Climate Craziness of the week: a basic science question for NYT reporter Justin Gillis

Readers please note the story I ran earlier: NOAA: “the atmosphere’s self-cleaning capacity is rather stable”

This story talks about the ability of hydroxyl radicals in the free atmosphere to break down pollutants, and how there seems to be a stability in the levels globally, something understood for the first time. All good news.

Now read what this New York Times reporter, Assistant Business Editor Justin Gillis, bemoans in his story here:

A Steady Dose of Atmospheric Detergent

He writes:

Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is not one of those broken down by the hydroxyl radical.

Zounds!

Mr. Gillis, let’s say such a thing magically did occur naturally, or someone creates a synthetic catalyst that performs the job and releases enough of it into the atmosphere in some geoengineering scheme to start dissipating CO2 in the atmosphere.

  1. What would happen if we rid the Earth of CO2 ?
  2. Or more technically, what would happen if this process scavenged CO2 down to 150 parts per million (or lower) globally?

If you can answer these questions, you might then understand why I am giving your statement the high praise of this regular feature.

This WUWT post on CO2 has a clue for you. I offer it as a path to enlightenment.

While you are at it, you might also like to address this story you did on sea level rise:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/science/earth/14ice.html

Gillis writes:

As a result of recent calculations that take the changes into account, many scientists now say that sea level is likely to rise perhaps three feet by 2100 — an increase that, should it come to pass, would pose a threat to coastal regions the world over.

And the calculations suggest that the rise could conceivably exceed six feet, which would put thousands of square miles of the American coastline under water and would probably displace tens of millions of people in Asia.

This is the graph of satellite measured sea level rise from the University of Colorado:

Note the rate of 3.1 millimeters per year.

Note this simple calculation:

2100 – 2011 = 89 years left to the end of the century

89 x 3.1mm = 275.9 mm call it 276mm

276 mm = .906 feet conversion done here

.906 feet is over 3 times less than 3 feet, and over 6 times less than 6 feet

Even if the rate of sea level rise accelerated (as some claim it will) and doubled, we still would not reach 3 feet. It would have to more than triple the current rate.

Many projections by various models predict the rise of sea level:

Note the trend of the observations line from 1950 to 2000, if you follow the linear trend, it will end up somewhere between 20 and 30 cm by the year 2100. The graph above is from Wikipedia’s “global warming art” which for some reason doesn’t show the observations back that far.

Let’s call it 30 centimeters. So 30 cm converted to feet is:

30 centimeters = 0.984251969 feet

Still far shy of 3 feet.

I hope this clears things up for you. If not, there’s much more here.

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128 thoughts on “Climate Craziness of the week: a basic science question for NYT reporter Justin Gillis

  1. Since life on this planet evolved when CO2 levels were measured in the thousands ppm, and CO2 levels have been rapidly dropping ever since, shouldn’t we be worried about CO2 levels being too low?
    If there was ever a “tipping point”, it would be where CO2 levels dropped too low and life ceased to exist on this plant.
    Seems to me that money, research, and time would be better spent trying to figure out why CO2 levels have dropped to right above the cut off point for supporting life on this planet.

  2. Anthony:
    I have to admit that you wrote a great story, but you had great material to work with. Your acquaintance Justin Gillis is not the only one who does not enjoy researching his stories though. I don’t want to detract from your story, so I’ll just pass on this link in support of the idea that it is easier to write a good scare story than it is to get the research right:
    http://www.thestar.com/business/cleanbreak/article/917350–hamilton-beware-the-boomers-when-setting-energy-policy
    I am surprised that Justin did not point out the same thing though. 😉
    Maybe when you are gone there will be less trouble promulgating the scare stories. I suppose that a lot of writers are looking forward to your demise. In the meantime enjoy life and do what you can.

  3. Easy answer – we’d be dead. I happen to like being able to use plants for food and oxygen, thank you very much.

  4. Perhaps a better question would be: How many hundreds of millions would die of starvation this year if we could reduce CO2 concentrations back to the supposed ‘pre-industrial’ level of 280ppm, i.e. the supposed level before man started emitting CO2?
    The present population of the world absolutely relies on the benefits of man emitting carbon dioxide. Figures vary as to the benefits it has brought, but probably at least 20% of harvest levels of C3 photosynthesizers (the majority of food crops) can be attributed to anthropogenic emissions if man is responsible for around 100ppm of the current concentration.

  5. If there was ever a “tipping point”, it would be where CO2 levels dropped too low and life ceased to exist on this plant.
    The tipping point was reached a long time ago… Life didn’t cease to exist, it just changed quite a lot from the carbonaceous period. Only plants that are tolerant of low CO2 have survived. It would be interesting to know what percent of the original population survived. I doubt it was more than a few percent.

  6. Gillis is just one more data point that proves O’Rourke’s assertion that people who want to save the planet will do anything but take a science course. In this case I would guess Gillis either flunked, or failed to take basic biology.

  7. I long ago came to the conclusion that editors chose health correspondents by going into the news room and asking for an aspirin. The first reporter to offer one got the job.
    The same must be true for environment correspondents as the vast majority display their ignorance everytime they put finger to keyboard. In the UK, Geoffrey Lean of the Telegraph is a prime example. Every time he writes something, the bloggers destroy him. His ignorance is boundless.
    I wonder how he was picked? “Who drives a Prius?” or “Who cycles to work?” perhaps?

  8. Sean posted a great response in NYT comments:


    Unfortunately the author does not seem to have much of a chemistry background to make the suggestion that its too bad the carbon dioxide is not broken down by hydroxyl radical. CO2 is a major trace gas measured in PPM. Another minor trace gas is nitrous oxide but its concentration is only measured in parts per billion. OH radicals are only present during daylight hours when they are formed by the reaction with ozone and water. There is almost none at night. They also would only be found in the upper reaches of the atmosphere where the concentration of gasses is low, that the chance of collision with another molecule is so low it will allow it to live much longer than at lower altitudes.
    Regarding washing out of CO2, I suggest looking at the Grand Canyon. Half of its depth is made up of calcium and magnesium carbonate, sedimentary rocks from when the western part of the country was a shallow sea. The processes of making sedimentary rocks from CO2 and minerals continues to this day and mother nature is sequestering CO2, as she has for eons.
    Finally, to say that this give confidence in models for atmosphere I would remind you that the OH radical work is primarily in the stratosphere, well above the weather. Modeling of the weather and CO2’s effects is taking place in the Troposhere, many miles below. I even think the models assume that the upper and lower levels do not affect one another very much. So if you think people will have better confidence in models because of these results, I’d suggest that won’t occur until some time after the folks running GCMs figure out if clouds heat or cool the planet.

  9. He writes:
    Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is not one of those broken down by the hydroxyl radical.

    A conclusion that shows he either was not paying attention in science class or never took 8th grade chemistry.
    Imagine that, a powerful oxidizer like the OH radical not oxidizing and breaking down already oxidized carbon, and then implying that is a bad thing.
    Is it a degree requirement for journalism majors to be scientifically illiterate?
    I think most of them would get failing grades in the science classes I took in grade school and junior high school in the 1960’s. They have absolutely no grasp of basic chemistry, physics, and biology. More importantly most are not sharp enough to ask someone who does understand middle school level science a question or two before they jump to conclusions or draw absolutely silly conclusions as they write their articles.
    Larry

  10. Latitude: If there was ever a “tipping point”, it would be where CO2 levels dropped too low and life ceased to exist on this plant.

    CO2 was extremely low in the coldest part of the most recent glaciations. I wonder if humans almost went extinct not only because of the unfriendly dry climate during glaciations – but perhaps also because of reduced food availability because plants were co2-starved?

  11. lol, Anthony is trying that tricky math stuff on an alarmist.
    Anthony, go easy with it! Math to an alarmist like garlic to a vampire!

  12. The sea level rise needs context—much of the land recently released from the crushing weight of the glacial ice sheets are rebounding– rising as much as 1 cm/year. The areas near the foot of the glaciers were once pushed up by the weight and are now sinking in accordance with isostacy and the areas to their south such as Delaware are subsiding at nearly 2mm/yr. There is very little question about the rates associated with isostacy. The Gulf of Mexico is sinking from the weight of the accumulated sediments. In fact entire continental plates are sailing around the globe at 1 to 10cm/year. (Maybe they are trying to outrun the sea rise)
    One chunk of California is trying to tear itself free in its quest to visit Alaska. This chunk of real estate as measured by undifferentiated slip is “moving” at ten times the rate of sea level rise. While one can safely sleep on the beach sure in the knowledge that Greenland will not ship out some extra water and drown you–the same cannot be said for escaping the next “Big One”. Californians fear climate change–silly Californians.
    Anyone else wonder why natural threats even if far more likely don’t seem to rate with our intrepid journalists and environmental groups?

  13. Gillis is saying that this newfound ‘stability’ in the hydroxyl radical was assumed by the models anyway. I’m not sure if this is true, because runaway methane feedback was part of the scary scenario.

  14. Anthony,
    As I intimated earlier today in response an Irish smear article flagged by Bishop Hill, the the MSM who have so diligently sold the climate junk science as AGW gospel are as guilty as the fraudsters [aka the Team et. al]. If one substitutes the “climate science” fraudsters for what happened at Enron or with the Vioxx clinical trails data manipulation, these good folks would now be contemplating life from behind bars.
    By way of example, as of yesterday it is now clear beyond any discussion that the “vaccine-causes-autism” scare launched some ten years ago is unadulterated scientific fraud. Clearing this up justifiably destroyed several academic careers and reputations [Jones comes to mind and Mann is probably next in line] the same MSM that kept on propagating that story go scott free after the dust has settled.
    In other words, key players in these types of stories which sell copy -like Gillis in this case- basically can publish what they like without direct consequences -other than in cases of outright libel.

  15. I clicked on the link provided above:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/06/sea-level-graphs-from-uc-and-some-perspectives/
    to compare the data. I wanted a little perspective since there are times the data looks flat following an El Niño, then rises again later (i.e. 1998 to mid 2000 and 2006 to mid 2009 look flat but a rise occurs afterword).
    Surprise! The data is different. Graphs 2009_rel1 and 2009_rel2 look similar, but 2010_rel5 is different. For instance, near the end of 2000 there is a peak. In 2009, this peak was well within then 0-10mm range, but in 2010 it almost reaches 10mm. Also there is one red circle in the box bounded by 10-20mm and 2000-2002 in the 2009 graphs, but in 2010 there are 2 red circles, and they don’t appear to match the circle in the 2009 graphs.
    The data appears to be adjusted within the last year. I haven’t emailed CU about this. I hope there is a good reason, but why did the data from TOPEX change? Or did it not change and it’s a graphing issue? (I doubt it.)
    WUWT???

  16. I fear you are wasting your time, Anthony.
    Journalists are only interested in sensationalism. Truth always takes a back seat unless, of course, it happens to be sensational….

  17. Hotrod,
    I went through journalism school in the early 70s. It’s scary, but with few exceptions reality is that it is rare that a journalist has a proper academic/technical background in the field they’re covering, be it e.g. climate “science”, economics or warfare. They have to be able to sell the story, not much more. Not only that, survey after survey shows that in the developed economies 75-80% of media folks identify themselves as “liberal” or “left of center”. Given tha bias, there is ample room for thematic manipulation.

  18. Now you know why his cv does not give graduation dates from MIT – Mine are PhD EE ’78, thesis in vertical temperature profile retrieval from orbiting microwave telescopes.

  19. CO2 + H2O ==> H2CO3
    As I recall, as CO2 dissolves in water it releases heat. There was an article years ago about creating jet engines that ran on CO2 and water vapor. What was lacking was a catalyst. The concern was that if such a catalyst was discovered, it could cause some small problems. Such as the extinction of all life.

  20. Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is not one of those broken down by the hydroxyl radical.
    Unfortunately. -Wrong
    The most important greenhouse gas. -Wrong
    Is not broken down. -We do get a tendency to H2CO3, but just nonsense.
    This is scientific illiteracy, but we expect it, we’re used to it.
    As for sea levels, it’s just think of a number and double it. But this is mild compared to some of the nutters.
    ——-
    Tannim111 says:
    January 7, 2011 at 9:17 am
    Easy answer – we’d be dead. I happen to like being able to use plants for food and oxygen, thank you very much.
    But you must consider the feelings of plants. Given the number of nasty chemicals they produce to avoid being eaten, they must have an aversion to it.

  21. Unfortunately the MSM is still on the driver less train. A collegue showed me an article today in the Daily Mail about polar bears, happily trudling out the same old lines about tipping points, ice free artic very soon now (according to latest predictions apparently!),declining polar bear populations etc etc etc. Don’t they do any research before commiting to print???

  22. Michael D Smith says:
    January 7, 2011 at 9:28 am
    The tipping point was reached a long time ago… Life didn’t cease to exist, it just changed quite a lot from the carbonaceous period. Only plants that are tolerant of low CO2 have survived. It would be interesting to know what percent of the original population survived. I doubt it was more than a few percent.
    ======================================================
    Exactly
    CO2 levels at the end of the carbonaceous are said to have been 350ppm and everything went to hell in a handbag.
    We’re at around 390ppm right now.
    How did this whole “science” of climate get so whacked out?
    Something is going on with the planet that it is sequestering CO2 faster than it can be replaced.
    Any person with 1/2 a lick of sense should be worried about CO2 levels being too low.
    My theory is “you get what you need when you need it”.
    If we hadn’t come along, invented what we have invented, started burning fossil fuels when we did….
    Looks to me like we saved the planet and everything on it, including ourselves.

  23. Justin is good with weasel words, I’ll give him that: perhaps, conceivably, suggest, and so on.

  24. I thought I’d provide a little free editorial service for the old grey (and smelly) lady.
    “Unfortunately, the most [politically] important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide…”
    Of course, the most abundant and POTENT greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere is H2O, followed by a number of other trace gases, and then in something like 4th place, is CO2.

  25. The lack of even basic science education is mostly absent in the journalists in the MSM and more importantly for our economic wellbeing even rarer among politicians.
    So sad.

  26. Articles like this always make me wonder. Do people like Mr. Gillis know we use his serious articles for our amusement? Obviously, some do, such a Craven. But in general, I’m forced to wonder. It doesn’t seem to slow their idiocy one bit. Can it be that they don’t know thousands of people today will wander by WUWT and watch us have fun at Mr. Gillis’ expense?

  27. “….906 feet is over 3 times less than 3 feet, and over 6 times less than 6 feet…”
    I understand what you are saying, but how can something be 600 percent less then something else? Once it hits 100 percent less it’s not there any longer.

  28. I’ll drink to that. reaches down picks up bottle of Stop and Shop lemon-lime flavored seltzer water and takes a swig of H2CO3.

  29. Someone screaming fire in a a crowded theater gets my attention. However upon clearing the theater I find the person screaming the alarm missing– I may become curious. If I peek back in the theater and find the alarmist sitting in MY seat, taking a big swig of MY Coke, followed by munching on a hand full of MY popcorn while generally getting comfy before watching the movie. My first reaction will be WTF – followed by an immediate distrust of both the reality of a fire and the motives of the alarmist.
    The NYT, Hansen and the rest of our intellectual betters scream the world is on fire. So why haven’t the New York Times and James Hanson moved their offices from New York City? It was supposed to be under water by now. Why haven’t the environmental groups moved out of the soon to be flooded Washington DC or EPA and Congress for that matter. And what is with Gore and his penchant for seaside property?
    Our government just spent a trillion dollars on the stimulus–yet spent nothing to build sea walls, flood control devices, mobilization efforts to relocate our coastal populations, or new reservoirs to help us withstand the droughts and other climate devastation. With thirty years of doom warning where were those shovel ready climate protection projects?
    Those screaming the world is on fire are taking our jobs, our tax dollars and our future while getting quite comfy in the process.
    We simply need to look at what those screaming fire are doing. We don’t need supercomputers or mass specs to look. We don’t need satellites or lead an arctic expedition. We don’t need to read a single new scientific paper. We simply need to a look long enough until the WTF epiphany begins. Only then will we demand back our seats, compensation for our popcorn, payment for our running injuries and go back to enjoying the movie.

  30. This statment by Mr. Gillis just shows that his level of science understanding is at about the kindergarden level. Fortunately, many people recognize this. It’s like Al Gore stating that below the surface of Earth the temperature is “millions of degrees.”
    In any case, to refute his level of technical knowledge further, detergents really act mostly on a physical level, whereas hydroxyl radical is one of the most active gas phase reactants. (I’m ignoring the use of enzyme additives to detergent formulations). To that point, hydroxyl radical might behave in some ways as a catalytic intermediate of an overall mechanism.

  31. Curiousgeorge says: “Justin is good with weasel words, I’ll give him that: perhaps, conceivably, suggest, and so on.”
    To revise an old GE motto:
    “At the NY Times, weasel words are our most important product.”

  32. Though the author of the article does not seem to have a handle on basic chemistry or the way earth’s environment, the commenters to his piece overwhelmingly are critical, and slag him mercilessly.
    The commenters seem like they are from WUWT’s usual crew.
    For example #6 reads-
    “Fortunately we have something that continually cleans carbon dioxide out of the air. We call that something plants. Somewhat worrying is if the plants manage to clean out only about half of the carbon dioxide currently in the air their would be a shortage that would cause the rain forests, and pretty much everything else in the world to die.
    Fortunately, of course, water vapor is by far the most significant “greenhouse gas”.”

  33. And I will say it again, the evidence from the Med (no tides) counts against sea level rise.
    There are deep undercuts on the cliffs around Greece and Turkey, which lie precisely on the sea level (caused by wave action). Now I did think these cliffs may be ‘recent’ due to erosion. However, I have now found deposited calcite deposits, from streams flowing over the cliff-top, with layered deposits 25cm deep. This means these cliffs have been a feature in this state for many decades/centuries.
    Now unless one proposes land movement is exactly in synch with sea level rise, for the erosion to be exactly at sea level, the evidence seems to suggest that sea levels have not changed for between two and five centuries. (depending on how long it takes to deposit 25cm of calcite, from a stream that can only flow in the winter months).
    .

  34. I love this graph. It puts it into perspective:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/ipcc2007/fig68.jpg

    IPCC
    “There was a rapid rise [in sea levels] between 15,000 and 6,000 years ago at an average rate of 10 mm/yr. No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected.”

    “The global mean sea level for the period January 1900 to December 2006 is estimated to rise at a rate of 1.56 ± 0.25 mm/yr which is reasonably consistent with earlier estimates, but we do not find significant acceleration.”
    Source: Wenzel et. al.

  35. Anthony,
    It is arguable that sea levels are not rising at all.
    Just like temperature data, it all depends on what time frame is examined. Everything climate related goes in up and down cycles. Therefore, projecting a linear trend based upon 16 years of data is ill-advised.
    In the case of temperature, we see that both the Arctic AND the Antarctic are experiencing an on-going, uninterrupted 10,000 year cooling trend wherein the latest warming is demonstrated to be not even remotely unusual.
    Would it not follow that sea levels are, over that time frame, actually dropping? What if we examine sea levels starting at about 1930? That time frame exposes the up & down cycles of just that last 80 years. Those up & down cycles imply that projecting a linear trend based upon 16 years of data actually overestimates the likely condition we’ll see in 2100.
    Click here & examine the longer term sea level evidence.

  36. As Bugs Bunny so eloquently put it, “What a Maroon!”
    Or perhaps a paraphrase of the classic lines from The Sixth Sense suits better:
    “I see stupid people…. Walking around like regular people. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re stupid . . . They’re everywhere!”
    Exhibiting equal comprehension of basic science, Janet Napolitano and the US Department of Homeland Security will probably put the ‘Hydroxyl Radicals’ on the No Fly list now…..
    I despair for and am shamed by my once great United States of America…….

  37. A great example of why traditional media is losing both credibility & relevance, while modern web based media becomes dominant in our society.

  38. Actually, water is the “most important” greenhouse gas. And the hydroxyl radical is 2/3 of the water molecule. If Mr. Gillis’ understanding of simple scientific facts is so poor, can his thoughts as “Assistant Business Editor” of the NY Times be trusted?

  39. ShrNfr says:
    January 7, 2011 at 10:05 am
    I finally got banned from LGF. I pointed out that Charles didnot understand lapse rate when talking about mountain temperatures and melting glaciers.
    Lots of folks seem not to apply science to what they hear to see if it is valid or not. The above article is just one more example.

  40. Question:
    Under the current conditions in the U.S. House, Senate and with Obama as President how long will Harry Reid etal be able to keep Yucca Mountain Nuke waste facility closed.
    Seems a thread on how useful Nuke power could and should be would be useful just now.
    It does need to be pointed out regarding the who, what, when, and how of this deal of keeping Nuke power off line as the price of other energy keeps getting ever higher.
    Place the responsibility.
    Thanks

  41. As a postscript to my previous comment (currently awaiting moderation)…
    In this post, I link to two interviews with Dr. Mörner.
    Dr. Mörner discusses a number of problems with sea level analysis — ranging from observed time frames to accuracy of the data and more.

  42. Latitude: the reason that CO2 is dropping permanently over geologic time is that the bulk of the planet’s original inventory of CO2 is locked up in limestone. The cold water reaction process of combining CO2 + basaltic rock to form limestone and sand is a permanent one. At some point the atmospheric concentration of CO2 will drop below 80 ppm, and plant life except for some grasses will no longer exist.
    It comes as a bit of a shock to realize that the life cycle of our planet is about 90 per cent completed. Photosynthesis will no longer be possible at about the same time as the world’s oceans boil off. This all happens about 200-300 million years from now. Putting CO2 back in the atmosphere is something that we can do, though probably not to any significant degree, but the eventual loss of most of the world’s water inventory is not preventable.

  43. The common practice for making projections on sea level is to extend the current rate (at the minimum) out for centuries. We know that doesn’t work for the stock market, so why should it work here?
    A while ago, tokyoboy posted a Japan tide chart
    http://i56.tinypic.com/15ewqwp.jpg
    that goes back a century and shows cyclic tendencies. Our satellite records showing a continuous rise cover only the end, rising portion of the chart, so we could easily be at the end of the upswing and ready to head back down.

  44. 58 cm (the highest, worst case projections) would equal ~ 1.9 feet. Still far short of 3 and 6 feet.

  45. Clarification:
    When it is written “carbonaceous” period, are you trying to write ‘Carboniferous Period’ (in use outside of the United States), which North American geologists tend to subdivided into the Mississippian Period, and the Pennsylvanian Period?
    Thanks.

  46. Just read an article in “The Wall Street Journal” that mentioned how an apartment, in the Netherlands, was raided for pot plants which were being grown using a CO2 machine-betcha the grower goes to AGW demonstrations.

  47. James Sexton says
    Right James -I was really amused and even had my wifey take a look and even she (who really could care less) thought he was ignorant.

  48. Back in May, a National Academy of Sciences report said…

    [T]he 2007 IPCC report said sea levels could rise by between 0.6 and 1.9 feet by 2100, but later studies suggested that forecast was too conservative. The academy’s report incorporates the newer research and concludes that sea levels could rise by as much as 6.5 feet in that period.
    Wall Street Journal

    6.5 ft is 1981 mm.
    Sea level would have to rise at an average rate of 22 mm/yr from now until 2100 in order to achieve a 6.5 ft rise by 2100. During the Holocene transgression (15 kya to 10 kya) sea level rose at an average annual rate of ~14 mm/yr.
    Here are the top ten decades of sea level rise (mm/yr) since 1700…
    1804-1813 12.75
    1803-1812 10.67
    1728-1737 10.30
    1789-1798 8.38
    1842-1851 7.87
    1858-1867 7.82
    1788-1797 7.72
    1861-1870 7.66
    1808-1817 7.58
    1785-1794 7.18
    None of those 10-yr periods has come anywhere close to 22 mm/yr… And all of those periods occurred long before man started pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
    Here are the top ten decades (mm/yr) from 1950-2002…
    1989-1998 4.66
    1990-1999 3.95
    1991-2000 3.86
    1956-1965 3.79
    1986-1995 3.78
    1974-1983 3.71
    1952-1961 3.65
    1993-2002 3.63
    1988-1997 3.44
    1975-1984 3.30
    Sea level data from 1700-2002 from:
    “Recent global sea level acceleration started %over 200 years ago?”,
    Jevrejeva, S., J. C. Moore, A. Grinsted, and P. L. Woodworth (2008),
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L08715, doi:10.1029/2008GL033611.

  49. maybe we should let the AGW crowd in on the new form of ice that stays frozen at Room Temperature! Let’s replace all ice with Ice-9! Paradise on Earth!
    Well, this does go to prove one thing – you do not have to have a brain to be a reporter.

  50. Do people really forget those simple science lessons in elementary school where people and animals breath in oxygen and breath out CO2 while plants take in CO2 and spit out oxygen during photosynthesis?
    I know today’s kids probably get the “green” version of this now, but those of us who attended school before the environmentalist days surely remember, I hope.

  51. tetris , the vaccine thing wasn’t only scientific fraud. According to the article in the “The Australian” newspaper yesterday the guy was taking money to promote something he knew to be untrue. This seems to me to be ordinary criminal fraud and given the unnecessary deaths that have occurred a long jail sentence would be in order although I think we could learn something from the Chinese here (take him into the alley and put a bullet in his brain).

  52. Hydroxyl atoms cannot do the job of removing the co2. I suggest that a great deal of grant monies should be allocated to some sort of automatic system designed to remove this “deadly” gas. Say, um, something that will be solar powered, robust, self replicating and have clean end products. Maybe such things such as sugars and starches and cellulose could be made from that offending product of combustion. I feel that a grant, say in the 8 figure area per annum should be sufficient. Just sign a cheque please.

  53. To your calculations, Anthony, I add this: A three foot rise in sea level by 2100 would require more than a 15-sigma increase above the observed rate, according to the U of Colorado chart information. Gillis’s article is a perfect example of yellow journalism feeding AGW hysteria, with no scientific basis in fact.

  54. James Sexton says:
    January 7, 2011 at 10:36 am
    Articles like this always make me wonder. Do people like Mr. Gillis know we use his serious articles for our amusement? Obviously, some do, such a Craven. But in general, I’m forced to wonder. It doesn’t seem to slow their idiocy one bit. Can it be that they don’t know thousands of people today will wander by WUWT and watch us have fun at Mr. Gillis’ expense?
    He doesn’t care what the unwashed trash in flyover country think, he is writing for the “right” people.

  55. I left the Times a comment when I saw a comment saying someone should go live next to a Chinese coal plant, like CO2 is a poison or something. As someone who grew up near coal plants, I pointed out that CO2 levels in an office environment like the NY Times are typically 600 to 800 ppm, vastly higher than what you get even working next to a coal plant.

  56. Re: “.906 feet is over 3 times less than 3 feet, and over 6 times less than 6 feet’
    A minor point: it is impossible for anything to be more than one time less. At that point it will have vanished. More correctly, 0.906 feet is less than one-third of 3 feet and less than one-sixth of 6 feet (or, more than two-thirds less than 3 feet, etc.).
    IanM

  57. “Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is not one of those broken down by the hydroxyl radical.”
    How unfortunate indeed. Anthony, thanks for the Friday evening laugh!

  58. Fortunately for us CO2 is an extremely reactive gas, as much or more so than many chlorine based compounds. That is why there is so much life on Earth. And it allows morons to continue to flourish.
    On an unrelated note, I am hypothesizing that the majority, if not all, of the recent biological kills are because of extreme cold, decadal in some cases.

  59. “Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is not one of those broken down by the hydroxyl radical.”
    Plants eat it though.

  60. Christoph Dollis asks:
    “Who was doing the measuring?”
    Answer: lots of scientists. Here is one example: click [click in image to embiggen]

  61. There is an interesting parallel between the vilification of CO2, a basic requirement for life as we know it on Earth at present, and the vilification of cholesterol, which is fundamentally essential to the running of a healthy body.
    I have been reading ‘The Great Cholesterol Con’ by Malcolm Kendrick. Kendrick is up there with the heroes of AGW scepticism and for the same reason: he is intelligent and knows his science and he is bravely standing out from the crowd. It turns out that a low level of cholesterol in a body is as undesirable as a a low level of CO2 in the atmosphere. Cholesterol and Kendrick have no Anthony Watts running a blog drawing attention to the facts. CO2 and cholesterol both have opposition from large vested interests to contend with.
    Cholesterol even has the same name changes: first the damage was caused by cholesterol, then it was the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, which changed to ‘oxidised’ LDL. In the meantime just as with CO2, no one can explain the exact mechanism by which the damage is caused to the human heart, or how catastrophic warming can be produced from so little CO2.
    And both have a religious following – eat low fat yoghurt and mind your carbon footprint is repeated like the Lord’s prayer by the likes of Mr Gilles the world over and both appear unassailable.

  62. “I long ago came to the conclusion that editors chose health correspondents …”
    Indeed. I recall seeing KMBC-TV’s “health correspondent” do a story in which she had raw beef and chicken side by side on the same plate with one another. No one who knows proper food safety rules would do that. Any time you handle uncooked poultry, you must assume it’s infected with salmonella, and immediately wash your hands and any utensils you’ve touched to the meat before allowing them near other foods.
    I figure if you can’t get basic stuff like that right, you don’t know WTF you’re talking about.

  63. jorgekafkazar says:
    January 7, 2011 at 11:41 am
    Curiousgeorge says: “Justin is good with weasel words, I’ll give him that: perhaps, conceivably, suggest, and so on.”
    To revise an old GE motto:
    “At the NY Times, weasel words are our most important product.”
    ================================
    It’s come full circle:
    “White House Official: Obama To Visit GE’s Birthplace”
    http://news.morningstar.com/newsnet/ViewNews.aspx?article=/DJ/201101071404DOWJONESDJONLINE000443_univ.xml

  64. Smokey, it flew right over your head. I’ll correct the original statement so you can contrast:

    “Since life on this planet evolved when CO2 levels were measured in the thousands ppm”

    My reply was mere humour: a quip.

  65. Christoph Dollis:
    Oh, OK, I get it now.
    Ha-ha!
    Except, you didn’t strike through in your original comment like you did here.

  66. Don’t worry, suppliers of Climate Science™ to the masses. The UK government is rushing to protect you.
    Britain Vows To Change ‘Embarrassing’ Libel Law
    LONDON January 7, 2011, 11:53 am ET
    It’s from NPR (National People’s Radio) so you know it’s good and true. Okay, it’s actually an AP (Associated Propaganda) piece, thus it’s double-plus good and true.
    I emphasized some good parts:

    Britain’s plaintiff-friendly libel laws have become an international embarrassment, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Friday, vowing to change rules that have made the country a “libel tourism” destination for angry corporations and foreign celebrities.
    In a speech on civil liberties, Clegg said the existing laws, which place the burden of proof on defendants, have a chilling effect on journalism and scientific debate.
    It is “simply not right when academics and journalists are effectively bullied into silence” by the prospect of costly legal battles, he said.
    (…)

    Now where have I heard that language before? Concerning Climate Scientists™ complaining about the onerous burdens they face and the problems with getting their message out? Perhaps it was in some emails…

    Libel laws in many countries, including the U.S., generally require plaintiffs to prove a published article was both false and written maliciously. In Britain, the burden of proof falls on the defendant to demonstrate what it published was true.

    So as things stand now, the (C)AGW purveyors who have been screaming about Climate Change™ “deniers” and Big Oil-funded blogging campaigns, could be in big trouble after (C)AGW gets revealed as a sham (from the start?) that was “sexed up” relentlessly for the financial and political gains of individuals and Green groups, who were pushing and publishing exaggerated hyperbole and “untruths” even after better scientific research revealed those claims as (highly) inaccurate?
    Well then, good thing the UK government will be acting to prevent that mess from happening. Everyone from the Met Office to the University of East Anglia to the BBC can now breath easier. And soon the UK will once again have robust scientific debate, now that the (C)AGW proponents will no longer have to prove what they are saying is true. You know, like they have been proving all along, demonstrating how everything they say and publish comes from irrefutable Peer-Reviewed™ Settled Science™, as we’ve come to expect.

  67. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:
    January 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm
    Question:
    Under the current conditions in the U.S. House, Senate and with Obama as President how long will Harry Reid etal be able to keep Yucca Mountain Nuke waste facility closed.
    =====================================================
    While the climate(sorry) in Congress has changed significantly, its incredibly difficult to reverse the regulatory obstacles. Even if the House passes a law removing some, Dems still hold the majority in the Senate, and Reid is still the leader. And even if it were to pass the Senate, Obama still holds veto power, there isn’t enough votes to override any veto.
    But I’m with you, the responsibility needs to be placed. Right now, and for some time, a significant body on both sides of the aisle say they are for advancing nuclear power, yet, nothing happens. There simply hasn’t been significant movement. Its a bit maddening. Right now, its estimated 20 years to take a nuke plant from conception to reality. I don’t think our grid has that much time anymore.

  68. I live in Virginia Beach and my family has worked the Lynnhaven Inlet since the late 19th century (oyster beds, crab pots, etc.). Some of the same bulkheads my great grand father put in place are still there and there is no indication of any sea level rise there. We have weathered lots and lots of hurricanes (including the infamous Ash Wednesday storm) and innumerable nor’easters. If the sea level is rising then the land is rising with it (or nobody told the inlet).

  69. I really hope the readers of the NYT if they have any more common sense than Justin Gills.
    His article doesn’t meet any journalistic standard and shouldn’t have been published.
    It’s as if all the Climate GIGO is processed by a mentally ill patient and it all ends up in the NYT.
    But what can we expect with President who has vowed to stop the rise of the oceans and the rise of global temperatures.
    The climate change propaganda is taking on Kafkaesque proportions and it’s getting worst.
    The Denver Global Warming Conference is another example of the raging madness and I really wonder when this money consuming nightmare is going to stop.
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/new-forecast-for-denver-global-warming-conference/

  70. Second attempt with HTML errors corrected:
    Christoph Dollis asks:
    “Who was doing the measuring [of Phanerozoic CO2 levels]?”
    Answer:
    Robert A. Berner and Zavareth Kothavala
    Department of Geology and Geophysics
    Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8109
    American Journal of Science, Vol. 301, February, 2001, P. 182–204
    Click here for the peer reviewed paper.
    Click here for the Cliff Notes (and to put their study into context).
    One need not be contemporaneously present in order to “measure”. Ergo, the humor allegation fails.

  71. APACHEWHOKNOWS says:
    January 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm
    “Under the current conditions in the U.S. House, Senate and with Obama as President how long will Harry Reid etal be able to keep Yucca Mountain Nuke waste facility closed.”
    Little known to most, but at least 1/2 of the nuclear fuel powering US nuclear reactors at the moment is recycled nuclear bombs. This has depressed prices in the Uranium market and made recycling spent fuel roads ‘less then economical’. Once we are done recycling nuclear bombs Uranium prices will rise and recycling spent fuel rods will be more financially interesting.
    Uranium was selling at $10/lb in the 1990’s and is currently selling at $60/lb.

  72. “Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, ”
    You would be surprised how many people look like deer in the headlights when you bring up water vapor. Seriously try it on your favorite warmer sometime. Totally blank look and disbelief.
    I would add one question to the chap who made the above statement:
    Q) What percentage of the greenhouse effect can be attributed to water vapor?
    I’ve asked that question for close to 10 years of all the pro and con AWG groups and scientists. The numbers I have got back are an unbelievable range. Between 65 and 98 are the numbers I’ve seen and been told (assuming they knew what it was of course).
    I know it isn’t evenly distributed with near saturation at the equator and next to nil at the poles and yes different sizes of water vapor interact with different wavelengths to have different effects. Some give rise to clouds that block the solar heat, some trap. Is it 50-50? 70-30? 10-90? Nobody seems to know.
    If our understanding of the largest GHG is so lacking anyone claiming to have figured climate out beyond debate is in a sever case of hubris.

  73. Anthony astonished
    ———–
    He writes:
    Unfortunately, the most important greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is not one of those broken down by the hydroxyl radical.
    Zounds!
    ————
    Well I’m pretty sure Gillis understands the actual situation with respect to OH. So my interperation of this is that he is explaining this for the benefit of that part of his readership which do not. Which is probably most if them.
    And come to think of it a significant proportion of Anthony’s readers would also jump to the conclusion that OH would solve all their CO2 fears.

  74. More science illiteracy?

    http://news.discovery.com/space/viking-mars-organics-experiment.html
    Viking Found Organics on Mars, Experiment Confirms
    (…)
    A follow-up study on perchlorate-enhanced soil similar to what’s found on Mars revealed fingerprints of combusted organics.
    (…)
    Scientists repeated a key Viking experiment using perchlorate-enhanced soil from Chile’s Atacama Desert, which is considered one of the driest and most Mars-like places on Earth, and found telltale fingerprints of combusted organics — the same chemicals Viking scientists dismissed as contaminants from Earth.

    They tested dirt found here on Earth, with perchlorate as they found in Martian soil, they found “fingerprints” of combusted organics… Therefore there are organics on Mars!
    Someone please double-check if I read that piece right. And will someone please explain how any dirt on or near the surface of this planet could possibly not have evidence of combusted organics? Given this planet’s history with massive natural wildfires, let alone mankind’s recent burning of fossil fuels, with soot being found on mountaintops and combustion products circulating in the atmosphere, how could that ever be possible?

  75. Lazy,
    Can you teach me how to mind-read, too? It would come in handy knowing who is jumping to conclusions.

  76. Thank you mariwarcwm
    One purpose of this blog is to demonstrate that THINKING is not a one way street.
    As with CO2, Cholesterol and others, truth is hidden behind name changes and other sleights of hand.
    If simple fraud, why did it take 12 years to uncover>
    Why when you discover truth it is a crime to be paid, yet its it fine to take billions in charity money to make profits?
    You only need to discover Polio did not disappear, only the name changed. See same old trick.
    Same people same tricks.
    Rocket Science

  77. Pat Moffit
    “We simply need to look at what those screaming fire are doing.”
    So right. They aren’t looking for an extinguisher. They are selling exit door passes.

  78. TimM says:

    Q) What percentage of the greenhouse effect can be attributed to water vapor?
    I’ve asked that question for close to 10 years of all the pro and con AWG groups and scientists. The numbers I have got back are an unbelievable range. Between 65 and 98 are the numbers I’ve seen and been told (assuming they knew what it was of course).
    I know it isn’t evenly distributed with near saturation at the equator and next to nil at the poles and yes different sizes of water vapor interact with different wavelengths to have different effects. Some give rise to clouds that block the solar heat, some trap. Is it 50-50? 70-30? 10-90? Nobody seems to know.
    If our understanding of the largest GHG is so lacking anyone claiming to have figured climate out beyond debate is in a sever case of hubris.

    While there may be some uncertainty in the number, the real reason for the range of answers is that
    (1) it is not a well-defined question.
    (2) some of the higher end answers that you have heard (like 98%) are not based on science but apparently on nonsense like just comparing the ratio of the concentrations of H2O and CO2.
    The reason that it is not well-defined is that you get different answers from different starting points. For example, you can ask what fraction of the greenhouse effect goes away if the water vapor is removed while keeping all other greenhouse gases constant or you can ask what fraction of the greenhouse effect you get if you start with an atmosphere without greenhouse gases and add water vapor.
    There may be a few more reasons for ambiguities (e.g., whether one includes clouds…i.e., condensed water…or just the vapor form in the estimate).
    Also, note that there are more complicated factor involved too: For example, a rough breakdown if you don’t want to get too precisely is that water vapor and clouds provide ~75% of the greenhouse effect, CO2 ~20%, and the other non-condensable GHGs ~5%. However, if you were to remove all of the non-condensable GHGs from the atmosphere, our current understanding is that the resulting temperature drop would result in a significant decrease in water vapor which in turn would reduce the greenhouse effect further…and in the end, most of the greenhouse effect would collapse. (See http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6002/356.abstract ) In fact, there is a fair bit of evidence that such an iceball or slushball earth occurred in the past.

  79. DSW says:
    January 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    “If the sea level is rising then the land is rising with it (or nobody told the inlet).”
    Ditto, here, for Daytona Beach. Once upon a time, I posted a lengthy story of my family’s familiarity with Daytona Beach and the fact that we could detect no sea level rise. As expected, a Class A Warmer responded with an explanation of how oceans cannot be expected to rise uniformly…blah blah blah. Clearly, he was on his way to yet another TOTALLY USELESS GLOBAL AVERAGE: Global Average Sea Level. Each of them is the seventh nerd of a seventh nerd.
    Maybe we should start a “Global Average” contest. I nominate Global Average Volume of Urine Deposited Directly on the Ground by Human Males.

  80. Ralph says:
    January 7, 2011 at 11:53 am
    “And I will say it again, the evidence from the Med (no tides) counts against sea level rise.”
    As I live in Cyprus I can only agree with you Ralph. Harbours that have been around the island for many, many years show the same thing. No change or alteration to the quays/jetties and the same old fishing boats mooring up!
    Maybe the island is floating! 🙂

  81. “One need not be contemporaneously present in order to “measure”. Ergo, the humor allegation fails.”
    Oh for goodness sakes. Actually you DO have to be, or have an instrument, present (or at least directed at) to measure.
    There is a difference between a reconstruction based on both current measurements and a model or theory … and gathering data, a direct measurement (of atmospheric CO2). It is you who are not getting the distinction.
    Notice that the first paper you linked to begins with, “A REVISED MODEL” in the headline.
    I don’t dispute for a moment atmospheric CO2 levels were higher previously. There are many reasons to believe this. MEASURING atmospheric CO2 in previous eras was not one of those reasons.

  82. Why should we be surprised that the ‘journalists’ at the NYT do not understand basic physics or science?
    They believe in climate apocalypse, after all.

  83. Pete H sez:
    “Maybe the island is floating! :-)”
    Or, in the case of the IPCC data, maybe the land is sinking (for reals):
    “the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change], choose Hong Kong, which has six tide gauges, and they choose the record of one, which gives a 2.3 mm per year rise of sea level. Every geologist knows that that is a subsiding area. It’s the compaction of sediment; it is the only record which you should not use.”
    But, be very careful if you dare to question the Great Wizards of Oz at the IPCC!

  84. [snip – none of that here, rephrase the question politely if you wish to ask one, and no I don’t care if this snip upsets you- Anthony]

  85. Anthony poses:
    1. What would happen if we rid the Earth of CO2 ?
    2. Or more technically, what would happen if this process scavenged CO2 down to 150 parts per million (or lower) globally?
    ______________
    Of what possible value does posing strawman questions like these add to constructive discussion of these subjects, Anthony?
    REPLY: They aren’t strawman questions, but points to ponder. The author bemoans lack of CO2 reduction via hydroxyls (as if they could anyway). If you follow the links I provided you’ll see some useful information on the logarithmic nature of CO2 LWIR response in the atmosphere. In one of the graphs, you’ll see that the earth at one point very nearly met with such a low Co2 ppm value that it would have been a catastrophe. People who want to try anything to reduce CO2 seem to forget that it has a tremendous value to the biosphere. Personally, I’m not worried at all about the extra CO2 that has been added. Here’s another link you might find interesting. And this one. – Anthony

  86. Jack Greer,
    Those are not strawman arguments. They are reductio ad absurdum arguments, which are entirely legitimate.
    You need to know the difference before you comment, or it will look like you came here from climate progress.

  87. Christoph Dollis sez:
    “Actually you DO have to be, or have an instrument, present (or at least directed at) to measure.”
    Sorry sir…
    You have confused the process of Instrumental Measurement with the broader process of Measurement.
    But, thanks for playing.
    Next…

  88. I have to admit, it was a long time ago that I was in college, but when I was there most of the survey courses in the liberal arts school of the university I went to were highly populated by journalism majors. I seldom saw them in any of the advanced science, political science, or history courses (I took no advanced science courses myself, so my observations arise from what I was told by friends at school). It always seemed to me that j-majors were more interested in obtaining a smattering of knowledge, just enough to function in the world, but never learned any subject in real depth. I suspect the j-school majors operate the same way today, as can be evidenced by the work here of Mr. Gillis, who has clearly screwed the pooch with this ignorant piece he wrote. Which is why I believe the j-school is one of the lowest in any university.
    Good work as always exposing this, Anthony.

  89. Anthony REPLY: They aren’t strawman questions, but points to ponder. The author bemoans lack of CO2 reduction via hydroxyls (as if they could anyway). If you follow the links I provided you’ll see some useful information on the logarithmic nature of CO2 LWIR response in the atmosphere. In one of the graphs, you’ll see that the earth at one point very nearly met with such a low Co2 ppm value that it would have been a catastrophe. People who want to try anything to reduce CO2 seem to forget that it has a tremendous value to the biosphere. Personally, I’m not worried at all about the extra CO2 that has been added. Here’s another link you might find interesting. And this one. – Anthony
    _______________
    Your questions are absolutely strawmen – no one other than yourselves are talking about zero CO2 or 150 ppm CO2 …. The AGW side is arguing to minimize the dangerous impact of human intervention on the Earth’s natural carbon cycles and by extension Earth’s climate. CO2 is one element of natural processes – nobody is claiming otherwise.
    REPLY: Thank you for your differing opinion. Too bad you refuse to learn anything from the links provided. That’s your loss. – Anthony

  90. carbon-based life form said:
    January 7, 2011 at 8:48 pm
    Mr. Greer,
    aut disce aut discede
    _____________
    The problem, cblf, is that the “learning” of many on this site is composed of advancing logical fallacy arguments and of disparaging /disregarding the growing data-driven climate research conducted world-wide for the past several decades.
    This classic s/b the banner image for Anthony’s site => http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/6128/411/1600/situational%20science%20doonsbury.gif

  91. Jack Greer sez:
    “The AGW side is arguing to minimize the dangerous impact of human intervention on the Earth’s natural carbon cycles and by extension Earth’s climate.”
    1) Dangerous? According to whom? The IPCC?
    Peer reviewed science begs to differ.
    2) Every entity (animate or inanimate) alters the environment. Why would you expect that Homo sapiens would be the only entities (animate or inanimate) not to alter the environment?
    How, short of wiping out the entire species, do you propose to make Homo sapiens the ONLY entity (animate or inanimate) in the entire history of the known multiverse NOT to alter the environment?

  92. Jack Greer says:
    January 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm (Edit)
    Amazing!
    You actually found some fact-driven CAGW climate “science” out there? (Where was it? Who paid for it? What was it? Who actually did it? When was it done? Where was it reported?) I’ve been looking for fact-driven CAGW “science” for 16 years and haven’t found any yet from the “big-government” science propagandists.
    /sarchasm – The gaping whole between a liberal and the truth.

  93. Jack Greer says: January 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm
    “……The AGW side is arguing to minimize the dangerous impact of human intervention on the Earth’s natural carbon cycles and by extension Earth’s climate…….”
    Regarding this passage let me please ask you two simple questions:
    1. What do you think are the “dangerous impact(s)”?
    2. What method(s) do you envisage to “minimize” the impact(s)?

  94. Joel Shore says:
    January 7, 2011 at 6:29 pm (Edit)
    (replying to TimM’s question)
    TimM says:
    Q) What percentage of the greenhouse effect can be attributed to water vapor?
    I’ve asked that question for close to 10 years of all the pro and con AWG groups and scientists. The numbers I have got back are an unbelievable range. Between 65 and 98 are the numbers I’ve seen and been told (assuming they knew what it was of course).
    I know it isn’t evenly distributed with near saturation at the equator and next to nil at the poles and yes different sizes of water vapor interact with different wavelengths to have different effects. Some give rise to clouds that block the solar heat, some trap. Is it 50-50? 70-30? 10-90? Nobody seems to know.
    If our understanding of the largest GHG is so lacking anyone claiming to have figured climate out beyond debate is in a sever case of hubris.”
    (Your “reply” started out ….)
    While there may be some uncertainty in the number, the real reason for the range of answers is that
    (1) it is not a well-defined question….

    OK, I’ll bite. I’ll repeat the question exactly. Based on today’s conditions – without “removing” artificially ANYTHING or any unreal gasses from the atmosphere)
    You want to tax our economy over 1.3 trillion dollars based on your theory of CAGW “science” – derived SOLELY from assumed values of CO2 so-called “forcings”.
    To do this, “you” (collectively) have taxes us already some 80+ billion dollars for “research” into CAGW and CAGW theories and GCM modeling.
    Exactly what are the percentages of total “greenhouse” effects of
    1. CO2 – at each ten degrees of latitude from 0 through 90, at each season of the year.
    2. Water vapor – at each ten degrees of latitude? At each time of year?
    3. Clouds – also at each degree.
    4. Droplets or spray.
    5. Aerosols from human pollution. List this by years. Also say what your data sources are. NOT the results of back-fitting GCM model runs artificially forced to fit GISS temperatures.
    6. Volcanic dust. This effect varies by year, so just list this value by year for the years of which you have real data.

  95. There is no doubt in my mind that somewhere somebody it working in stem cell research to create a replicating CO2 eating life form and will plop an eyedropper full of these things into the fetid, oil befouled Gulf of Mexico where it will thrive and expand out into the Atlantic, doubling every 4 hours or so. In the wild, free of any known predators, it will suck up CO2 and sink to the ocean’s bottom with a thud and there joined by its clones by the billions, no, googlplexians. No CO2 molecule will be safe and before you can say WUWT, the CO2 levels will be but a memory and life, the great spoiler of Mother Earth, will be no more.
    Will the last living thing please turn out the light.

  96. I’m curious if Justin Gillis is familiar with the mechanism of CO2 removal from the atmosphere; I’m even more curious if one took a randomly selected group of 100 people how many would be able to give the correct answer about the fate of the “pollutant” CO2 once it is released into the atmosphere.
    When I first saw the ban dihydrogen monoxide petition I couldn’t believe that anyone would be stupid enough to sign it but unfortunately verified the veracity of the internet published experimental findings when I asked a few “environmentally conscious” patients about what they thought of the chemical dihydrogen monoxide. Is chemistry still taught in high school? I now use a simple test to determine whether or not to take on a patient who is into “alternative” medicine by asking them if they think that synthetic vitamin C is the same as “natural” vitamin C. If they vigorously insist that the synthetic version is a poisonous chemical just put out to enrich the capitalist chemical companies, I suggest they look for a different physician. They would likely be at home with the Australian doctors for the environment (thanks for that informative but depressing link Ray). None of these chemophobic patients seem to be familiar with the work of Friedrich Wohler and I get blank expressions when I mention his name.
    ICE-9 reminded me of polywater which was a major topic in the journal Science during the 1970’s. There was a fear that if polywater got out of the lab the oceans would solidify and all life on earth would end. Even then I couldn’t understand why a supposedly ultra-stable H2O polymer hadn’t formed prior to this given the myriad of H2O-H2O collisions that had formed in the worlds oceans over the past few billion years. Eventually polywater turned out to be an artifact of H2O and silica reacting in the micropipettes in which it was formed.
    Stability of sea levels has been extraordinary in recent times and can be seen at places like L’anse aux meadows in Newfoundland where the Vikings established a settlement 1000 or so years ago. My father was involved in looking at the geomorphology of the site (I envied him for visiting every remote national park in Canada and once there traveling extensively by helicopter to do “ground verification” of what he saw on aerial photographs and Landsat images) and he commented that the sea level in 1977 appeared to be the same as it was when the Vikings first came there. Thus, it appears that cyclic changes in sea level over the last millenium are the norm rather than a steady rise. I don’t know what the post-glacial rebound was like in northern Newfoundland as I presume this area was covered in ice 20,000 years ago. The fact that anyone would even consider settling at the northern tip of Newfoundland suggests a far warmer climate at the time which would imply a much higher sea level if the CAGW theorists are to be believed.

  97. SBVOR

    “Christoph Dollis sez:
    “Actually you DO have to be, or have an instrument, present (or at least directed at) to measure.”
    “Sorry sir…
    “You have confused the process of Instrumental Measurement with the broader process of Measurement.
    “But, thanks for playing.
    “Next…”

    No, you’re being obtuse, and condescending at that.
    We can’t “measure” gases in the atmosphere on the Earth millions or hundreds of millions of years before our species existed. We can estimate them based on models, or “revised models”, as in the link you provided.
    And your link to the Wikipedia article on measurement is completely beside the point, and doesn’t do anything to support your contention anyway.
    Read the abstract of the paper you linked to. It isn’t about “measuring” atmospheric CO2 levels. It is about REVISING a previous model and how the new model agrees better with others’ “estimates”. It may be a great model, but it isn’t a measurement. Sure, it is BASED ON other things we can actually measure, and from there they infer and deduce to arrive at their estimate of atmospheric CO2 in prior periods.
    But that isn’t the same thing at all.
    It’s similar in principle to Mann’s tree-ring data and resulting model. He didn’t “measure” the temperature 100s and 1000s of years ago. He used proxy data to made an educated guess. And even where we measure content content to estimate previous years’ atmospheric CO2 levels, we measure trapped bits of carbon, plant growth remnants, etc. — not the atmosphere.
    “Since life on this planet evolved when CO2 levels were measured in the thousands ppm… .”
    Further, if you want to be technical, my quip was linguistic and as much to do with verb tenses as anything. Clearly there was no one “measuring” anything back then that we are aware of.
    Why you are making a mountain out of a molehill (awrongly too), out of a light-hearted quip about some imprecise (and therefore humourous) wording is a mystery to me, and I presume to most people here.

  98. mariwarcwm brings up the issue of the cholesterol hypothesis which I think is instructive in how science works (and doesn’t work). If the moderator agrees, I’ll briefly outline how I think that the cholesterol hypothesis is an example of medical misadventure but with a fortuitous happy ending.
    When I was a resident I was asked by one of the clinical pharmacologists to dig up material against the cholesterol hypothesis in a debate this physician was having with the head of the lipid clinic. With the typical over-enthusiasm of that time I dug into the literature and found that the cholesterol hypothesis stood on very shaky ground. The classic experiment that was taught to medical students was the feeding of cholesterol enriched food to rabbits who rapidly developed severe atherosclerosis. Also, familial hypercholesterolemia was known to cause premature atherosclerosis but in this group of patients cholesterol levels are 3 to 4 times normal.
    What I ran into was the intriguing work of Kilmer McCulley who hypothesized that perhaps oxidized cholesterol was the culprit in the rabbit experiments. Cholesterol preparations that were used contained about 1% of cholesterol-epoxide. McCulley purified the cholesterol for the rabbit feed and minimized the amount of cholesterol epoxide and the rabbits no longer developed atherosclerosis. McCulley was able to create atherosclerosis in rabbits by feeding them with meat and went on to develop the homocysteine hypothesis of atherosclerosis which I believe is valid but unfortunately there are no patentable molecules that perform better than cheap folic acid and B12.
    Also at that time a study involving cholesterol lowering with fibrates showed a decrease in heart disease deaths but an increased overall mortality as a result of suicide, homicide and MVA’s. It was quite interesting when I discussed this study with cardiologists 16 years ago who were adamant that these were spurious results even though psychiatric research subsequently showed that violent criminals had lower cholesterol than non-violent criminals. There is a clear link between cholesterol levels and violence but it is one of the relationships that’s statistically significant but not clinically significant. Interestingly, as mariwarcwm noted, there is a U shaped relationship between cholesterol and mortality with low cholesterol levels being associated with increased risk of dying. How many of these people have hematologic malignancies (which can lower cholesterol) is unknown.
    Given my literature research, I was quite suspicious of the HMGCoA inhibitor drugs (statins) when they came out but as study after study demonstrated decreases in all cause mortality, even in primary prevention trials, I decided to take another look at this class of drugs and what I found had nothing to do with cholesterol. What statin drugs do is to prevent prenylation of proteins which affect a number of surface membrane receptors that result in growth of smooth muscle cells. They also enhance the function of endothelial cells which line the arteries and which malfunction in coronary artery disease. They also dramatically reduce the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) which is a more significant risk factor than cholesterol. If one had to chose only two biochemical markers to measure in a patient to assess their heart disease risk HDL cholesterol and high-sensitivity CRP would be the markers to measure. Incidentally, statins also lower cholesterol and this is the least important function that they perform. Oxidized LDL is immunogenic and causes the production of anti-phospholipid antibodies which are associated with thrombosis (I’m not sure how strong this data is but it ties in nicely with increasing auto-immunity that one gets with aging). The only reason I measure cholesterol in patients on statins is to adjust the dose of the statin that they’re taking.
    So statin drugs do work, but they’re analogous to Ignaz Semmelweis’s work to reduce the incidence of purpureal fever in maternity hospitals by insisting that physicians wash their hands in chlorine water before delivering babies. The reason Semmelweis used chlorine water (this was before bacteria were discovered) was because it was most effective in reducing the “cadaverous smell” that he assumed was somehow associated with purpureal fever. Pasteur eventually showed why Semmelweis’s method worked but Semmelweis achieved his fame only in posterity.
    One of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had was to sit in on a talk to doctors given by a cardiologist, with whom I’d had numerous arguments about cholesterol during my resident days, which was entitled “Everything you’ve learned about cholesterol was wrong”. So the drug companies got lucky with statin drugs which are a highly profitable product for them and work for reasons unrelated to cholesterol. It was instructive seeing how “dissidents” are treated in medicine as there were some cardiologists I haven’t spoken to since I voiced my doubts about the cholesterol hypothesis. My guess is that if one polled 100 random GP’s, one would find that 90% of them would give the obsolete answer about why statins reduce heart disease as I find to my dismay when I talk to my colleagues about statins and endothelial function and CRP. At least science in this area is advancing albeit very slowly. I wish the same could be said for climate science.

  99. The problem with these loons is that they are putting out this crap to the unsuspecting public who in many cases believe what they read in the newspapers.

  100. You don’t even want to imagine what CO2 would be broken down to i.e. what the resulting molecules of the chemical reaction would be, is het suggesting that methane or charcoal and water would be pouring down from the skies? This is really funny!

  101. “Colin says:
    January 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm
    Latitude: the reason that CO2 is dropping permanently over geologic time is that the bulk of the planet’s original inventory of CO2 is locked up in limestone. The cold water reaction process of combining CO2 + basaltic rock to form limestone and sand is a permanent one. At some point the atmospheric concentration of CO2 will drop below 80 ppm, and plant life except for some grasses will no longer exist.
    It comes as a bit of a shock to realize that the life cycle of our planet is about 90 per cent completed. Photosynthesis will no longer be possible at about the same time as the world’s oceans boil off. This all happens about 200-300 million years from now. Putting CO2 back in the atmosphere is something that we can do, though probably not to any significant degree, but the eventual loss of most of the world’s water inventory is not preventable.”

    I assume you are talking about the luminosity increase of the Sun on its way to becoming a Red Giant causing true global warming. Firstly this assumes that the Sun is a main sequence star and not an exotic neutron star/iron core emitting hydrogen and helium as Dr. Oliver Manuel suggests. Secondly we could put lenses at the Earth Sun Lagrange Points or heat absorbing particles in the Sun’s atmosphere to fight this warming effect. If the Sun is a main sequence star then in 5 billion years Earth would be swallowed up but I doubt man cannot delay his demise on it until then using technology. Anyway we would all probably be on a terraformed Mars by then.
    http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20031002191731data_trunc_sys.shtml
    http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/6791
    http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technovel_sunshade_061111.html
    Other than that Mankind’s most immediate climate problem over the next thousands of years is mitigating the effects of the next Glacial Period of this current Ice Age. Any CO2 AGW will be helpful in that regard although I doubt that its effect will be as great as it needs to be to prevent it all together unfortunately. If only the CO2 Alarmists were right ;-).

  102. @- Christoph Dollis says:
    “And even where we measure content content to estimate previous years’ atmospheric CO2 levels, we measure trapped bits of carbon, plant growth remnants, etc. — not the atmosphere.”
    The same objection applies to current measurements.
    CO2 levels are not measured directly but are inferred from changes in the intensity of a laser and a (quantum) model of photon absorption.
    Temperature from thermometers is a proxy measure from the level of a material in a tube and a mathematical model of thermal expansion in liquids.
    “Further, if you want to be technical, my quip was linguistic and as much to do with verb tenses as anything. Clearly there was no one “measuring” anything back then that we are aware of.”
    At the risk of being pedantic your quip was then based on ignoring the fact that the construction ‘were measured in… (units)’ has a established history of usage as an indicator of the MAGNITUDE of a quantity in the past when actual measurement was not done. For instance historians may write of the response times of the Roman Empire to civil unrest were measured in days…. as opposed to weeks or hours.
    When the grammatical construction – “(parameter x) were measured in (unit y)” in a situation where it is evident from the context that no contemporaneous measurement was made and only the magnitude of the measurement is given, no actual figure, then most readers would conclude that the knowledge we have of the magnitude of the value was being communicated not the act of measurement.

  103. All y’all are bein a little rough on Justin. When he was named a Knight Fellow at MIT for 2004-2005 it was said that “Gillis plans to use the year to shore up his understanding of basic biology, focusing on stem cells, cloning, gene therapy and other socially and politically contentious applications.” So, it could be that ol boy, outa Georgia, via DC to the NYT, is writing not out of ignorance, but to persuade the ignorant. He’s clearly not ignorant of the agenda he supports.

  104. Chris H
    I couldn’t agree with you more about Geoffrey Lean of the Telegraph. Last year he made a hopeless howler about climate sensitivity and Arrhenius – 6 deg. C !!! He never did publish a correction even though I sent him chapter and verse. I then complained to the editor who said it was in Lean’s court.

  105. I agree with mariwarcwm (January 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm that there is an interesting parallel between the vilification of CO2, a basic requirement for life as we know it on Earth at present, and the vilification of cholesterol, which is fundamentally essential to the running of a healthy body. I reviewed Malcolm Kendrick’s book ‘The Great Cholesterol Con’ 5 years ago for the Bristol Mechi website whose book confirmed mariwarcwm’s opinion.
    I am a long time retired GP (now 90) who agreed with Dr Kendrick that the medical profession were foolish (to put it mildly) to be considering prescribing statins to everyone over 50. Events since have confirmed that side effects are far more common than originally believed. Adding iatrogenic disease (caused by medical treatment) is not a good idea as I explain in a new edition of Enjoy Eating Less published by Lulu.com of Raleigh North Carolina.
    I was therefore interested in the comments of Boris Gimbarzevsky (January 7, 2011 at 11:20 pm) who found that the cholesterol hypothesis stood on very shaky ground. As the moderator permitted him to outline how he thought that the cholesterol hypothesis is an example of medical misadventure but with a fortuitous happy ending, I should like to add a further comment: He ends his piece:
    “It was instructive seeing how “dissidents” are treated in medicine as there were some cardiologists I haven’t spoken to since I voiced my doubts about the cholesterol hypothesis. My guess is that if one polled 100 random GP’s, one would find that 90% of them would give the obsolete answer about why statins reduce heart disease as I find to my dismay when I talk to my colleagues about statins and endothelial function and CRP. At least science in this area is advancing albeit very slowly. I wish the same could be said for climate science. “
    I have been surprised to learn how many of my relatives, friends and colleagues have been advised to take statins merely because their cholesterol levels were believed to be too high, and how much better most of them felt when they stopped taking them. At my age I am unable to take action in this field but suggest that readers of this blog should investigate Spacedoc website where Dr Kendrick and many others outline the problems and how they can be dealt with.
    Alick Dowling

  106. Christoph Dollis sez:
    “you’re being obtuse, and condescending at that”
    Actually, I’m just being factual. And, the fact is that instrumental measurement and proxy measurement are both subsets of the broader term measurement.
    Flawed as his yardstick was, Michael Mann did indeed use tree rings as a means of temperature measurement. Any scientist understands that. And, I would wager that Izen is a scientist.
    Mr. Dollis, in the future, I suggest you be more careful when choosing how to express your own condescension — that’s really what motivated me.

  107. Mas, no it doesn’t depend upon that. The sun has been heating up since it was formed. Today the sun is about 30% hotter than it was during the Jurassic. The reason is the accumulation of fusion products in the sun. These impurities require a higher temperature to maintain fusion, hence the sun heats up over time.
    The effect of the sun’s heating is to heighten the troposphere over time. Water molecules rise to the top of the troposphere where they can be dissociated by solar radiation. The oxygen is retained in the atmosphere and the hydrogen is vented into space. The current rate of water loss is about 1 mm/millenium or something like that, which is supplemented by new water from volcanic activity. However, when the troposphere rises above much of the earth’s magnetic field, the rate of water loss will increase by somewhere between three and five orders of magnitude, meaning that the oceans will boil off in something on the order of 1-10 million years or so.
    At the current theorized rate of solar heating, this effect takes place about 200-300 million years from now. However, the sun’s conversion into a red giant when it falls off the main sequence will not happen for at least a billion years.

  108. @-Colin says:
    “Latitude: the reason that CO2 is dropping permanently over geologic time is that the bulk of the planet’s original inventory of CO2 is locked up in limestone. The cold water reaction process of combining CO2 + basaltic rock to form limestone and sand is a permanent one.”
    No it isn’t unless you are proposing that tectonic and volcanic processes are going to cease. Plate tectonics recycles the sequestered carbon in limestone releasing back into the atmosphere.
    The atmospheric sequestration of CO2 as carbonate rock is rate limited by the concentration. If the level of CO2 drops to be a significant constraint on photosynthetic productivity it also becomes a significant constraint on the biological path of carbonate sequestration.
    Meanwhile tectonic processes will subduct the limestone rock and then the CO2 is released back to the atmosphere by volcanism.
    Although at a rate two orders of magnitude slower than the present anthropogenic additions.

  109. SBVOR:
    “Mr. Dollis, in the future, I suggest you be more careful when choosing how to express your own condescension — that’s really what motivated me.”

    Christoph Dollis says:
    January 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm
    Smokey, it flew right over your head. I’ll correct the original statement so you can contrast:
    “Since life on this planet evolved when CO2 levels were measured in the thousands ppm”
    My reply was mere humour: a quip.

    Look, you humourless person. That wasn’t condescension: It was a quip.
    And the phrase, “I guess that one flew over your head,” referring to a joke isn’t an insult. That’s why Smokey’s next comment began with:

    Christoph Dollis:
    Oh, OK, I get it now.
    Ha-ha!

    Go on arguing with yourself about a harmless joke based on ambiguous phrasing of a few words. I’m done with it. Have at her.

  110. [reply with html tags closed]
    SBVOR:
    “Mr. Dollis, in the future, I suggest you be more careful when choosing how to express your own condescension — that’s really what motivated me.”

    Christoph Dollis says:
    January 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm
    Smokey, it flew right over your head. I’ll correct the original statement so you can contrast:
    “Since life on this planet evolved when CO2 levels were measured in the thousands ppm”
    My reply was mere humour: a quip.

    Look, you humourless person. That wasn’t condescension: It was a quip.
    And the phrase, “I guess that one flew over your head,” referring to a joke isn’t an insult. That’s why Smokey’s next comment began with:

    Christoph Dollis:
    Oh, OK, I get it now.
    Ha-ha!

    Go on arguing with yourself about a harmless joke based on ambiguous phrasing of a few words. I’m done with it. Have at her.

  111. Izen, it’s a question of the relative rate of formation of limestone vs. release of CO2 via subduction and volcanism. I don’t have any quantification for that. Do you? Is quantification of this even possible to any degree of precision?

  112. Dr T G Watkins says:
    January 7, 2011 at 10:27 am
    The lack of even basic science education is mostly absent in the journalists in the MSM and more importantly for our economic wellbeing even rarer among politicians.
    So sad.

    No, Dr., “the lack … is mostly absent” is false. The lack is mostly present. And “the lack … is … even rarer among politicians” is also false. It’s more common.
    I know, double negatives are VEWY confusin’.
    😀

  113. Leaving science in the hands of people such as Justin Gillis is analogous to leaving my credit card in the hands of a serial bank robber.

  114. “The lack of even basic science education is mostly absent in the journalists in the MSM”
    It’s actually far worse than that…
    The so-called “leaders” within the so-called “profession” of so-called “journalism” openly promote the distortion of science “reporting” into purely political propaganda. And, the minions do as they are told.
    Click here to see that even Slate.com recognizes this as a giant problem.

  115. @-Colin says:
    ” it’s a question of the relative rate of formation of limestone vs. release of CO2 via subduction and volcanism. I don’t have any quantification for that. ”
    It is undoubtedly variable over time, but as it IS cyclic, and has been ongoing for at least 2 billion years so it is clear that until tectonic process stop there will always be a proportion of the terrestrial carbon in CO2 atmospheric form. The tectonic rate is farely consistent over 100millions of year periods with a slow decrease, but if CO2 falls due to increased sequestration processes those are rate limited by the CO2 concentration so the minimum concentration is not zero.
    If sequestration rates fall, or emission rates rise and CO2 increases significantly then the geochemical processes that sequester CO2 increase. Biological sequestration may also play a role, if the global warming from the increased CO2 does not cause an extinction event as in the PETM.

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