Spencer: IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity

IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity, 91-0.

By Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

crushed

Unquestionably, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed to build the scientific case for humanity being the primary cause of global warming. Such a goal is fundamentally unscientific, as it is hostile to alternative hypotheses for the causes of climate change.

The most glaring example of this bias has been the lack of interest on the IPCC’s part in figuring out to what extent climate change is simply the result of natural, internal cycles in the climate system. In Chapter 9 of the latest (4th) IPCC report, entitled “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”, you would think the issue of external versus internal forcing would be thoroughly addressed. But you would be wrong.

The IPCC is totally obsessed with external forcing, that is, energy imbalances imposed upon the climate system that are NOT the result of the natural, internal workings of the system. For instance, a search through Chapter 9 for the phrase “external forcing” yields a total of 91 uses of that term. A search for the phrase “internal forcing” yields…(wait for it)…zero uses. Can we really believe that the IPCC has ruled out natural sources of global warming when such a glaring blind spot exists?

Admittedly, we really do not understand internal sources of climate change. Weather AND climate involves chaotic processes, most of which we may never understand, let alone predict. While chaos in weather is exhibited on time scales of days to weeks, chaotic changes in the ocean circulation could have time scales as long as hundreds of years, and we know that cloud formation – providing the Earth’s natural sun shade – is strongly influenced by the ocean.

Thus, small changes in ocean circulation can lead to small changes in the Earth’s albedo (how much sunlight is reflected back to space), which in turn can lead to global warming or cooling. The IPCC’s view (which is never explicitly stated) that such changes in the climate system do not occur is little more than faith on their part.

The IPCC’s pundits like to claim that the published evidence for humanity causing warming greatly outweighs any published evidence against it. This appeal to majority opinion on their part is pretty selective, though. They had no trouble discarding hundreds of research papers supporting evidence for the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age when they so uncritically embraced the infamous “Hockey Stick” reconstructions of past temperature change.

Despite a wide variety of previous temperature proxies gathered from around the world (see figure below) that so clearly showed that centuries with global warming and cooling are the rule, not the exception, the Hockey Stick was mostly based upon some cherry-picked tree rings combined with the assumption that significant warming is a uniquely modern phenomenon.
2000-years-Loehle

As such, they rejected the prevailing “scientific consensus” in favor of a minority view that supported their desired outcome. I suspect that they do not even recognize their own hypocrisy.

As I have discussed before, the IPCC’s neglect of natural variability in the climate system ends up leading to circular reasoning on their part. They ignore the effect of natural cloud variations when trying to diagnose feedback, which then leads to overestimates of climate sensitivity. This, in turn, causes them to conclude that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations alone are sufficient to explain global warming, and so no natural forcings of climate change need be found.

But all they have done is reasoned themselves in a circle. By ignoring natural variability, they can end up claiming that natural variability does not exist. Admittedly, their position is internally consistent. But then, so is all circular reasoning.

Our re-submitted paper to the Journal of Geophysical Research entitled “On the Diagnosis of Radiative Feedback in the Presence of Unknown Radiative Forcing” will hopefully lead to a little more diversity being permitted in the global warming debate.

I don’t think the IPCC scientists are as opposed to this as are their self-appointed spokespersons, like Al Gore and numerous environmental writers in the media who get to over-simplify the climate issue without ever being corrected by the IPCC. Natural climate change continues to be the 800 lb gorilla in the room, and I suspect that some within the IPCC are slowly becoming aware of its existence.

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171 thoughts on “Spencer: IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity

  1. Strange things do happen when the climate changes NATURALLY.
    For eg the sea levels around Australia were so low at the end of the last ice age that you could walk to Tasmania, but within 8,000 years the sea level exceeded the present level by about 1.5 Metres ( 5 feet).
    From that period ( 4,000 years ago ) we have lost 1.5 metres, so just what NATURAL mechanisms are in play to bring this about.
    To find this search ABC Catalyst Narabeen Man, a very interesting story.

  2. “You imagine that we live in an age of reason… and the global warming alarm is dressed up as science but it’s not science. It’s propaganda.”

    –Paul Reiter,

    Pasteur Institute, Paris, France

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, USA

  3. “Let us always remember that he does not really believe his own opinion, who dares not give free scope to his opponent.”

    ~Wendell Phillips

  4. The mechanisms for the large time-scale changes plotted in the final graph of the entry by Bill Ellis “Searching the PaleoClimate Record for Estimated Correlations: Temperature, CO2 and Sea Level” published on this blog on 10/16/09 remain to this date unfathomable as far as I can tell. Find those answers first so the fine detail might make more sense.

  5. So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

    Page 667 of the chapter in question: “Climate change may be due to internal processes and/or external forcings … A key objective of this chapter is to understand climate changes that result from anthropogenic and natural external forcings, and how they may be distinguished from changes and variability that result from internal climate system processes. ”

    If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.

    Spencer uses the terms “natural, internal workings” to contrast against external forcing. Substitute “processes” for “workings” and you’ll find discussion of that in the IPCC chapter.

    The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.

    I know Spencer has a paper in the works on this topic; let’s see it.

  6. Thank you Dr Spencer for a short clear and sober article. Lets hope that such messages cut through the hysteria now rising on both sides, so as to seed some doubt in the minds of those good people who have previously deferred to the authority of the experts in this complex field of science.

  7. BCC (22:25:37) :

    So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

    ——————

    Yes BCC, you are. Mr. Spencer did not say what you portray.

    You must have read this, didn’t you? :

    The most glaring example of this bias has been the lack of interest on the IPCC’s part in figuring out to what extent climate change is simply the result of natural, internal cycles in the climate system.

    So I ask you : have you ever heard any emphasis put on natural variability in any public statement of the IPCC — ever? And if not then what would be some reasons for that?

    Mr. Spencer also says this :

    …will hopefully lead to a little more diversity being permitted in the global warming debate….I don’t think the IPCC scientists are as opposed to this as are their self-appointed spokespersons

    Did you see that?

  8. The IPCC itself is being demonised more than necessary. The summary (lead author Pachauri (I think)) explicitly says that it is “very likely” that greenhouse gases influence the climate. Very likely is carefully defined as greater or equal to 90 percent probable. As an earlier commenter said, it is the self appointed spokespeople, not the IPCC, who are using words like “certain”.
    Proponents of immediate action on CO2 should be asked what they will do if the agreed 10 percent chance that CO2 is innocent turns out to be true. Do Cap and Trade Bills include some form of repayment if CO2 is found to be innocent?

  9. BCC (22:25:37) :

    BCC,

    I get the impression from people like you that you just want to tear down the reputation of people like Roy Spencer. Or, at the very least create doubts about them.

  10. “…The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.”

    ~John Adams

  11. BCC (22:25:37) :
    So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

    Uh huh….and I see you are very good at that game as well….by leaving out more of the salient points of his article.

    Let me help by picking a few big fat ripe juicy [and important] cherry bunches from this article for everyone to enjoy and digest:

    “They [IPCC] had no trouble discarding hundreds of research papers supporting evidence for the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age when they so uncritically embraced the infamous “Hockey Stick” reconstructions of past temperature change.”

    “As I have discussed before, the IPCC’s neglect of natural variability in the climate system ends up leading to circular reasoning on their part. They ignore the effect of natural cloud variations when trying to diagnose feedback, which then leads to overestimates of climate sensitivity. This, in turn, causes them to conclude that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations alone are sufficient to explain global warming, and so no natural forcings of climate change need be found.”

    MMM… I love a big football-field of Cherry Pies.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  12. One can argue that the IPCC science strategy itself is set up so as to lead inexorably to this kind mischief. The IPCC set out to show that, since we can’t do experiments on the climate over reasonable time frames, we must approach the problem by testing the hypothesis that natural effects cannot account for observed climate change. Once that is done, we are left with, “It must be greenhouse gases, especially CO2.” This does two things:
    1. It lets them off the hook on the scientific method, which requires prediction and the opportunity for falsification.
    2. It generates a huge confirmation bias, which leads in turn to the kind of things Roy observes.
    Once the determination that natural effects are too small, despite the superficiality of that ‘determination,’ infalliblity sets in. Isn’t it amazing that a field in which results depend so critically on subtleties in data gathering and choices; in data processing methods; and on assumptions and parameter choices in models, not a single piece of science has ever been acknowledged to be wrong.
    The hockey stick is a good example. No objective person can accept the validity of this work which is draped in statistical errors and choices that shout confirmation bias. Yet it continues to be treated and defended in ever more shrill and ever less technical ways.
    Or the refusal to simply acknowledge that models did not predict the last decade or so of temperature flat line. Instead we get bogus statistical arguments and more recently an explanation in terms of — guess what — natural cycles. But those cycles did not contribute to warming when they were in their warm phase. And just you wait, in a few decades it will really get warmer. And this time we mean it.
    Someday we will look back on the period as the time that science went off the rails. Hopefully somehow we will get back on track.

  13. BCC (22:25:37) :

    So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

    Page 667 of the chapter in question: “Climate change may be due to internal processes and/or external forcings … A key objective of this chapter is to understand climate changes that result from anthropogenic and natural external forcings, and how they may be distinguished from changes and variability that result from internal climate system processes. ”

    If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.

    Spencer uses the terms “natural, internal workings” to contrast against external forcing. Substitute “processes” for “workings” and you’ll find discussion of that in the IPCC chapter.

    The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.

    I know Spencer has a paper in the works on this topic; let’s see it.

    —…—…—…

    Er, uhm, no. Firmly, most definitely, “No.”

    The IPCC has found NO actual evidence of man-caused forcings. They have found an increase in CO2 from natural causes (95% of the CO2 present) + (man-released CO2 (5% of the CO2 present.)

    So, they are selectively blaming ALL of the temperature changes they can find (40% manually created by manipulating surface temperature records!) on the 5% of the CO2 that is present.

    Further, the IPCC (and their political allies who want 1.6 trillion extra tax dollars) are blaming ALL of the long-term temperature increases that have been going on from 1650 through 2010 on 50 years of man-released CO2 from 1950 through 2000.

    (Sicne 2010, they CAN”T really blame man-released CO2 for any temperature increases because there have been no temperature increases. Now, they ARE blaming man-released CO2 for these nonexistant temperature increases, but that also is part of their lie.)

    Please show the actual “evidence” for these external (man-released CO2) forcings, and the actual evidence for any relationship between CO2 and temperature:

    From 1905 – 1940, CO2 constant, temperature rose 4/10 of one degree.
    From 1940 – 1975, CO2 constant, temperature fell 3/10 of one degree.
    From 1975 – 1998, CO2 rose, temperature rose 5/10 of one degree.
    From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree.

    You CANNOT use flawed and approximate computer simulations as “evidence” because I can also (and at much less cost than 79 billion dollars!) create a computer program that clearly proves 1+ 1 + 1 = 5.

  14. Most of the people out there are indifferent on the subject of man-made global warming. A very small minority of us geeks, scientists, big business, and political types obsess about it. Maybe 12% of the population. We’re doing a good job waking the sheeple up. The sheeple could go either way on the subject, but now the people are going our way because we got the message out. Power is a funny thing. When you really don’t have the people on your side, the thing they worked their whole lives to achieve, can collapse in a very short period of time. Watch them panic.

  15. Well, if you have a problem (or can convince people that there is a problem) then you can create an entire new UN agency to staff with your pals in order to “manage” the problem forever. You want to be careful not to actually solve it, though, because then a lot of people lose their jobs.

    And, the politicians of the world’s countries would gladly turn over responsibility of the problem to the UN because the UN can’t be held accountable. We don’t vote for them. Nobody does. If the UN proposes some “regulation” the politicians of any given country can say “hey, not the fault of my administration, the UN did it, it is ‘international law'”. So the politicians can’t be held responsible and the UN can’t be held responsible. What … are they going to be “kicked out” of office? Heck no. It (the UN) provides jobs for academics and cronies who can’t get work anywhere else.

    It is sort of like “middle east peace negotiations” that serve to provide perpetual jobs for the graduates of “middle east studies” academics without actually accomplishing anything. It is about the process for them, not about the result. Endless process is the desired result. Solving the problem would ruin a perfectly good process and paycheck.

  16. Its funny I posted this just a wee while back here :
    Joel Shore “..explain to me this: .. Given that the most direct effect of there being no “hotspot” is that the models have a negative feedback, the lapse rate feedback, that is not justified if no hotspot exists, why do you think the lack of a hotspot means the feedbacks are more strongly-negative?”

    Joel Shore…. I cant be bothered trying to explain why exactly the hot spot is not there. I am pointing out that the models show it and the observations show it is not there. The theory says it should be. The theory is wrong here and in many places.

    There are more things in the atmosphere and on earth than are thought up by you or the IPCC. That is what I am trying to get you to understand.

    The lapse rate is not the only negative feedback one can think of. If warming causes more water vapour, it is conceivable that more water vapour can cause more clouds. More low clouds can be a negative feedback. There are somethings that keep our climate stable within certain bounds and it fluctuates naturally between those limits. So far we are within those limits.

    Find out the facts and then theorise why this is so. Do not try and fit the facts into the hypothesis.

    CO2 may cause a slight additional warming to any natural warming taking place. But CO2 is not a driver of our climate, just an impotent follower of the natural processes. It has consistently failed to stop the earth cooling when it has cooled repeatedly during the ice ages and the cool periods in between, like the little ice age.

    Why cant you understand these simple things?

  17. RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) :
    1+ 1 + 1 = 5

    As an engineer I have known for a long time that 1 + 1+ 1 = 5, for extremely large values of 1.

    Maybe the IPCC have been dealing with engineers too much >.>

  18. “Admittedly, we really do not understand internal sources of climate change. Weather AND climate involves chaotic processes, most of which we may never understand, let alone predict. While chaos in weather is exhibited on time scales of days to weeks, chaotic changes in the ocean circulation could have time scales as long as hundreds of years, and we know that cloud formation – providing the Earth’s natural sun shade – is strongly influenced by the ocean.”

    How refreshing to see a scientist admit that we still know little about how our multi-connected, dynamic chaotic Earth system works.

    We also only have a primitive understanding of the effects of the solar system on our climate, and beyond that virtually no knowledge of galactic effects.

    All these elements are part of one huge chaotic system and at the moment mankind does not have the intellect to even start to understand it or make meaningful predictions about the future.

    It’s time the IPCC and the politicians understood this too.

  19. BCC (22:25:37) : So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

    If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.

    Spencer uses the terms “natural, internal workings” to contrast against external forcing. Substitute “processes” for “workings” and you’ll find discussion of that in the IPCC chapter.

    The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.

    1. I think “natural climate processes” would be different from “internal forcings”. Natural processes could include solar, volcanoes and in fact anything that is not Anthropogenic.

    2. There are exactly 6 instances of “internal processes” and these are dismissed perfunctorily.

    3. Is “”internal processes” the same as “internal forcings”? Is it just a matter of terminology?

    If so how may times does IPCC use “external processes” in the document? After all this could be used interchangeably with “external forcings”, if they were equivalent.

    Answer 0

  20. No, BCC is right. That was a silly and useless example of bias, using the term “internal forcings” in a search. Really, it’s like Dr. Spencer didn’t even read the IPCC report. Which is a ridiculous notion, I know … but it’s also ridiculous to ignore the actual terms the IPCC uses.

    Hell, just search for the term “internal” (115 hits) vs. “external” (144 hits). Frankly, I don’t even think “forcing” would be the proper word to describe an endogenous effect. And the authors do distinguish between natural external forcings and man-made ones, so even the term “external” doesn’t capture the impression Dr. Spencer creates; i.e., “external” forcings are all man-made.

    Anyway, I completely agree with Dr. Spencer’s general argument. All the chicken littles out there drive me nuts with their thoroughly bad science and spurious attacks.

    And others have mentioned the tendency – either by “spokesmen” or in the IPCC “summary for policy makers” – to overstate the actual report. What this work actually says is “Greenhouse gas forcing has *very likely* caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.” Translation: there’s a 90% chance that 51% or more of the warming in the last 50 years (so, about 1/3 of a degree C) was caused by man. That’s not a very strong statement, actually. But you’d never know how weak it was when all these wankers go on about “It’s worse than we thought!” and “We’re all gonna die!”

    Anyway, my point is: don’t use careless examples, such as the bogus search term “internal forcings.” This just undermines the argument being made. It gives the warmists something to latch onto, and allows them to ignore the bigger issues.

    We’re the ones with the good science and sound logic, remember? We can’t afford to give the bastards an inch.

  21. You’ll find that this is a feature of many parts of society right now, not just ‘global warming’.

    For many years now, ALL mainstream politicians in the UK have maintained a policy of laxity with regard to EU movement of peoples. This is fine if things remain in balance, but cause hardship, stress and strains if not. With the opening up of the EU to Eastern Europe, balance has not been present.

    This has effects on local services, be that affordable housing, schools, antenatal care etc etc. It has been indisputable fact that heads buried in the sand would accurately describe the politicians’ response to that.

    Now we have an odious bunch of toerags who call themselves the ‘British National Party’ gaining popularity as they believe in ‘repatriating foreigners’. Racist little shits would describe them pretty accurately, but they have been winning some local government officer seats and, horror of horrors, two seats to the European Parliament.

    Ah: so now the politicos see THEIR gravy train threatened. So we have the army generals reeling off a round of automatic political vitriol, to which the BNP minded them to consider their role in Iraq and what happened to Nazi soldiers who followed orders in WWII. Very unpleasant.

    We have the Labour Party saying the BNP is ‘unconstitutional’ as it won’t allow blacks to join, so they can’t go on television having crossed the threshold of voting popularity which the BBC uses as its test of ‘national appeal’. The BNP response is to say that they are going to change the constitution, no doubt in the expectation of large numbers of Jamaicans signing up immediately. Ho hum…..

    What ordinary voters would prefer of course is for the politicians to develop an adult approach to immigration. Nothing to do with skin colour or language. More to do with ‘available places to live’.

    Sounds just like what sentient folks think about ‘climate change’. By all means recycle goods, by all means diversify energy supplies, by all means introduce energy efficient construction practices.

    But for gawd’s sake, do shut up about this claptrap on carbon dioxide, human footprints and carbon trading. It’s all nonsense.

    And the fact that the ecowarriors have targeted youth does make a comparison with the Nazis apposite.

    Because the way to change opinion for good is to brainwash the young.

  22. @BCC: I think that you are right in pinpointing at this sentence about the search for internal forcing in the IPCC report. It is a nonsense argument that weakens the overall logic of this piece. Dr Spencer would make a stronger statement without it in my view. But that is because I am allergic to demagogic language, probably also why I have become a climate sceptic.


  23. If the bottom blue line shows their idea about natural effects, IPCC authors have no clue:
    1) they somehow admit that 1910-1940 warming might be caused by the Sun; but the strongest 19th cycle peaked in 1960, so natural trend should not peak in 1950, but in 1960
    2) even PDO/AMO have been defined in early 2000s, it somehow did not find the way into IPCC 2007 climatic models, obsessed with radiative forcing and aerosols
    3) IPCC models need just two ingredients – CO2 causing the temperature to rise exponentially, and aerosols ad-hoc input, explaining the inconvenient drop of global temperatures between 1950-1980. But there is no reasonable explanation of recent cooling – no volcanos, no aerosols. As some climate scientist from MetOffice told recently “we have no explanation for recent cooling”. [snip] climate scientist? Sad to say, but today, amateurs have often better grasp of reality than those fossils at governmental institutions.

  24. RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) :
    …..

    From 1905 – 1940, CO2 constant, temperature rose 4/10 of one degree.
    From 1940 – 1975, CO2 constant, temperature fell 3/10 of one degree.
    From 1975 – 1998, CO2 rose, temperature rose 5/10 of one degree.
    From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree.

    What is the source which leads to this conclusion: “From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree”

  25. It would help, for the less scientific among us, to have a bit more information on some of the graphs that are presented. Roy Spencer’s article is right on the money and clearly this IS and 800 lb gorilla and needs to be given a run out of its cage. The graph of 2000 years of temperature anomalies is accredited to work by Loehle (2007) and mentions 18 previous proxies. Can we know what these proxies are? Are they ice core, tree rings, sediments etc? I am also still a bit hazy about the proxies used in the infamous Hockey Stick. A simple statement for laymen might help. Thanks to McIntyre we know a lot more about the Yamal tree rings, but what other proxies were used to creat the hockey stick? Are they adding new proxies as time goes by? Or are they just recalibrating their computer models to produce spagetti? Forgive my ignorance, but when arguing with AGW enthusiasts on the basis of their poor record of openness and transparency on core data we have to make sure that we have all the counter arguments and data sorted.

  26. Richard Hill and Ted

    Let us not place too much faith in the IPCC’s use of the phrase “Greenhouse gas forcing has *very likely* caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years”, with “very likely” corresponding to 90% confidence. This pseudostatistical interpretation has absolutely no mathematical basis because no statistical tests were ever performed. The “very likely” interpretation was simply a guess by a small group of very biased scientists pushing their agenda. The link to a confidence level (90 % is stated by the IPCC) was simply a ruse to provide the appearance of a scientific analysis.

    Leaving aside the obsession with external factors, the use of this statistical con is perhaps the most unscientific feature in their reports. After years and years of advice by statisticians to scientists about doing properly planned analyses, it is truly a wonder that they were not jumped on by most in the scientific and statistical community. Please, never allow this so-called confidence level to have any credibility. Put simply, it has none.

  27. Gerard: I agree. A more sophisticated search, using multiple terms, is needed to get an apples-to-apples comparison.

  28. Ted (00:45:14) :
    “No, BCC is right.”

    Ted, you beat me to it. I was going to say something along the same lines.

  29. We start with:
    x = 1
    y = x
    z = y

    Multiply x = y by x:
    x2 = xy
    Subtract y2
    x2 – y2 = xy – y2
    Simplify:
    (x + y)(x – y) = y(x – y)
    x + y = y
    Since y = x
    2x = y
    And since y = z
    2x = z
    Therefore:
    x + y + z = x + 2x + 2x
    x + y + z = 1 + 2 + 2 = 5
    But, x = 1 and y = x and z = y
    Therefore:
    1 + 1 + 1 = 5

    Reply: Very cute. I won’t call out the sort of obvious trick. ~ ctm

  30. Since we have a terminological expert in the house, explain me this.

    Why, if I believe the climate has always changed am I a climate change denier? Yet I’m not if I believe the climate was constant until the 20th century.

  31. Here is a link to a new statement from KVA (the Swedish Royal Science Academy):

    http://www.kva.se/Documents/Vetenskap_samhallet/Miljo_klimat/Yttranden/uttalande_klimat_090922.pdf

    In a way, it says exactly the same things as Dr Spencer (and many of us) do, that many natural factors (clouds, sun, ocean streams) and anthropogenic ones (aerosols…) have not been accounted for correctly.
    However their conclusion is in part what one would expect from an academy like this in times like these, that we should move to mitigate…
    On the other hand, they do call for more work in the area of climatology, satellite tech., paleoclimatology, because the understanding of the system is still low.
    I think that their recommendations are mostly sound and logical. :)

  32. Alan from Australia (02:58:24) :

    Richard Hill and Ted

    Let us not place too much faith in the IPCC’s use of the phrase “Greenhouse gas forcing has *very likely* caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years”, with “very likely” corresponding to 90% confidence. This pseudostatistical interpretation has absolutely no mathematical basis because no statistical tests were ever performed. The “very likely” interpretation was simply a guess by a small group of very biased scientists pushing their agenda. The link to a confidence level (90 % is stated by the IPCC) was simply a ruse to provide the appearance of a scientific analysis.

    Leaving aside the obsession with external factors, the use of this statistical con is perhaps the most unscientific feature in their reports. After years and years of advice by statisticians to scientists about doing properly planned analyses, it is truly a wonder that they were not jumped on by most in the scientific and statistical community. Please, never allow this so-called confidence level to have any credibility. Put simply, it has none.

    It is one of the first things I latched on when I started discussing in blogs on the skeptic side.

    from the horse’s mouth, AR4 8.1.2.2 Metrics of Model Reliability

    The above studies show promise
    that quantitative metrics for the likelihood of model projections
    may be developed, but because the development of robust
    metrics is still at an early stage, the model evaluations presented
    in this chapter are based primarily on experience and physical
    reasoning, as has been the norm in the past.

    If there is no likelihood, confidence levels are nonsense.

    I have pointed this quote out several times, and none of the statisticians has replied to the negative. On the other hand, they do not seem to ascribe to this fact any catastrophic weight.

    In my discipline, ( particle physics), where we continually fitted models to data, often using monte carlo simulations, lack of a likelihood function , or a chisquare per degree of freedom of the fit not near 1, meant that no statistical error bars could be ascribed and one had to go back to the drawing board.

    I strongly suspect that if statistical error bars were given for the spaghetti graphs, they would be so large that the whole plot would be clearly nonsense, and that is the reason the likelihood function is not pursued. Relying on the experience and physical reasoning of modelers is much more productive of scary scenaria.

  33. With respect to Dr Spencer, he doesn’t zero in on the real problem.

    Which is,

    Temperature measurements over the 20th century and specifically the use of minimum and maximum temperatures collected at highly non-random locations, together with even worse ocean temperature measurements, are given an entirely spurious precision as a measure of the Earth’s climate, and then fed into climate models which extrapolate this data out into the future resulting in an entirely spurious precision to future temperature predictions.

    The truth is we don’t know how much the atmosphere warmed over the 20th century, nor have we any way of finding out. And this ignores the fact atmospheric temperatures are a poor measure of how much the climate has warmed. Not least because we know that the amount of heat lost to space by the Earth’s climate is a direct function of atmospheric temperatures.

    And for those of you who think I am talking through my hat, why do the paleo temperature reconstructions from diverse sources almost all show cooling starting around 50 or so years ago? The so called Divergence Problem.

  34. My bias (I’m biased, but not prejudiced — there is a difference) is to listen sympathetically to anything Dr. Spencer has to say. So it is perhaps telling that I also wondered if “internal processes” was the best term to search for. It seems to me that the historic term of art here would be “natural climate variability.” And it so happens that I have actually searched chapter 3 (where I would expect it to be discussed) of WG1 AR4 for this expression, or variants of it. And there are some references to natural climate variability in chapter 3, but any impartial observer would have to admit that they failed to take it seriously. At the end of chapter 3 is a lengthy bibliography, which contains very little reference to what would be “the relevant literature” on natural climate variability. If chapter 3 where a Ph.D. thesis, no respectable scholar overseeing the thesis would let it pass. It is clearly an example of rhetorical “special pleading” — selective citation of the literature to support a particular agenda. It is not a credible survey of the relevant literature. So while I might quibble with the choice of expression that Dr. Spencer chose to focus upon, I think his main point remains valid. Anyone who thinks AR4 is a complete and unprejudiced survey of the relevant literature has blinders on.

    A Google Scholar search of the exact phrase “natural climate variability” turns up over 4500 scholarly articles on the subject. There is a substantial literature to suggest that (a) climate models do not capture natural climate variability very well, and (b) it is hard to extract any anthropogenic influence against the noisy background of natural climate variability. Was this given any serious consideration in AR4? Of course not. Just like all the papers that were ignored documenting the MWP, these papers were ignored because it didn’t fit “the narrative.”

    So I agree with Dr. Spencer’s point, even if I might question the search term he used.

  35. BCC (22:25:37) :

    So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

    Page 667 of the chapter in question: “Climate change may be due to internal processes and/or external forcings … A key objective of this chapter is to understand climate changes that result from anthropogenic and natural external forcings, and how they may be distinguished from changes and variability that result from internal climate system processes. ”

    If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.

    I was intrigued.

    I searched for “internal processes” 6

    “external processes” 0

    “natural external” 19

    “natural internal” 21

    “anthropogenic” 317

    and the ones Spencer searched:

    “internal forcings” 0

    “external forcings” 65

    So let us put some weights on this study.

    365 +65=430

  36. continuing, my laptop threw me on the submit :)

    365+65-19=411

    10 +21= 40

    So the mention is 1 to 10 between presumed guilty and presumed innocent :).

  37. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf

    Here’s the key passage as I see it:


    In all simulations shown in Figure
    6.13, the late 20th century is warmer than any other multidecadal
    period during the last millennium. In addition, there
    is significant correlation between simulated and reconstructed
    variability (e.g., Yoshimori et al., 2005). By comparing
    simulated and observed atmospheric CO2 concentration during
    the last 1 kyr, Gerber et al. (2003) suggest that the amplitude
    of the temperature evolution simulated by simple climate
    models and EMICs is consistent with the observed evolution
    of CO2. Since reconstructions of external forcing are virtually
    independent from the reconstructions of past temperatures, this
    broad consistency increases confidence in the broad features of
    the reconstructions and the understanding of the role of external
    forcing in recent climate variability. The simulations also
    show that it is not possible to reproduce the large 20th-century
    warming without anthropogenic forcing regardless of which
    solar or volcanic forcing reconstruction is used (Crowley, 2000;
    Bertrand et al., 2002; Bauer et al., 2003; Hegerl et al., 2003,
    2007), stressing the impact of human activity on the recent
    warming.

    So by ignoring all the studies whose reconstructions show a warmer medieval warm period, they are able to claim that the models and the reconstructions mutually reinforce each other. And by downplaying medieval temps, they can claim a good correlation with co2 and therefore the AGW hypothesis is strongest in explaining C20th temp rise.

    Mann is debunked, Briffa is debunked. What’s left?

  38. RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) : “You CANNOT use flawed and approximate computer simulations as “evidence” because I can also (and at much less cost than 79 billion dollars!) create a computer program that clearly proves 1+ 1 + 1 = 5.”

    In 1968 I wrote my very first program as an exercise in my first high school computer class. We were using Focal. (anyone remember that language!).
    I titled the program “Personality Analyzer”. The program asked for a persons height, weight, hair color, eye color, nationality and date of birth. Of course the only thing that mattered to the output was the person’s height because I wrote the program that way. Why? Because I knew the height of a person who was in the class that would see the results and I was playing a trick on him. When you put in his height as 69″ the personality analyzer spit out “slightly less intelligent, highly jealous with no athletic abilities”. Of course he got angry and I got a “A+”. It remains one of my better practical jokes.

  39. John Finn (02:41:48) :

    RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) :
    …..

    From 1905 – 1940, CO2 constant, temperature rose 4/10 of one degree.
    From 1940 – 1975, CO2 constant, temperature fell 3/10 of one degree.
    From 1975 – 1998, CO2 rose, temperature rose 5/10 of one degree.
    From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree.

    What is the source which leads to this conclusion: “From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree”

    —…—…

    Pick your month in 2009,
    Pick what “trend line” you are going to accept for the spike in temperatures in 1998 – 2000. You can really make the short term numbers become you like.

    May and June 2009 had a satellite temp anomaly of 0.0 C. Jan through Mar were right at 0.2 C. Sept was higher at 0.4 C. I chose 0.2 for a nominal 2009 temperature.

    (On average in 2009, we are right about at the same general global temperature anomaly as we were in 1995.)

    And (apparently) 1930 and 1945 as well. Surface temperature “records” publicized by GISS and HADGCRUT have been changed to uniformly lower all early 20th measurements made before 1972 by 0.2 to 0.3 degrees, while increasing post 1972 temperatures by about a little under 0.1 degrees.

    The generally accepted anomaly in 1998 was highly distorted by the El Nino that year (0.7 degrees), so you have to extrapolate through that period to discuss any trends before or after 1998. Most writers have used 0.5 degrees for 1998, and a rise of 0.7 for the entire 20th century.

  40. The idea of the climate as a chaotic system is something Dr. Spencer has mentioned previously, and in somewhat more detail than in this post. Yet, the implications are devastating to the AGW hypothesis.

    If I have understood correctly, when a system exhibits chaotic behaviour, it never remains in a constant state, but continually bifurcates from one state after another, even if driven by a constant input. Dr. Spencer stated that for the oceans themselves, they exhibit chaotic cycles of hundreds of years in duration. If this is indeed the case, then that is all that is needed to explain the twentieth century warming trend. So, I don’t understand why the IPCC are so quick to dismiss “internal processes”.

  41. Philip_B (03:48:37)
    Well said, that man.

    I would add that a lot of the predictions make use of proxies for temperatures, and divergence problem notwithstanding, their provenance is suspect to say the least.

  42. I have often puzzled over the 90% claim that it was “CO2 wot dunnit.” Not being a climate scientist I am guessing here, but to arrive at any kind of probability value they would probably have to compare all past temperature estimates with past CO2 estimates to get the correlation, and compare those past values with the present values.

    You could only get a value like 90% if the data you were working with showed flat temperatures and CO2 levels for thousands of years, and a big spike upwards in the twentieth century. Where would they have got data like that from?

  43. “However their conclusion is in part what one would expect from an academy like this in times like these, that we should move to mitigate…” Patrick

    Precisely. Nearly everyone seems to think that it is “prudent” to restrict carbon emissions. However, it is almost certainly not economically prudent or it would already have happened. The Great Depression was a major cause of World War II which killed 50 – 80 million and caused huge environmental damage.

    Most scientists are economic ninnies is my experience. Science is simple compared to economics, IMO. But that makes sound economics very simple: Liberty plus enforcement of basic laws against fraud and theft.

  44. TerryS:

    I WILL call you out. In the step labeled “Simplify”, you divided by (x-y). But y = x = 1, therefore x – y = 0. You cannot divide by zero.

    I grant, however, that this mathematical sleight of hand is no worse than the models that “prove” anthropogenic global warming.

  45. Gene Nemetz (22:48:59) :

    BCC (22:25:37) :

    BCC,

    I get the impression from people like you that you just want to tear down the reputation of people like Roy Spencer. Or, at the very least create doubts about them.

    I think BCC just showed Spencer has tore down his reputation once again. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  46. That IPCC story is an old one. Why not to apply some “external forcing” to its very existence. Why not some of the most important UN states stop it?. Do all countries agree with its crazy conclusions?

  47. Unlike the BBC’s propagandists, Dr Spencer is a highly respected peer reviewed author. He has just submitted yet another paper for review. Yet you presume to pass judgement on his reputation, based on the scientifically illiterate BBC.

    If you wish to rely on the agenda driven BBC, that is a foolish decision, but that is your personal decision. There is nothing scientific about the BBC’s scribblers, who simply repeat Al Gore’s easily debunked claims. If parroting the BBC is all you’ve got, you have nothing of value to contribute.

  48. The IPCC report itself isn’t bad, it’s the politics that follow. For example here are some relevant quotes from IPCC fourth assessment report section 8.6.3, half the models show positive feedbacks and half negative, basically they have no clue:

    “Modelling assumptions controlling the cloud water phase (liquid, ice or mixed) are known to be critical for the prediction of climate sensitivity. However, the evaluation of these assumptions is just beginning”

    “Although the errors in the simulation of the different cloud types may eventually compensate and lead to a prediction of the mean CRF in agreement with observations, they cast doubts on the reliability of the model cloud feedbacks”- We may luck out and be right, let’d keep our fingers crossed!!!!!!

    “Boundary-layer clouds have a strong impact on the net radiation budget and cover a large fraction of the global ocean… understanding of the physical processes that control the response of boundary-layer clouds and their radiative properties to a change in climate remains very limited.”

  49. The natural climate variability provided by just a few ocean cycles, the ENSO, the AMO and the southern Atlantic can provide as much as +/- 0.7C natural variability to the climate.

    Most of the time, the cycles are not synch’ed up with each other so you don’t reach the extremes that are possible. But they were mostly synch’ed up in the mid-1910s (low phase), early 1940s (high phase), mid-1970s (low phase) and 1998 (high phase).

    The IPCC effectively ignores the variability that occured up to mid-1970s and then assigns the rise since then to CO2/GHGs. That gives them an artificial assurance that temperatures are responding to GHGs they way they predicted (even then, the rise is still smaller than predicted).

    You can see how ignoring natural variability or internal processes is a large mistake and can lead one to a wrong (not supported by the data) conclusion.
    There are many more climate papers looking at this natural variability now (probably provoked by the temperature drop provided by the 2007-08 La Nina which showed that the models were far off-track now).

  50. Thank you Dr Spencer for your clear and understandable research.

    Isn’t the IPCC supposed to collect real science and not give opinions? The IPCC are obviously obsessed with the right outcome, you would be too if you stood to try and get trillions on the guilt trip.

    Have you seen what ransom they want to give you back your sanity? It’s the biggest Scam WOW!!! ever.

  51. Smokey, when will you learn that I do not care who is the messenger, only about the message?
    When will you learn that I do not take anything on the basis of mere authority?
    When will you understand that I think for myself – if you even know what it means?
    If Spencer were God it wouldn’t make any difference to me!
    When will you understand the scientific way of reasoning – that is: the unauthoritative way of reasoning?

    I am in total agreement with this post higher up in this thread, whose substance you can check for yourself: Do it!


    BCC (22:25:37) :

    So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

    Page 667 of the chapter in question: “Climate change may be due to internal processes and/or external forcings … A key objective of this chapter is to understand climate changes that result from anthropogenic and natural external forcings, and how they may be distinguished from changes and variability that result from internal climate system processes. ”

    If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.

    Spencer uses the terms “natural, internal workings” to contrast against external forcing. Substitute “processes” for “workings” and you’ll find discussion of that in the IPCC chapter.

    The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.

    I know Spencer has a paper in the works on this topic; let’s see it.

  52. There are 83 mentions of the term, “internal variability.”

    GScholar does throw up nearly 800 papers that mention, or have in the title, “Internal forcing,” it seems this term is used in the literature, so it’s interesting the IPCC chooses not to use it. I guess this implies that the forcing is one-way, i.e. there’s natural variability, but the only forcing going on is human.

  53. The evidence didn’t justify the IPCC FAR statement at the time they made it. We knew that cloud and surface albedo errors in the models were far larger than the energy imbalance being attributed to AGW. Work published since then only makes it more clear that the models can only be said to “match” the recent warming in a way that the climate itself does not use. They fail to reproduce the amplitude of the observed response to the solar cycle, reproduce less than one half to one third of the increase in precipitation observed with the recent warming, fail to reproduce the Arctic melting and couldn’t have used the significantly larger attribution to black carbon that has only recently been published. The IPCC authors relied upon model results that they KNEW had far larger errors and uncertainties than the phenomenon at issue and were incorrect in the way that they “matched” the climate. The linear reasoning they used in the summing of forcings that couple to different components of the climate system with different vertical and geographical distributions is not valid in a nonlinear dynamic system. Given the lack of credible evidence for any continuing problem, it is time to wait for the actual science to develop.

  54. It is odd that Dr. Spencer would take up what is most likely a question of semantics. For the lay person there is no distinction between internal or external forcings or processes or workings. Most phenomena (excepting volcanic) involved in climate can reasonably be described as external – as they affect the external surfaces and atmosphere of the Earth and not its mantle or core or areas well below Earth’s surface.

    Where Dr. Spencer makes a strong case is pointing out that natural variation is markedly absent from IPCC and alarmist lingo. They need to blame mankind for the bogeyman they’ve invented to engineer their social programs. But human beings on planet Earth are no more “external” to the environment than elephants or Leeuwenhoek’s wee beasties.

    Inventions in language like “carbon footprint” “climate change” and “GHGs” are the work of publicist programmers who’ve been mistakenly elevated to the role of educators.

  55. RR Kampen (06:11:31) :

    “Smokey, when will you learn that I do not care who is the messenger, only about the message?”

    But it was you who cited the BBC as your authority.

    Despite your reliance on the scientifically illiterate fiction writers at the BBC, Dr Spencer remains a recognized climate authority. You clearly don’t like it because you don’t want to accept what Dr Spencer says. So just carry on with your true belief in what the BBC tells you, if that’s what makes you happy.

  56. RayCookPE1978, you present something very close to what NOAA uses to describe PDO SST changes. They do a subtraction to show one month change in SST, which has predictive value. This makes perfect sense in terms of describing short term oscillation direction. There is no statistical reason why this same method could not be used to show oscillation direction on a 10, 15, or even 20 year period of time. The one month change in SST leads to possible predictions.

    In the SST case, which shows a one month cooling, either El Nino is weakening, or we are on the upwelling trailing edge of an Eastern propagating Kelvin wave, which is always cooler than the downwelling leading edge of a Kelvin wave along the surface of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. When Easterly trade winds are calm, as they are now, and Westerlies become more dominant, these Kelvin waves travel West to East and oscillate SST’s between warm and cool. Several consecutive waves occur in a somewhat timed pattern during El Nino.

  57. I would agree that we are dealing with semantics, much like we do over cycles versus oscillations, and what exactly “storing heat” means or even if the term is legit. That series of heat-related posts regarding terminology and semantics by various members of the audience here drove me nuts. It so reminded me of my kids in the back seat saying, “did not”, “did too”, till I wanted to smack ’em upside the head. So for those of you still desiring to argue with Dr. Spencer over single words, I will repeat what my cranky teenage daughter once said to me, “Get to the dang point!”

  58. crosspatch (23:51:41) :

    What you say there is very true. No committee or organisation set up to solve a problem has ever done so. It would be employment suicide for them to actually find solutions.

    Even better when the problem doesn’t even exist, they will never be able to find the solution. ;-)

    DaveE.

  59. Re: Smokey (06:47:31) :

    RR Kampen (06:11:31) :

    “Smokey, when will you learn that I do not care who is the messenger, only about the message?”

    But it was you who cited the BBC as your authority.

    No, I did not. In fact I cited no authority. Check my post a couple up, it reads:

    RR Kampen (05:45:30) :

    Gene Nemetz (22:48:59) :

    BCC (22:25:37) :

    BCC,

    I get the impression from people like you that you just want to tear down the reputation of people like Roy Spencer. Or, at the very least create doubts about them.

    I think BCC just showed Spencer has tore down his reputation once again. Don’t shoot the messenger.

    That ‘BCC’ was no typo (for a change :) ).

  60. “Bulldust (00:18:58) :

    RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) :
    1+ 1 + 1 = 5

    As an engineer I have known for a long time that 1 + 1+ 1 = 5, for extremely large values of 1.

    Maybe the IPCC have been dealing with engineers too much >.>”

    Maybe the IPCC uses imperial measurements, but their data is metric, or the other way around (And I know what that is like with engineering drawings and machines – Oh how I loved CNC when it arrived). Hang on, this sounds familiar. The ISS had similar issues, inaccurate data in design drawings. Inaccurate data in GCM’s too? Seems to be a trend here.

  61. Richard Hill (22:48:42) :

    I don’t see the IPCC making any effort to distance themselves from people like Al Gore. Do you?

    If I did I could believe you.

  62. Smokey,
    As a point of clarification, RR Kampin is joining an early poster BCC in arm waving about a small part of Dr. Spencers post, otherwise ignoring its main points, most likely because they can’t refute them.

    But the post is from BCC not THE BBC

  63. If the UN/ IPCC really is concerned about natural variations then why isn’t the world aware of it? There may be a statement in the report that says they are but publicly they don’t say that.

    It is the Inter–GOVERNMENTAL Panel on Climate Change. Politicians don’t do most of what they say. Only what they actually do is what defines who they are.

  64. anna v (04:08:13) :

    “anthropogenic” 317

    Clearly Mr. Spencer is right. There is heavy handedness in focusing on man and not nature.

  65. anna v (04:13:43) :

    So the mention is 1 to 10 between presumed guilty and presumed innocent :).

    Nice way to put it anna. :)

  66. Roy Spencer is a great scientist when he looks at the atmosphere, but I question his rationale when he looks at the IPCC. He concluded:

    “I don’t think the IPCC scientists are as opposed to this as are their self-appointed spokespersons, like Al Gore and numerous environmental writers in the media who get to over-simplify the climate issue without ever being corrected by the IPCC. Natural climate change continues to be the 800 lb gorilla in the room, and I suspect that some within the IPCC are slowly becoming aware of its existence.”

    Natural variability has always existed and has not just been ignored by the IPCC, but has been systematically attacked. It is blatantly obvious to anyone with even a modest understanding of climate history that the IPCC has purposely engineered a massive scientific fraud. It is a lie…intentional and huge. This is not a new revelation. As Roy pointed out, the prevailing and well supported view of natural climate variability in previous centuries was irrationally discarded by the IPCC in favor of a ridiculous, unsupported paper describing the ‘hockey stick’. Cooperating scientists may claim that they were unaware, but no one with a college degree could legitimately be that ignorant. They have gone along for political and financial reasons and have sacrificed science and the truth in the process. One can not do that and then claim to be ‘well-intentioned’.

    Roy Spencer is too nice of a guy. What physical evidence exists that the IPCC is prepared to look at the issue of climate change as an unbiased organization? None that I see! I guess some individuals are jumping ship as the evidence against the IPCC conclusions becomes so overwhelming that even Joe Six Pack is starting to see through the scam, but the official pronouncements from the IPCC show no signs of conceding to the obvious.

    Outside of the IPCC, science is progressing, and Roy Spencer will no doubt earn his place as a leader in atmospheric and climate research through his well reasoned efforts, but his assessment of his fellow man appears to be poorly reasoned and faith-based. The evidence indicates that large bodies of scientists are just as likely to be corrupted as any other group of humans. And that is sad.

  67. The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.

    Sorry, folks, but the only external “forcings” are the sun and various other radiators (stars, solar radiation reflecting off of other planets, etc). CO2 is not an external forcing, it’s a modification of an existing feedback loop.

    I really wish climatologists would take some controls courses. It’d save a lot of gibberish.

    But to the point of this comment, I completely agree that the only external forcing, which comes in the form of inbound radiation, is something we have evidence for.

  68. tallbloke (04:35:29) :

    Mann is debunked, Briffa is debunked. What’s left?

    Apparently a paragraph in the IPCC report, that no one on the alarmists side emphasizes publicly, that says the IPCC is concerned about natural variability is what’s left. And we’re supposed to ignore all the emphasis on mankind (more exactly, Western mankind), and lack of emphasis on the science, and just believe that all is well with the IPCC. ;-)

  69. Dr. Spencer is definitely on my short list of those that I like to call “The Loyal Opposition.” Those that are skeptical (but not denialist) and also publish what they preach.

    I look forward to his paper that shows how natural mechanisms such as clouds or ocean circulation variability can explain:

    1) Measured increases in the downward flux of LW radiation

    2) Measure decreases in the top of atmosphere flux of outgoing LW radiation

    3) Tropospheric warming coupled with stratospheric cooling (and no, ozone does not explain that)

    4) Warmer overnight temps

    5) Polar amplification of temperature increase

    6) How the huge increases in CO2 and other GHGs since the 1970s is not causing much of the warming and is just a strange coincidence that these levels have not appeared in hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of years

    7) Consensus of climate models has accurately hindcasted only when considering AGW

    8) Why the rate of warming in the past 30 years has not been observed in the past 2000 years

    etc., etc., etc.

    See the problem is that to refute AGW as the primary cause of the modern day warming, one will need to knock down quite a few walls. I hope Dr. Spencer can do this but I am highly doubtful.

  70. Re: Bob_L (07:22:52) :

    Smokey,
    As a point of clarification, RR Kampin is joining an early poster BCC in arm waving about a small part of Dr. Spencers post, otherwise ignoring its main points, most likely because they can’t refute them.

    But the post is from BCC not THE BBC

    Thank you, Bob_L.
    But the main point of Spencer here is the supposed strong bias of the IPCC and that point has been fubarred.

  71. Pamela Gray (06:55:10) :

    I would agree that we are dealing with semantics

    In comments on the internet we are. But world, in general, is completely unaware of our war on words.

    The world sees the UN, Al Gore, Hollywood, etc, blaming humankind for global warming and desiring to punish us with some pretty painful punishments for it.

    I hope this got “to the dang point”. ;-)

  72. Scott,
    Most of the evidence you site is self-referential and highly dubious, when actually examined.
    The hockey sticks come to mind.
    All that has to refuted is for the wildly apocalyptic predictions to be falsified.
    That has been done.
    Frankly, the lack of OHC and the bad call regarding storms, in a reasonable issue, would be enough to send the proponents back to the drawing board.
    But then, AGW is not reasonable.

  73. Gene Nemetz (07:39:54) :

    RR Kampen (05:45:30) :

    I think you haven’t been paying attention. Is it intentional?

    Think? Please know or know not. I read Dr. Spencer’s post and found BCC’s remark quite adequately adressing this part: The IPCC is totally obsessed with external forcing, that is, energy imbalances imposed upon the climate system that are NOT the result of the natural, internal workings of the system. For instance, a search through Chapter 9 for the phrase “external forcing” yields a total of 91 uses of that term. A search for the phrase “internal forcing” yields…(wait for it)…zero uses. Can we really believe that the IPCC has ruled out natural sources of global warming when such a glaring blind spot exists?.

    Reading Chapter 9 I found a lot, and I mean a LOT, of references to pre-industrial or ‘natural’ climate.
    Obviously the IPCC-report would focus on external forcings because they are the forcings that are a-changing.
    Things like EN/SO, PDA et cetera belong to the ‘natural climate’ then and now. Or even: they are the natural climate. So they are also incorporated as well as is possible in climate models.

    Anthropogenic forcing is an independent factor adding to this ‘natural climate’. It is a subject of great interest. It apparently is the dominant forcing to recent climate change, which means no climate model can do without it to explain recent climate change.
    Looking for certain phrases in a document will not change the truth value of this assertion. It will do nothing but generate chitchat.

  74. RR Kampen,

    “Things like EN/SO, PDA et cetera belong to the ‘natural climate’ then and now. Or even: they are the natural climate. So they are also incorporated as well as is possible in climate models.”

    I notice you mention “as well as possible.”

    That is the issue. The IPCC spend MOST of their time attributing to Anthropogenic and little time studying the Natural.

    If you read ClimateAudit or a couple other blogs regularly, you know that the PaleClimatology work supported by the IPCC is distorted, to say the least, in support of the current Climate being UNPRECENDENTED in history. Other work ignored by the IPCC shows it isn’t.

    Virtually no work on understanding the range of Natural Variability. Enormous time, effort, and money spent on Anthropogenic.

    What should we take away from these facts????

  75. The butt ugly naked Emperor of the Global Warmist movement is slowly being exposed as the great farce that it is. They can only repeat the same lies, the same old distortions for so long before the overwhelming reality of the actual data can not be ignored. A cooling atmosphere, cooling oceans, a very, very quiet sun, expanding polar ice mass . . . facts that the Warmists certainly cannot explain with their theories, their New Age orthodoxies or their blind beliefs that small changes in a trace atmospheric gas dominate all other climate drivers.

    What will happen to the credibility of Science and the legitimate part of the Environmental movement when this stinky putrid public relations mess of a public relations propaganda campaign is exposed ?

    Nobody will trust these messengers for a long, long time. History will not be kind to the fools and Profit seeking Prophets, despite their plea of good intentions.

    When the trillions of dollars of opportunity cost are eventually calculated, when all the medical and social programs that didn’t happen because of the massive diversion of science research funding away from every Academic discipline expect Climatology are listed, ordinary people will be very upset at Al Gore’s great Global Governmnet Ponzi Scheme.

    Very upset.

  76. RRK,
    Perhaps the models cannot do without Antropogenic forcings because they are written that way.
    The changes that the AGW theory alleges are so trivial as to be indistinguishable from natural variability in the first place.

  77. Bob_L (07:22:52),

    “…the post is from BCC not THE BBC”

    Thank you bob_L for the correction, and my apologies to RR Kampen. I read “BCC” as “BBC”.

  78. Jim Clarke (07:34:00)
    It is blatantly obvious to anyone with even a modest understanding of climate history that the IPCC has purposely engineered a massive scientific fraud. . . .

    This is the point that has to be made crystal clear to the thousands of scientists and laymen who, while not in on the hoax, blindly rely on the authority of the IPCC to validate the ‘conventional wisdom’ that human-generated CO2 is causing the planet to warm to dangerous levels.

    “The IPCC has purposely engineered a massive scientific fraud.”

    Post this on your office doors, include it in your email signature, and make sure that your colleagues and your representatives in Congress are aware of it. Tell them the IPCC must be investigated for misconduct and fraud.

    The entire ‘global warming’ mythos hinges on the credibility of the IPCC. It is time that credibility were destroyed, smashed beyond all hope of resurrection.

    /Mr Lynn

  79. RR Kampen (08:05:44

    “forcing is an independent factor adding to this ‘natural climate’. It is a subject of great interest. It apparently is the dominant forcing to recent climate change, which means no climate model can do without it to explain recent climate change”

    Scott A. Mandia (07:38:13)

    “8) Why the rate of warming in the past 30 years has not been observed in the past 2000 years”

    It is amazing how people can make these sweeping statements without a shred of evidence. It just shows how their thinking has been so constrained by their reliance on ‘consensus’ or ‘authority’. They cannot see the obvious right under their eyes.

    The following shows a thirty year period in the 20th century where temperatures rose at the same rate as the last thirty years and this without any significant CO2 forcing.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1910/to:1940/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1910/to:1940

    So what drove that temperature change rate in that period (get prepared for some serious hand waving) and was that unprecedented in the last 2000 years as well?

    Alan

  80. It’s always interested me the way climate science has a strong focus on a single question, namely: what is the average global temperature and is it in a trend due to some simple single cause? There are so many other good questions to ask and wonder about though. There have to be myriad questions to be asked and answered about clouds and cloud cover.

  81. Scott A. Mandia (07:38:13) :

    I look forward to his paper that shows how natural mechanisms such as clouds or ocean circulation variability can explain:

    7) Consensus of climate models has accurately hindcasted only when considering AGW

    The only way models can match the temperature record is by proposing aerosol forcings which reduce the overblown co2 radiative forcing at the right moments in history.

    Anderson et al 2003 demonstrated that all the models use this profoundly unscientific self certifying and circular approach. They only use aerosol observations which match this reverse enginered approach.

    It’s yet another big fat cherry pie, and you’re sucking it up as usual.

  82. hunter (08:32:55) :

    RRK,
    Perhaps the models cannot do without Antropogenic forcings because they are written that way.

    Or they have been forced to be written that way.
    Models at the of the ninetieeneighties started to incorporate increased/increasing CO2, making them in a way predictive. This was my time in two ways: I studied meteorology/climatology/oceanography and worked with those models, while I believed until the end of 2004 ‘it has to be the sun’ – absolutely counter the consensus well established already by then. Could’ve known better back in the eighties when the models already did quite well predict a modulated temperature increase based on increasing CO2.

    Smokey, okay, let’s lift a beer (I actually found this misunderstanding rather funny) :)

    kuhnkat, there are some 100.000 pages in the youngest IPCC report… They include about all the factors in climate change we can think of. We are evaluating merely a kind of summary here. I agree to that summary of the knowledge available and collected in those 100k pages (and others). The conclusion from all that knowledge is forced by the knowledge itself; it is not forged.

    I agree there are many unknowns. The dynamics of oscillations being not very well known is not very serious though, because oscillations are rather easy to isolate where they exist. I do admit this makes for uncertainty re the future.

    You know what really bothers me? This peculiar declining trend in magnetism of sunspots!

  83. Scott A. Mandia (07:38:13) :

    I look forward to his paper that shows how natural mechanisms such as clouds or ocean circulation variability can explain:

    8) Why the rate of warming in the past 30 years has not been observed in the past 2000 years

    BZZZZZZT. Easy, because the manipulation of the temperature data is unprecedented in the last 2000 years as well. Once you deal with that, you find the rate of warming is no more remarkable than 1920-1940, or 1690-1730 etc etc.

  84. The IPCC passively and actively condones the media distortions so when IPCC scientists come out blaming the press this is pure hypocrisy.

  85. Oh dear, I think Scott A. Mandia has been nodding off at the back of the class if he thinks that the rate of warming in the last 30 years has not been observed in the last 2000 years. I’ll spell it out for him – M.E.D.I.E.V.A.L W.A.R.M P.E.R.I.O.D. Or maybe he is a MWP – denier…

  86. Scott A Mandia,

    You erect the same old warmists strawmen that have been dealt with and dismissed so many times before:

    “1) Measured increases in the downward flux of LW radiation.”
    This is not an argument for catastrophic warming. The fact the CO2 re-emits LW radiation is not an issue, it is the supposed feedbacks.

    “2) Measure decreases in the top of atmosphere flux of outgoing LW radiation.
    3) Tropospheric warming coupled with stratospheric cooling (and no, ozone does not explain that.”

    Points 1 and 2 aren’t even correct. Richard Lindzen’s work with ERBE satellite data has shown the exact opposit – when the surface and troposphere warm, the outgoing radiation into increases.

    “4) Warmer overnight temps.”
    Any number of reasons including UHI, surface boundary layer dynamics and poor instrument siting with no meta data to make corrections. Roger Pielke sr. has blogged on these issues. In any case, this is not an argument from catastrophic warming as predicted by models.

    “5) Polar amplification of temperature increase.”
    If you look at the details this in an argument in favour of weather patterns not of CO2. Because the polar regions are so cold with respect to the lower lattitudes, it follows that when a weather system brings in warm air, the result will be a large increase in temperature. NASA have already said the loss of arctic ice in 2007 and 2008 was due to unusual winds.

    “6) How the huge increases in CO2 and other GHGs since the 1970s is not causing much of the warming and is just a strange coincidence that these levels have not appeared in hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of years.”
    No problem. Radiative physics gives a forcing F = 5.35*ln(384/280)
    F = 1.68 watts/meter squared.
    Nearly everyone agrees that the temperature sensitivity for a CO2 doubling (3.7 watts/meter squared) is about 1.2C
    Taking the proportion 1.2 * (1.68/3.7) you get 0.54C.

    Also, twentieth century warming is not unsual. We had higher temperatures in the MWP, Roman warm period, Minoan warm period and Holocene optimum, so the twentieth century can be explained entirely naturally.

    “7) Consensus of climate models has accurately hindcasted only when considering AGW.”

    Yeah, that is a real oldie. If a priori the modellers remove natural cycles and impute CO2 as the main driver, of course they hindcast. It’s called circular reasoning.

    “8) Why the rate of warming in the past 30 years has not been observed in the past 2000 years.”

    You can only make a claim like that if you believe in hockey sticks.

    So, all of your strawmen are blown to the wind.

  87. Folks, the IPCC Fourth Assessment Reports have been out for over two years. If these reports were NOT the consensus of climate science where is the huge backlash from all of these scientists that had their work ignored and have been wronged?

    Before spouting unsupported conspiracy nonsense, please take a moment to think about this: maybe the IPCC has it right and that is why there is little to no scientific backlash.

  88. Rhys Jaggar says:
    What ordinary voters would prefer of course is for the politicians to develop an adult approach to immigration. Nothing to do with skin colour or language. More to do with ‘available places to live’.

    Sounds just like what sentient folks think about ‘climate change’. By all means recycle goods, by all means diversify energy supplies, by all means introduce energy efficient construction practices.

    But for gawd’s sake, do shut up about this claptrap on carbon dioxide, human footprints and carbon trading. It’s all nonsense.

    And the fact that the ecowarriors have targeted youth does make a comparison with the Nazis apposite.

    Because the way to change opinion for good is to brainwash the young.

    Very well put! And may I add that the situation is worsened by the absolute bias (in favour of ‘…the consensus…’ by the BBC.

    I do not say this lightly, I have documentary evidence, under cover of a letter from Director General Mark Thopson, to prove it

  89. Now that’s funny Yertizz

    “And may I add that the situation is worsened by the absolute bias (in favour of ‘…the consensus…’ by the BBC”

    Over at RC they think the BBC isn’t bias enough.

    Imagine that.

  90. Scott A. Mandia (09:22:56)

    I asked you a question about your statement, that the last thirty years warming is unprecedented in the last 2000 years, having shown that you are wrong. Why are you not answering it? I don’t want another appeal to authority I want FACTS to back up your assertion. You don’t have problem with facts in a scientific statement do you?

    Your statement about conspiracy is the usual strawman nonsense bandied about by true alarmists here and at RC et al.

    Very few people on here have ever alleged a widespread conspiracy amongst scientists. Why would you need to when there is a far simpler and almost certainly correct reason.

    I will illustrate that reason by using the recent well observed phenomenom of vast numbers of highly educated financial specialists convincing themselves, governments and society in general that their use of clever financial instruments was the way to sustained wealth generation with no risk.

    Do you think all these people were involved in a dishonest conspiracy? Of course not.

    Now we can see the obvious flaws. Do you think that there weren’t significant numbers of these specialists who saw the potential problem at the time?

    Why did they not speak out? A very small number did the rest kept quiet because it would not have been in their professional, financial and career interest to speak out against the ‘consensus’ or ‘authority’.

    Do you think people in the scientific arena are not subject to the same human emotions?

    No need to talk about conspiracy just a reliance on multiple examples in past history and the weakness of man.

    Alan

  91. Scott A. Mandia (07:38:13) :
    Scott,
    “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” Alexander Pope

    I am not going to go through all of the “walls” you listed, but there are six quick cogent points that can be made by those who follow the AGW science, and the other two can be addressed in another post.

    3) The stratosphere has not cooled in 15 years. Granted, I do not want to stake the future on a 15 year trend, but look at the period for which satellite data is available. Does GMT consistently warm for more than 15 years? The cooling of the stratosphere occurred in step functions around major volcanic eruptions.

    4) Warmer overnight temperatures are consistent with UHI and land use changes. Are ocean-based temperatures warmer overnight?

    5) Polar amplification of temperature increase. The Arctic is very much subject to impact of ocean oscillations; the Antarctic is more isolated. Antarctica temperatures have not increased over the last 50 or so years. If you focus on weather stations that do not have local siting issues, the Arctic temperatures are no higher than the 1940s.

    6) Warming of in last 30 years coincident with increased GMT. The warming since the 1970s has been coincident with positive phases of the PDO and AMO. As these positive phases have weakened, the temperature increases have ceased even as CO2 emissions have continued to rise.

    7) You are somewhat incorrect in claiming that “climate models [have] accurately hindcasted only when considering AGW.” Actually, they have hindcasted accurately only when they insert convenient and controversial values for aerosols. By themselves, GHGs have been a poor predictor of GMT, but you could use any consistently rising variable with aerosol dummy variables and get an accurate hindcast. If one leaves out dummy variables, the best fit comes from PDO & AMO, not GHG.

    8) Again, your claim that the “rate of warming in the past 30 years has not been observed in the past 2000 years” is unreliable. The rate of increase was matched, even exceeded, in the early 20th century. Going back earlier in time, we do not even begin to have reliable estimates of GMT (which is a concept fraught with pitfalls, but we will skip that for now). I would ask you to consider when in history have we had coincident phases of AMO and PDO. We had them in your time frame of focus and thus expect warmer temperatures, but when else have we had such a coincidence?

    And do not be misled that most skeptics deny the science of what is called greenhouse gas. The greenhouse effect is real and accepted. The issues foci is on the feedback loops and whether the impact of CO2 will swamp other climatic influences. The scientific analyses I have seen suggest that observed feedback is in the opposite direction of model assumptions.

  92. Don’t anybody kid yourself about the charter of the IPCC. The IPCC was not created to identify the cause of the observed warming in the late 20th century. The IPCC is a political body with the mission of selling the idea of man-made climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.

  93. Scott, after having everyone of his walls demolished, now launches into an “appeal to authority.” Why has there not been a backlash from scientists opposed to the IPCC position, he wants to know.

    Where have you been living, Scott? Off the top of my head I can list Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, Pielke sr., Ball, Eschenbach, Willis, Douglass, Cazanave, Harper who have either criticized or written papers citing conclusions different to the IPCC position. Then we have the 700 US scientists who signed the petition before congress, 60 German physicists who wrote an open latter to the German Chancellor. . . I could go on, but it’s getting a little tedious.

    Oh yeah, on the IPCC side there were 52 scientists cited in chapter 9 but 60 reviewers dissented. How much more backlash do you need?

  94. Scott A. Mandia (07:38:13) :
    1) Measured increases in the downward flux of LW radiation
    2) Measure decreases in the top of atmosphere flux of outgoing LW radiation

    “The most recent results indicate a slight trend towards more LW emission (consistent with a weakening of long wave cloud radiation forcing) but a
    larger trend towards less SW reflection so as to produce a net gain of energy to
    the Earth.” Translated – the overall “greenhouse effect” gets weaker as high humidity decreases but less cloud coverage is responsible for recent warming.
    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/02_Norris%20and%20Slingo.pdf

    4) Warmer overnight temps
    Typical UHI feature

    5) Polar amplification of temperature increase
    There has been always 4x amplification of global trends in polar area, as in warming, so in cooling. It stays the same during 20th century. Greenland station with longest record:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=431042500000&data_set=2&num_neighbors=1

    6) How the huge increases in CO2 and other GHGs since the 1970s is not causing much of the warming and is just a strange coincidence that these levels have not appeared in hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of years
    “Huge increases” started after WWII and cooling continued till 1980. Not much correlation there.

    8) Why the rate of warming in the past 30 years has not been observed in the past 2000 years
    Even according to GISTEMP or hadCRUT, warming between 1910-1940 was steeper than 1980-2003. With SST not contaminated by UHI, warming in first half of century was twice as steep. Also individual station records show that the latter part of 20th century is nothing special:

  95. Vincent (05:06:25) :

    … So, I don’t understand why the IPCC are so quick to dismiss “internal processes”.

    Easy one: political control of the “science” …but you knew that already.

  96. Alan Millar (09:55:38) :
    An Inquirer (10:11:21)
    John Galt (10:35:00) :
    Vincent (10:36:12) :

    Well said all!

  97. Scott A. Mandia (09:22:56) : .. the IPCC Fourth Assessment Reports have been out for over two years. If these reports were NOT the consensus of climate science where is the huge backlash from all of these scientists that had their work ignored and have been wronged?
    Before spouting unsupported conspiracy nonsense, ..maybe the IPCC has it right and that is why there is little to no scientific backlash.

    I presume you are a man of science? As a man of science how can you unquestioningly support the conclusions of an organisation which permits its scientists who research into Anthropogenic causes of global warming to also lead the assessment of that research.

    As for there being no scientific backlash, you are wrong. As per the U. S. Senate Minority Report, over 700 prominent international scientists, including many current and former UN IPCC scientists, have now turned against the UN IPCC. This is up from the 400 scientists who were sceptical in 2007.

    Reasons for scepticism in this is quoted Global temperatures failing to warm; Peer-reviewed studies predicting a continued lack of warming; a failed attempt to revive the discredited “Hockey Stick”; inconvenient developments and studies regarding rising CO2; the Sun; Clouds; Antarctica; the Arctic; Greenland’s ice; Mount Kilimanjaro; Causes of Hurricanes; Extreme Storms; Extinctions; Floods; Droughts; Ocean Acidification; Polar Bears; Extreme weather deaths; Frogs; lack of atmospheric dust; Malaria; the failure of oceans to warm and rise as predicted.

    And among the wide-spread scepticism is noted: Russian scientists “rejected the very idea that carbon dioxide may be responsible for global warming”. An American Physical Society editor conceded that a “considerable presence” of scientific skeptics exists. An International team of scientists countered the UN IPCC, declaring: “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate”. India Issued a report challenging global warming fears. International Scientists demanded the UN IPCC “be called to account and cease its deceptive practices,” and a canvass of more than 51,000 Canadian scientists revealed 68% disagree that global warming science is “settled.” A Japan Geoscience Union symposium survey in 2008 “showed 90 per cent of the participants do not believe the IPCC report.”

  98. Anthropogenic forcing is an independent factor adding to this ‘natural climate’

    That presumes that there’s any such thing as “natural climate” to begin with.

    Unless you define “natural climate” as “those things that we understand and can model”, but that makes the whole terminology kind of tautological, no? I mean, anything that’s not natural must be man-made, no?

    Best just to stick with modeling what is, and assessing the usefulness of your models at predicting. Oh, and I’d also advise avoiding just tweaking parameters here and there to make the models work; that kind of thing is just to much cargo-cult science. The degree to which you have to twiddle the knobs to make the models fit with observed behaviors is the degree to which you don’t understand the physics.

    I’ve done simulation before, and gone through the process of tweaking parameters, but when you get done tweaking, you have to connect some kind of physical process with the need for the tweaking. Otherwise, you have no idea why it was that the tweak was called for in the first place.

  99. From the article:

    Admittedly, we really do not understand internal sources of climate change. Weather AND climate involves chaotic processes, most of which we may never understand, let alone predict. While chaos in weather is exhibited on time scales of days to weeks, chaotic changes in the ocean circulation could have time scales as long as hundreds of years, and we know that cloud formation – providing the Earth’s natural sun shade – is strongly influenced by the ocean.

    If I understand the above statement correctly, I would suggest that “time scales as long as hundreds of years” is probably an understatement as undersea geological topographic changes could and would have effects over millennial scales and much longer.

    Great article; very …um pungent.

  100. This is a little off topic but I wondered if anyone here knows the source of the temperature data used for the 1903-1950s section of the 90S-64S Zone GIStemp Zonal Annual mean Temperature Anomalies? as found here:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/ZonAnn.Ts.txt

    The number of stations in this zone (Antarctic) is very limited and stations in the ‘actually used’ list don’t commence reporting until the 1950s.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/station_data/station_list.txt

  101. Rhys Jaggar (01:30:12) :

    You’ll find that this is a feature of many parts of society right now, not just ‘global warming’.

    For many years now, ALL mainstream politicians in the UK have maintained a policy of laxity with regard to EU movement of peoples. This is fine if things remain in balance, but cause hardship, stress and strains if not. With the opening up of the EU to Eastern Europe, balance has not been present.

    This has effects on local services, be that affordable housing, schools, antenatal care etc etc. It has been indisputable fact that heads buried in the sand would accurately describe the politicians’ response to that.

    Now we have an odious bunch of toerags who call themselves the ‘British National Party’ gaining popularity as they believe in ‘repatriating foreigners’. Racist little [snip] would describe them pretty accurately, but they have been winning some local government officer seats and, horror of horrors, two seats to the European Parliament.

    Just your opinion mate, every government form we brits have to fill in requests you state your nationality, ENGLISH is not an option, Hindu I believe is.

  102. Tom in Florida (05:04:56) :

    > In 1968 I wrote my very first program as an exercise in my first high school computer class. We were using Focal. (anyone remember that language!).

    Yes! I never used it, my main exposure, IIRC, was working with someone
    who wrote a PDP-10 version while we were implementing some fundamental
    protocols on the ARPAnet, the predecessor to the Internet.

    BTW, while the algebraic “proof” that 1 + 1 + 1 = 5 can be expressed
    as a computer program, the program should fail before it reports that
    conclusion. Dividing by (x – y) will fail.

    Simplify:
    (x + y)(x – y) = y(x – y)
    x + y = y

  103. Richard
    Can I add to your list The Committee of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, courtesy of Prof. Dr. Andrzej Zelazniewicz – President, The Committee of Geological Sciences PAS:

    Attitude of the Committee of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences
    to the question of impending of global warming
    Global climate change, and the more frequent occurrence of extreme weather-related phenomena has caused public anxiety over global warming that has been widely expressed.
    Many international initiatives as regards remedial measures have been proposed by
    politicians, by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), active since 1988, as well as by ecological organizations.
    Engaging in this important worldwide debate, the Committee of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences urges attention to 10 principal aspects of the problem. Awareness of these is essential, if reasonable and responsible decisions are to be arrived at.
    1. Global climate has been determined by mutual interactions of the Earth’s surface
    and the atmosphere, and primarily by periodically changing solar radiation. Climate is affected by Earth’s annual motion around the sun and modified by thermohaline ocean circulation and air circulation. The location of mountain ranges and over geological time scales – by their uplift and erosion as well as by the movement of the continents.
    2. Geological investigations prove beyond any doubt that permanent change has
    been inherent in Earth’s climate since the very beginning. A change has occurred as
    mutually interacting cycles of varying duration, from several hundred thousands to a few years. Longer climatic cycles were affected by extra-terrestrial astronomic factors and by changes of the Earth’s orbit, while shorter ones are influenced by regional and local factors. Not all of the climate-influencing phenomena and reasons for climate change have yet been recognized.
    3. The Earth’s climate has predominantly been warmer than at present. However,
    there have been some significant coolings that resulted in the development of extensive glaciations, in some of which ice sheets even reached the tropics. Therefore, any reliable forecasts of climate change, before discussion of prevention or neutralization, should takeinto account evidence from the geological past when, obviously, neither humans nor industry affected the Earth.
    4. Since 12 thousand years ago, the Earth is once again in the phase of cyclical
    warming and now approaches its peak intensity. Just in the Quaternary that is over the past 2.5 million years, warm and cool periods interchanged many times, the phenomenon which has already been well recognized.
    5. The present warming coincides with elevated contents of greenhouse gases in the
    atmosphere. Among these, water vapour predominates accompanied with much smaller quantities of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and ozone. This is nothing unusual, because the geological past has seen high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, occasionally even several times higher than at present, before humans appeared on the Earth.
    6. During the last 400 thousand years – still without anthropogenic greenhouse
    influence – the content of carbon dioxide in the air, as indicated by ice cores from Antarctica, was repeatedly 4 times at similar or even slightly higher level than at present. Around the termination of the last glaciation, mean global temperature changed substantially several times over several hundred years, even by up to 10°C(!!) in the northern hemisphere. Thus, this change was undoubtedly much more severe than the present warming.
    7. In the past millenium, after warm medieval ages, by the end of the 13th century, a cold period started and lasted up the middle of the 19th century, then gave pace to another warm period in which we are living now. The phenomena observed today, specifically a temporary rise of global temperature, just reflect a natural rhythm of climate change. Warming of the oceans reduces their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide whereas a smaller area occupied by permafrost intensifies decomposition of organic matter in soil and therefore, stimulates increased emission of greenhouse gases. Volcanic activity on Earth, concentrated along margins of the lithospheric plates, mostly hidden in the oceans, supplies permanently (but not alike) the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. In the terrestrial system this gas is translocated from the atmosphere to the biosphere and lithosphere by photosynthesis, then combined in living organisms or in carbonate shells of marine organisms and after their death, stored in huge limestone beds at sea/ocean bottom and in organic matter on land.
    8. Instrumental monitoring of climate parameters has been carried out for only slightly more than 200 years and exclusively on some parts of the continents that constitute a small part of the Earth. Several older measurement stations once set up in suburbs now appear, due to progressive urbanization, in the town centres which results among others in increased values of the measured temperatures. Profound examination of the oceans was initiated 40 years ago. Reliable climatic models must not be based on such a short measurement data base. Therefore, considerable restraint is desirable if ascribing exclusive or predominant responsibility to man for increased emission of greenhouse gases. The reality of such arbitrary statement on human influence has not been demonstrated.
    9. It is certain that increased content of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is
    connected partly with human activity. Therefore, all steps that restrain this emission and agree with principles of sustainable development should be taken, starting from a cease of extensive deforestation, especially in tropical areas. Various adapting measures that can mitigate effects of the recent trend of climate warming should be implemented by political decision makers.
    10. Research experience in the Earth sciences suggests that simple explanation of
    natural phenomena, based on partial observations only and without consideration of
    numerous factors important for individual processes in a geosystem, leads generally to unreasonable simplification and misleading conclusions. Such opinions, embellished with political correctness, could be presumably inspired by lobbying circles that are interested in selling the particularly expensive so-called ecological energetic techniques and in storing (sequestration) of carbon dioxide in post-exploitation caverns, of natural gas included. However, such an approach is far from a reality. Undertaking of radical and extremely expensive economic activities that aim to delimit emission of selected greenhouse gases
    only when no complete analysis of the present climate change is available, can bring
    completely unexpected results.
    The Committee of Geological Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences considers it
    necessary to propose interdisciplinary studies, based on comprehensive monitoring and modeling of the climate, including also factors other than the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere only. It would certainly give an opportunity to approach a better recognition of the driving forces of the climate on Earth.
    Wrocław–Warsaw, 12 February 2009

  104. TerryS (03:24:06) that can be used to “prove” that any number is equal to 5/3 or 3/5 of any other number by varying the value of x.

    Here is another one: 3 friends have a meal at a restaurant. The waiter brings them a bill for $30, so the friends each fork out $10. But when the waiter goes to the counter the cashier discovers a mistake in the bill which has only come to $25 and gives the waiter 5 dollars to hand back to the customers.

    The waiter figures that 5 dollars is difficult to divide among 3 guys and figures they would be happy to get any money back, so he hands them back a dollar each and pockets 2 dollars.

    So the friends have now paid $10 – $1 = $9 each, Total $9×3 = $27
    The waiter has $2 in his pocket. $27 + $2 = $29

    But originally they paid $30. So where has the 1 dollar gone?

  105. It didn’t go anywhere. They amount in the cash register that came from them is $25; they paid $27 in total, and the other $2 is in the waiter’s pocket, as you said.

  106. Dr. Tim Ball had a series of articles in the Canada Free Press regarding the history of the IPCC and its objectives.
    ————————————————————-
    Environmental extremism must be put in its place in the climate debate
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/1272

    ‘Medieval Environmentalists’ attack CO2 in their efforts to derail civilization
    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/1489

    How the world was misled about global warming and now climate change
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/2704

    How UN structures were designed to prove human CO2 was causing global warming
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/2840

  107. Slartibartfast:
    I heard the bellboy story when I was but a young lad. About 1965 or so. Is there nothing new under the sun?

    BTW: Congrats on the award for your fiords!

  108. Vincent (05:06:25) :

    that is all that is needed to explain the twentieth century warming trend. So, I don’t understand why the IPCC are so quick to dismiss “internal processes”.

    Look at its name to find a possible answer. It is a government panel. That dismissal could be done for political, and power, reasons.

  109. Vincent (09:19:26) :

    Scott A Mandia,

    You erect the same old warmists strawmen that have been dealt with and dismissed so many times before:

    That’s why they keep putting them back up. They want them visble. You shouldn’t think they would leave them torn down, laying on the ground. I have learned they they don’t care about the data that shows they are wrong. They put those strawmen back up to cover up the data that shows they are wrong.

    Get used to them working endlessly to put them back up after they are torn down. It’s what they live to do. It is what they will always, and only, do.

    They don’t think like you. You would probably leave bad data, half-truths, and flat out fabrications, in a filthy ditch where they belong. But the alarmiss MUST put their hands in that dirty ditch to get the pieces of that strawman out, brush the filth off as best as they can, and erect that rotten strawman again.

    Ah, but an earth that is turning cooler all the time will be their end. When nature destroys that strawman there will be nothing left for them.

  110. Thank the Gods that not even Al Gore-levels of sea level rise will have much effect on my beautiful fjords!

  111. Bill Ellis
    “The natural climate variability provided by just a few ocean cycles, the ENSO, the AMO and the southern Atlantic can provide as much as +/- 0.7C natural variability to the climate.
    Most of the time, the cycles are not synch’ed up with each other so you don’t reach the extremes that are possible. But they were mostly synch’ed up in the mid-1910s (low phase), early 1940s (high phase), mid-1970s (low phase) and 1998 (high phase)”.

    And

    “There are many more climate papers looking at this natural variability now (probably provoked by the temperature drop provided by the 2007-08 La Nina which showed that the models were far off-track now)”.

    Peter Taylor in his new book, “Chill”, A Reassessment of Global Warming Theory, Clairview Books, 2009, concludes that that the main driver of recent global warming has been an unprecedented combination of natural events

    From the back cover. “Chill is a critical survey of the subject by a committed environmentalist & scientist. Based on extensive research, it reveals a disturbing collusion of interests responsible for creating a distorted understanding of changes in global climate. Scientific institutions, basing their work on flawed simulations & models, have gained influence and funding. In return they have allowed themselves to be directed by the needs of politicians and lobbyists for simple answers, slogans & targets. The resulting policy- a 60% reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050- would have a huge, almost unimaginable, impact upon landscape, community & biodiversity.
    On the basis of his studies of satellite data, cloud cover, ocean & solar cycles, Peter Taylor concludes that that the main driver of recent global warming has been an unprecedented combination of natural events. His investigations indicate that the current threat facing humanity is a period of cooling, as the cycle turns, comparable in severity to the Little Ice age of 1400-1700 AD. The risks of such cooling are potentially much greater than global warming and on a more immediate time scale, with the possibility of failing harvests leaving hundreds of millions vulnerable to famine”.

    Inside jacket. From W. Jackson Davis, Professor Emeritus, University of California, and author of the first draft of the Kyoto protocol.
    “Do you believe the earth is warming? Think again, says Peter Taylor, a committed environmental analyst with the unusual gift of following scientific evidence ruthlessly wherever it may lead. Taylor has done groundbreaking work on issues ranging from ocean pollution and biodiversity through renewable energy. Now he turns his relentless searchlight on climate change. His work has the ring of passion and the clarity of intellectual honesty. We can be certain his conclusions are the product of a fearless, unbiased, and intelligent intellectual journey by a remarkable mind, all the marks of genuine science. Taylor challenges us to look beyond our biases to whatever conclusions the evidence may justify. Believers in global warming such as my-self may not find comfit here, but hey will without question find a clear challenge to examine all the evidence objectively. At the very least, Taylor raises issues and questions that must be addressed conclusively before global warming can be genuinely regarded as “truth”, inconvenient or otherwise. This book is a must read for everyone on all sides of the climate change issue”.

  112. @ tallbloke (08:56:12) :

    The models are far from perfect and will never be perfect but they are very good at many things and getting better all the time. Here is what climate models do well:

    See: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/climate_models_accuracy.html

    1. There is considerable confidence that Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental and larger scales.
    2. Models now being used in applications by major climate modeling groups better simulate seasonally varying patterns of precipitation, mean sea level pressure and surface air temperature than the models relied on by these same groups at the time of the IPCC Third Assessment Repport (TAR).
    3. Model global temperature projections made over the last two decades have also been in overall agreement with subsequent observations over that period.
    4. Some AOGCMs can now simulate important aspects of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
    5. The ability of AOGCMs to simulate extreme events, especially hot and cold spells, has improved.
    6. Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models are able to simulate extreme warm temperatures, cold air outbreaks and frost days reasonably well.
    7. Models also reproduce other observed changes, such as the faster increase in nighttime than in daytime temperatures and the larger degree of warming in the Arctic known as polar amplification.
    8. Models account for a very large fraction of the global temperature pattern: the correlation coefficient between the simulated and observed spatial patterns of annual mean temperature is typically about 0.98 for individual models. This supports the view that major processes governing surface temperature climatology are represented with a reasonable degree of fidelity by the models.
    9. The models, as a group, clearly capture the differences between marine and continental environments and the larger magnitude of the annual cycle found at higher latitudes, but there is a general tendency to underestimate the annual temperature range over eastern Siberia. In general, the largest fractional errors are found over the oceans (e.g., over much of tropical South America and off the east coasts of North America and Asia). These exceptions to the overall good agreement illustrate a general characteristic of current climate models: the largest-scale features of climate are simulated more accurately than regional- and smaller-scale features.
    10. Models predict the small, short-term global cooling (and subsequent recovery) which has followed major volcanic eruptions, such as that of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991
    11. Simulation of extratropical cyclones has improved. Some models used for projections of tropical cyclone changes can simulate successfully the observed frequency and distribution of tropical cyclones.
    12. The models capture the dominant extratropical patterns of variability including the Northern and Southern Annular Modes, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Pacific-North American and Cold Ocean-Warm Land Patterns.
    13. With a few exceptions, the models can simulate the observed zonal mean of the annual mean outgoing LW within 10 W/m2 (an error of around 5%) The models reproduce the relative minimum in this field near the equator where the relatively high humidity and extensive cloud cover in the tropics raises the effective height (and lowers the effective temperature) at which LW radiation emanates to space.
    14. The seasonal cycle of the outgoing LW radiation pattern is also reasonably well simulated by models.
    15. The models capture the large-scale zonal mean precipitation differences, suggesting that they can adequately represent these features of atmospheric circulation. Moreover, there is some evidence that models have improved over the last several years in simulating the annual cycle of the precipitation patterns.
    16. Models also simulate some of the major regional characteristics of the precipitation field, including the major convergence zones and the maxima over tropical rain forests, although there is a tendency to underestimate rainfall over the Amazon.
    17. Confidence has also increased in the ability of GCMs to represent upper-tropospheric humidity and its variations, both free and forced. Together, upper-tropospheric observational and modeling evidence provide strong support for a combined water vapor/lapse rate feedback of around the strength found in GCMs (approximately 1 W/m2 oC-1, corresponding to around a 50% amplification of global mean warming).

    @ Alan Millar (08:52:47) : and Alan Millar (09:55:38) :

    My second post was sent before your reply was sent through. Remember that this blog is moderated and there can be many posts in a queue before being posted. Comparing financial modeling to physics modeling is apples and oranges. Social sciences play a huge role in financial modeling. Just look at how dumb most investors are and how almost nobody can beat an index fund over 10-15 years. Modeling climate is pure physics – no irrational emotions as forcing mechanisms.

    I definitely chose the wrong word. RATE was NOT what I was thinking but it was what I typed. I meant MAGNITUDE. The last few decades have all been warmer than the ones before and have been the warmest in 2,000 years. I choose to put my faith in Mann et al. (2008) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America and Kaufmann et al. (2009) in Science over that of Loehle’s reconstruction published in Energy & Environment. If Loehle was serious about his work he would have published in a respected journal.

    Mann et al. shows us that the last century and especially the most recent decades are indeed unprecedented in the past 2000 years. Kaufmann et al. shows a 2000 year cooling trend reversed during the 20th century, with four of the five warmest decades of our 2000-year-long reconstruction occurring between 1950 and 2000.

    Regarding the climate warming in the early 1900s it is suggested that volcanism and a weak sun led to cooling just before that period and a lull in volcanic forcing and a stronger sun caused at least ½ of the warming during that time with the other half (or less) being AGW.

    See:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/publications/HCTN/HCTN_19.pdf

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/r2n447034x15v087/

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/volcanic-lull/

    @ Vincent (09:19:26) :

    See: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/greenhouse_gases.html for my comments about my points #1, #2, and #3.

    #4: I have already discussed why UHI is not a factor and I never said anything in my posts about catastrophic global warming. I guess it depends upon what one thinks is catastrophic.

    #5: See the Kaufmann et al. paper to see why I am not just taling about a few years.

    #6: I am unsure of your point here.

    #7: See my reply to tallbloke. Natural cycles are not removed from models.

    @ An Inquirer (10:11:21) :

    #3: Not the upper stratosphere where the greenhosue signature really stands out. Randel et al. (2009) updated the analysis of observed stratospheric temperature variability and trends on the basis of satellite, radiosonde, and lidar observations. Their research reveals that temperature changes in the lower stratosphere show cooling of ~0.5 K/decade over much of the globe for 1979–2007 while in the middle and upper stratosphere there was mean cooling of 0.5–1.5 K/decade during 1979–2005, with the greatest cooling in the upper stratosphere near 40–50 km. This data is consistent with increased greenhouse gases.

    #4: Again, I have read both sides of the UHI issue and I do not see it as a major issue.

    #5: See Kaufmann et al.

    #6: The PDO? How does an osciallting PDO explain an upward warming trend? See:

    #7: See previous comments above. No way PDO fits the trend and no way these things can explain the anomolies today comered with the past 2000 years.

    The scientific analyses I have seen suggest that observed feedback is in the opposite direction of model assumptions.

    I suggest that these are a very tiny percentage of the analyses.

    @ Vincent (10:36:12) :

    See: http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/climate_authors_table.html

    See: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/is_global_warming_hype.html

    As stated above: My second post was sent before replies to my first post appeared. Remember that this blog is moderated and there can be many posts in a queue before being posted.

    @ Juraj V. (11:41:27) :

    #1 and #2: See : http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/greenhouse_gases.html for my comments about my points #1, #2

    #5: See Kaufmann et al.

    #6: ½ of the greenhouse gas emissions came after the mid 1970s. Also, due to the pollution before clean air legislation, solar dimming masked the greenhoiuse warming until the 1980s.

    #8: Yes, I should not have said RATE. See my earlier correction.

    Sources not directly listed above are listed here:
    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/works_cited.html

    Signing off on this thread now. Have fun.

  113. Scott A. Mandia (18:16:40) : BTW:
    http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2009/media/1021climate_letter.pdf
    Letter to US Senators by several science agencies.

    I was told that many of the heads of these societies are activists and political appointments. Many Chemical Society members were outraged and protested that the President purported to speak on their behalf.

    In any case I have two questions on an issue raised their letter. I know they are too big and busy to answer, but maybe you could answer for me.

    They say “If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced.”

    1. By how much do emissions have to be reduced and how much temperature change will this bring about according to you?

    2. How much less fossil fuels have to be burned by the western nations to achieve this reduction?

  114. Peter Taylor in his book (see above) refers to the global cloud thinning & increased SW flux to the surface, over 1985-2000, as reported by observations summarised by Palle & others. See Palle et al, 2005 & also Pinker et al, 2005, Wielicki et al, 2005 and Wild et al, 2004;2005).

    http://www.iac.es/galeria/epalle/reprints/Palle_GRL_2005.pdf

    Peter Taylor commented on this in an earlier Roy Spencer thread on WUWT; Roy’s testimony in Washington.

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/07/22/roy-spencers-testimony-before-congress-backs-up-moncktons-assertions-on-climate-sensitivity/

    Peter Taylor, 24/7/2008 at 15.52.05, commences
    “What surprises me in all these discussions is that Roy Spencer’s conclusions are rather obvious when the satellite data – as used by Palle and others, are studied – the period of ‘global warming’ currently attributed to carbon dioxide also corresponds to a global cloud thinning (ISCCP data) and increased Short Wave flux to the surface of the order of 6 watts/sq m over many years compared to the computed CO2 radiative forcing by Long Wave radiation of 1.8 watts. This radiative flux data supports Spencer and should have shown IPCC that something was wrong”.

    What interesting is how IPPC 2007 in WGI “swept these data observations under the carpet”. As Peter Taylor points out the IPPC has a prior commitment to AGW & you will not find in their summary reports any serious effort to cover possible non AGW reasons for the warming experienced in 1975-2000.

  115. Scott Mandia I would simply ask you this question… if you truly believe what you said:

    “We all know why Realclimate is arguably the best climate blog out there but, as I have said on other blogs, the discussions can be a bit much for the non-scientist.”

    As you stated on Real Climate here (@50):
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=1108

    Why is it that this “best climate blog” moderates out any questions I pose politely to it? In particular I posted two questions relating to Briffa’s tree rings, and both were moderated into the bit bucket.

    A climate blog presenting only the views the moderators wish the world to see cannot be presented as the “best climate blog.” This is self-evident. For a blog to have any gravity it must allow polite discourse on both sides of the debate.

    Your bias is patently obvious.

  116. Geoff Larsen (18:55:38) :

    Peter Taylor is an ecologist/environmentalist and if it were not for this global warming/climate change scam could be doing valuable work. A real pity that this is diverting attention from real problems.

    Unfortunately, who will listen to people like him after this scam is over?

    DaveE.

  117. Further re. Peter Taylor’s book. In Chapter 13, Dissent & Consensus, he gives a summary of data which in his words are “among the most crucial measurements with regard to the validation of any predictive power in the models relating to global warming”.

    i) the flux of short-wave (SW) radiation at the surface of the earth and its trends; and the flux of long wave (LW) radiation up from the surface, particularly over oceans.
    ii) the percentage changes in global cloud coverage , its spatial distribution, particularly over oceans.
    iii) the power of cosmic radiation to ionise and create cloud condensation nuclei
    iv) the complex interaction of variable UV radiation over the peaks and troughs of the 11-year solar cycle with the stratosphere/troposphere heat exchange system and the strength and spatial distribution of the jet stream.
    v) the rate of change of the Atlantic conveyor, particularly in the down-welling zones of the subArctic.
    vi) the past accumulation and recent rate of change of ocean heat content, particularly in the period post-2000, and major ocean basin oscillations such as the PDO.
    vii) the complex interaction of oscillations of 30-70-year timescales in the Arctic, Pacific and North Atlantic; and longer 400-and 1500-year low-frequency oscillation in either solar magnetic or ocean conveyor belts.

    Peter draws on his experience with modellers. “In my past work I have witnessed the tenacious resistance of modellers upholding their modelled “reality” and its predictions in the face of new data from the real world. This new data is ‘not believed’ because it conflicts with the model and, vice versa, data that does not confict with the model is not subject to the same critical appraisal”.

    He then goes on to discuss how dissent is treated within the IPPC.

  118. Back2Bat (05:19:54) :
    “However their conclusion is in part what one would expect from an academy like this in times like these, that we should move to mitigate…” Patrick
    Precisely. Nearly everyone seems to think that it is “prudent” to restrict carbon emissions. However, it is almost certainly not economically prudent or it would already have happened. The Great Depression was a major cause of World War II which killed 50 – 80 million and caused huge environmental damage.
    Most scientists are economic ninnies is my experience. Science is simple compared to economics, IMO. But that makes sound economics very simple: Liberty plus enforcement of basic laws against fraud and theft

    I like how you think, Back2Bat. Except on a grand scheme of things….science is is not simple. It is equally as complex as economics.

    And one other correction: Good scientists are not “ninnies” in any way shape or form.

    But I GET your point…and like how you think.

    CHRIS
    Norfolk, VA, USA

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  119. As a temperature specialist, building engineering and a professional that designs for and creates emissions I want to update you on work we have done looking for the elusive source of heat that would be required for man to heat the atmosphere.

    Here is a link to urban heat island creation that couldn’t be seen before. I did time-lapsed infrared imaging of buildings before sunrise to see what created urban heat islands. Imaging building development in 3 minute increments after the sun came up produced amazing information. There are 3 infrared videos at the link, the 3rd one shows what an urban heat island does to the inside of the building and how forestry products are represented. This will make it easier to see why California and others get knocked off the electrical grid except they are reacting to symptoms. http://www.thermoguy.com/urbanheat.html

  120. “Our re-submitted paper to the Journal of Geophysical Research entitled “On the Diagnosis of Radiative Feedback in the Presence of Unknown Radiative Forcing” will hopefully lead to a little more diversity being permitted in the global warming debate.”

    Good luck getting this past the peer review nazi’s.

  121. Scott A. Mandia (18:03:14) :

    @ tallbloke (08:56:12) :

    The models are far from perfect and will never be perfect but they are very good at many things and getting better all the time. Here is what climate models do well:

    Thanks for the big cut n paste Scott. I wonder if I can get you to realise that a computer model, like a chain, is only as strong as it’s weakest link. Due to resolution and computing power issues, the models cannot model cloud well. Since the cloud feedback is much greater than the radiative forcing of co2, this pretty quickly leads to meaninglessness when the models are used to predict the future. The co2 forcing relies on an overblown estimate of aerosol feedback, which observations are cherry picked for their match to reverse engineered aerosol feedbacks which keep the co2 forcing on track with the temperature record. It’s a circularity which undermines the validity of the models, and prevents their use for predictive purposes, since we don’t know future aerosol levels any more than future temperature levels.

    In a chaotic non-linear system such as climate, small errors in starting conditions quickly take the result away from any connection with reality. I’m afraid this just is how it is, and it doesn’t really matter how much NASA spencds on new computer kit or crystal balls.

  122. Nice comment, tallbloke.

    Here’s a good example about computer modelling, in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “The Black Swan,” about balls hitting each other on a billiard ball table, used to explain why prediction (and modelling) is so complicated:

    “If you know a set of basic parameters concerning the ball at rest, can computer the resistance of the table (quite elementary), and can gauge the strength of the impact, then it is rather easy to predict what would happen at the first hit. The second impact becomes more complicated, but possible; and more precision is called for. The problem is that to correctly computer the ninth impact, you need to take account the gravitational pull of someone standing next to the table (modestly, Berry’s computations use a weight of less than 150 pounds). And to compute the fifty-sixth impact, every single elementary particle in the universe needs to be present in your assumptions! An electron at the edge of the universe, separated from us by 10 billion light-years, must figure in the calculations, since it exerts a meaningful effect on the outcome.” (p. 178)

    …How many variables and impacts are there in climate modelling?

    It comes from this work apparently: http://www.phy.bris.ac.uk/people/berry_mv/the_papers/Berry076.pdf

  123. Scott A Mandia:

    Thank you for your link to your own site. I have to say, you are indulging in circular reasoning on this. Where people here have cited evidence against the IPCC position, your rebuttal is to link to your website containing, wait for it – the IPCC position.

    Where are the references to Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, Pielke, Eschenbach? You have omitted them because they don’t fit into your view point.

    You have dredged up the same old vostock CO2/Temperature record and didn’t even mention the fact that CO2 lags temperatures by the order of several hundred years! You failed to mention that in the geological timescales, CO2 levels have been 5 or 10 times higher than they are now, and do not show any correlation with temperatures.

    You show a met office graph of CO2 emission projections going parabolic, when so far the increase has remained linear.

    You show Atkins paper on stratospheric temperatures (2008) but failed to cite Lindzens paper (2009) that shows there is NO greenhouse gas signature in outgoing radiation.

    You failed to cite the fact that Argo data shows not oceanic warming since 2003.

    You failed to cite the fact that radiosonde and satellite data fail to confirm the tropical mid troposphere warming predicted by the models.

    In fact most of what you’ve cited is the same old stuff that’s been debunked over and over.

  124. Scott A Mandia:
    “I have already discussed why UHI is not a factor and I never said anything in my posts about catastrophic global warming. I guess it depends upon what one thinks is catastrophic.”

    Actually, what I said was UHI, poor siting and boundary layer flow disturbance, not UHI alone as you imply. These are NOT different words for the same thing – they are different although related phenomena that aren’t even dealt with.

    #5: See the Kaufmann et al. paper to see why I am not just taling about a few years.
    The Kaufmann paper. Wasn’t that another one of those proxy studies that attempts to get rid of the MWP? Is that the same Kaufmann who won’t release his raw data and methods? Hmm. Not sure if I’m convinced on that one.

    #7. Your link on climate models is broken so I am unable to view it. However, when you write “There is considerable confidence that Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental and larger scales” I have to ask “confidence by whom?”

    Many credible scientists include Pielke sr. and Spencer have pointed out the logical fallacies upon which these models are based, yet you still choose to believe in them.

    Based on everything you have written so far, I can only conclude therefore that you have not come here looking for truth but to prosletyze.

  125. I am responding to this because my profession includes buildings and their energy systems. Urban Heat Islands are not a city or development, each building is becoming an urban heat island depending on shade, green space or exterior finish.

    Meteorologist and Environment Canada pass on the very important information through building codes on how my professions are to design and build buildings. We are supposed to build and insulate for very specific regional temperature extremes to be sustainable. Building code tells us to “watch out for solar radiation”

    The horrible part is we couldn’t see how a building is functioning and they are signed off as compliant with everyone accepting responsibility through their insurer. In deregulating the building industry, anyone can chop down trees and go to a retail store to paint their building black if they want without realizing what they are doing.

    As soon as the sun comes up and with that radiation interacting with those exterior finishes of buildings, they are generating heat. The problem is they aren’t insulated for it as the hottest temperature we have documented is over 200 degrees F or 94 degrees C. Given that 212 F or 100 C is boiling, we are super heating the atmosphere and responding with AC(refrigeration & big electrical loads) On a February day when it was 32 F or 0 C, we documented 170 F or 77 C. That was one building when they were all cooking while snow was on the roof.

    UHI(each building) is generating heat and every new building is doing the same. FYI, we are addressing this through Environment Canada because it isn’t definable as sustainable. The link above will show you the heat generated without C02 produced and we are showing Canada that capturing carbon won’t stop the heat. In development we can’t scrape the ground of everything living to put up development because the surface of the exposed area is being radiated and generating heat on the surface of the planet.

  126. Scott Mandia (18:03:14) Oct 21

    So you dazzle us with 17 things that apparently the AOGCMs predict accurately.

    Fine.

    It would be nice if you could provide us with a detailed forecast of the next 10 years, in writing as a pdf, open access, including for each continent and region, temperature anomalies, general precipitation, ocean surface temperatures, and Arctic and Antarctic extents.

    If this is not forthcoming, it will be obvious to everyone why.

  127. tallbloke says:

    The co2 forcing relies on an overblown estimate of aerosol feedback, which observations are cherry picked for their match to reverse engineered aerosol feedbacks which keep the co2 forcing on track with the temperature record. It’s a circularity which undermines the validity of the models, and prevents their use for predictive purposes, since we don’t know future aerosol levels any more than future temperature levels.

    And, you know it is overblown how exactly? It is true that the uncertainty in the aerosol forcing is one of the factors that limits the quality of the constraints on climate sensitivity obtained from the instrumental temperature record. Better constraints are actually provided by other empirical data (in combination with the instrument record although other data actually contributes more to determining the constraints).

    And, yes, we don’t know the future aerosol levels just like we don’t know the future emissions of greenhouse gases. However, this does not stop us from coming up with different plausible scenarios. And, the fact is that there are very good reasons why it would be folly for us to just continue to increase and increase the aerosol emissions, in particular that they have other negative effects. Furthermore, aerosol emissions in the troposphere have a short lifetime and, as a result, current concentrations are pretty much just determined by current emissions; by contrast, CO2 (and, to lesser degrees, the other greenhouse gases) accumulate in the atmosphere so that even if emissions were frozen at current levels, the concentration would continue to increase.

    In a chaotic non-linear system such as climate, small errors in starting conditions quickly take the result away from any connection with reality. I’m afraid this just is how it is, and it doesn’t really matter how much NASA spencds on new computer kit or crystal balls.

    And yet, a climate model would correctly predict that the climate here in Rochester in January is considerably colder than it is in July. Why is that? Could it be because some aspects of the system are determined by more general principles and are thus not sensitive to the initial conditions even if the detailed evolution of the system is?

    By the way, they run climate models with perturbed initial conditions and indeed see this affect of chaos…and yet over a long enough period of time, this different runs still show the same general climate response to the increases in radiative forcings.

  128. tallbloke (04:28:33)

    “In a chaotic non-linear system such as climate, ..”

    Important point. The chaotic non-linear / non-equilibrium pattern formation aspect of climate is sometimes presented as if it was a side-salad or peripheral issue to climate. But it is the main course. It needs to become the dominant paradigm for real progress in understanding to be made. For the damage done by the AGW movement to begin to be undone.

    For example: the question of negative or positive climate feedback. Feedbacks are at the centre of the debates about climate dynamics and so-called “forcings”. A chaotic nonlinear paradigm results in predicted outcomes (yes some of us still believe science should make testable predictions) that are diametrically, 180 degrees, opposed to the predictions of a linear reductionistic-mechanistic paradigm.

    Richard Lindzen has examined clearly the issue of positive and negative feedbacks [1]. This is both in the “global” context of ERBE satellite measured fluxes at various wavelengths, and in the context of more local phenomena such as the Atlantic and Pacific oceanic oscillations. He correctly separates the two. While the linear reductionist-mechanistic (LRM) paradigm might apply to global radiative fluxes, more localised smaller scale
    phenomena are most likely to be better understood in a chaotic non-linear (CN) paradigm.

    What am I talking about? What is the difference between these paradigms?

    Negative feedbacks, in the LRM paradigm, basically oppose any force causing a change with a force reversing the change, so that status quo returns. Anti AGW scientists and commentators like negative feedbacks since they can be expected to oppose AGW.

    Positive feedbacks on the other hand result in runaway self-reinforcing change, and are thus popular with the AGW proponents. In fact the basis of the AGW position is arguing how a small CO2 forcing can initiate positive feedbacks with the help of water vapour and other factors.

    In a nutshell: negative feedbacks return the system to status quo, while positive feedback drives sustained unidirectional change. This is the LRM paradigm.

    The CN paradigm is quite different. Here, negative feedback is given another name: friction. Friction is when a forced change sets in motion processes which act to oppose the change. And in non-linear, non-equilibrium dynamic systems, friction has one major outcome: it stimulates the emergence of pattern formation. A system becomes fruitful with rich emergent patterns when it is far from equilibrium and in the bifurcating non-linear regime
    and friction is present in the system.

    The literature is replete with experimental studies substantiating this thoroughly well-established theory. (“friction + pattern + formation + non-linear” in Google scholar just yielded 15500 hits). Examples of such systems include:

    The classic Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction,
    Rayleigh-Benaud convection,
    Catalysed CO oxidation on a Pt surface,
    Coastline formation by sea currents on sand,
    The formation of pattern in mammalian trabecular bone,

    And many more. So while negative feedback causes a simple return to status quo (whatever that is) in the LMR paradigm, negative feedback or friction causes the emergence of pattern and structure in the CN paradigm.

    What about positive feedback?

    Positive feedback kills emergent pattern. Feedbacks have to be suppressed in order for rich and complex patterns to emerge. The Pt-catalysed oxidation of CO, studied by Matthias Bertram and others shows this clearly [2]. The system generates rich and complex geometric spatial patterns, but these collapse into a set of uniform sinusoidal oscillations when the gas pressures are adjusted to increase feedback in the system. Another, biomedical study
    shows that in the biochemical regulation of bone turnover, inactivation of the gene for OPG which acts against osteoblast-osteoclast coupling (feedback by yet another name) results in a debilitating genetic bone disorder where complex trabecular bone pattern collapses into an abnormal and pathological series of parallel plates [3].

    So while in the LRM paradigm positive feedback is what produces unidirectional sustained change, in the CN paradigm, it reduces complex and pattern-rich structure into simple periodic structure. So it actually opposes sustained change.

    Oscillations by the way are the norm for a planetary ocean and atmosphere system such as ours which is under continuous periodic forcing from the Milankovitch, solar and other cycles, and which in response – as a dynamically chaotic / non-linear system – generates intrinsic oscillations of its own. The type of feedbacks in the system determine the nature of the oscillations. Negative feedbacks (friction or damping) result in complex pattern with for instance log-log power law scales of magnitude. Positive feedback, by contrast, reduces oscillation to a simple wave.

    That’s what I mean about the outcomes of feedback being opposite according to the LGM and CN paradigms respectively. According to the CN paradigm, the AGW camp needs therefore to be arguing for negative, not positive feedback.

    If you want to see a nice video of emergent pattern in a non-equilibrium system under periodic forcing, please go to:

    http://chaos.ph.utexas.edu/research/vibrated_cornstarch.htm

    and click on the link for “see a movie”.

    Note that by emergent structure in the climate context one can include things like ice ages, El Nino and La Nina ocean current events, Pacific and Atlantic and other oceanic oscillations, the MWP, the LIA, the CWP, and others. Richard Lindzen points out [1] that negative feedbacks are generally underestimated, since systems will try to return to equilibrium via negative feedbacks. Basic thermodynamics dictates that applied forces induce opposing forces.

    Thus complexity and rich emergent pattern can be expected as the order of the day.

    [1] Richard S. Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi, Geophysical Research Letters, July 14, 2009.

    [2] Bertram M et al. Pattern formation on the edge of chaos: Experiments with CO oxidation on a Pt(110) surface under global delayed feedback. Phys. Rev. E 67(3) 036208 (2003)

    [3] Salmon PL. Loss of Chaotic Trabecular Structure in OPG-Deficient Juvenile Pagets Disease Patients Indicates a Chaogenic Role for OPG in Nonlinear Pattern Formation of Trabecular Bone. J. Bone Miner. Res., 2004; 19 (5): 695-702.

  129. Joel Shore:

    “And you know it is overblown, how exactly?” See link for “Consistency Between Satellite-Derived and Modeled Estimates of the Direct Aerosol Effect” by Gunnar Myhre.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/325/5937/187

    “And yet, a climate model would correctly predict that the climate here in Rochester in January is considerably colder than it is in July. Why is that? ”

    As a rough guess, how about increase in insolation?

    “By the way, they run climate models with perturbed initial conditions and indeed see this affect of chaos…and yet over a long enough period of time, this different runs still show the same general climate response to the increases in radiative forcings.”

    The reason why they show the same general climate response over a long enough time is simply because they have been programed with enormous postive feedbacks which overwhelms natural variability (chaos) in the long run. That should be obvious.

    A model is just that – a model. Just because it displays “chaos” does not in any sense imply that is it modelling reality. Chaos can be generated with even quite simple systems.

  130. Scott A. Mandia (18:03:14) :
    Scott, I believe that you are to be commended for your patience and moderate tone that you display in your postings. You used an exhaustive game plan to answer a good # of postings, and that is admirable. Nevertheless, you probably will not be surprised to hear that you did not persuade me. In fact sometimes, you seemed to be unresponsive to the issues and other times you seemed to be unaware of modeling and regression traps. I would like you to know that at one time I was a sincere and active believer in the AGW crisis, but my position changed when I dug deeper into the issues and understood the shortcomings of the eight arguments you posted (and others). To be sure this posting is not giving you anything concrete to base a critical response; if there was an purpose to do so — if I believed that you would sincerely consider the objectgions — I would do so. But I am extremely short on time, and it seems prudent to move on. I have listened to you twice (actually more, considering your multiple postings), and I believe that you have listened to me once. So it seems that we will continue to disagree.

  131. Joel Shore (10:53:32) :
    “By the way, they run climate models with perturbed initial conditions and indeed see this affect of chaos…and yet over a long enough period of time, this different runs still show the same general climate response to the increases in radiative forcings.”

    Of course they would . . . that is how they are built!

  132. It’s nice that climate models can predict decreased temperature during the winter months.

    Hopefully they can also predict a lowering of temperature during the hours of night, as well. The fact that they can (hopefully) perform these simple tasks is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for considering them valid.

  133. Vincent says:

    “And you know it is overblown, how exactly?” See link for “Consistency Between Satellite-Derived and Modeled Estimates of the Direct Aerosol Effect” by Gunnar Myhre.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/325/5937/187

    Okay…But note there are some important caveats on this:

    (1) It is just one study, quite new that other scientists have not yet had a chance to react to.
    (2) It still finds an aerosol direct effect forcing in the range that the IPCC gives, although it is in the lower half (in magnitude) of the range…i.e., they estimate -0.1 to -0.5 W/m^2 whereas the IPCC estimate was -0.1 to -0.9 W/m^2.
    (3) It doesn’t have anything to say about the indirect effect, which is potentially the larger effect in magnitude. (The IPCC range is -1.8 to -0.3 W/m^2.)

    “And yet, a climate model would correctly predict that the climate here in Rochester in January is considerably colder than it is in July. Why is that? ”

    As a rough guess, how about increase in insolation?

    Exactly…which just illustrates the point that one doesn’t have to be able to follow the detailed dynamical evolution of the system in order to make predictions. One can use larger considerations like energy balance. That is not to say that it makes predictions a piece of cake, but it is fundamentally incorrect to say that because the detailed dynamical evolution is sensitive to initial conditions, you can’t say anything about how the climate will change.

    The reason why they show the same general climate response over a long enough time is simply because they have been programed with enormous postive feedbacks which overwhelms natural variability (chaos) in the long run. That should be obvious.

    Well, the more fundamental reason is that the energy balance considerations is what dominates the climatic behavior over the many decades to century timescales. Yes, there are positive feedbacks in the models; however, these positive feedbacks have a physical basis and, in the case of the water vapor feedback, now considerable empirical support. (The support for positive or neutral cloud feedbacks is more indirect, although it does become difficult to explain past paleoclimate events and the climatic response to the Mt. Pinatubo eruption if the cloud feedback is significantly negative.)

    An Inquirer says:

    “By the way, they run climate models with perturbed initial conditions and indeed see this affect of chaos…and yet over a long enough period of time, this different runs still show the same general climate response to the increases in radiative forcings.”

    Of course they would . . . that is how they are built!

    Yes, they are built to incorporate the physics of that system as best it can.

  134. Phlogiston: Interesting food-for-thought and a cool video! One can have lots of fun with a mixture of cornstarch and water…I used to use it in a talk I gave as an illustration of the interesting behavior of non-Newtonian fluids (specifically, the visco-elasticity).

    I am struggling to decide how much of what you say I agree with and how much I remain skeptical of. Using your suggested google search words, I found this paper http://chaos.utexas.edu/manuscripts/1119561600.pdf that talks about the role of friction…and they did argue that it plays an important role in determining the pattern formation, although they do still get pattern-formation without it (although just the stripes rather than the two-dimensional patterns). Admittedly, the inelastic effects that they talk about could be another form of dissipation, so maybe you mean “dissipation” more generally? But, of course you will need some dissipation if you are driving the system in order for that system to come to some sort of steady-state.

    However, I tend to think that the important feature of pattern formation is still some sort of positive feedback that is producing an instability, because it seems hard to get a pattern without some sort of instability (i.e., a perturbation has to be able to grow to a certain point rather than shrink). Of course, once you have a linear instability, you will eventually have nonlinear terms pull it back again and they are clearly important in determining the pattern that ultimately forms, its characteristic dimensions, and so forth.

    I also struggle in relating this back to the climate system. You say, “basic thermodynamics dictates that applied forces induce opposing forces” and this is true…but that opposing force in the case of radiative forcings is provided by the Stefan-Boltzmann (S-B) Equation, which basically says that as the Earth heats up in response to an applied radiative forcing (such as that due to increased greenhouse gases), the amount that it radiates increases such that the net radiative forcing is reduced (and this will eventually drive it back to radiative balance).

    However, this does not mean that the net feedbacks can’t be positive when those net feedbacks are defined as they often are in climate science as really meaning “the net feedbacks other than that provided by the S-B Equation”.

    In particular, there are really 3 possible regimes for the feedbacks in the climate system:

    (1) Net feedbacks other than S-B are negative, which leads to a temperature rise that is less than that which would be predicted from the S-B Equation due to the radiative forcing of the CO2 alone. This is the regime that Lindzen and perhaps Spencer believe the climate system is in. [Although Spencer’s post here https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/04/spencer-on-finding-a-new-climate-sensitivity-marker/ suggesting that the equilibrium sensitivity is actually 1.6 to 2.0 C would actually imply it falls into (2).]

    (2) Net feedbacks other than S-B are positive but smaller in magnitude than the negative feedback due to the S-B Equation. In this case, the total net feedback including the S-B Equation is still negative and the system is still stable but the temperature rise is greater than the rise that is predicted by the S-B Equation due to the radiative forcing of the CO2 alone. This is the regime that the IPCC and most of the climate science community believe the climate system is in.

    (3) Net feedbacks other than S-B are positive and larger in magnitude than the negative feedback due to the S-B Equation. In this case, the total net feedback really is positive and the system is linearly unstable. This is the situation that is believed to have occurred on Venus; it is also the regime that Jim Hansen recently implied that he believes the climate system could be pushed into if we really went to town in burning our fossil fuel resources, although I have not seen him spell out any of the details on this. (Of course, even if the system is linearly unstable, the temperature doesn’t just increase forever as eventually the nonlinear terms will come in and stabilize it.)

    I don’t think that you can “a priori” argue on general principles that case (1) should pertain instead of case (2). [In fact, even case (3) can occur, although admittedly the system doesn’t stay in this state for long because it will run off to a new part of phase space where it is no longer linearly unstable.]

    People with a systems analysis or control theory background seem to get quite agitated by the idea of “net positive feedbacks” but I think that the confusion here is that they don’t realize that most of the time that people in climate science use this language, they are really talking about case (2), which a systems analysis / control theory person would still refer to as being a net negative feedback. If they stuck more rigorously to the usage of these terms in the systems analysis / control theory fields, they would count the S-B Equation as part of the feedback…and, indeed, that is how it is done for example in “Global Physical Climatology” by Dennis Hartmann (see http://books.google.com/books?id=Zi1coMyhlHoC&pg=PA231&lpg=PA231#v=onepage&q=&f=false ). But, this is just a difference in terminology, not a disagreement about the basic physics of the system.

  135. However, this does not mean that the net feedbacks can’t be positive when those net feedbacks are defined as they often are in climate science as really meaning “the net feedbacks other than that provided by the S-B Equation”.

    I am unsure of what this is intended to mean. Can you elaborate?

    Most of my problem with AGW climatological discussions is that the terminology resembles that of feedback control systems, but used some key words to mean entirely different things. For example, you’ll see “forcing” used in a context that in a controls setting would simply be a modification of a gain in the feedback loop.

    So, it sounds to me as if by “positive feedback”, you’re describing a reduction in the negative feedback gain. Or have I misunderstood?

  136. Joel Shore

    Thanks for looking at this and bringing some physical rigour to bear on the question – I wont be able to address the physics points adequately being a mere biologist. I’ll just make a few comments.

    The term “dissipation” that you introduce is the one I forgot to include originally – negative feedback can be analagous to the terms friction, damping or dissipation as used in non-equilibrium pattern formation and dynamic chaos studies.

    In the first paper from the Texas chaos group that you cite, the 2 dimensional stripes dont really qualify as complex non-linearly generated pattern, at least not as Matthias Bertram would describe it in his study of the CO oxidation on Pt crystals (the process that happens in a car’s catalytic converter). He described the transition from complex patterns to parallel stripes as the loss of complexity and pattern and the imposition of uniformity. I guess that regular waves represent uniformity in an oscillating system. We have to look at the oscillations themselves and see if they are complex/nonlinear or simple. Again I’m not sure if I’ using the correct terms here.

    I should emphasise that i dont think anyone is suggesting that chaos / non-linear pattern formation achieves a violation of the physical laws of themodynamics such as the Stefan-Boltzmann laws or conservation of energy. These laws of course apply to the system as a whole. Dynamic chaos affects the fine structure and dynamics of the system. My guess (it is little more than that) is that features such as the ENSO and other periodic localised oscillations might be emergent patterns from a non-linear / non-equilibrium system.

    I cited in an earlier post the book “Deep Simplicity” by John Gribben – a good introduction to these pattern formation processes for the non-specialist. He emphasised the term “non-equilibrium”, that as a system is pushed further and further from equlilbrium is at a certain point tips into a regime on the border of chaos where complex and rich patterns arise spontaneously. This region is described by physicists as a “bifurcating” region where possible states branch and multiply and thus the system cannot be predicted along a single deterministic path.

    In the context of atmosphere and ocean, it seems reasonable that there can never be equilibrium or even anything close to it. You have huge thermal gradient between the heated water in the tropics receiving the maximum solar heating, and the atmosphere also, and this energy imbalance between the tropics and poles must be redressed by oceanic currents and winds. (A world at equilibrium would be one of stagnant seas and no wind.)

    Some of the resulting “complexity” comes from straighforward physical effects such as the Coriolis force. However there is some periodic forcing from natural cycles such as Milankovich cycles, possibly solar cycles, plus changes in atmosphere composition such as CO2 and resultant changes in heat budget, and in general oscillations of global termperature from whatever cause. So you have the ingredients of being far from equilibrium, periodic forcing, and the various forms of damping and dissipation from the fluid behaviour or the water and air. All lead to the expectation of non-equilibium pattern dynamics – at least that is the proposition.

    There is a big danger here for those – such as myself – suggesting non-linear pattern formation as having a major role in climate and oceanic systems. Some on this site, myself included, have held forth on the subject of science needing to be testable and falsifiable – according to the writings of Carl Popper and others. But if one ascribes quasi-chaotic pattern formation as having a major role, how do you prove this or falsify it? One cant control the whole system experimentally as Bertram could with his CO oxidation system, or with a Belousov-Zhabotinsky type chemical sytem, or even corn starch in a bowl. So one is left with computer modelling – either of the whole system if one is very ambitious, or perhaps of a limited part of it. It would be interesting to see if a non-equilibrium pattern formation simulation could reproduce something similar to the ice age-interglacial flipping or the oceanic oscillations such as ENSO.

  137. Slartibartfast:

    So, it sounds to me as if by “positive feedback”, you’re describing a reduction in the negative feedback gain. Or have I misunderstood?

    Yeah…As I understand the language of feedback control systems, I think that this is correct. My case (2) above would correspond to there being some positive feedbacks in the system (due to water vapor, ice albedo, etc.) but not large enough to overcome the negative feedback described by the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation. So, that the net effect would just be a reduction in the negative feedback gain relative to case where you just consider the direct radiative effect of the CO2 and the negative feedback due to the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation.

  138. Thanks for the reply.

    I am, at least to some degree, a controls engineer, so my pet peeves are a bit more peevish in this respect than average, I’d guess.

    To me, the straightforward way of looking at things is something like this:

    -The sun warms the earth and its atmosphere.
    -The earth radiates back to space.
    -The atmosphere absorbs some of this radiation because of molecular absorption (CO2, H2O vapor both absorb heavily in the IR).
    -The resulting entrapment of surplus energy heats up the atmosphere, elevating the “greybody radiation” curve.
    -Equilibrium.

    There are a few things that I don’t understand, though. For instance, CO2 and H20 don’t entrap ALL of outgoing energy in their absorption bands, because the mean free path to the next photon interaction with one of those molecules is relatively long (because of the relatively low concentration of CO2 and H20 vapor), and eventually an N2 or O2 or other molecule will simply radiate photons of those wavelengths to space. Given that the atmosphere is 99+% N2 and O2, and about 0.25% H20 and CO2, the CO2 is going to simply slow down reradiation to space, and not present retention per se. That’s my guess, anyway. CO2 and H2O aren’t simply going to refrain from colliding with N2 and O2 molecules, once they’ve picked up some extra energy.

    As for the danger of Earth becoming more Venus-like, well, our atmospheres (in terms of composition and pressure) and insolation levels are so different that comparison is meaningless. Even if every oxygen molecule in the atmosphere were to acquire a carbon atom (wildly improbable, and not envisioned by even the more catastrophic global-warming predictions), the mass of our atmosphere would increase 28%, which is a bit shy of the 9200% that it would take to make it anything at all like that of Venus.

    Not your argument, possibly, but it’s what we see in the press rather frequently.

  139. Further to my previous post on how to prove / falsify non-linear pattern dynamics in climate.

    Of course the other approach is looking for a “signature”. What is diagnostic of non-equilibrium pattern? A key feature of such systems is fractal character, measured by making the log-log plot and looking for linearity.

    For example, take the Petit 1999 deuterium temperature reconstruction from the Vostok core going back 420,000 years. You can look at the difference (change) measured between neighboring core data points going back (or forward) in time. Then plot the nat log of point to point deg C change with nat log of frequency. What you get is:

    Change between consecutive data points deg C,Frequency,NatLog of change,NatLog of frequency

    0.1,2074,-2.30258,7.63723
    0.2,322,-1.60944,5.77455
    0.3,285,-1.20397,5.65249
    0.4,198,-0.91629,5.28827
    0.5,162,-0.69315,5.08760
    0.6,82,-0.51083,4.40672
    0.7,54,-0.35667,3.98898
    0.8,49,-0.22314,3.89182
    0.9,37,-0.10536,3.61092
    1,19,0,2.94444
    1.1,8,0.09531,2.07944
    1.2,8,0.18232,2.07944
    1.3,9,0.26236,2.19722

    y = -2.1052x + 3.0077
    R2 = 0.9305

    x: nat log of change
    y: nat log of frequency

    So with an R2 of 0.93 we have what is effectively the fractal dimension of Vostok temperature change of 2.105. The temporal changes in temperature do appear to show fractal character thus evidence that global temperatures are controlled by processes which possess non-linear / non-equilibrium emergent pattern.

  140. Slartibartfast:

    There are a few things that I don’t understand, though. For instance, CO2 and H20 don’t entrap ALL of outgoing energy in their absorption bands, because the mean free path to the next photon interaction with one of those molecules is relatively long (because of the relatively low concentration of CO2 and H20 vapor), and eventually an N2 or O2 or other molecule will simply radiate photons of those wavelengths to space. Given that the atmosphere is 99+% N2 and O2, and about 0.25% H20 and CO2, the CO2 is going to simply slow down reradiation to space, and not present retention per se. That’s my guess, anyway. CO2 and H2O aren’t simply going to refrain from colliding with N2 and O2 molecules, once they’ve picked up some extra energy.

    There is an aspect that you are missing here and it involves the fact that the greenhouse effect is actually subtler than the simple explanations of the greenhouse gases absorbing infrared radiation and re-radiating some of it back to Earth. At the end of the day, what turns out to be most important in determining the radiative balance is how much radiation gets emitted back to space. And, the way that greenhouse gases change that is that as you increase their amounts, the average level in the troposphere from which the radiation escapes into space rises. (You can imagine that a plot showing the number of IR “photons” that escape vs the level in the atmosphere will have a peak at some level because for IR emission low in the atmosphere, there is a large probability that the photon will be re-absorbed before it escapes into space and for IR emission very high in the atmosphere the radiative emission is lower because the temperature is colder. In between, there is a “sweet spot”, although obviously it is not that all photons that escape to space come from this level but just that the distribution has a maximum value at this level.) When the average level from which the emission into space occurs rises, that means the emission is occurring at a level at which the atmosphere is colder and hence, by the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, the power emitted is lower (because it is proportional to T^4).

    See here for a historical discussion of how the understanding of this evolved during the mid-20th century: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm#L_0623

    You are right that the process is complicated because you have to consider the details of the spectra of emission and absorption and so forth. So, there is really no substitute to doing detailed atmospheric radiative transfer calculations to determine what the actual numerical value for the radiative forcing due to a given change in CO2 levels is. However, I don’t think that there is any serious disagreement in the scientific community in regards to what this value is (to within about 10-15% precision), as even “skeptic” scientists like Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen don’t dispute this value, but instead dispute how the various atmospheric feedbacks then translate this into a certain temperature rise.

    As for the danger of Earth becoming more Venus-like, well, our atmospheres (in terms of composition and pressure) and insolation levels are so different that comparison is meaningless.

    Well, I won’t argue with your basic point that Earth and Venus are quite different. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn anything from looking at what happened on Venus. And, it is also important to remember that we are observing Venus’s atmosphere after a runaway greenhouse effect occurred. I don’t know how much is known about the likely makeup of its atmosphere before this occurred.

    But yes, Venus and Earth are quite different and most climate scientists seem to believe that a runaway effect on the Earth is not in-the-cards (at least for the sun at around its current luminosity). Jim Hansen does seem to believe that a runaway would be possible if we really aggressively use most of our fossil fuels but I haven’t seen him spell out his thinking in the scientific literature. (It seems to vaguely involve a notion that what has prevented this from ever occurring in the past were negative feedbacks in the carbon cycle due to geophysical processes [e.g., the drawing down of CO2 levels by chemical reactions that incorporate it into rocks] that occur on timescales that are too long to save us on the much shorter timescale over which we are releasing these stores of carbon back into the atmosphere.)

  141. Joel Shore,

    I was kinda keeping up with you until, “And, it is also important to remember that we are observing Venus’s atmosphere after a runaway greenhouse effect occurred.”

    Could you explain this, before I make any assumptions about what you meant?!

    Thanks a lot,
    MS.

  142. MattyS: All that I am saying is that the composition and density of the atmosphere on Venus is likely very different now than before the runaway greenhouse effect occurred. By the way, this Wikipedia article on the runaway greenhouse effect is good as a general reference and particularly for discussing the relevant differences between Venus and Earth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_greenhouse_effect

  143. There is an aspect that you are missing here and it involves the fact that the greenhouse effect is actually subtler than the simple explanations of the greenhouse gases absorbing infrared radiation and re-radiating some of it back to Earth.

    I actually think I covered much of what you mention here and in the ensuing paragraph, but I’m a little puzzled. It appears that you’re making a point that the connection between lower and upper troposphere is largely radiative. In order to avoid a lot of misunderstanding, then, here’s the way I see it: a hot lower troposphere would accomplish heat transfer by convection AND radiation to the upper troposphere. In the process of convection, much of the water vapor content is lost, so the heat-trapping is bypassed.

    Possibly I’ve completely misunderstood, though. Likely, I’m thinking.

    As regards a Venus runaway, I want to reemphasize that Venus has such an enormous greenhouse effect for several reasons that are not achievable on Earth, such as nearly a hundred times more atmospheric mass, and nearly all of that mass CO2.

    Possibly we have enough carbonates that, if they were somehow converted to CO2, they’d be able to form a massive atmosphere like that of Venus. But converting them is something you don’t want to hand-wave. Just burning fossil fuels isn’t going to do it, I don’t think, because you’ve got to oxidize the fossil fuels using atmospheric oxygen. And there’s only so much of that. If you could somehow burn ALL of atmospheric oxygen and form CO2, it’d only increase atmospheric mass by something like 28%, as I’ve said.

    Thanks for the response, and thanks for the link. I’ll be reading that in a bit.

  144. OK so I get the picture…

    On Venus we know very clearly the climate history – an earlier Edenic period existed of apple trees and dwarfs and elves, but they lit too many fires so greenhouse warming somehow became runaway in their oddly linear world, and the planet got toasted as punishment for the sin of industry.

    We know all this of course from all the spacecraft and astronauts that have landed on Venus, all the cores that have been taken and all those hardy bristlecone pines somehow still surviving to provide rings.

    Our own planet earth of course is a different matter – here the history of climate is lost in the mists of time an unavailable to inform the present. The mediaeval warm period, the little ice age, the Roman and Holocene warm periods, Younger Dryas, ice ages, are all now abstract myths which it is blasphemous to mention or even think about. Instead we extrapolate climate confidently backwards from a handful of borehole estimations with exponentials tending to a straight line.

    Yeah right!

  145. Slartibartfast:

    In order to avoid a lot of misunderstanding, then, here’s the way I see it: a hot lower troposphere would accomplish heat transfer by convection AND radiation to the upper troposphere. In the process of convection, much of the water vapor content is lost, so the heat-trapping is bypassed.

    It is true that some of the heat transfer in the atmosphere occurs via convection and specifically evapotranspiration, where water is evaporated at the surface (which absorbs energy) and condenses in the atmosphere releasing the energy as latent heat. (See http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/Atmosphere/images/radiation_budget_kiehl_trenberth_2008_big.jpg ) These processes are included in climate models. I’m not sure what you mean when you say, “much of the water vapor content is lost, so the heat-trapping is bypassed”.

    I agree with you that for the atmosphere to get anything like Venus, there would have to be significant releases of CO2 from carbonates or other sources because we don’t have nearly enough atmospheric oxygen to produce it simply by oxidizing fossil fuels. I’d be curious to understand more about how the process happened on Venus and whether they have any idea of what the atmosphere was like before runaway occurred. But, this is probably mainly of academic interest.

  146. Who says, and can prove, that there was ever a runaway on Venus? The CO2 burden there is quite possibly of ancient origin. The cloud cover on Venus is highly reflective sulphuric acid droplets, IIRC, so the mechanisms are hardly those of a simplistic CO2 greenhouse.

    In any case, since the IR bands CO2 absorbs are such a small fraction of the total thermal radiative EM range, I just don’t see how it could possibly even be the “forcing driver” on Venus (much less Earth).

  147. Brian H: My impression is that it is still not certain that a runaway effect occurred on Venus; however, the fact that Venus has a very significant greenhouse effect at the moment, due in large part to CO2, is incontrovertible.

    For some information on Venus and its greenhouse effect, see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/venus-unveiled/ Some facts therein:

    (1) “Traces of water vapor, which though tiny, contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere.”

    (2) “Most of the greenhouse effect comes from the carbon dioxide, however, which by itself is sufficient to raise the surface temperature most of the way toward its observed value of around 470C.”

    (3) “A key feature of the atmosphere of Venus is the sulfuric acid cloud deck. These clouds account for the high reflectivity of Venus, but because they also reflect infrared back to the surface (unlike water clouds, which absorb and emit), they have a warming effect as well, and constitute the second most important factor in the greenhouse effect of Venus after carbon dioxide. Radiation model calculations demonstrate that the clouds have a pronounced net cooling effect on the planet, when both factors are taken into account.”

    See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_greenhouse_effect and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus and references therein. In terms of a runaway effect, the second link says: “Studies have suggested that several billion years ago Venus’s atmosphere was much more like Earth’s than it is now, and that there were probably substantial quantities of liquid water on the surface, but a runaway greenhouse effect was caused by the evaporation of that original water, which generated a critical level of greenhouse gases in its atmosphere.[34]” Ref. [34] is available as a PDF file here: http://geosc.psu.edu/~kasting/PersonalPage/Pdf/Icarus_88.pdf This thesis would presumably also be a good source of information: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.75.6539&rep=rep1&type=pdf and here is a recent review of the radiative transfer in the Venusian atmosphere: http://yly-mac.gps.caltech.edu/Z444/Flash4/Venus_greenhouse/RT_in_Venus_Atmosphere_AGU_GM01301CH08.pdf

  148. Since the absorption spectrum of CO2 is in one tiny tail of the total EM / IR band, I harbor fundamental doubt about the capacity of that gas to drive up temperature.

    My prediction is that mature science will conclude that Venus’ temperature is the result of geophysical factors and convection effects, not radiative “trapping”, as per the GH hypothesis.

    The first crucial question that needs answering, IMO, is: where did all the CO2 on Venus come from? Its atmosphere is about 100X as dense as Earth’s and CO2 here is 1/3,000 of the atmosphere, so the relative CO2 concentration on Venus is 100×3,000=300,000X that of Earth. That is a whole different scenario than any relevant to our situation.

  149. Brain H: Well, you may harbor doubts…but I would go with the people who have actually performed the radiative transfer calculations. If you have your doubts, why don’t you read up on the calculations that have been performed and understand them better?

    I don’t know what you mean by “geophysical factors and convection effects”. The only way that Venus planet-atmosphere system can get rid of heat is to emit it into space radiatively. (I suppose a little bit could be liberated through mass transfer out of the atmosphere into space, but probably not very much.) And, the Venusian surface simply could not be nearly as hot as it is without an IR-absorbing (or reflecting) atmosphere because otherwise it would radiate out into space way more energy than it absorbs.

    If by geophysical factors, you mean that the planet itself is generating sufficient heat internally through, e.g., nuclear decay that is then being transported to the surface, I think you would have a real uphill battle in claiming that. As I recall, a paper from way back in the 60s or 70s showed that even if such a process were occurring internally, the amount of heat that could possibly by transferred to the surface of the planet was too small to maintain the high surface temperature.

    As for your last question, here is a paper that discusses their hypothesis of where all the CO2 on Venus came from: http://www.ucm.es/info/climast/paco/abstr/venus00.pdf

  150. Well, I’ve been referred to a paper by two German physicists that mathematically dismantles not only CO2 warming, but the entire greenhouse hypothesis. It’s written in math and Gerglish, but is readily understandable in all important respects.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0707.1161v4
    Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics
    Version 4.0 (January 6, 2009)

    Sample excerpt:

    In case of partial differential equations more than the equations themselves the boundary conditions determine the solutions. There are so many different transfer phenomena, radiative transfer, heat transfer, momentum transfer, mass transfer, energy transfer, etc. and many types of interfaces, static or moving, between solids,
    uids, gases, plasmas, etc. for which there does not exist an applicable theory, such that one even cannot write down the boundary conditions [176, 177].
    In the “approximated” discretized equations artifcial unphysical boundary conditions are introduced, in order to prevent running the system into unphysical states. Such a “calculation”, which yields an arbitrary result, is no calculation in the sense of physics, and hence, in the sense of science. There is no reason to believe that global climatologists do not know these fundamental scientifc facts. Nevertheless, in their summaries for policymakers, global climatologists claim that they can compute the influence of carbon dioxide on the climates [of planets].

    CO2 is irrelevant. There is no greenhouse warming.

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