conducted by Polyakov et al. and others? And what evidence does he use to make such a dispute?
Richard S Courtney

Dill Weed
September 22, 2008 11:17 am

Bruce Cobb (08:51:53),
I prefer Dill or Dill Weed, Bruce.
You asked me to make my case. Others, more qualified than myself, already have. Additionally, the data and theories put forward have been challenged and continue to be open to challenge as do their interpretations.
I’ve read all that Hansen has to say at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/ and everything under files/links from 2004 forward.
I’ve also read everything at Real Climate and much from other sites Climate Debate Daily, the Heritage Foundation, etc.
I’ve found the most balanced and reasonable discussion at Real Climate. There you can see opposing points of view considered openly and civilly.
I leave defending the science to climate scientists. I have a BS in Psychology with 3.86 average, but that does not mean I can argue science outside my education. To do so would be foolish and over reaching.
It’s the scientific debate I’ve been following along with research articles. Frankly, Bruce, it would be a relief to find a comprehensive and cohesive argument that put the lie to AGW one that offered a solid explanation for the worldwide changes we are seeing. Perhaps you are aware of such a site. I haven’t found it yet, though I’ve found many that oppose on a several points and many more that mix politics in too. It’s the accumulating data, the science discussed in the above sites and others that is concerning. My mind is open to being convinced otherwise as I think all of ours should be.
Dill Weed

September 22, 2008 11:23 am

John B, you stated:

This is one area that is clearly misrepresented by scientists. A model is only as good its ability to predict the future. Any model created today will fit to data from 1980 to 2008 better than a model created in 1980 because the model has been created to fit that data. That is no proof of being a better model, nor is it proof of the models predictive ability.

I’m sorry, but this simply isn’t correct. Models aren’t created on the premise that if they can “fit to data from 1980 to 2008,” they might have “predictive ability.” A climate model is not some statistical program which generates trends from previous data.
A climate model is a sophisticated array of the physics equations and dynamics which govern our atmosphere and the climate system in general. These equations are typically non-linear, high order differential equations with many variables. A climate model divides the atmosphere, land, oceans, and whatever other features which are coupled to it into a finite grid, and integrates these equations with respect to time and the environment. The result of this process is not a simulation of weather or an estimate at what the temperature will be x days down the road; rather, the result of this process is a simulation of how radiative forcing based on many, many factors changes over time. Once the model finishes producing the data representing how radiative forcing has changed over time, we can then go back and analyze that data to see how the climate system in terms of temperature and other factors will change based on empirical relationships between atmospheric factors and changes in temperature.
The place where “data fitting,” if you can call it that, comes in to play is when one considers the parameterizations used to help the model compensate for its intrinsic lack of precision due to missing or incomplete physics or processes, or more importantly, the lack of precision due to sub-grid-scale processes like localized weather phenomena. The result of parameterizing the functions is not really to train it to produce data from the 1980-2008 period, but to calibrate it the current condition of the climate.
A final note: Climate models are not used to ‘predict the future.’ a Climate model is not numerical weather prediction. A climate model is, as I’ve already stated, merely an ensemble of equations which are computed in order to analyze the properties of the climate system and how they shift over time as the composition of the system changes. One doesn’t run a climate model and a thousand hours of computation time later come back and see a result on their screen that says “On September 22, 2108, the average global temperature will be xx.xx degrees F.”

Slamdunk
September 22, 2008 11:25 am

Dill Weed said:
I’ve been following the AGW story intently on many sites pro and con. I have yet to see a comprehensive argument put forth to undermine the current AGW theory.
You haven’t seen any argument that undermines AGW and you certainly have much company. If the science is so settled and AGW is a proven fact, as claimed by Al Gore, Hansen et al, why would IPCC Co-Lead Author Johathan Overpeck tell Prof. David Deming that they had to “get rid of” the MWP?

John Philips
September 22, 2008 11:30 am

Steve Goddard
(?) I have absolutely no affiliation with the UK Met Office. Even so I am aware that the UAH and GISS temperature records have different baselines and so cannot be directly compared without adjustments, a blunder made by both Anthony Watts and, er Steve Goddard.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/06/05/goddard_nasa_thermometer/comments/
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/whats-up-with-that/

September 22, 2008 11:34 am

@Dill,
It is not necessary to provide an alternate explanation for climate change in order to successfully falsify AGW. AGWer’s keep proposing mechanisms that support the claim of anthropogenic influence and they keep getting knocked down. Until one withstands the scrutiny of skeptical scientists, AGW is merely a popular theory.
Once the fiction of anthropogenic influence is discarded, more of the funding will shift to an earnest effort to find a better theory.

September 22, 2008 11:35 am

If I might say so, I think many commenters have been inexcusably rude about Dr Meier. He was under no obligation to take part in this exercise and nothing in any of his answers suggests that he does not believe what he has said.
It would be unfortunate if others involved in agencies commented on here refused to give of their time for fear that they would be insulted and abused.
http://thefatbigot.blogspot.com/2008/07/lets-be-nice-about-global-warming.html

Jeff
September 22, 2008 11:48 am

I’m not sure that Dr. Polyakov would agree with Richard S. Courtney’s interpretation of his work. He was quoted in The Age as saying “There have been numerous models run that have looked at (the two forces) and basically they can’t reproduce the ice loss we’ve had with natural variability. You have to add a carbon dioxide warming component to it.”

Robert in Calgary
September 22, 2008 11:59 am

Dill Weed states….
“I’ve found the most balanced and reasonable discussion at Real Climate. There you can see opposing points of view considered openly and civilly.”
Possibly….the most outlandish statement I have read on this site!

Joel Shore
September 22, 2008 12:09 pm

John B says:

You would think that theories develop slowly, and yet Hansen and the consensus of 1970 was global cooling. It took nearly no time to adjust from a catastrophic global cooling model to a catastrophic global warming model.

So, the global cooling myth rears its head once again. See here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/the-global-cooling-mole/langswitch_lang/en
RJ Hendrickson says:

Duh. A refridgerator for the earth? As if the arctic cools the planet? Where’s the university that teaches this stuff? The ice forms at the poles from a lack of heat from the sun, not because there’s a huge air conditioner under the ice generating ice cubes to cool the rest of the planet. To paraphrase — “It’s the SUN (or lack thereof), stupid”.

Indeed…It is the sun’s energy that is important. And, in this case, what Dr. Meier is referring to is the fact that the albedo (reflectance) of ice is higher than water so that when the arctic is ice-covered, more sunlight gets reflected and less is absorbed. When the arctic loses its ice cover, more of the sunlight now gets absorbed. Hence, one gets a positive feedback whereby the warming of the arctic leads to ice melting which lowers the albedo of the earth and thereby leads to further warming of the arctic (and global climate system as a whole).
This is the sense in which an ice-covered arctic acts as a refrigerator for the planet.

Joel Shore
September 22, 2008 12:21 pm

David Jay says:

You make a great point!
1. Virtually every paper makes reference to the IPCC.
2. The only work that the IPCC references that points to “unprecedented” current temperatures is Mann.
3. Mann’s algorithim creates hockey sticks from red noise!
Therefore, virtually every paper is based on bad science…

In regards to point 2, the evidence for AGW is based on a lot more than just the work of Michael Mann. In fact, the evidence for the current temperatures being unprecedented in the last ~1200 years is based on much more than just the work of Michael Mann…and this particular piece of evidence is just one of the independent lines of evidence supporting AGW (and, in fact, the most circumstantial at that).
In regards to point 3, the NAS report on temperature reconstructions concluded that “As part of their statistical methods, Mann et al. used a type of principal component analysis that tends to bias the shape of the reconstructions. A description of this effect is given in Chapter 9. In practice, this method, though not recommended, does not appear to unduly influence reconstructions of hemispheric mean temperature; reconstructions performed without using principal component analysis are qualitatively similar to the original curves presented by Mann et al. (Crowley and Lowery 2000, Huybers 2005, D’Arrigo et al. 2006, Hegerl et al. 2006, Wahl and Ammann in press).” ( http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=113 ). This is not to say that the Mann et al. results are bullet-proof; there are issues about proxy quality and robustness of the results to the inclusion of exclusion of certain proxies. However, this particular claim that you made about the technique that Mann et al. used is essentially a “red herring”. And, Mann et al. have made considerable advances in regards to the more legitimate issues of proxy quality and robustness of results in their most recent paper.

September 22, 2008 12:23 pm

Dee Norris said:

It is not necessary to provide an alternate explanation for climate change in order to successfully falsify AGW. AGWer’s keep proposing mechanisms that support the claim of anthropogenic influence and they keep getting knocked down.

You’re right that it’s not necessary to provide an alternative explanation for climate change. The problem is, you’re not meeting the second hand of your argument. No matter how many times skeptics scream, thrash, and rant, AGW has not been falsified. No matter how many times skeptics claim that the globe is cooling, or that it’s all water vapor, or that it’s all the sun, or that there are natural cycles, they aren’t falsifying global warming. As a matter of fact, skeptics are engaging in precisely the opposite behavior as to what you’re suggesting. They’re not “falsifying AGW;” rather, they’re providing alternative explanations to explain the observed warming.
Falsifying AGW is simple, both empirically and analytically. For the latter, one merely has to demonstrate either of two things: that CO2 does not indeed alter the thermal budget of the climate system such that increasing its concentration results in the trapping of more heat within that system, or that the negative feedbacks associated with CO2-induced warming overwhelm the positive ones and result in a neutral or negative change to the state of the climate’s average temperature. No one has done this. No one has demonstrated that the simple relationship, i.e. increasing CO2/GHG concentrations results in a warmer atmosphere does not hold. Instead, that property is almost axiomatic, and is used to describe extra-terrestrial climates (Sagan’s hypothesis for the Venusian climate comes to mind) as well as a myriad of phenomena in our own atmosphere.
Alternatively, one could demonstrate empirically by experiment that raising the CO2 concentration of an equilibrated atmosphere has no net effect, although this would obviously be a difficult experiment to perform.
AGW has not been falsified; alternative theories to it have been, based on analysis and empirical evidence.

September 22, 2008 12:24 pm

Melting ice raising water levels…what a crock. Here’s an experiment that anyone can perform. It costs nothing, and there is 0% chance of anyone getting hurt, including Kindergarten students. Fill a bowl with water and mark the water level. Now, drop two ice cubs in the water. The water will represent the oceans, the two ice cubs will represent the polar ice caps. Now, measure the water level with the ice cubes in it.
Now wait.
Wait a little longer.
Okay, you might have to wait a little longer…
Now that the ice has melted, mark where the water level is.
The water level will be somewhere between the original water level, and the level that it was elevated to once the ice cubes were inserted. Anybody who knows anything about thermal properties will understand that frozen water (i.e., ice and snow) takes up a LOT more space than liquid water, because water is one of the few compounds that expands when it freezes and contracts when its heated. If the polar ice (North and/or South) melt, the rise in the worlds oceans will be so extremely minimal that it would hardly be noticed.

September 22, 2008 12:24 pm

PS: Ice cubs = ice cubs…my fingers were flying faster than my eyes. Thanks!

September 22, 2008 12:25 pm

It still won’t allow me to spell cubes!!! Dammit!

September 22, 2008 12:31 pm

@counters:
That is the exciting part of all this. You believe it has not been falsified and I believe otherwise. Eventually the ground truth will prove one of us wrong. I have no stake in it coming out one way or the other and am quite happy to change my position as things develop over the next few years. For me, it is not about being right at all, it is about the hunt for what is right.
Wonderfully stimulating for the ol’grey matter in the meantime, eh?

September 22, 2008 12:35 pm

dill weed:

“All joking aside, if you disagree with AGW, make your case. If your simply denying and sniping, you’re not helping.”

You have it completely backwards, as do all the purveyors of catastrophic AGW. In fact, it is you who are doing the denying and sniping.
It is the duty of those putting forth a hypothesis, such as catastrophic AGW, to prove their case. Yet you deliberately violate the Scientific Method by insisting that it is the skeptical scientists who must prove that the AGW/CO2/planetary disaster hypothesis is wrong [and note that planetary catastrophe is exactly what the Gore/UN/IPCC hypothesis is predicting. If they were only hypothesizing a 0.1 or 0.2 degree change, or a 1 – 2 mm sea level change per decade, none of this would be an issue. But they are loudly hypothesizing climate catastrophe, so they have the burden of proving it].
Rather than insist that skeptics prove that the current climate cycle is well within natural historical parameters, those hypothesizing AGW/CO2/climate catastrophe must prove their case for catastrophe. This is especially difficult, since the Earth has been steadily cooling, not warming, as they have so confidently predicted based on nothing more than their always-inaccurate computer models.
To date, the proponents of AGW/CO2/planetary catastrophe have failed miserably in proving their hypothesis, which has been repeatedly falsified.
Maybe you can do better. I await your proof.

Jeff
September 22, 2008 12:44 pm

AnonyMoose
“But he dismissed soot after stating that they don’t have someone studying soot. He starts by appearing to say that they don’t really know because they don’t have someone studying it, and then concludes by saying what soot has been doing. Do they not study it because they already know? Or is he saying stuff that they don’t know?”
Did it occur to you that maybe he’s aware of published studies on soot published by people who don’t work at NSIDC?

gibsho
September 22, 2008 12:46 pm

So much for respectful discourse

September 22, 2008 12:46 pm

Here’s a question I suspect he will not answer:
All scientific inquiries worth studying exhibit “troublesome data.” Which contrary data do you consider troublesome?

September 22, 2008 12:55 pm

counters claims that AGW has not been falsified. But it has been falsified, numerous times [I am not referring to the accepted fact that CO2 causes a slight greenhouse effect. But the effect is very small, and occurs mostly with the first ~20 ppmv of atmospheric CO2. Further CO2 increases have a logarithmically smaller and smaller effect].
As Einstein said, ”To defeat relativity one did not need the word of 100 scientists, just one fact.”
Unless counters is able to credibly refute every peer-reviewed falsification of AGW listed below — every fact — then catastrophic AGW has been repeatedly falsified.
Peer-Reviewed papers discrediting AGW:
Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
(Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Volume 12, Number 3, 2007)
– Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, Willie Soon
Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
(Climate Research, Vol. 13, Pg. 149–164, October 26 1999)
– Arthur B. Robinson, Zachary W. Robinson, Willie Soon, Sallie L. Baliunas
Are observed changes in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere really dangerous?
(Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology,v. 50, no. 2, p. 297-327, June 2002)
– C. R. de Freitas
Can increasing carbon dioxide cause climate change?
(Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 94, pp. 8335-8342, August 1997)
– Richard S. Lindzen
Can we believe in high climate sensitivity?
(arXiv:physics/0612094v1, Dec 11 2006)
– J. D. Annan, J. C. Hargreaves
Climate change: Conflict of observational science, theory, and politics
(AAPG Bulletin, Vol. 88, no9, pp. 1211-1220, 2004)
– Lee C. Gerhard
– Climate change: Conflict of observational science, theory, and politics: Reply
(AAPG Bulletin, v. 90, no. 3, p. 409-412, March 2006)
– Lee C. Gerhard
Climate change in the Arctic and its empirical diagnostics
(Energy & Environment, Volume 10, Number 5, pp. 469-482, September 1999)
– V.V. Adamenko, K.Y. Kondratyev, C.A. Varotsos
Climate Change Re-examined
(Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 723–749, 2007)
– Joel M. Kauffman
CO2-induced global warming: a skeptic’s view of potential climate change
(Climate Research, Vol. 10: 69–82, 199
– Sherwood B. Idso
Crystal balls, virtual realities and ’storylines’
(Energy & Environment, Volume 12, Number 4, pp. 343-349, July 2001)
– R.S. Courtney
Dangerous global warming remains unproven
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Number 1, pp. 167-169, January 2007)
– R.M. Carter
Does CO2 really drive global warming?
(Energy & Environment, Volume 12, Number 4, pp. 351-355, July 2001)
– R.H. Essenhigh
Does human activity widen the tropics?
(arXiv:0803.1959v1, Mar 13 200
– Katya Georgieva, Boian Kirov
Earth’s rising atmospheric CO2 concentration: Impacts on the biosphere
(Energy & Environment, Volume 12, Number 4, pp. 287-310, July 2001)
– C.D. Idso
Evidence for “publication Bias” Concerning Global Warming in Science and Nature
(Energy & Environment, Volume 19, Number 2, pp. 287-301, March 200
– Patrick J. Michaels
Global Warming
(Progress in Physical Geography, 27, 448-455, 2003)
– W. Soon, S. L. Baliunas
Global Warming: The Social Construction of A Quasi-Reality?
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Number 6, pp. 805-813, November 2007)
– Dennis Ambler
Global warming and the mining of oceanic methane hydrate
(Topics in Catalysis, Volume 32, Numbers 3-4, pp. 95-99, March 2005)
– Chung-Chieng Lai, David Dietrich, Malcolm Bowman
Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists Versus Scientific Forecasts
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Numbers 7-8, pp. 997-1021, December 2007)
– Keston C. Green, J. Scott Armstrong
Global Warming: Myth or Reality? The Actual Evolution of the Weather Dynamics
(Energy & Environment, Volume 14, Numbers 2-3, pp. 297-322, May 2003)
– M. Leroux
Global Warming: the Sacrificial Temptation
(arXiv:0803.1239v1, Mar 10 200
– Serge Galam
Global warming: What does the data tell us?
(arXiv:physics/0210095v1, Oct 23 2002)
– E. X. Alban, B. Hoeneisen
Human Contribution to Climate Change Remains Questionable
(Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, Volume 80, Issue 16, p. 183-183, April 20, 1999)
– S. Fred Singer
Industrial CO2 emissions as a proxy for anthropogenic influence on lower tropospheric temperature trends
(Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 31, L05204, 2004)
– A. T. J. de Laat, A. N. Maurellis
Implications of the Secondary Role of Carbon Dioxide and Methane Forcing in Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future
(Physical Geography, Volume 28, Number 2, pp. 97-125(29), March 2007)
– Soon, Willie
Is a Richer-but-warmer World Better than Poorer-but-cooler Worlds?
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Numbers 7-8, pp. 1023-1048, December 2007)
– Indur M. Goklany
Methodology and Results of Calculating Central California Surface Temperature Trends: Evidence of Human-Induced Climate Change?
(Journal of Climate, Volume: 19 Issue: 4, February 2006)
– Christy, J.R., W.B. Norris, K. Redmond, K. Gallo
Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties
(Climate Research, Vol. 18: 259–275, 2001)
– Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Sherwood B. Idso, Kirill Ya. Kondratyev, Eric S. Posmentier
– Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties. Reply to Risbey (2002)
(Climate Research, Vol. 22: 187–188, 2002)
– Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Sherwood B. Idso, Kirill Ya. Kondratyev, Eric S. Posmentier
– Modeling climatic effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions: unknowns and uncertainties. Reply to Karoly et al.
(Climate Research, Vol. 24: 93–94, 2003)
– Willie Soon, Sallie Baliunas, Sherwood B. Idso, Kirill Ya. Kondratyev, Eric S. Posmentier
On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved?
(Environmental Geology, Volume 50, Number 6, August 2006)
– L. F. Khilyuk and G. V. Chilingar
On a possibility of estimating the feedback sign of the Earth climate system
(Proceedings of the Estonian Academy of Sciences: Engineering. Vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 260-268. Sept. 2007)
– Olavi Kamer
Phanerozoic Climatic Zones and Paleogeography with a Consideration of Atmospheric CO2 Levels
(Paleontological Journal, 2: 3-11, 2003)
– A. J. Boucot, Chen Xu, C. R. Scotese
Quantifying the influence of anthropogenic surface processes and inhomogeneities on gridded global climate data
(Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 112, D24S09, 2007)
– Ross R. McKitrick, Patrick J. Michaels
Quantitative implications of the secondary role of carbon dioxide climate forcing in the past glacial-interglacial cycles for the likely future climatic impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcings
(arXiv:0707.1276, July 2007)
– Soon, Willie
Scientific Consensus on Climate Change?
(Energy & Environment, Volume 19, Number 2, pp. 281-286, March 200
– Klaus-Martin Schulte
Some Coolness Concerning Global Warming
(Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp. 288–299, March 1990)
– Richard S. Lindzen
Some examples of negative feedback in the Earth climate system
(Central European Journal of Physics, Volume 3, Number 2, June 2005)
– Olavi Kärner
Statistical analysis does not support a human influence on climate
(Energy & Environment, Volume 13, Number 3, pp. 329-331, July 2002)
– S. Fred Singer
Taking GreenHouse Warming Seriously
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Numbers 7-8, pp. 937-950, December 2007)
– Richard S. Lindzen
Temperature trends in the lower atmosphere
(Energy & Environment, Volume 17, Number 5, pp. 707-714, September 2006)
– Vincent Gray
Temporal Variability in Local Air Temperature Series Shows Negative Feedback
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Numbers 7-8, pp. 1059-1072, December 2007)
– Olavi Kärner
The Carbon dioxide thermometer and the cause of global warming
(Energy & Environment, Volume 10, Number 1, pp. 1-18, January 1999)
– N. Calder
The Cause of Global Warming
(Energy & Environment, Volume 11, Number 6, pp. 613-629, November 1, 2000)
– Vincent Gray
The Fraud Allegation Against Some Climatic Research of Wei-Chyung Wang
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Numbers 7-8, pp. 985-995, December 2007)
– Douglas J. Keenan
The continuing search for an anthropogenic climate change signal: Limitations of correlation-based approaches
(Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 24, No. 18, Pages 2319–2322, 1997)
– David R. Legates, Robert E. Davis
The “Greenhouse Effect” as a Function of Atmospheric Mass
(Energy & Environment, Volume 14, Numbers 2-3, pp. 351-356, 1 May 2003)
– H. Jelbring
The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle
(Energy & Environment, Volume 16, Number 2, pp. 217-238, March 2005)
– A. Rörsch, R. Courtney, D. Thoenes
The IPCC future projections: are they plausible?
(Climate Research, Vol. 10: 155–162, August 199
– Vincent Gray
The IPCC: Structure, Processes and Politics Climate Change – the Failure of Science
(Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Numbers 7-8, pp. 1073-1078, December 2007)
– William J.R. Alexander
The UN IPCC’s Artful Bias: Summary of Findings: Glaring Omissions, False Confidence and Misleading Statistics in the Summary for Policymakers
(Energy & Environment, Volume 13, Number 3, pp. 311-328, July 2002)
– Wojick D. E.
“The Wernerian syndrome”; aspects of global climate change; an analysis of assumptions, data, and conclusions
(Environmental Geosciences, v. 3, no. 4, p. 204-210, December 1996)
– Lee C. Gerhard
Uncertainties in assessing global warming during the 20th century: disagreement between key data sources
(Energy & Environment, Volume 17, Number 5, pp. 685-706, September 2006)
– Maxim Ogurtsov, Markus Lindholm

September 22, 2008 12:58 pm

@gibsho:
This is respectful.
I guess you have never been to a heated scientific conference. About 10 years ago, I was at a Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference at NASA-Clear Lake where it almost came to physical blows between a pair of foremost researchers who supported competing theories of lunar origins.
Later they were both seen at the hotel bar toasting each other (and everyone else) with some potent liquors.
Science needs fierce debate – otherwise it stagnates.

Richard S Courtney
September 22, 2008 1:01 pm

I thank “Jeff” for bringing the report of Polyakov’s asserted statement to my attention when he says (above):
“I’m not sure that Dr. Polyakov would agree with Richard S. Courtney’s interpretation of his work. He was quoted in The Age as saying “There have been numerous models run that have looked at (the two forces) and basically they can’t reproduce the ice loss we’ve had with natural variability. You have to add a carbon dioxide warming component to it.””
I was not aware of this report in The Age and I do not know of its accuracy. But my report of the paper by Polyakov et al. is correct.
Richard

kim
September 22, 2008 1:01 pm

Michael, Ice Cubs are the Baby Ice yearning to be freeze.
==================================

Richard S Courtney
September 22, 2008 1:08 pm

Counters:
You assert:
“Falsifying AGW is simple, both empirically and analytically. For the latter, one merely has to demonstrate either of two things: that CO2 does not indeed alter the thermal budget of the climate system such that increasing its concentration results in the trapping of more heat within that system, or that the negative feedbacks associated with CO2-induced warming overwhelm the positive ones and result in a neutral or negative change to the state of the climate’s average temperature. No one has done this. No one has demonstrated that the simple relationship, i.e. increasing CO2/GHG concentrations results in a warmer atmosphere does not hold. Instead, that property is almost axiomatic, and is used to describe extra-terrestrial climates (Sagan’s hypothesis for the Venusian climate comes to mind) as well as a myriad of phenomena in our own atmosphere.”
With respect, as others have pointed out, you are factually incorrect. But, to avoid your need to review the hundreds of relevant published papers (some of which others have cited above), I point you to my less-than-a-page refutation at
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/AGW_hypothesis_disproved.pdf
As you say, “Falsifying AGW is simple”. Indeed, it is very simple to do.
Richard

Phil.
September 22, 2008 1:14 pm

Bob Tisdale (07:50:47) :
Kim and Phil:
Kim, you wrote, “He also ignores the effect of a PDO in a cooling phase…”
Phil, you wrote, “A cool phase PDO leads to increased sea temperatures in the N Pacific so you’d expect it to enhance melting.”
In looking at a graph of the North Pacific SST anomaly and PDO data, there’s no long-term correlation between the two.

Not if you’re trying to correlate with the Pacific, 0º-65ºN, however if you look at the Pacific from about 30ºN you’ll see a difference, see the illustration I posted: http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/ earlier. It’s not an accident they named it ‘cool’ phase and ‘warm’ phase, there is a temperature correlation there, just not where you’re looking.
“The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a climate index based upon patterns of variation in sea surface temperature of the North Pacific from 1900 to the present (Mantua et al. 1997). While derived from sea surface temperature data, the PDO index is well correlated with many records of North Pacific and Pacific Northwest climate and ecology, including sea level pressure, winter land–surface temperature and precipitation, and stream flow. The index is also correlated with salmon landings from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California.”
After all the PDO was first spotted in fisheries statistics.
http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fed/oeip/ca-pdo.cfm
And despite what kim asserts ‘global’ temperature isn’t as important as the ‘local’ temperature when it comes to melting ice

Jeff
September 22, 2008 1:24 pm

John Philips:
“I have absolutely no affiliation with the UK Met Office. Even so I am aware that the UAH and GISS temperature records have different baselines and so cannot be directly compared without adjustments, a blunder made by both Anthony Watts and, er Steve Goddard.”
This being the same Steven Goddard who wrote that hilarious article attempting to prove that the arctic sea ice extent was greater relative to 2007 than NSIDC was reporting, by counting pixels on JPEGs of Google Earth images on the Cryosphere Today website. That farce ended when the creator the the Cryosphere Today website posted that his results matched NSIDC’s.

Mike86
September 22, 2008 1:29 pm

Kim – “…yearning to be freeze” – gotta love it.
Page 2 of this article was referenced here in a different thread:
http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/arts/story.html?id=7b9e2d6a-e3d3-4b42-bbe0-56fde6443007&p=1
On Page 1, however, there was this quote:
“He has no patience with people who persist in believing there is still scientific debate on climate change.
Of them, he writes: “In a now-famous study published in the December 2004 Science, Naomi Oreskes at the University of California, San Diego, examined the abstracts of 928 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 containing the key words ‘global climate change.’ Her goal was to see whether legitimate dissenting voices had been left out of the IPCC assessments and other reports.
“Her conclusions were not unexpected. Not a single study disagreed with the consensus view concerning the role of greenhouse gases in causing global warming.”
I love this quote in light of Smokey’s list:
Mike86

Alan Millar
September 22, 2008 1:42 pm

counters
“Falsifying AGW is simple, both empirically and analytically. No one has demonstrated that the simple relationship, i.e. increasing CO2/GHG concentrations results in a warmer atmosphere does not hold.”
Ermm lets see!
So in the past, as shown from the ice core records, when the interglacial cycle reaches its cooling phase and the atmosphere starts to cool in spite of increasing CO2 levels (proven that changes in CO2 lags temperature change by about 800 years) you are saying that didn’t happen? You must hold an opinion that we have not had any glacial periods because you are convinced that it is a proven fact that increasing CO2 always warms the atmosphere.
Alan

Jeff
September 22, 2008 1:54 pm

Richard S. Courtney:
“I point you to my less-than-a-page refutation at
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/AGW_hypothesis_disproved.pdf
Your “refutation” would only be valid if the claim was that nothing besides GHG was controlling climate. Unfortunately, no one is making this claim, so your post is meaningless. IIRC, this is know as a “strawman argument”.

Paul Shanahan
September 22, 2008 1:59 pm

Counters: said: No matter how many times skeptics claim that the globe is cooling, or that it’s all water vapor, or that it’s all the sun, or that there are natural cycles, they aren’t falsifying global warming. As a matter of fact, skeptics are engaging in precisely the opposite behavior as to what you’re suggesting. They’re not “falsifying AGW;” rather, they’re providing alternative explanations to explain the observed warming.
Forgive me, but surely these alternative explanations are flasifying AGW? Using your examples:
Cooling Globe – Not anthropogenic
Water Vapor – Not anthropogenic
Sun – Not anthropogenic
I dont refute the world has warmed (excpet for the last few years) I just fail to see the evidence that man is the cause.

September 22, 2008 1:59 pm

@Jeff:
Well, what do you claim are the anthropogenic influences on the climate?
What is your supporting evidence for your claims?

Patrick Henry
September 22, 2008 2:02 pm

Questions for the Jeff/John Philips D&D tag team.
1. Can two lines be parallel and have different Y-intercepts?
2. Have you noticed that Cryosphere Today has updated the site to explain the problem with their maps? The legend shows colors all the way down to zero, but the maps actually truncate at 30%. That is why they show less ice than NSIDC in their 2007 maps.
http://igloo.atmos.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/test/print.sh?fm=07&fd=28&fy=2007&sm=07&sd=27&sy=2008
3. In the map above, do 2007 and 2008 have the same area?

Jeff
September 22, 2008 2:18 pm

RE: Smokey’s list:
I took a look at the only paper in Smokey’s list that was published in a major journal that climate scientists routinely publish in, the paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research by Legates and Davis. It does not, and the authors don’t claim to have, refuted AGW. It only discusses the possibility of false correlations from certain statistical methods. I have no reason to suspect that the rest are any different. And who cares what was published in Energy and Environment?

Jeff
September 22, 2008 2:22 pm

Patrick Henry:
“2. Have you noticed that Cryosphere Today has updated the site to explain the problem with their maps? The legend shows colors all the way down to zero, but the maps actually truncate at 30%. That is why they show less ice than NSIDC in their 2007 maps.”
Your point is?
“3. In the map above, do 2007 and 2008 have the same area?”
No one said that they did. Your point is?

Patrick Henry
September 22, 2008 2:34 pm

Jeff,
My point is that you are shooting from the hip, and not checking your facts.
Lots of people here had noticed that CT maps showed more ice growth in 2008 than NSIDC graphs. Since the WUWT article was published, CT has added documentation explaining the problem with their map legend. I doubt that is a coincidence. Another kudo for Anthony.

Ed Scott
September 22, 2008 2:37 pm

Joel Shore
“…the evidence for AGW is based on a lot more than just the work of Michael Mann. In fact, the evidence for the current temperatures being unprecedented in the last ~1200 years is based on much more than just the work of Michael Mann…and this particular piece of evidence is just one of the independent lines of evidence supporting AGW (and, in fact, the most circumstantial at that).”
I was hoping to see the presentation of “the evidence for the current temperatures being unprecedented in the last ~1200 years.” When will you present this unprecedented evidence? Since “this particular piece of evidence is just one of the independent lines of evidence supporting AGW…” when will you enumerate the other “independent lines of evidence supporting AGW?” Do you discern a difference between circumstantial and factual? A difference between a computer model (guesstimation) and Nature (scientific fact)?
It would be pertinent to the discussion, if you would present the scientific data that supports anthropogenic global warming/climate change. No Polar Bear, rising sea level, melting poles, etc. anecdotes are permissible.
Dr. Meier I am sure reports the data as he interprets. The problem I have with Dr. Meier is that he seems to be as susceptible to Al Gore science as are school children.

John Philips
September 22, 2008 2:38 pm

Re: Peer-Reviewed papers discrediting AGW:
Firstly, the vast majority are published in Energy and Environment Now the idea of publishing in an academic journal is 2-fold – firstly to get your work refereed by experts in the field, then to publish it to the whole field for wider scrutiny and acceptance. E&E fails on both counts, it is not in the ISI database and appears in just 26 libraries worldwide. The Editor, a Reader in Geography at the University of Hull shares with us that “My science is A-level chemistry, physics, one year of geography at university, and a bit of math.” and concedes “I do not claim that I or my reviewers can arbitrate on the ‘scientific’ truth of publications that the IPCC selects as most relevant, I may be wrong, for I am more in contact with research that is based on worse case scenarios than with basic climate scince research.” (sic)
http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-w/2005/aug/pol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_and_environment
http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers
E&E published the Christy paper that Mr Watts brought our attention to a few days ago; leading Roger Pielke to comment
I have been informed that the journal Energy and Environment is not scientifically peer reviewed nor in any citation index. Unfortunately, this significantly diminishes the impact of this very important paper. While the publication process is a difficult road for research that differs from the IPCC type perspective, papers must sill be submitted and published in peer reviewed journals that appear in science citation indexes
So we can skip those. Of the rest, well, I scrutinised a few …
Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons seems an odd place to publish original climate science?,This paper is just an updated version of the misleading ‘paper’ sent out with the Oregon Petition. The authors Robinsons, father and son are not climate scientists and Willie Soon is an astrophysicist. Like its earlier version the paper is not peer-reviewed and there is an open-source debunk here:http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=OISM
Can we believe in high climate sensitivity?
This paper does not contradict AGW, merely contradicts the possibility of high climate sensitivity (>3C) and says the true upper limit is 4C to the 95% confidence level. This is in line with IPCC estimates. Read more from one of the authors …
http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2006/09/can-we-believe-in-high-climate.html
Climate Change Re-examined (Journal of Scientific Exploration,)
The JSE is self-described as critical forum of rationality and observational evidence for the often strange claims at the fringes of science As well as climate change they publish ‘scholarly’ articles promoting the reality of dowsing, neo-astrology, ESP, and psychokinesis. The author is a retired Professor of Chemistry and the article is a collection of the usual myths, long since discredited in the actual academic literature …
On global forces of nature driving the Earth’s climate. Are humans involved?
Reality Check …written by two engineers, the same journal soon published a rebuttal by an Environmental Physicist and Paleclimatologist who ‘was shocked about the complete nonsense that it contained’.
http://wah-realitycheck.blogspot.com/2008/09/khilyuk-and-chilingar.html
At which point I felt the will to live departing me. By citing Energy and Environment, papers published at the very margins of fringe science, climate papers published in medical journals, papers that have been discredited, papers that are not actually sceptical and so on, all this list achieves is to underscore just how robust the academic and scientific concensus, as represented by the IPCC, actually is. Naomi Oreskes was correct …
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

kim
September 22, 2008 2:40 pm

Phil. (13:14:28) Sure, we all know that Arctic Ice is not a great proxy for global temperature in any given year, because it is more dependent upon winds, currents, local temperatures and storms. Nonetheless, the last year’s cooling has been dramatic enough for the Arctic Ice to overcome local factors this last year. Global cooling even became local cooling in the Arctic.
See, characteristically, you only tell enough of the story to support your side. You fool yourself to think you are fooling others.
=======================================

kim
September 22, 2008 2:59 pm

John Phillips (14:38:54) And yet, it cools.
============================

kim
September 22, 2008 3:03 pm

By the way, John Phillips, Naomi Oreskes is making a grand fool of herself. She completely misunderstands and misrepresents the skeptical movement. Sociologists and historians of science will wonder over her in the future, and this ‘Madness of Crowds’ that is CO2=AGW will be the subject of numerous PhD theses as time goes by.
==============================

Mike C
September 22, 2008 3:04 pm

Anthony, thanks for this post. The good doctor seems to have talked himself into the whole AGW thing. Despite all of the evidence to the contrary, AGW is always the answer.

September 22, 2008 3:10 pm

This is the best place on Al’s Internet right now. Bar none.
Insight:
AnonyMoose (10:43:25) :
“The believability of his explanations seem to be related to their distance from the North Pole.”
Nothing funnier all day for me. (So far)
Incisive:
Smokey (12:35:32) :
“To date, the proponents of AGW/CO2/planetary catastrophe have failed miserably in proving their hypothesis, which has been repeatedly falsified.”
Ouch. Where’s the sticking plasters?
Interogative:
Scott Covert (10:38:42) :
“I can see how swirling winds and sea currents might isolate Antarctica from warm water and air, aresols, soot etc… but how does it stop AGW caused by CO2?
Shouldn’t the greenhouse effect work there also? If CO2 warms everything else….”
It’s worse down below Scott. Antarctica, being the most dessicated (and the largest) desert on the planet, should be fiery if there is zero moisture in the air and CO2 has such a giant stage to perform her powerful and convincing tricks.
Maybe Steven could ask something along those lines of Dr. Meier…..
Imbroglio:
Ed Scott (09:47:10) :
“Dr. Scambos: I think An Inconvenient Truth does an excellent job of outlining the science behind global warming and the challenges society faces in the coming century because of it.
Dr. Meier: I agree. I think Gore has the basic message right. But we thought we could clarify a few things about the information concerning snow, ice, and the poles.”
Albert Gore: “Thank you gentlemen. Let us all have another beer, why not.”
Ironside:
kim (22:04:11) :
“Well, excellent, but he ignores the present global cooling, as manifest in lower tropospheric temperatures via RSS and UAH, lower oceanic temperatures via Argos buoys, and dropping sea level via TOPEX/Jason. He also ignores the effect of a PDO in a cooling phase, and a hibernating sun.”
Bliss.
Irritation:
John Philips (23:33:15) :
“We need more like Dr Meier. Kudos to him for responding to Goddard, especially after Goddard misrepresented the NSIDC data in a piece described by Meier as :-
… the article consists almost entirely of misleading, irrelevant, or erroneous information about Arctic sea ice that add nothing to the understanding of the significant long-term decline that is being observed.”
We wouldn’t be privy to this conversation if it were not for Steven, and Dr Meier both. Let us see where this goes.
Investigation:
Arthur Glass (05:45:53) :
“Dr Meier is insistent on the distinction between a short-term ‘fluctuation’ and a long-term ‘trend’. But given that the Earth’s current atmosphere has been sloshing around chaotically for a billion years or so, how significant, for any such distinction, is the difference between its behavior over, say, a ten-year period and that over a century? Or over a complete interstitial, for that matter?”
Or CO2 concentrations over similar spans?
Irreverence:
stan (05:10:27) :
“Several references to computer models. (not good) Reference to the IPCC as THE scientific standard. (really not good)
I expect a non-scientist who is unaware of the facts to accept the IPCC as some kind of real authoritative science. But a scientist should be aware of the BS that has been packed into the IPCC. Reference to it, in a discussion with another scientist, should be a huge red flag.”
Reference to it by anyone, TO anyone, at any time should be a huge red flag. rc, tamino and desmogblog do the same for me.
Invigorating:
paminator (09:07:41) :
“Averaged over the year, an ice-free Arctic will lose much more energy to space than an ice-covered Arctic. Heat transported to the Arctic through ocean currents will be lost at a higher rate to space if the Arctic could be ice-free all year round. The average annual solar insolation in the Arctic region is less than 100 W/m^2. Radiative losses alone from open ocean at 32 F is more than twice this value, and evaporative losses would remove additional heat from the ocean surface to the tropopause where it can radiate to space. In my opinion, the whole notion of the Arctic acting like a giant refrigerator for the globe is ok, but the role of sea ice has been greatly exaggerated, and perhaps reversed.”
and…
Jeff B. (09:11:38) :
“Dr. Meier repeatedly argues that localities of cooling in the Arctic have no bearing on the overall Arctic. So by the same reasoning, how could warming in the Arctic have any bearing on the overall cooling of the earth as shown in many other data sets and regions?
I don’t believe for a second that the Arctic is more important with respect to the Earth’s climate than the Antarctic or say, the Pacific Ocean or the Sun.”
Great sleuthing guys. Veeeeery eeeenteresting.

Jeff
September 22, 2008 3:11 pm

Patrick Henry,
My point is that the creator of the CT maps says that his DATA show that the difference between 2007 and 2008 agrees with what NSIDC said that the difference was. What people want to imagine that they can see in the maps on CT doesn’t count for anything.

kim
September 22, 2008 3:12 pm

Also, John Phillips, you ought to go peruse the story of McIntyre’s and McKittrick’s submission to Nature about the bogus statistics in Mann’s MBH 98. It initially got two favorable reviews, so Nature sent it out to a hostile reviewer. It ended up being published in E&E and also ended up being dead right. There is a reason Wegman castigated the echo chamber of academic reviewing in climate science. There is a coterie of scientists so enamored of the CO2=AGW hypothesis and so entranced by their models, that they’ve lost the ability to re-examine assumptions, and to do objective science.
It is a scandal, my good man. Check it out thoroughly.
================================

September 22, 2008 3:12 pm

Jeff:
By your own admission, you scanned only one paper — then based your final conclusion on your assumption that all the other peer-reviewed papers failed to falsify the AGW/planetary catastrophe hypothesis.
It is clear that your mind is made up and closed tight. That is in common with many true believers in the repeatedly falsified AGW/catastrophe hypothesis.
You also dismiss out of hand Richard S. Courtney — an IPCC Expert Reviewer — further demonstrating that your mind is made up, and that no facts can possibly change it.
However, the list of peer-reviewed authorities I cited, which falsify the AGW/planetary catastrophe hypothesis [and there are many more than the ones I posted], were not intended to open your mind; that task appears hopeless.
Rather, that partial list was provided in order to assist those who want a better understanding that, in fact, there are many more legitimate scientists who are are skeptical of the AGW/climate disaster hypothesis than the number who believe in it.

September 22, 2008 3:20 pm

Descriptive Physical Oceanography
William J. Emery, Lynne D. Talley and George L. Pickard.
Précis of the relevant section- Northern Polar Oceans.
In the tropics waters are separated by temperature and these divisions are named thermoclines. In polar seas the waters are stratified by salinity and are regarded as haloclines. Haloclines are formed by summer melt water which is lower in salinity than the ocean and spreads over the surface as it cannot penetrate the less dense, low salinity Arctic sea water. The fresh water melt freezes more swiftly as the temperature drops to 0C. Salinity controls the freezing point of the sea water once the temperature drops to 0C. The higher the salinity the lower the freezing point below 0C.
The surface haloclines have gone from some areas of the Arctic and more uniformly saline seawater is present. Unlike freshwater the density of seawater is greatest at freezing point. The result is that the seawater sinks before freezing. When seawater freezes it forms weak sea ice due to the presence of salt and will need about half the energy to melt when compared to regular halocline formed sea ice. As the sea ice forms it starts expressing the salt out of its crystalline structure. If the air temperature is abnormally cold it will form weak sea ice as the surface water has not had sufficient time to remove the salt. Liquids of different densities will remain stratified until perturbed at the boundary layer. This begins an oscillation in the layers that cannot easily dampen as there are entropy differences between them.
I would submit:
The wake from an icebreakers’ massive propellers, especially when the ship is near stationary as a result of resistance from the ice-pack, is far reaching in width and depth. More than sufficient to disturb the surface haloclines. There are a lot of these vessels now, making many crossings per year. They accompany every ship attempting passage through the Soviet polar regions. It is mandatory. The Soviets have the largest, and the largest fleet of, icebreakers. Some are converted for tourism and visit the pole often every season. Satellites show that, recently at least, the Soviet side of the Arctic suffers the greatest reduction of sea ice. Broken ice is more susceptible to melting.

Dodgy Geezer
September 22, 2008 3:27 pm

“It was very gracious of Dr. Meier to take the time to answer the questions posed above….Dr. Meier has again graciously offered to answer a select set of questions from the group.”
Like many others on this board, I agree with the above sentiments, and unreservedly thank Dr. Meier for his effort and time. Open and polite discussion between opposing views is the way to advance science.
In support of this aim, and in recognition of Dr. Meier’s attitude, I think that Anthony should make a particular effort to weed insulting, off-topic, or plain ‘denial’ posts from this thread. It is hard to respond politely and comprehensively when people are jeering in the background. If we believe that we have cogent points to make we do not need a background chorus, but we do need Dr. Meier to respond fully.
If there is to be a further set of questions, I would add my voice to the requests for more data about the ‘regional and seasonal’ warming of the 1920s Arctic, and the assertion that soot is not a major factor in current Arctic warming. Both these assertions were made without backing citations, and there seem to be papers which suggest they are not true. I suggest that, rather than just asking for backing references, we examine the issue first and provide Dr. Meier with some meaty rebuttals, if these exist.
As well as Russia and China, I suspect that there may have been an increase in local shipping around the Arctic, which may have concentrated soot fallout locally. I also have heard discussion of changing ocean currents having an effect, though I cannot find the cite at the moment.
I have also noted the general use of the ‘weather’ explanation to reject data which does not fit the AGW hypothesis. For this to be acceptable (and, indeed, it IS an explanation), we really need to reach some kind of agreement on WHEN weather becomes climate. I had a marathon discussion on another board where the rule seemed to be that 30 years was the shortest period which would be accepted – this seems rather long, as well as being designed to ensure that any hype (warming or cooling) would be accepted for the length of a typical human career! I see Tamino has addressed this issue with a statistical bet, but I don’t know enough about the maths to determine whether this is a good way to go?
Finally, I note that Dill Weed has asked:
“I have yet to see a comprehensive argument put forth to undermine the current AGW theory….All joking aside, if you disagree with AGW, make your case. If your simply denying and sniping, you’re not helping.”
I would add my voice to those who are a little confused by his request. AGW is a hypothesis which says that we are currently experiencing unusual warming of the Earth, that it is caused by excess CO2 produced by man, acting through a feedback process, and that it will continue to increase to create high temperatures which will be of net disadvantage to humankind.
I think that all these assertions have to hold for AGW to be true? These are all the things the IPCC says. Though I suppose there is room for discussion about what causes ‘disadvantage’. The point is that, if any one of these items is disproven, the theory falls. So no one needs a ‘comprehensive’ theory to disprove AGW, whatever that is. If the current warming is NOT unusual, the theory fails. If the feedback process is shown NOT to operate, the theory fails. And so on. ‘Denying’ with no basis is, of course, as pointless and ‘affirming’ with no basis, but most of the posts I see are simply pointing out weaknesses in one or more aspects of the AGW theory. Much of what Dill Weed terms ‘sniping’ seems to me to be the raising of perfectly valid objections.
I have several times asked, on AGW boards, what would be accepted as constituting a disproval of AGW theory. I have never received an answer. If AGW supporters are not able to describe what would count as a ‘comprehensive undermining of AGW theory’, I am not sure how they would recognise one if we provided it.

Josh
September 22, 2008 3:28 pm

Great paper, EXCEPT ONE THING, he forgot the recent world, the world of global cooling! All of the AGW scientists talk about the past years because that was when the earth was warming.

September 22, 2008 3:59 pm

Phil: In my earlier post to you, I added a link to a discussion on the PDO, which included descriptions of what the PDO was and what it wasn’t. You must have overlooked it. The PDO is not SST anomaly data. It is not pure residual SST data like the AMO. It is a statistically created data set that brings out the impacts of ENSO on the North Pacific. If you doubt me, email Nathan Mantua of JISAO and ask him for the PDO recipe. His email address is listed on the PDO link you’ve provided twice.
In his email reply to me back at the beginning of this year, Nate Mantua referenced Zhang, Y., J.M. Wallace, D.S. Battisti, 1997: ENSO-like interdecadal variability: 1900-93. J. Climate, 10, 1004-1020 as the source of the full method of computing the PDO index. Note that they labeled the time series “the NP index”. Refer to their Figures 5 and 6. The link follows.
http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~david/zwb1997.pdf
Nate Mantua then went on to describe the recipe, which I’ve included in the discussion of the PDO that I linked for you earlier.
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/06/common-misunderstanding-about-pdo.html
In your reply to me you wrote, “however if you look at the Pacific from about 30N you’ll see a difference…”
Note that the PDO is actually derived from North Pacific SST data North of 20N, not 30N.
Again the PDO is not SST anomaly data. To further illustrate that, I’ve prepared North Pacific SST anomaly graphs that are based on the latitude you prescribed, then 10 deg latitude more and 10 deg latitude less. Regardless of the North Pacific latitude range you might select, North Pacific SST anomaly data bears no similarity to the PDO:
30 to 65N (the latitudes you suggested)
http://i34.tinypic.com/bgd4y.jpg
20 to 65N (10 deg latitude more)
http://i37.tinypic.com/98ygit.jpg
40 to 65N (10 deg latitude more)
http://i38.tinypic.com/2ljpa9e.jpg
If you doubt my SST anomaly graphs, create your own and document where I’m wrong. Here’s a link to Smith and Reynolds’ instructions for downloading their SST data from NOAA’s NOMADS system, based on user-defined months, years, and coordinates. Simple and easy.
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/ERSST-ts.txt
Or to save you some time, I’ve done a series of posts of SST data for different oceans, latitudes, longitudes, etc. That link is here.
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2008/06/smith-and-reynolds-sst-posts.html
In conclusion, the PDO is not what you think it is.
Regards

James S
September 22, 2008 4:16 pm

Jeff
You imply that because something is published in a journal which is not one in which climate “scientists” routinely publish in the papers in question become irrelevant.
Surely they would be all the more relevant given that these editors of these journals have not swallowed the AGW myth hook, line and sinker and therefore follow proper scientific method of ensuring that the writers publish their data in full?
James

September 22, 2008 4:23 pm

Mr Jeff said (14:18:59) :
“RE: Smokey’s list:
I took a look at the only paper in Smokey’s list that was published in a major journal that climate scientists routinely publish in, the paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research by Legates and Davis. It does not, and the authors don’t claim to have, refuted AGW. … And who cares what was published in Energy and Environment?”
Everyone should care what was published in Energy and Environment IF what was published advanced understanding of the subject.
I can only speak about certain fields of English law but I know of many articles published in obscure places which have had a significant impact on legal analysis (I could mention one of my own which has been cited with approval in the Court of Appeal in England and the High Court of Australia and is referenced in leading works on contract law in England, Australia and the USA, but I won’t because I am too modest).
The value of an article is not derived from where it was published, the number of embossed certificates held by the author, the number of people who approved it for publication, the apparent authority of those who approved it for publication or anything else. It is all about whether what was written advances understanding.
By the way, I am delighted to see that Mr Counters is still with us. I always enjoy your contributions Mr Counters because you advance my understanding.

Andy Beasley
September 22, 2008 5:00 pm

Michael Ingram said: The water level will be somewhere between the original water level, and the level that it was elevated to once the ice cubes were inserted. Anybody who knows anything about thermal properties will understand that frozen water (i.e., ice and snow) takes up a LOT more space than liquid water, because water is one of the few compounds that expands when it freezes and contracts when its heated. If the polar ice (North and/or South) melt, the rise in the worlds oceans will be so extremely minimal that it would hardly be noticed.
Actually, the ice cube will displace exactly the same mass as it contains; therefore, the water level after the ice melts will be exactly the same as before the ice melted-if the temperature of the water is allowed to return to its starting point. The arctic ice will not affect sea level. Antarctic and Greenland ice is above sea level (i.e., not floating in the bowl) and would affect sea level if it would just have the courtesy to melt like it is supposed to. :-}

Jeff
September 22, 2008 5:05 pm

FatBigot:
“Everyone should care what was published in Energy and Environment IF what was published advanced understanding of the subject.”
Energy and Environment is not a legitimate scientific journal and papers are not peer-reviewed. Only 26 libraries in the entire world even bother to subscribe to it. Its chief editor openly admits to advancing a political objective. It is more of an op-ed journal than a research journal.

Brendan H
September 22, 2008 5:24 pm

Counters: “Once the model finishes producing the data representing how radiative forcing has changed over time, we can then go back and analyze that data to see how the climate system in terms of temperature and other factors will change based on empirical relationships between atmospheric factors and changes in temperature.”
Thanks for this explanation. I take this to mean that climate models are not predictive mechanisms but seek to further our understanding of the climate system using real historical data. And that this understanding is then applied to various scenarios involving future changes in climate factors.
Two points of clarification.
1. Models are a representation of reality, but are not intended to mimic reality, rather to explain it and provide possible future climate scenarios.
2. AGW does not depend on the models for its validity. AGW is supported by the empirical evidence in its favour.
Does my summary accurately represent the scientific understanding of climate models?

Brendan H
September 22, 2008 5:25 pm

Paul Shanahan: “Forgive me, but surely these alternative explanations are flasifying AGW?”
No.
1. “Alternative explanations” are positive hypotheses/theories which claim that x is the case. A falsification claims that x is not the case. Different as chalk and cheese.
2. Falsification involves appealing to evidence. Hypotheses/theories are not evidence. They are explanations of evidence.

September 22, 2008 5:32 pm

Basil: Thanks for the link.

Phil.
September 22, 2008 6:03 pm

kim (14:40:40) :
Phil. (13:14:28) Sure, we all know that Arctic Ice is not a great proxy for global temperature in any given year, because it is more dependent upon winds, currents, local temperatures and storms. Nonetheless, the last year’s cooling has been dramatic enough for the Arctic Ice to overcome local factors this last year. Global cooling even became local cooling in the Arctic.
You appear to have missed the fact that this summer saw the greatest reduction in ice area in the satellite era and reached a minimum within 3% of last year. If you are right about the PDO then the Bering, Chukchi and E Siberian seas will see warmer than usual SSTs which should mean low winter ice with consequences for next summer.
See, characteristically, you only tell enough of the story to support your side. You fool yourself to think you are fooling others.
You assume that I have a side, other than ensuring that posters like yourself are accurate. You quite clearly have a side and would never dream of posting anything that contradicted your side.

Ed Scott
September 22, 2008 6:10 pm

Phillip Stott on global warming politics: http://web.mac.com/sinfonia1/Global_Warming_Politics/A_Hot_Topic_Blog/Entries/2008/9/21_Global_Warming%E2%80%99s_Boom_Bust.html
An Englishman’s view.
“‘Global warming’ is sub-prime science, sub-prime economics, and sub-prime politics, and it could well go down with the sub-prime mortgage.” {Journalists please feel free to quote.]
Coffee, and the crossword, in garden.
“… the global warming myth harks back to a lost Golden Age of climate stability, or, to employ a more modern term, climate ‘sustainability’. Sadly, the idea of a sustainable climate is an oxymoron. The fact that we have rediscovered climate change at the turn of the Millennium tells us more about ourselves, and about our devices and desires, than about climate. Opponents of global warming are often snidely referred to as ‘climate change deniers’; precisely the opposite is true. Those who question the myth of global warming are passionate believers in climate change – it is the global warmers who deny that climate change is the norm.”
In any discussion of climate change, it is essential to distinguish between the complex science of climate and the myth, in the sense of Roland Barthes, or the ‘hybrid’, following Bruno Latour, of ‘global warming’.
The latter is a politico-(pseudo)scientific construct, developed since the late-1980s, in which the human emission of ‘greenhouse gases’, such as carbon dioxide and methane, is unquestioningly taken as the prime-driver of a new and dramatic type of climate change that will inexorably result in a significant warming during the next 100 years and which will inevitably lead to catastrophe for both humanity and the Earth. This, in turn, has morphed, since 1992 and the Rio Conference, into a legitimising myth for a gamut of interconnected political agendas, above all for a range of European sensibilities with regards to America, oil, the car, transport, economic growth, trade, and international corporations. The language employed tends to be authoritarian and religious in character, involving the use of what the physicist, P. H. Borcherds, has termed the ‘hysterical subjunctive’. Indeed, for many, the myth has become an article of a secular faith that exhibits all the characteristics of a pre-modern religion, above all demanding sacrifice to the Earth.

Jeff
September 22, 2008 6:25 pm

Smokey:
“By your own admission, you scanned only one paper — then based your final conclusion on your assumption that all the other peer-reviewed papers failed to falsify the AGW/planetary catastrophe hypothesis.”
You posted a list of papers that you claimed refuted AGW. The first one I read did not refute AGW, actually, it didn’t even broach the subject of whether AGW is valid or not. And that was the ONLY paper in your entire list that was published in a peer-reviewed journal that routinely publishes papers related to climatology/meteorology/oceanography. John Philips read a few more of them, and didn’t find any refutation of AGW. How many of them have you read?
I’ve seen plenty of lists like this before, in debates on Creationism, 9/11 conspiracy theories, etc.
“You also dismiss out of hand Richard S. Courtney — an IPCC Expert Reviewer — further demonstrating that your mind is made up, and that no facts can possibly change it.”
Richard S. Courtney didn’t present any facts that countered AGW. He merely pointed out that there has been warming in the past. No one has even claimed that there wasn’t. The author of the article that he cited is on record as having said that the current warming is not the same as the last warming period (in the 30’s and 40’s): “I do not think that there was anything like we observe today.” (quoted in the Sep. 21, 2007 New York Times). So, no, I didn’t dismiss Richard S. Courtney “out of hand”.
“However, the list of peer-reviewed authorities I cited, which falsify the AGW/planetary catastrophe hypothesis [and there are many more than the ones I posted], were not intended to open your mind; that task appears hopeless.”
First of all, Energy and Environment is NOT peer-reviewed, so the majority of papers in your list are NOT peer-reviewed. And papers on climate change published in medical journals hardly qualify as “authoritative”. Beyond that, you have yet to show that ANY of these papers falsifies AGW. Certainly, none of the papers that John Philips or I have read falsifies AGW.
“Rather, that partial list was provided in order to assist those who want a better understanding that, in fact, there are many more legitimate scientists who are are skeptical of the AGW/climate disaster hypothesis than the number who believe in it.”
This may be true. But remove the word “disaster” from your statement and it wouldn’t be. Roger Pielke’s survey found that 97 percent of climate scientists believe that anthropogenic CO2 emissions play some role in global warming.
http://climatesci.org/2008/02/22/is-there-agreement-amongst-climate-scientists-on-the-ipcc-ar4-wg1/

Brendan H
September 22, 2008 6:40 pm

Dodgy Geezer: “In support of this aim, and in recognition of Dr. Meier’s attitude, I think that Anthony should make a particular effort to weed insulting, off-topic, or plain ‘denial’ posts from this thread.”
Well said. The peanut gallery should be closed on threads like this. It’s not as if they’re saying anything new or original, and there are plenty of other threads for mindless politicking.

September 22, 2008 6:43 pm

Brendan H:

2. AGW does not depend on the models for its validity. AGW is supported by the empirical evidence in its favour.

Do you mind telling us exactly what kind of evidence you are referring to? Please don’t misunderstand: I am not asking about the very minor effects of CO2, but for your evidence supporting the catastrophic AGW hypothesis.
As stated above, the AGW issue would be nonexistent if it only involved one tenth of a degree change per decade. But the current AGW issue, as hypothesized by Al Gore, the UN/IPCC, James Hansen, Michael Mann, Tamino, etc., postulates a near-term climate catastrophe.
So when you claim that the empirical evidence supports this hypothesis, I would very much like to know what evidence you are referring to. Particularly since the planet is cooling, and not warming — despite large increases in carbon dioxide. That fact alone falsifies the catastrophic AGW hypothesis.
And regarding Jeff’s disparaging comment about the journal Energy and Environment, even though I disagree, I will grant him his point. That leaves 52 other skeptical papers above that he has not refuted. And as Albert Einstein said, it only takes one fact to falsify a hypothesis.
Catastrophic AGW has been repeatedly falsified. It keeps coming back like Mann’s discredited Hockey Stick for one reason: $Billions in annual grant money.
For example, NASA is requesting over $10 million more than last year’s budget to study why its climate models fail. And that is only one tiny part of NASA’s budget. So long as the AGW scaremongering can be kept up, NASA’s budget will continue to climb. That is a powerful motive to misrepresent natural climate fluctuations as being caused by humans.
Finally, regarding peer-review as applied to climate science, it is largely a hoax, perpetrated for the same monetary reasons, and by the same relatively small clique, which approves each others’ papers while failing to rigorously scrutinize their data. This has been shown to be the case by the Wegman Report to Congress, which clearly demonstrates the statistical relationship among a very small pro-AGW clique of climate scientists.
However, like most others on this site, I have an open mind. Show me solid empirical evidence that the planet is warming due to increases in carbon dioxide, and you may well convince me that I’m in error. But until then, I see no reason to think that catastrophic AGW is anything but a financial scam, as Professor Wegman has made clear.

Phil.
September 22, 2008 6:48 pm

Bob Tisdale (15:59:20) :
Phil: In my earlier post to you, I added a link to a discussion on the PDO, which included descriptions of what the PDO was and what it wasn’t.
You appear to be obsessing about the PDO index, not something I mentioned. Mantua wrote the following:
The Pacific Decadal Oscillation
By Nathan Mantua, Ph. D.
Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Oceans
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
[to appear in the Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change]
“Typical surface climate anomaly patterns for warm phases of PDO are shown in Figure 1. SSTs tend to be anomalously cool in the central North Pacific coincident with unusually warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) along the west coast of the Americas.”

Clearly Mantua thinks that SSTs correlate with the phase of the PDO, how the PDO Index is calculated is not germane to its effects.

Richard S Courtney
September 22, 2008 6:48 pm

Jeff:
My ‘refutation’ of AGW at
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/AGW_hypothesis_disproved.pdf
concludes
The above list provides a complete refutation of the AGW-hypothesis according to the normal rules of science: i.e.
Nothing the hypothesis predicts is observed in the empirical data and the opposite of the hypothesis’ predictions is observed in the empirical data.
That conclusion is simply true.
But you assert:
“Your “refutation” would only be valid if the claim was that nothing besides GHG was controlling climate. Unfortunately, no one is making this claim, so your post is meaningless. IIRC, this is know as a “strawman argument”.
Well, no. I never pose straw men, and I have not in this case. As is my practice, I made clear statements that can be disputed by counter-argument and/or evidence. You have disputed none of my statements but, instead, you made the erroneous assertion that I posed a straw man. And the error of your assertion is easy to demonstrate.
The AGW hypothesis predicts that AGW will “control” climate such that global warming is inevitable. AGW will dominate other effects so global warming is an inevitable result of increased GHGs (notably carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere. If other effects than AGW were “controlling climate” then they would dominate AGW and, therefore, AGW would not occur.
My refutation at the above URL consists of two points that are listed as 5 items.
Firstly, no prediction – n.b. not one – of the AGW hypothesis is observed in the data. That could be
(a) because AGW is absent
or
(b) because AGW is so trivial that other climate effects overwhelm its effects.
But the AGW hypothesis asserts that AGW will dominate global climate change. Hence, AGW is falsified whether or not other climate effects are happening.
Secondly, the warm hot spot in the troposphere is absent: in fact, cooling is present in that region of the troposphere. But that pattern has to be present if AGW induced by enhanced GH is present.
It matters not whether other effects “control climate” because the absence of the ‘hot spot’ demonstrates the absence of AGW.
Richard

Jeff
September 22, 2008 6:50 pm

Dodgy Geezer:
“I had a marathon discussion on another board where the rule seemed to be that 30 years was the shortest period which would be accepted – this seems rather long,”
30 years has the standard used by climatologists since long before anyone thought of global warming, though I don’t know the justification for it.
“If the current warming is NOT unusual, the theory fails. ”
To claim that if the change attributed to CO2 is less than that caused by natural forcings is proof that the change could not have actually been caused by CO2 seems to me to require randomness in climate change. Otherwise, the change attributed to CO2 must have been caused by one or more natural forcing mechanisms and it should in principle be possible to identify those mechanisms.

September 22, 2008 6:57 pm

Mr Jeff said (17:05:32) :
“FatBigot:
“Everyone should care what was published in Energy and Environment IF what was published advanced understanding of the subject.”
Energy and Environment is not a legitimate scientific journal and papers are not peer-reviewed. Only 26 libraries in the entire world even bother to subscribe to it. Its chief editor openly admits to advancing a political objective. It is more of an op-ed journal than a research journal.”
Thank you for proving my point Mr Jeff.
The most valuable question in any critical analysis is “so what”?
So what if E&E is not a “legitimate scientific journal” (whatever that is supposed to mean)? So what if it is not peer-reviewed? So what if only 26 libraries subscribe to it? So what if its chief editor has a political agenda? So what if it contains more opinion pieces than research pieces? None of that tells us anything about the value of a particular article featured in the journal. Only examination of the article itself can tell us that.
I played cricket about 15 years ago against a team we had beaten every year I can remember. They were always easy opponents until that year when they featured a guest player (a friend of one of the regular players) someone who had just retired from professional cricket and had played for England the previous year. If someone asked on Friday “does X Cricket Club have any good players” the answer would have been a resounding “no”. At 2pm on Saturday when the match started the answer suddenly became “actually they’ve got one player who is better than all of us combined.”
I wouldn’t know Energy and Environment from a bar of soap, what I do know is that one can only judge the quality of an article published in a journal by reading the article. Maybe the article in E&E was rubbish, maybe it was Einstein on stilts, one cannot judge its merit by knowing nothing about it other than where it was published.

Joel Shore
September 22, 2008 7:02 pm

Dodgy Geezer says:

I have also noted the general use of the ‘weather’ explanation to reject data which does not fit the AGW hypothesis. For this to be acceptable (and, indeed, it IS an explanation), we really need to reach some kind of agreement on WHEN weather becomes climate. I had a marathon discussion on another board where the rule seemed to be that 30 years was the shortest period which would be accepted – this seems rather long, as well as being designed to ensure that any hype (warming or cooling) would be accepted for the length of a typical human career! I see Tamino has addressed this issue with a statistical bet, but I don’t know enough about the maths to determine whether this is a good way to go?

Certainly, a good way to go is to determine not only the trendlines but also the errorbars on the trendlines. To do that correctly though, you have to take into account the correlation in the data…which an excellent data analyst like Tamino can do but can get dicey for the rest of us mortals.
Barring that, however, there are still some things one can do to determine if the trend is “real”. For example, one can check how robust the trend is to such things as changing the start or end years by one or two years, changing which data set you use (GISS or HADCRUT, for example), or eliminating one year of data. (For example, if your entire conclusion changes if you eliminate the year 1998, then the conclusion is probably not very robust!) I have done these sort of checks for the GISS and HADCRUT data and what you find is that for the yearly data ending in 2007, there is strong sensitivity to the data set used and how many years are included out to be about 10 years or so. After that, it starts to settle down and once you get out to 15 years or so, the trends seem to be quite robust.
Another thing to look at is what the climate models project. As I have noted already above in this thread, this post at RealClimate http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/what-the-ipcc-models-really-say/langswitch_lang/in shows how different runs of climate models show strong variations in the trends over a period of, say, 8 years…with many even showing negative trends…despite the fact that greenhouse gas forcings in the models are steadily increasing. So, in fact, having occasional periods of this length showing cooling is not only possible but expected!

Richard S Courtney
September 22, 2008 7:06 pm

Jeff and John Phillips:
You wrongly assert that E&E does not subject papers for publication to peer review. And you impugn the academic qualifications of E&E’s Editor who is a lady with superior academic record that of the Editor of Nature.
Being a member of the large Editorial Board of E&E, I can confirm that papers published in E&E are submitted for peer review.
E&E’s excellent and courageous Editor, Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, oversees the peer review process with assistance from members of E&E’s Editorial Board.
The peer review process required by E&E is more severe than that of several ‘leading’ journals. E&E submits a paper for review by a range of peers whose publication records suggest that some would be favourable to the paper while others would be unfavourable. Several journals that publish papers (e.g. pertinent to AGW) have a selection of frequently-used reviewers with a smaller range of scientific views. The results of review comments can induce rejection of a paper but almost always call for amendment of a paper prior to its acceptance for publication by E&E.
The severity of E&E’s peer review process is a response to the repeated untrue assertion that peer review is not conducted by E&E.
Richard

Pete
September 22, 2008 7:10 pm

A-CO2-GW is dead. Can we move on now?
All may not be lost though, if the great hoax can act to tweak the curiosity of the next generation to study physics, biology, geology, statistics, etc. And don’t forget sociology and psychology.

EJ
September 22, 2008 7:11 pm

I tried to read every post, but couldn’t and have to post.
Thin Ice – Which is the thinest?
a) baby ice
b) reputations of certain climate scientists
c) reputations of certain scientific journals
d) reputations of certain political bodies
e) reputations of data adjustments

Joel Shore
September 22, 2008 7:29 pm

Richard S Courtney claims:

Firstly, no prediction – n.b. not one – of the AGW hypothesis is observed in the data.

Yes…They have been. For example, one prediction is that the troposphere will warm while the stratosphere cools, which is very different than what would occur if the warming were due to an increase in solar irradiance, and matches what has been observed. Another is that the arctic will warm faster than it warms closer to the equator. A third is that the day – night temperature differences will tend to decrease.

Secondly, the warm hot spot in the troposphere is absent: in fact, cooling is present in that region of the troposphere. But that pattern has to be present if AGW induced by enhanced GH is present.
It matters not whether other effects “control climate” because the absence of the ‘hot spot’ demonstrates the absence of AGW.

No. As I have said a million times on this website and will probably have to say a million times more, the amplification of temperature trends or fluctuations as you go up in the tropical troposphere is NOT a prediction specific to AGW as the mechanism causing the warming. It is a prediction that follows from the basic physics of moist adiabatic lapse rate theory and is expected independent of the mechanism causing the warming.
And, in fact, when one looks at temperature fluctuations that occur on the timescales of months to a few years, you do in fact see this amplification. Where you don’t see it is in SOME of the data sets for the overall trend on multidecadal timescales. However, what you see varies strongly from data set to data set and these data sets have problems that make their overall multidecadal trends extremely problematic. For example, the radiosonde data sets are very sparse in the tropics and there are known issues with instrumentation that likely are causing a significant cooling bias over time (namely, better shielding from the sun). As one understands the problems in the data sets and starts to try to correct them, they seem to come into better agreement with what the modeling predicts (which, I repeat, is not a prediction specific to AGW but is a prediction of how temperature trends or fluctuations of any sort should tend to be amplified as one goes up in the tropical atmosphere on the basis of some pretty simple physics). See here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/tropical-tropopshere-ii/langswitch_lang/in
So, to make a long story short, the data and model agree on the timescales over which the data is expected to be reliable. The data and model disagree (with the data deviating from what is seen on the shorter timescales) for the longterm trends, which is exactly where the data has known problems. And, even if this deviation is real, it does not speak directly to what is causing the warming trend since the amplification is not a prediction specific to AGW as the warming mechanism.

Tom in Florida
September 22, 2008 7:41 pm

Brendan H: “”Dodgy Geezer: “In support of this aim, and in recognition of Dr. Meier’s attitude, I think that Anthony should make a particular effort to weed insulting, off-topic, or plain ‘denial’ posts from this thread.”
Well said. The peanut gallery should be closed on threads like this. It’s not as if they’re saying anything new or original, and there are plenty of other threads for mindless politicking. “”
As a probable member of your peanut gallery, I take quick offense of your nobler than thou attitude. You have your peer reviewed articles and conferences to do your discussions, we do not. Why not restrict every thread to just those that can prove they have accredited knowledge of the thread subject? If you do not want to read a comment, then don’t. You know which posters to overlook. I think this blog is well moderated. It is read by many of us because we can make the comments, it allows us a venue to ask what we never get a chance to ask even if we show a lack of knowledge on the subject. Sometimes you need the common man view point, even if it is not quite right. Sometimes we even get a reply that enlightens us or makes us understand something we didn’t know. If a person of knowledge cannot communicate that knowledge to the average person, what good is it? Besides that, you just never know what might trigger a different train of thought in someone.

Editor
September 22, 2008 7:46 pm

Jeff (17:05:32) :

Energy and Environment is not a legitimate scientific journal and papers are not peer-reviewed. Only 26 libraries in the entire world even bother to subscribe to it. Its chief editor openly admits to advancing a political objective. It is more of an op-ed journal than a research journal.

So’s this blog, at least the 1st and 3rd sentences. No, I don’t think the moderators qualify as peer reviewers. Yet we seem to have people posting stuff on this thread faster than I can read it!

Simple Soul
September 22, 2008 7:53 pm

The Driver says: “The wake from an icebreakers’ massive propellers, especially when the ship is near stationary as a result of resistance from the ice-pack, is far reaching in width and depth. More than sufficient to disturb the surface haloclines. There are a lot of these vessels now, making many crossings per year. They accompany every ship attempting passage through the Soviet polar regions. It is mandatory. The Soviets have the largest, and the largest fleet of, icebreakers. Some are converted for tourism and visit the pole often every season. Satellites show that, recently at least, the Soviet side of the Arctic suffers the greatest reduction of sea ice. Broken ice is more susceptible to melting.”
Any way them smarty-pants Russians might have polluted the Arctic with their spent nuclear fuel rods and discarded nuclear-submarine reactors in order to help spur the melting and open up a treasure trove of natural resources they intended to claim for themselves? Or, barring that, if you can bar that, slicing and dicing the ice with their ice breakers for the same purpose?

Richard S Courtney
September 22, 2008 7:53 pm

Several of the above comments query the difference between weather and climate with some comments pertaining to the classical ’30-year’ period. The confusion is exemplified by the IPCC that provides the following definition of “climate” in its Glossary.
“Climate
Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the “average weather” or more rigorously as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These relevant quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system. ‘Climate’ is defined as an average condition over 30 years of ‘weather’ components such as temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness, major wind direction, etc.”
There is a clear ambiguity in this definition. Its first sentence says “climate” is “average weather” that may be assessed “over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years”. But the final sentence of the above definition asserts that “climate” is “defined as an average condition over 30 years of ‘weather’ components”.
So, which is true, any period of time “ranging from months to thousands or millions of years” or “30 years”?
The ambiguity arises from confusion of “climate” and the “classical period of climate”. (And there are several examples of times when the confusion of “climate” and the “classical period of climate” has enabled inconvenient data to be ignored; i.e. a form of ‘cherry picking’).
“Climate” is “the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years”, and the IPCC uses this definition. For example, the IPCC used this definition in its 1994 WGI report when it considered two adjacent 5-year periods to observe change in climate.
Also, for example, there is a typical climate for January in England obtained by averaging the weather parameters (i.e. temperature, preciptation, etc.) of Januarys in England over several years. A ‘January climate’ has a length of one month.
Any number of years can be averaged for a climate value. HadCRUT3, GISS, etc. data sets report annual global temperature (i.e. climate data obtained over each of a series of years: one year climate data) but often add 5 or 10 year running means to graphical presentations of their data.
But 30 years was adopted as an arbitrary standard (i.e. the “classical period of climate”) in the year of the International Geophysical Year (the IGY was in 1958 and it was thought that 30 years of climate data had then been amassed). This “classical period” permits a base-line for comparison of climate data.
For example, the HadCRUT3, GISS, etc. data sets of annual mean global temperature each report global temperature changes as differences from a 30-year average. These differences are called ‘temperature anomalies’ and they permit direct comparisons between the data sets. However, if 30 years were used as the minimum time period for assessing global climate then we would only have 4 data points for global climate – as indicated by these data sets – because they estimate mean global temperature since about ~1860.
Indeed, 30 years is a problematic climate length because it is not a multiple of the solar 11 year sunspot cycle or the 22 year Hale cycle.
The important point is that any number of years can be averaged provided that the end dates of the averaging and the averaged data points are specified.
Richard

EJ
September 22, 2008 8:24 pm

Until the ‘scientific consensus’ is well defined and engages in real dialogue, then the most laudable independent thoughts and efforts are in vain.
Real Dialogue:
Civil and inquisitive debate, well sourced study, sharing of data and code, proposed publication and discussion request , is non-political, be web orginized, etc.
The non-political is oh so important. This rubs both ways for us all.
I am lucky, I have a code to go by. My professional registration requires that any and all my political and commercial interests are on the table. But what governs my recommendations are public safety. It is also in the code.
I am dumbfounded sometimes when I read of scientific reports with no data or calcs submitted. Any calc I do, any observation I make are submitted for review of anybody concerned. In fact, I welcome any review.
Of course, I am not a climatologist, but I learned my maths and sciences. Get an engineer to stamp the IPCC report, put his reputaion and registration on the line.
This is all respectfully submitted, and I learn every time I log on here.

Jeff
September 22, 2008 8:43 pm

Richard S. Courtney:
“Jeff and John Phillips:
You wrongly assert that E&E does not subject papers for publication to peer review. .
Being a member of the large Editorial Board of E&E, I can confirm that papers published in E&E are submitted for peer review. ”
And the Journal of 9/11 Studies is also “peer-reviewed”.
Energy and Environment is not listed in the Journal Citation Reports (which checks 7,500 journals) and is carried by only a couple dozen libraries.

kim
September 22, 2008 8:54 pm

Phil. (18:53:08) Hah, you illustrate your method perfectly. I, and we, talk about ice extent, and you counter with ice area. You are a sophist rather than a seeker of truth. You’ve been called repeatedly on this sort of behaviour over at climateaudit.org. As I said, your sins are of omission rather than commission; you very rarely say something factually wrong, it’s what you don’t say, but could, that indicts your intentions.
============================================

BarryW
September 22, 2008 9:05 pm

These act as a barrier to heat coming down from lower latitudes.

You mean this kind of heat?
http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=14&art_id=vn20080921084615870C810928
It seems that all warming is global and all cooling is local. So S. Africa must have been moved south when we weren’t looking?

kim
September 22, 2008 9:08 pm

Joel Shore (19:02:02) Sure, you take 20 different models and run them a bunch of times and you’ll have runs that show a temperature decline. The mass of them do not. The mass of them expect rising temperature with rising CO2. No one has verified or validated a General Climate Model. To pretend otherwise is hallucinatory.
Can you explain why Tamino, an apparently excellent statistician, went so badly into the tank over the Hockey Stick, only finally, grudgingly, admitting error when the expert he cited called him on it. Might it have anything to do with his self applied nickname, ‘Hansen’s Bulldog’? There are many things to admire about bulldogs, but scientific objectivity is not one of them.
And please, enough with RealClimate. It is well known that when the editors there cannot handle skeptical contributions they just don’t appear on the board. That venue is a splendid example of the sort of echo chamber that Wegman decried in climate science.
===========================================

AAzure
September 22, 2008 9:37 pm

Wow.
What intense posts – both sides – on this issue.
This demonstrates a fact:
Anthropogenic causation of climate change is NOT a fact – but still, merely, a hypothesis.
Qudo’s to you, Mr. Watts.
Your fantastic site has succeeded in becoming the magnet of honest discussion from all those who have an investment in climate science. It will be here (and/or climateaudit.org) that the truth – whatever it will be – will be found.
More power to the “Watts”! 🙂
-Alan

Jeff
September 22, 2008 10:05 pm

Oops. I missed another paper in Smokey’s list that was published in a legitimate journal, the one by McKitrick and Micheals in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It claims that up to half of global warming can be explained by urbanization and land use changes. If it explained all the warming, then it would falsify the GHG theory. But it doesn’t.
I also glanced at Lindzen’s paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. This paper questions the probability of large temperature changes from the increase in CO2 but Lindzen does not deny that CO2 can lead to some amount of warming. So no falsification in this paper.
Also, I missed the 2 papers in Climate Research, First, Idso’s paper. Idso thinks that vegetation will absorb some of the CO2 and thus limit the warming, but he allows that there could be some warming due to the increased CO2. His paper is a bit dated (1998) and he mentions the possible role of increasing insolation as a cause of warming, a mechanism that has since been shown to be insufficient. Once again, no falsification.
Also, Soon, et al., in Climate Research. (This was not the paper that led to the resignation of half of the editors.) This paper raises questions about the accuracy of the models (it’s not clear that the authors have experience with GCMs) and floats some ideas, but does little more than claim that the models aren’t accurate enough to prove that there has been any warming due to CO2. I found no claim that AGW isn’t happening or can’t happen. Again, no falsification here.
So how many papers do I have to read before I find one that even purports to falsify AGW?

John Philips
September 22, 2008 10:15 pm

Being a member of the large Editorial Board of E&E, I can confirm that papers published in E&E are submitted for peer review.
We are honoured to have an editorial board member of E&E contributing here, and I apologise for incorrectly characterising E&E as not peer-reviewed. For the purposes of identification, are you the same Richard Courtney who also serves as Technical Editor of the coal industry journal CoalTrans International ? Presumably you disqualify yourself from any editorial decisions involving, er, Energy or Environment, on the grounds of conflict of interest?
And are you the Dr Richard Courtney who signed this open letter? http://www.john-daly.com/guests/openletter.htm
If so would you share with us the title of your PhD thesis and the awarding body? Before I spend time reading your refutation of AGW, what exactly are your academic credentials, publications please?
Perhaps you could confirm that the title IPCC Expert Reviewer can be used by anyone asked to view the draft report or who submitted a comment, even unsolicited, to the review process?
regards and thanks

Norm
September 22, 2008 10:39 pm

If the current cooling trend is a sign of AGW, what would have to happen to signal the IPCC to stop pushing AGW?

John Philips
September 22, 2008 11:48 pm

And still it cools
Yah, it cools a bit, then it warms a bit, then it cools… as Dr Courtney reminds us, the classic averaging period to discern the long term climate signal is thirty years and over this period all the global temperature series show a warming trend in line with that predicted by AGW.
Any shorter period, e.g. ‘we’ve had a decade of cooling’ is too prone to short – term noise, eg from El Nino. For example, according to UAH the global temperatures were
Jan 1997 -0.065C
Jan 2007 0.594C
So the ‘decade of cooling’ seems to have been preceded by a ‘decade of warming’. Cherry-picking? Of course,- it warms a bit, it cools a bit, it warms a bit …

AndyW
September 22, 2008 11:56 pm

Kim said
“On the basis of van Loon’s prediction of a mild winter and a cold summer I’ll predict now that this winter’s Arctic ice maximum will not exceed last winter’s and that next summer’s melt will be even less than this year. I also believe the value of the Arctic ice as a proxy for global temperature will overwhelm the strong local effects on ice. I believe that because the temperature drop over the last year has been so dramatic.”
I’m confused again by your statements Kim. If last years extent maxima was “tremendous” due to dramatic cooler global weather, that this summers extent was larger also because of this and finally that the next year or so will also be affected by this cooler global condition then how will a mild winter suddenly appear to reduce this winters maxima? For consistency you’d have to say the maximum should be a lot larger would you not?
Looking at the data last years maxima was no larger than the average and this years total melt has been larger than 2007, so neither, to me, show any global cooling effect at all.
Regards
Andy

EJ
September 22, 2008 11:59 pm

Get 2,500 professional engineers to sign off on the IPCC.
No, that’s not good enough.
Get a consensus of registered ‘engineers’ and ‘geologists’ who agree this science is settled.
Also, lets do some blind studies, eh? Throw the data and theories out there. Throw back some verifiable hypotheses.
I contend you all are on the cutting edge of a young, fun and complex science. If you admit the vastness of what is climate, the scales which we try to measure, and how much there is to learn, then drop the politics and try and control bias, then serious science can flourish.
I am also convinced that serious science can eventually be practiced on the web, and that the talent and knowledge out there is substantial and growing.
REMEMBER: All your talents are put forth are all voluntarily, are they not?
All this knowledge, available with a few clicks. It is truly amazing.
Like Kevin Bacon as Jack said, “I represent the government of the United States without passion or prejudice.” Let us all try to let our science discourse be without passion or prejudice.
But we can still have fun, right Tom?
a,b,c,d or e?
Cheers to all! and good science.

Phil.
September 23, 2008 12:11 am

kim (20:54:59) :
Phil. (18:53:08) Hah, you illustrate your method perfectly. I, and we, talk about ice extent, and you counter with ice area
Actually you don’t, you waffle on about ‘ice’, why anyone would want to use extent as an indicator of the amount of ice or the rate of melting or freezing is a mystery since it’s clearly unsuitable for that role. The message that the increased ice extent tells us is that this year the ice is more fragmented and spread out than last year. Talking about ‘sins of omission’, why didn’t you point out that the ice area was virtually indistinguishable from last year’s minimum? Don’t you think you should have mentioned it?

Richard S Courtney
September 23, 2008 1:01 am

Joel Shaw:
In response to my correct statement saying:
“Firstly, no prediction – n.b. not one – of the AGW hypothesis is observed in the data.”
You assert:
“Yes…They have been. For example, one prediction is that the troposphere will warm while the stratosphere cools, which is very different than what would occur if the warming were due to an increase in solar irradiance, and matches what has been observed. Another is that the arctic will warm faster than it warms closer to the equator. A third is that the day – night temperature differences will tend to decrease.”
Taking your above claims in turn:
1.
“one prediction is that the troposphere will warm while the stratosphere cools, which is very different than what would occur if the warming were due to an increase in solar irradiance, and matches what has been observed”
Wrong. Your dispute is an extreme form of cherry picking. The AGW prediction is a pattern of temperature change in the atmosphere that includes troposphere warming especially at altitude in the tropics and stratosphere cooling. The stratosphere has cooled, but so what? The pattern of temperature change in the atmosphere that AGW predicts has not happened.
And whether or not stratospheric cooling is consistent with something other than AGW is not relevant to the fact that the pattern of temperature change in the atmosphere that AGW predicts has not happened.
2.
“Another is that the arctic will warm faster than it warms closer to the equator.”
Wrong. Your dispute is another example of extreme cherry picking. The AGW prediction is that polar regions will warm faster than it warms closer to the equator. There are two polar regions and the Antarctic is cooling. That the Arctic is warming does not refute the fact that the prediction of cooling polar regions (n.b. both of them) is not happening.
3.
“A third is that the day – night temperature differences will tend to decrease.”
Wrong. Cherry picking again. And this time it is combined with a misunderstanding. Any global warming from any cause induces a reduction to day-night temperatures. The reduction to day-night temperatures is a predicted effect of increased surface heating: it is NOT a prediction of AGW. There is a limit to maximum surface temperatures in the tropical warm pool (first determined by Ramanathan & Collins, Nature, v351, 27-32 (1991) and subsequently confirmed by several others). This limit to surface temperature results from increased surface heating inducing increased evapouration (which cools the surface) with resulting increase to cloud cover (that reflects more solar energy as every sunbather has noticed). Similar increase to surface cooling by evapouration can be expected – but to a lesser degree – wherever there is surface moisture except in polar regions. So, increased heating raises temperatures but the temperatures rise is inhibited to greater degree for warmer temperatures. It follows from this that coolest regions will warm most and night-time temperatures will rise more than day-time temperatures (because on average nights are cooler than days)
Having made those errors, you quote me saying:
“Secondly, the warm hot spot in the troposphere is absent: in fact, cooling is present in that region of the troposphere. But that pattern has to be present if AGW induced by enhanced GH is present.
It matters not whether other effects “control climate” because the absence of the ‘hot spot’ demonstrates the absence of AGW.”
And you dispute that saying:
“No. As I have said a million times on this website and will probably have to say a million times more, the amplification of temperature trends or fluctuations as you go up in the tropical troposphere is NOT a prediction specific to AGW as the mechanism causing the warming. It is a prediction that follows from the basic physics of moist adiabatic lapse rate theory and is expected independent of the mechanism causing the warming.”
Iteration of an assertion does not prove the correctness of the assertion. But it is important to note that all the GCM predictions of AGW show the ‘warm spot’; see the CCSP report available at
http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap5-1/final-report/sap5-1-final-all.pdf
And the ‘warm spot’ is absent.
Importantly, if you were right to say that the warm spot “is a prediction that follows from the basic physics of moist adiabatic lapse rate theory and is expected independent of the mechanism causing the warming” then its absence would be evidence for absence of warming. But warming is a prediction of AGW so absence of the ‘warm spot’ is a refutation of AGW whether or not you re right.
I repeat what I said at
http://www.tech-know.eu/uploads/AGW_hypothesis_disproved.pdf
“The above list provides a complete refutation of the AGW-hypothesis according to the normal rules of science: i.e.
Nothing the hypothesis predicts is observed in the empirical data and the opposite of the hypothesis’ predictions is observed in the empirical data.”
Richard

Terry Ward
September 23, 2008 1:36 am

Norm (22:39:45) :
“If the current cooling trend is a sign of AGW, what would have to happen to signal the IPCC to stop pushing AGW?”
The body would need to be dissolved.
One may as well expect Albert to give back his fantasy fiction award.
And his Nobel.
And his $100,000,000
John Philips (22:15:33) :
“…..the title IPCC Expert Reviewer can be used by anyone asked to view the draft report or who submitted a comment, even unsolicited, to the review process?”
Ahhhh. Is that how “2500 scientists” sign off on complete junk?
Brendan H (18:40:56) :
“Dodgy Geezer: “In support of this aim, and in recognition of Dr. Meier’s attitude, I think that Anthony should make a particular effort to weed insulting, off-topic, or plain ‘denial’ posts from this thread.”
Well said. The peanut gallery should be closed on threads like this. It’s not as if they’re saying anything new or original, and there are plenty of other threads for mindless politicking.”
Hmmm. New…..original…..mindless……pot…kettle…etc
In The News:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/080922-permafrost.html
“Estimated to be at least 740,000 years old, the wedges of Canadian ice illustrate the longevity and resiliency of deeper permafrost during warmer climates of the past, they say.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/23/climatechange.scienceofclimatechange
“The new research confirms that the world has cooled slightly since 2005, but says this is down to a weather phenomena called La Niña, when cold water rises to the surface of the Pacific Ocean.”
This is your guardian speaking… Come baaa ck to the fold.

Brendan H
September 23, 2008 2:22 am

Smokey: “…your evidence supporting the catastrophic AGW hypothesis.”
The IPCC offers a number of climate change scenarios for this century, not all of them “catastrophic”. The evidence for AGW covers a number of areas: increases in CO2 levels, overall warming, a rise in sea levels, falls in snow cover, receding glaciers, a decrease in Arctic ice, earlier springs, treelines moving towards the poles. These are covered in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.
http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-syr.htm,
Of course, these indicators will undergo the normal fluctuations attributable to weather. What is important is the long-term trend, and to date the long term favours AGW.
“Catastrophic AGW has been repeatedly falsified. It keeps coming back like Mann’s discredited Hockey Stick for one reason: $Billions in annual grant money.”
You are claiming here that AGW – “catastrophic” or otherwise – cannot be happening because scientists gain grant money. And of course this is a nonsensical proposition, both a non-sequitur and an ad hominen. Grant money may exercise a powerful grip on your imagination, but its power does not extend to influencing the climate.

Brendan H
September 23, 2008 2:23 am

Tom in Florida: “Why not restrict every thread to just those that can prove they have accredited knowledge of the thread subject?”
That’s up to the people who run this show. When I referred to the “peanut gallery” I was referring to peanut throwers, not genuine knowledge seekers. As I said, there’s plenty of opportunity for letting off steam on other threads. The NSIDC scientist took time to answer in detail a number of questions. I see no problem in providing a courteous hearing.

Dodgy Geezer
September 23, 2008 3:35 am

A few responses…
@Jeff
To claim that if the change attributed to CO2 is less than that caused by natural forcings is proof that the change could not have actually been caused by CO2 seems to me to require randomness in climate change. ..
No, Jeff, I think you misunderstand me. Misunderstandings of positions seem to be very common in this game, possibly because we try to talk in isolation about a complex phenomenon in a few sentences. I was NOT saying that this proves that ‘no change was caused by CO2’. I was talking about the ‘whole AGW hypothesis’ being disproven, NOT CO2 warming.
I don’t think that anyone doubts the theoretical physics – that increasing CO2 in an atmosphere increases temperatures somewhat (leaving aside the practical issue of whether it may just go into a sink and have no effect on temperature). But that projected warming is small. The AGW hypothesis claims that CO2 feedback exists, and that it is powerful. So if this powerful effect is shown not to exist, I would say that the hypothesis is disproved.
@Joel
Thanks for the reference. It will take time for me to look through and examine all the issues in more than 450 responses, however!
Your comments about 8 and 16 years are of interest – When I eyeball various datasets I do get an impression that much of the data conforms to an approximate 30-year sine wave cycle, which would obviously have trends at 7.5 and 15 years. I was taken with one comment in your reference:
“The problem with the models is that their error bars are so huge, compared to the trend that they are intended to predict, that they basically cannot be falsified during the academic lifetime of their creators, no matter what happens.”
which seemed to match a comment of mine! I see that 20 years is voiced as a point at which you can be fairly sure the weather signal is well suppressed – this suggests that looking at data from 1988 onwards is a reasonable thing to do, and that seems to show a step change.
@Tom,
Well said. The peanut gallery should be closed on threads like this. It’s not as if they’re saying anything new or original, and there are plenty of other threads for mindless politicking….
As a probable member of your peanut gallery, I take quick offense of your nobler than thou attitude. You have your peer reviewed articles and conferences to do your discussions, we do not. Why not restrict every thread to just those that can prove they have accredited knowledge of the thread subject? If you do not want to read a comment, then don’t. You know which posters to overlook…”
Although not initially addressed, I feel I must jump in here. I never proposed that only people with ‘accredited’ knowledge should post in this thread, nor that the whole of the blog should be ‘cleansed’. I just suggested that, for the one thread where Dr. Meier was giving us the benefit of his expert opinion, we should leave off posts such as “Dr. Meier is an idiot”, or “What about cosmic rays?”. Note that I do not call any such posts ‘peanuts’. Some may be rude and thoughtless, some may be insulting but clever, some may be insightful but off the subject. I was suggesting, for this one thread only, that we confine ourselves to polite comment on only the 10 questions, to assist Dr. Meier in his responses.
I have posted on uniformly hostile boards before – it is impossible to cover single precise issues in detail when people are impolite, agressive, or wander widely from the topic. Science advances with communication, not disparagement…

September 23, 2008 3:46 am

Phil: Now you’re playing games.
In response to Kim’s comment, you wrote initially at 5:40:07 yesterday, “A cool phase PDO leads to increased sea temperatures in the N Pacific so you’d expect it to enhance melting.” I commented to you and Kim, but you, not Kim, elected to reply and you did so in a condescending manner. Example: “It’s not an accident they named it ‘cool’ phase and ‘warm’ phase, there is a temperature correlation there, just not where you’re looking.” I let that remark slide…then.
Now you write to me in response to my last comment at 15:59:20, “You appear to be obsessing about the PDO index, not something I mentioned.” Again, you’re playing games. Also, I don’t appreciate the implication of your last remark. I’m not obsessed with the PDO. I’m simply illustrating that you misunderstand the PDO or misrepresent it. My motivation is that simple. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Clearly you’d forgotten that YOU had previously written about the PDO, which was why I commented in the first place and which was why you responded to that comment at 13:14:48 with: “Not if you’re trying to correlate with the Pacific, 0º-65ºN, however if you look at the Pacific from about 30ºN you’ll see a difference, see the illustration I posted: http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/ earlier. It’s not an accident they named it ‘cool’ phase and ‘warm’ phase, there is a temperature correlation there, just not where you’re looking”.
I then provided three graphs of SST anomaly data for the North Pacific at various latitudes to illustrate your misunderstanding.
In your most current comment to me, you go on to quote Nathan Mantua of JISAO, “Typical surface climate anomaly patterns for warm phases of PDO are shown in Figure 1. SSTs tend to be anomalously cool in the central North Pacific coincident with unusually warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) along the west coast of the Americas.” To which you add, “Clearly Mantua thinks that SSTs correlate with the phase of the PDO, how the PDO Index is calculated is not germane to its effects.”
But what YOU FAIL to recognize is that Mantua is discussing PATTERNS of SST that TEND to take a certain form. He’s not talking about SST anomaly. And YOU FAIL to understand that I’m talking about SST anomaly, not SST patterns. This has apparently been the underlying problem with your replies to me all along.
Again, the PDO is not what you think it is.
You probably have also failed to notice that in the three most recent North Pacific SST graphs I linked, North Pacific SSTs have been dropping for the last four years. I’ll post them again.
30 to 65N (the latitudes you suggested)
http://i34.tinypic.com/bgd4y.jpg
20 to 65N (10 deg latitude more)
http://i37.tinypic.com/98ygit.jpg
40 to 65N (10 deg latitude more)
http://i38.tinypic.com/2ljpa9e.jpg
In all three graphs, North Pacific SSTs peaked 2004, which implies the North Pacific would have had less contribution to the Arctic sea ice decline in 2007 and 2008 than it did in 2004. It also implies that the North Pacific has not been contributing to global warming for the last 4 years.
If the PATTERN of the PDO is providing any contribution to any elevation in Arctic Sea SSTs, then it would be visible at the Bering Strait, since the North Pacific only interacts directly with the Arctic Sea at the Bering Strait. But the Bering Sea SST anomalies have also been decreasing since 2004, which also implies the Bering Sea would have had less contribution to the Arctic sea ice decline in 2007 and 2008 than it did in 2004.
http://i33.tinypic.com/2eb9wqu.jpg
Phil, again, in response to Kim’s comment, you wrote, “A cool phase PDO leads to increased sea temperatures in the N Pacific so you’d expect it to enhance melting.” You clearly misunderstand the PDO or intentionally misrepresent its effects. Either way, you’ve missed something.

Jonathan
September 23, 2008 3:51 am

For factual questions, I agree that the key question is about the evidence that leads him to believe that the current arctic warming is global while the previous comparable warming was regional. Beyond that, soot seems like a reasonable second area.
In terms of interpretation rather than facts (I suspect he will refuse to answer this but it might still be worth asking) I would like his opinion on whether, given only the records for the last 100 years of arctic temperatures and ice levels one would deduce that the arctic is currently experiencing unprecedented and alarming warming, or is the present warming only alarming when interpreted within the framework of the current global warming consensus. In other words, does the current arctic melt provide independent grounds for concern, or is it only concerning as part of the AGW package?

Arthur Glass
September 23, 2008 4:53 am

“Perhaps that should cause you to wonder if it is you, rather than Dr. Meier, who is out of step with his fellow scientists.”
Oh, by all means! Where would science be if scientists ever fell out of step with the apparatchiki?

kim
September 23, 2008 4:59 am

Andy W (23:56:52) You have a point, but I believe this year’s maximum will be less than last year’s because this winter will be milder than last. I’m on a thin twig of a speculative branch. Were the cooling steady, my speculation wouldn’t make sense, but it isn’t. Still, I base these on the notion that Arctic Ice will be a proxy for global temperature, when I know that local conditions often predominate.
John Philips (23:48:07) Think of this: If the PDO phase is 30 years and you call a trend just at the end of one of its 30 year phases, then you will always be wrong about the next 30 years. Nice, huh? Also, why waste so much breath on your gigantic ad hominem about Richard. It’s possible to demonstrate your fallacious logic with much greater brevity.
Phil. (00:11:20) In case you’ve conveniently forgotten, all the hullaballoo and intemperate and extravagant speech last year was about ice extent. It’s only fair to continue about the same metric. How come you didn’t bring up ice volume?
Bob Tisdale (03:46:21) This is absolutely typical of Phil. He’s very bright, knows his stuff superlatively, but lies constantly by omission. Very dangerous to count on him. And frankly, the good Doctor Mieir seems cut from the same cloth.
Jeff (22:05:08) See lucia’s Blackboard at rankexploits.com for disconfirmation of the IPCC’s prediction of 0.2 degrees Celsius temperature rise per decade, and derivatively of their central contention about climate sensitivity to CO2. You don’t have to be convinced, but lots of people see that huge questions are raised.
Norm (22:45:39) Pachauri, head of the IPCC, has already publicly wondered if someone ‘got their sums wrong’. Incidentally, the IPCC was chartered to investigate and deal with man’s effect on climate, not to understand climate more generally. Sadly, in a throwback to a superstitious world, they fastened on a miniscule and chimeric effect of man, and have completely missed the boat about land use changes and its effect on climate.
I’m afraid that it will take a disastrous spell of cold weather to bring the IPCC and the ‘Hockey Team’ to their senses. Denial is not just a river in Egypt, etc., etc. Incidentally an elegant study shows a correlation from antiquity between aurorae and Nile River levels. We sun worshippers go way back.
==============================

Joel Shore
September 23, 2008 5:07 am

kim says:

Joel Shore (19:02:02) Sure, you take 20 different models and run them a bunch of times and you’ll have runs that show a temperature decline. The mass of them do not. The mass of them expect rising temperature with rising CO2. No one has verified or validated a General Climate Model. To pretend otherwise is hallucinatory.

Actually, a significant number of them show cooling over any particular short timescale of, say, 8 years or so. So, when you consider an 8 year timescale like the last 8 years, there is a significant probability that it will have a negative trend. And, if you consider, say, a time period of 30 years and ask whether some of the 8 year time periods contained within it will show a negative trend, the answer is that this is not only possible but in fact extremely likely according to the climate models.
As for verification, you might want to look at the chapter in the IPCC report that is devoted to a discussion of how the models are tested.
Aazure says:

What intense posts – both sides – on this issue.
This demonstrates a fact:
Anthropogenic causation of climate change is NOT a fact – but still, merely, a hypothesis.

Using this logic, I could also conclude by going out on the internet that evolution is not a fact but merely a hypothesis. And, the notion that the World Trade Center buildings fell down because of the planes hitting them rather than because of, say, explosive charges being set, is also not a fact but merely a hypothesis.
Rather, I think what all of the argument (in light of the universal agreement among scientific bodies like the IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, etc.) demonstrates is how strongly people will be unwilling to believe something that goes against their strongly-held beliefs.
Jeff says:

Oops. I missed another paper in Smokey’s list that was published in a legitimate journal, the one by McKitrick and Micheals in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It claims that up to half of global warming can be explained by urbanization and land use changes.

Also, was this the same paper by those authors that reached incorrect conclusions because they mixed up radians and degrees? See here: http://timlambert.org/2004/08/mckitrick6/
Boy, those papers falsifying AGW theory are really quite impressive once you take a look at them! 😉

September 23, 2008 5:30 am

It seems to me that the relevant aspect of AGW theory here can be summarized thus:
Increased levels of CO2 will cause amplified global warming which will cause arctic ice to melt.
Given that global temperatures have not risen over the last 5 or 10 years, I don’t see how melting ice in the arctic over the same time period is evidence of anything. Can somebody enlighten me?

kim
September 23, 2008 5:35 am

(05:07:34) Sorry, Joel, I’ve seen the spaghetti graphs and something like two of the twenty graphs show a short cooling trend possible. The mass of them don’t see it at all. Also, I’m sorry, but I’m not taking the IPCC’s word on anything, particularly about testing of their circular logic models. You do know that that the IPCC’s reports are written by a small coterie of some 50 scientists, and its misleading Summary for Policymakers by a small fraction of that number, don’t you? It’s bogus, and that’s why they’ve completely missed the boat about the present cooling.
===================================

September 23, 2008 5:38 am

@brazil84:
If you are heating water and the pot starts to simmer, you can back off the heat to prevent a full-boil. The pot continues to simmer, but the temperature stays the same. Only by further decreasing the heat into the system, will the pot cool further.
Note: Before I get hammered, I know this is a sloppy analogy because in it we are dealing with a phase transition and the temperature of the water will never rise above 100C.

kim
September 23, 2008 5:38 am

brazil84 (05:30:02) You ask an excellent question which I can’t answer. I suspect that last years melting was the last gasp of the recent warming finally working its North, but that implies a lag at which I’m just guessing.
======================================

Richard S Courtney
September 23, 2008 5:53 am

Joel Shore:
This thread is about Dr Meir’s gracious response to questions. In that context, you are being offensive when you say:
“Rather, I think what all of the argument (in light of the universal agreement among scientific bodies like the IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, etc.) demonstrates is how strongly people will be unwilling to believe something that goes against their strongly-held beliefs.”
Scientists assess available information and reach judgements on the basis of the weight they put on the parts of that information. And scientists are people, so their weightings differ and therefore they reach different conclusions. But, being scientists, they dispute each others conclusions by clearly stating those conclusions and how they reached them, then challenging the underlying data and each others weightings of that data.
The different conclusions are not “beliefs”. They are considered evaluations that can be changed by alteration of (i.e. addition to or refutation of) the available data.
Indeed, this refusal of scientists to accept “beliefs” is why the practice of ‘cherry picking’ data is reprehensible to science: the cherry picking distorts any challenge of the underlying data and each others weightings of that data.
All scientists understand that their present understandings of anything could need amendment in the light of additional evidence. I interpret Dr Meir’s answers to indicate that he concludes the available data confirms the AGW paradigm. But I conclude that the available data refutes the AGW paradigm. Such matters need to be debated: such is science. Many scientists conclude the same as Dr Meir and many others conclude as I do.
Eventually, the science – including robust but honest debate – will reveal which of these conclusions is right or most nearly right.
Until then, relying on authorities “like the IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, etc.” is offensive to all honest scientists (including Dr Meir) who engage in the scientific debate. And relying on the authorities you cite can be very, very misleading for reasons that Lindzen cogently explains in a paper – that is an enjoyable read – at
http://arxiv.org/abs/0809.3762
Richard

Mike B
September 23, 2008 6:26 am

Anthony, I think your web cite is great. Keep up the good work. The one thing about Dr. Meier’s answers that interested me was this idea he has that regional warming can be natural and cyclical, but that if it is world wide than it has to be caused by manmade sources. Even if the whole world is in a warming trend can’t there be a natural explanation or cause for this? Why does it have to be assumed by him that it is human caused?

Joel Shore
September 23, 2008 6:42 am

brazil84 says:

Given that global temperatures have not risen over the last 5 or 10 years, I don’t see how melting ice in the arctic over the same time period is evidence of anything. Can somebody enlighten me?

Let’s say that you take a big block of ice out of the freezer and put it on the counter. A few hours later, you come back and part of it has melted. A few more hours later, you come back and find that more of it has melted. Would you conclusion be that you couldn’t possibly blame taking this latter amount that melted on the ice being in a warmer environment because the temperature in the room hasn’t changed between the two times you checked on the ice?
kim says:

Sorry, Joel, I’ve seen the spaghetti graphs and something like two of the twenty graphs show a short cooling trend possible. The mass of them don’t see it at all. Also, I’m sorry, but I’m not taking the IPCC’s word on anything, particularly about testing of their circular logic models…

In other words, I am wasting my time presenting any evidence to you because you simply will not believe it if you don’t like what it shows. I should have learned this already from your comments on tamino’s blog. (And, by the way, I think you may be confusing graphs you’ve seen with regards to the issue of tropospheric temperature amplification in the tropical troposphere, a different issue…but whatever.)

Gerald Machnee
September 23, 2008 6:47 am

Joel Shore (12:21:35) :
**In regards to point 2, the evidence for AGW is based on a lot more than just the work of Michael Mann. In fact, the evidence for the current temperatures being unprecedented in the last ~1200 years is based on much more than just the work of Michael Mann…and this particular piece of evidence is just one of the independent lines of evidence supporting AGW (and, in fact, the most circumstantial at that).**
Mann is part of a social club defined by Dr. Wegman which use the same data -bristlecone pines.
**And, Mann et al. have made considerable advances in regards to the more legitimate issues of proxy quality and robustness of results in their most recent paper.**
This paper is more of the same, with some deceptive techniques. However, it is being thoroughly dismantled by Steve McIntyre on Climateaudit.

Joel Shore
September 23, 2008 6:53 am

Richard S Courtney says:

All scientists understand that their present understandings of anything could need amendment in the light of additional evidence. I interpret Dr Meir’s answers to indicate that he concludes the available data confirms the AGW paradigm. But I conclude that the available data refutes the AGW paradigm. Such matters need to be debated: such is science. Many scientists conclude the same as Dr Meir and many others conclude as I do.
Eventually, the science – including robust but honest debate – will reveal which of these conclusions is right or most nearly right.
Until then, relying on authorities “like the IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences, etc.” is offensive to all honest scientists (including Dr Meir) who engage in the scientific debate.

The point is that if one is unwilling to ever accept the conclusions of scientific authorities on the matter, the debate can go on forever. Do you think that the fact that there is still considerable debate on the web (including by some people who are scientists and engineers) in regards to evolution means that there is legitimate scientific evidence against it?
You will always be able to find a few scientists who will support almost any point of view. If you have no way of deciding which is the more accepted scientific viewpoint at the moment, then you simply cannot use science to inform public policy (which may be a fine result if you work for the coal industry…but may not be the result that the rest of us find very satisfying).
[By the way, I do agree with you that all scientific knowledge is tentative and may need to be amended in light of further evidence. However, in less controversial areas, this does not stop us from using assessments of the current scientific understanding in order to make the most scientifically-informed public policy decisions. To use the fact that science can never know anything for certain to argue against putting any weight on scientific assessments such as the IPCC report or the joint statement by the NAS and counterpart bodies in the G8+5 countries is basically to argue against using science to inform us on any public policy decisions, which is a recipe for the return to the Dark Ages.]

Mike Bryant
September 23, 2008 7:01 am

Does anyone here know how many versions of each of the GCMs there have been?
It would be good if each one was numbered to show how many times they have been changed.

September 23, 2008 7:03 am

Kim: I haven’t gone through the thread to see and what you and Brazil84 were discussing, but on the topic of Arctic time lags, Trenberth et al discussed a 13-month lag between an El Nino and the high-latitude surface temperature response. I hope that helps.
Refer to “The evolution of ENSO and global atmospheric temperatures.”

Jeff Alberts
September 23, 2008 7:04 am

Of course, these indicators will undergo the normal fluctuations attributable to weather. What is important is the long-term trend, and to date the long term favours AGW.

Would that be the incredibly long 30 year trend?

You are claiming here that AGW – “catastrophic” or otherwise – cannot be happening because scientists gain grant money. And of course this is a nonsensical proposition, both a non-sequitur and an ad hominen. Grant money may exercise a powerful grip on your imagination, but its power does not extend to influencing the climate.

Wow, you really twisted that one. It’s power DOES, however, extend to influencing how people perceive climate. Hence propaganda.

Jeff Alberts
September 23, 2008 7:08 am

The AGW hypothesis claims that CO2 feedback exists, and that it is powerful. So if this powerful effect is shown not to exist, I would say that the hypothesis is disproved.

Actually I think the claim is that CO2 warming (but mysteriously not “natural” warming) triggers other positive feedbacks causing a runaway effect (I won’t call it “greenhouse” because that’s a misnomer). Those feedbacks don’t seem to be happening, which is a falsification of AGW.

kim
September 23, 2008 7:10 am

Joel (06:46:42) Once in my last post to you I said ‘graphs’ where I meant ‘models’. Sure, I don’t believe what you say; you, as well as Tamino, are not scientific about climate. You’ve got too much invested in CO2=AGW. Do you remember me telling Tamino that his defense of Mann’s hockey stick was complete rubbish? Granted, I stole the knowledge from JeanS, but now, six months later, Tamino admits as much, after being called on it by the expert he cited, Ian Jolliffe. Tamino censored JeanS from his blog, and he has censored me. Pheh.
And, I agree with Gerald Machnee about the thorough dismantling of Mann that Steve McIntyre is doing. Steve won’t go so far as to call it deliberate deception, but it seems obvious from the hoops Mann jumps through and the bizarre constructions he makes, that he is no longer just a naive statistician making innocent mistakes. I’d call him purposefully crooked, and for what? Fleeting defense of his ego? Does he really think climate has gone post modern and can become what he wants it to be? Doesn’t he see that the tip of the blade of his imaginary hockey stick has broken and is now pointing down. How much longer can this hoax persist?
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Jeff Alberts
September 23, 2008 7:16 am

Boy, those papers falsifying AGW theory are really quite impressive once you take a look at them! 😉

Yeah, like Hockey Schticks…

kim
September 23, 2008 7:20 am

Joel Shore (06:53:53) You are using the argument to authority and that is not a logical fallacy when your authorities are right. It fails when they are wrong, and when you see that the IPCC report is actually the product of a small number of deluded scientists you will understand that your authorities fail on this subject. Your models mistake the climate sensitivity to CO2 by assuming positive feedbacks that are apparently not there. Why can’t the modelers re-examine their basic assumptions in the face of a cooling globe, and the spectacular failure of their models?
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Jeff Alberts
September 23, 2008 7:21 am

Anthony, I think your web cite is great. Keep up the good work. The one thing about Dr. Meier’s answers that interested me was this idea he has that regional warming can be natural and cyclical, but that if it is world wide than it has to be caused by manmade sources. Even if the whole world is in a warming trend can’t there be a natural explanation or cause for this? Why does it have to be assumed by him that it is human caused?

The problem with the logic here is that the whole globe ISN’T warming. Parts are, parts aren’t. The idea of a global temperature is silly. All things are NOT equal.

September 23, 2008 7:26 am

Jeff:

“I also glanced at Lindzen’s paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. This paper questions the probability of large temperature changes from the increase in CO2 but Lindzen does not deny that CO2 can lead to some amount of warming.” [my emphasis]

Thanks for ‘glancing’ at one of the 53 papers cited. If you are interested, I have more available. However, I must reiterate one point which is being deliberately misrepresented:
At no time have I said that carbon dioxide has absolutely zero effect on temperature. The first ~20 ppmv of CO2 has a quite small, but measurable effect. However, doubling that atmospheric concentration has a smaller effect. Doubling it again has a still smaller effect. And the current <400 ppmv of CO2 has such a negligible effect on the Earth’s temperature, that its effect cannot be sorted out from the background noise. Many other feedbacks and forcings drown out the very, very tiny effect of additional increases in carbon dioxide. Keep in mind that atmospheric CO2 has exceeded 7,000 ppmv in the past without ever resulting in “runaway global warming.” In fact, substantial rises in CO2 are the result, not the cause, of rising temperature.
By misrepresenting this, Jeff and others are attempting to frame the argument in such a way as to claim that skeptics are denying any influence of CO2 whatever. This is not honest on their part.
Yes, CO2 has a negligible effect. No, CO2 will not cause runaway global warming — which is the specific scare tactic that has brought us to this point.
The climate alarmists make believe that the human-produced component of CO2 — a minor portion of a very minor trace gas — will shortly bring about climate catastrophe. That is their hypothesis.
Skeptical scientists disagree, since no credible mechanism for runaway global warming has withstood falsification. Always remember that those hypothesizing AGW/climate catastrophe have the burden of proving their case. They have abjectly failed to do so; the climate is well within normal historical parameters. In fact, despite rising CO2, the planet has been cooling for close to a decade.
Make no mistake: the climate alarmists’ hypothesis is not that CO2 has only a negligible effect on the planet’s temperature.
Rather, the alarmists are still trying to convince an increasingly skeptical public that human production of carbon dioxide will soon lead to runaway global warming and climate catastrophe.
That is their hypothesis. Because if their hypothesis were merely that an increase in CO2 would cause only a negligible rise in temperature, which is so very tiny that it can not be detected from the background noise, or from the planet’s natural emergence from the last Ice Age, then no one would pay any attention to them at all, and the $Billions in annual grant money to study the “problem” would quickly evaporate.
That is why the alarmists must continue to insist that the planet is on the verge of runaway global warming, and that only Al Gore, James Hansen, and the UN/IPCC can save us. The runaway global warming/AGW hypothesis is a financial scam, nothing more and nothing less. Unfortunately, we taxpayers are being bilked by these con men.
And those who attempt to misrepresent the situation will not get away with their sophistry here.

Dill Weed
September 23, 2008 7:35 am

Slamdunk (11:25:48) .”If the science is so settled and AGW is a proven fact, as claimed by Al Gore, Hansen et al, why would IPCC Co-Lead Author Johathan Overpeck tell Prof. David Deming that they had to “get rid of” the MWP?”
They don’t claim AGW is a proven ‘fact’. AGW remains a theory supported by facts increase in CO2, melting in the arctic, increased ocean temperatures and sea level rise, etc. AGW will always remain a theory, if it were ‘proven’ it would then be considered a law, like the law of gravity, thermodynamics, etc. Perhaps this misunderstanding arises from talking about scientific ideas in lay terms. There is no doubt that many scientists consider the theory of AGW the best current explanation of the facts as we currently know them and are finding them. Sooner or later, the facts will reveal weaknesses and strengths in the AGW theory.
I wasn’t there when Overpeck allegedly said, ‘we’ll have to get rid of the MWP.’ Assuming a group scientists decided to conspire to make the MWP ‘disappear’ doesn’t make the MWP in reality disappear. Indeed, such a folly, if it was undertaken and let’s assume it was leaves the conspirators open to being discredited. So let’s see what happens. If the MWP was found once it can be found again, right. Verifiability. Repeatability. A means to challenge AGW. Perhaps the beginning of a good counter argument! It may not be a slamdunk, but if it’s there it’s there.
Dee Norris (11:34:18) “ It is not necessary to provide an alternate explanation for climate change in order to successfully falsify AGW.”
Your right. Often, additional facts will result in alternate explanations though and hopefully to more accurate understanding. A different understanding doesn’t stop melting in the arctic, droughts, shifting climate zones, increased ocean temps and sea level rise or the need to anticipate changes these realities will FORCE on society, changes that can’t be made quickly.
We are unwilling participants in an ongoing experiment that may be slipping beyond our control. We can dispute the ‘causes’ or the relative percentage of responsibility for the changes we are seeing, but that doesn’t change what we are seeing. A couple of interesting analogies apply. It has not been ‘proven’ that cigarettes cause cancer, yet the accumulation of facts (scientific evidence) eventually resulted in our accepting that they do and most importantly after much fighting, a societal response occurred. Unfortunately, we may not have enough time for an insurmountable amount of evidence to accumulate to get to the point where oil/coal CEOs testify to congress say they don’t believe that CO2 cause global warming the way cigarette CEOs said they didn’t believe cigarettes cause cancer while everyone was disgusted by their self-serving denial.
The second analogy is our current financial crisis. When the postmortem is done they are going to find instances of people warning this crisis was coming, it was foreseeable and preventable. Warren Buffett warned 5 years ago that derivatives were a “time bomb.” But, he and others were not heeded. Swap Hansen for Buffett, only the stakes are bigger, inertia and self-interest, and the possibility for delay and obfuscation, larger.
Robert in Calgary (11:59:58) In response to my saying one could find balanced and reasonable discussion at Real Climate Robert said, “Possibly….the most outlandish statement I have read on this site!”
If one has done much reading on climate change on the net, this is comment is simply baffling.
Michael Ingram (angrygodz@gmail.com) (12:24:09) It’s hard to pass up such low hanging fruit!
Michael, take the other 10 ice cubes from the tray and place them on a wooden board tilted slightly into bowl and watch them. Then watch them some more. Then watch them slide into the bowl and raise the level beyond the line you drew when you put other two cubes in the bowl. That’s because a good deal of the ice in this world in ON LAND.
Smokey (12:35:32) “It is the duty of those putting forth a hypothesis, such as catastrophic AGW, to prove their case.”
No, it isn’t.
It is a scientist’s duty to put forth the strongest factually based case they can. When I say ‘factually based’, I mean that other scientists who may or may not agree can then review the data and offer competing hypotheses and repeat experiments or recollect data using the alternate methods to validate or invalidate the original data. In science, nothing is ever ‘proven.’ Everything remains open to refutation. Certainly, some hypotheses are backed by so many verified facts that they gain the status of law, but even they can be modified when new facts or discoveries are made. Such is now happening in the field of physics – some of Einstein’s long standing hypotheses are being challenged in the light of new data and discoveries.
“The AGW/CO2/planetary disaster hypothesis is wrong. Cooling [is occurring], not warming, as they have so confidently predicted based on nothing more than their always-inaccurate computer models.”
If you have read Hansen and others they acknowledge the inaccuracies of computer models. Computer models tend to be several steps, if not many, behind, even so they can contribute to our understanding of the things they represent. Computer models will never take into account all the variables and their dynamic interactions with each other. It just is not going to happen. But, Hansen’s strongest argument comes from ice cores, geological and atmospheric data (REAL TESTABLE DATA). Those REAL things provide a record that takes into account all the variables and their dynamic interactions with each other something a computer model can NEVER do.
“To date, the proponents of AGW/CO2/planetary catastrophe have failed miserably in proving their hypothesis, which has been repeatedly falsified. Maybe you can do better. I await your proof.”
Wow. You must be aware of some hypotheses that explain the melting arctic, sea level and temperature rise, shifting climate zones, increased (overtime) global temperatures, etc. But more importantly, these hypotheses seem to relieve you of concern about the course of the changes you are witnessing on this planet. One wonders do you as a result of these hypotheses see any need to change the impact we are having on this planet or is our impact negligible?
One last word, it’s not about ‘proving’ anything. I shouldn’t have used that word in my post. It’s about make a case (hypothesis) that explains a set of facts, scientifically testable and verifiable, that is important and then evaluating how well each hypothesis fits with the facts. Then modifying that hypothesis as new facts and relationships are revealed. That’s what missing from those who oppose AGW – which is a fine, I think good thing to do because it forces a refinement of AGW. But just like cigarettes causing cancer has never been proven likewise AGW will never be proven. While bodies stacked up before action was taken on cigarettes, changes undeniably are occurring in our world.
Smokey (12:55:15) “As Einstein said,”To defeat relativity one did not need the word of 100 scientists, just one fact”
It’s not going to just take ‘one fact’ to disprove AGW. It’s going to take many that will stand up to scrutiny and explain the changes we are seeing and most importantly give us some idea what if anything to do about the changes we are seeing. I’ll look forward to reading the articles you cited.
Dodgy Geezer (15:27:41): With respect to what I am saying, I should clarify what I mean by ‘sniping’.
A sniper takes a shot at one fact or argument and then acts as if the whole theory is disproven – case closed. Like someone doing a drive-by they take off their deed done and claim ‘victory!’ Evil AGW is disproven!
Undoubtedly, there are mistaken understandings and new dynamics to be understood in AGW, that does not mean the idea that we are causing warming or can influence temperature is null and void and we can just walk away without responsibility for stewardship for our children’s and the planets and all that inhabit it futures.
“I have several times asked, on AGW boards, what would be accepted as constituting a disproval of AGW theory. I have never received an answer. If AGW supporters are not able to describe what would count as a ‘comprehensive undermining of AGW theory’, I am not sure how they would recognize one if we provided it.”
I can only speak for myself here. I don’t know what such a competing hypothesis would sound like. I know though that it would have to take data that AGW is based on and offer a plausible counter explanation and since many object to AGW’s claim of catastrophic changes that it should offer explanation for what’s happening now and project a different future, perhaps one where we breathe a sigh of relief followed by staggering incredulity that we had been so misled and hoodwinked by the scientific community at large. Also, this would no doubt mark a new era in science where every claim is left open to vigorous challenge – a sea change (no pun intended). Such a competing hypothesis would since it had corrected previous misunderstandings of AGW tell us what if anything we need to do about the changes we are seeing.

Steven Goddard
September 23, 2008 7:47 am

Jeff,
I am surprised that you are still confused about “pixel counting” despite numerous explanations. Being a patient person, I will try again.
Pixel counting is the most fundamental operation of a gigantic industry known as “image processing.” It is used in nearly every high tech field – any application which involves large or small scale images. Astronomers, nano-technologists, spy satellite surveillance, DNA sequencing, etc. all rely on pixel counting of low quality images. Dr. Meier tells me that NSIDC teaches their students pixel counting as a way to make “good rough estimate” of sea ice. Conversion from compressed to uncompressed image formats is a technology that was mastered decades ago.
You display an astonishing lack of knowledge in your seemingly endless discussion of this topic.

Joel Shore
September 23, 2008 8:45 am

Jeff Alberts says:

Actually I think the claim is that CO2 warming (but mysteriously not “natural” warming) triggers other positive feedbacks causing a runaway effect (I won’t call it “greenhouse” because that’s a misnomer).

This is the sort of manifestly incorrect statement that seems to thrive here. There is nothing in the climate models that says that the positive feedbacks such as the water vapor feedback and the ice albedo feedback, etc. operate only for CO2 warming and not on natural warming. They operate whatever is causing the warming (or, e.g., in the case of aerosols from volcanoes or man, cooling). The claim that these feedbacks are not also included in warmings due to natural processes is a complete and utter figment of your imagination.
In fact, the only people who I know of who have been trying to dream up positive feedbacks that operate only on specific processes are the skeptics who are desperately trying to come with a way to magnify the solar forcing through the cosmic ray hypothesis. This is because we have measurements that show the direct solar forcing is much smaller than the forcing due to CO2 and thus it is necessary to invoke a feedback process specific to solar only in order to be able to have any hope of having it dominate (and, even then, you have trouble getting the time-dependence right over the last half century or so).
kim says:

It fails when they are wrong, and when you see that the IPCC report is actually the product of a small number of deluded scientists you will understand that your authorities fail on this subject. Your models mistake the climate sensitivity to CO2 by assuming positive feedbacks that are apparently not there. Why can’t the modelers re-examine their basic assumptions in the face of a cooling globe, and the spectacular failure of their models?

Kim, one can always come up with reasons to doubt the authorities and thus to ignore the scientific consensus. The creationists / intelligent design proponents do the exact same thing. I suggest you watch the movie “Expelled” to educate yourself on how close your tactics are to theirs.
As for the the modelers re-examining their assumptions, in fact they have been constantly examining their assumptions. E.g., Soden has done a lot of work testing the water vapor feedback against data, they are constantly looking at how the models are able to reproduce various events and aspects of the climate.
However, as I have noted before, the models have not failed. In fact, the models would have failed if we had not ever seen periods on the order of 8 years where the temperature trend was downward because the models quite clearly show that natural variability is large enough that over a long enough lenght of time such periods are highly likely to occur even in the face of steadily increasing greenhouse gas forcings. If such periods did not occur, we would have to conclude that the models overestimate natural variability. As it turns it, it appears that the models get natural variability at least approximately right. (“Approximately” because I doubt that there are the necessary statistics available to make rigorous quantitative comparisons between the natural variability seen in the models and that seen in reality.)

Christopher Elves
September 23, 2008 8:50 am

Dill Weed,
“It is a scientist’s duty to put forth the strongest factually based case they can. When I say ‘factually based’, I mean that other scientists who may or may not agree can then review the data and offer competing hypotheses and repeat experiments or recollect data using the alternate methods to validate or invalidate the original data.”
….and herein lies the very uneasy feeling that many scientists have about much of the AGW theory:
Steve Macintyre (and others) have made a career out of trying to obtain the data archives used by Hansen, Mann and others, in order that their hypotheses may subjected to the rigours of verification and repeatability of which you speak. For me any scientific hypothesis that fails to provide such data for wider scrutiny must be considered shaky at best. To date, the reluctance and, in some cases, downright refusal to release such data by prominent AGW scientists is (rightly I believe) cause enough for a healthy dose of scepticism, before any alternatives to the AGW explanation – of which there are many – need even be considered.
Until Hansen and others are willing to be transparent with their data and methodology, their conclusions should be treated with extreme caution, rather than celebrated by the media and used as policy cornerstones by governments that should know better.
Your own position seems reasonable to me although, for many reasons including the above, I can’t agree with your conclusions. Perhaps you could try and get your hands on some of the missing data and methodology – I’m sure Steve Macintyre for one would be most grateful!

JamesG
September 23, 2008 8:50 am

This “debate” seems to be a dialogue of the deaf. Let’s cut to the chase! Ignoring all the downstream climate issues, most of which consist of pure guesswork, the most important item is the CO2 climate sensitivity. Skeptics say it is 0 to 1K and the IPCC says 1.5K to 4.5K. This latter value when used in the models gives 1K to 6K per century as output. So far so good, but the base theory gives only 1K without feedbacks and those larger values seem to come from an odd assortment of biased interpretations of unreliable, cherry-picked and ambiguous paleo data combined with some circular reasoning from the use of other models. The science behind these higher numbers is therefore not settled at all, except in the sense that few scientists are prepared to go against the mainstream. And, judging from the abuse the mavericks get, who can really blame them?
What we skeptics want to know is really quite reasonable – how well do the higher sensitivities compare to real world data? Without some proof, preferably of unadjusted data, then an honest scientist should conclude that 1K is the most likely value and the higher values are rather less likely. Don’t you warmers agree? The real problem though is that only a few scientists, not all of them skeptics I add, have even bothered to check this vital assumption and all such checks have reported that there isn’t any apparent positive feedback at all. That the majority of scientists (consensus if you like) ignore this and seem quite content with an unverified assumption is not a reason to trust them – it is a darn good reason to mistrust them. Worse still, the more strident activist/scientists conclude that the data must be wrong because it doesn’t agree with the models: Which is a nonsensical reversal of normal scientific practice!
In the face of this widespread scientific laxity on such an important issue, skeptics are naturally forced to conclude that the message is more important than the actual science. And that message is; “let’s stop using fossil fuels”. I’m not against this idea myself but I tend to be more realistic about it. What I really cannot figure out though is where this hatred of fossil fuel and car companies has come from. It is obviously a very recent phenomenon because most of you guys are probably two or three car families and commute longish distances. Is it guilt?

Joel Shore
September 23, 2008 9:03 am

Dill Weed says:

A couple of interesting analogies apply. It has not been ‘proven’ that cigarettes cause cancer, yet the accumulation of facts (scientific evidence) eventually resulted in our accepting that they do and most importantly after much fighting, a societal response occurred. Unfortunately, we may not have enough time for an insurmountable amount of evidence to accumulate to get to the point where oil/coal CEOs testify to congress say they don’t believe that CO2 cause global warming the way cigarette CEOs said they didn’t believe cigarettes cause cancer while everyone was disgusted by their self-serving denial.

Two comments on this:
(1) In fact, this is an extremely apt analogy since some of the very same tactics (and even some of the very same people, like Steven Milloy of JunkScience.com) that were involved in the campaign to raise doubt about the connection between cigarettes and cancer are now involved in the campaign to raise doubt about AGW.
(2) As to your comment regarding CEOs of oil and coal companies, in fact we have already waited so long that many of the the oil companies now accept the science on AGW! (The coal companies maybe less so, since coal is the worst energy source from the point of view of greenhouse gas emissions.) You might want to check out what BP and Shell have to say about climate change on their corporate websites. Even Exxon/Mobil, the oil company that has been fueling the organizations that spread doubt about the science of AGW, is no longer flatly denying that AGW is a potentially significant problem, at least publicly. Most of the people contributing on this website are considerably behind the oil companies in their acceptance of the science of AGW.

John B
September 23, 2008 9:03 am

Counters wrote:
I’m sorry, but this simply isn’t correct. Models aren’t created on the premise that if they can “fit to data from 1980 to 2008,” they might have “predictive ability.” A climate model is not some statistical program which generates trends from previous data.
Really. From Environmental Modelling & Software Volume 23 , Issue 6 (June 2008):
In the last 10 years, downscaling techniques, both dynamical (i.e. Regional Climate Model) and statistical methods, have been developed to obtain fine resolution climate change scenarios. In this study, an automated statistical downscaling (ASD) regression-based approach inspired by the SDSM method (statistical downscaling model) developed by Wilby, R.L., Dawson, C.W., Barrow, E.M. [2002. SDSM – a decision support tool for the assessment of regional climate change impacts, Environmental Modelling and Software 17, 147-159] is presented and assessed to reconstruct the observed climate in eastern Canada based extremes as well as mean state. In the ASD model, automatic predictor selection methods are based on backward stepwise regression and partial correlation coefficients.
And from the article “Constraining climate model properties using optimal fingerprint detection methods” by Forest, Allen, Sokolov, and Stone:
We compare the height-latitude pattern of temperature changes as simulated by the MIT 2D model with observed changes, using optimal fingerprint detection statistics. Using a linear regression model as in Allen and Tett this approach yields an objective measure of model-observation goodness-of-fit (via the residual sum of squares weighted by differences expected due to internal variability). The MIT model permits one to systematically vary the model’s climate sensitivity (by varying the strength of the cloud feedback) and rate of mixing of heat into the deep ocean and determine how the goodness-of-fit with observations depends on these factors.
While a climate model may be a “sophisticated array of the physics equations and dynamics”, regression analysis is used to fit existing measurements to the model.
The result of parameterizing the functions is not really to train it to produce data from the 1980-2008 period, but to calibrate it the current condition of the climate.
This might not be the stated intention, but it is in effect the means to the end.
A final note: Climate models are not used to ‘predict the future.’ a Climate model is not numerical weather prediction.
Wow, I wish others understood this. For example from the “American Geophysical Union”:
http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0312.html
By the end of the 21st century, the authors state, the increase in carbon dioxide and decrease of sulphates will cause a substantially higher global warming of 5.5 degrees Celsius [9.9 degrees Fahrenheit].

John B
September 23, 2008 9:06 am

Joel Shore wrote:
So, the global cooling myth rears its head once again.
http://www.dailytech.com/NASA+James+Hansen+and+the+Politicization+of+Science/article9061.htm
“In 1971, Hansen wrote his first climate model, which showed the world was about to experience severe global cooling. NASA colleagues used it to warn the world that immediate action was needed to prevent catastrophe.”

Dodgy Geezer