NASA GISS in Science Express: CO2, Climate’s Main “Control Knob”

Computer generated model of Earth's temperature control knob

From the press package:

The findings confirm that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse “control knob”

This seems like a last ditch effort (in the face of falling public opinion) from Gavin Schmidt et al. to make CO2 more important than water vapor in regulating the temperature of the planet.

Via emailed press package, embargoed until 2PM EST 10/14/2010:
Of all the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide exerts the most control on Earth’s climate, researchers report. Although carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect has been known for more than 100 years, its primary role in climate warming is still not universally acknowledged.

For example, water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas and is more abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere and thus plays a different role than carbon dioxide and other, noncondensing greenhouse gases, such as ozone, methane and chlorofluorocarbons. Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere, in order to illustrate their roles in controlling the temperature of the air.

The findings confirm that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse “control knob” and that its abundance determines how much water vapor the atmosphere contains. Without carbon dioxide, the Earth would plunge into a frozen state, the researchers report, though they caution that increasing levels of this atmospheric gas are also worrisome. “This makes the reduction and control of atmospheric CO2 a serious and pressing issue, worthy of real-time attention,” they write.

[Seems a bit out of balance though.]

Fig. 1. Attribution of the contributions of individual atmospheric components to the total terrestrial greenhouse effect, separated into feedback and forcing categories. Horizontal dotted and dashed lines depict the fractional response for single-addition and single-subtraction of individual gases to an empty or full-component reference atmosphere, respectively. Horizontal solid black lines are the scaled averages of the dashedand dotted-line fractional response results. The sum of the fractional responses adds up to the total greenhouse effect. The reference atmosphere is for conditions in 1980.

Article #14: “Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature,” by A.A. Lacis; G.A. Schmidt; D. Rind; R.A. Ruedy at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, NY.
Contact: Andrew A. Lacis at alacis@giss.nasa.gov (email).

Here’s the paper: lacis101015 (PDF)

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249 thoughts on “NASA GISS in Science Express: CO2, Climate’s Main “Control Knob”

  1. ‘ …the most potent greenhouse “control knob” ‘

    Oh – there are quite a few candidates for that exalted position…

  2. Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere

    Just for a second there I thought a climate scientist had performed an experiment. Then I realised it was a climate model.
    These are programmed to have CO2 as the main driver so its hardly surprising thats the outcome of the experiment

  3. Using climate models which have been tuned for high sensitivity to carbon dioxide, it has been found that climate models have a high sensitivity to carbon dioxide. That’s SCIENCE!

  4. Oh. I always though the main controller of climate was number of mobile telephone calls per annum, since the correlation between temperature and phone use (nay, TV’s if we include the 1930’s – present) has increased since temperatures began to rise as a correlation to the use of these instruments’ increase. Since the ghg’s are an unreliable source of climate forcing, particlarly c02, due to its peripheral-non-existent magnitude on the climate, then by a process of elimination, it MUST be the correlation between temperature and increasing use of TV’s and phones.

  5. Smells like desperation. So, if the GISS gets shut down, will James Hanson chill out about hating his fellow humans if he no longer has to deal with a NYC commute?

  6. Talk about out of control denialism. The alarmists are desperate on the cusp of madness.

    This is bordering on outright delusion. CO2 has never, ever been the primary driver of climate change in the entire multi-billion year history of this planet. What is so sad is that there was a veritable bloodbath of really good engineers laid off from NASA over the past year, and yet these alarmist cultists are still in employment.

    I am feeling very very sad about NASA’s future.

  7. I’m happy to see they are able to accurately re-create the earths atmosphere in the labratory … I was worried they were simply guessing about alot of things …
    too bad the real atmosphere seems to be ignoring the CO2 control knob since 1998 …
    stupid atmosphere ….

  8. Yes, our planet would be freezing cold (in the shade) without an atmospheric blanket, but CO2 contributes only 10% or so to that effect. Yes, greenhouse gases (like CO2) trap sunshine as heat and thus exert a positive radiative heat forcing. [But that’s not what makes greenhouses hot (convection!).] Yes, there are feedback effects involving water vapor which, under certain conditions, could amplify this so-called greenhouse effect.

    But where is the convincing proof that all of this adds up to out-of-control, man-made, catastrophic warming of the planet?! I’ll settle for a convincing proof that the planet’s temperature responds, in a _causal_ way, to CO2 concentration. (i.e. don’t just show me a correlation. But even those are inconsistent).

    Where are these proofs? Ha! Then the issue is not settled.

  9. “Although carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect has been known for more than 100 years”

    Nils Eckholm (1899) thought so, as did Svante Arrhenius (1896). However, Knut Angström concluded in 1900 that atmospheric CO2 and water vapor absorb infrared radiation in the same same spectral region and that any additional CO2 would, therefore have little or no effect on global temperature. In the 1920s, Thomas Chamberlin wrote a letter to Charles Schuchert (Yale’s Peabody Museum) in which he said, “I greatly regret that I was among the early victims of Arrhenius’ error.” In 1922 Chamberlin thought the role of CO2 had been greatly overemphasized and that not enough attention had been given to the role of ocean in the climate.

    These people at GISS don’t even have a reasonable handle on the history of the subject, let alone the science itself.

  10. Great another model that says what every AGW model says. THIS IS NOT SCIENCE. I wonder if the water vapour and clouds feedback value is positive? I already know the answer.

  11. For example, water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas and is more abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere and thus plays a different role than carbon dioxide and other, noncondensing greenhouse gases, such as ozone, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.

    !!!!!!

    It would be funny if it were not so manipulative and insidious.
    The people who wrote this are scientists, or minority representatives playing with the hot potato?

  12. Hmm…they say (eventually):

    “To this end, we performed a simple climate experiment with the GISS 2° × 2.5° AR5 version of ModelE, using the Q-flux ocean with a mixedlayer depth of 250 m, zeroing out all the noncondensing GHGs and aerosols.”

    So this is a case of the “experiment” actually being a computer model, where, as I think everyone knows, you are likely to get output as good as your input.

    The first step should be to demonstrate that the models can predict the past climate of the earth. What would be interesting, for example, would be to see a climate model which can prove or disprove the existence of the MWP and explain its cause, or lack of existence. (If anyone knows of such a model validation, please let me know).

    At a more prosaic level – why invent new jargon even e.g. ‘radiative forcing’ is irritating – what is wrong with a normal description of the physics?

  13. Here they go again using this flawed experiment 100 years ago to justify that CO2 is the most potent GH gas in the atmosphere.

    If anything, CO2 is not the temperature knob on the thermostat, but could be that little thermometer.

  14. @ Jimmy Haigh says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:08 am: ‘ …the most potent greenhouse “control knob” ‘
    Oh – there are quite a few candidates for that exalted position…’

    Very droll (and very true)! You owe me a new keyboard; mulled wine splutterings …

  15. “Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere, in order to illustrate their roles in controlling the temperature of the air.”

    Once again the CAGW camp use models rather than research to try and prove their case. This is a sign that the IPCC’s climate cabal is getting desperate and an admission by default that the observational evidence refutes their case – no statistically significant global warming for 15y.

    Time to move along from this falsified theory and start doing some real-world science to find out how climate works. Hint, the sun could have something to do with climate oscillation at all time scales.

  16. GISS? Isn’t that place under water from all that sea level rise they warned us about? Well then, it’s obvious that this article is totally bogus, since the place is under water.

  17. It is truly amazing how “reputable” journals accept from some few selected fellows their trivial hypothesis and publish as a scientific paper. This clearly demonstrates that the “peer review” system is corrupt. Poor Gavin spends most of his time on Real Climate site and other fun activities and has no time for comprehensive research that we, all taxpayers, are expecting from him. The references to Fourier, Tyndall and Arrhenius look kind of sad… Is it time for us to stop paying these gentlemen their six figure salaries?

  18. Will. Not. Make. Jokes. About. “Control Knob”.

    As TerryS said, this is the prize statement: “conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments”.

    Idealized. Great… that’s a good starting point. Now try and match it against the real world. If that fails, please try again. It’s called the scientific method. They appear to have stopped after the first step…

  19. I’m more than happy to be corrected but haven’t we seen CO2 at 7000 ppm in the past? If so the “tipping” point must be beyond that otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

    So that means nothing to worry about, yes?

  20. Regarding figure 1: The feedback and the forcing is on a scale to balance or to tip. The models or the calculations of the formulas as set up by NASA must only have positive feedback for water vapor. Dr. Roy Spencer has shown that water vapor has a negative feedback as well, but those designing the models don’t agree and probably will only accept postive feedback.

  21. There are definitely a lot of knobs (urban dictionary definition) at work on this one.

    The only reliable and repeatable model that NASA has is the one where they feed in the latest alarmist theory, turn the handle and out comes complete bo**ocks every time.

  22. Reminds me of toy Ray Guns and Transformers. With a little imagination, kids can have a lot of fun.
    Mighty expensive toys, though, in this case.

  23. “Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments […] The findings confirm […]”

    Still need some climate researchers? Sounds pretty easy to me. I’m a fast learner.

  24. Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:43 am
    “The point is we do not have control over the amount of H2O in the atmosphere. We do have some control over to amount of CO2. ”

    Well, hate to bring it to you… but, you know… they’re sort of intermingled.

  25. Jimmy Haigh says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:08 am

    ‘ …the most potent greenhouse “control knob” ‘

    Oh – there are quite a few candidates for that exalted position…
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Beautiful…..lol

  26. Don B – I like the sub headline for that article.

    “Top international experts prove British numbers on carbon dioxide are wrong. Royal Society blunder grossly exaggerates climate impact.

    And this!!

    “German chemist, Dr Klaus Kaiser has published evidence that proves the Royal Society (RS), London, has been caught out making schoolboy errors in mathematical calculations over the duration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere. ”

    I wonder how many more times these brainiacs have to be exposed as frauds before they finally just give up.

    Read more at Suite101: Royal Society Humiliated by Global Warming Basic Math Error http://www.suite101.com/content/royal-society-humiliated-by-global-warming-basic-math-error-a296746#ixzz12MTJlGZk

  27. http://www.carbontracker.eu/index.html

    Very interesting plot there. It looks like an IR temperature profile of the atmosphere rather than a CO2 loading. This makes sense as the absorption/emission profile of CO2 is temperature dependent.

    Also, why is it that they continue to beat this dead horse about residence time? That is immaterial to the subject as it is the average amount at any one time that is important and it is quite clear that the percentage is 100x of CO2.

  28. Jimmy Haigh says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Definitely! LOL Think it may be very much UK humour though.

    DaveE.

  29. An amazing piece of science! Amazing in the sense that I continue to be called an idiot and an evil villain because I don’t find such sterling logic completely convincing. Admittedly they did convincingly demonstrate the presence of a number of “knobs” in climate science. Those “knobs” would seem to be named Lacis, Schmidt, Rind, and Ruedy, as in “Dumber than a sack of doorknobs.”

  30. Just finished my first run at the paper…….I’m not sure I’ll go any deeper than that. From the paper, In round numbers, water vapor accounts for about 50% of Earth’s greenhouse effect, with clouds contributing 25%, CO2 20%, and the minor GHGs and aerosols accounting for the remaining 5%.

  31. This article casts a clear insight into the mindset of Climatology. Computer models and simulations have replaced theory and observations (real data), just as Lindzen wrote about in his famous paper:

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ClimateScience-arXiveRSLindzenRev3a.pdf

    Absolutely amazing that a computer simulation is passed off as an “experiment”. Such a claim is so misleading, it is more than just unethical — actually, it is a frank lie.

    Climatology, the science of how to become a couch potato sitting in front of a computer screen.

  32. Quote:
    “But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere and thus plays a different role than carbon dioxide”

    And when it does it releases 40.7 kJ of energy for every 1 mole=18g of H2O
    Now where would all that energy go to?

  33. I’m working on a model that will conclusively and indisputably show that the sharp increase in the numbers of crooked politicians and activist scientists is unequivocally responsible for the earth warming :).

  34. As most of my scientific knowledge has been gained by blogs such as these. My question to the masses is is this! If CO2 is the control for atmospheric tempurature then can someone please explain how during the Ordovician period of earths history we had an estimated 4400 PPM of co2 in the air and still had an ice age? I believe this is 12 times greater than today. Based on that I would think the thermostat is broke.

  35. It’s interesting that of the first four citations, three are from the 19th century (fourier, tyndall and Arrhrenius.)

    There are also two cites to hanson, and one to schmidt.

    Even Dick Lintzen is cited.

    They note that Earth is unique among terrestrial planets in having a greenhouse affect where water vapor amplifies CO2 greenhouse effects. I wonder how they know this?
    Perhaps they were only referring to planets in our solar system, but they didn’t actually state that….

    the 1000’s of years residency time is cited from:

    Rates of change in natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing over the past 20,000 years, PNAS, 105 (5), 1425-1430, 2008.

  36. “Radiative forcing experiments assuming doubled
    CO2 and a 2% increase in solar irradiance
    (5) show that water vapor provides the strongest
    climate feedback of any of the atmospheric GHGs,
    but that it is not the cause (forcing) of global climate change.”

    Increase the sun’s input by 2% and the temperature went up. HUH. 1368 x .02= 27.4
    27.4/4 = 6.8 W/m2. Yup I agree the temperature will go up without an increase in CO2.

  37. Mike,

    It’s too bad you don’t understand that water vapor is more potent than CO2 (which we really can’t control) and that the water vapor content of the troposphere has decreased about 2% since 1950, which is almost exactly enough to offset the entire effect of all the extra CO2 accumulated since then.

    The alarmists’ problem is that we do understand the science, and we also understand that whatever they are doing, it is not science.

  38. I regret to say that as soon as I read this: “a set of idealized climate model experiments” my Bovine Excreta Meter pegged at the maximum and I ceased to read further.
    Toying with models is NOT experimentation!

  39. An “idealized model” is one that is simplified and does not include variables that are known to exist, but are ignored, or are assumed to have little effect on the modeled system. Without knowing the assumptions used in their climate models, it can be difficult to determine if the simplified model used is realistic or invalid. I would take any such result with a handful of salt.

  40. Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

    The point is…you can’t understand it.

    Most of the readers here understand what the press release is saying. We just don’t agree that they used a valid methodology to reach their conclusions. Most of the contention revolves around the direction and magnitude of CO2’s associated water-vapor and cloud feedbacks.

  41. Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:43 am
    The point is we do not have control over the amount of H2O in the atmosphere. We do have some control over to amount of CO2.

    There’s a BIG difference between “control” and “control knob”. Just because man can slightly control the increase or decrease carbon dioxide in the atmosphere isn’t prima facia evidence that it constitutes a “knob”!

    Would it be too much to ask the Goddard “climate scientists” to start with a basic white napkin and leave their high-falootin’ computer alone? There’s nothing that can make you look more stupid that a big energy-sucking, number-crunching, head-scratching computer!

  42. Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere, in order to illustrate their roles in controlling the temperature of the air.

    Like Professor Kelly, I take strong exception to having model runs described as experiments. Do these “scientists” actually believe this kind of exercise “proves” anything? Has it not occurred to them that the CO2 sensitivity they proclaim to have “proven” is an input of the models, rather than a genuine result.The circularity of such arguments appears to escape them.

    At least it’s easier than leaving ones office and doing some actual observations of the natural world. You know, like scientists used to do.

  43. Maybe they’re just too busy working on their resumes to do real work.

    It’d be a very good thing if the next Congress took GISS’ budget and spent it on an honest organization to – as a first step, and if they do nothing else – openly validate measured temperature data instead.

  44. “The findings confirm that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse “control knob” and that its abundance determines how much water vapor the atmosphere contains.”

    I thought that actual real world measurements had shown that the water vapor predictions of those models are wrong. The actual amount of water vapor at various altitudes doesn’t match the model predictions. So if the models don’t ‘model’ water vapor (the major ghg) correctly, then how can they state that CO2 (a minor ghg) has more effect than water vapor?

    [sarc]I did see recently that the FBI statistics show that since the 70’s violent crime in the US has decreased. So maybe violent crime somehow cools the planet and thus as violent crime decreases the temperature increases. Bobby Henderson theorized that the reduction in pirates since the 1800’s has caused global warming and since pirates commit violent crimes the FBI data would just extend that theory to all violent criminals not just pirates.

    I believe a case can be made that decreased violence causes global warming. [/sarc]

  45. “”” Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:43 am
    The point is we do not have control over the amount of H2O in the atmosphere. We do have some control over to amount of CO2.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/330/6002/356

    It is good that you are willing to post science research that shows you are wrong. It is too bad you can’t understand it. “””

    What total nonsense. Our automobiles exhaust even more H2O molecules than they do CO2 molecules; our own lungs do also; not to mention our perspiration.

    We drink gallons of water to replace that lst to the atmosphere by perpiration; and that is over and above our food intake which ritself results in more H2O than CO2 exhaled.

    Both H2O and CO2 in the atmosphere are constantly regulated by physical chemistry processes; things like Henry’s Law, and plant metabolism in the case of CO2; but neither one of them is controlled by us.

    Mother Gaia, knows where every single CO2 and H2O molecule is; and she knows where they are supposed to be; and she sees to it that they are always where they are supposed to be.

    We can mess with her management all we want; and she will still put the molecules where she wants them regardless of what we do.

    Can I suggest once more that people go through the mental experiments; that I have facetiously dubbed the “Birdseye” experiment, and the “Venus” experiment. The first named after the discoverer of quick frozen food storage; and the latter after the cloud enshrouded nearby planet.

    The aim of the Birdseye experiment is to remove every single H2O molecule from the atmosphere; and to that end, the entire surface temperature is lowered to zero C; unless it is already lower. The H2O moleules are allowed to crash where they are, either as water in the ocean or snow etc on the colder lands.

    If you do this; you find yourself with the mother of all solar forcings; because with no clouds, and no solar absorbing H2O vapor, the suface irradiance will increase from about 1000 W/m^2 almost all the way to 1366 W/m^2. you’d still have some losses to O2 and O3, and miniscule loss to CO2. Hey even a 20% increase to 1200 would be an astronomical “forcing”.
    The result of course is that you would get immediate and prolific evaporation (remember the oceans didn’t freeze at zero deg C); we just wanted to have a lower saturated vapor pressure to help with the removal. (might have to use tweezers to get the last molecules out.) So follow that sequence with the growing atmospheric water vapor, and eventually even some cloud formation; which both drop the forcing, and slow the surface warming. Eventually you should (if you know how to follow experimental instructions) reach some stable Temperature with some amount of cloud cover, and some amount of water vapor. I call that the “Birdseye Temperature”

    The Venus experiment is just the opposite. You heat the surface to maybe +50 or +60 C (pick a number); and you fill the atmosphere with saturated water vapor, and solid clouds of water or ice from the ground to say +20 km; or 50 if you like; (pick a number.)

    So measure the ground level solar insolation and if you get a number greater than 10 W/m^2, call 911; well call me too, I’d like to see that !

    So even with all that 400 ppm of CO2 and ozone and methane and what have you; I suggest it is going to get cold pretty darn quick, and it’s going to rain and snow, and sleet, and hail; for 40 days and 40 nights; until eventually some of that cloud is going to dissipate and start breaking up and thinning. That is going to let some sunlight reach the surface, so it won’t be cooling quite so rapidly. Well you get the picture; sooner or later, you are going to reach an amount of cloud cover, where there is just enough sunlight getting to the ground, to stop the Temperature from falling any further. Well I call that the Venus Temperature.

    From here on out, you are on your own. I leave it to your imagination to consider what is the difference between the cold “Birdseye” Temperature state, and the hot “Venus” Temperature state. What is the Physics that would cause them to be different; and what wopuld happen if somehow we got the earth into some condition that was hotter than the Birdseye Temperature; but colder than the Venus Temperature ?

    And for extra credit; where the hell are we now ?

    I can tell you this much as a hint. Between the Birdseye Temperature, and the Venus Temperature, is a region of unstable Temperature. If you are anywhere in there; you cannot stay where you are; but must go one way or the other.

    So are we at the Birdseye Temperature; or are we at the Venus Temperature; and what would it take to tip us to the other state ?

    For first class honors (izzat magna cum laude); write a short paragraph on just what role CO2 played in these experiments.

    I’m going to lunch; and I’ll score your papers when I get back.

  46. Since the “climate change wars” are now almost exclusively political now, I think it’s amusing to note that Joe Romm is the man who started the made-up claims about the Chamber of Commerce which Obama and Axelrod picked up and ran with. (and which are now backfiring spectacularly)

    I was most interested to see this description of the source in Politico, a widely read inside-Washington political blog/news source – “The allegations first surfaced on Climate Progress, a White House affiliated blog.”

    Yep – those were the exact words they used. Heh.

    Btw, CP appears to have abandoned climate science completely now (not that it ever did pay much attention to it) and has gone All Politics, All the Time. Which is fitting, since Politics and Power is all that “climate change” has ever really been about since the beginning.

  47. Wind Rider says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:27 am
    And what the heck is an “idealized climate model”

    An “idealized climate model” is one that’s dialed into all the CO2-Is-The-Problem algorithms. That’s all.

  48. I have a question. I’m probably just stupid, but here goes…

    If we imagine that we have a vacuum chamber outdoors. If we measure the temperature there for a couple of weeks. Will it on average measure approximately 33 k less than the surroundings?

    If not – why not?

  49. Nasa Giss scientists are more and more ridiculous …
    Do we have to laugh or cry ?

    Here in Europe scientists are not doing better …

    Wait and see. When temperatures will really plumetting for long time, maybe the reality will be accepted.

  50. Ehmmm… The vacuum chamber in my question should probably be made of plexi glass or similar, so that the sun can get in. :)

  51. P.F. says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Nils Eckholm (1899) thought so, as did Svante Arrhenius (1896). However, Knut Angström concluded in 1900 that atmospheric CO2 and water vapor absorb infrared radiation in the same spectral region and that any additional CO2 would, therefore have little or no effect on global temperature. In the 1920s, Thomas Chamberlin wrote a letter to Charles Schuchert (Yale’s Peabody Museum) in which he said, “I greatly regret that I was among the early victims of Arrhenius’ error.”

    Thank you for this great comment! (my highlighting)

    It’s real information such as this which is much needed, 99.9% of the general populace know nothing of such thinks said in the past by real scientists, only what the CAGW crowd broadcast through the media conveniently leaving out the whole truth.

  52. I sometimes wonder why empirical evidence is not being obtained to support man made climate disruption warming change along the lines of creating artificial atmospheres that match Earth’s in sealed units with different concentrations of CO2 but other variables constant, expose them to a regulated light source and demonstrate that the extra CO2 results in a warmer temperature. To properly quantify the initial CO2 warming before you start arm waving about feedbacks.

    Can’t be that difficult surely, and we know science funding authorities love to throw money at man made climate disruption warming change projects. Perhaps someone at the APS would be willing to give it a go.

  53. John Towers asks:

    “If CO2 is the control for atmospheric tempurature then can someone please explain how during the Ordovician period of earths history we had an estimated 4400 PPM of co2 in the air and still had an ice age?”

    Sure!

    The layout of the continents was very different then- most of the earths land mass was centered around the south pole. In that situation, it’s very easy for glaciers to form and grow, and the ice albedo feedback (positive) causes additional cooling, leading to an ice age.

  54. “The findings confirm that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse “control knob””

    CO2 is to control knob.
    As
    Darrell Issa is to off switch.

  55. From the paper,

    In round numbers, water vapor accounts for about 50% of Earth’s greenhouse effect, with clouds contributing 25%, CO2 20%, and the minor GHGs and aerosols accounting for the remaining 5%.

    …and now for the million dollar question, what are clouds made of?

  56. I think There is an error in the your line from the press package!
    **The findings confirm that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse “control knob”**
    Surely it should read:
    **The fundings confirm that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse “control knob”**

  57. Gavin Schmidt. You don’t need to read the paper, if he is involved its all from models amd and the outcomes are fiddled to match his views.

  58. When will they get it…that you can’t predict anything via modeling alone. You have to check and adjust the model against real measurements, something that no one in Climate Science knows how to do.

  59. “Without carbon dioxide, the Earth would plunge into a frozen state”

    ????

    Back in my 1st year of university (Physics) we took a class on how to (and the importance of) readily determine whether the answers one has derived from one’s experiments are reasonable or whether one messed up somewhere.

    Apparently that class is optional now.

  60. Using a model to “experiment”?

    phfttt!

    I see I’m not the only one who gave up reading after that. My hat is off to those who went and read the paper anyway. Ya’ll are real troopers.

  61. Got an idea for a better lab for those GISS scientists!
    The Chilean Government, after rescuing the 33 miners from half a mile below ground is seeking for a different use of the mine. That’s an opportunity NASA must not lose.

  62. For example, water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas and is more abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere

    Yes it does doesn’t it. So carbon dioxide does not control humidity.

  63. vukcevic says:
    October 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm
    The “Turn of the screw” is here. In Greek it was called “An Apocalypse (Greek: Ἀποκάλυψις Apokálypsis ; “lifting of the veil” or “revelation”) is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse

  64. Since they fail not to still call it a green house gas for the supposedly green house effect but haven’t they heard of practical observations?

    Ingredients:

    1 Sizable green house
    2 equalize sizable green house to surrounding climate
    3 shut all doors
    4 Measure temperature from 24 to, you guess it, 24.
    5 equalize it again
    6 shut all doors
    7 pump the room with surrounding temperature warm only CO2 to twice the surrounding levels
    8 See four (but don’t go boom just yet)
    9 Do 5 and 6 again
    10 See 7 but use water vapor instead
    11 See 4 again (Now if you’re a rational person nothing’ll happen I’m sure, however for the irrational person, well, for some odd reason See 4 just acts as a detonator for a major psychological implosion.)

    Anyways the real world is kinda funny that it always has that meltdown effect on the funny people.

  65. Bob Tisdale says:
    October 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Not enough knob jokes. I’m disappointed.

    The best ones were taken early. I think they’re all bloody knobs.

    Anyone suggesting experiments with varying atmospheres in whatever containers. That is the mistake made by the followers of Arrhenius.

    DaveE.

  66. Bob Tisdale says:
    October 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm
    Not enough knob jokes. I’m disappointed.

    Don’t blame me, I did my bit.

  67. When is all this warming supposed to start?

    Are these computer models the same super accurate ones that even verify each other and so accurately predicted the 2009 barbecue summer and mild winter 2009/10 in the UK?

  68. My Masters thesis including building a model of a “shock tube” device. The solver was tested against results from known problems with “closed form” that correlate well with empirical data. As the underlying equations for both the “closed form” and the numerical model were the same (in this case the Euler equations), all the test did was verfied that the numerical methods were a valid implementation of those equations.

    After that we ran a large number of “scenarios” through the solver to find the most promising configurations for later experimentation. These were *never* called experiments — as they weren’t. They were datasets controlling the conditions and imposed boundaries — both of which idealized the actual device to be tests.

    We then built (based on guidance from the solver scenarios) a big shock tube and test the device. Those *were* experiments, the results of which guided further solver development to address shortcomings in the model.

    Without the closed loop feedback of real experiments it is impossible to either (1) validate the model or (2) improve it’s accuracy. Given the echo chamber these modellers are in, they’ve forgotten this axiom knowledge, losing even the *meaning* of the word “experiment.”

    Sad. So sad.

  69. “NASA GISS in Science Express: CO2, Climate’s Main “Control Knob””

    Yup, just run their models WITHOUT CO2 forcing and see what you get!!

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    They should try redesigning their models with ALL the forcings and things like realistic cloud and water vapor effects…

  70. Why is the myopic focus on carbon, the 6th element? What about hydrogen, the first? The deadliest?

    The most potent greenhouse gases— much much worse than CO2—in abundance are water vapor and methane. The common element for both is hydrogen. CO2 only contains ONE carbon atom, but hydrogen oxide TWO hydrogen atoms and methane contains FOUR!!

    I call for governments of the world to assess their hydrogen footprints. I will be trying to set up a trade in hydrogen offsets, for the world and for our children.
    Also, we must consider RFPs (requests for proposals) and award grants to scientists to come up with hydrogen sequestration technologies. One can envision large refrigeration units to freeze out water vapor and bury the ice deep in the earth’s crust or to add to the North Polar ice. This would also save the thousands of drowning polar bears, one of which drowns every six seconds (see accompanying cartoon graph). Emissions standards must be set (it may already be too late) to limit the toxic hydrogen oxide and methane produced by auto exhausts. We should substitute hydrogen exhaust vehicles (HEVs) for cars containing wind sails and/or solar cells. Bicycles are no good—the rider emits vast increases in hydrogen, either water vapor or methane, via multiple egress apertures (EAs).

    How many species must go extinct before we act??? How many Hindenburg tragedies must we yet endure? How many more, Mr. Speaker, how many more?

    What is YOUR hydrogen footprint???

  71. They could of course measure something. Banks of huge greenhouses in Holland with variable CO2 atmospheres are sitting waiting for something else to do except grow flowers. Not ideal but better than a computer model.

  72. “The findings confirm that carbon dioxide is the most potent greenhouse “control knob” and that its abundance determines how much water vapor the atmosphere contains.”

    So, basically they are blaming the creation of Water Vapor on CO2 as well.

    So, what are they gonna blame CO2 on next? The OJ Simpson murders?

  73. I think Al Gore was talking about a control knob, meaning CO2, while in that infamous hotel room, and it just plain got misconstrued.

  74. Water vapour “But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere” .
    Surely it’s only the concentration that is relevant ? There’s always plenty of water vapour below the dew point.

  75. Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Anthony! I second all comments which are opposed to models and ask for experiments instead.

    I do not expect any experiments will be conducted or funded as long as the present governmental-industrial-science connection holds on to its power and influence in the big western countries. I live in Germany, and it is probably a lot worse here than in the USA. There are countries however which have only little or no part in the CO2 connection. One of them, China, wants to send men to the moon. I wonder whether the moon would not be a good place to carry out experiments on CO2 and water vapor. I think that three glasshouses – one enclosing just the moon “atmosphere” (I know there isn´t much or any of it), one filled with CO2 and one filled with water vapor – could be built and then the temperature (above and on/in the ground) could be measured over any desirable period of time. The same measurements would also have to be taken in the open, so one would have four sets of measurements (data). I am not a scientist, my knowledge in physics is limited, and I would greatly appreciate informed thoughts/comments concerning the idea. It came to my mind because it has been argued (by fans of modelling and members of the `Church of Warmism´) that experiments on the earth are difficult/impossible/take too long/etc.
    I also really wonder how the temperatures in a glasshouse full of CO2 differ from each other and from the temperature in the open.
    Looking forward to comments, but won´t be able to reply soon. It is midnight here, and I need some sleep, then work – you know how it is…

  76. “Without carbon dioxide, the Earth would plunge into a frozen state,”

    No, as long as long as solar radiation reaches the oceans then the oceans will prevent such an outcome even with no CO2 at all.

    Has anyone ever calculated the effect of the oceans on radiative energy transfers and then compared the power of the oceans to the power of CO2 in the air ?

    Why are the oceans not treated as part of the atmosphere for energy retention purposes ?

    As far as I can tell all the atmospheric calculations ignore the oceans completely or assume that their contribution is static. However the response of the oceans must always be related to the wavelength of incoming energy which varies over time as the sun varies and to the amount of insolation which varies both with solar variability and latitudinal shifts in the air circulation systems (which shift the cloud bands along with them) and to internal oceanic variability as energy is moved around within the oceans and to consequent changes in the hydrological cycle.

    Those who rely on atmospheric physics for climate diagnostics are just like the blind men inspecting an elephant.

    Ridiculous.

  77. “In 1922 Chamberlin thought the role of CO2 had been greatly overemphasized and that not enough attention had been given to the role of ocean in the climate.”

    Good for him. What happened ?

  78. I get it. Knob twisting is probably a mechanism for obtaining further funding. I figured out a long time ago that Kyoto is Japanese for CO2.

  79. It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.

  80. “But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere…” Ah, so does CO2. Via incorporation into plant life and calcium carbonate.

  81. So does this mean they found Al Gore’s warm CO2 blanket? Would they like to share, or is it a secret.

    Last time I looked CO2 has absorbed all the spectral energy CO2 could absorb, from the sun. So would they like to share their new discovery?

    More BS from the BS factory.

  82. Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:43 am

    The point is we do not have control over the amount of H2O in the atmosphere. We do have some control over to amount of CO2.

    That’s why during a train crash, it is important to sing Elvis songs. You do have some control over Elvis songs.

    Of course others will mock and say no amount of fiddling with irrelevencies is going to make any difference whatsoever.

    You’ll just have to tell them to don’t be cruel, and they’re the devil in disguise, and nothing but a hound dog.

  83. Bob Tisdale says:
    October 14, 2010 at 1:40 pm
    Not enough knob jokes. I’m disappointed.

    Not the sharpest knob on the drawer.

    Have pity on the climate modelrs twisting knobs, it’s an occupational hazard with the fumes from the glues needed to splice the models together.

    Stop right there, and stand away from that knob, a climatology experiment is in progress!

    A knob is as a knob does (found in the climatology student notes from “Advanced Climate Modeling: Better approaches to apocalypses).

    Columbia University climatology student T-shirt: “Two knobs are better than one.”

    Knob Hill: an experiment in post-normal science

    In this climatology examination, students must not bring any calculators or knobs into the classroom.

    Give me a knob, and I’ll give you the nominal mean average post-normal idealized world.

    Have Knob, Will Travel, Real Climate, No Obstacle

    It was a knobby problem, but we were able to adjust the climate model for it.

    Knob, knob, knob, knob
    Climate knob,
    Adjust the TOB,
    Knob, knob, knob, knob

    Ask not what the knob can do for you.
    Ask what you can do for the knob to save the planet!

  84. Just for a second there I thought a climate scientist had performed an experiment. Then I realised it was a climate model.

    Indeed. You couldn’t make it up.

  85. Are these guys serious? …thought not! They should have listened their parents when they were told “It will make you short sighted”…

  86. Nature produces 96.73% of all CO2; man 3.27%

    Nature produces 99.999% of all water vapor; man 0.001%

    Wv has a specific heat 2.3 times greater than CO2 and is 10.6 times more prevalent than CO2, giving it 26 times more of a gg effect.

    After dialing in the contributions of CH4, N2O, O3 and CFCs, it turns out nature is responsible for 99.72% of the gge; man 0.28%.

    The CO2 gw nonsense continues its dreadfully slow retreat into obscurity, holding for dear life onto it’s walker, aided by Gavin Schmidt.

  87. This is really getting pathetic. The paper is so transparently idiotic that it is obvious it is a last-ditch effort.

    They know their BS has failed.

    Good.

  88. It has started to get very chilly over here in England, and in a week or so, we may see snow. My bet for this winter is long and cold, and like last year, Highway Authorities will have insufficiemt salt, there will be general chaos, and there’s more than a fair chance that we will get some brown-outs.

    Climate change will be blamed and our rulers will decide to urgently increase the construction of windmills.

    As I turn 70, I am deeply ashamed of what is being done in my homeland, the country of Shakespeare, Newton, Jenner, Lister……………….you would need a volume to complete the list.

    And to the west in the new world, we have Hal Lewis, one of the last of that truly great generation, finding the need to disassociate himself from the snake oil salesmen. And my generation is responsible for passing this mess to my children and grandchildren. I’m too old and tired to fight this anymore, but those of you who are in your prime, in your forties, don’t give up, keep fighting for truth, honesty and integrity.

  89. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm
    It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.

    That’s just the problem: Many of us HAVE investigated the physics involved and don’t think “climate scientists” have a proper handle on it. Besides, I’ve run hundreds of geologic and engineering models and if incorrect or inapplicable algorithms are used or you fail to add other pertinent factors, your models are bunk.

    You have castigated many of us as clueless but I rebuff that charge and say “look in the mirror”. But this is something I can agree with you–being wrong can be very discouraging, but not for the reason you’ve stated.

  90. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    “You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.”

    I am sorry Mr. Lacis. I have a MSc degree, and I’ve been working with computers and control loops for 30 years now.

    A Control Knob?

    hahahahaha!!!

  91. What makes GISS’s claim nothing short of hilarious is the fact that the so-called “greenhouse effect” is neither a forcing (it produces no energy) nor a feedback (it doesn’t affect insolation). It’s purely a capacitive, insulating effect. But try telling that to a model jockey riding a nag named “Junk for Money.”

  92. A Lacis says:

    “It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem… You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.”

    As a commentator that an esteemed psychic mind-reader such as yourself believes lacks a basic physics background, and cannot comment intelligently on the global warming “problem,” I have a few questions:

    Are you in agreement with Dr Lewis regarding his complaint that the APS was wrong to refuse to abide by its written policy? And are you are opposed to the shoddy “adjustments” that GISS does to the temperature record under the leadership of the publicity hound, scofflaw and general lunatic James Hansen?

    Just wondering, boss.

  93. A new publication in “Science”? Gavin Schmidt? Models? Idealized models? Without CO2 the terrestial greenhouse would collapse?

    This publication is composed of only slogans, badly referenced, with very old references. No correlation, only reasoning, reasoning with a predetermined outcome.

    And then they start “experimenting”. With what? what was their experimental set up? No information otherwise than the completely non informative GISS 4*5 Model E.

    They tested the addition or deletion of single atmospheric constituents for a one year period.

    This is not experimenting, this is testing whether the parameters for that particular atmospheric constituent is according to observed values. This is model testing/model training.

    And this kind of paper is accepted by Science?

    We have seen a formidable degradation of the scientifivc method in climate science, if it has ever been present at all.

    This paper is a shame. Life on this planet stops much earlier, below 180 ppm photosynthesis stops for most photosynthesizing organisms.

  94. ‘…it has been asserted that “about
    98% of the natural greenhouse effect is due to
    water vapour and stratiform clouds with CO2
    contributing less than 2%” (1). If true, this would
    imply that changes in atmospheric CO2 are not
    important influences on the natural greenhouse
    capacity of Earth, and that the continuing increase
    in CO2 due to human activity is therefore
    not relevant to climate change.’

    This is a new admission. Previously it was the case that H2O was the major GHG but that the change in CO2 initiated a positive feedback that increased H2O until a tipping point was reached. This isn’t true any more?

  95. Mike says:
    October 14, 2010 at 11:43 am
    “It is good that you are willing to post science research that shows you are wrong. It is too bad you can’t understand it.”

    Anyone who claims that a model run amounts to research is simply confused. Computer models are analytical tools. They can be used to learn about the implications of what has been programmed into them. Maybe that analytical work is what you mean by research. However, empirical or experimental research requires going beyond computer models and using physical hypotheses to make predictions about phenomena that are in the world rather than in the computer. As I have asked many times over the years, if you believe that the warming effects of CO2 are amplified by “forcings” in cloud behavior or whatever, then produce the reasonably well-confirmed physical hypotheses which can be used to explain and predict the phenomena in question. You have not produced any such hypotheses. You are not even trying. You have retreated into your study and you are spending all your time with your computers. Nothing less than the physical hypotheses will be taken seriously.

  96. Jimmy Haigh October 14, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Lol. Thanks now I have to get that coffee cleaned off of the keyboard.

  97. A Lacis,

    This world does operate according to the laws of physics. But claiming that you do know all the laws of physics appliccable to the planetary system is in IMHO hubris. Even when you would know all the laws, their interactions will be unknown.

    I can model any syatem without any knowledge of the physics. I can invent new chemistry and apply that to the world and fit it. Anything can be fitted by anything.

    Correlation does not mean causation.

    When do these modelling idiots get the drift?

    Have they never played a computer game with “modelled”physics?

    I perosnally love the physics of the Boomer in Gears.

  98. A. Lacis,

    To get the ball rolling can you persuade us that you know the difference between the real world and a computer simulation?

  99. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm
    It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.

    If you are offering up the piece of circular logic hogswallop that is the topic of this thread as an exemplar of your own mastery of the role of physics in the natural world, I would remind you of a certain injunction regarding people who live in glass houses.

  100. A Lacis says: October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm “It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem.”

    Ed Markey (co-author of the Cap & Trade Climate Bill) said recently, “The last nine years have been amongst the top ten warmest in the history of the planet.” Do you buy that? Do you suppose those politicians pushing the issue have enough basic science backgrounds to comment intelligently on the matter, let alone pass legislation to stop it?

    You are missing an important point: The “global warming problem” is not about science really. In the early 1990s I though it was just a matter of narrow time-period data analysis that ignored the longer term geo-physical analysis of what was typical or “normal” for an Interglacial climate. Within a few years, I became suspicious that there was a political agenda underlying the “problem.” As time went on, I am now convinced it is all about a Progressive Collectivist agenda that includes “environmental justice” and redistribution of resources and wealth. Look at Maurice Strong’s statements in the early 1970s through the 1980s as he got the IPCC established. Then consider the bad behavior of the CRU gang. Add to that their reaction to the failure of the computer models to anticipate the direction of the climate trend. We’re cooling now. Some are even saying that global warming is causing the cooling.

    It is not unlike the Eugenics movement (again promulgated by the Progressives) a hundred years ago. Remember how that turned out?

  101. wws says:
    October 14, 2010 at 12:55 pm
    “Since the “climate change wars” are now almost exclusively political now, I think it’s amusing to note that Joe Romm is the man who started the made-up claims about the Chamber of Commerce which Obama and Axelrod picked up and ran with. (and which are now backfiring spectacularly)”

    OMG! Unbridled rage mixed with utter desperation. No one could have expected them to be this hollow.

  102. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm
    It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.
    ===================
    My nomination for quote of the weak. ;)

  103. For those waiting for the new thing, this could be it. From today’s UK Telegraph:

    “Cancer is a modern man-made disease caused by the excesses of modern life, a new study suggests.”

    So all we need to do to cure cancer is to eradicate modern life.

  104. last ditch? you must be joking. The AGW rhetoric is set to flow for many years yet. And it doesn’t care for the finest refutations the science community can muster.

  105. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Give us some actual physical hypotheses about “forcings” and we will get right to work. What you have programmed into your model does not amount to actual physical hypotheses.

  106. “Cancer is a modern man-made disease caused by the excesses of modern life, a new study suggests.”

    Yes, and its greatest excess is its great length.

  107. John Christy and I looked through this paper, and agreed that it seems to *imply* that we should worry about global warming from more CO2 because the climate change from a 100% *removal* of CO2 from the atmosphere has 8 times the effect as a 100% *addition* of CO2 to the atmosphere.

    If that line of reasoning doesn’t make any sense to you…..then join the club.

  108. To Andy Lacis – First, congratulations for an excellent paper in Science. It has succeeded in being clear without sacrificing accuracy. I have a small technical question regarding one of the points. If you differentiate the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, and use a value of 240 W/m^2 for absorbed radiation, 3.7 W/m^2 for the forcing from doubled CO2, 255 K for the effective radiating temperature, and an assumption of unchanged lapse rate, the surface temperature change to restore balance calculates out to about 1 deg C rather than the 1.2 deg C cited. Of these inputs, it would appear that the fixed lapse rate assumption may be the one that is not precisely followed in the model results. Is this a correct interpretation, and if the actual estimates require a slightly elevated lapse rate, are there observational and theoretical bases for postulating this deviation from earlier assumptions about the lapse rate?

  109. Fred:

    Lapse rate change in the troposphere is considered a feedback. So, when a surface warming of X deg. is stated for the situation without feedbacks, it means the entire troposphere is assumed to change uniformly by X deg. This is by definition, for the purpose of talking about the influence of different individual effects (such as a change in lapse rate).

  110. Phillip Bratby

    “Not more climate model evidence. These people have just proved that they are not scientists.”

    True, Gavin Schmidt is a mathematician.

  111. It seems to me the key statement in the article is:

    For the doubled CO2 and the 2% solar irradiance forcings, for which the direct no-feedback responses of the global surface temperature are 1.2° and 1.3°C, respectively, the ~4°C surface warming implies respective feedback factors of 3.3 and 3.0 (5).

    Ref 5, BTW is to a monograph by Hanson from in 1984 (interesting year…). If they’re assuming a 4 deg C surface warming, no wonder they get the results they claim.

  112. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.

    Right, especially Climate Science’s most basic “physic”: GIGO

  113. Re: A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm
    “It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.

    Your paper (assuming you are who you claim to be) doesn’t amount to anything more than a Gish-gallop of bullcrap and cannot be responded to intelligently. So instead, I will respond to your comment.

    Physics? You think you are in a position to lecture anyone about atmospheric physics? Who do you think you are kidding? You think that because water condenses in the atmosphere that it isn’t radiantly important? I have news for you Einstein, liquids and solids are the only forms of matter that continuously emit IR energy. Gases cannot do that.

    Most of the water in the troposphere is its liquid and solid phases. Water vapor is the minority fraction. Tropospheric liquid water and water ice are the source of the downwelling IR received at the surface and the OLR to space. Gases don’t have anything to do with it. Not even water vapor. It’s not possible.

    I think you need a remedial course in radiative physics studying the absorptivities and emissivities of the various components of the atmosphere, including water in all three phases. If you did that, you may understand the mistake that you are making.

    This paper of yours is nothing but junk.

  114. DR. Spencer,

    And then they completely ignore the influence of the biosphere. This is nothing, it is worthless excercise in varying model parameters without any link to actual processess in the wild. If you remove CO2 from the atmosphere, plants will shut down photosynthesis. Below 180 ppm, no net photosynthesis will exist. Animals will die, the entire ecosystem, except for the hot vent related organisms, will stop. We are with current CO2 levels, in the low range of what plants need to thrive. And since plants form the basis for any other form of life on this planet………

  115. Without carbon dioxide, the Earth would plunge into a frozen state.

    And all plants would be dead. Which just might leave a mark.

    Just sayin.

  116. To Roy Spencer and Andy Lacis, re above: If we differentiate Stefan-Boltzmann, and invert dF/dT, we get dT = dF/4 x sigma x T^3. Using 3.7 W/m^2 as the forcing, sigma = 5.67, and T = 255, the temperature change calculates out to 0.98 deg C. This would be the change at the hypothetical “radiating level” with a temperature of 255 K, but an unchanged lapse rate would then require the surface temperature change to be the same. The cited change at the surface is 1.2 C, which suggests that earlier assumptions of an unchanged lapse rate for “no feedback” calculations were not followed exactly in the current estimates. That may make sense (for example, invasion of stratospheric coolness into the upper troposphere could elevate the lapse rate vis-a-vis the rate that prevailed before a CO2 doubling), but in any case, it seems to me that some deviation from either the ordinarily accepted forcings or the unchanged lapse rate assumption woud be needed to arrive at 1.2 C. Is there some other explanation?

  117. So about this knob idea. Let me clarify my understanding.

    Without knobs, the temperature would be freezing.

    Is there a general consensus that the temperature of the atmosphere is determined by the knobs?

    If you turn the knobs clockwise, does it get hotter?

    Which came first, heavy breathing, or knob twisting?

    Are there greater and lesser knobs?

    How many people would vote for removing knobs?

    If the knobs are too big, should they be taxed?

    And the most important one, is there a difference between natural knobs and manmade knobs?

  118. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm
    “It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.
    ===================
    My nomination for quote of the weak. ;)”

    I second!

    Bait in the water! Bait in the water! Frenzy! Frenzy!

  119. RE: Patrik’s vacuum chamber (at 1:00 and 1:05)

    Have you asked the question you intended to?

    Temperature is usually thought of as a measure of the average energy of motion of particles of matter. What is in your chamber?

  120. A Lacis

    Hey A, there are plenty of us on this board with advanced science and engineering degrees and more importantly the ability to reason. I have a PhD in chemistry, how about you?

    Anyway, real physics experimentation involves more than dry labbing it! Proving a model with a model involves a little circular reasoning, don’t you think?

  121. Roy Spencer says:
    October 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm
    John Christy and I looked through this paper, and agreed that it seems to *imply* that we should worry about global warming from more CO2 because the climate change from a 100% *removal* of CO2 from the atmosphere has 8 times the effect as a 100% *addition* of CO2 to the atmosphere.
    If that line of reasoning doesn’t make any sense to you…..then join the club.>>

    Ah, but it DOES make sense. The paper wasn’t written for you, or for anyone with any background in science for that matter. It was written for the press, public and politicians who do not understand what “logarithmic” means. Claiming that the effects of CO2 are so large that removal of the trace amounts currently in the atmosphere would cause an ice age gives the impression that a small amount more would have as big an effect, but doesn’t actually say so. It is perception management, not science.

    That said, I think the knob analogy should be endorsed rather than ridiculed. Why? Because it is the perfect opportunity to provide a simple explanation that almost anyone can understand and exposes to them how they have been deliberately misled. It goes like this:

    Yup, CO2 is exaclty like a control knob. Its not one of those digital control knobs though that is calibrated to specific values at specific settings. There’s no microprocessor in the climate system checking the settings. It is more like a water tap in your shower. Turn it all the way off, and no water flows (ice age). Turn it “on” a quarter turn, and you get water, lots of it. Turn it on a half turn, and the flow rate goes up perhaps 20%. By the time you get to a full turn, almost no increase happens, and the next few complete turns that open the valve as far as it will go make even less difference. That’s what “logarithmic” means, that’s why turning it down from 1/4 on causes a huge difference (ice age) but turning it up from 1/4 on is close to meaningless.

    Not to mention that using an “ideal model” which ignores so many variables is like me telling my wife that flushing the toilet won’t have any effect on the temperature of her shower. Good way for me to get a smack with a wooden stick. With a knob on the end. I’d complain to the police but she would just claim that the knob on the end of the stick was me, and show them a computer simulation of a stick hitting a knob with my name on the knob which would be proof of her theory. After the police left she would hit me on the knob with her stick with a knob and tell me that if I ever flush the toilet while she is in the shower again, she’ll cut my knob right off. I’m rambling here…oh yeah, overdue for my medication. Its in the bathroom cabinet, the one with the white knob… gotta go pull that knob.

  122. Some posters have lamented that most of the others are not addressing the main point of the Gavin paper; rather they are making jokes, knob jokes no less, and otherwise engaging in ad-mominem attacks. It would be helpful if someone with skill in the craft would post a link to a definitive analysis showing why Gavin’s model is wrong.

  123. Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments

    Just stop right there. Can’t perform experiments with models.

  124. I think they were just trying to settle the age-old question of how much of the 33K greenhouse effect can we attribute to CO2, H2O, and other GHGs etc.

    We can probably just quote these numbers from now on (previously there has been lots of varying numbers used).

    But we should also keep in mind that global warming theory assumes that CO2/GHGs also controls virtually all of the H2O and clouds as well.

    Without CO2/GHGs, there is only about 10% of water vapour left. You can see this in the idea put forward by the authors that if we removed all of the CO2, then the Earth would be frozen. Frozen with hardly any water vapour that is.

    So we can quote that water vapour is 75% of the greenhouse effect, but we should understand that the 3.0C per doubling of CO2 proposition is based on a theoritical framework where that 75% is (90%) controlled by the CO2/GHG levels.

    I would also comment that the study did not take into account the short-wave solar irradiance absorption of the same gases. Clouds, for example, are 25% of the greenhouse effect, but the amount of sunlight they reflect actually reduces the total energy/temperature at the Earth’s surface. The negative is bigger than the positive. (Next study should be to start netting all these impacts out so we have a better understanding of each individual gas).

    That and we really need to nail down how water vapour actually changes (in reality, not in a climate model) to changes in temperature and changes in CO2/GHG levels.

  125. ” Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments…”

    That’s the take-away phrase. And, to my ignorant mind, with only 18 years of formal education, that phrase translates into this: “We took on of our beloved computer climate models, finagled the constants which we use in place of the subroutine(s) dealing with the highly complex relationship of water vapor to temperature, the water cycle generally, and everything else which we do not presently have anything resembling a scientific thought about, and produced these computer runs, which we are treating as if they were data from the real world.”

    Did I miss something?

    At the risk of violating WUWT’s commenting rules, the only “knobs” in this business are the ones in Washington who want to get their hands more fully around our necks, so they can squeeze more tightly. My apologies if that’s a violation.

  126. So, in a nut shell, “Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments” and discovered…knobs. These men have to get out more.

  127. OXYMORON = “idealized climate model experiments”. This encapsulates one of the major problems with this field. Analyses after analyses with unvalidated models, unconstrained by empirical evidence (except when it’s convenient).

  128. Roy Spencer says:
    October 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Dr. Spencer. I have a policy, after the great Marx [Groucho] that I would not care to belong to any club that would have me.

    Having said that I have to admit that you and Dr. Christie do have a most cogent point. With which I largely agree.

    I am not joining your club mind, I prefer to remain baffled, bemused and bewildered all on my lonesome.

    Kindest Regards

  129. I learned a new term today. But I was talking about temperature knobs, not my momma’s knobs. However, I also wasn’t raised by my momma. My grandma raised me. She was in silent movies, and she had bodacious …um …er …temperature control devices.

  130. Johannes Rexx says:
    October 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Huh? They illustrate their “model” with a freakin’ cartoon, and we are supposed to respond to this as if it is data? It’s just Lysenkoism posturing as science beneath a garb of gobble-de-gook and made up jargon.

    Science=hypothesis===EXPERIMENT==refinement===new hypothesis===repeat as necessary. Models are just hypotheses that remain as such until tested by experimentation. An untested hypothesis remains an untested hypothesis. Anyone can come up with them, and that ain’t science.

  131. New Climate Fight, Same as the Old One?
    ANDREW C. REVKIN
    http://nyti.ms/chr08F

    “The decade-long effort to pass comprehensive climate legislation framed around a declining cap and trading for carbon dioxide emissions died an ignominious death.”

    Congratulation to all who opposed this policy, as it was not based on the observed data.

    http://bit.ly/cuMYIz

    The purpose of the climate legislation was to reduce global warming by reducing human emission of CO2. However, the data clearly shows there is NO relationship between human emission of CO2 and global warming.

    Here is the observed global mean temperature trend for 90-years from 1910 to 2000:

    http://bit.ly/bylFMq

    1) Global warming rate of 0.15 deg C per decade from 1910 to 1940, which gives a global warming of 0.45 deg C during the previous 30-years warming phase.

    2) Global warming rate of 0.16 deg C per decade from 1970 to 2000, which gives a global warming of 0.48 deg C during the recent 30-years warming phase.

    3) Slight global cooling from 1940 to 1970.

    As a result, the effect of 60 years of human emission of CO2 between the two warming phases on the global warming rate is nil.

    Also, the effect of 30 years of human emission of CO2 during the global cooling phase from 1940 to 1970 is obviously nil.

    The data above describes the global mean temperature trend for 90 years until year 2000.

    What is the global mean temperature trend since 2000?

    4) Since year 2000, the global mean temperature anomaly trend is nearly flat at 0.4 deg C as shown in the following plot:

    http://bit.ly/aDni90

    In conclusion, man-made global warming is not supported by the observed data.

    According to the data, according to the apolitical science, the effect of human emission of CO2 on global mean temperature is NIL.

    The biggest scare of our lifetime is coming to an end soon. Congratulation to all!

    Girma Orssengo, PhD

  132. Johannes Rexx says:
    October 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm
    “It would be helpful if someone with skill in the craft would post a link to a definitive analysis showing why Gavin’s model is wrong.”

    There is no need to show why a non-starter is a non-starter. After all, it is a non-starter.

  133. So if the knob is our center of attention now, we need to focus on knob controls and reductions. And is it just me, or are we about ready to change yet again from the passe terms of “global warming”, “climate change”, and “climate interruption”, to…wait for it…

  134. Johannes Rexx says:
    October 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    It would be helpful if someone with skill in the craft would post a link to a definitive analysis showing why Gavin’s model is wrong.

    Not claiming any “skill”, but if “wrong” means contradicted by real data, then – unless Gavin’s model is inconsistent with the other GCM’s – perhaps because real data does not indicate the presence of a Tropical Tropospheric Hot Spot, the “fingerprint” of CO2 AGW?

  135. JPeden, if they are just now discovering the knobs, it is no wonder they haven’t found the elusive Tropical Tropospheric Hot Spot.

  136. Actually I have to take issue with Roy Spencer and those agreeing with him. Reducing CO2 100% is certainly going to cause more cooling than doubling it will increase heating. This is because there are indeed certain frequencies where CO2 absorbs and H2O doesn’t. At the present CO2 levels, these bands are mostly saturated.* So if you remove all CO2 these bands will be open and radiation will be able to escape, while doubling CO2 will cause much less increase in absorption.

    * Some caveats should be observed such as widening of bands from pressure in the lower atmosphere and in general from the relative velocity of the molecules in the atmosphere. Also at many frequencies H2O will absorb to some extend so it isn’t an all or nothing effect. And there will also be more of an effect once we’re above the clouds and there isn’t much H2O interfering with the CO2.

  137. Johannes Rexx says:
    October 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    “Some posters have lamented that most of the others are not addressing the main point of the Gavin paper; rather they are making jokes, knob jokes no less, and otherwise engaging in ad-mominem attacks. It would be helpful if someone with skill in the craft would post a link to a definitive analysis showing why Gavin’s model is wrong.”

    The Gavin Schmidt et al. model does not predict real world conditions, therefor the model is in error. and no matter how many times it is run with individual atmospheric constituents deleted it yields the same answer.
    The model was created to prove CO2 was the cause of global temperature change and that is what it does. There is no science here, just a computer program and a poor one at that, doing that it was created to do. pg

  138. Johannes Rexx says:
    October 14, 2010 at 6:39 pm
    Some posters have lamented that most of the others are not addressing the main point of the Gavin paper; rather they are making jokes, knob jokes no less, and otherwise engaging in ad-mominem attacks. It would be helpful if someone with skill in the craft would post a link to a definitive analysis showing why Gavin’s model is wrong.

    Hint, models are not experiments. The paper goes downhill from there.

  139. What an uninteresting paper. Significant changes in water vapor are due to ocean cycles. Go look at the Aqua data.
    That’s what the data show, and although co2 has at least some role in the grand scheme of things, to entirely rob the ocean of any significant cause is disturbing. And to argue that without co2’s role we’ll go into an ice age, is even more disturbing, because guess whats been happening for the last million years, glacial cycles!!! lol

    How did we get to this point? It’s kinda sad.

  140. Following up on Girma’s post at 7:13 pm, relative to the warming and cooling periods of the last decade: IF CO2 is, ‘ . . the most potent greenhouse “control knob” ‘, then with CO2 constantly increasing since the 1900s (or before), WHY HASN’T THE TEMPERATURE FOLLOWED IT CLOSELY ?

    That in itself (in my opinion) renders this paper NONSENSE. Let alone that fact (as pointed out by so many) that these are computer runs, and not validated by real world situations.

    I would be ashamed if I were one of the authors, to have my name associated with this paper . . .

    . . . that is, unless it is supposed to be propaganda for the ‘general public’ who may not take time to investigate the issue, as most here have, and hoping they call their congressmen . . .

    Part of me sure hopes that the shift in the PDO/AMO, and the latest low solar cycle, does in the next year what some theorize it might . . . we could use some good hard freezes to kill a lot of the bugs here in the Arizona desert.

  141. A few random thoughts re some comments above:

    Brego – continuous IR emission from CO2, water vapor, and other gases is easily demonstrable as a function of temperature. You can probably do the experiment at home with a simple apparatus.

    Bill Illis – changes in tropospheric water vapor are not merely matters of speculation or model estimates but have been accurately measured since the inception of advanced SSM/I and HIRS technology (earlier radiosonde measurements were beset by problems of instrumental bias). Absolute humidity has risen in concert with temperature, with relative humidity remaining approximately constant.

    JPeden – the “tropospheric hot spot” is not a fingerprint of AGW but a consequence of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, and is an expectation from warming due to any cause – solar, GHGs, etc. Although the issue is not yet completely resolved, disparities between predictions and observations have diminished as instrumentation has improved.

    Andy Lacis and Roy Spencer – Regarding my own earlier questions as to the cited 1.2 C warming for a “no feedback” CO2 doubling, vs a calculated 1 C warming simply from the value of an “effective radiating temperature (Te)”, an additional possibility that does not require a lapse rate change is that Te can in theory increase by only 1 C even if temperature at every layer uniformly increases by 1.2 C. This paradoxical result would ensue if the weighting of different altitudes in determining Te shifted to afford greater weight to higher, colder altitudes. Even if these warmed by 1.2 C, their greater weight would bring down the weighted average somewhat to yield a value of 1 C. For exact quantitation, one would need a model rather than back of the envelope calculations.

  142. Pamela Gray says:
    October 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm
    So, in a nut shell, “Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments” and discovered…knobs. These men have to get out more.>>

    No! No! No! They might meet someone and wind up having children. Children inherit traits from their parents and these guys have traits the gene pool could do without.

    On that basis, I think it to the advantage of our species’ long term survival that they remain in the lab and focus on their own knobs as much as possible. They can eat, sleep, and play in the lab with their knobs. If they tire of their own knobs, I understand that there are such things as virtual knobs that they can download from the internet until they get interested in their own knobs again.

    As for your wise crack about “climate interruption”, please be advised that the coffee went up my nose and I’ve managed to spatter the keyboard, screen, and the laser printer. Thanks. Another reason, BTW, for them to stay in the lab. Virtual knobs are never attached to a person with a pair of disappointed eyes. Their egos are fragile enough as it is without that stress as well.

  143. A Lacis says:
    October 14, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    “It is discouraging that most of the commentators here appear to be lacking enough of a basic physics background to comment intelligently on the global warming problem. The world that we live in operates according to the laws of physics, you know. You will do better in understanding global warming if you pay attention to the physics involved.”

    Mr. Lacis – why don’t you tell us what physics your stupid Model E code is simulating – really, as someone who has worked in computational science for over 20 years, it is THE WORST documented (and written) codes I’ve ever encountered. What differential equations are you solving? What models? Why don’t you have a comprehensive manual describing the numerical methods in a coherent manner?

    We really need to start thinking about defunding this kind of research and centralize the climate modeling at places like NCAR, where they know what they’re doing…

  144. Oh dear me! How to communicate with the cow eyed dense and stupid childlike masses so they can understand it?
    This is what these scientific Gods really think of you and me, it really is. You see these elites believe that we ordinary Joes cannot hope to understand the complex models and scientific principles so a Jack &Jill nursery version filled with easy to understand catchy simple words must be used hence the control knob terminology.

    They really do have a low opinion of our intellectual abilities when they feel they must treat us a drooling kiddies. The good news is that they are too arrogant to notice that their irritating condescension makes enemies not friends.

  145. Fred Moolten says:
    October 14, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    JPeden – the “tropospheric hot spot” is not a fingerprint of AGW but a consequence of the Clausius-Clapeyron equation, and is an expectation from warming due to any cause – solar, GHGs, etc. Although the issue is not yet completely resolved, disparities between predictions and observations have diminished as instrumentation has improved.

    Therefore, even accepting that the “disparities” are being correctly resolved and the “fingerprint” was not a specifically AGW prediction, it still remains that the atmosphere has shown no definite sign of warming!

  146. I found this quote from a summary of a Richard Alley talk, which I found by searching for “CO2” and “control knob”.

    “lthough he characterizes himself as not being an atmospheric scientist, except perhaps by default, but as he looks more and more at paleo-geology, it becomes clear how important CO2 is. He has found that CO2 makes a great organising principle for his class on the geology of climate change at Penn State, because CO2 keeps cropping up everywhere. So, he’s going to take us through the history to demonstrate this. His central argument is that we have plenty of evidence now (some of it very new) that CO2 dominates all other factors, hence “the biggest control knob” (later in the talk he extended the metaphor by referring to other forcings as fine tuning knobs).”

    AGU Day 2: The role of CO2 in the earth’s history

    It doesn’t surprise me that the climate modelers and the paleoclimatologists are locked in a self-reinforcing cycle. Somebody needs to find a lever that moves the scientific world off the CO2 – climate forcing paradigm, or we’ll keep seeing these self-confirming research reports. There’s lots of candidates but I don’t see the big stick yet.

  147. Pamela Gray says:
    October 14, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    JPeden, if they are just now discovering the knobs, it is no wonder they haven’t found the elusive Tropical Tropospheric Hot Spot.

    Yes, they must be really really blind.

  148. u.k.(us) says:
    October 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    quote of the weak

    Classic. Good job I didn’t have a drink or any other extraneous substance such as food in my mouth or you would have owed me mate.

    A Lacis.

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful but this study is a load of codswallop!
    Do you seriously think that the oceans have less overall effect than CO2? If so I suggest you re-take your degree course except you’d probably pass as the professor is probably equally blind to reality.
    The evaporation, & subsequent convective movement of the energy involved is huge in comparison to CO2 radiative absorption & re-radiation, witness the total inefficacy of IR absorption coatings in double glazing in comparison to another layer of air-gap & glazing.

    DaveE.

  149. Louis Hissink says:
    October 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Phillip Bratby

    “Not more climate model evidence. These people have just proved that they are not scientists.”

    True, Gavin Schmidt is a mathematician.

    Subtle but accurate.

    DaveE.

  150. Stephen Wilde says: October 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm “In 1922 Chamberlin thought the role of CO2 had been greatly overemphasized and that not enough attention had been given to the role of ocean in the climate.” Good for him. What happened ?

    reply: The statement came towards the end of Chamberlin’s career. He was 79 in 1922. Not much happened in climate science in the roaring twenties and the Great Depression didn’t foster much research either. In 1938, Guy Callendar, building on the work of John Tyndall and Arrhenius, proposed an effect fossil-fuel sourced CO2 has on global climate. Although neglecting Chamberlin’s concerns, Callendar’s “Effect” revived interest in the question of CO2 greenhouse warming. WW II distracted climate research. Interest got going again in the 50s with Maurice Ewing, Wm. Donn, Gilbert Plass, Roger Revelle, and Hans Seuss.

  151. You do know that with the atmosphere having a static optical thickness to infrared as laid out in a peer-reviewed paper complete with empirical supporting evidence, carbon dioxide can have no effect on temperature in a planetary atmosphere which also contains a tri-state infrared active chemical such as water in high (here on Earth basically unlimited) concentration.

    GISS knows this and are simply lying again for the money. This is actually a crime committed once again.

  152. “”For example, water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas and is more abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere and thus plays a different role than carbon dioxide and other, noncondensing greenhouse gases, such as ozone, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.””

    Amazing! Water vapour sure does play a different role. When it condenses it releases energy. 1 gram of water vapour holds enough energy to raise the temperature of 620 grams of water 1 degree celsius and there is in the order of 13 million million tons of it in the air no matter how much it rains anywhere on the planet.

  153. Isn’t it about time that NASA showed some leadership and moved the Kennedy Space Center to higher ground, say Colorado, so they don’t get swamped in the next few years?

  154. What a load of c–p! Water vapour is the atmospheric thermostat by latent heat. Do these people live in a dream world? Oh I forgot we decided before that they do.

  155. @TerryS

    Beat me to it (by a very long way).

    I held out slender hope that this used some sort of idealised *physical* setup and then extrapolated from that to the ever-so-slightly more complex real world.

    At least that represents *something* to warrant the headline claim.

    But no. At what point am I supposed to accept that running a simulation is an experiment? I dare say we could “prove” a *lot* of very novel and apparently contentious theories in other fields using that method.

  156. So we’ve had that infamous female teacher pressing her 10:10 Red Button… closely followed by the guys from GISS playing with their Control Knob… so I get the message that climate science has no gender bias… and I get the idea that it is getting a bit hot and steamy down there in the greenhouse at the bottom of the garden… it must be all that CO2 running rampant in the hot house.

    Now I am pleased that they have been enjoying themselves… but unfortunately all this mental [/snip] is at our expense… so dare I say it… but its time to put your heads down and do some real science…

    [REPLY: Lets try to keep the dialog a bit cleaner,,, K? …. bl57~mod]

  157. I’m curious

    Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere, in order to illustrate their roles in controlling the temperature of the air.

    since when are model runs “experiments”? It’s certainly not what I think of as an experiment.

  158. It’s infinitely sad to see science debased like this. Just a few days ago we saw a study that ‘proves’ a more active sun means a colder world. Apart from the fact that it flies in the face of a vast amount of evidence it was based on – wait for it – three years of data. No doubt the three year period was carefully cherry-picked.

    And now we have this nonsense. First, they build climate models that have the CO2 assumption built in. Then they use the models to ‘prove’ that the CO2 assumption is correct. This is a perfect example of circular reasoning. It has nothing to do with science. It’s pure propaganda.

    Why do they use models and not empirical data? The answer is obvious. In the natural, real world there’s not a shred of evidence that supports their theory. The ice cores show that CO2 follows the temperature. As far as I’m aware the ice cores show no sign of a CO2 change triggering a temperature change.

    It does begin to look like the whole thing is slowly, slowly falling apart. It’s noticeable that over the last year there seem to be more of these demonstrably nonsensical studies emanating from the establishment. Deep down, they probably realise they’re losing and that the only ammunition they have left is a pile of duds.
    Chris

  159. [REPLY: Lets try to keep the dialog a bit cleaner,,, K? …. bl57~mod]

    Thank you for just snipping the offending word… I was trying to make a serious point… that these guys are seriously out of control in a very Freudian sense.

  160. “Although carbon dioxide’s greenhouse effect has been known for more than 100 years, its primary role in climate warming is still not universally acknowledged. ”

    Not universally aknowledged? Does this mean the 98-or-so % of all scientists who agree on global warming aknowledge something else??? It is worse than we thought.

  161. Brego says:
    October 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    I have news for you Einstein, liquids and solids are the only forms of matter that continuously emit IR energy. Gases cannot do that.

    I hope you are being careless with your wording and mean in a continuous (i.e. grey body) spectrum and not continuous in time. You are confusing Fred Moolten already.

    It is worth noting that as the gas pressure increases IR emission will become more black body like.

  162. Cold Englishman says: “Climate change will be blamed and our rulers will decide to urgently increase the construction of windmills.”

    This would be funny, if it was not so scary. All British political parties believe the way to the UK’s energy salvation is by building forests of giant windmills in the North Sea. I am sure – apart from the occasional warmist ranter – no reader of WUWT needs any explanation of the stupidity and horrendous economic cost of this policy. At the same time our politicians shy away from the obvious and only sane solution of nuclear power.

    I reluctantly have told my children that their best hope is to emigrate, the policies of expanding welfare dependence, runaway bureaucratic growth and dependency on bad science have resulted in a grim future for those of us living on this side of the pond.

  163. “Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere, in order to illustrate their roles in controlling the temperature of the air.”

    A.k.a more models. More theoretical models. Will anyone actually do a real experiment? Throw the d-mn computers away and study this effect like real scientists. They won’t do it because it’s 1) hard and 2) probably won’t give them the answer they want.

  164. Quote: “noncondensing greenhouse gases, such as ozone, methane and chlorofluorocarbons.”

    I must be gullible then…
    If you can compress these gases with enough force, they become liquid. The pressure on this planet is insufficient to compress these gases into a liquid state. But the gases still play a small part in our atmosphere.

  165. Einstein theorized about gravity warping space (and he didn’t even use a computer model!) People were skeptical of this radical idea for decades until physical observation of the stars behind a solar eclipse was made to confirm the theory. The proof came from someone completely removed from originator of the idea.

    In the case of AGW, people have an idea, then they code that idea into a computer and the computer confirms the idea. The physical observations are extremely weak or only very indirectly proof of the idea, if proof at all. So the science continues to churn. Where is the hard-core physical evidence and why aren’t these clowns trying to get it? All we get are more and more computer models and maybe some massaged proxy data. If the AGW crowd want to prove their idea, they need to start looking for the physical data. The direct irrefutable observation of physical data.

    Come on: proving that CO2 is or is not warming the planet can’t be any more difficult than proving gravity warps space?

  166. I would also like to draw readers’ attention to the over-the-top editorializing that oocurs at the end of their article. I have highlighted the scare words which is now a trademark of GISS publications:

    “The anthropogenic radiative forcings that fuel the growing terrestrial greenhouse effect continue unabated. The continuing high rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is particularly worrisome, because the present CO2 level of 390 ppm is far in excess of the 280 ppm that is more typical for the interglacial maximum, and still the atmospheric CO2 control knob is now being turned faster than at any time in the geological record (20). The concern is that we are well past even the 300- to 350-ppm target level for atmospheric CO2, beyond which dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system would exceed the 25% risk tolerance for impending degradation of land and ocean ecosystems, sea-level rise, and inevitable disruption of socioeconomic and foodproducing infrastructure (21, 22). Furthermore, the atmospheric residence time of CO2 is exceedingly long, being measured in thousands of years (23). This makes the reduction and control of atmospheric CO2 a serious and pressing issue, worthy of real-time attention.”

    I have reviewed many journal papers in my field, and this kind of editorializing would have been flagged as highly inappropriate. Needless to say, they simply don’t care in the climate science community.

  167. “The anthropogenic radiative forcings that fuel the growing terrestrial greenhouse effect continue unabated. The continuing high rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is particularly worrisome, because the present CO2 level of 390 ppm is far in excess of the 280 ppm that is more typical for the interglacial maximum, and still the atmospheric CO2 control knob is now being turned faster than at any time in the geological record (20). The concern is that we are well past even the 300- to 350-ppm target level for atmospheric CO2, beyond which dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system would exceed the 25% risk tolerance for impending degradation of land and ocean ecosystems, sea-level rise, and inevitable disruption of socioeconomic and foodproducing infrastructure (21, 22). Furthermore, the atmospheric residence time of CO2 is exceedingly long, being measured in thousands of years (23). This makes the reduction and control of atmospheric CO2 a serious and pressing issue, worthy of real-time attention.”

    Does the logical fallacy “SLIPPERY SLOPE” ring a bell?

  168. There are consequences for doing real observations and measurements over time. Darwin, sleeping in a bed way too short for him during the four years of the epic voyage of HMS Beagle, shrank in height by a measurable amount, over an inch, if my memory serves me correctly.
    Does sitting playing with models every working day shrink one’s intellect?

  169. “Furthermore, the atmospheric residence time of CO2 is exceedingly long, being measured in thousands of years”

    Didn’t APS say it was hundreds of years? Now it’s thousands of years? Why not just say it’s indefinite. No molecule of CO2 will ever come out of the atmosphere once it’s there. That’s even scarier.

  170. Has anyone else noticed that when the pestest and grightest among us “get it wrong” and they come out with a NASA GISS Study like this, that Mother Nature has a habit of becoming really mad and making things uncomfortable for all of us? I guess she thinks it’s a might stupid on our part and she needs to deflate our egos. I have a terrible feeling the Ol’ Girl isn’t going to like what these guys and gals are saying. Wish they’d done it in the northern Spring and NOT in the Fall. I hate too much snow and ice; I really do;-(

  171. We know that water condenses out of the atmosphere, you only had to be living in Canberra for the last month to see all that condensing going on. But my question is, how much CO2 is dissolved in the rain ?. Does colder rain dissolve more CO2 ?
    I would have thought that with all the rain SE Australia has had recently the local atmosphere should now be scrubbed clean of CO2. Of course I could be totally wrong with this idea. Now where can I get a pH kit?

  172. When I was an academic, my colleagues and I used to laugh about the “standard language” in papers within any field. We too put this “standard language” in all of our papers. It was basically an unspoken rule of the game. Even though our research was purely for the advancement of knowledge and for no practical purpose at all, we would still include in the introduction how the research has far ranging consequences in “blah blah blah”…whatever the favorite mantra happened to be. Like flat panel displays, or curing cancer, etc. You always had to have about three or four of these bogus claims that nobody really believed. It was just window dressing that everyone overlooked. When you would read papers in your field, you’d gloss over all the gratuitous commentary and get to the meat of the paper. That commentary was simply overlooked because everyone knew it was just “doing business”. You focussed on the data, the science, and the conclusions (which didn’t contain the vacuous statements found in the introduction)

    However in the AGW field, it appears to me that there is no meat in the papers and all the gratuitous window dressing, the “over-the-top” statements, the wild speculations ARE the purpose of the paper. Those are the pieces the “scientists” are focussing on. And they show up in the conclusions!

  173. This is known as preaching to the choir. The intended audience are those folks who want to hear these exact words. Unfortunately, the congregation has had enough and are already filing out of the church.

  174. Slabadang says: October 14, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    I called GISS today! Forest Gump is Vice president on thier climate research!

    Knobby is as knobby does.

  175. ZT says: October 14, 2010 at 11:38 am
    Hmm…they say (eventually):
    “To this end, we performed a simple climate experiment with the GISS 2° × 2.5° AR5 version of ModelE, using the Q-flux ocean with a mixedlayer depth of 250 m, zeroing out all the noncondensing GHGs and aerosols.”

    So. Using a model that simulates with some degree of precision the past climate response to certain variables that are input into the computer with assumed values:

    Estimated regional response to atsmospheric airflow;
    Estimated effect of surface ocean flux;
    Estimated effect of noncondensing GHGs and aerosols;
    Estimated effect of [CO2];
    Estimated effect of everything else;

    they zeroed out the estimated effect of noncondensing GHGs and aerosols and determined that [CO2] was the most potent control knob.

    brilliant

  176. More computer models, still no use of real-world evidence and tests. In Asimov’s Foundation sci-fi books, scientists of the future no longer do field work, as it has all been done, they just review previous papers (presumably “peer-reviewed”). Asimov’s death of the scientific method has arrived in the form of computer programs.

  177. If these “climate modellers” are so worried about CO2, why don’t they reduce their carbon footprint by scrapping all the computers and use pencil and paper?
    It would at least reduce the number of rubbish papers they produce!

  178. I have been trying to understand the CO2 problem. In reading both sides and the numerous posts both here and elsewhere here is what I have come up with. Please feel free to refute, correct or dismiss, etc.

    The amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is 390 ppm.
    Of that amount, we humans are responsible for about 5%.
    In doing the math then the percentage of our atmosphere that is CO2 is 390 divided by 1,000,000 which equals 39/1,000th of 1%….Yes or No?

    If we are responsible for 5% of the entire CO2 in our atmosphere then that amounts to 5% of 390 ppm or about 20 ppm. So doing the math and taking 20 divided by 1,000,000 we end up with 2/1,000ths of 1%….Yes or No?

    I made this comment on a story of electric cars and charging stations on NPR.org

    Imagine a pie chart of our atmosphere. Now slice out 39/1,000th of 1% of that pie. That is the total carbon in our atmosphere. Now imagine that small slice being another pie chart of total CO2 in our atmosphere (both naturally occuring and man-caused). Now slice 5% out of that pie. That is what we humans contribute. Now imagine that 2/1,000ths of 1% devastating planet earth…..because I can’t!

    Have at it…am I way off on this?

  179. David A. Evans says:
    October 14, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    The evaporation, & subsequent convective movement of the energy involved is huge in comparison to CO2 radiative absorption & re-radiation,

    And the loss to space by radiation is infinitely bigger than the loss by convection!

  180. Phil. says:

    “…the loss to space by radiation is infinitely bigger than the loss by convection!”

    Wrong once again. Light atoms [eg; helium] and molecules [hydrogen] routinely escape to space. They don’t do it by radiation.

  181. They seem to be confusing C02 with clouds and the oceans, but yes, the earth does have a pretty remarkable thermostat, keeping our temperatures fairly even.
    When all you have is a C02 hammer, everything looks like a climate nail.

  182. Phil. says:
    October 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough.

    I know that ultimately radiation is the main loss of energy but how does the radiative loss from the surface compare?
    The switch from double to triple glazing is far more effective than IR radiative mirroring which suggests that conduction & convection play a much larger rôle than that attributed.

    DaveE.

  183. Mike says:
    October 15, 2010 at 9:07 am
    “… Now imagine that 2/1,000ths of 1% devastating planet earth…..because I can’t!
    Have at it…am I way off on this?”

    I think you got it. That’s why I call this “Pathalogical Science”. They want to attribute fantastic effects to such a small input.

  184. “”” Gareth says:
    October 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm
    I sometimes wonder why empirical evidence is not being obtained to support man made climate disruption warming change along the lines of creating artificial atmospheres that match Earth’s in sealed units with different concentrations of CO2 but other variables constant, expose them to a regulated light source and demonstrate that the extra CO2 results in a warmer temperature. “””

    Gareth you are right; it is not that difficult experiment to do. As far as I know, it has NEVER been done in public so we could all watch. People have certainly tried to do it in public; but they have ALL made the same mistake that you just made:-

    “”” expose them to a regulated light source “””

    There is your problem. the “Greenhouse Gas” effect has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH LIGHT.

    LIGHT by definition is visible to the HUMAN eye, and is generally in the spectral range of 400 to 800 nm wavelength.

    The Greenhouse gas effect that involves CO2, H2O, CH4, O3 , whatever is involved with ONLY that thermal LWIR radiation that is emitted by the gound, ocean and atmosphere due to their Temperatures, and generally is limited to the spectral range from about 5.0 microns to about 80 microns (98%) corresponding to a mean earth Temperature of about 288K, or +15 deg C.

    So you can do the experiemnt but instead of your “light source” you have to use a LWIR thermal radiation source; such as perhaps an ordinary brick out of your garden; whcih you can chill down to about 15 C with a few minutes in the fridge.

    Well actually nobody is going to rag on you if you just leave the brick at room temperature of maybe 20-25 deg C. But that is the correct sort of energy source that you need to use to demonstrate the greenhouse warming effect in your two atmospheric samples containing different trace amounts of CO2.

    Unlike light which the human eye can detect; the LWIR thermal radiation from a brick; which would be about 390 W/m^2 at +15 deg C, is NOT DETECTABLE by ANY human sensory mechanism. We don’t detect it as “light”; we certainly don’t detect it as “heat”.

    So yes it is quite trivial to do the experiment as you suggest; it is just that everyone who tries it; decides to fake it; and use some other source of energy; which simply is an invalid experiment.

    And once again we learn that molecules of “whatever” are perfectly happy to emit copius quantities of electromagnetic radiation while they are part of either a solidd mass, or a liquid mass; but that the instant they are freed from that constraint, to become independent gas molecules they instantly cease radiating electromagnetic radiation. Simply amazing that such a phenomenon seems to be not well known as it should be.

  185. Pamela Gray says:
    October 14, 2010 at 7:42 pm
    “Manmade …” …okay…I can’t say it. And I’m quite sure I would be snipped if I did.

    “Manmade …Global Knob Twisting?”

  186. Frank K,

    citation:
    Furthermore, the atmospheric residence time of CO2 is exceedingly long, being measured in thousands of years (23). This makes the reduction and control of atmospheric CO2 a serious and pressing issue, worthy of real-time attention.”

    Ref 23 is to the paper of Joos et al, who have provided the IPCC with their carbon cycle model, and confirm their model in this paper. The entire IPCC AR4 is based on their work. No small wonder that they found the same.

    Another error is the following:

    The Sun is the source of energy that heats
    Earth. Besides direct solar heating of the ground,
    there is also indirect longwave (LW) warming
    arising from the thermal radiation that is emitted
    by the ground, then absorbed locally within the
    atmosphere, from which it is re-emitted in both
    upward and downward directions, further heating
    the ground and maintaining the temperature gradient
    in the atmosphere. This radiative interaction
    is the greenhouse effect, which was first discovered
    by Joseph Fourier in 1824 (2), experimentally
    verified by John Tyndall in 1863 (3),
    and quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896 (4).

    This nonsense is based on backradiation of a solid black body. CO2 is a gas, not abody. It loses its absorbed energy by vibration, rotation and movement. Not by acting as a solid mass. It is not. The range of its emissions are limited by the pressure at which it is.

    The entire paper is BS. I sincerely ask myself why I used to have such high esteem of papers published in Science?

    And I did never smoke pot.

  187. Anything that may be construed by serious minds [sorry, Pamela] as “a control knob” for a process must necessarily act comprehensibly in advance of changes in that process. This fundamental causal requirement is what makes CO2 a non-starter as a climate regulator. Whether it’s ice core proxies at millennial scales or instrument measurements at monthly or yearly scales, changes in CO2 concentrations demonstrably LAG the temperature signal in all real-world observations. We can argue until we’re blue in the face about what unvalidated theories say about the expected “climate sensitivity,” but there’s no in situ data demonstrating that modern-era changes in CO2 concentrations have any coherent effect on global temperatures. The two metrics are either virtually incoherent, or CO2 consistently follows T as a product of oceanic outgassing.

    P.S. to Pamela: Having previously noted your fondness for wine, dare I ask whether Knob Creek is one of your favorites?

  188. “Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere”

    David Springer and collegues conducted a set of idealized NASA management experiments. After a series of five colder than normal North American winters and springs with late killer frosts Gavin Schmidt and James Hansen were asked to resign.

  189. George E. Smith says:
    October 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    There is your problem. the “Greenhouse Gas” effect has absolutely NOTHING TO DO WITH LIGHT.

    LIGHT by definition is visible to the HUMAN eye, and is generally in the spectral range of 400 to 800 nm wavelength.

    So what’s up with the term ultraviolet light? Or infrared light?

    In fact George, light isn’t just what can be seen by the naked eye. What can be seen by the naked eye is called visible light.

  190. George E. Smith;
    in response to Gareth says
    Gareth you are right; it is not that difficult experiment to do. As far as I know, it has NEVER been done in public so we could all watch. People have certainly tried to do it in public; but they have ALL made the same mistake that you just made:>>

    The experiment in fact has been done, documented, and published. There was no mistake made in terms of using a simple light source, the researcher is quite detailed in terms of the specific IR frequencies used, how they were generated and measured as well as document the manner in which the artificial atmosphere was created right down to the water vapour. It is a pretty easy read and the conclusions easy to understand. There is much criticism of this paper in that there are matters in the real atmosphere that this experiment does not mimic, the change in water vapour levels with altitude for one example, but in terms of the experiment Gareth describes, it has in fact been done. No one has ever debunked it, all the criticism is in regard to what happens in a real atmosphere versus a closed cylinder:

    http://www.john-daly.com/artifact.htm

  191. Mike;
    The amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is 390 ppm.
    Of that amount, we humans are responsible for about 5%.>>

    You begin with this assumption and the balance of your math is predicated upon it. In all things climate (or any science) it depends on whose numbers you believe are credible. In general however, the discussion of gobal warming refers to background or natural levels of CO2 as being 280 PPM with current levels at 390 PPM. So for starters the argument is based on a 30% to 40% increase from human emissions, not 5%.

    Secondly, calculating the percentage of the atmosphere that is man made CO2 and concluding that it is too small to be significant is not valid. That would be like claiming that visible light goes through a triple pane glass window 3 cm thick, so a coat of paint 1 mm thick couldn’t possibly stop it. You have to dig deeper into the physics, and it is of course far more complicated that just stopping it or not.

    That said, in my mind the real issue is that once you get past all the details of the physics and how CO2 potentially contains infrared radiance, the calculations boil down to two issues. The first is that CO2’s effects are logarithmic. If you have a pair of sun glasses that stop 50% of the light, and put another identical pair in front of them, do they stop 100% of the light? Of course not. The first pair blocks 50% and the second pair blocks 50% of what is left, so 25% gets through. Put another pair in the series and you are down to 12.5%. CO2 is precisely the same, which brings us to the second issue which is sensitivity. How much does the first pair of sunglasses (280 PPM of CO2) raise the temperature? Let’s say it is 1 degree. To get a two degree rise, we would need 560 PPM. To get a 3 degree rise, we would need 1,120 PPM. Here is the real place where global scarum theory falls apart. Based on the last century or so, sensitivity is well under 1 degree per doubling. So… for CO2 to increase global temperatures by 2 degrees over natural background levels of 280 PPM, we would have to burn about 10 times as much fossil fuel as we are right now annually, and we would have to do it for a few centuries.

    If you understood all that, it isn’t hard to verify. Then you’ll be ready for a discussion of feedback loops…

  192. A. Lacis
    Your modeling study appears to be well researched and executed – much of the criticism here is no doubt unfair. It might even be a reasonable characterisation of the effect of atmospheric CO2 on climate heat – under one condition: that the planet under study is devoid of multi-cellular life.

    However earth is covered by multicellular life, and this is what clouds the picture somewhat. It brings a huge step-up in complexity and even chaos to the dynamics of atmosphere and climate. An arid lifeless planet might possibly have an atmosphere that could be reasonably approximated by computer models based on radiative balance and some assumptions about convection. But life changes everything.

    A paper by Frank et al 2006 (Leif Svalgaard posted a link to this paper some months ago) summarised the history of all life on earth on a billion year timescale in terms of a “corridor” of survivability, in between the planet’s fiery formation and its ultimate heat sterilisation by an aging and expanding red giant sun.

    http://www.biogeosciences.net/3/85/2006/bg-3-85-2006.pdf

    Essentially we multicellulars have around a billion years left, bacteria perhaps 1.7 billion. The paper includes timelines of global temperature and of atmospheric CO2, as well as estimates of life biomass in the categories of prokaryotes, single and multicelled eukaryotes. One very striking feature of these time-lines is an abrupt transition at -0.5 billion years (Byrs) shown in figures 2 and 6. This is the Cambrian explosion: multicellular life appeared and rapidly expanded, and both temperature and CO2 decreased sharply.

    Why did temperature and CO2 both plunge down together – was it global warming in reverse? Some excellent and detailed research by Beerling and others supplies a probable answer. Plants spread over land from the Silurian to the Carboniferous, and steadily became more efficient in sequestering CO2 from the air by photosynthesis, with evolution of trees and broader more efficient leaves. As if prepared by a cosmic gardener, the Sturtian and Marinoan/Varanger ice ages between 750 and 635 MYa had deposited on the continents “weathered silicates”, the precursors of soil; the end-Ordovician ice age contributed further (these ice ages may have been of the “snowball earth” variety). Plants and trees mixed humates into these silicates to give our soil covered land surface and a profound change in climate. Water was retained on land in much larger quantities and water precipitation and the hydrological cycle stepped up sharply in intensity.

    The sharp fall in CO2 in the early Phanerozoic resulted from a period of coupled positive feedback between evolution of photosynthesising plants and especially trees and broader leaves, sucking more of the (then) abundant CO2 from the air and, as the gas diminished in consequence, favouring more and more efficient CO2 extraction. This is described by Beerling and Berner 2005:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/5/1302.full.pdf+html

    The very weak or non-existent correlation between temperature and CO2 on timescales short of the BYr magnitude – including some further research by Beerling – show that the most likely reason for the fall in temperatures following the Cambrian explosion was the expanded hydrological cycle and clouds – not CO2. CO2 fell due to the evolution of trees and more efficient photosynthesis by plants in general.

    The scientific rebuttals off Gore’s “Inconvenient truth” pointed to the ice core data of the last MYrs or so which reveal that changes in atmospheric CO2 follow temperature swings rather than leading them – thus making CO2 driving of temperature very unlikely. Beerling and Royer in their 2002 paper “Reading a CO2 signal from fossil stomata” add important detail to this:

    http://www.palaeobiology.org.uk/publications/nph153_387.pdf

    The introduction of this paper says this:

    Coupled with isotopic measurements on the ice, analyses of ice cores have shown that CO2 oscillated between 180 and 280 ppm in 100 000 years cycles, in phase with changes in temperature (Petit et al., 1999; Shackleton, 2000). An interesting feature of the high resolution analyses of the millennial palaeoclimate records is that a change in air temperature can apparently occur quite rapidly without changes in CO2 , whereas the converse has not yet been seen to occur (Falkowski et al., 2000).

    So temperature can change independent of CO2, but CO2 clings to the skirts of temperature and follows it.

    So multicellular life brought water and clouds and reduced CO2, and immeasurably complexity, even chaos, to earth’s climate. In the orderly and sterile pre-Cambrian world CO2 might possibly have been a temperature driver (although the Huronian ice age more than 2 BYa was not deterred by almost 50% atmospheric CO2). However in the present more chaotic regime the hydrological cycle and clouds have become the dominant drivers and marginalised the effect of CO2, possibly to almost zero. We learned recently that cloud formations themselves follow the laws of nonequilibrium dynamic chaos, react to each-other spontaneously and display Lyapunov stability:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/12/cloud-cellular-communication/

    Thus the dispute between climate AGW orthodoxy and climate skepticism is one between order and chaos. This is one of the things I like most about it – since the resolution of this conflict will elevate the understanding and study of dynamic chaos and nonequilibrium pattern from the margins of science toward the mainstream.

    Finally, returning to the biosphere’s gloomy timeline for extinction in Frank et al 2006 paper, figure 6 shows something important. What is it that will deal the coup do grace of final extinction to all life on earth? Getting too hot? No – starvation of CO2.

  193. Is it a coincidence that NASA appears to be funding an army of climate change advocates? http://disccrs.org/ Is this new funding?

    Plus, when you can’t dazzle them with Science, try more propaganda from your friends in media, the arts, and even religion. http://www.cbbulletin.com/399483.aspx

    You see, it is their moral obligation. http://www.fw.msu.edu/documents/MoralObligationsOfScientists.pdf

    “When scientists reject advocacy as a principle, they reject a
    fundamental aspect of their citizenship. Because of the nature and
    depth of their knowledge, they have a special responsibility. It is a
    perversion of democracy to muffle the voice of the most
    knowledgeable among us and consequently amplify the voice of
    those with the greatest ignorance.”

    Science, Media, Education, a perversion of religion, Big Energy and the Government. What a glorious Monster.

  194. Re: Mike and davidmhoffer and the likelihood of AGW through anthropogenic CO2.

    Both of you are responding to what I call the Reasonable Man Hypothesis: that a reasonably educated self-thinker (of all genders and preferences) can look at a complicated scenario with multiple parameters, each with its own error bar or uncertainty, and come to a “reasonable” conclusion if the output of the scenario is worth getting excited about. The IPCC supported CAGW seems to me to fail this test. We know that each parameter of input has its uncertainties, but the output is said to be quite certain. Yes, the math is such-and-such, and the computer models predict/project such-and-such. But somewhere in the process we have lost the uncertainties that build one on the other. We also know that the process is biased towards the negative side of the data that is collected, the negative side of data manipulation and the negative side of trend predictions/projections: 1) deselection of stations, non-incorporation of satellite data, 2) refusal to accept significant UHIE, extrapolation and interpolation of data in areas already considered anomalously high, systematic reductions in historic and increases in modern temperatures, 3) non-consideration of negative feedback of clouds as temperature rises, immediate extension of short-term trends of long-term cycles (when possibly catastrophic only), including using bad weather yesterday as a harbinger of bad climate in 100 years. Of course I could continue this with the one-sided MSM criticism of skeptical viewpoints and portrayal of potential calamaties as certainties. But, you know, beating a dead horse and all that.

    The Reasonable Man Hypothesis here says that the person thinking each of these thoughts and noting that each step leads towards one place and away from another place would be able to “abjure, curse and detest” what he is told to believe by authorities with a vested interest in the outcome . This is, as indicated by the quote, the reverse of what Galileo was told to do by the Vatican vis-a-vis heliocentricism. The Reasonable Man orders himself to listen to his own interpretation, as he is qualified to be suspicious of what he is told, if not even to make his own determination. As Galileo is said to have muttered after he recanted on fear of death, “Still, it moves!”, the Reasonable Man would say “It doesn’t make sense,” after reading AR4 or watching An Inconvenient Truth.

    Reasonableness should trump a litany of “facts”, calculations and arguments. Reasonableness in the human spirit is what stopped us from leaving the cave on hearing growling noises even though the attractive dude smiling at our girlfriend said it was just the wind howling through the trees.

  195. On reflection I contradicted myself a bit in the last post:

    The very weak or non-existent correlation between temperature and CO2 on timescales short of the BYr magnitude …

    Beerling and Royer 2002:

    Coupled with isotopic measurements on the ice, analyses of ice cores have shown that CO2 oscillated between 180 and 280 ppm in 100 000 years cycles, in phase with changes in temperature (Petit et al., 1999; Shackleton, 2000). An interesting feature of the high resolution analyses of the millennial palaeoclimate records is that a change in air temperature can apparently occur quite rapidly without changes in CO2 , whereas the converse has not yet been seen to occur (Falkowski et al., 2000).

    So temperature can change independent of CO2, but CO2 clings to the skirts of temperature and follows it.

    “No correlation on <BYa timescales … but CO2 following temperature, i.e. correlation".

    To clarify, on scales of tens and hundreds of millions of years, the CO2 – temperature correlation is very weak indeed. However on shorter, multi-millenial scales, there is a significant correlation – the question is if temperature or CO2 leads – evidence suggests the former.

    If "rapid" changes in temp can be unaccompanied by CO2 changes, while (presumably slower) changes in CO2 are associated with temperature change, the difference could be the ocean. Slower changes in temperature are accompanied by ocean temperature change and CO2 in air is controlled by the changing solubility of CO2 in seawater at changing temperatures. The "rapid" temperature changes with no CO2 change could be ones unaccompanied by ocean temperature change – at least in the short term.

  196. There is no correlation between a rise in CO2 and a subsequent rise in temperature.

    How many times does this non-correlation have to be pointed out?

    OTOH, there is a clear correlation between a rise in temperature and a subsequent rise in CO2, both at short term and long term time scales.

    The more we learn, the clearer it is that rising CO2 is a function of rising temperature, not vice-versa. Of course, those scientists who have hitched their careers to the CO2=CAGW bandwagon must still argue against the empirical evidence, because they cannot reverse themselves and publicly admit that rather than CO2 controlling the climate, it is temperature that controls atmospheric CO2 levels.

    If they admitted the truth of the CO2/temperature relationship, this hockey stick would turn down faster than you could say “rajendrapachauri“.

  197. Smokey says:
    October 16, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    We re in agreement, the CO2 time lag strongly indicates ocean temperature forcing of atmospheric CO2. A time lag in either direction between two similar wavetrains does not necessarily destroy mathematical correlation between them – but as we know, correlation and causation are different things.

  198. CO2 is a fine tuning control. Older folks here will recall when televisions had a central knob that changed changed channels and a ring surrounding it that fine-tuned the selected channel. The channel changer in this case is water in all its phases.

  199. It is clear from looking at the really long term data (500 million years) that there is NO correlation between CO2 and temperature. There DOES appear to be a correlation between temperature and cosmic rays. And, since cosmic rays may have a strong effect on cloud cover, that makes sense. I have a graph here. http://howcanpeoplebesostupid.com/?p=3148

  200. davidmhoffer…Thank you for the quick explanation of the physics of CO2…

    “In general however, the discussion of gobal warming refers to background or natural levels of CO2 as being 280 PPM with current levels at 390 PPM. So for starters the argument is based on a 30% to 40% increase from human emissions, not 5%.”

    I have been told that the CO2 levels pre-industrial revolution were about 280 ppm. Today it is 390 ppm. therefore the entire increase (39%) is man-caused…which is a leap. But getting back to the math…are the figures I cited accurate? In addition, isn’t the physics of CO2 limited by the scarce amount of CO2 in the atmosphere? This you alluded to here…”Based on the last century or so, sensitivity is well under 1 degree per doubling. So… for CO2 to increase global temperatures by 2 degrees over natural background levels of 280 PPM, we would have to burn about 10 times as much fossil fuel as we are right now annually, and we would have to do it for a few centuries.”

    Which leads me to Doug Proctor and his Reasonable Man Hypothesis. The more I look at the math, coupled with your lesson on the physics of CO2 the more proposterous the AGW hypothesis appears to me. It does not ring true.

  201. Mike;
    But getting back to the math…are the figures I cited accurate?>>

    In terms of figures you cited they are not so much “accurate” as “close enough” for the purposes of this discussion. Your conclusion that the amount of man made CO2 is too small a percentage to be serious however isn’t fair in my mind. It is more complicated than that.

    Warming theory exists in two parts. The first part is that the earth emitts photons in the IR spectrum. These are readily absorbed by CO2 molecules which will then re-emitt them in a random direction. As a result, any given photon emitted from earth’s surface has a percentage chance of being absorbed by a CO2 molecules, and when re-emitted it has a percentage chance of being re-emitted back toward earth. While at first blush it would seem that with such a small concentration in the atmosphere most photons would never encounter a CO2 molecule and would travel straight out to space, in reality there are so many “layers” of CO2 molecules along the way that the chance of a photon hitting one is pretty high. Each CO2 molecule can absorb and emitt all day (and night) without pause, so the question is not what is the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2, the question is what is the increased percent chance that a photon will be absorbed and re-emitted back to earth.

    Part 2 regards feedback. Again the classic theory is that warm air can hold a lot more moisture than cold air. A 10 degree rise in temperature equates (if memory serves me correctly) to the capacity of air to double in terms of the amount of moisture it can hold. Since water vapour is itself a greenhouse gas, theory has it that a small rise in temperature must result in higher levels lf water vapour, and the greenhouse effect of the additional water vapour is a positive feedback that must be added to CO2’s effects.

    In practice of course it is not so simple. For starters, since CO2 and water vapour absorb IR in roughly the same spectrum, they are competitors for any given IR photon. If their concentrations were the same, CO2 would absorb about 3 times as many photons as water vapour, but the concentrations are not the same. At sea level at the equator, water vapour is in the 2% to 3% range. So even though CO2 is a more efficient absorber, water molecules outnumber them hundreds or thousands to one, making their effect negligible. As you rise in altitude however, temperatures fall and so does the amount of water vapour that the air can hold. Hence the effect of CO2 should be higher at high altitudes because it is a larger percentage compared to water vapour. In theory, the warming we would expect to see from CO2 should be most prevalent at certain levels in the troposphere, in practice that “hot spot” doesn’t seem to exist.

    The conundrum has not been resolved, but is most likely related to an under estimation of negative feedbacks. Clouds are composed not of water vapour, but of ice crystals which were formed from water vapour. The coldest days of winter are accompanied by a clear blue sky with nary a cloud to be seen. But the coldest (OK, least hot) days of summer are those with high cloud cover. Before the purists start howling that I am over simplifying it, clouds can be either negative or positive depending on a variety of factors, the point being that increased water vapour means changes in cloud cover, not all of which will be positive feedback.

    In addition, should a photon rising from the earth be intercepted by a CO2 molecule at high altitude, the chance that it would have been intercepted at a still higher altitude by water vapour or some other greenhouse goes away, cooling the higher altitude and reducing the levels of water vapour there. The same thinking applies to that photon that has been absorbed and re-emitted back toward earth. If indeed water vapour has increased significantly, then the chance that a downward travelling photon will be absorbed by water vapour before it strikes earth surface and is re-emitted, potentially back toward outer space, also increases and so is another negative feedback.

    So… while I agree with your ultimate conclusion, the effects are minor once all the positives and negatives are added up, I think it a mistake to simply dismiss CO2 based on how small a percentage of the atmosphere it is.

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