Gavin Schmidt responds to criticism of his climate change picture book

How has an image of a reservoir in a desert come to be the best, strongest, and most scientific indication of climate change?

How has an image of a reservoir in a desert come to be the best, strongest, and most scientific indication of climate change?

A few months back, I posted a critique titled: Gavin Schmidt’s new climate picture book: Anti-Science?

I found it ironic that Dr. Schmidt used photos to depict climate change, while at the same time promoting open criticism of my surfacestations.org project on realclimate.org.  That project also uses photography, combined with measurements and a NOAA sanctioned rating system, to gauge thermometer siting issues. Oddly, there seems to be no complaints from the usual suspects when Dr. Schmidt uses artistic composition photography to illustrate climate change issues.

It is only fair then that since Dr. Schmidt has responded to the original author of that critical piece, Harold Ambler, that I repost Dr. Schmidt’s response here. Harold has invited me to republish that piece here.

A note to readers, Harold is going through a rough patch financially while waiting for his new book, Don’t Sell Your Coat, is to be published in November 2009. Royalties from it won’t come in until mid-2010. So if anyone is so inclined, please visit his web page and give him a  boost in the tip jar. – Anthony

More About Anti-Science

Guest post by Harold Ambler

As most of my readers know, I posted a critique of Gavin Schmidt’s book, Climate Change: Picturing the Science, not quite three months ago. Dr. Schmidt has responded in the last few days:

The point of a photo is always the context in which it’s seen. Lake Powell is a long way below it’s 1990’s peak, and that is due to a combination of reductions in rainfall upstream and additional demands on it’s water downstream. The last two years have seen a small rise in water level, and as you state correctly, it is important not to read too much into a short term record.

However, the real point of the photo (and as we discuss in the chapter that uses it), is that climate change is really only an issue because of the impacts – whether on human society or ecosystems. Areas that are already under water stress, such as the American South West are very vulnerable to changes in rainfall regime. And in fact, there is some evidence that long-term trends in precipitation in this region are already being affected by ongoing changes.

We have a long discussion in the book about being careful with the problem of attribution in imagery and we try to make that clear in the captions.”

The science concurs:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0213/p25s05-usgn.html

“Last week, Dr. Barnett published additional work in the journal Science attributing 60 percent of the reduction in snowpack, rising temperatures, and reduced river flows over the past 50 years to global warming.

The latest work “not only shows that climate change is a real problem. It also shows it has direct implications for humans – and not just in the third world,” says Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif.”

So yes, it’s a combination of things, as stated in the book (if you bother to read past the cover photo) and in the scientific literature.

My Response to Dr. Schmidt (Plus a Note to Readers):

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and lived through a few droughts, including the very serious one of 1976 to 1978. Again and again, my family and I saw water levels in the local reservoirs (and others in the state) decline to worrisome levels before they were, thankfully, replenished. One perspective on the phenomenon of alternating drought and wet in the West is that it is terrifying, and should be brought to as many people’s consciousness as possible as a new menace, part of global warming, etc. Another, more like my own, would point out that the astonishing agricultural productivity and explosion of population throughout the Southwest are proofs of humanity’s ability to adapt to its natural surroundings in very effective ways.

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Please read the remainder of the story at Talking About the Weather and don’t forget the tip jar 😉 – Anthony

83 thoughts on “Gavin Schmidt responds to criticism of his climate change picture book

  1. Anthony, there is a crooked link when you click at “Talking About the Weather” with the following message:
    Error 404
    Sorry, but you are looking for something that is not here

  2. Please read the remainder of the story at Talking About the Weather and don’t forget the tip jar
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    this link does not work as of Sunday p.m.
    REPLY: Fixed thanks- A

  3. It would be advisable to send all these “new age” scientist back to elementary school, to take the third grade again.
    Repeat after me:
    “Sun heats water of the oceans, then water evaporates, clouds form and rain falls” This is called, kids, the “water cycle”.
    Warming does not produce drought, cold sea waters does it.
    Cold PDO=drought. The same happened in the 1930´s (read: John Steinbeck´s “Grapes of Wrath”)

  4. Frankly the whole concept of “Picturing the Science” is ABSURD from the get go.
    Unless labeled, unless quatified and compared with dates times, unless put in context PICTURES ARE WORTH VIRTUALLY NOTHING.
    I cannot help but think the the classic picture of the Vietnamise Col. putting a bullet through the head of a Viet-Cong, used to great effect for PROPAGANDA here in the US.
    The US Media had an “unwritten agreement” to not let us know that the Viet Cong being EXECUTED (Yes!) had killed 4 members of the Col.’s FAMILY a few weeks before.
    I was just recently reviewing the summer of 1988 with some friends at dinner time. In Minnesota we had an almost complete drought. Water levels on many lakes dropped 3 to 5 feet! Dire predictions of Minnesota becoming a desert were made.
    The next year? FLOODS…
    Pictures taken in 1988 would certainly have demonstrated the devastating effects of “Global Warming”. (Ah, thankfully the AWG bulldozer had not started moving yet!) And such claims based on “pictures” would have been meaningless.
    Again, just as the Met. office megaflop device qualifies under, GIGO…
    So does trying to make “climate change” claims with photos have marginal utility.
    Hugoson

  5. Beautiful pictures abused by Gavin Schmidt to serve the alarmist’s agenda.
    Thanks to Harold Ambler for effectively debunking the conclusions of Schmidt’s book.

  6. The link for the rest of the story didn’t work for me . However , I don’t buy that decreassed river flows are the fault of reduced snowpack in the last fifty years . Snowpack varies from year to year – I know because I lived either in , or within sight of the Rockies for over thirty years . Much of the problem lies in increased downstream usage and generally sloppy water management . Water usage , water law and water management are extremely complicated issues and are often contradictory throughout the Western states . Most of the people involved try their best to resolve these issues , but it is still a mess .
    REPLY: Try using the REFRESH button

  7. Mark Hugoson (11:02:15) :
    Frankly the whole concept of “Picturing the Science” is ABSURD from the get go.
    Unless labeled, unless quatified and compared with dates times, unless put in context PICTURES ARE WORTH VIRTUALLY NOTHING.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this astute observation. However, using pictures to illustrate is epidemic, and among educators, widely believed to have great pedagogical value for those who are “visual” learners. For several year I used Serway’s popular textbook for college physics, but gave it up partially over these meaningless images. For example, in one case Serway showed a photograph of a set of “smoke” stacks at a power plant allegedly on a day when the electrostatic precipitators were operating (thus producing almost no emissions), against another photo showing copious emissions on a day when the precipitators were allegedly not working.
    There was nothing to prove the difference in appearance was related to anything other than differences in environmental temperature and RH, and in fact no substantiation that precipitators were non-functional in either photo, or even any indication that the cloud coming from the stacks was simply condensing water vapor. In fact, the photos promoted a sort of pseudo-science because they gave the impression that one could look at the condensing water vapor and assess the state of pollution control equipment. I complained, but got no response, so I stopped using the textbook.

  8. Yes, I’m picky — but I do find it hard to take a so-called scientist seriously whose grammar is so bad. Tell the good Dr. Schmidt that “it’s” means “it is”. I presume that he meant “its” in his email.
    REPLY: A caveat, this post has gone through several transformations. From email, to a Mac, to WordPress, to a PC and back to WordPress. It is entirely possible some punctuation was lost in the conversions, though I can’t be sure. – Anthony

  9. “The science concurs:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0213/p25s05-usgn.html

    Um, no, Gavin, it doesn’t do any such thing (leaving aside the issue of his “peer-reviewed” source being the Christian Science Monitor…). A couple of authors state this is what they believe from their science. C’est tout.
    We have a long discussion in the book about being careful with the problem of attribution in imagery and we try to make that clear in the captions.”
    Which begs the question, therefore, other than being a pretty coffee table book , the purpose of the book is to … ?

  10. Cherry Picking Data(pictures) to promote an agenda:
    Current, and historical data for Lake Powell
    The dam at Lake Powell was completed in the late 1960s, and it took about 17 years to fill the dam to capacity 27 million acre feet, by 1980. In the year 2000 the max filling was at 22 million acre feet. Because of a severe drought in the next 5 years, the max filling fell to 8 million acre feet for 2004-2005 years. This year the max filling is at 16 million acre feet.
    I can Cherry Pick a similiar data set to reach an opposite conclusion. The Great Salt Lake(watershed covering a smaller but similiar area as lake powell) reached historically low levels in the first half of the 1930s. This correlated with extreme record breaking winter historical low temperatures.

  11. Areas that are already under water stress, such as the American South West are very vulnerable to changes in rainfall regime. And in fact, there is some evidence that long-term trends in precipitation in this region are already being affected by ongoing changes.
    While this is true what Gavin does not say is that the ongoing changes are mostly due to natural and somewhat predictable cycles such as the PDO / AMO / ENSO / etc. Joseph D’Aleo has produced several terrific articles and graphs which reflect this. Unfortunately, the Gore disciples prefer to ignore such things and blame the changes on CO2 levels / man / and temperatures. Essentially…. they speak not the truth.

  12. Dr. Schmidt resorted to employing one of the more odious of insults. A comment that never belongs on either side of the discussion; “if you bother to read.” Here we have an ongoing worldwide discussion with planetary consequences and there are people out there who are basing their positions upon assumptions that the other side isn’t even reading the literature.

  13. Dr. Schmidt’s minor grammar errors are his own. It is a journalistic convention in quoting electronic communications not to alter the text in any way. If he requests, I will fix what I see (including “American South West”).
    He has also referred in an interview to the notorious snow-producing coastal storms along the Eastern Seaboard as “Northeasterly storms.”
    For someone who allegedly knows a great deal about climate, he might want to learn a little bit about the actual weather where he lives.

  14. The label “Climate Change” is so fraudulent. We now have a generation that has been, thanks to Gavin & the rest if his Hysterical Team, brainwashed into thinking the normal state of a climate is static, that a climate that changes is bad, is wrong and is the fault of man and his SUV’s.
    By definition, climate is a dynamic & chaotic system. Applying the descriptor “change” to the noun climate is as silly as applying the descriptor “wet” to the noun water.
    And if people walked around talking about “water wet”, we’d all fall over laughing.
    Actually many of us are falling over laughing at Gavin & his Team Members as they make scientific fools of themselves in pursuit if their political & funding objectives.
    These guys will do anything to keep their gravy & fame train rolling on. But we know who they are and as the planet cools off and the ludicrousness of their AGW theory continues to fall apart, we will remember their names.
    It is their careers on the line, their reputations at stake.
    They are, but for a bit more time, toast,
    Toast Gavin . . . toast.

  15. The million-dollar question: is Dr. Gavin Schmidt a climatologist? If not, what gives him the credibility on commenting on climate change? I say this because it is typical of AGW-proponents (particularly those know-it-all, snobbish anonymous bloggers) to question the skeptic’s credential in order to stifle (dodge?) an open debate. On that note, why should anyone listen to the likes of Schmidt, Hansen and Gore (of all people) instead of Spencer, Christy, Lindzen and Pielke Sr., who have devoted their lives to climatology and meteorology, is beyond me.

  16. The point is made by several, and entirely dodged by Schmidt; sure the climate changes, but not by man’s effect through CO2. Take that bad assumption away, and the layers of standard authoritarian propaganda, and Schmidt’s got nuttin’. Nuttin’, I say, zip, zilch, nada, bupkus. And the sooner the journalists catch on the better, though they may yet be the last to know. It’s not as if we’re hiding the truth under a barrel here on the blogs.
    ===================================

  17. Gavin Schmidt is in a new class of people who practice science in that they are 1/2 scientists, 1/2 politicians – I call them poly-scientists. They will never admit to be wrong and will spin faster than the dry cycle on my washing machine in order to advance their point of view regardless of the consequences. This is precisely why I don’t believe anything he says and he has no standing credibility in my world.

  18. Pictures? What a bunch of hyporcitical nonsense.
    These people dismiss as irrelevent weather any observations raised by skeptics yet they point to every imaginable observation as evidence of AGW.
    Schmidt, Hansen, Lubchenco and many others make it up as they go and call it science.

  19. The really funny part of this issue is that Lake Powell is a man made reservoir, roughly 24 Million Acre Feet -over 5 Trillion gallons.
    Reservoir: a place or hollow vessel where fluid is kept in reserve, for later use.
    So Lake Powell is doing precisely what it was created to do: Mitigate variability in water supply. The lake itself (and by extension, Gavin’s photo) is a testament to your very point Anthony: That man has adapted and will continue to adapt. It is an example, not of crisis, but of crisis averted.

  20. Where was Global Warming in the 1840’s?
    That was where the Columbia River basin in the “West” nearly dried up for 10 years. Flows in the Klamath and Trinity in place went underground. In the late 1860’s to late 1870’s another 10 year drought hit the “West” in California drying up the Mokolumne and Consumnes Rivers, taking the rest of the Sierra Runoff to record low levels, far exceeding the brief 1976-77 event. Where was Global Warming then?
    Where was Global Warming in the SouthWest to Mexico when the MegaDroughts struck the area in the late 15th century?
    The climate in the “West” has changed repeatedly, and shall surely change again, with absolutely no help needed. Despite any thing man might do or alarming warnings man might give. AGW, take a number and be seated.
    If you live in the “West” and are bothered by drought and floods, heavy winter snows or summer freezes…. leave. We have those here, and they were here before we got here.

  21. Does anyone else find it puzzling that Mr. Schmidt, excuse me, Dr. Schmidt, who seems to be able to generate pointed “debunkings” of virtually any piece of work he disagrees with in often startling short order, took almost three months to marshall this relatively lame defense of his own work. I’m sure the fact that it was offered at a point in time that coincides with Mann rising to reassert the correctness of his “hockey stick” is just one of those cosmic synchronicities the universe is so prone to present.
    Regarding those widely proclaimed “debunkings”, I have evidently been operating under a mistaken interpretation of debunk, which I have assumed for years to be roughly synonymous with disprove. Obviously I’ve missed something since the meaning of debunk in the present environment seems much closer to dismiss than to disprove. Although I can’t claim a comprehensive review of all the articles and blogposts purported to debunk skeptical science, most of those I have taken the time to review seem to share a common form of argumentation. I would summarize that form in three steps:
    1] We think you are wrong
    2] Everyone here agrees with us
    3][snip] go away.

  22. In the West Walker River and Tenaya Lake are Ponderosa Pine stumps containing several hundred years of growth rings. Ponderosa Pines will neither sprout nor grow with their feet in water. Those stumps are a marker of the magnitude and duration of the 15th century Megadroughts.

  23. Dave Wendt (16:20:32) : ” I’m sure the fact that it was offered at a point in time that coincides with Mann rising to reassert the correctness of his “hockey stick” is just one of those cosmic synchronicities the universe is so prone to present.”
    With the new fiscal year approaching, it looks like it’s “grant me some more money” time.

  24. I’m not sure why my use of the well known acronym for Speaking of This in the Future is Unwarranted merited a snip, but I will yield to your judgement.
    REPLY: Thank you for your consideration. – A

  25. In the sequel, published ten years from now, Dr Schmidt will feature a picture of the low water level in Milerton Lake here in the San Joaquin Valley to further show the effect of climate change. Millerton Lake, the man made lake behind Friant Dam, will be lower than it ever has been, guaranteed. He’ll blame the low levels on another drought, which is a common occurrence here in California. What he won’t tell you, is that the environmental lobby has won various lawsuits that, in order to restore the salmon that used to flourish in the now dry river bed, require that the dam release water so the San Joaquin River will has a permanent water flow, and thus draining Millerton Lake and causing a condition of permanent water shortage here in the Valley. Nobody knows if the salmon will come back, but hey, the river will be flowing full time, that is until the lake runs dry. The relief gates are to be turned on permanently in October, and much of the agricultural land will revert back to desert wasteland, a la the dust bowl of 1933, but the salmon will come back… maybe.

  26. gt (15:17:13) :
    The million-dollar question: is Dr. Gavin Schmidt a climatologist?

    Answer: NO .. he is NOT a climatologist (unless you count self-proclaimed), he is a mathematician by training.
    “He received a BA (Hons) in Mathematics from Oxford University, a PhD in Applied Mathematics from University College London”
    link

  27. rbateman (16:08:25) :
    If you live in the “West” and are bothered by drought and floods, heavy winter snows or summer freezes…. leave. We have those here, and they were here before we got here.
    I live in the East and Gavin’s predictions don’t work here. This year has been quite normal, ’til now. It’s raining here, as usual when El Niño is playing with its ball in the Pacific. 🙂

  28. Of course changes in rainfall chage or reduction in icepack is caused by climate change, durr! But how can anyone prove humans had any involvement? With climate models? I dont think so!
    Any claim that any change in climate is due to man is merely speculation. Some people may recall an ideal called “innocent until proven guilty”, but it seems many have thrown this to the wind as they now have some clever models.
    The hydrological cycle does not loose water when the sea warms, “a warmer world is a less arid world” as stated in the IPCC 2007 report, which actually states a net benefit in water resources despite ignoring our ability to adapt and build new infrastructure.
    Central antarctica is one if not the driest place on earth, is that due to the high temperatures???

  29. Photography has an obvious and valid place in matters like astronomy, forensic pathology and the siting of weather stations. However, there has to be a mechanism to convince the reader that the photography is real and representative. Showing many examples of poor weather station siting and describing locations is one such way.
    However, it is becoming childs’ play to modify photos to make fakes. Capa’s famous photo from the Spanish Civil War, of a bullet exiting the skull of a still-standing soldier, is still being debated as to authenticity.
    In the final analysis, it becomes a matter of intent. Does the photographic author show his work with the intent to be accurate or with the intent to deceive? There will always be deceivers. The trick is to recognise and expose them (f8 at 1/250 will often work).

  30. Squidly (17:42:12) :
    HAHA, that’s a good one.
    Slightly OT but at amazon.com this book was given three 5-star and one 4-star ratings. Obviously I hope Harold Ambler’s coming publication will beat this propaganda photo book by leaps and bounds in terms of sale volume.
    REALLY OT but I am sure Dr. Ron Paul’s coming book “End the Fed” will be worth every penny one would pay…

  31. What seems to allude some people is that its just plain old physics being applied to the climate. GHG’s are a well proven component of the climate that effect all of life on earth. Gavin Schmidt is a well thought out person that sits in the middle of data coming in from our instruments around the world. Co2 will be our undoing over time.
    REPLY: No not really, see this graph;
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/co2_temperature_curve_saturation.png
    The response of CO2 in the atmosphere is logarithmic. – A

  32. “… (if you bother to read past the cover photo)…”
    I think any time Gavin is feeling as arrogant, as he appears to have been when he wrote the above, then he should watch again his own performance on the I-squared debate against Michael Crichton and Professors Lindzen and Stott.

  33. Mark Hugoson (11:02:15) :
    Frankly the whole concept of “Picturing the Science” is ABSURD from the get go.
    Now you know what the science of Gavin Who? is.

  34. Douglas Taylor (13:11:29) : Cherry Picking Data(pictures) to promote an agenda:…I can Cherry Pick a similiar data set to reach an opposite conclusion.
    Welcome to the ‘science’ of global warming where people like Gavin
    Schmidt have begun, and sustain, a career by just such cherry picking.

  35. Jeff (19:04:37) :
    “What seems to allude some people..”
    Shurely shome mishtake? I think you meant ‘elude’.

  36. Geoff Sherington (18:32:29) :
    Photography has an obvious and valid place in matters like astronomy, forensic pathology and the siting of weather stations. However, there has to be a mechanism to convince the reader that the photography is real and representative. Showing many examples of poor weather station siting and describing locations is one such way.
    However, it is becoming childs’ play to modify photos to make fakes. Capa’s famous photo from the Spanish Civil War, of a bullet exiting the skull of a still-standing soldier, is still being debated as to authenticity.
    In the final analysis, it becomes a matter of intent. Does the photographic author show his work with the intent to be accurate or with the intent to deceive? There will always be deceivers. The trick is to recognise and expose them (f8 at 1/250 will often work).

    AGW propaganda is plenty of those pictures. See this photo published in a local newspaper this morning. The picture is of a 50 m x 30 m field intended for the construction of a corner store. The head of the news said: “Nature Suffers from Evil Incentives”:
    http://www.biocab.org/Picture-Milenio.html

  37. re: Jeff (19:04:37) :
    jeff,
    Either your post is a joke or your naivety is breathtaking. This kind of AGW post makes one yearn for Flanagan or good old Foinavon.

  38. Gavin Schmidt is a well thought out person that sits in the middle of data coming in from our instruments around the world.
    BAHAHAWAHAHAHAHAHA! Um, oops, so sorry. Now off to wash a keyboard.

  39. Jeff (19:04:37) :
    “GHG’s are a well proven component of the climate that effect all of life on earth.”
    Shurely shome shecond mishtake. I think you meant ‘affect’.
    “Gavin Schmidt is a well thought out person …”
    Shurely…

  40. Jeff (19:04:37) :
    We are converting food to fuel.Already it is frosting in Canadian harvest areas.The US
    Northeast, and predictions of a nasty winter for the Northern Hemisphere are at hand.
    Give me warmth over cold any day.I do not care if NE Oregon turns into Northern Arizona!-Hmm wait a mintue….
    Snow capped mountain ranges,lots of Ponderosa pines,high desert, large Native American population-
    “Never Mind”-Emily Lattella…

  41. GT: If someone from here reviews his book on Amazon, he should include a link to the WUWT threads on it. (Indeed, a link could be the only review needed.)

  42. Gore’s disciples, the chosen few eating tofu and refusing to blink, are touring Australia as we speak, scaring old people and young children with power-point presentations of then and now photographs. Evidently a poor old white possum has been turned brown by man made CO2.

  43. Why wasting time reading Batman vs The Joker, or Spider-Man vs Green Goblin, or Superman vs Lex Luthor, or Wolverine vs Sabertooth or The X-Men vs The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, or Fantastic Four vs Dr. Doom, or Spider-Man vs Venom, or The Green Lantern vs Sinestro, or Captain America vs The Red Skullwhen, or Teen Titans vs Deathstroke, when you can have Watts vs Schmidt?

  44. I think the best book on the South West/west water was “Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water” by Marc Reisner

  45. “The US Media had an “unwritten agreement” to not let us know that the Viet Cong being EXECUTED (Yes!) had killed 4 members of the Col.’s FAMILY a few weeks before.”
    As I recall, it was a few hours or less before – it was the height of the Tet

  46. Many thanks to Anthony, the commenters, and the donors at my site. As I say at the bottom of the piece, anyone who has had a science-based comment deleted by Dr. Schmidt is welcome to copy (or recreate) it and add it to http://talkingabouttheweather.com
    Regards

  47. squidly very funny and warped and cool but not quite as funny as Jeff his beat em all Gavin Schmidt is a well thought out person some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen but the sad part is I don’t think he meant it as a joke

  48. As long as we are talking about photos that depict climate change, we can recall the tourist shots we have all seen of the quint Native American cliff dwellings in the Southwest. These communities once were viable because the climate at the time supported “sustainable” agricultural practices. Sadly the climate changed, and that was that.
    Then we have the quaint winter scenes depicted in art and popular prints from Europe showing winter scenes of people ice skating where they cannot do that today.
    All these forms of evidence only document that the climate is always changing. But that is all they show. A snapshot does not in anyway become proof of AGW, let alone the reason we must tax our economies to a halt.

  49. Re:Jeff (19:04:37) :
    “What seems to allude some people is that its just plain old physics being applied to the climate. GHG’s are a well proven component of the climate that effect all of life on earth. Gavin Schmidt is a well thought out person that sits in the middle of data coming in from our instruments around the world. Co2 will be our undoing over time.”
    I am sorry to see that most of the responses to your post are not very helpful if your intention was to improve your understanding by provocative comment. Your first sentence seems naive to anyone who has scratched the surface of the subject. There is a piece of “plain old physics” – namely that CO2 is an effective absorber and emitter of infra-red in certain bandwidths. Everything else is extrapolated and largely untested. Attempts at validation against real-world data have generally proved ambiguous at best. Having said that, there is fairly strong concensus among the scientifically literate, including sceptics, that if all else is held equal, a doubling of CO2 should have the effect of increasing average surface temperature by about 1.2 deg C (plus or minus 0.5). You can see this roughly from Anthony’s graph. Since the pre-industrial level of CO2 was estimated to be about 285ppm and we are currently measuring around 387ppm, and since the relationship is logarithmic, then we have already seen most of the temperature rise associated with a doubling from 285 to 570 that can be directly attributed to a change in atmospheric CO2.
    In order to predict much higher rises in temperature, it is necessary to postulate the existence of a positive feedback effect. The models (called Global Circulation Models or GCMs) used by the IPCC incorporate a strong positive feedback in the way that they parameterise and model the changes in water vapour, clouds and precipitation. There are numerous serious studies which suggest that the GCMs have not got this right yet (including some by the IPCC itself), and some which suggest that they have it seriously wrong. These studies suggest that the GCMs are not yet validated against real-world data – a necessary but not sufficient condition for developing a predictive skill. My main point is that this is not “plain old physics”. If you seriously want to pursue the question, I will happily provide you with a list of peer-reviewed papers in support of the above. I wish you well in your search for enlightenment.

  50. Miles (15:49:24) :
    Gavin Schmidt is in a new class of people who practice science in that they are 1/2 scientists, 1/2 politicians – I call them poly-scientists.

    How about “scienticians?”

  51. I just had to say that it was so cold last night here in Toronto that I had to turn on the furnace. This I cannot recall doing in any August. It was 10C when I walked out the door this morning, with sweater on under my jacket. I am aware that parts of S. California are yet again up in flames. I am aware that parts of Arizona and N. Mexico have had record breaking hots…..but damn, it has been such a total right-off non-summer in Southern Ontario this year I could just punch someone silly if they talk about the world warming up. I want a refund on this past summer….got to Georgian Bay twice, once the water was ice cold, second time it was pleasant enough. Then it got too cold to go back up again. I now fear that the upcoming winter will be a real killer. And the loons will be howling that the ice cap is melting and the NW Passage is going to stay open. Imbeciles.

  52. Speaking as a photographer, it is wise to remember that a photograph, any photograph, tells the story that the photographer chose to convey.
    By it’s nature, a photograph includes or excludes items in the environment. For example, the cover photo may have cropped out a 7-11 store just out of frame. The observer of the photo just doesn’t know.
    Also a photo is an instant in time. I have photographs of places that no longer look anything like the image I took several years ago. Just as a photo tells you nothing about the environment as a whole, it tells you nothing about what came before or since. The observer has no way of knowing if the scene has looked the same for the last hundred years, or has never looked like that before. Even if you had photos of the same scene over time, it will likely not tell you why the scene changed, unless someone built a dam or planted a refinery in the middle of the scene.

  53. Is it me? or does there seem to be a shift in attitudes lately from the GW crowd toward talking about “climate change” in relation to global warming, but an intentional straying from blaming global warming on man-made causes? It just seems as of late that I don’t read much about anthropogenic contributions to global warming.. just discussions of global warming itself. No one doubts that there are periods of global warming… the questions is in relation to whether CO2 production (primarily) is the major contributor to global warming. I think the writing on the sun seems to worry the “old” AGW crowd that maybe it’s not the CO2, but solar output, that’s determining global temperature. Hence the sudden shift in attitude and terminology to cover their collective butts.

  54. So that was lake Powell then? I would have sworn it was lake Ontario after the hottest July on record.

  55. Photography has been used for political or social ends since . Likewise, the ability of a photographer to capture ‘change’ in a still image is quite remarkable. However, the authors book demonstrates that he is blinded by his ideals; the images, while quite interesting to look at, do not capture ‘change’ more than an armless man stemming the flow of coins after winning a jackpot on a one-armed bandit.
    I’m sure there may be some bright photographer out there who will at some point find a source of inspiration that demonstrates mans effect on the climate, but this book isn’t it.
    Simply, this is a book of nice photographs (coffee table book, as already mentioned) with the misguided tag line of ‘climate change’.

  56. superDBA (08:31:42) :
    Speaking as a photographer, it is wise to remember that a photograph, any photograph, tells the story that the photographer chose to convey.
    By it’s nature, a photograph includes or excludes items in the environment. For example, the cover photo may have cropped out a 7-11 store just out of frame. The observer of the photo just doesn’t know.
    Also a photo is an instant in time. I have photographs of places that no longer look anything like the image I took several years ago. Just as a photo tells you nothing about the environment as a whole, it tells you nothing about what came before or since. The observer has no way of knowing if the scene has looked the same for the last hundred years, or has never looked like that before. Even if you had photos of the same scene over time, it will likely not tell you why the scene changed, unless someone built a dam or planted a refinery in the middle of the scene.

    Beautiful photos and excellent explanation! 🙂

  57. Jeff (19:04:37) :
    What seems to allude some people is that its just plain old physics being applied to the climate.
    What seems to ELUDE you is a command of English. Pardon me if I doubt your ability to identify whether IT’S “just plain old physics” or not, but IT’S pretty apparent that this has also ELUDED you.

  58. My wife has done me the favor of pointing out that the original post was overly long and “inside baseball.” Some of us are fortunate enough to marry people who can tell us such things. She also suggested that I split it into a pair of entries, and that is just what I have done.
    The first about the book is here:
    http://talkingabouttheweather.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/more-about-anti-science/
    The second, about realclimate.org, is here:
    http://talkingabouttheweather.wordpress.com/2009/08/31/real-dialogue-with-realclimate/
    In retrospect, I am even more grateful to Anthony (and everyone else) for bearing with me.

  59. rbateman (16:08:25) :
    Where was Global Warming in the 1840’s?
    That was where the Columbia River basin in the “West” nearly dried up for 10 years. Flows in the Klamath and Trinity in place went underground. In the late 1860’s to late 1870’s another 10 year drought hit the “West” in California drying up the Mokolumne and Consumnes Rivers, taking the rest of the Sierra Runoff to record low levels, far exceeding the brief 1976-77 event. Where was Global Warming then?
    Where was Global Warming in the SouthWest to Mexico when the MegaDroughts struck the area in the late 15th century?

    I’ve seen the answer you’re looking for in several places..it’s like a mantra:
    “We don’t what the forces were that caused the earlier droughts(fill in your favorite past problem, like the MWP, higher sea levels, or LIA), but we know that it’s CO2 today.”

  60. Nogw (10:53:11) :
    It would be advisable to send all these “new age” scientist back to elementary school, to take the third grade again.
    Repeat after me:
    “Sun heats water of the oceans, then water evaporates, clouds form and rain falls” This is called, kids, the “water cycle”.
    Warming does not produce drought, cold sea waters does it.
    Or is it more likely that Schmidt’s book is in the third grade curriculum now as we speak? That would explain a lot, and make his book what they call “age appropriate”!
    I know that the Feds have a lot of interesting global warming coloring pages they give to children at National Parks, which would curl all fair scientific toenails.

  61. Jeff,
    it would better for your cause if you just didn’t comment anymore. Seriously. It may be unfair, but often it seems possible to judge one’s intelligence by one’s ability to write clearly. Maybe it is just prejudice, IDK.

  62. @Jeff
    What seems to “allude” (“make a more or less disguised reference to”) (did you mean “elude” ? “escape mentally or physically”) some people is that its(sic, probably mean “it’s”, the contraction of it is) just plain old physics being applied to the climate. GHG’s (should be GHGs) are “a” (GHGs is a plural form standing for several or many gases, so “a” is not appropriate) well proven component(after dropping the previous “a”, put an “s” on component) of the climate that effect all of life on earth. Gavin Schmidt is a well thought out(from context, I believe you mean “fully informed”) person that(“who”, not “that”) sits in the middle of data coming in from our instruments around the world. Co2 will be our undoing over time.
    Other than that and a couple of other small errors, (the usual “effect”-“affect” thing) this submission is as cogent and coherent as anything ever seen from a warmer. The imagery evoked by “sits in the middle of data” is powerful indeed.

  63. Nasif Nahle (10:01:56) :
    Just to be clear, the book is not my work. google “Bern Bray”.
    I use the superDBA moniker so my boss doesn’t find out what I do at work 😉

  64. What, didn’t the esteemed Dr have anything to say about his picture of the house falling down in Alaska? You know, the one falling down from an earthquake, not melting permafrost as he claims?
    So much for “being careful with the problem of attribution in imagery.”

  65. I am not comforted by the statement, The response of CO2 in the atmosphere is logarithmic. This posits no upper limit so continually increasing CO2 must lead to continually rising temperature.
    However, I recall an explanation somewhere (I think it was on Realclimate a long time ago) that since there is only a finite number of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere, once all incoming IR has been absorbed, no further absorption can occur. So you’d expect an asymptotic curve approaching a fixed limit. The graph linked above does look more like that to me than logarithmic but I’ve no idea if this true. But if true, it would make a big difference to the argument, surely.

  66. Kevin Kilty (07:22:27) :
    Miles (15:49:24) :
    Gavin Schmidt is in a new class of people who practice science in that they are 1/2 scientists, 1/2 politicians – I call them poly-scientists.
    How about “scienticians?”
    Reply: Good idea to have a name for this new breed of idiots, but perhaps Scilititions would better sum up thier abilities.
    ———————————————————————
    Jeff (19:04:37) :
    What seems to allude some people is that its just plain old physics being applied to the climate. GHG’s are a well proven component of the climate that effect all of life on earth. Gavin Schmidt is a well thought out person that sits in the middle of data coming in from our instruments around the world. Co2 will be our undoing over time.
    Reply: Surprisingly few of the laws of ‘plain old physics’ work exactly as predicated out in the real world and as CO2 has been at much higher levels in the past without ‘run away global warming’ occuring then I’m certain we have nothing to worry about for the future. In the words of the great bard, ‘Much ado about nothing’.

  67. “I am not comforted by the statement, The response of CO2 in the atmosphere is logarithmic. This posits no upper limit so continually increasing CO2 must lead to continually rising temperature.”
    I’m not sure that is IS logarithmic through its entire range. From the graphs of temperature vs CO2 concentration, it appears to begin as an exponential relationship, passing through linear, then logarithmic. Further out, at higher concentrations, it appears to be flattening out even more – as you pointed out, asymptotic.
    Interestingly, I read that astronomers once thought Venus should be cooler than earth because its 80% albedo outweighs its proximity to the sun. The two facts that a) its temperature is nearly 500C and b) its atmosphere is entirely CO2 was a fundamental pivot point for Hansen. However, I remain skeptical that CO2 alone is responsible for all of Venus’s warming.

  68. I found it not ironic how stupid you are. Maybe should spend less time with screwing your cat.
    [Reply: identifying who you are responding to would be helpful. ~dbs, mod.]

  69. I found it not ironic how stupid you are.

    I found this sentence to contain no useful meaning at all.

    Maybe should spend less time with screwing your cat.

    Your would read better with a subject.
    Overall: communications epic fail.

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