“Unaccounted feedbacks”: to B or not to B

University of Helsinki via Eurekalert

feedback_system

Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate warming

The terrestrial biosphere regulates atmospheric composition, and hence climate. Projections of future climate changes already account for “carbon-climate feedbacks”, which means that more CO2 is released from soils in a warming climate than is taken up by plants due to photosynthesis. Climate changes will also lead to increases in the emission of CO2 and methane from wetlands, nitrous oxides from soils, volatile organic compounds from forests, and trace gases and soot from fires. All these emissions affect atmospheric chemistry, including the amount of ozone in the lower atmosphere, where it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas as well as a pollutant toxic to people and plants.

Although our understanding of other feedbacks associated with climate-induced ecosystem changes is improving, the impact of these changes is not yet accounted for in climate-change modelling. An international consortium of scientists, led by Almut Arneth from Lund University, has estimated the importance of these unaccounted “biogeochemical feedbacks” in an article that appears as Advance Online Publication on Nature Geoscience‘s website on 25 July at 1800 London time. They estimate a total additional radiative forcing by the end of the 21st century that is large enough to offset a significant proportion of the cooling due to carbon uptake by the biosphere as a result of fertilization of plant growth.

There are large uncertainties associated in these feedbacks, especially in how changes in one biogeochemical cycle will affect the other cycles, for example how changes in nitrogen cycling will affect carbon uptake. Nevertheless, as the authors point out, palaeo-environmental records show that ecosystems and trace gas emissions have responded to past climate change within decades. Contemporary observations also show that ecosystem processes respond rapidly to changes in climate and the atmospheric environment.

Thus, in addition to the carbon cycle-climate interactions that have been a major focus of modelling work in recent years, other biogeochemistry feedbacks could be at least equally important for future climate change. The authors of the Nature Geoscience article argue that it is important to include these feedbacks in the next generation of Earth system models.

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This work was promoted by iLEAPS (Integrated Land Ecosystem and Atmospheric Processes), a core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and developed through workshops supported by the Finnish Cultural Programme.

================================

Journal Reference: (note the actual paper was not provided with this press release)

A. Arneth, S. P. Harrison, S. Zaehle, K. Tsigaridis, S. Menon, P. J. Bartlein, J. Feichter, A. Korhola, M. Kulmala, D. O’Donnell, G. Schurgers, S. Sorvari & T. Vesala. Terrestrial biogeochemical feedbacks in the climate system. Nature Geoscience, July 25, 2010 DOI: 10.1038/ngeo905

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120 thoughts on ““Unaccounted feedbacks”: to B or not to B

  1. So Dyson suggests that there are many unaccounted for feedbacks and suddenly they are found to be positive. The model is correct again. On further reading Dyson suggests get out of the air conditioned computer lab and do some measurements. Did that happen? How about the proof that the measurements indicated the cause?

  2. Crap! It’s worst than we thought!!! Although we admittingly don’t know very much about many of the feedbacks, we’re pretty sure its gonna be real bad once it reaches a tipping point. sigh.

  3. “There are large uncertainties associated in these feedbacks….”

    My Grandma once thought me to keep my big mouth shut until I know exactly what I’m talking about.

    These warmists need a lesson or two from my grandma.

  4. Good to see A. Arneth, S. P. Harrison, S. Zaehle, K. Tsigaridis, S. Menon, P. J. Bartlein, J. Feichter, A. Korhola, M. Kulmala, D. O’Donnell, G. Schurgers, S. Sorvari & T. Vesala pondering this important question, and after serious pondering, coming to the conclusion that it “may increase future climate warming” and that “There are large uncertainties associated in these feedbacks”. What would we do without A. Arneth, S. P. Harrison, S. Zaehle, K. Tsigaridis, S. Menon, P. J. Bartlein, J. Feichter, A. Korhola, M. Kulmala, D. O’Donnell, G. Schurgers, S. Sorvari & T. Vesala.

  5. “There are large uncertainties associated in these feedbacks”
    “The authors of the Nature Geoscience article argue that it is important to include these feedbacks in the next generation of Earth system models.”
    ==========================================================

    Has not stopped them in the past, so why not?

    Let’s put something in the computer games that we have absolutely no understanding of, and then make outrageous claims about the future.

  6. A “what if” document.

    I completely ignore.

    We have a local consulting psychologist, Lucinda Basset. She works with chronic worriers, people FROZEN by “what if” thinking.

    It’s a serious mental malady. Nothing to joke about.

    Max

  7. It would be interesting if the authors were to give, in the abstract of their article, some indication of the degree of uncertainty associated with their suppositions. In addition, they might indicate (also in the paper’s abstract) whether their work shows causation or only correlation.

  8. Models are not fact or observational data.
    When is this virtual reality crap going to stop?

  9. “(…)it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas as well as a pollutant toxic to people and plants.”

    — as a what?!!!

  10. Why is it so in climate science that all uncertainties are of the same sign, the publishable sign, so to speak?

  11. OT: We need a post on the STORM on Washington. A COLD front is Summertime….Run!, Climate Change is here!

  12. Given the content of the article, couldn’t the headline have read this instead?

    Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may decrease future climate warming.

  13. Another espisode in the Lara Croft XBox360 fantasy world! Call me Mr Cynical, sounds like someone is doing some goal-post shifting to me! Classic advocate behaviour, move on to something else before what’a already been said can be analysed for certain! Eg Global Warming, to Climate Change, to Ocean Acidification, etc. Always handy to have the other what ifs in the bank for later use.

  14. 1. It is the “+” sign in the diagram that indicates these are not scientists, in the best understanding of the term. The sign should either be a “?” or “+/-“, but that would probably interfere with future funding of their research.

    Historical facts in the Earth’s Geo/Bio/whatever record indicate that the net feedback must be negative for the whole system. Despite a large range of conditions, the global mean temperature has only varied by a few percent (using a Kelvin scale) in the last billion or so years. This would seem to indicate a central equilibrium around which the temp deviates due to various proddings (eg., orbital anomalies, solar change, maybe variance in the interstellar dust density as the solar system revolves one its orbirt in the Milky Way.)

  15. There exists a weasel word in the title and in the first sentence, second paragraph, a declaration they don’t know what they’re doing. Perhaps they should go to Hogwarts – er, UEA, and consult the sorting hat.

    They should eat this up at RC.

  16. “Nevertheless, as the authors point out, palaeo-environmental records show that ecosystems and trace gas emissions have responded to past climate change within decades. ”

    CO2 levels have been increasing since the industrial revolution. Their levels have skyrocketed since the 1940s. It has been at least 6 decades already. Is that not enough to see how the ecosystem responds to trace gas emissions?

    John M Reynolds

  17. Dave L says:
    July 26, 2010 at 7:47 am
    Models are not fact or observational data.
    When is this virtual reality crap going to stop?
    ======================================================

    Dave, ask any person if they think our climate is static, and they will say no.
    Then ask them, since it’s not static, which is better warmer or colder.
    They will all say warmer, and colder would be a catastrophe.

    Ask any person if they think we know enough to design computer models to predict the future.
    They will tell you no.

    There’s only one reason for anyone to believe any of this.
    They are hearing what they want to hear.

    The crap will never stop, as long as there are people that are hearing what they want to hear.

  18. Nature and Nature Geoscience must front for the JournoList of leftist pseudo-scientists who continually spout a party line without one shred of hard evidence. Uncertainties? Massive Uncertainties? Who — what climate “scientist” — must account for these? Not us!

  19. “There are large uncertainties associated in these feedbacks….”

    Yeah, but the media will ignore that bit and focus on the headline… “It’s worse than we thought”

    From what I read I heard…

    The models are incomplete and wrong, SO we must add more stuff that ONLY forces the models to show even more warming.

    Forget the negative feedbacks. Ignore the ACTUAL climate sensitivity to CO2, just make the models show new and more scary ways that ONLY show warming.

    I am not convinced. Can ya tell?

  20. We’ve seen approximately 0.5 of a doubling of CO2 concentration, which would be an increase of 41.4%. [In logarithmic terms, half of a doubling means an increase to the square root of 2 times the original level.] The increase has been going on for about a century, so any feedbacks which operate on a scale of a few years to decades will have been largely or fully realized.

    We’ve seen approximately 0.5 K increase in mean surface temperature. [Per IPCC AR4 WG1 FAQ9 figure 2, temperature increases up to ~1950 can be accounted for with natural (non-anthropogenic) causes.]

    So whatever feedback paths exist with short-to-medium time scales, they’re not scary.

  21. @Dave L:

    And yet computer models are used every day. Most of the cars you drive in are developed using computer models. The bridges you passed were stress-tested with the help of computer models. Difference between computer models designed and developed by engineers is that we actually can (and do) have to check them against reality (meaning the theory has to be backed by evidence).

    Another difference is that a false simulation by engineers has more fallout and graver direct consequences than what these fortran-manipulates have. If we mis-design, people could die in car accidents. If those modelers from climate science err, it will only hit people in a few years and than also only the poor, so the well-paid academics have nothing to fear.

    But more seriously: I am still baffled by the way financial and climate researchers conduct model construction, it is a very sloppy way to do it and then to entirely believe in one’s models Oo

  22. I read as far as the line at the end of the first paragraph where CO2 is described as ‘a pollutant toxic to humans and plants’ and, much as I tried, I couldn’t force myself to read further. My eyes glazed over and a sudden weariness made me feel very sleepy but I snapped out of it quickly and thought
    “Wow!! It’s worse than we think!”
    This sort of research is at the level of ten-year-olds on a camping trip attempting to frighten each other by telling each other scary stories about un-named but malevolent creatures all around them hiding in the forest.
    And no more ‘scientific’ than that, either.

  23. This looks similar to the the old CO2-H2O forcing hypothesis beloved by gloomy warblers: CO2 raises temperature a teensy bit > warmer planet evaporates more water > water vapour traps more heat > more water vapour > more heat> more water vapour > more heat> … > runaway hellfire planet death. Now we add in some extra CO2 production to cause even more water vapour, we’re all gonna die.

    Except

    Any warming would cause some increased water evaporation, which by the above hypothesis should lead inevitably to global meltdown, but we know for a fact that in reality the planet doesn’t go into some kind of catastrophic heating feedback loop as a result. Ergo, the hypothesis is bunkum.

  24. I find it very sad that people like A. Arneth, S. P. Harrison, S. Zaehle, K. Tsigaridis, S. Menon, P. J. Bartlein, J. Feichter, A. Korhola, M. Kulmala, D. O’Donnell, G. Schurgers, S. Sorvari & T. Vesala, can spout such rubbish, without a mention of the deterministic chaos which ultimately drives the system.

    It would seem that they have a linear belief that all feed-backs work to retain energy thus causing global warming when, in reality, our chaotic climate seeks to dissipate the maximum amount of energy, which leads to rapid cooling (ice age) type events.

  25. There should be a branch C looping back to a circular node with a ‘-‘ sign in it too.

    Or do the scientists not believe that there is any such thing as a negative feedback?

    It reminds me of the scientists who were screaming about melting ice in 2007, claiming that there was ONLY positive feedbacks in the ice melting changing the albedo to accelerate even more ice melting.

    If that were the case, then 2008, 2009 and 2010 would have even less summer ice than 2007. Following their logic, it was impossible for the 10%+ recovery of ice in 2008 and 2009 to even occur.

    Also if we follow the same logic now, then the last two summer’s recovery was so rapid that it creates the same kind of albedo feedback and we are heading for an ice age!

    None of these scientists have mentioned a mechanism in nature that is stronger than CO2 to regulate the temperatures.

  26. Oh my Gawd…..

    Th’ kids are in the shed, bangin’ on the walls and making big scary noises as they play their world catastrophe game…… BOOMMMM, It’s a ragin’ storm bill….. LOOKOUT! there’s a Tsunami comin’ Scot…. ARRRHG.

    One day we’ll have scientists that actually grow up….. But until then…. It looks like the ol’ tin shed is it, for mainstream science….. ;-)

  27. “The crap will never stop, as long as there are people that are hearing what they want to hear.”

    That is sad. But sadly it is true of people on ALL sides of the climate change debate. I think, myself included.

  28. So let’s get this right. We still don’t understand the sun or clouds or oceans, and now yet more uncertanties are introduced.

    This will either be claimed as more justification for the precautionary principle or common sense will prevail and we will admit our knowledge is too low to assume anything about climate processess.

  29. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence but funnily enough I too have though of some things which are supported by no evidence whatsoever. I haven’t actually tried to quantify any of these things but they could be very important. Can I have some money please?

  30. Enneagram says:
    July 26, 2010 at 7:48 am

    > Just forget it: The system in the picture above is an ELECTRIC CIRCUIT!

    Not really, it’s more of a generic system block diagram. An electronic circuit would likely show an op-amp with both positive and negative inputs and use those instead of that circle with a plus sign. The above basic diagram is used in many hydraulic and mechanical feedbacks.

    Even it it were an electronic circuit, there’s nothing wrong with that. In my EE courses we often flopped between using mechanical systems as analogies for electronic systems and vice-versa.

    You could argue it’s too simplistic. I haven’t looked, there’s a good chance Anthony found the drawing separately – dressing up a chunk of text with a little graphic of some sort is often worthwhile and Anthony has one is almost all of his posts. OTOH, editors of refereed scientific journals need to be a bit more careful, as we’ve seen.

  31. k winterkorn says:
    July 26, 2010 at 8:00 am

    1. It is the “+” sign in the diagram that indicates these are not scientists, in the best understanding of the term. The sign should either be a “?” or “+/-”, but that would probably interfere with future funding of their research.
    ——-
    It is not their diagram. They have +/- arrows (when relevant) in
    their figures. For models haters, I am happy to inform you that it
    is review article, based on real science (fluxes of methane, monoterpenes,
    NO2 etc). Of course your armchair musings beat everything else.
    The ones I know about have funding for their specialities, so I guess they
    are performing a public service?

  32. but looking at the long history of CO2 concentrations, there is every reason to believe any such feedback is either remedial or irrelevant. man kind is still a relatively small factor in climate, but a huge factor in the environment. It is there we should be concentrating out efforts.

  33. Difference between computer models designed and developed by engineers is that we actually can (and do) have to check them against reality (meaning the theory has to be backed by evidence).

    Yep. After studying this issue for the last 5 or so years. I think the main fault line is between academics and professional engineers. People that write papers vs people that have to actually make stuff work.

  34. Sorry missed ‘italic out’, here is correct version.

    Paul Vaughan says: July 26, 2010 at 2:54 am
    vukcevic, we seem to be in agreement:
    1) The lower correlation with PDO is not surprising given that the teleconnection is atmospheric.
    2) AMO & PDO are related but there is a 1/4-cycle phase-difference.

    Agree with the “teleconnection is atmospheric” but that may not be whole story (work in progress).
    There is also a strong possibility that intensity of the huge arctic storms is influenced and directed by the Arctic’s geomagnetic flux, having direct reflection on the temperatures. Additionally precipitations’ strength affects amount of the ice build-up and also salinity of the surface currents.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/PS.htm
    More details here
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NFC1.htm

    [reply] Correct, but wrong thread I think. ;-) RT-mod

  35. Of course with this sequence, if it did not get hotter, it would cool, if it cooled then the feedback would set in fast, aided by increasing albedo. I wouldstick to a modest globals warming if I were you, it avoids hypothemia. Hypothermia kills far more people currently than heatstroke.

  36. It appears that they do not know anything about supposed feedbacks, they dont know the causes and they dont know the effects, they dont know if they exist and what effects they have on the climate.
    So they take something they know almost nothing about and quantify it using extropolation of pure supposition adding in a dash or three of wild guess work based on their prejudice, they feed this into a climate model and expect what to come out the other end?

    I have the feeling that they really do not know what they are talking about, their sacred models are churning out trash that bears no resemblence to reality and to keep the research cash flowing they have to find a way of modifying their rubbish models and allowing them to make adjustments as and when required. The end result will be simply a model that can be more easily fiddled and distorted and adjusted.
    The models do not work so instead of admitting failure they try to add false parameters? Have these people not considered phlogiston? It could be just the theory they need and just waiting to be explored again.
    Thar be dragons in them woods, we aint seen em yet but they must be in there hiding?

  37. FTP-“This work was promoted by iLEAPS” -so we are asked to make an “iLEAPS” of faith?
    Sorry, I really am. Sorry…
    Kind of like my Springer being caught with a Pansy in his mouth.
    Sorry…

  38. Mikael Pihlström says:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:06 am
    “[…]It is not their diagram. They have +/- arrows (when relevant) in
    their figures. For models haters, I am happy to inform you that it
    is review article, based on real science (fluxes of methane, monoterpenes,
    NO2 etc).”

    Luckily, they cam up with a net positive feedback in the end. More funding, please, we are not certain.

    ” Of course your armchair musings beat everything else.
    The ones I know about have funding for their specialities, so I guess they
    are performing a public service?”

    A service i’d happily do without. Or even better, give me this money-spinning machine. I’d perform this public service for half of what these 13 people take; that would still leave me with 6.5 wages.

  39. vukcevic says:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:11 am
    [reply] Correct, but wrong thread I think. ;-) RT-mod
    With due respect: Not at all, it is trying to find the actual cord and plug connecting the feedback (if any) system with the mains.
    [reply] I’m not saying it’s not apposite to this thread. Just that it’s a different threaad to the one the first version of the post went to. RT-mod

  40. Changes in CO2 or other greenhouse gas concentrations have no effect on climate. Atmospheric energy transfer is controlled by convection not radiation. The solar heating of the surface drives the convection. The convection sets the laspe rate and the lapse rate sets the energy transfer. Everything related to radiative forcing and associated feedbacks and forcings is totally fraudulent. This is just fishing for grant money.
    Energy and Enivonment 2194) 171-200 (2010) ‘A null hypothesis for CO2’

  41. Try water vapor and latent heat, for a beginning.

    But wait: Both are suited to heat, as well COOL the planet!

    Dammit!

  42. Just to be fair, the last sentence in the first para. was referring to ozone, not CO2:

    All these emissions affect atmospheric chemistry, including the amount of ozone in the lower atmosphere, where it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas as well as a pollutant toxic to people and plants.

  43. They estimate a total additional radiative forcing by the end of the 21st century that is large enough to offset a significant proportion of the cooling due to carbon uptake by the biosphere as a result of fertilization of plant growth.

    Whatever.
    How much?
    NB. must work on sentence structure.
    Nothing to see here, again.

  44. The warmists have lost control of the narrative, and they must come up with something…anything…to regain control. Look for more of the same doom and gloom rhetoric buried in studies that say could…maybe…it’s possible, etc. Quite frankly, the warmists/totalitarians are losing, but they are far from finished. And this is why letting these people take complete control of our educational system was a bad idea. Many honest people who would have gone into the education field didn’t because they were fooled by the comparitive lower salaries. Who knew it was such an easy path to millions in grants, studies, publications and speeches?

  45. There should be a branch C looping back to a circular node with a ‘-’ sign in it too.

    Not really. This is just a generic summing input. The inputs could be anything. They could both be positive numbers, one positive and one negative, or both negative. The idea is that you will get the sum of the two inputs; with a large negative input and a small positive input, when you sum them, you get a negative output, so this diagram would handle negative feedbacks with no problem.

  46. “Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate warming

    How about:

    “Unaccounted feedbacks from climate-induced ecosystem changes may increase future climate cooling“?

  47. John Wright says:
    July 26, 2010 at 7:47 am

    “(…)it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas as well as a pollutant toxic to people and plants.”

    — as a what?!!!

    Actually, ozone is more toxic than chlorine. Happily, it is extremely reactive so if you are more than 50 feet away from a concentrated source you are reasonably safe.
    Long term exposure to ozone will cause you breathing difficulties. That is why you get ozone alerts during periods of thermal inversion where there is extreme heat.

  48. We really need a dedicated graph that tracks all predictions against reality as it unfolds. It can start with Hansen’s Model A crap and go from there.

  49. John Prendergast says:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:13 am
    “Of course with this sequence, if it did not get hotter, it would cool, if it cooled then the feedback would set in fast, aided by increasing albedo. I wouldstick to a modest globals warming if I were you, it avoids hypothemia. Hypothermia kills far more people currently than heatstroke.”

    Considering that all of the carbon the warmists are concerned about was once in the atmosphere, and that atmosphere produced the lush growth that is now coal and oil, simple logic tells us there will be no problem caused by putting it back from where it originated. History tells us that warm is better than cold: more crops, better livestock, and less disease is good for everyone. That is, of course, if anyone believes the non science of global warming.

  50. Ken Hall says:
    July 26, 2010 at 8:38 am
    “The crap will never stop, as long as there are people that are hearing what they want to hear.”
    That is sad. But sadly it is true of people on ALL sides of the climate change debate. I think, myself included.
    =============================================================
    Ken, I don’t agree, but you know that. ;-)

    One side is only required to believe.

    The other side is required to believe in computer models that have not been right yet. The models did not get the Arctic ice right, there is no hot spot in the tropics (which is required for them to be right), and did not get the temperatures right (which is a travesty)….

    The whole premise of global warming is based on computer models which are worthless. Without the computer models, there’s nothing.

  51. Dave L says: July 26, 2010 at 7:47 am “When is this virtual reality crap going to stop?”

    When all our money has been spent by socialist/fascist international consortiums of pseudoscientists.

  52. Graham Green says:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:01 am Hit the nail on the Head, it is all about Money, forget the Science it doesn’t matter as long as they get published and the Grant money keeps rolling in this kind of utter non science will continue.

  53. “Or even better, give me this money-spinning machine. I’d perform this public service for half of what these 13 people take; that would still leave me with 6.5 wages.”


    you sceptics like to say that climate is so complicated. So what better
    way than collect 13 people and explore the issue from different angles?

  54. A. Arneth, S. P. Harrison, S. Zaehle, K. Tsigaridis, S. Menon, P. J. Bartlein, J. Feichter, A. Korhola, M. Kulmala, D. O’Donnell, G. Schurgers, S. Sorvari & T. Vesala must NOT have got the message that the science is settled.

  55. Oh my. We now have a new word that will be strategically placed in all new catastrophic chicken little research reports “unaccounted”. The new way to do research. Just drum up something that could happen and call say, “heretofore unaccounted feedbacks”. You don’t even have to do a literature review. In fact, the idea is to come up with a feedback that “could happen” that no one else has mentioned.

    So I will start with this new way of doing research. Here are a few areas we could study:

    “Unaccounted For Feedbacks In High Altitude Baking Practices”
    “Unaccounted For Feedbacks In Butterfly Flying Habits”
    “Unaccounted For Feedbacks In Household Dust”
    “Unaccounted For Feedbacks In Asthma-Related CO2 Emissions”

    Don’t laugh! These are dead serious topics that are Ph.D. worthy!

  56. Mikael Pihlström says:
    July 26, 2010 at 10:51 am
    “[…]you sceptics like to say that climate is so complicated. So what better
    way than collect 13 people and explore the issue from different angles?”

    We say that climate is complicated? Gavin Schmidt will tell you – if you dare ask him a question he deems stupid – to go and read 800 peer-reviewed papers realclimate links to; and then read some more. Paraphrased but you’ll find this boilerplate advice in any realclimate thread by him.

    This paper is just science by committee. And somebody will in the end have revised some numbers to the right border of the estimate interval to get the desired outcome… you know, some slightly positive “forcing”… Producing new ammunition for the next IPCC report.

  57. How about if we just put some “large uncertainties” in the code of these climate models–like screwed up statements (we’re quite uncertain what they do) or illogical procedures (again, we’re uncertain what any of that does, too). Does the fact that such gobbledygook would not even compile give them a hint that perhaps inserting “large uncertainties” in any system is simply a bad idea?

  58. DirkH says:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Found some of them.
    A swedish assistant prof:
    http://lucci.lu.se/people_arneth.html

    Stopped with Bärtlein.

    Markku Kulmala is a physicist and well known aerosol expert. As such
    he is seems to be rather neutral on the ‘warmist-sceptic’ scale.
    According to SCOPUS he has been cited 2680 times in the period 2008-2010.
    That must mean that his fellow scientists find something interesting in his
    work? According to SCOPUS about 90% of Energy & Environment articles
    (2008-2009) have zero citations.

    Point suggested: you get in there; do the concrete scientific work; it is
    good for you, for science and society, and you still have the freedom to
    be sceptic if there is cause for it. Chances are you will be better informed
    scientifically and less ideology driven.

    BTW, Kulmala’s group recently tested Svensmark’s ideas about cosmic
    rays and cloud formation. They found little evidence supporting the
    hypothesis:
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/10/1885/2010/acp-10-1885-2010.html
    Maybe he is a a-whole warmist after all. Go figure

  59. Pamela Gray says:
    July 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Pamela, you should have put your admonition not to laugh at the start of your post. At the end, it was too late.

  60. allow me to translate:

    “models based on co2 with current feedbacks (adjustable parameters) are not scary enough and too obviously flawed. here are some new and more obscure feedbacks (fudge factors) with which you may continue to generate more scary and less refutable grant generating predictions.”

  61. jmrSudbury says:
    July 26, 2010 at 8:03 am
    “Nevertheless, as the authors point out, palaeo-environmental records show that ecosystems and trace gas emissions have responded to past climate change within decades. ”

    CO2 levels have been increasing since the industrial revolution. Their levels have skyrocketed since the 1940s. It has been at least 6 decades already. Is that not enough to see how the ecosystem responds to trace gas emissions?

    John M Reynolds

    _____________
    Have you not seen this graph?

    It could very well be “unaccounted for feedbacks” that have driven the Arctic sea ice extent summer minimum to well below even the lowest GCM predicted. Polar amplification and a more regular Arctic Dipole anomaly could be just two such feedbacks. It seems unreasonable to expect to increase CO2 40% virutally instantly (from a geological perspective) and not get some “unaccounted for feedbacks.”

  62. Mikael Pihlström says:
    July 26, 2010 at 11:17 am
    “[…]Point suggested: you get in there; do the concrete scientific work; it is
    good for you, for science and society, and you still have the freedom to
    be sceptic if there is cause for it. Chances are you will be better informed
    scientifically and less ideology driven.[…]”

    This study is good for society how? I am ideology-driven because i criticize a ridiculous committee-driven study behind a paywall from which i only know that i paid for it yet i don’t get to see the results without paying again, and which tells me that we’re uncertain about the future but there’s probably a positive forcing of a frightening 1.5 W/m^2 to be expected from whatever they modeled?

    You see, there’s only so much parasitic activity one can pay for.

  63. Isn’t this unaccounted feedback hypothesis like vaporware?
    In vaporware, the hardware is released before there is enough software written. Nice computer, just don’t expect to do anything useful with it. The assumption is that the software vendors will write the programs.
    They Warming Modelers are writing the prediction before knowing what goes into the missing portions of the equations.
    The assumption is that the climate will continue to do what it has been doing ad infinitum, and the missing pieces won’t matter.

  64. RockyRoad says:
    July 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

    You missed my little joke. Peak URL – – Peak Oil. Get it?

  65. R. Gates says:
    July 26, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Still on your favorite subject. See the danish site DMI.

    Mean temp in the artic dropped to freezing some days ago and has stayed there.

  66. DirkH says:
    July 26, 2010 at 11:30 am

    This study is good for society how? I am ideology-driven because i criticize a ridiculous committee-driven study behind a paywall from which i only know that i paid for it yet i don’t get to see the results without paying again, and which tells me that we’re uncertain about the future but there’s probably a positive forcing of a frightening 1.5 W/m^2 to be expected from whatever they modeled?

    You see, there’s only so much parasitic activity one can pay for.
    ______
    The whole sceptic movement from Reagan’s time onwards is ideologically
    motivated. The tax aspect is taken in every second post on this site.
    Please, let’s not play games here, we are adults or no?

    The pay-walls are a nuisance. But, I guess journals have to get revenue,
    even Energy&Environment has one.

    Good for society = incremental growth of evidence leading to effective
    climate policy.

  67. “The authors of the Nature Geoscience article argue that it is important to include these feedbacks in the next generation of Earth system models.”

    These alleged and imagined and unknown “feedbacks” sound like the pseudo-science of the Drake Equation, aka the Flake Equation, with it’s many parameters each of which can take on a very small number to an immense number rendering the entire exercise null and void as hard science.

    There is way too much conjecture and soothsaying in climate science, it’s about time that climate scientists focused on hard observed facts without modifying or fabricating the data.

  68. One positive feedback not mentioned is that warming weather makes the grass grow taller so the giraffes don’t need to bend down so far to feast on it. Eating more grass makes them more flatulent, so more methane is emitted. On the other hand (er, neck?) the tree-leaves those giraffes would normally eat are spared, so the trees grow bigger and taller, consume more CO2, thereby creating a sort of negative feedback. Ummm .. now where was I?

  69. What puzzles me is the presence of Atte Korhola in the list of authors. Climate Audit quotes him:

    I put immediately forward a thesis that I’m glad to expose to public criticism: when later generations learn about climate science, they will classify the beginning of 21st century as an embarrassing chapter in history of science. They will wonder our time, and use it as a warning of how the core values and criteria of science were allowed little by little to be forgotten as the actual research topic — climate change — turned into a political and social playground.

  70. The amplifier diagram shown, which apparently is intended to ape an EE’s circuit diagram, neglects the most important feature: it leaves out the inverting input. That is, from all evidence, the net climate feedback should subtract from the initial forcing, reducing the output amplitude.

    In fact, however, it’s not obvious that this analogy is useful at all. An amplifier with any gain greater than 1 wired as shown will immediately oscillate uncontrollably with any input whatever.

    What was the journal’s excuse for publishing this, again?

  71. Craig Goodrich says:
    July 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    The EE circuit diagram is not from the journal or article.

  72. Mikael Pihlström says:
    July 26, 2010 at 11:48 am
    “[…]The whole sceptic movement from Reagan’s time onwards is ideologically
    motivated. […]”

    Striking logic, Mikael. I don’t belong to a movement; and i’m German, i’m not involved in American politics at all. I leave you alone now.

  73. The terrestrial biosphere regulates atmospheric composition, and hence climate?
    How myopic!

    It is plantetary mechanics which dictates the Sun’s activity which throttles our magnetosphere, thus varying cosmic ray penetration, cloud formation, and the global cooling that trumps global warming.

    And what about heat from magma tide friction, heat from radiological decay, and core heat transfer. Doesn’t that figure into the surface radiation budget? Meanwhile, CO2, instead of just coming along for the ride, is elevated to driver status, and water vapor, the supreme ruler of the greenhouse gas kingdom, is ignored. Give me a break!

  74. I think this is a set up for this:
    http://www.canada.com/body+value+planet+show+cost+damage/3290200/story.html
    The world relies on a range of services nature provides — water filtration by forests, pollination by bees and a supply of wild plant genes for new food crops or medicines.

    If nature charged for these, how much would it cost?

    Most such values are excluded from measures of national economies and from prices and markets which would force businesses and governments to recognize them, and the result has been a bias towards development over conservation.

  75. “Striking logic, Mikael. I don’t belong to a movement; and i’m German, i’m not involved in American politics at all. I leave you alone now.”

    Mikael will now accuse you of taking money from the oil industry, Dirk. Because no amount of evidence will convince a true believer who refuses to see the fraud and data manipulation of the climate change/global warming cabal, and not to mention the abuse of the scientific and peer-review processes. These people have set back science 100 years, yet they have the cheek to accuse someone of idealogical motivations. My God, my irony meter blew out the top!

  76. Back in the good old days of dino-topia not just the ganja farmers were happy, but everything grow larger and bigger animal and plants alike, and this has been proven time and again had to do with co2 and lots of nutrients like nitrogen, just ask any racer, lol.

    It seem to stand to reason that the more co2 we get, the bigger and larger everything gets, as a natural balance factor…. zomg! The americans? O_o

  77. You don’t suppose…nah…couldn’t happen. IPCC scientists have more integrity than that. I was just supposing a “what if”.

    What if, after the last report had so many convoluted references than ended up starting in some ideological PETA-ish website, that these IPCC scientists have already figured out what they want to say in the next report so are flooding the journal and magazine river systems with research and articles that will say what they want to say?

    Nah. Nobody does such bad form research. The null hypothesis style of research is still King, right?

    Right???

    Beuller?

    Beuller??

    Ferris Beuller???

  78. I made an even simpler diagram.

    More heat => more evaporation => more clouds => more reflected sunlight => less heat => less evaporation => less clouds => more absorbed sunlight => more heat.

    Repeat as necessary.

  79. Marc Morano
    Climate Depot
    July 26, 2010

    Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt, a former professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa, has officially bailed out of the man-made global warming movement.

    In a hard-hitting and exclusive new exclusive video just released by Climate Depot, Dr. Rancourt declares that the entire man-made global warming movement is nothing more than a “corrupt social phenomenon.” “It is as much psychological and social phenomenon as anything else,” Rancourt, who has published peer-reviewed research, explained in a June 8, 2010 essay.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/left-wing-env-scientist-bails-out-of-global-warming-movement-declares-it-a-corrupt-social-phenomenon-strictly-an-imaginary-problem-of-the-1st-world-middleclass.html

  80. When I taught Senior High School chemistry, we taught ’em Le Chatelier’s principle – Which applies to all physical and chemical processes (including biogeochemical processes)
    (And some economists think it applies to taxation & human behavior too! – people do the opposite of what you want them to! lol)

    The principle os:
    Whenever an equilibrium is disturbed, then processes tend in the opposite direction to minimise the change.

    In other words, negative feed backs are fundamental to any form of chemistry. There are NO positive feedback’s in chemical processes.

    What do they teach children today?

  81. If the Warmists continue to churn out perpetual motion machine after perpetual motion machine, maybe some day they will become self-critical and realize that they are a perpetual motion machine or, better, maybe they will realize that there must be a God who has protected them from being eaten alive by one of these pertual motion machines, especially the one that they are.

  82. Pamela Gray says:
    July 26, 2010 at 2:09 pm
    these IPCC scientists have already figured out what they want to say in the next report so are flooding the journal and magazine river systems with research and articles that will say what they want to say?
    =========================================================

    puts finger to tip of nose and winks

  83. “It could very well be “unaccounted for feedbacks” that have driven the Arctic sea ice extent summer minimum to well below even the lowest GCM predicted.”

    Only in climate science is a model wrong and the people get excited about it. Hooray, the GCM’s were wrong, lets celebrate by making up more feedback scenarios to feed into our models, and tomorrow we can be wrong again!

    In most fields being wrong is not a good thing…

  84. Although our understanding of other feedbacks associated with climate-induced ecosystem changes is improving, the impact of these changes is not yet accounted for in climate-change modelling.

    B*llocks!! I’ve been working in this area since 1979, and my colleagues at Univ of IL have long published articles about methane flux from wetlands etc. He’s saying that the climatologists didn’t even consider this??

  85. Mikael Pihlstrom, at 9:06 AM, does not address the fundamental point that any system which has been stable within a few percent of activity around an equilibrium for billions of years cannot be governed by positive feedback. It must be governed by negative feedback. The Earth’s system has been repeatedly perturbed by solar changes, ice ages and warm ages, vastly higher CO2 levels, and so on, and it keeps cycling back to near the average of the last billion or so years. Only a negative feedback system can behave this way. There are no ghosts, there were no real witches in Salem, the Hale-Bopp comet did not presage the End of Days, and CAGW is not reasonable.

    The idea that human input to CO2 production of about 4% of total global CO2 emissions annually is going to force the Earth’s climate into runaway positive feedback defies common sense, given Earth’s climate history. Add to that, that although CO2 has continued to rise in the last decade, temps have not….and the common sense position remains: be skeptical of CAGW.

  86. R. Gates says:
    July 26, 2010 at 11:28 am

    So, in your model, the Arctic will melt completely, release 40% more C02, which will get sucked into the Antarctic.
    We will witness C02 thunderstorms, and Anatarctica will get covered in x# of feet of dry ice.
    I’m just following the logic, and being mindful of the opposite effect at the South Pole… currently in operation.

  87. trbixler says:
    July 26, 2010 at 7:10 am

    So Dyson suggests that there are many unaccounted for feedbacks and suddenly they are found to be positive. The model is correct again. On further reading Dyson suggests get out of the air conditioned computer lab and do some measurements.

    Video of Dyson saying that. Video is mightier than the pen.

  88. For goodness sake, don’t they even know yet about Willis’ thermostat!! ;-)

    They continue to leave out water vapor in the atmosphere and clouds. Negative feedback has the final say. If not then heat on the earth would have already been out of control.

  89. Ken Hall says:
    July 26, 2010 at 8:38 am

    “The crap will never stop, as long as there are people that are hearing what they want to hear.”

    That is sad. But sadly it is true of people on ALL sides of the climate change debate. I think, myself included.

    Doesn’t the data have a say? It does with me. And I don’t see anything unusual happening in climate data. Everything is continuing on the way it always has. So whether I want to be an optimists about the future, a pessimist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or what ever. It doesn’t matter. Nothing at all unusual is happening in the data. So let’s say with Monckton, “Let’s have the courage to do nothing.”

  90. vukcevic says:
    July 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

    A minor nitpick you left out the auxiliary internal power source needed to overcome losses and to ensure that signal potential at the output is greater than the potential at the input or you can only get feed forward not feedback, either positive or negative.

  91. Ben says:
    July 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    “Only in climate science is a model wrong and the people get excited about it.”

    Oh, I am so stealing that!!! :)

  92. John Campbell says:
    July 26, 2010 at 7:34 am

    It would be interesting if the authors were to give, in the abstract of their article, some indication of the degree of uncertainty associated with their suppositions. In addition, they might indicate (also in the paper’s abstract) whether their work shows causation or only correlation.
    ____________________________________________
    John, the uncertainty is uncertain, hence its confusion worse confounded. Global madness.

  93. Graham Green says “I don’t know if this is just a coincidence but funnily enough I too have though of some things which are supported by no evidence whatsoever. I haven’t actually tried to quantify any of these things but they could be very important. Can I have some money please?”

    Graham Green must have heard the story of the wildly successful clairvoyant with Alzheimer’s disease who forgot to state his/her predictions before they actually came true.

  94. I did a bit of calculating on forest growth and came to the conclusion that fast growth species like cottonwood or eucalyptus can suck all the CO2 out of the air down to ‘starvation levels’ in very few years using only a modest percentage of the earth surface.

    Pond scum (aka algae) can do it 10 times faster.

    Yeah, the biosphere can change the CO2 fast. Especially to the downside.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/of-trees-volcanos-and-pond-scum/

  95. Anyone who actually knows the photochemistry of ozone formation in the lower levels of the atmosphere knows that there is absolutely no correlation between CO2 concentration and O3 concentration whatsoever.

  96. Projections of future climate changes already account for “carbon-climate feedbacks”, which means that more CO2 is released from soils in a warming climate than is taken up by plants due to photosynthesis.

    I dispute this. The paper is behind a firewall. The abstract states calculations involved to make this statement are estimated. Soil organic matter has been increasing with increasing CO2 and precipitation. How can the estimations explain that little factoid?

  97. The Great Fog Bank alone must be a substantial negative feedback component which is not accounted for in the GCMs. Add to it, the lesser siblings such as the ones off of NW Africa, SW Africa and S. America. Oh, and the annual peak of such advective stratus formations only lags the peak sun angle by one or two months at most.

  98. I quote from their abstract: “Total positive radiative forcings resulting from feedbacks between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere are estimated to reach up to 0.9 or 1.5 W m−2 K−1 towards the end of the twenty-first century, depending on the extent to which interactions with the nitrogen cycle stimulate or limit carbon sequestration.” Apparently they are still on the carbon trail – CO2 done it! Well CO2 did not do it, and cannot do it, and neither can any of the other gases that absorb in the infrared. That is because the infrared absorption band of the atmosphere is saturated and no further addition of greenhouse gases that absorb in the infrared can change the already-existing greenhouse effect. So how do I know this and they are ignorant of this? Simple – Ferenc Miskolczy has used the NOAA database of weather balloon observations to show that the global average annual infrared optical thickness of the atmosphere has been unchanged for 61 years and has a value of 1.87. His article appears in Energy & Environment, volume 21, No. 4, page 243. And what does this mean? It means that constant addition of carbon dioxide (and those other gases) to the atmosphere has not changed the transparency of the atmosphere in the infrared one whit or the optical thickness would have increased. And it didn’t, despite of what Svante Arrhenius said. Problem is that Svante did not have modern technology and while the global warming advocates do they simply don’t know what to do with it. It was one man’s persistence that showed us what NOAA’s multi-year database which was gathering dust really contains. I have looked at global temperature data from satellites and have come to the conclusion that the “anthropogenic global warming” has never been observed. No wonder, since Miskolczy’s result means that it is physically impossible.

  99. RE: k winterkorn: (July 26, 2010 at 8:00 am) “1. It is the ‘+’ sign in the diagram that indicates these are not scientists, in the best understanding of the term. The sign should either be a ‘?’ or ‘+/-‘, but that would probably interfere with future funding of their research.”

    Actually this is a rather standard textbook illustration that applies to feedback and control systems. The ‘+/-‘ aspect of the feedback is determined by the factor ‘B’ which can be a positive or negative real number or a complex non-linear transfer function. The ‘+’ simply denotes the merging of the direct input forcing and some, perhaps complicated, result of the system output. In the general case, I believe the actual merging process is also undefined.

    In the real world we may have a vast array interacting networks of this type.

    As for unaccounted feedbacks, I guess we can speculate all day on things we do not know. I am not sure that speculation should rise to the level of a scientific paper.

  100. Anything’s possible!

    Today’s best model will look like the first cave painting in fifty thousand years. Ask me how I know..

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