Spencer: AGW has most of the characteristics of an "urban legend"

An Expensive Urban Legend

by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

https://i0.wp.com/www.vaguebuttrue.com/images/1251394834-alligator%20and%20sewerWEBSITE.jpg?resize=454%2C321

Urban legend? Gators don't really live in the sewer.

About.com describes an “urban legend” as an apocryphal (of questionable authenticity), secondhand story, told as true and just plausible enough to be believed, about some horrific…series of events….it’s likely to be framed as a cautionary tale. Whether factual or not, an urban legend is meant to be believed. In lieu of evidence, however, the teller of an urban legend is apt to rely on skillful storytelling and reference to putatively trustworthy sources.

I contend that the belief in human-caused global warming as a dangerous event, either now or in the future, has most of the characteristics of an urban legend. Like other urban legends, it is based upon an element of truth. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose concentration in the atmosphere is increasing, and since greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere, more CO2 can be expected, at least theoretically, to result in some level of warming.

But skillful storytelling has elevated the danger from a theoretical one to one of near-certainty. The actual scientific basis for the plausible hypothesis that humans could be responsible for most recent warming is contained in the cautious scientific language of many scientific papers. Unfortunately, most of the uncertainties and caveats are then minimized with artfully designed prose contained in the Summary for Policymakers (SP) portion of the report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This Summary was clearly meant to instill maximum alarm from a minimum amount of direct evidence.

Next, politicians seized upon the SP, further simplifying and extrapolating its claims to the level of a “climate crisis”. Other politicians embellished the tale even more by claiming they “saw” global warming in Greenland as if it was a sighting of Sasquatch, or that they felt it when they fly in airplanes.

Just as the tales of marauding colonies of alligators living in New York City sewers are based upon some kernel of truth, so too is the science behind anthropogenic global warming. But there is a big difference between reports of people finding pet alligators that have escaped their owners, versus city workers having their limbs torn off by roving colonies of subterranean monsters.

In the case of global warming, the “putatively trustworthy sources” would be the consensus of the world’s scientists. The scientific consensus, after all, says that global warming is…is what? Is happening? Is severe? Is manmade? Is going to burn the Earth up if we do not act? It turns out that those who claim consensus either do not explicitly state what that consensus is about, or they make up something that supports their preconceived notions.

If the consensus is that the presence of humans on Earth has some influence on the climate system, then I would have to even include myself in that consensus. After all, the same thing can be said of the presence of trees on Earth, and hopefully we have at least the same rights as trees do. But too often the consensus is some vague, fill-in-the-blank, implied assumption where the definition of “climate change” includes the phrase “humans are evil”.

It is a peculiar development that scientific truth is now decided through voting. A relatively recent survey of climate scientists who do climate research found that 97.4% agreed that humans have a “significant” effect on climate. But the way the survey question was phrased borders on meaninglessness. To a scientist, “significant” often means non-zero. The survey results would have been quite different if the question was, “Do you believe that natural cycles in the climate system have been sufficiently researched to exclude them as a potential cause of most of our recent warming?”

And it is also a good bet that 100% of those scientists surveyed were funded by the government only after they submitted research proposals which implicitly or explicitly stated they believed in anthropogenic global warming to begin with. If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded. Is it any wonder that scientists who are required to accept the current scientific orthodoxy in order to receive continued funding, then later agree with that orthodoxy when surveyed? Well, duh.

In my experience, the public has the mistaken impression that a lot of climate research has gone into the search for alternative explanations for warming. They are astounded when I tell them that virtually no research has been performed into the possibility that warming is just part of a natural cycle generated within the climate system itself.

Too often the consensus is implied to be that global warming is so serious that we must do something now in the form of public policy to avert global catastrophe. What? You don’t believe that there are alligators in New York City sewer system? How can you be so unconcerned about the welfare of city workers that have to risk their lives by going down there every day? What are you, some kind of Holocaust-denying, Neanderthal flat-Earther?

It makes complete sense that in this modern era of scientific advances and inventions that we would so readily embrace a compelling tale of global catastrophe resulting from our own excesses. It’s not a new genre of storytelling, of course, as there were many B-movies in the 1950s whose horror themes were influenced by scientists’ development of the atomic bomb.

Our modern equivalent is the 2004 movie, “Day After Tomorrow”, in which all kinds of physically impossible climatic events occur in a matter of days. In one scene, super-cold stratospheric air descends to the Earth’s surface, instantly freezing everything in its path. The meteorological truth, however, is just the opposite. If you were to bring stratospheric air down to the surface, heating by compression would make it warmer than the surrounding air, not colder.

I’m sure it is just coincidence that “Day After Tomorrow” was directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed the 2006 movie “Independence Day,” in which an alien invasion nearly exterminates humanity. After all, what’s the difference? Aliens purposely killing off humans, or humans accidentally killing off humans? Either way, we all die.

But a global warming catastrophe is so much more believable. After all, climate change does happen, right? So why not claim that ALL climate change is now the result of human activity? And while we are at it, let’s re-write climate history so that we get rid of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice age, with a new ingenious hockey stick-shaped reconstruction of past temperatures that makes it look like climate never changed until the 20th Century? How cool would that be?

The IPCC thought it was way cool…until it was debunked, after which it was quietly downgraded in the IPCC reports from the poster child for anthropogenic global warming, to one possible interpretation of past climate.

And let’s even go further and suppose that the climate system is so precariously balanced that our injection of a little bit of that evil plant food, carbon dioxide, pushes our world over the edge, past all kinds of imaginary tipping points, with the Greenland ice sheet melting away, and swarms of earthquakes being the price of our indiscretions.

In December, hundreds of bureaucrats from around the world will once again assemble, this time in Copenhagen, in their attempts to forge a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. And as has been the case with every other UN meeting of its type, the participants simply assume that the urban legend is true. Indeed, these politicians and governmental representatives need it to be true. Their careers and political power now depend upon it.

And the fact that they hold their meetings in all of the best tourist destinations in the world, enjoying the finest exotic foods, suggests that they do not expect to ever have to be personally inconvenienced by whatever restrictions they try to impose on the rest of humanity.

If you present these people with evidence that the global warming crisis might well be a false alarm, you are rewarded with hostility and insults, rather than expressions of relief. The same can be said for most lay believers of the urban legend. I say “most” because I once encountered a true believer who said he hoped my research into the possibility that climate change is mostly natural will eventually be proved correct.

Unfortunately, just as we are irresistibly drawn to disasters – either real ones on the evening news, or ones we pay to watch in movie theaters – the urban legend of a climate crisis will persist, being believed by those whose politics and worldviews depend upon it. Only when they finally realize what a new treaty will cost them in loss of freedoms and standard of living will those who oppose our continuing use of carbon-based energy begin to lose their religion.

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215 thoughts on “Spencer: AGW has most of the characteristics of an "urban legend"

  1. At some point, somebody has make the call that this was all GroupThink and Peer Pressure to conform. Urban Legend and disaster-fascination is another way to put it.
    Nobody has been able to demonstrate how the 3.0C per doubling actually occurs and the evidence doesn’t support it either. It only occurs in a Hansen-written software program that everyone else has just copied the base code for.
    Roy Spencer just made the call and I will echo that.

  2. Only when they finally realize what a new treaty will cost them in loss of freedoms and standard of living will those who oppose our continuing use of carbon-based energy begin to lose their religion.
    I’m not as confident as you are Mr. Spencer.

  3. Taking a quick look at AMSU and it appears that the Oct. anomaly is dropping. First time I’ve seen the words “cooler” in quite awhile. However, I haven’t kept up, have they switched satellites yet?

  4. As long as AGW provides a lever by which those bureaucrats can gain more power, they are going to push it as hard as they can. If the paradigm was shifted so that their power would be increased by more global warming they would abandon AGW in a flash.

  5. If you compare the left/right columns on http://www.climatedebatedaily.com you see that the AGW side is all about calls to authority and the skeptic side is a bunch of nerds fact checking various peer reviewed studies. But the thing that stands out most is how the non-academic AGW crowd really and truly believes that all skeptics are talk radio personality clones, meaning awful characters akin to tobacco hazard deniers or holocaust or AIDs or even moon-landing deniers. They really believe this. And if you are truly non-scientifically-literate, then that would make sense. They only have people’s *motive* as a guide and one side claims much better motives than the other. It sucks. Even junk debunking of skepticism of junk science satisfies them, utterly. They emotionally rely on debunking of debunkers. They are like children. They are spectators in a sort of sport. So the question arises as to how one would reach into the very psyche of such followers of AGW as opposes to the instigators of it. It comes down to the idea that some humans are bad. To change their minds cannot involves climatological facts, but a sea change in their outlook on which group of people are the evil ones. I think nuclear power is the best bet, the only way to undermine the AGW’s side of the equation.

  6. Very well put. The pampered clique of catastrophic warmers may find themselves inconvenienced after all. Eventually the observable facts have to count for something.

  7. They emotionally rely on debunking of debunkers. They are like children. They are spectators in a sort of sport. So the question arises as to how one would reach into the very psyche of such followers of AGW as opposes to the instigators of it. It comes down to the idea that some humans are bad. To change their minds cannot involves climatological facts, but a sea change in their outlook on which group of people are the evil ones.

    I think the model you need to examine is how de-programmers work to “convert” cult members and return them to conventional belief systems. You need to find some way to make them face a fundamental contradiction in their belief system that causes their old belief system to collapse. It is not about facts or science to them it is about belief pure and simple.
    I don’t know the exact answer to the question, but I suspect that that is proper point of view to figure out how to get through that shell of self deception.
    The evidence that man made global warming is false, is all around them but they refuse to see it because to do that, would be to deny their whole belief system and they would have to reject the people who they have trusted as honest “oracles” of the truth. Most folks strongly resist admitting they are wrong, unless you give them a graceful way to get out of that bind. Usually you need to use some disarming technique like saying “I used to believe that too” rather than to scream at them that they are stupid and wrong.
    Sadly that sort of “belief conversion” frequently results in a rather sudden switch from out right adulation of their prophets to blind hatred. I would not want to be anyone well connected with the AGW belief system when that sea change takes place.
    Here on this web site, we see people who begin to investigate inconsistencies and make the switch themselves. I am not sure it is possible in a practical sense for the skeptic community to really communicate with the AGW believers because there is so little common ground, and their style of reasoning is so foreign to the scientific method. You can see that in their refusal (with rare exceptions) to logically and rationally engage in discussion and debate, it is always my way or the highway.
    If you disagree you must be stupid, if you are stupid there is no reason why they should examine your evidence. If you are not stupid, you are an evil genius in the employ of some large corporation, or in the sway of some evil cult like the Republican party. Again by marginalizing the people who have differing views, they close the door to even considering the alternate point of view as in their mind it has no merit.
    In fairness some skeptics are inclined to do the same and we need to guard against adopting the same blind faith and automatic assignment of malicious intent to anyone who supports AGW. There are a few that might rate that sort of distrust, but as the old saying goes, never assign to malicious intent what can be adequately explained by stupidity (or in this case ignorance, as in a lack of education in the scientific method and its underlying principles of open debate and logical proof).
    Larry

  8. Apropos of the ‘350’ thread before, Thursday in the car I was subjected to an NPR talk show where one Bill McKinnon (I think that was the name) was interviewed about the forthcoming ‘350’ ‘demonstrations and protests’. As I recall, he said that ‘350’ was the CO2 ppm level that James Hansen said was the maximum the climate could tolerate and still maintain the “stability that has enabled human civilization to develop” (that’s a paraphrase, but pretty close). What struck me was the term ‘stability’, as if the Earth’s climate has ever been ‘stable’. But, you see, it’s ‘climate change’ that is the villain, now.
    The degree of passionate naiveté expressed to the sympathetic host in about ten minutes was breathtaking. It was as if the future of the world and the human race hung on this mysterious number ‘350’, and that the mass asseverations of the simultaneous displays of the magic number would bring about the new Eden.
    Meanwhile, the serious socialist apparatchiks of the UN and the EU are determinedly drafting elaborate treaty language that will ensnare the free peoples of the West in webs of constraints and taxes, stifling progress for the indefinite future, and building hierarchies for themselves, while these ‘useful idiots’ like McKinnon prate on and on about ‘saving the planet’ under the mantra of ‘350’.
    This is much more serious than a mere ‘urban myth’; it is collective madness.
    /Mr Lynn

  9. RE: Richard M (19:08:06)
    Last I heard they have not yet made the switch. I’m sure when that happens the website will reflect that joyous occasion.

  10. A wise man once said
    “You cannot reason people out of something that they have not been reasoned into.”
    This is the root of the problem as I see it.

  11. I think it will, eventually, be the TV Weatherpersons that call b.s. on the deal.
    When the local weatherman/woman starts making fun of “global warming” all the politicians, and Al Gores in the world won’t have a chance.

  12. Them are fightin’ words. I love it. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.
    The pen is truly mightier….
    “In December, hundreds of bureaucrats from around the world will once again assemble, this time in Copenhagen, in their attempts to forge a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. And as has been the case with every other UN meeting of its type, the participants simply assume that the urban legend is true. INDEED, THESE POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENTAL REPRESENTATIVES NEED IT TO BE TRUE. Their careers and political power now depend upon it.”
    [emphasis mine]
    Let the revolution begin. Topple these idiots.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  13. The BBC World Service has just broadcast a short radio talk by Clive James on the importance of scepticism. He culminates by stressing the necessity of remaining sceptical in the face of AGW claims. Another little crack in the wall?
    Listen again (might only work in the UK):
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p002wv05

  14. What we are witnessing, folks, is NOT the scientific method (even though we have entrusted this in them).
    What we are witnessing is a case study of mass-delusion and group-think, where, like a super-organism, this global “consensus” based upon “garbage-in”…takes on a life of its own.
    Even the smartest among them are deceived.
    This is a psychological and anthropological study in herd/school/flock behavior of our species that transpires over a much longer period of time.
    It has happened many times before.
    Mobs act differently than individuals.
    Global groups of people believing (or WANTING to believe) in some cause are no different.
    We think we are evolved with all our technology and such….but we have a long way to go.
    Mass deception….delusion….on a global scale….has happened many times before in human history.
    The best recent example perhaps, would be the Germans, who, regardless of an inordinate talent for science and engineering, fell under that dangerous group-think spell one time in recent past.
    They aren’t alone….as you can look at many other human people group and find similar characteristics.
    The problem of AGW is not a scientific dilemma [Science is not on their side].
    It is a psychological one.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  15. Well. What seems to be happening among the brethren is a very late realization that after more than 40 years (SAT scores peaked in 1962) of theologized education (ecological theology) we are possessed of a population devoid of any ability to rationalize the differences between opposing points of view.
    Most of the salient characteristics of that population have been pointed out by previous posters. A single word, “moronity” might suffice to describe the majority. So, what is to be done?
    Sadly, we must undertake to educate, persuade, elucidate, convince and even coerce the people of this planet before it is too late. I think a rap song of the good Professor Spencer’s post might be more potent than any reasoned and reasonable, well documented article. The message must reach the audience.

  16. savethesharks (20:31:12) :
    Why yes, the same sort of mentality and group-think preceded the coming Ice Age scare. The local level at that time was the struggle against the Establishment, which was perceived as reactionary. Fuel for hysteria.
    The Ice Age withered under the Modern Warm Period.
    No problem, let’s just rip out that Ice Age Cometh and plug in the Global Warming theory.
    What began as a fish-tale that got away, really did get loose and snowballed. With the help of some counter-culture think now embedded in politics, you have your recipe for an agenda, and that’s what came down.
    It’s now the Attack of the 50-foot FreeWorld-Eating Dragon.
    Peel off the Scales and what do you have?
    A fish tale.

  17. Outstanding Dr. Spenser and some really choice comments too.
    IMO this convenient legend was just to convenient to resist for a super majority of AGW enthusiasts. It was like a shining hero arriving to add urgency and a genesis for rally to their so many causes in need of forward acceleration. Especially for those causes which stagnated and lost luster needed shining.
    Here in Oregon every single left wing group and agency with it’s memership entirety has accepted and embraced AGW as the ultimate mission.

  18. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose concentration in the atmosphere is increasing, and since greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere, more CO2 can be expected, at least theoretically, to result in some level of warming.

    No, CO2 emissions would increase temperatures only if one assumes that water vapour content in the upper atmosphere can change only due to a temperature change. Climate models assume that water vapour relative humidity remains approximately constant while CO2 increases. This is a nonsense assumption. This assumption is due to observations that during short time periods relative humidity stays approximately constant while temperatures change. It is invalid to extrapolate this observation to long time periods when CO2 concentrations increase significantly.
    Water vapour content will change as a direct result of increasing CO2 content, independent of temperature.
    This graph shows that the actual water vapour content in the upper troposphere has declined by 17% from 1948 to 2008 at the 400 mb pressure level (about 8 km altitude). Water vapour data is from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/SH400mb.jpg
    Every climate model shows water vapour specific humidity going up with increasing CO2, that is, increasing with temperature. But it is going down, the opposite of the projections.
    Why is this important? Three reasons:
    1. The radiation balance is determined at the top of the troposphere. The line-by-line code HARTCODE was used to determine the effect of changes of water vapour at the upper atmosphere versus near the surface. This graph shows that changing the water vapour content at the 300 – 400 mb level has 41 times the effect on out-going radiation as the same change near the surface. So only water vapour changes in the upper atmosphere matter.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/H2O_OLR.jpg
    2. A 3% increase in water vapour has the same effect as a 100% increase in CO2.
    3. The IPCC estimate that doubling CO2 would increase temperatures by 1.06 C if there were no feedbacks, meaning holding water vapour and everything else constant. (This number is much too large, but that is another story.) They multiply this by the effects of feedbacks giving a final climate sensitivity of 3.28 C for doubling CO2. Water vapour and lapse rate together is by far the largest feedback, about half of all feedbacks, representing 1.04 C. So the models assume water vapour coupled with lapse rate doubles the warming effect of CO2. This feedback is entirely due to the belief the water vapour is increasing in the 300 to 400 mb altitude, but as the graph above shows, it is not increasing. It is decreasing. A temperature change can not cause this. It is a direct result of increasing CO2 content.
    The result is that there has been no increase in the total effective amount of greenhouse gases, as characterized by optical depth (transparency to long-wave radiation), in sixty years, as demonstrated by the green line on this graph, according to the radiosonde data.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Optical%20Depth2008.jpg
    The data is telling us the CO2 is displacing water vapour as a greenhouse gas, and that the laws of physics place a limit on the total effective amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

  19. I’d change “all the characteristics” to “some of the characteristics.” This isn’t a second-hand-source tale.
    REPLY: I just changed that to be accurate, I conflated what Spencer said. -A

  20. ” You can fool some of the people all of the time.” they really want to believe in B.S. the stranger the better. As Woopy Goldburg said ” I don’t believe with my head, I believe with my gut.”
    ” You can fool all of the people some of the time.” With loud, official sounding scary pronouncements you can stampede most people for a short time.
    “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” After a while the sceptics stop and say,
    “this is all B.S.”

  21. savethesharks (20:31:12) : “Mobs act differently than individuals.”
    Dawn age hominids hunted in packs. They spread out in a long line, then formed a circle, slowly moving in, trapping game within the circle. To do this, they had to function in concert, automatically moving as a unit, adjusting their individual speeds to that of the slowest member of the pack. This is why the mental ability of a mob instinctively adjusts itself to match the IQ of the stupidest member. That is hard-wired into us. It’s great for catching coneys. It is useless for science, as can be plainly seen.


  22. An Expensive Urban Legend
    by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    Urban legend? Gators don’t really live in the sewer.

    Whom am I to believe? Are not my lying eyes witnessing a ‘gator crawling from a storm drain in the picture at the top of this thread?
    Just sayin … (is there a back story to the ‘staged’ photo?)
    .
    .
    .

  23. Ken Gregory (21:30:51) : “The data is telling us the CO2 is displacing water vapour as a greenhouse gas, and that the laws of physics place a limit on the total effective amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
    Which laws of physics would that be?

  24. [snip – please lets not take this towards a religious discussion, your point below is excellent though – A ]
    Surely there are alligators in the Chico sewers.
    Observed things today are apparently less appreciated then modeled things. I can build a model to take you anywhere, but reality its its constraints. Explaining the obvious to the oblivious is a time eater.

  25. Having lived through 39 years of environmental management at the federal level, and being a bureaucrat, a scientist and an attorney, I wish I could find Roy’s essay persuasive. I can’t.
    In language the common man can understand, we need to explain in words and pictures the exact basis for the IPCC statement on AGW and why it is wrong. Why we actually cannot predict the future very well (complex and chaotic system) and why we should not assume the worst scenario.
    I’ve been attentive to this subject for quite some time now and I have yet to see an honest, complete, scientifically sound, persuasive and understandable explanation that goes to the core of the central issue – the evidence of what, exactly, is mankind’s influence on climate, to include the reasonably expected impact in the near and long term. Roger Pielke Sr. has provided some of the best commentary, but I still have not seen the 50 page arrow through the heart of the AGW scare campaign, much less the crisp, clear summary of that work.
    Until that is available, Roy’s contribution has to be viewed as cheer leading, but no more. I support him and his voice, but it is too close to “relying on authority” rather than positing the scientific explanation.
    Don’t wish to be negative, but I’m getting too old to wait much longer for the winning presentation of the data, so some of you younger folks – hop to it.

  26. “Which laws of physics would that be?”
    The laws of physics that govern the atmosphere, or specifically, the laws that control the greenhouse effect. But obviously, not the laws of physics that are programmed into climate models. When the data contradicts your theory, you need to change your theory.

  27. however, the teller of an urban legend is apt to rely on skillful storytelling and reference to putatively trustworthy sources.
    Of course it resonates that this is Al Gore.
    p.s. more snow in the US this weekend– a white Halloween (h/t rbateman), heading toward a white Thanksgiving, and a deep white Christmas, but it’s all just weather 😉 )

  28. So why not claim that ALL climate change is now the result of human activity?
    As some claimed in the past that eclipses of the sun were caused by man.

  29. David Schnare (22:12:24) :
    “…but I still have not seen the 50 page arrow through the heart of the AGW scare campaign, much less the crisp, clear summary of that work.”
    David, for the fun of it, I am willing to assume that you are not an AGW believer simply performing your duties as a troll (sowing seeds of doubt).
    With that background, I must comment that since you have been an attorney, you must realize that (in America at least), one is innocent until proven guilty and not the other way round. The specific “one” in this case is mankind, which stands accused.
    What is missing is a 50 page, crisp, clear summary (or any other summary) that proves mankind’s production of CO2 does anything other than help feed the world’s growing population. Therefore in fact, the summary you regret not having yet seen would be redundant in a court of law.

  30. I disagree with Jerry and agree somehwat with Schnare.
    A great use of the next ICCC meeting in NYC would be to get all of the bright skeptic minds (Watts, Lindzen, Spencer, Ball, Monckton, Horner, Joe D’Aleo, etc.) and a top Madison Ave firm together to draft a truly concise and powerful statement. It should be aimed at the common man and it should encourage local weathermen to deliver it to their viewers.
    It’s time to put an end to the nonsense before it does real damage to our economies.

  31. Jeff B. (23:28:43) :
    Don’t forget about Stephen McIntyre, Ross McKitrick and the
    death of the “Hockey Stick”. After all, the Wegman report to
    congress, is still ignored by the hysterical doom mongering
    bureaucrats.

  32. OT, but given it’s Roy Spencer, I thought I would talk about climate sensitivity… As Dr. Spencer says, precipitation exactly matches evaporation and the atmosphere is not saturated with water vapor. Everything follows from that.
    I’m strongly attracted to Roy’s ‘strong forces’ model where the ‘forces’ of warming and cooling push strongly against each other to keep temperature in a tight band (see the chart on page 53 in his [highly recommended] book Climate Confusion). The simplest case is that the hydrological cycle has strong negative feedback at the equator but weakly positive feedback at the poles and in cold, dry places like Siberia in winter at night. Surely, positive feedback can only true at the limit case where the atmosphere is saturated with water vapor. Which it isn’t. There is a strong hysteresis built into cloud formation, precipitation and dissipation which sends temperatures and humidity running back below where it started.

  33. Hotrod: “If you disagree you must be stupid…If you are not stupid, you are an evil genius…or in the sway of some evil cult…
    “In fairness some skeptics are inclined to do the same and we need to guard against adopting the same blind faith and automatic assignment of malicious intent to anyone who supports AGW.”
    Good point. So how does this thread line up: “begin to lose their religion…not innocent storytellers…GroupThink and Peer Pressure…bureaucrats can gain more power…like children..serious socialist apparatchiks…collective madness…mass-delusion and group-think…herd/school/flock behavior…the Germans…“moronity”.
    So that’s stupid, evil and cult covered. Do you think you’re perhaps shutting the barn door after the nag has well and truly bolted and sired a whole bunch of offspring?

  34. hotrod wrote (19:59:23):
    “You need to find some way to make them face a fundamental contradiction in their belief system that causes their old belief system to collapse. It is not about facts or science to them it is about belief pure and simple.”
    hotrod, you are spot on.
    Even a whole series of facts and evidence can fail to persuade them. There is too much invested, and depending on the issue and circumstances, their whole identity is wrapped up in it. Self-justification is strong in Human Nature and the attitude, “I couldn’t have been wrong”, easily befalls many, one might say, it befalls those will specialized training, in even higher numbers because they only listen to their peer group, and will even be hostile to outsiders.
    That is why in science, it is imperative to follow protocol: The highest is the scientific method, employing reasonable scepticism and an open-mind to engage in empirical collection of observations & measurement.
    When people claim there is no need for observation & measurement, that is when you know their belief system is based on faith not on empirical science.

  35. Little or nothing will happen.
    There will be flowery speeches and inspiring words.
    When it comes down to practical outcomes, see the opening sentence.
    These guys now what side their bread is buttered on after all.

  36. How about the Skeptics Handbook by Joanne Nova, which is definitely meant for lay people:
    http://joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/the_skeptics_handbook_2-3_lq.pdf
    I heard Professor Lindzen on the radio a while ago and he not only mentioned it but repeated the url. He said that while he didn’t entirely agree with its contents it was a good starting point.
    Joanne Nova also did a paper (which I think might have been mentioned here) about the amount of money being tossed into this bottomless pit. Big government spending their money is something most people have no difficulty grasping.
    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/climate_money.pdf

  37. Above Spencer says, “If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded.”
    Then later he also says,”… I once encountered a true believer who said he hoped my research into the possibility that climate change is mostly natural will eventually be proved correct.”
    Does that mean that Spencer’s research is not funded?

  38. “Mankind’s burning of fossil fuels creates more atmospheric carbon dioxide. As we add more CO2, more infrared energy is trapped, strengthing the Earth’s greenhouse effect. This causes a warming tendency in the lower atmosphere and at the surface. As of 2008, it is believed that we have enhanced the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect by about 1%.”…
    “Now, you might be surprised to learn that the amount of warming directly caused by the extra CO2 is, by itself, relatively weak. It has been calculated theoretically that, if there are no other changes in the climate system, a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration would cause less than 1 deg C of surface warming (about 1 deg. F). This is NOT a controversial statement…it is well understood by climate scientists. (As of 2008, we were about 40% to 45% of the way toward a doubling of atmospheric CO2.)” http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-101/

  39. Here’s how to twist this particular urban legend back on itself.

    H/T to Richard over at EU Referendum.

  40. NikFromNYC (19:13:59) :
    What motivates the strident criers for action NOW?
    I’ve spent 35 years trying to work out the motivations of protesters and I am still no closer to an answer. Statistically, we cannot expect 100% agreement on any social issue, but when you get a 50% that screams at public rallies that they want to decrease their living standards NOW, there has to be another explanation.
    The closest I can get is to incriminate teachers (who can suffer from generational incestuous thought, the lame leading the blind); and the mainstream media.
    I like teachers. The younger ones can be excused for passing on what they were taught as gospel, but the older ones should inquire more.
    MSM is a far more serious problem because it verges on crime. Without mentioning names, there is one major global newspaper owner (or effective controller) whose known Scientology beliefs link him at least by association with others known to contribute large sums to sustain certain views. Media magnates do not get so wealthy without a bit of cunning and a bit of showing the lemmings the way. If you have megabucks and want more, what better way than to use your MSM to convince the people to redistribute wealth while you cut a slice off it? All I can say is, remember where Conrad Black is now.
    The senior managers in the MSM really have to go along with the bosses for co-prosperity and the trickle effect sees the headlines spreading alarm. Money is more easily made in a moving market than a steady one – especially when you cause the market to move in a predicted direction. It’s like rigging horse races.
    As for the scientists with the 1,000 yard stare and the fervent, repetitive dogma, I have only personal disdain. Historians of science will affirm that the giants of the past did not just dash off an interim half-finished note to “Nature”. Many worked over and over the same manuscript until they felt they could do no better, sometimes taking years. Perhaps the imperative of “being ready for Copenhagen” is a recent syndrome that better scientists should quell through stronger action. There was a lot of messy business getting ready for AR4, with timeline and publication rules being broken and conventions thrown aside, as Steve has often noted.
    Anyone into psychology enough to coment professionally on motivation? Is it more than the girl school mass panic attack effect that is documented?

  41. What is Groupthink?
    “Groupthink, a term coined by social psychologist Irving Janis (1972), occurs when a group makes faulty decisions because group pressures lead to a deterioration of “mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment” (p. 9). Groups affected by groupthink ignore alternatives and tend to take irrational actions that dehumanize other groups. A group is especially vulnerable to groupthink when its members are similar in background, when the group is insulated from outside opinions, and when there are no clear rules for decision making.”
    http://www.psysr.org/about/pubs_resources/groupthink%20overview.htm
    Symptoms of Groupthink
    1. Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.
    2. Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
    3. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
    4. Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.
    5. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.
    6. Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.
    7.Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.
    8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

  42. @ artwest (20:18:39) :
    Thanks for the link. It’s a truly excellent piece by Clime James, whom I have always admired. It’s great to learn that he’s a sceptic, both in the general sense and also with respect to global warming.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p002wv05
    It may only work in the UK. If you’re in a hurry, skip the first half and get to the meat in the second half.
    It’s also remarkable that, once again, sceptical material has emanated from the BBC. Could the Beeb be moving toward a more balanced and less biased treatment of climate change? Who knows….
    Chris

  43. Dr Spencer
    Thank you for this observation:-
    In one scene, super-cold stratospheric air descends to the Earth’s surface, instantly freezing everything in its path. The meteorological truth, however, is just the opposite. If you were to bring stratospheric air down to the surface, heating by compression would make it warmer than the surrounding air, not colder.
    It was at this point in the film that I lost interest and could no longer suspend my disbelief.
    I was taught in Meteorology 101 that the warm dry and generally still air at ground level, inside the vortex of a hurricane, is formed of stratospheric air.
    Just like in a whirlpool of water, where the vortex cone can reach the bottom, allowing air to touch the stream bed, the eye of a hurricane is where the stratospheric air touches the Earth’s surface.

  44. Dr Spencer
    Excellent article. But do not despair democratic science appears to be producing a result in the UK!
    Late last week, as the result of apparent pressure from the government, the Science Museum launched an exhibition to remind the public of the perils of climate change in the run-up to Copenhagen. The museum also launched the online poll, ‘Prove It’ (see Anthony’s thread) which asks voter to be counted in or counted out to the proposition:”I’ve seen the evidence. And I want the government to prove they’re serious about climate change by negotiating a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.”
    As Anthony suggested it might, the poll is going spectacularly wrong for the government. As I type the latest figures are 486 counted in as against 3243 counted out – a ratio of 6.67:1 against the desired result.
    A reminder – the website address to vote is http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/proveit.aspx

  45. I think the urban legend is also based on another kernel of truth, and this might even be the more powerful one. Although it isn’t actually a “truth” in the sense of an objective fact, rather it is a sincerely held core value. It is what some people feel to be most important, and it might be a core part of why the urban legend is so compelling.
    In developmental psychology there are several models of how people develop through stages, but just look at this description of one cultural values stage from the model called Spiral Dynamics. (In Spiral Dynamics there are 8 stages, each named/labelled by colour: BEIGE, PURPLE, RED, BLUE, ORANGE, GREEN, YELLOW, TURQUOISE):
    GREEN Communitarian/Egalitarian MEME – starting 150 years ago
    Basic theme: Seek peace within the inner self and explore, with others, the caring dimensions of community
    • The human spirit must be freed from greed, dogma, and divisiveness
    • Feelings, sensitivity, and caring supersede cold rationality
    • Spreads the Earth’s resources and opportunities equally among all
    • Reaches decisions through reconciliation and consensus processes
    • Refreshes spirituality, brings harmony, and enriches human development
    The authors of this model and research estimate that about 25% of people in the West are centred mostly around this cultural values stage. It is called a “values system” because these are the things that people value most.
    The research originated when a psychology professor asked his students to write an essay defining, “what is a healthy human?”, and he got back more than one kind of answer. With further research they identified 8 core values. Each one is what a person feels to be “good” or “heathy”. Notice the GREEN ‘answer’ above makes no mention of being able to compete or being able to be strong. Competition is considered unhealthy by GREEEN.
    Because a values system is core—it is what a person values most—then if you want to really see eye to eye with someone, you need to frame what you’re talking about in terms that resonate with their core values.
    Consider, why do most AGW supporters dismiss technical fixes? There are just a few years left—there is desperately little time—and yet technical fixes, ie. things which we could implement quickly, are often flatly rejected. Instead, AGW supporters are most vocal about changing people’s behaviour—a notoriously slow process, by the way, just look at how long it has taken for women’s rights, at least 100 years and still going, or how long South Africa continued with Apartheid when the world had sanctions against them—but nevertheless, AGW supporters want to change people’s behaviour even whilst China and India and Africa are pressing ahead with construction.
    What is AGW supporter’s answer to this? I picked up a little book, “What about China?”—I thought I’d be open minded and see what they proposed to do about China—the book said, “set the example, and they’ll follow”. Really? In 6 years? A billion plus Chinese will decide to “follow” our sterling example?
    No, it is patently obvious that AGW is not about AGW. If AGW was really the core issue for AGW supporters, they’d opt for technical fixes. The boat has sprung a leak, so do you get to work with buckets to remove the water? or do you sit and preach the benefits of going on a diet to lose weight? The buckets are the technical fix. But they don’t want that. They want people to lose weight. (They want people to be less greedy).
    What they want is to change people’s behaviour. Look again at that description of the GREEN vmeme, a description published decades ago based on research going back more decades.
    “freedom from greed… sensitivity… feelings supersede cold rationality… decisions by consensus… harmony… spirituality…”
    If you’ve met people who are actively GREEEN, they are quite lovely people. Remember, this is what those people feel is the most healthy way to be. They feel that the technological world went amok with greed and competitiveness, and it continues to cause damage everywhere. So their feeling is that it is healthier for everyone to embrace a spiritual freedom beyond greed, a harmony that comes from cooperation. Instead of war and conflict, they want consensus and equality.
    About 25% or maybe even 30% of people in the West resonate with GREEEN.
    There’s an important feature of most of the vmemes in the Spiral Dynamics model; each vmeme believes that it is the best vmeme. GREEEN thinks people at ORANGE are greedy. ORANGE thinks people at GREEEN are ineffective and naive. BLUE thinks all the other memes should submit to the authority of the One True Way, be it the One True God, or the One Nation.
    The West has a lot of ORANGE and GREEN. But travel to the parts of the world where they still do things the really old way, and you find people who’s way of life is structured around kinship, clans, and blood loyalties. This is the old tribal world of PURPLE values. The West comes in and tries to install an ORANGE democracy, but the people don’t value ORANGE, they value PURPLE, which has been their way of life for thousands of years. Chaos ensues.
    We may be one planet, but we are not all on the same page. Groups of people are very different, and each vmeme will come up with its own answers to problems, based on their own core value system.
    I don’t know if Spiral Dynamics is the best model or the most accurate, but I find that without it, a lot less makes sense.
    What most AGW supporters want, judging by their proposed solutions, is for everyone to become GREEN, just like them. Remember, each vmeme believes itself to be the most healthy.
    ORANGE looks at AGW and sees it as a cost-benefit analysis, perhaps requiring some technical fixes here and there, or perhaps simply wait and see; let the energy marked do its thing.
    GREEN looks at AGW, and sees that human consensus can lead to reduction in greed, which can reduce our consumption, and reduce our footprint, and give us more time for care and bonding—instead of competition, we’ll have “sustainability” (ie. no competition).
    I think that basically, you can guess where people are coming from based on which solutions they prefer/value. AGW has from the beginning been framed as a problem about reducing materialistic consumption (greed) and it has resonated with anyone who is strongly active in GREEN values. Most of these people are in the West, as the West has the high standard of living that makes it possible for people to develop to the GREEEN values-stage.
    This is where I disagree most with GREEN answers to AGW. The prosperity that made GREEN values possible, was built by ORANGE technical competitive achievement. If we downscale our industry and energy, we risk reducing our standards of living, and we risk throwing ourselves back culturally. In Spiral Dynamics, no one values stage is better than any other, but they each are adaptions to particular life conditions. If life is hard, people shift to earlier values structures. If life is very hard, you end up back down in PURPLE, which as it happens, is very fond of slavery and tribal war.
    The kernel of truth in AGW is that its proponents have framed it in ways that appeal to GREEEN values. GREEN was never that bothered about the cold rationality of science. They prefer feelings and intuitions. (I used to be very GREEN in my 20s, and have since shifted as the demands of life have changed, so I don’t mean to be mean to GREEN).
    OK, so far I’ve tried to give a brief discussion on SD as I understand it—I’m no expert so I may have got things wrong here. I’m trying to write this in good faith.
    So what about possibilities? If this is the game, how do we play it? First, I think that GREEEN will gradually realise that AGW’s call “we have to do something” is not working, and people are not shifting to GREEN en-masse in response. That’s really like expecting people in Iraq to all shift to ORANGE just because we wrecked their infrastructure, invaded, occupied, killed innocent family members, and shoved ballot boxes down their throats. Well, they didn’t shift. And the rest of the world isn’t going to shift just because it might get a little warmer, and somebody somewhere might get hit by an extra hurricane. If anything, most people in the world are probably trying to figure out whether they can use AGW to help destroy their enemies—most of the world’s population is not GREEN, but is rather part of some more ruthless vmeme.
    However, 25% of the West is GREEN, and that number will hopefully continue to grow—as I say, they are really nice people! So what GREEN needs is something that’s more GREEN than AGW. AGW is only a cold bit of science at the end of the day. What really resonates with GREEN is feelings, intuition, care, bonding. This is why “sceptics” are characterised as holocaust “deniers”—it’s not because you’re technically wrong, it is because you look like you don’t care.
    Maybe GREEN needs a cultural movement in the arts that’s about spreading spiritual health to the masses. Meanwhile, technical matters like nuclear power can simply be redressed in ways that support spiritual development—make the installations smaller, make them less “corporate” looking, make them more about freedom from dogma and freedom from greed. Nuclear is nature’s way of making light. Nuclear is about small things that leave the countryside alone. After all, GREEN is always going to need the hot water to make the coffee at those community centre meetings.
    Wind power is often filmed from a great distance, where they look like a child’s paper windmill, blowing in a gentle breeze. Instead, they should show a turbine being built, they should show men labouring to pour the concrete. The blades’ steel should be shown being smelted in a steel furnace. Men should stand next to the turbine gears, filmed up close, to show the scale of the machinery, and corporate logos should be visible everywhere, and the noise of the turbine should be heard. Slow motion images of a bird in graceful flight being hit by a blade should be shown, and the number of kills should be compared to the numbers of animals kept in cages for medical experiments.
    I have a fair amount of GREEN in me, and I just don’t find wind turbines very GREEEN.

  46. Ken Gregory
    2. A 3% increase in water vapour has the same effect as a 100% increase in CO2.
    This feedback is entirely due to the belief the water vapour is increasing in the 300 to 400 mb altitude, but as the graph above shows, it is not increasing. It is decreasing. A temperature change can not cause this. It is a direct result of increasing CO2 content.
    The result is that there has been no increase in the total effective amount of greenhouse gases, as characterized by optical depth (transparency to long-wave radiation), in sixty years, as demonstrated by the green line on this graph, according to the radiosonde data.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Optical%20Depth2008.jpg

    Hi Ken, good to see you posting here. The pyrheliometry data on optical depth seems to say something different. Hoyt found no change to 1968 but Philipona et al who continued the work using the Hoyt time series as a baseline find various changes in optical depth since.
    http://acp.web.psi.ch/acp_publ/documents/proceedings/2002_9_20_Atmos.Res.JFJ_Davos.pdf#page=23
    Comments?

  47. I never thought I would be the one to point out the glaring flaw in Dr. Spencer’s article.
    Roy, your data is wrong, your theory lies is in tatters!
    “Independence Day” was in fact, made in 1996 not 2006 as claimed in this report.

  48. Turboblocke (03:06:27) :
    Does that mean that Spencer’s research is not funded?

    I thought everyone knew Roy Spencer is in the pay of big oil.
    🙂

  49. We are witnessing a process which is beyond science and facts and measuring. We are witnessing the dawn of a new global religion. Interesting times for non-believers.

  50. artwest (20:18:39) :
    The BBC World Service has just broadcast a short radio talk by Clive James on the importance of scepticism. He culminates by stressing the necessity of remaining sceptical in the face of AGW claims. Another little crack in the wall?
    Listen again (might only work in the UK):

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p002wv05
    I heard that as well, and was very pleasantly surprised. Here is the print version:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8322513.stm

  51. Vincent (04:11:50) :
    Yeah, but the best part of the movie was when Will Smith said “don’t you be shootin’ that Green stuff at me !! “

  52. Great post Stefan.
    “However, 25% of the West is GREEN, and that number will hopefully continue to grow—as I say, they are really nice people!”
    Unfortunately they are children and should not be allowed to vote if they refuse to be practical and rational, it’s like giving kids guns.

  53. Good summary of the GREEN “faith” – As also expressed many times.
    Ecotheism is their core belief, expressed above as GREEEN (?) vs BLUE vs PURPLE, but most especially against the dreaded, feared and haed “capitalist” real world of reward, punishment, strength, and work.
    But those are against the GREEN faith that some 25% to 31% of Western “we are already rich but we are also ashamed of it” population. Oddly, their “solutions” won’t work, they know they won’t work, and the punishment (the taxes and fines and wealth transfer is going to be from productive cultures to the Swiss bank accounts of corrupt third world dictators.
    But the people in those third world dictatorships will be prevented from gaining anythign at all.
    The GREEN population will feel better however.

  54. OT/ Mr Spencer, is it possible to find MSU SST channel since 2002 in monthly averages? Thanks a lot!
    (Now I am copying daily SSTs manually into MS Excel but it is helluva work :-/)

  55. Ken Gregory:
    You are referring to water vapor feedback…I was referring to the direct radiative effect of adding more CO2, without feedbacks.
    Turboblocke:
    My research is funded by govt. contracts that are somewhat open-ended, like “testing of climate models with satellite data”. I have yet to see a research grant given to investigate global warming as a manifestation of natural climate variability.
    Sorry about the 10-year error in the release date for Independence Day.

  56. M White (03:13:08)

    The characteristics of ‘groupthink’ are distressingly similar to the insidious nature of movements that generate ‘true believers’—cf. Eric Hoffer, The True Believer.
    /Mr Lynn

  57. Roy,
    “Sorry about the 10-year error in the release date for Independence Day.”
    Tis ok. My comment should be taken as a parody of those trolls that scan a skeptics article looking for the smallest error, no matter how trivial, then trumpet the claim that the author cannot be trusted.
    BTW, I love your articles.

  58. Unfortunately the green brigade will never admit that AGW is a myth, and even if millions died from a repeat of the LIA episode they would continue to cling to the idea that mankind is destroying our planet.
    Luckily these die-hard’s are only a tiny proportion of the total populating and not only does the average man-in-the-street not believe the AGW climate mantra, most do not rate it as even one of their top concerns.
    The people who run the world have been selling us a big lie and once AGW has been demonstrated to be wrong I feel sorry for what will happen to the scientists and politicians who tried to use it for their own benefit.

  59. hotrod (19:59:23) : “I don’t know the exact answer to the question, but I suspect that that is proper point of view to figure out how to get through that shell of self deception.”
    Harry G (20:06:13) : “A wise man once said,“You cannot reason people out of something that they have not been reasoned into.” This is the root of the problem as I see it.”
    Here is how I see the problem. Most people will form opinions on the basis that if “a” is true and “b” is true than “a+b” must be true. They look no further than that, it keeps their life simple and uncluttered. Only those that have a skeptical personality will bother to check further to be sure there are no consequences of “a+b”. Now most people have been conditioned all their lives to follow and obey someone they see as an authority figure. “Obey your parents”, “do what the teacher says”, “the boss is always right”, “the cops are always right”, and now “the government is always right and always looking out for your benefit”. Questioning authority and searching for truth takes time, energy and perserverance. Most people couldn’t be bothered. It is easier to simply trust someone else.
    When I first wondered (about 30 years ago) why the Earth continually goes back and forth from cold to warm I came to the conclusion that a cold Earth has more CO2 which warms it up which allows more plants to grow that eventually covers enough of the Earth that they start reducing the temperature until so much CO2 is removed that it gets cold again and the process starts all over. I gave no consideration to which came first or how it all started. I knew nothing of Milankovitch cycles, solar insolation variances or the “greenhouse effect” of water vapor. I didn’t even know how long the cycles of warmth and cold were. Then I heard that scientists had discovered that CO2 was increasing due to humans and that it was going to unnaturally change the balance. Well, that fit my view and seemed logical. However when a politician, AL Gore, tells me the science is settled and that it is time to follow blindly and just do what he says, big giant red flags went off in my head. You see I don’t trust any politicians. So I decided to start to learn more and here I am today.

  60. Yesterday evening I heard the Climate Change minister in the UK, Ed Miliband, say in an interview with skeptic, James Whale, on LBC 97.3, that he’s only acting on what the scientists are telling him….well if you’ve funded them to tell you what you want to hear, with innocence, you can’t claim that the research result is nothing to do with you!

  61. Dear Dr. Spencer, I think that you’re setting the bar a bit too high there. As you say in your Global Warming 101, that I quoted earlier: ““Mankind’s burning of fossil fuels creates more atmospheric carbon dioxide. As we add more CO2, more infrared energy is trapped, strengthing the Earth’s greenhouse effect. This causes a warming tendency in the lower atmosphere and at the surface. As of 2008, it is believed that we have enhanced the Earth’s natural greenhouse effect by about 1%.”…
    “Now, you might be surprised to learn that the amount of warming directly caused by the extra CO2 is, by itself, relatively weak. It has been calculated theoretically that, if there are no other changes in the climate system, a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration would cause less than 1 deg C of surface warming (about 1 deg. F). This is NOT a controversial statement…it is well understood by climate scientists. ”
    On the basis of the above, If I was responsible for giving out grants would I favour someone who is just looking for natural variation, ignoring the anthropogenic component, or would I favour someone who is looking at both natural and anthropogenic variability?
    Alternatively, if I was to write a grant application aiming to prove that there is no man-made component in climate change, would you approve it?
    In any case, I imagine that most research grant applications would be as vague as possible, rather like your own example which is to investigate without having a pre-determined result in mind.

  62. The “Average” guy has no idea whether the earth is actually getting warmer, or not. When it becomes obvious that it’s not, And when some of those he trusts (the local weatherman, for instance) starts pooh-poohing the idea) he will go from apathetic to hostile (if any of his money is taken for “taxes,” that is.)
    The “perfect storm,” right now, would be for this to end up being a weak-to-moderate El Nino, followed by a pretty strong La Nina that would push Dr. Spencer’s 13 month smoothed average Below 0.0 (that would be a bit cooler than the ’99, 2000 La Nina.
    That would give the trusted authority figure (the local weatherman) cover to say, “Well, uh, you know, it has been *Cooling* since 1998. This *theory* might need a little bit of work.”
    That will be the Death Knell.

  63. The sun has a good size spot today.
    But isn’t it a bit close to the equator? I thought at this stage in the cycle the spots ought to be located at higher latitudes.

  64. Vincent (06:07:51) :
    parody of those trolls….smallest error, no matter how trivial, then trumpet the claim that the author cannot be trusted.
    Like when they make a big deal out of a misspelled word.
    Or when they try make it look bad that someone who is a ‘skeptic’ believes in God. When you tell then Einstein, Galileo, Kepler, Pasteur, Newton, Lemaître, Copernicus, Faraday, Pascal, Maxwell, Kelvin, Planck, Voltaire, etc., believed in God they seem to become silent.

  65. Roy Spencer says:

    It is a peculiar development that scientific truth is now decided through voting.

    No. Scientific truth is decided by the scientific process, as it always has been. And, who better to evaluate the current state of the science than the scientists themselves, which is why we have the expert assessments by the IPCC…and the endorsement of their findings by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the academies of all the other G8+5 nations, AAAS, and the councils of many major scientific societies such as AMS, AGU, and APS?
    We only get into talking about poll results when people complain that all of these societies’ councils have been somehow been co-opted and thus that their views don’t reflect the rank-and-file members.

    A relatively recent survey of climate scientists who do climate research found that 97.4% agreed that humans have a “significant” effect on climate. But the way the survey question was phrased borders on meaninglessness. To a scientist, “significant” often means non-zero.

    Fine, how about asking the question a different way, namely whether they perceive climate change as being dangerous? Such a survey of people who are in American Men and Women of Science and list themselves as members of either the AMS and AGU found that 85% believe that climate change in the next 50-100 years will pose either a very great danger or a moderate danger (split about evenly between these two answers) whereas only 13% believe it will pose relatively little danger ( http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html ). [Also note that the criteria for determining who was surveyed was somewhat broader than just climate scientists and probably thus included some scientists, like forecast meteorologists or geologists, who are probably more skeptical of AGW on average than scientists working in climate science itself.]
    I also have a general question for Dr. Spencer: Given that your own latest research ( http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/04/spencer-on-finding-a-new-climate-sensitivity-marker/ ), as I understand it, suggests a climate sensitivity of 1.6 to 2.0 C, how high do you think that CO2 can rise before we will have problems? What if you are wrong in your estimate of the climate sensitivity and the real value is between 2.0 and 4.5 C as the IPCC sees the likely range as being?

  66. Joel Shore,
    Your post is so wrong as to make reasonable people doubt your sincerity.
    The IPCC is not a scientific panel, for starters.
    It is a political panel, carefully organized to sell AGW.
    Its leader is not a climatologist.
    The fact that the climate is not at all behaving in any sort of unusual fashion is not going to go away, no matter how many scientists allegedly believe it is not so.

  67. Initially, the vast majority believed Chicken Little. The critters (aka People) didn’t turn on him until what he’d been screaming about just didn’t come true: the sky didn’t fall. From then on he was the joke of the barnyard. A mob of people are far more stupid than a barnyard full of animals and will likely do far more damage to themselves until they realize it was all a lie (then they‘re likely to do a lot of damage to the fools who started the riot). When dealing with a mob it’s best to NOT be standing in the middle and yelling that everyone is being stupid. People mobs sorta get real angry with folks who do that. There’s a lot of wisdom to the belief that you’ll do far more good for yourself (and your own private cause celeb) if you take advantage of fools running around in circles and wait for them to calm down. Look at all the money Big Al Gore’s making off these fools. Look at all the stupid changes the current administration is going to effect because of all the hysteria. The poor scientist (pro or part timer) who stands in the middle trying to save everyone (or anyone) he/she can from the stupidity is only going to be trampled to death.

  68. While there is a lot of useful info here which has certainly demonstrated to me that climate change has a huge amount of uncertainty, it slightly bugs me that supporters of the staus quo are reffered to commonly as “socialists” As a commited and life long European socialist can I assure posters that there are climate change dissedents across the political spectrum, and that ones political affiliation does not automatically correlate with climate beliefs.

  69. turbobloke:
    There have already been hundreds of studies that supposedly support the theory of manmade global warming. What I am suggesting are studies that examine alternative hypotheses for most of the warming. But, at some point, sure, some combination of the two is most likely.
    BTW, for those monitoring the AMSU site, the new “sea surface” temperature is from AMSR-E on the Aqua satellite, using Frank Wentz’s (RSS) retrievals. We have not yet replaced the NOAA-15 AMSU with the Aqua AMSU on the website, however. But we’re working on it.

  70. P Gosselin (07:16:40) :
    The sun has a good size spot today.
    But isn’t it a bit close to the equator?

    Yes, really. It seems that solar cycle 24 is ending!. Anyway those NASA forecasts, based on that dynamo of theirs, didn´t see the future. Ask the GISS´Hansen to improve them, or better, and more beautiful hire some real fashion models.

  71. Another excellent essay Dr. Spencer!
    There is also another aspect to this urban legend. It is underlain with a social meme; “Mankind is all powerful! Mankind is wicked! We must repent!”. There are a considerable number of people who, because of the way they were raised, are predisposed to accepting this meme. Even among climate scientists (who should know better) there are those who cannot help but think there is some small kernel of truth to the CO2-driven AGW claim (no offense Dr. Spencer).
    The truth is that it cannot be true. It is widely recognized that the atmosphere is opaque to IR. Except for those wavelengths within the atmospheric window that escape directly to space, all of the upwelling IR is fully absorbed to extinction in the troposphere today.
    This is the reason why adding more GHG’s to the atmosphere cannot make the atmosphere warmer; because it is not possible to absorb more than 100% of the available energy. If more GHG’s are added to the atmosphere, the absorption-extinction altitude simply declines a little to a lower altitude, that’s all. No additional warming.

  72. Geoff Sherrington:
    “Anyone into psychology enough to coment professionally on motivation? Is it more than the girl school mass panic attack effect that is documented?”
    It is an unresolved wish to return to a utopia. I say ‘return’ because each of us has an experience in very early life of utopia – the baby experiences the world (and especially the mother) as a part of itself and ‘needing’ does not exist because everything (food, warmth, love etc) ‘magically’ appears as it is wished for.
    As infancy progresses, the child learns – by increments – that the world is in fact a separate entity and frustration has to be tolerated when wishes and demands are no longer instantly met – that is, when the child’s felt urgency of a need has to be survived through a waiting period.
    If this separation all goes well (if the child accepts the new reality if finds itself in), it can begin to make use of the resources in the outside world and it learns the value of ‘language’ as a tool of negotiation for its needs to be met (and for it to meet the needs of others). If the child rejects separation – that is, if it insists on remaining in ‘utopia’ and demands all external ‘otherness’ continues responding in such a way that confirms the utopian fantasy to itself – the child will grow into adulthood with this failure of development unresolved (although largely unconscious) and this will influence and determine pretty much all of its uses and abuses of a surrounding environment and its objects – including other people.
    The adult will be left preoccupied with a hankering after some indeterminate ‘past’ which it feels was somehow ‘perfect’ for its existence. The adult will identify all ‘other’ – except those who collude in its demands – as being the obstacle to it achieving a return to this ‘past’.
    Of course, as time passes, the objects the adult chooses to use for its project will change – it would be a bit of a give-away for a grown adult to demand the return of its mother to a lost pre-infant relationship to it, hence the need to disguise the motive (from itself as well as from others) in an elaborate ‘cover-story’ using contemporary objects – such as, as we can see, the ‘climate’ (other recent objects have included population, an angry god, swine flu, millennium bug etc).
    The cover-story, and its corresponding demand, remains the same throughout: the real environment – the world the adult has to become a part of, negotiate with, exchange resources in, and survive through – cannot possibly be sustained… it is unwanted and should be abandoned and returned towards the adult’s vague fantasy of a pre-infant ‘pure’ version. It’s worth noting here that from a psychological point of view, ‘being sustained’ and ‘being held’ are interchangeable demands with the same meaning – but only a baby (if it had the words) would insist, rightly, upon this uninterrupted need – or feel it really to be the end of the world if this holding environment failed.
    For this adult, negotiation with the ‘obstacle’ to its demand has no value because the pre-infant world contains no negotiation… only a (very familiar) rage as a response to an unmet demand.
    The adult who is magnetised by the Global Warming story (who can’t let go) is a person with his obstacles muddled up. It becomes the other person who is the obstacle to the self’s demand – rather than the self’s demand being the obstacle to his growing up.
    If psychology is indeed a science, it may be a far more interesting and resourceful one than climatology to use in discovering more about ourselves and our relationship (or refusal of relationship) to the outside world and the objects we find in it. It’s nature, just human nature.

  73. Gene Nemetz (22:33:16) :
    In December, hundreds of bureaucrats from around the world will once again assemble, this time in Copenhagen
    It looks like President Obama will not attend :
    President Obama will almost certainly not travel to the Copenhagen climate change summit in December and may instead use his Nobel Peace Prize…
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6888165.ece

    The possibility of snow in Oslo on 10 December is better than for Copenhagen at the same time 🙂
    A picture from the main street Karl Johansgate with parliament in the background last January. The Grand Hotel where Obama will be showing up on the balcony is just off the frame on the right side.
    http://pub.tv2.no/multimedia/na/archive/00688/sn__ake_aking_ka_68807516x9.jpg

  74. Gareth Phillips (08:14:27) :
    ..it slightly bugs me that supporters of the staus quo are reffered to commonly as “socialists” .
    Gareth, the problem is that -as a group- Socialists tend to take advantage of mob hysteria better than any other group and the loudest group that seems to be taking advantage of all the Global Warming hysteria and pushing a “better” world vision for all to swallow are socialist politicians, and PhD’s, and College Profs, etc.

  75. Gareth Phillips – I agree that it’s more complex than a simple left/right issue. Many people on the Left and Right have largely followed their kneejerk reaction into the AGW or Anti-AGW camps. It just so happens that those on the Right were lucky enough to be, in my opinion, correct in this instance. If I was forced to put a label on myself it would be Liberal/left (upper case Liberal, lower case left!). I have no truck with authoritarians of Left or Right. I got to my position on AGW by researching the facts and following where they led me.
    It seriously pains me to be, on this issue, in the same camp as a fair number of people who are using the issue as a means of furthering a hard Right agenda rather than a simple pursuit of the truth. I also think that, as I’ve said before, it’s hugely counter-productive to polarise the political aspect unnecessarily.
    Many of the people who need to be pursuaded that AGW is nonsense are in the spectrum between the Left and the moderate-Right, especially outside of the USA. The more the anti-AGW cause is associated with the, by non-US standards, far Right, then the harder the battle to win hearts and minds will be.

  76. artwest (20:18:39) :
    Thanks for the link to the Clive James piece – I will repeat the link and encourage anyone to listen:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p002wv05
    Clive makes a wonderful observation that scepticism gave rise to modern medicine, moving it on from belief in magic as a cure. I wonder how many sceptical “heretics” died as a consequence of not agreeing with their witch doctors and the accepted orthodoxy of the day.
    Watch the modern witch doctors incanting spells using mystical numbers, such as 350, and threatening the naysayers with storms and pestilence unless they sacrifice their way of life for an austere future.

  77. I’ve been retired from research at EPA for 18 years. I consider myself a pretty good scientist and have published over 60 peer reviewed papers. I have reviewed papers for several journals and was once on the editorial board of one journal. I have spent the last few years of my retirement studying as much climate data I could download trying to get to the truth. I produced a presentation that shows strong evidence that global warming (and cooling) is a natural process that is not caused or significantly contributed to by anthropogenic emissions of CO2. Read http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf and come to your own conclusions. If I have made mistakes in my analysis, let me know. You can find my e-mail address at the above website.
    REPLY: Thanks Fred, we’ll have a look. – Anthony

  78. “..it slightly bugs me that supporters of the staus quo are reffered to commonly as “socialists” .”
    A word on socialists – For those of you in the USA who see Europe as being more socialist and as a result more accepting of the man made climate change theory may like to see this.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/8321967.stm
    “A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.”
    A whole different mindset

  79. G. Karst (09:12:08) :
    The BBC has finally acknowledged the importance of skepticism… Too bad they don’t practice what they preach.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8322513.stm

    Comment posted:
    Nice to hear the dry wit and humour of Clive James turned towards the elephant in the room. It’s increasingly obvious the climate change alarmists have over-egged their pudding for some years now.
    The BBC’s reliance hitherto on members of the SEJ for commentary on all things climatological can now be seen to have been too much of an all eggs in one basket policy.
    Erudite thinkers such as Clive James and meteorologists such as Paul the Weatherman can now bring some much needed balance to the BBC’s output on this issue.

  80. OK – we all agree. We are right. Opinion research shows that public scepticism is increasing. But how the hell do we stop the juggernaut.

  81. Joel, can I ask, what emphasis do you put on the Precautionary Principle? What I mean is, if you heard a scientist say that the Precautionary Principle is not important, or it is ethically unsound, how would that affect your opinion of that scientist?

  82. question. if we were able to reduce the global temp what would be the end result? i guess we would have to burn more fossil fuels to keep from freezing thereby increasing co2 again. agw. what a bunch of hooey.

  83. It seems likely to me that the good old beeb is beginning to lay on a few stories so that in the future when this collective insanity comes to an end which it surely must, they will be able to point out that they had a balanced position. At most other times though they yada yada on-message for AGW.
    Meanwhile, I just popped over to the Met Office to discover what the winter has in store for us in the Uk:-
    [i]Preliminary indications continue to suggest that winter temperatures are likely to be near or above average over much of Europe including the UK. Winter 2009/10 is likely to be milder than last year for the UK, but there is still a 1 in 7 chance of a cold winter[i/].
    Well, we shall see. I guess sooner or later, the law of averages will ensure they get it right. N.B must make a note of it, in case they amend it.

  84. Fred H. Haynie (09:13:38) :
    Your PowerPoint has some interesting ideas that are worthy of further research. Unfortunately, there is a significant likelihood that further research along those lines would provide evidence that could refute the IPCC “findings”.
    As a fellow government employed scientist it is my experience that funding for such studies would necessarily be placed at the back of the line. Current policy dictates that funding must be prioritized to those studies that assume that the GCM models are complete and settled science.
    Any other studies must delayed until decisions by policy makers to save the planet are are in effect. At that time all funding will necessarily be required to mitigate the financial and societal impacts of those policy decisions.

  85. Fred H. Haynie (09:13:38) :
    “..global warming (and cooling) is a natural process that is not caused or significantly contributed to by anthropogenic emissions of CO2.”
    Great study! No critical feedback. You’re calculations are way over my paygrade. What with the hysteria of the day I guess we’re doomed to fall into another glacial period before we know what’s really happening. Let’s hope EPA, DOD, DOE, DHS, etc., are all keeping a few of their brightest occupied working out plans for the next global cooling event.

  86. Fred H. Haynie (09:13:38) :
    I also just finished reading the contents of you presentation:
    http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf
    It is a very interesting compilation! It will take some time for the implications of your summary to set in ( need to re-read it in detail now) but my first impression is that your work deserves to be widely read and given some serious consideration.
    Thanks for all the effort involved in putting that together!
    Larry

  87. It is a peculiar development that scientific truth is now decided through voting.
    It would indeed be peculiar if voting were the mechanism for achieving a scientific consensus, but it’s not. Science is precisely about consensus, because consensus is the result of applying scientific standards of methodolgy, evidence, prediction, and explanatory power. Does that sound like a vote to you? I guess not! Since your reference to scientific cosensus has no referent; it follows you are writing gibberish. Therefore I stopped reading.
    P.S. The consensus position is very clear, consisting of the following points: (1) the climate is getting warmer; (2) CO2 is the cause for this warming; (3) in particular, the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels; (4) this will turn into a problem if we don’t do something about it. Obviously y’all know this, since you are reading and posting comments on a blog created to deny exactly those four points, multiple times per day. Or is that just a coincidence?

  88. As Dr. Spencer points out there are many persuasive studies that question the conclusions of the IPCC – a political and NOT scientific body. The general tone in this thread appears to be for a trumpeter to spread the word to the general public. It appears this is beginning to happen with the BBC (print and radio) publishing two recent articles in support of the skeptical view. Wary of public backlash may be motivating their change of heart.
    Since much of this battle is fought on the fields of public perception, those controlling PR channels have won more mind share. But the advent of “citizen news” via internet blogs and web sites is having a powerful effect. The main stream media is closely monitoring our web content and, as they are creatures of public acceptance, painfully aware of the mass growth of the skeptic view. This is their lifeblood. The real tipping point in climate perception is at what moment and who in the main stream first adopts the skeptic view? And thereby wins new mind share.
    The let down at Copenhagen is the likely point. Obama will not appear, there is no G8 agreement, and the spinners are hard at work packaging disagreement to look like success. All needed at this stage is for one focused message – probably administered by a top Madison Ave firm – that asks: “Where is our $30 billion in climate research?”
    That is a question of economics. $30 billion in US taxpayer funds has yielded no hard evidence of manmade CO2 caused warming, no current warming trend, and worse, no bloody treaty in Copenhagen! Three strikes and yer…
    A brief review of Fred Haynie’s paper is interesting. He concludes:
    “The observed rise in background levels of carbon dioxide is globally uniform and is primarily the result of rising temperatures of the arctic ocean sink and not from increases in anthropogenic emissions.”
    Thank you for your significant efforts Fred.

  89. Gene Nemetz says:

    Or when they try make it look bad that someone who is a ’skeptic’ believes in God. When you tell then Einstein, Galileo, Kepler, Pasteur, Newton, Lemaître, Copernicus, Faraday, Pascal, Maxwell, Kelvin, Planck, Voltaire, etc., believed in God they seem to become silent.

    Excellent strawman. However, the issue is not whether someone believes in God but rather whether they believe “intelligent design, as a theory of origins, is no more religious, and no less scientific, than evolutionism” ( http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=080805I ). When someone makes a statement like that in regards to the accepted theory of the origin of the diversity of life on Earth then it reflects on his scientific judgment. It has nothing to do with his religious beliefs.
    REPLY: OK folks, let’s leave the religion discussion at home. No place here for it. – Anthony

  90. Joseph said:

    It is widely recognized that the atmosphere is opaque to IR. Except for those wavelengths within the atmospheric window that escape directly to space, all of the upwelling IR is fully absorbed to extinction in the troposphere today.
    This is the reason why adding more GHG’s to the atmosphere cannot make the atmosphere warmer; because it is not possible to absorb more than 100% of the available energy. If more GHG’s are added to the atmosphere, the absorption-extinction altitude simply declines a little to a lower altitude, that’s all. No additional warming.

    Your conclusion is based on a misunderstanding of how the greenhouse effect works, admittedly abetted by many explanations of it that are too simplistic. Here is a good discussion of the simplistic explanation vs the correct explanation: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm#L_0623
    In a nutshell, what is important is not whether or not a photon get absorbed once or zero times but actually the distribution of levels from which the photons are emitted that successfully escape to space. The higher this distribution of levels is in the troposphere, the colder the temperature and hence (by the Stefan-Boltzmann Eq.) the less radiation that gets emitted. As you add more CO2, you increase the average level from which this emission occurs…and hence you get less emission back out into space.
    You would be in good scientific company if you raised your objection 60 years ago; today, not so much.
    Stefan says:

    Joel, can I ask, what emphasis do you put on the Precautionary Principle?

    I think the principle is too simplistic. In the real world, one has to weigh the possible dangers against the costs of avoiding the dangers. However, I think in the case of climate change, some serious dangers are not just quite possible but rather likely especially for some level of CO2 that we would likely obtain if we used our fossil fuel resources to their fullest potential (and didn’t sequester the CO2). We don’t yet really know exactly what level of CO2 is necessary to avoid the worst effects…but we do have enough of an idea that we need to start changing course now…with possible adjustments to either more or less stringent emissions controls in the future.
    And, in considering the costs, one has to consider that fossil fuels are a finite resource anyway so it is not like we can continue having that cheap energy source forever. Better to create the market forces to develop the technologies to replace them (by which I mean both new energy sources and increased energy efficiency) sooner rather than later…so that we wean ourselves from fossil fuels before rather than after we have likely done irreversible harm.

  91. NikFromNYC (19:13:59): “…I think nuclear power is the best bet, the only way to undermine the AGW’s side of the equation.”
    LOL , I was thinking this last week, my plan is to shadow the next AGW protest wearing a full body white painter suit with a full face mask filter with black gum boots and black gloves with a radiation symbol on a small sandwich sign. No yelling or arguing just stand off to the side and if they move just follow behind them. I think the public will begin to figure it out pretty quick.

  92. Joel, I agree withn “weigh the possible dangers against the costs of avoiding the dangers”.
    Now I don’t know if this is right, but I assume you’re not a scientist in the field of climate. On what then, have you based your conviction that,
    “we do have enough of an idea that we need to start changing course now”
    where by “we” we’re really talking about “them” the scientists?
    Just to take a guess, is it that you think that the scientific method produces reliable information, and seeing as numerous official science bodies have declared AGW very likely, then it is indeed very likely true?
    If this is so, what is your take on critiques of the cultural aspects of science, like the article “Cargo Cult Science” ?

  93. Joel Shore writes

    Scientific truth is decided by the scientific process, as it always has been. And, who better to evaluate the current state of the science than the scientists themselves, which is why we have the expert assessments by the IPCC…and the endorsement of their findings by…

    Scientific truth is what is really happening. It’s independent of human attempts to understand it.
    The scientific method is the best we humans have, but it ain’t perfect. And please note that it does not incude ‘appeal to authority’ nor ‘membership of clubs’.
    The scientific method involves building then testing a hypothesis – either by an experiment or by observing the natural world. Note that you have to put the hypothesis on the table beforehand and it has to predict events beyond the original observations that led to it. Otherwise you are just in circular reasoning land.
    Or worse – you are using omen theory. This is loved by journoes – every event is an omen of worse to come and is also a sure sign of climate change. You see 100s or walruses and the cause – is “climate change”. or you fail to see walruses and its “climate change”.

  94. Fred H. Haynie (09:13:38)
    Whilst the statistics used are way over my head, there is a logical progression through the document which makes a great deal of sense to this layman.
    Not only have you performed a detailed analysis of available data, you have also offered some predictions against which your conclusions can be tested within a modest period of time. I await the outcome with a degree of confidence that you will be proved correct.
    My thanks for what must have been a massive amount of work, and I hope it has the effect that I think it deserves, to place the anthropgenic global warming scandal in the dustbin of history.

  95. FTA: “And let’s even go further and suppose that the climate system is so precariously balanced that our injection of a little bit of that evil plant food, carbon dioxide, pushes our world over the edge, past all kinds of imaginary tipping points, with the Greenland ice sheet melting away, and swarms of earthquakes being the price of our indiscretions.”
    Indeed. The belief that the Earth Climate system is marginally stable, but our political and economic institutions are rock solid and able to withstand any shock we artificially impose upon them without any adverse consequences, is one of the the toggled states in the psyches of the disputants. You could make a sort of truth table of the divide, which would look like this: (hope the spaces come out right)
    Earth Robust Political/Economic System Robust
    AGW Devout 0 1
    AGW Rationalist 1 0

  96. We had this lame story on the BBC last week – some Scots will be studying the effect of climate change on earthworms.
    They did a big study some 20 years ago and want to visit the same areas to count the worms again. This is going to produce… 2 data points. And it’s all going to be invalid because they did not record the climate in the fields 20 years ago – so even if they measure the climate there today they don’t really know if the climate has changed for the worms.
    The worms do not know about the climate at the north pole or at the south pole or anywhere else. They do not even know the climate at the other end of their own field so you need to be exact.
    Also noted that you could put the worms in tanks and vary the climate for different tanks and see if the ‘climate’ really did affect worms on a farm more than other factors like:
    +crops
    +pesticides
    +livestock
    +predators (eg birds)
    +worm diseases
    +heavy tractors driving around
    +weather (rain brings them up)

  97. Better to create the market forces to develop the technologies to replace them [fossil fuels] (by which I mean both new energy sources and increased energy efficiency) sooner rather than later…
    Had this been the foundation of the AGW campaign – it would have probably succeeded. The fatal error was to pin the entire campaign on an erroneous finding: CO2 is a “pollutant.”
    Now we have an enormous mess with institutional science to clean up.

  98. Stefan,
    Yeah…I am a physicist, not a climate scientist. So, I am to a certain extent trusting the judgment of those in the field. Although, I have also spent a considerable amount of time reading papers and textbooks in climate science, so I don’t feel that I am relying only on the judgment of scientists in the field; however, there are certainly issues that I feel less “up on” than others.
    And, yeah, I am sort of using the royal “we” there.
    As for the cultural aspects of science, I recognize that science isn’t perfect and that there are fads and paradigms. However, I think that we don’t have any viable substitute for basing policy decisions on the best understanding of the current scientific view in the peer-reviewed literature; to do otherwise is to open things up to hopeless politicization.
    Thus, I think that it is incumbent on scientists who are “skeptics” on AGW to prevail on their fellow scientists to change their views by presenting their evidence in a scientific forum…and I actually applaud Dr. Spencer for working to publish his papers in reputable scientific journals. Unfortunately, the “skeptic movement” as a whole seems to expend most of their energy taking their case directly to the policymakers and the public and publishing in less serious journals…or journals well outside the climate science area of expertise, using arguments that have most often been thoroughly debunked in the scientific realm, rather than trying to prevail on their scientific colleagues…And this alone is, to me, a bad sign. (There is nothing wrong with discussing science directly with the public and policymakers but that should not be your primary approach.)

  99. It is excellent to see that there are professors out there with the balls to fight the hegemony of the left-wing academic elite, which has gradually decided to brand CO2 as the cause of all future environmental ills. It really is bizarre. We live in a world in which there are problems with overpopulation, land degradation, soil erosion, destruction of the ocean floor, global disease running rampant – and yet the molecule required for photosynthesis is being demonized. Is CO2 a greenhouse gas? Yes, but a relatively weak one, with large error bars surrounding its effect, and parameterizations for global models partly based on an exaggerated role of its effect on the temp/CO2 relationships of the past 600,000 years, and calibrated against temperature change during a period of long-term natural warming. So, it’s role in climate change is dubious. What do we know for SURE about CO2? It enhances photosynthetic productivity, increases crop yields, increases plant water-use efficiency, increases plant nitrogen-use efficiency and causes no harm to human beings. Concentrations were much higher for millions of years, until the CO2 impoverishment of the past 20 million years arguably (if the dubious connection is true) may have caused a series of glaciation events, the last ending just a few thousand years ago. If it does cause warming, and this is in doubt, the warming would be distributed mainly where it is currently too cold for farming and/or high ecological productivity. It’s not all bad, and Dr. Spencer should be congratulated for boldly standing up to the hegemony and pointing out reality. YES, it is a greenhouse gas. NO, it is not the end of the world. YES, the issue is politicized among scientists and those of us who tell the truth can’t get anywhere in the field of climatology. Somehow people like Profs. Spencer and Pielke get away with giving us real science. I think it is very courageous.

  100. “And it is also a good bet that 100% of those scientists surveyed were funded by the government only after they submitted research proposals which implicitly or explicitly stated they believed in anthropogenic global warming to begin with. If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded.”
    Now how’s that for an urban legend! 100%, you reckon? On the basis of exactly what evidence? Until you can provide a source for that claim, I’m going to presume that you simply made it up.

  101. “They are astounded when I tell them that virtually no research has been performed into the possibility that warming is just part of a natural cycle generated within the climate system itself.”
    And there’s another outrageously false claim. Vast amounts of research have been carried out into all factors which influence the climate. It is impossible to believe that you would be unaware of this, so why would you knowingly make such a false claim?

  102. Fred H Haynie: thank you for your fine presentation. As an engineer, I do like the idea of having starting equations applied to the data. I will look in more detail at your presentation, but at first reading I see no alarm bells.
    I will be going through this with a coarse tooth comb and will get back to you if I have any questions.
    In summary: fantastic work!

  103. “the “skeptic movement” as a whole seems to expend most of their energy taking their case directly to the policymakers and the public and publishing in less serious journals”
    Because the journals that you regard as serious won’t publish papers that question their pre-conceptions but rather accept self peer reviewed work that is frankly shoddy.
    As a ‘physicist’ you should understand that the keystone of alarmist logic is that since we understand all the processes of the climate and all the influences on it from the sun and the oceans, we may assign any unexplained warming to Man.
    The presumption that we understand the climate is flawed and only a fool would argue with that.
    You may consider yourself a ‘physicist’ but your inability to understand the logic of your position shows you don’t think like one.

  104. Joel,
    Ok, so maybe once in a while a fad might come along, but nevertheless, I agree that,
    “we don’t have any viable substitute for basing policy decisions on the best understanding of the current scientific view in the peer-reviewed literature”.
    Which science disciplines would you listen to? Do you prefer hard sciences? Would you submit at the other extreme, to policies decisions based on developmental psychology?

  105. Joel,
    It seems to me you are sincere in your beliefs, so I would like to ask, in your opinion, what are the “arguments that have most often been thoroughly debunked in the scientific realm.”
    I want to cross reference the skeptical arguments with those that have been “debunked” and then examine the “debunking” arguments.

  106. Joel:
    Thus, I think that it is incumbent on scientists who are “skeptics” on AGW to prevail on their fellow scientists to change their views by presenting their evidence in a scientific forum…and I actually applaud Dr. Spencer for working to publish his papers in reputable scientific journals.
    The problem is money. Huge amounts invested in finding results that meet the political agenda – AGW. With the work of Steve MacIntyre and others indicating an un-level playing field, it’s doubtful traditional science forums remain valid. Rather, it seems that Pielke and Spencer and Plimer, Lindzen etc. take their work to the public – who then demand their representatives pay attention (as in Utah recently.) This may not be the “democratization” of science, but it is a citizens’ action that is undoubtedly having a positive effect.
    We shall see if this effect causes the traditional forums to re-consider skeptic research. But it is likely a matter of survival for them.

  107. Shirley,
    “P.S. The consensus position is very clear, consisting of the following points: (1) the climate is getting warmer; (2) CO2 is the cause for this warming; (3) in particular, the CO2 released by burning fossil fuels; (4) this will turn into a problem if we don’t do something about it. Obviously y’all know this, since you are reading and posting comments on a blog created to deny exactly those four points, multiple times per day. Or is that just a coincidence?”
    Let’s take each point.
    1) Climate is getting warmer. Yes, everyone agrees on that but as to the amount of warming, even the scientific institutions can’t agree.
    2) CO2 is the cause for this warming. Nobody, not even the IPCC makes such a ridiculous claim. The IPCC position is that greenhouse gases (not just CO2) accounts for the majority of the warming, not all of it. Then you have very credible scientific opionion that humans are altering the climate but CO2 is only a minor part of this (Roger Pielke et al). There is also very robust evidence that most of the warming is natural with CO2 playing a minor role and further evidence that warming has stopped since 1998.
    3) See point 2.
    4) This will turn into a problem. Not much consensus on this and with good reason. Most scientists understand the limitations of computer models.

  108. Regarding the Precautionary Principle:
    Authoritarians (Fascists and Communists) murdered at least 100 million people last century. It seems that we would be wise to take precautions against authoritarianism in all it’s various forms, given the track record.
    Dr. Spencer opines:
    Only when they finally realize what a new treaty will cost them in loss of freedoms and standard of living will those who oppose our continuing use of carbon-based energy begin to lose their religion.
    I fear the rude awakening will come too late — after the next authoritarian-backed mass bloodletting, not before. Because people are not generally precautionary about the things they should be.

  109. Joel Shore
    Yes, in a perfect world I’m sure what you suggest would be the way to tackle this debate. But this particular field has become very politicised.
    I am not a scientist and have never been one, although my education was scientific (electronics and physics). I have followed the debate for about a year now and a lot of the practical science seems to depend on funding, and what I have picked up on (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that obtaining funding for climate research often depends on meeting political criteria ( the fads and paradigms you mention). Anecdotally, it would seem a lot easier to obtain funding for research that is likely to align with pro AGW orthodoxy.
    This would seem to make it a lot more difficult for those scientists with a sceptical outlook to actually produce the work that their better funded peers would actually take note of. You need to do the research and offer your paper for publishing before you can obtain peer review.
    As for the rest of the”sceptical movement”, I can only speak for myself, but I suspect many are like me, in that we ask questions when we see or hear of things which don’t add up or don’t accord with our personal experience. When we don’t get answers, are called deniers or are told “the science is settled” yet see more and more complex mechanisms and models proposed to account for climate predictions which don’t accord with observation, then we doubt that th scientists have it right.
    I am reminded of the increasing complex models (based on spheres, deferents and epicycles) proposed by Ptolemy to account for observed planetary and stellar motion when the orthodox view was of a geocentric universe.

  110. Roy Spencer (08:14:46) :
    turbobloke:
    There have already been hundreds of studies that supposedly support the theory of manmade global warming. What I am suggesting are studies that examine alternative hypotheses for most of the warming. But, at some point, sure, some combination of the two is most likely.
    BTW, for those monitoring the AMSU site, the new “sea surface” temperature is from AMSR-E on the Aqua satellite, using Frank Wentz’s (RSS) retrievals. We have not yet replaced the NOAA-15 AMSU with the Aqua AMSU on the website, however. But we’re working on it.
    Dear Dr. Spencer,
    1) Turboblocke is the name now, I had to change it after a rabid anti-scientist started posting using the “Turbobloke” name elsewhere and I don’ want to be confused with him
    2) Scientists know there are many uncertainties in the AGW theory and research is being carried out on them. http://climate.nasa.gov/uncertainties/
    3) The IPCC report specifically states that there are areas of low scientific understanding. They are being actively researched.
    4) Given that as you say in your Global 101 that the CO2 enhanced greenhouse effect is not contoversial, why would anyone expect to get funded for research that seeks to exclude the effects of CO2?
    I don’t think there are any reputable scientists who claim that CO2 is the only influence on the climate.
    BTW I would have thought that the Shaviv and Svensgard are two cases that disprove your claim.

  111. Re: Joel Shore (11:59:26)
    Heh, thanks for that link Joel, I hadn’t seen that before. Weart’s description of a “radiative ping-pong ball greenhouse effect” is very funny. It conjured up a hilarious mental image that really had me laughing. It is also entirely incorrect and so wrong-headed that I hardly know where to begin.
    Let’s take your statement:
    “In a nutshell, what is important is not whether or not a photon get absorbed once or zero times but actually the distribution of levels from which the photons are emitted that successfully escape to space. The higher this distribution of levels is in the troposphere, the colder the temperature and hence (by the Stefan-Boltzmann Eq.) the less radiation that gets emitted.”
    This is entirely incorrect. The IR radiation that originates in the troposphere is the result of the release (radiation) of latent energies by water vapor as it changes phase at altitude in the troposphere. This radiation is the strongest in the upper-most levels of the troposphere precisely because it is so cold there.
    As water vapor rises through the atmosphere, if it fails to encounter a nucleation seed (speck of mineral dust, airborne bacteria, etc.) by the time it reaches ~700 mbar (where the temperature is 0C), it can continue to rise as supercooled water vapor. Upon reaching an altitude of ~300 mbar, where the temperature is -42C, that temperature causes the supercooled water vapor to spontaneously crystallize, due to crystal homogeneous nucleation, without the need for an external nucleation seed.
    When this irreversible freezing process occurs, the latent heat of sublimation is released (radiated) and it is quite large. Recent investigation indicates a lower bound for this energy to be ~50% greater than the simple sum of the latent energies of condensation and fusion, due to a change in entropy. Here is a link to that paper:
    http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~kostinsk/jas_entropic.pdf
    This is supported by the atmospheric cooling rates calculated with the LINEPAK line-by-line code using the Intercomparison of Radiation Codes in Climate Models (ICRCCM). Take a look at figure 1 in this paper:
    http://esto.nasa.gov/conferences/estc-2002/Papers/B4P2%28Mlynczak%29.pdf
    As can be seen, the atmospheric cooling (due to radiation) is calculated to be the strongest at ~300 mbar, where the irreversible freezing of supercooled water vapor releases the latent energy of sublimation. The Stefan-Boltzmann Eq. is of no concern here.
    At the link you provided, Weart said:
    What happens to infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface? As it moves up layer by layer through the atmosphere, some is stopped in each layer. (To be specific: a molecule of carbon dioxide, water vapor or some other greenhouse gas absorbs a bit of energy from the radiation. The molecule may radiate the energy back out again in a random direction.
    This is also incorrect, as no tropospheric gas re-emits any absorbed upwelling IR (UIR) due to radiative decay, and that can be easily demonstrated with simple observation. Take a look at this radiance plot of surface measurements during a cloud-free night and day.
    http://www.srrb.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/surf_check?site=desr&mos=June&day=2&year=2008&p1=dpsp&p5=dpir&p6=upir&ptype=gif
    As can be seen, even though during daylight hours the UIR increases by 200 W/m^2 (50%!) the downwelling IR (DIR) fails to respond. These energies (photons) travel at the speed of light. If it were true that tropospheric gases re-emitted (due to radiative decay) any of the upwelling IR they absorbed , there would HAVE to be an increase in the DIR in response to the tremendous increase in UIR, but there is not.
    The only tropospheric gas that emits IR is water vapor, due to it changing phase and releasing latent energies.
    Joel, I think you need to seriously reconsider your position, as it is unsupported by the information at hand.


  112. Joel Shore (12:50:17) :
    Unfortunately, the “skeptic movement” as a whole seems to expend most of their energy taking their case directly to the policymakers and the public …

    Now, I wonder why THAT would be (given on-going and scheduled ‘votes’ in governing bodies and the like –
    – and for the 90W * minds, surely the headstart the IPCC has had in their several ‘summaries for policymakers’ sets the precedent?
    .
    .
    * 90W, literally, “ninety-weight”, as in ‘gear lube’ which possesses a thick viscosity at room temperature; viscosity, a measure of the resistance of a ‘fluid’ being deformed by shear stress or extensional stress
    .
    .

  113. The red herring by the AGW true believer, Joel Shore, that skeptics should keep to their place and only discuss the failures of AGW in forums he approves is rather transparent and condescending.
    AGW promoters have not had any problem dominating every aspect of the public square for over 20 years.
    At this point, real tax dollars, in very large sums, and real treaties, that directly impacts each of us are at stake. We on the skeptic side are, it seems to some of our AGW friends, too uppity in pointing out the failures and falseness of their theory. That is clearly an effort of distractoin on their part.
    All reasonable people should never forget the ad homs, the threats against professional standing, and the calls for criminalization of cilmate dissent, by the AGW community.
    Now, with the public opinion joining the facts, and not supporting AGW, the true believers are suddenly calling for the debate to be limited to peer review processes (controlled by AGW promoters)?
    No. Way. Ever.

  114. Stefan,
    Great post on the Spiral Dynamics model, which explains a lot about how worldviews evolve, both in cultures and in each of us throughout life. Thanks for introducing it in this context!
    Green is not the end of the road, and getting beyond its conceptual limitations to what Claire Graves, Don Beck and Ken Wilber call “second tier” is the challenge.

  115. Didn’t read all the comments, but I agree with all your points bar one. To wit, you said:
    “And as has been the case with every other UN meeting of its type, the participants simply assume that the urban legend is true. Indeed, these politicians and governmental representatives need it to be true. Their careers and political power now depend upon it.”
    What makes you think the politicians actually believe the AGW myth? Most would not understand the science, nor care what the science was telling them… what they DO care about, is how they can use the myth to feed their misguided policies to the masses.
    If, by some miraculous turn of events, the politicians find the public becoming informed about the AGW myth and their support-base vaporises, they will simply blame the scientists that informed them it was a consensus. How is this different to the “WMD reports”? Oh wait, the WMD reports weren’t even in the public eye… the IPCC documents are.
    The politicians will not be hurt by this… much like the GFC bankers there is no perceived downside risk for the politicians pushing the AGW line. Once the support shifts, so will they… but they will have to find another taxation policy basis for bailing out their massive GFC fiscal stimulus debt.
    This is my broad take on the realpolitik… politicians survive by being nimble and flexible when it comes to policy. They cannot afford to be too attached to dogma unless they are a fringe party like the Greens.

  116. RW (13:09:16) :
    Vast amounts of research have been carried out into all factors which influence the climate.
    Would you please enumerate the areas of climate and the dollar amounts allotted to each of them so we can see the data that has led you to this conclusion?
    We all know that billions have gone in to co2. So will you show us how much has gone in to these other areas you speak of?

  117. I previously said (21:30:51):
    “The actual water vapour content in the upper troposphere has declined by 17% from 1948 to 2008 at the 400 mb pressure level (about 8 km altitude).
    The result is that there has been no increase in the total effective amount of greenhouse gases, as characterized by optical depth (transparency to long-wave radiation), in sixty years, as demonstrated by the green line on this graph, according to the radiosonde data.”
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Optical%20Depth2008.jpg
    tallbloke (04:09:49) said:
    “The pyrheliometry data on optical depth seems to say something different. Hoyt found no change to 1968 but Philipona et al who continued the work using the Hoyt time series as a baseline find various changes in optical depth since.”
    http://acp.web.psi.ch/acp_publ/documents/proceedings/2002_9_20_Atmos.Res.JFJ_Davos.pdf#page=23
    The article shows the measurement of short-wave transmission, which is highly affected by volcanic and human caused aerosols. The article states “Only in 1985 the atmosphere seemed to partly recover from the volcanic aerosol burden reaching again a transparency level of 2 to 3 % below the (1909-1968) long-term reference.”
    My comment and graph refers to long-wave optical depth, not short-wave.
    Part 3 of the article discusses 4 years of long-wave radiation measurements. It does not discuss any time trend, and considering the large variation of water vapour content, 4 years of data can not determine a time trend.

  118. Shurley Knot (11:04:33) :
    (1) the climate is getting warmer;
    Data shows the earth is cooling. Global warming in not happening. Global cooling is happening. It is normal for the earth to go through warming and cooling phases.
    Look up the data. It will show you this ‘consensus’ view is wrong.

  119. Shurley Knot (11:04:33) :
    (2) CO2 is the cause for this warming;
    Data shows that what you say is not true.

  120. Shurley Knot (11:04:33) :
    (4) this will turn into a problem if we don’t do something about it.
    The earth is cooling. There is no problem. There never was a problem. Everything is ok. Stop trying to scare people!

  121. Spencer = creationist = nut
    OK that’s it, you are banned- you are nothing but troll bombing each thread with your comments – get out- Anthony

  122. sagi (18:24:25) :
    “Green is not the end of the road, and getting beyond its conceptual limitations to what Claire Graves, Don Beck and Ken Wilber call “second tier” is the challenge.”
    I agree. And it is interesting because the AGW faction present the debate as being some sort of conflict between those with a “Green – Humanistic” world-view (value-Meme) and those with an “Orange – Materialistic” world-view. Hence the common assertion that skeptics are funded by “Big-Oil” etc.
    Conversely, the real debate appears to be between various “Green” world-views (and there are several) and a very rational “Yellow – Systemic” world-view, as presented by many of the “qualified” contributers to this group.
    Unfortunately for the world, the majority of politicians are either inclined to a “Red – Egocentric” world view or to “Orange” type thinking or “Green” type views, so will make decisions on that basis.
    It is only true statesmen who take a systemic view of the world, and they are unfortunately few and far between.

  123. sagi, Rereke Whakaaro, hello and thanks, it is nice not to be a lone voice on a forum 🙂
    Do you think there might be any aspects of the AGW issue that when focussed on, could be the conditions or demands that begin to shift anyone who’s already at exiting-Green to Second Tier, at least cognitively?
    What do you think about Green in science? How do we talk to, say, scientists who on the one hand would maintain that the only real forum for truth is their own peer reviewed journals, whilst at the same time, some of these scientists might also be members of an ethical movement, perhaps a Green organisation, like the Union of Concerned Scientists?

  124. Re: hunter (07:50:51) :
    Joel Shore,
    Your post is so wrong as to make reasonable people doubt your sincerity.
    The IPCC is not a scientific panel, for starters.
    It is a political panel, carefully organized to sell AGW.
    Its leader is not a climatologist.
    The fact that the climate is not at all behaving in any sort of unusual fashion is not going to go away, no matter how many scientists allegedly believe it is not so.

    Shore’s post was well put and quite correct, your answer though amounts to no more than a shout ‘No! Nóóó!’. Is this how you refute arguments? How do expect AGW-believers to ever lose their illusions if this is all you can come up with?
    In general, I find this thread utterly uninteresting, totally off topic. Scientific truth is not decided by consensus; articles and talk about consensus have no place whatsoever in a discussion on climate change. Whether popular opinion on climate change, it will not affect climate change at all. It baffles me how some people seem to think differently about this.

  125. RR Kampen,
    Of course a true believer is uninterested in discussing the fact that AGW theory is failed, and that the promotion of it is fundamentally corrupt.
    Rather than wonder about a system of thought that embraces anything said in its favor, and rejects everything said that is critical, true believers see that as the proper order of things. So your boredom is understandable: to be engaged at all means questioning your faith. And AGW cannot withstand that for even a moment.
    You should be more interested, if you had any critical thinking skills, to consider that that the climate does not care what the AGW community says, either.

  126. hunter, you are still talking about beliefs of people instead of climate and climate change.
    “AGW cannot withstand that for even a moment.” – it apparently can, which is why specifically within the scientific community there has been consensus about the hypothesis since the year Arrhenius. In fact I remember ‘we’ (scientists) were by the end of the nineteeneighties just waiting until global warming would rise to significant levels. It duly did.

  127. @Chris-savethesharks
    An excellent expansion on what I remember reading in my youth, ex a work by C.G. Yung: (if I remember correctly) “The morality of a crowd is in inverse proportion to its size” I have seen this at work umpteen times! So much for the claimed scientific consensus. The larger the “in” group, the more the individual accountability and standards are compromised in favour of the group-think.

  128. By danappaloupe’s logic, you could pick everyone’s scientific opinions on the basis of their religious background. This is a stupid trick the warmist scientists have tried to use on me: find religious scientists who are climate skeptics and then suggest that they are unreliable on the basis of their religious belief. What they are forgetting is that they have a belief in climate change that is becoming almost as dogmatic and biased. Take it from a heathen 🙂 People have something called opinions. I guess I have the true lack of faith… lack of faith in either religion or climate change. Both seem equally unprovable in my opinion… no offense to anyone who believes in either… I’m just saying that danappaloupe is using twisted logic. I may be a skeptic, but I know some really incredible scientists who are religious. Depending on the field you work in, they can be separate issues.

  129. Re: GabrielVanDenBergh (05:48:44) :
    An excellent expansion on what I remember reading in my youth, ex a work by C.G. Yung: (if I remember correctly) “The morality of a crowd is in inverse proportion to its size” I have seen this at work umpteen times! So much for the claimed scientific consensus. The larger the “in” group, the more the individual accountability and standards are compromised in favour of the group-think.

    This is especially true in mathematics, where advocates of free speech who purport that Pi is a rational number actually get kicked out of their job!

  130. In fact I remember ‘we’ (scientists) were by the end of the nineteeneighties just waiting until global warming would rise to significant levels. It duly did.
    In the late 1980s the PDO hadn’t even been discovered yet.

  131. Re: evanmjones (06:10:15) :
    In the late 1980s the PDO hadn’t even been discovered yet.

    No, its effect is small by comparison. It belongs to the ‘noise’ on which a marked upward trend is superposed.

  132. RR Kampen,
    Sir, with all due respect, you do not even understand the issue.
    AGW – the theory that we are experiencing extreme, unusual and dangerous human caused climate change is not true.
    The consensus you rely on is a false consensus.
    I do notice that instead of dealing the reality of what the IPCC is – a political organization, not scientific one, and with the falsifications of AGW predictions, you take the only route open to you: dissemble, deflect and dismiss.
    Do this as much as you wish.
    It will not make AGW any less untrue.

  133. RR Kampen,
    And I seriously doubt if you are telling anything close to what you were actually waiting on in the 1980’s.

  134. hunter (17:54:32) :
    The red herring by the AGW true believer, Joel Shore, that skeptics should keep to their place and only discuss the failures of AGW in forums he approves is rather transparent and condescending.
    All reasonable people should never forget the ad homs, the threats against professional standing, and the calls for criminalization of cilmate dissent, by the AGW community.

    This is the foundation of alarmist undoing. Good intentions need not threaten, censor, attack or criminalize an opposing point of view. Rational men on witnessing such behavior know immediately the false prophets.

  135. hunter, we are into the fastest climate change in thousands of years.
    I wouldn’t break into a panick for that, but I wouldn’t close my eyes to this reality either.
    As for the eighties, the literature is still there. Do a count and discover the huge AGW-consensus that was there already then.
    I know it because I believed until 2004 it had to be the sun. And I felt just like you then 😉

  136. For RR Kampen and all fans of fastest climate change™, this is the temperature record from Central England from the depths of Maunder minimum to pleasant times of Modern Solar maximum:
    http://www.junkscience.com/MSU_Temps/JonesMann2004.html
    I especially recommend to check temperature trends between 1660-1695 and 1695-1740, then compare it with present times (decade of somehow flat temperatures) and then… start arguing that CET is not representing the whole world and the fastest climate change is happening.

  137. Juraj V., Junkscience? Please!!
    Anyway, even this graph shows something typical for many parts of the world: a slightly decreasing variance (due to the weakening winter season!) and a distinct, consistent upturn in the last decennia (known as the ‘hockey stick’).
    What suprises me is the that years 2006 and 2007 don’t stick up more in this graph. They were the warmest.

  138. “What suprises me is the that years 2006 and 2007 don’t stick up more in this graph. They were the warmest.” – I correct myself, the graph doesn’t go past 2002 or so.

  139. Talking about AGW related urban myths, unfortunately, average person after decades of media massage got all that myths deep into brain. Ask anyone and he says, yes we (will) see more droughts, more floods, more extremes, more hurricanes.
    But then you look at the hard data and you see that there is no visible trend in hurricane frequency nor intensity. You learn that the deadliest hurricane hit Galveston in 1900, the strongest hurricane hit US in 1935. Katrina did sucked, but the biggest havoc was caused by failing sea protection walls.
    You learn that highest recorded temperatures ever were all seen in 19th century or first half of 20th century (except Antarctica where observations started after WWII).
    Strongest wind ever recorded blew in 1934.
    The most extreme drought hit US in 30ties, Central Europe in 1947.
    You learn that droughts killed millions in India in 18th and 19th centuries.
    Then you look at CET temperature record and see, that inter annual temperature variations during the LIA were often wild and warming or cooling trends were by far more intense than in 1950-2000.
    As LIA started, increased temperature contrast between tropics and polar regions caused powerfull storms, sea floodings in Northern Europe and strong coastal erosion, something unheard today.
    I recommend in such discussion to ask the opponents few basic questions: when were highest temperature records observed, strongest and deadliest hurricanes, deadly floods, droughts; they will have no clue, since they can only babbling about fastest climate change™ without any hard facts. Beat them with facts, and sane people will recognize it.

  140. I had meant this item to be posted to this thread yesterday morning, but I missed and sent it to a thread that must have had people reading it scratching their heads. My apologies–I will learn what I am doing eventually.
    Beyond being an urban legend, we see evidence of something worse. In 1995 I gave a talk to our local Phi Theta Kappa chapter, and compared global warming to Irving Langmuir’s description of pathological science. There was a remarkable fit at that time, which has become only more remarkable as the creation of various “hockey sticks” shows. Moreover, people are all the more convinced about the certainty of the global warming tale even as one points out the impressive list of very current instances of pathological science (see for example a number of examples I put together at this place) that should give them reason for caution.
    Years ago I couldn’t find the text of Langmuir’s colloquium on the subject, but thanks to the miracle of the unfettered internet, someone at Princeton has put it online! See http://www.cs.princeton.edu/~ken/Langmuir/langmuir.htm.

  141. This storm killed 1852 people in Holland and a couple hundred in Britain and Belgium:
    http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/1953/Rrea00119530201.gif
    This system drowned 343 people in and around Hamburg: http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/1962/Rrea00119620217.gif
    This system (‘Vivian’, Stockholm 938 hPa) produced comparable tides on Dutch coasts that did nothing, because de dykes have been improved considerably: http://www.wetterzentrale.de/pics/archive/ra/1990/Rrea00119900228.gif
    Systems from the LIA have not been known to be more severe than low pressure areas like those mentioned above. The impact of such was much more severe, of course, like the impact of even a moderate cyclone in Bangadesh will remain devastating until there’s something of a sea defense in place there. For now already many lives have been saved there because they put mounds and hills everywhere so people can run up them during a storm surge.

  142. “If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded”
    Is there any data to support this assertion?

  143. To me as a scientist, the word “significant” implies that we could see the signal above the noise level (natural variation, in this case). But, we still don’t even know what the noise level is and probably never will.

  144. Svein (09:36:28) :

    “If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded”
    ‘Is there any data to support this assertion?’

    It was recently reported here that scientists and organizations skeptical of AGW have received about $19 million in funding, while scientists and organizations studying AGW have received more than $50 billion in funding.
    So for every $2,631.58 received for anthropogenic global warming studies, skeptical scientists have received $1.00.
    The adage: “You get what you pay for” comes to mind.
    Getting published is the key to getting grants. That is why the clique that controls the climate peer review process fights tooth and nail to get their papers published and keep skeptical papers out. For a true example of the flaming hoops skeptics must jump through to even get a comment published, see here.

  145. James Chamberlain has hit the nail on the head.
    AGW theory has yet to produce anything that is beyond the range of normal variation or error.
    RRK,
    So if I am reading you correctly, until the 2004 period, you were believing that sol was driving our climate variations.
    All that has happened since then is things have continued to diverge from the AGW scenarios of Hansen.
    Why would you change your mind just in time to see AGW falsified?

  146. Sandy says:

    Because the journals that you regard as serious won’t publish papers that question their pre-conceptions but rather accept self peer reviewed work that is frankly shoddy.

    Not true at all. In fact, skeptical paper have been published in peer-reviewed journals, even quite bad papers. For example, there is the Douglass et al. paper (see discussion here ) that was published despite a fairly elementary error that should have been caught in the refereeing process. And, the paper by Stephen Schwartz in Journal of Geophysical Research arguing for a low climate sensitivity was published; the problems with it were admittedly a little more subtle but it prompted several comments and in his reply to the comments, Schwartz admitted there were problems and upped his estimate of the climate sensitivity from 1.1 +/- 0.5 C to 1.9 +/- 1.0 C ( http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/pubs/BNL-80226-2008-JA.pdf ) although my guess is that some of the commenters would argue that his revised estimate is still too low given the identified problems.
    Finally, there is the paper by Gerlich and Tscheuschner (see http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=G._Gerlich_and_R._D._Tscheuschner ), which admittedly falls into the category of a paper that was published in a journal pretty far outside the climate science field (in a statistical physics journal). Still, I think the fact that it was published at all is quite embarrassing considering that it is extremely polemical and has various wrong statements not only about climate science but even many about physics.
    Vincent says:

    It seems to me you are sincere in your beliefs, so I would like to ask, in your opinion, what are the “arguments that have most often been thoroughly debunked in the scientific realm.”
    I want to cross reference the skeptical arguments with those that have been “debunked” and then examine the “debunking” arguments.

    There are a few sites that discuss the most common arguments. This is one of the best: http://www.skepticalscience.com/ This is another: http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php

  147. Joseph says:

    As can be seen, the atmospheric cooling (due to radiation) is calculated to be the strongest at ~300 mbar, where the irreversible freezing of supercooled water vapor releases the latent energy of sublimation. The Stefan-Boltzmann Eq. is of no concern here.

    What do you mean that the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation is of no concern? The only way that heat energy can be communicated away from the earth-atmosphere system is via radiation according to the S-B Equation. Yes, some of the heat that gets to the upper atmosphere gets there due to process of evaporation and subsequent condensation. (See here for a diagram of the earth’s energy budget: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/bna/educate/earth_rad_budget_kiehl_trenberth_big.gif ) However, that energy (or a portion thereof) is then radiated out into space.
    The evaporation and condensation only ends up changing the energy budget for the earth system as a whole to the extent that it affects the temperature structure of the atmosphere. (And indirectly to the extent that it forms clouds, which can reflect sunlight and absorb and subsequently emit IR radiation and transports water vapor up into the upper troposphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas.)
    For the tropics, that temperature structure is expected to be determined essentially by the moist adiabatic lapse rate, which means that (due to the condensation of water vapor) the temperature in the upper troposphere in the tropics warms more than at the surface does. This is indeed a negative feedback for the surface temperature rise since it means that the surface temperature does not have to rise as much as the temperature in the upper troposphere must rise in order to restore radiative balance. It is included in all of the climate models where it “takes back” part of the temperature rise due to the water vapor feedback. [In fact, since much the same convective physics controls both the (positive) water vapor feedback and the (negative) lapse rate feedback, the models with a higher magnitude for one feedback tend to have a higher magnitude for the other, so that the sum of the two feedbacks varies less from model-to-model than each of the feedbacks individually.]

    This is also incorrect, as no tropospheric gas re-emits any absorbed upwelling IR (UIR) due to radiative decay, and that can be easily demonstrated with simple observation.

    The only tropospheric gas that emits IR is water vapor, due to it changing phase and releasing latent energies.

    This makes no sense at all. Substances emit electromagnetic radiation simply by virtue of being at a non-zero temperature. We often talk of there being absorption and re-emission but the “re-emission event” is completely unrelated to the absorption event, with the only relation being that it is the absorption events that are of course playing a role in determining the temperature. The radiative emission occurs simply due to the temperature. See the discussion here by an emeritus professor of meteorology who is sort of stickler when it comes to using terminology correctly: http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadGreenhouse.html I had thought he was a little too militant but now that I see the sort of confusions that you are making, I am beginning to understand his militancy on being precise about this stuff.

  148. Smokey says:

    It was recently reported here that scientists and organizations skeptical of AGW have received about $19 million in funding, while scientists and organizations studying AGW have received more than $50 billion in funding.

    This was reported by who? You, who claim to be a “skeptic” don’t have any skepticism about those numbers?!?! You really must be about the most gullible “skeptic” on the planet! For one thing, what does “scientists and organizations studying AGW have received more than $50 billion in funding” mean? What about the NASA satellites that Roy Spencer among others use in their research? Is that counted all in the AGW column or is some of it apportioned to the “skeptical of AGW” column and how was that apportioning done?

  149. Mr. Shore,
    You have still failed to explain why the IPCC is credible, when it is not a scientific organization.
    You have still not reconciled your demand that skeptics only publish in scientific journals, while AGW promoters are free to do as they please in the public square.
    An additional point you may want to address is why you would persist in sending people to AGW propaganda sites that demean skeptics?

  150. Hunter,
    I did not say that the AGW signal was not above the natural variation, I just said that we can’t tell and probably never will be able to tell. It’s a silly non-experiment in general. We cannot see “now” without the conditions of “now”. (although the AGW crowd would tell you that we can with the use of models.)

  151. “In fact I remember ‘we’ (scientists) were by the end of the nineteeneighties just waiting until global warming would rise to significant levels. It duly did.”
    A coin was flipped the other day. I predicted it would come up heads. It duly did.

  152. Thanks Ken Gregory, very interesting support for natural variation.
    I’m not sure I buy this though:
    “The data is telling us the CO2 is displacing water vapour as a greenhouse gas, and that the laws of physics place a limit on the total effective amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
    I don’t think trace amounts of CO2 are driving specific humidity. It seems much more likely temperature is driving this, as this explains why Earth’s temperature has been extremely stable over long periods. I thought I had seen this same observation explained that way before.

  153. Ken Gregory says:

    Climate models assume that water vapour relative humidity remains approximately constant while CO2 increases. This is a nonsense assumption. This assumption is due to observations that during short time periods relative humidity stays approximately constant while temperatures change. It is invalid to extrapolate this observation to long time periods when CO2 concentrations increase significantly.
    Water vapour content will change as a direct result of increasing CO2 content, independent of temperature.
    This graph shows that the actual water vapour content in the upper troposphere has declined by 17% from 1948 to 2008 at the 400 mb pressure level (about 8 km altitude). Water vapour data is from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/SH400mb.jpg

    I believe that the long-term trends in this humidity data from radiosondes are believed to be unreliable due to changing instrumentation and other issues. And, they are in stark contrast to the data from satellites, which shows the specific humidity and the temperature to be positively-correlated (such that relative humidity remains pretty close to constant on average) for both the shorter-term fluctuations and the longer-term trends. See here http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;310/5749/841 , or see here http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/323/5917/1020 for a review with other references.
    The satellite data also seems much more reasonable as it is hard to come up with reasons why the correlation of upper tropospheric water vapor with temperature would go the opposite way on the multidecadal timescales as it goes on the annual timescales (as the radiosonde data seems to suggest) given that the convective effects controlling this are on much shorter timescales than both of these. And, as TallDave noted, it is hard to understand a mechanism for how changes in CO2 levels would drive changes in water vapor levels directly, as you seem to suggest.

    A 3% increase in water vapour has the same effect as a 100% increase in CO2.

    Really? So, if your radiosonde data is to be believed and is representative of the drop in water vapor at the atmospheric levels important for the greenhouse effect, that would imply that we have had changes in water vapor between 1948 and 2008 that would be the equivalent of something like 5 or 6 halvings of the CO2 levels (e.g., dropping the CO2 levels by something like a factor of 50). Wouldn’t you expect that to result in one heck of a cooling, in contrast to what we have seen…or do you think that the temperature is somehow so insensitive to either that it doesn’t matter?
    Frankly, I think the problem is that BOTH the data that you show is wrong and that your claim that a 3% change in water vapor has the same radiative effect as a 100% change in CO2 levels is wrong.

  154. Joel Shore, the only way we can be sure Man is changing the climate is if we can know that we have understood, measured and discounted everything else that could be doing it.
    You claim to have a PhD in physics, so please state that in your opinion Man understands all the influences on climate so well that anomalies can ONLY be ascribed to Man.
    If you will not state that climate is that well understood then you have no rational basis for supporting alarmism.
    If you claim to be a physicist then I may demand that you are rational, in my opinion at least.

  155. Stefan and Rereke Whakaaro,
    One of the characteristics of the Green worldview that can be limiting is pointed out by Jenny Wade in her excellent book “Changes of Mind … a Holonomic Theory of the Evolution of Consciousness”.
    She calls Green “Affiliative Consciousness”, and points out that differences and conflict are seen as threatening at this level, that being needed and harmonious relationships with others are a core motivation, and that the correct option for action for a Green is the consensus of one’s peer group.
    So that is the barrier … and the challenge … for Green scientists.

  156. Sandy: The only way to know something for sure is by deductive proof within a closed logical system. Science is observing the real world, which is not alas a closed logical system, and we can’t ever know anything for sure. I don’t know for sure that the sun will rise tomorrow…although I think given what we think we understand about the laws of physics, and particularly celestial mechanics, the smart money would be betting on it.
    In order for Man to not be significantly changing the climate, it would have to be true both that some cause that we haven’t identified is doing it AND that the radiative forcing that we know that we are producing due to increasing greenhouse gases is somehow not doing it.
    For the former to be the case, we have to come up with potential candidates for which there is good evidence that they could be the cause…i.e., they have to have the right temporal variation, one has to have a plausible physical mechanism, and one has to show that the fingerprints of the observed change (such as warming of the troposphere and cooling of the stratosphere) match that which such a mechanism would predict.
    For the latter to be the case, there have to be large negative feedbacks in the climate system that are counteracting the known forcings and positive feedbacks. The hypothesis that such negative feedbacks are occurring enjoys little theoretical or empirical support and, in fact, makes it rather difficult to explain various things that our current understanding of the net feedback being positive does explain, such as the Ice Age – interglacial cycles and the climate response to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. So, like for the rising of the sun, we may not be able to rigorously prove that Man is significantly changing the climate but the smart money would be betting on it…and indeed is betting on it.

  157. Joel Shore “Unfortunately, the “skeptic movement” as a whole seems to expend most of their energy taking their case directly to the policymakers and the public and publishing in less serious journals…or journals well outside the climate science area of expertise, using arguments that have most often been thoroughly debunked in the scientific realm, rather than trying to prevail on their scientific colleagues…And this alone is, to me, a bad sign. (There is nothing wrong with discussing science directly with the public and policymakers but that should not be your primary approach.)”
    Hmmm…the same could be said about your side, Joel.
    Again…the burden of proof is on you. Show forth the evidence that a trace gas in the atmosphere is causing runaway warming.
    Show it. Prove it. Where is it??
    This is not a hard proposition. Either you can prove your theory with OBSERVED evidence….or not.
    Second question, though, if the “Skeptic” movement is so unimportant to you (and you certainly have Copenhagen, the UKMet, and Obama on your side so YOU are a majority)….then why are you expending so much time and energy here???
    Get back to work and research and stop spending so much time on this blog.
    You are obviously bright, and the world needs you, but not to spend hours arguing that which you can not (and still not have been able to) prove.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  158. Joel Shore to Smokey: “This was reported by who? You, who claim to be a “skeptic” don’t have any skepticism about those numbers?!?!
    STRAWMAN ALERT
    You really must be about the most gullible “skeptic” on the planet!
    AD HOMINEM ALERT
    For one thing, what does “scientists and organizations studying AGW have received more than $50 billion in funding” mean?
    NON SEQUITUR ALERT
    What about the NASA satellites that Roy Spencer among others use in their research? Is that counted all in the AGW column or is some of it apportioned to the “skeptical of AGW” column and how was that apportioning done?”

    FALLACY OF AMBIGUITY ALERT (Either “Division” or “Composition” or both!)
    Your logic is very flawed Joel.
    Your resolution, like the GCMs is very coarse.
    No wonder the scientific world is in trouble today.
    Folks….this is not a scientific dilemma at this point….it is a psychological one.
    A specific human malady: Too much ego precludes ones ability to admit wrong.
    Then when it forms itself as science and then policy….then, voila!: You have the IPCC.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  159. sagi,

    She calls Green “Affiliative Consciousness”, and points out that differences and conflict are seen as threatening at this level, that being needed and harmonious relationships with others are a core motivation, and that the correct option for action for a Green is the consensus of one’s peer group.
    So that is the barrier … and the challenge … for Green scientists.

    Aha, thanks for the reference.
    Plus when Green becomes threatened or trapped (the “gamma” step in SD):
    “When Green confronts the barriers, it will descend into a rigid, holier-than-thou, politically correct stance, arrogantly questioning everybody else’s motives.”
    I feel like I’ve seen quite a lot of this out there. When someone is called a “denier” it is because Green is actually feeling threatened?
    I was glancing at George Monbiot’s website yesterday. It seems he started out working on African issues, investigating the suffering of African victims, and his more recent work seems (to me at least), to be about how the poor in Africa suffer due to the Western multinationals’ contribution to climate change. It reminds me of the film, ‘The Constant Gardener”.
    What I’m wondering is how Monbiot has taken issue with other environmentalists, particularly those who are focussing on population as the main problem: The Optimum Population Trust, David Attenborough, Jonathon Porritt, Paul Ehrlich. Monbiot at one point seems to have accused the founder of the Ecologist magazine of being some sort of extreme right fascist.
    Yellow starts to look at the whole system and from a Green perspective this can look elitist and even fascist. And yet, if we’re actually to tackle environmental problems, it does warrant stepping back and looking at systems of systems (at least to begin with, but as Ken Wilber observed, systems theorists are mostly focussed on the external Web of Life, the material planetary systems, but generally ignore all the internal stuff about psychology and culture, so their “system theory” is not really holistic, for it leaves out half the picture, it leaves out the fact that most of the world’s cultures don’t care about global environmental issues).
    Let’s say from a Yellow perspective, the world’s problem, given current levels of technology, is mainly population—and what we need are fewer people, preferably fewer big families, which tends to be the poor. Meanwhile from a Green perspective, the poor are the biggest victims, and what we need to do is to protect them, help them to rise out of poverty, but without adding additional resource depletion. That means the rich need to send their wealth to the poor. In this scenario, the African poor win, but in the other, they lose even more. Where’s the consensus on that?
    But I’m not sure really that from a Yellow perspective, population is the core problem—I’m not sure where the Optimum Population Trust is coming from, do you have a sense about this? I’m finding it hard to distinguish between Nature’s order (Yellow?) and a One True Order (Blue?). Maybe OPT is a sort of authoritarian answer to environmental problems, or maybe it is simply Yellow’s best assessment at the present time…? It confuses me when they all have upper class British accents. When the Duke of Edinburgh says he’d like to reincarnate as a virus to wipe out human overpopulation, that conservation is a “hard headed” business, what meme is that?
    I guess what I’m wondering is what will happen to Green consensus as more people get involved with proposing actual solutions. Green can spot and reject any Orange solution as “just more selfish multinationals protecting their interests”. But what is Green going to make of Blue solutions and early Yellow solutions?
    It will be hard to maintain consensus when people like Monbiot are calling other environmentalists “fascists”.

  160. Joel,
    Thanks for your links. I had a quick look at the one you say is the best. Unfortunately I find it to be very weak on substance and loose on facts. I was especially interested to see how the author can claim that evidence for AGW exists. What he offers usual old strawman argument: the earth has warmed, CO2 has increased, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, therefore humans have caused the warming. Nobody is denying that CO2 doesn’t have some warming effect, but the controversy is over how much and to what extent in the future.
    Then there was a section that attempts to show that warming is still continuing even though it isn’t. He quotes a paper by Schukman which purports to show that OHC has been rising in contradiction to all other papers. Even Hansen doesn’t try and deny these empirical facts. For example, Cazanave has shown that the steric component of sea level rise has dropped substantially since 2003 indicating no warming. This was verified by correlating three datasets, namely Argo, Grace and satellite altimetry. Roger Pielke has also written that the lack of accumulated joules in the oceans now amounts to about 10 * 10^22 joules. These are joules of energy that should have accumulated according to the AGW hypothesis but isn’t there.
    I gave up reading at that point. If you want to comment on individual research I would be happy to read your opinions, but I’m not impressed by people that just point to propaganda sites filled with junk science and smoke and mirrors.

  161. “All this means rethinking the very nature of the world economy It claims to be geared to ‘sustainable development’ but there is precious little that is sustainable about it, and very deep changes are required if we are to have any future on this planet.” — Edward Goldsmith
    “During much of the nearly 20 years I lived in rural Cornwall I had no car (though I cheated and took taxis). I had no central heating, no freezer, and I used a composting toilet. Now, I am afraid, I am once more a city slicker. However, it was an experiment in the right direction.” — Edward Goldsmith
    This has some relevance also to the other thread, “eat the dog”, where the Vales have for decades been working on “autonomous” housing that can stay off grid. I think “eat the dog” was just a way to draw attention.
    When I was a student I once said to my tutor, Robert Vale, “I do believe that the environment is the only issue architects should be focussed on”.
    Since then, climate change entered the mainstream consciousness, but this is something that I’ve never felt right about—if people were truly serious about climate change, about sustainability, about humanity’s survival—if climate change was really as urgent as the IPCC and scientists say it is, then we would be enacting extraordinary measures—we would re-architect civilisation—and we would not wait for the agreement of those who hadn’t got the memo.
    I really don’t understand—we are all perfectly capable of living without a fridge (my grandma did her whole life)—why we continue to ponce around saving plastic bags and trying to figure out what brand of shiny new electric car to buy. You don’t need a car. You don’t need a fridge. You don’t need any of that. And you certainly don’t need two kids.
    This fundamental disconnect with reality is what troubles me more about climate change, far more than any “denialist” anti-science.
    Robert Vale said, when he grows old, and his children ask him, “Dad, what did you do to save the world?”, Robert said he wants to be able to answer them.

  162. And just to follow up, I can understand most people here don’t believe climate change is man made, and consequently you’re not about to give up your fridge or your car.
    But what I don’t understand is the people like Joel, who have thought about it and figure that the science has got it right.
    Joel,
    what have you given up?

  163. Sorry I shouldn’t pick on anyone in particular, it is just a wider issue: how do you save the world when most of the world isn’t interested in the measures needed to do so?
    “Edward Goldsmith shows how Indira Gandhi has betrayed the Gandhiism of the Mahatma in pursuing India’s industrialisation and urbanisation”
    http://www.edwardgoldsmith.com/page266.html
    That article was published 24 years ago. Goldsmith was calling for small sustainable communities, inspired by the leadership and example of one India’s greatest historical figures. And yet? What did we get instead? Bollywood?
    Anyone who’s serious about stopping climate change, needs to worry more about the psychology of people than about the technicalities of what is and isn’t a valid statistical trend.
    Joel, this is why earlier I asked you, would you accept governments taking advice and basing policy on the findings of developmental psychology? Just as you are happy to have government base policy on the findings of climatologists?
    Serious question.

  164. Vincent says:

    For example, Cazanave has shown that the steric component of sea level rise has dropped substantially since 2003 indicating no warming.

    I guess your statement here that “the steric component of sea level rise has dropped substantially” is technically correct but is subject to misinterpretation. Cazanave et al ( http://penoflight.com/climatebuzz/Docs/SeaLevelRise2008.pdf ) are NOT saying that steric component of the sea level has itself dropped but rather that the rate of rise has been much less rapid over the 5-year period than it had been over the previous ten years. Also, their errorbars are such that the rise is statistically-significant so it is not that there is “no warming” of the ocean but rather that there is less. Furthermore, during those 5 years, the sea level rise due to melting of land ice has been greater, so that the total sea level rise has been only a little less than it had been before (2.5 +/- 0.4 mm/yr for 2003-2008 vs 3.1 +/- 0.4 mm/yr for 1993-2003).
    At any rate, I don’t think anyone expects there not to be fluctuations in the ocean heat content over relatively short periods…and there seems to have been in the past. The increase should be a bit steadier than that for the atmospheric temperature, which climate models predict can go through periods of 10 to 15 years with a negative trend even under monotonically increasing forcings ( http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/images/GRL2009_ClimateWarming.pdf ), but I’m not sure how much steadier.

    I gave up reading at that point. If you want to comment on individual research I would be happy to read your opinions, but I’m not impressed by people that just point to propaganda sites filled with junk science and smoke and mirrors.

    Then, you must spend a lot time here not being impressed with the folks who constantly link to graphs produced by ICECAP, junkscience.com, and the like.
    Anyway, you asked, “What are the “arguments that have most often been thoroughly debunked in the scientific realm?” so I provided a link to a cite that takes on many of the arguments put forward by “skeptics”. I admit that some arguments that skeptics put forward are better than others…and I think that understanding the variations that occur in the rise of ocean heat content is at least a legitimate area where further research is needed. But if you want a list of some of the worst arguments, I would say that in general they are the ones involving long-settled issues such as whether we are responsible for the rise in CO2 since the beginning of the industrial revolution, whether we know the basic radiative forcing effects due to a rise in CO2 (e.g., the claim that “it’s saturated”), the notion that the fact that climate change has occurred in the past somehow means that we are not responsible for the current change, and the notion that the greenhouse effect violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The notion that a negative or flat trend in global temperatures of about a decade or less is sufficient to conclude that the models are wrong or that AGW is falsified would also qualify. There are probably many others but those are some of the big ones that come to mind.

  165. Stefan says:

    Joel,
    what have you given up?

    I won’t claim that I am a saint but I have done various things to try to reduce my carbon footprint. I own a Prius. I live in a neighborhood where a lot of services that I need are available within walking or biking distance and I use foot or bicycle for a significant fraction of my trips; when I do use my car, I try to combine trips to places that are in the same vicinity rather than making separate trips. I own a small house and I pay a surcharge on my utility bill in order to have the utility add a certain quantity of wind energy to the electricity grid. I have installed CFLs in most fixtures and installed a low-flow shower head. I also try to keep the thermostat down during heating season (although I get a little pushback from my girlfriend on that one). Our house does have an air conditioning unit but we hardly use that at all. I try to buy at least some of our produce at a local farmer’s market (that I almost always get to by bike).

  166. “In fact I remember ‘we’ (scientists) were by the end of the nineteen eighties just waiting until global warming would rise to significant levels. It duly did.”
    That isn’t responsive to the claim that the PDO hadn’t been discovered in the 1980s.

  167. You can go further than that. Several oceanic/atmospheric cycles went from cold to warm phase between 1976 and 2001. (PDO, AMO, SO, IPO, NAO, AO, AAO) Since that point they were all in warm (or neutral) phase. Now the PDO and perhaps others are starting to turn cool.
    That correlates fairly well with what we have been seeing.
    I am not saying CO2 has no effect, merely that it appears to be a minor fingerprint, not a prime mover.
    Bear in mind when there is a correlation in one direction only, it is less significant than if there is something that correlates up, then down again.

  168. Well, Joel, I’m about 40 and I’ve never owned a car, I work locally, I haven’t flown anywhere in ten years, and I don’t have kids. And yet, even my lifestyle is a far cry from what some prominent environmentalists have been calling for. There have been prominent voices saying that the developing world should not industrialise. Would you go that far? If not, why not? What evidence do you have that it is OK to industrialise?

  169. Stefan,
    Jenny Wade’s summary of the “concept of other” in Green / Affiliative Consciousness and the concept or other in the next level (beginning of second tier), Authentic Consciousness, is insightful. Color names for levels are not consistent between authors (I think Yellow and Teal are both used for this level) so I like Wade’s more descriptive labels.
    So here is her take on “concept of other” from these perspectives:
    Affiliative Consciousness
    People are similar in kind to subject, but possess own point of view and interior life of varigated emotions
    Sharing information about one’s inner life with others will lead to a consensus-based community
    Differences are superficial, everyone is fundamentally equal
    Differences and conflict are threatening
    People need to be helped by being in close relationships
    Authentic Consciousness
    Very little ego-based distortion
    True empathy
    Respect for personal agency, diversity, and autonomy of others
    Relatively free of enculturation and conformity to social expectations
    Impatient with people who impede subject’s personal progress
    And this level is not the end of the road, either. But, as you have mentioned, one can respect the values of other levels from this perspective without believing other values (and those who hold them) are right or are wrong in all situations. It is a viewpoint that can make for better understanding among scientists.

  170. Gene Nemetz:
    “Would you please enumerate the areas of climate and the dollar amounts allotted to each of them so we can see the data that has led you to this conclusion?”
    You’re asking the wrong question. Simply get familiar with the scientific literature, and you can see what people are studying. Your ignorance of the literature is causing you to draw false conclusions.
    “We all know that billions have gone in to co2. So will you show us how much has gone in to these other areas you speak of?”
    Do “we all” know that? From where, exactly? If you want to demand specific but irrelevant facts from people, you should first of all provide evidence for your vague claims.

  171. Joel Shore (10:28:13) :

    I own a small house and I pay a surcharge on my utility bill in order to have the utility add a certain quantity of wind energy to the electricity grid.

    How much will it cost to get the MUG tattoo removed?
    If where you live is anything like the UK, no-one actually knows how much power is produced by wind because they don’t use bi-directional metering.
    In case you didn’t know. When there is no wind, the turbines are often driven from the grid. I’ve seen wind turbines driven for days on end from the grid, using power, not generating!
    There is no record of how much power is really generated, so how can they realistically charge anyone
    DaveE.

  172. Stefan says:

    There have been prominent voices saying that the developing world should not industrialise. Would you go that far? If not, why not? What evidence do you have that it is OK to industrialise?

    Who has said that? I imagine you might be able to find a few people at the extreme, but I doubt it has been considered as a serious possibility. There are people who are saying that the developing world should not make the same mistakes that we did when we industrialized, but that is a different story. And, there are indeed examples of the developing world jumping technologies. For example, places have gone from no phones to cell phones, bypassing the telephone wire technology that we had.

  173. Joel Shore (10:28:13) :
    I won’t claim that I am a saint but I have done various things to try to reduce my carbon footprint. I own a Prius. I live in a neighborhood where a lot of services that I need are available within walking or biking distance and I use foot or bicycle for a significant fraction of my trips; when I do use my car, I try to combine trips to places that are in the same vicinity rather than making separate trips. I own a small house and I pay a surcharge on my utility bill in order to have the utility add a certain quantity of wind energy to the electricity grid. I have installed CFLs in most fixtures and installed a low-flow shower head. I also try to keep the thermostat down during heating season (although I get a little pushback from my girlfriend on that one). Our house does have an air conditioning unit but we hardly use that at all. I try to buy at least some of our produce at a local farmer’s market (that I almost always get to by bike).

    I respect that…practicing what you preach. Thanks.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  174. Joel Shore (16:52:43) :
    Radiosonde measurements from thousands of weather balloons show that specific humidity in the upper troposphere has been falling over the last 60 years, especially in the 300 and 400 mbar pressure range. These are direct measurements.
    You suggest that the humidity trends of the radiosonde data are not believable because they conflict with satellite data, which according to a paper Soden et al 2005, show increasing humidity in the upper troposphere.
    We have confidence in the temperature measurements from satellite data because they are verified by radiosonde measurements. The satellite temperature measurements are calibrated by comparing individual satellite pixel readings to corresponding radiosonde readings.
    Satellites do not measure humidity, they measure radiation emissions. The Soden paper relies on data from the High Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) which measures emissions from the 6.7 um absorption band, channel T12, and the Microwave Sounding Unit T2 channel, which is sensitive to temperature from oxygen atom emissions. The paper claims the T12 signal is sensitive to relative humidity because it response to both temperature and water vapour content. The paper only assumes that T12 varies with relative humidity, but the relative contribution of temperature and water content to the T12 signal is unknown.
    The paper assumes the T12 signal is proportional to relative humidity only because this signal has not changed much since 1982, and climate models project constant relative humidity. This is circular reasoning. The T12 signal needs to be calibrated to radiosonde measurements to determine what it is measuring. Since radiosonde measurements show falling relative humidity in the upper troposphere, the T12 signal is not a relative humidity indicator.
    So the paper makes the false assumption of no change in relative humidity based on little change in T12, and with increasing temperatures to 2002 (temperatures have been falling since then), the paper concludes that specific humidity is increasing.
    The North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) is a high quality dataset with a large number of radiosonde. It does not have data problem expressed with respect to the global reanalysis. This data confirms that relative humidity is falling as discussed here.
    http://climatesci.org/2007/12/18/climate-metric-reality-check-3-evidence-for-a-lack-of-water-vapor-feedback-on-the-regional-scale/

  175. save the sharks says:

    I respect that…practicing what you preach. Thanks.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

    Thanks. I do try to practice what I preach.
    Ken Gregory,
    Thanks for your reply. You say:

    The paper assumes the T12 signal is proportional to relative humidity only because this signal has not changed much since 1982, and climate models project constant relative humidity. This is circular reasoning.

    The Soden paper does not use T12 alone. It also looks at T2. By looking at T12-T2 it is able to at least approximately subtract out the effect of changing temperature and just get a measure of the changing absolute humidity. Dessler and co-workers (list of papers here: http://atmo.tamu.edu/profile/sub/239 ) have also independently looked at humidity as measured by satellites; I haven’t looked in much detail at their method of doing it but it uses different satellite measurements and they get similar results to Soden.
    As for the radiosonde data, as Soden et al explain: “Although an international network of weather balloons has carried water vapor sensors for more than half a century, changes in instrumentation and poor calibration make such sensors unsuitable for detecting trends in upper tropospheric water vapor (27). Similarly, global reanalysis products also suffer from spurious variability and trends related to changes in data quality and data coverage (24).” [I couldn’t find Ref. (27) but Ref. (24) is this paper: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Staff/Fasullo/refs/Trenberth2005FasulloSmith.pdf ]
    You also haven’t addressed the other reasons that I mentioned for the radiosonde data not being believable including the amount of negative radiative forcing it would imply (if your estimate of the strength of water vapor relative to CO2 is correct, which I admittedly don’t believe either) and the idea that the specific humidity is well-correlated with temperature fluctuations on the annual timescales but then fails to be correlated on the longer timescales.

  176. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. In reading the postings on this site. The bias and political agenda is obvious and more suspect than those you attempt to impugn.
    [REPLY – OTOH, we don’t delete opposing points of view like on nearly all pro-AGW blogs. Consider that. ~ Evan]

  177. Is there anyone out there who can point to a rigorous treatment , in the form of a peer reviewed paper , that can justify Soden’s suposition that … ” changes in Instrumentation and poor calibration make such sensors unsuitable for detecting trends in upper tropospheric water vapor …” . Maybe it’s just me , but I’m having a bit of a difficulty admissing to the idea that a 17 percent drop in WV levels can be so lightly dismissed on account of percieved ” Calibration ” deficiencies and changes in instrumentation . Granted , analog instrumentation of the immediate post WW II era was not as accurate as the electronically based digital instruments of today , but 17 percent ? That just seems a bit over the edge. For one thing , if Mid – 20th Century instrumentation was deemed inadequate for measuring WV levels [ according to Soden ], how was this conclusion determined : i.e. was this based on some sort of compelling evidence or is this just “his ” opinion . Secondly , at what point on the part of Soden , or the scientific community in general , was it determined that instrumentation was sufficient to the task of accurately measuring WV levels ; the advent of satellite monitoring ? Do satellites measure humidity and water vapor levels directly ? If not , then what makes them so much better than tools which take direct measurements ? Thirdly , since I am given of the opinion that instrumentation technology presently is more advanced than that which existed in 1948 ; why shouldn’t I subscribe to the possibilty that the preservation in the continuity of data trends [with regards to WV levels] was observationally maintained through 60 years of continuous improvement in instrumentation technology ? Somebody help me with this .

  178. Joel Shore (16:52:43) Oct 16 says:
    ” “A 3% increase in water vapour has the same effect as a 100% increase in CO2.”
    Really? So, if your radiosonde data is to be believed and is representative of the drop in water vapor at the atmospheric levels important for the greenhouse effect, that would imply that we have had changes in water vapor between 1948 and 2008 that would be the equivalent of something like 5 or 6 halvings of the CO2 levels (e.g., dropping the CO2 levels by something like a factor of 50.)”
    The statement “A 3% increase in water vapour has the same effect (on optical depth) as a 100% increase in CO2” was determined by HARTCODE line-by-line (LBL) code. Accurate LBL codes are widely available for flux density and optical depth computations. A 3% increase in water vapour means we increase the water vapour content at all levels of the atmosphere by 3%.
    In this calculation it is necessary to have the correct water vapour profile. You can not use the USST-76 standard atmosphere, which is inputted into the MODTRAN source code. The USST-76 has far too small H2O amount compared with the global average from TIGR, or the NOAA ESRR databases. Here is a comparison of USST-76 with the TIGR and NOAA water vapour profiles. You can see that the TIGR and NOAA profiles from 300 mbar to surface are almost identical, but the USST-76 profile has much less water vapour.
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS Essay/NOAA GAT USST76.jpg
    You suggest that this somehow conflicts with the fact according to radiosonde data, water vapour specific humidity has declined 17% from 1948 to 2008 at the 400 mb level. You can’t compare a total atmosphere calculation with a water vapour decline at one level in the atmosphere. Specific humidity has increased through most of this period at the 950 mbar level, and from 1970 to 2008, specific humidity hasn’t changed much from 600 mbar 850 mbar levels. You have to compute the total atmosphere optical depth, as we have done and shown in the optical depth graph I previously presented and shown here:
    http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/FOS%20Essay/Optical%20Depth2008.jpg
    This shows that the decline in water vapour content in the 300 to 400 mbar levels offsets most of the warming effects of increasing CO2 and increasing water vapour at lower levels. This is not at all like “5 or 6 halvings of the CO2 levels”.
    The early data may not be reliable. If you ignore the early data, the declining upper troposphere water vapour may still offset a significant portion of the CO2 effect. Nevertheless, it is clear that the declining water vapour during the last few decades has caused a negative feedback to CO2 emissions, contrary to computer models. You should also note that a change in optical depth is not proportional to a change in out-going long-wave radiation.
    Of course I know that Soden looks at the T12-T2 difference, but we don’t know if this cancels the temperature effect because we don’t know the relative contribution of water vapour and temperature to the T12 signal.
    Nature has many ways to reduce specific humidity. In the tropics, every time the air temperature increases, thunderstorm clouds form and more SW light is reflected, the OLR increases, and rain increases, until the maximum air temperature is passed. See “the thermostat hypothesis”:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

  179. Ken Gregory says:

    The statement “A 3% increase in water vapour has the same effect (on optical depth) as a 100% increase in CO2″ was determined by HARTCODE line-by-line (LBL) code.

    Okay…The new parenthetical statement you have added changes the meaning considerably. I had thought you meant that the radiative effect (radiative forcing) due to a 3% increase in water vapor is the same as that due to a 100% increase in CO2. However, as you note, “a change in optical depth is not proportional to a change in out-going long-wave radiation”, so this 3% vs 100% claim is really irrelevant to their effects on the global temperature.

    Of course I know that Soden looks at the T12-T2 difference, but we don’t know if this cancels the temperature effect because we don’t know the relative contribution of water vapour and temperature to the T12 signal.

    I don’t understand what you are saying here. The changes in T2 should reflect the part of the change in T12 that is due to temperature, because T2 is sensitive only to temperature and not water vapor. This is why Soden subtracts one from the other in order to remove the effect of the change in temperature. (In reality, the T2 and T12 don’t have exactly the same weighting over the various atmospheric levels but they are quite close so the cancellation of the temperature variation part of T12 should be quite good.)
    And, as I noted, Dessler uses different satellite data to look at the changes in water vapor.

    Nature has many ways to reduce specific humidity. In the tropics, every time the air temperature increases, thunderstorm clouds form and more SW light is reflected, the OLR increases, and rain increases, until the maximum air temperature is passed. See “the thermostat hypothesis”:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/14/the-thermostat-hypothesis/

    But it seems to me that such a hypothetical mechanism would not explain how there is a positive water vapor feedback for temperature fluctuations on, say, approximately annual timescales (where I believe that both the satellite and radiosonde data show it to be operating) but somehow does not occur on the longer multidecadal timescales.

  180. Ken,
    By the way, I realized that I am a little confused about what those optical depth measurements even represent. Are they for a given wavelength of radiation or some sort of weighted average over a range of wavelengths?

  181. Joel Shore:
    Sorry for the delayed response. I have been busy. The Miskolczi & Mlynczak says on page 34 of the PDF at:
    http://met.hu/idojaras/IDOJARAS_vol108_No4_01.pdf
    “An increase of 0.08 prcm in the global average w would result in the same
    temperature rise – or a decrease by the same amount could completely hide the greenhouse effect of the CO2 doubling.” The atmosphere water content is 2.62 prcm in these calculations, so 0.08/2.62 = 3.0%.
    A 0.08 prcm change in water vapour, with the same percentage (3%) change throughout the atmosphere, or a doubling of CO2 from 366 ppm, would increase the optical depth by 1.29%.
    The temperature change is a direct function of optical depth, (but not a linear function), so either a 3% increase in water vapour or a doubling of CO2 would cause the same temperature increase. Using the global average TIGR radiosonde archive, this temperature increase is 0.48 C assuming no change in outgoing longwave radiation. This is the long term equilibrium condition, as for a stable climate, the incoming radiation must equal the outgoing radiation.
    You say “I am a little confused about what those optical depth measurements even represent. Are they for a given wavelength of radiation or some sort of weighted average over a range of wavelengths?”
    HARTCODE calculates the spectral radiation fluxes using in a spherical refractive environment using 9 streams, 150 vertical layers, 11 greenhouse gases to a 1 cm^-1 spectral resolution. The total flux optical depths are computed as the negative natural logarithms of the atmospheric transmittance, being the ratio of the transmitted flux to the upward surface radiation flux. This is integrated over the full spectral range 1 – 3000 cm^-1 and integrated over the solid angles.
    I previously remarked “This graph shows that changing the water vapour content at the 300 – 400 mb level has 41 times the effect on out-going radiation as the same change near the surface. So only water vapour changes in the upper atmosphere matter.”
    You thought “that would imply that we have had changes in water vapor between 1948 and 2008 that would be the equivalent of something like 5 or 6 halvings of the CO2 levels”
    But you forget that the absolute amount of water vapour, specific humidity, at 300 mbar is only 2.25% of that at the surface. In the layer 300 – 400 mbar, over the last 60 years the water vapour content decreased by 55 g/m^2, but in the layer 850 mbar to surface the water vapour content increased by 165 g/m^2, according to the radiosonde data.
    Concerning the Soden 2005 paper, the assumption of the T12 response to increased water vapour is contradictory. T12 is the radiation measurement at the water molecule 6.3 um band. An increase in water vapour would reduce the radiation measured at constant temperature, and a temperature increase would increase the T12 signal at constant water vapour mass.
    But the paper says at the top of page 843, “As the atmosphere moistens, the emission level for T12 increases as a result of the increasing opacity of water vapor along the satellite line of sight.” Huh!! This must be a typo. This should say “emission level for T12 decreases…”
    Soden assumes without any justification that the temperature effect on T2 is the same as the temperature effect on T12. This doesn’t make sense. T2 signal comes from the oxygen molecule in the upper atmosphere. The T12 temperature signal is radiation from the surface and non-water vapour molecules in the atmosphere that isn’t absorbed by water vapour. This is a completely different type of temperature signal, and the signals come from different regions of the surface-atmosphere system. The T2 is an emission signal, while the T12 is an attenuation signal. The T2 – T12 calculation makes no sense. There is no justification for assuming T12 is a relative humidity indicator. It is likely wrong because it disagrees with direct measurements.

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