Tale of the Global Warming Tiger

Guest Post by Ira Glickstein.

Once upon a time, long ago and far away, three brave warriors decided to do something about the tiger that was terrorizing their village.

The first approached the tiger’s head and whacked it with a stick. The tiger ate him! The second struck the tiger’s middle with a knife. It clawed him to death. The last brave young man decided to sneak up from behind. He managed to snip a piece out of the tiger’s tail.

Of course, nipping the tiger’s tail did not do much to solve the problem. Nevertheless, the villagers celebrated his pluck and luck and everybody felt quite satisfied – until the next tiger attack.

Like the fictional warriors of my Tiger’s Tale, Global Warming Alarmists and Warmists attack the “Tail” which, in this instance, is a metaphor for human-caused warming (AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming). It makes them feel good to talk about reducing the causes of warming over which we humans may have some control: CO2 from fossil fuels and land use that reduces the Earth’s albedo. But, since AGW, like the Tiger’s Tail, is a minor part of the threat, their solutions, the cap and trade scam for carbon indulgences and painting our roofs white and wearing reflective tinfoil hats for albedo, are all out of proportion. Yes, we should do what we can to improve energy efficiency and use nuclear and clean coal and renewable sources and recycling and much of the rest, but we should not wreck our economies taking actions that can have little effect to solve a problem that is not any kind of crisis.

There seems to be general agreement here at WUWT that the official climate Team has exaggerated the extent and danger of Global Warming by adjusting past temperature data in a manner biased (perhaps by about 0.3ºC) towards supporting their dire projections for the future. We believe the actual net temperature increase (perhaps about 0.5ºC) since 1880 is nearly all due to natural processes, including cycles of the Sun, ocean oscillations, and other causes not under human control. But, we are reasonable skeptics who do not deny that human actions are responsible for some, relatively small amount (perhaps about 0.1ºC) of the rise in temperatures.

When a system engineer is faced with a complex problem, he or she does a divide and conquer to break it down into more manageable subsystems. These are analyzed to determine which are the heavy hitters that deserve the most attention, and which are of limited consequence.

The base chart for the above graphic is from NASA GISS and indicates a rise of a bit over 0.8ºC from 1880 to the present. NASA plots this as an “anomaly” from the average for 1951-1980. NASA’s red line is a five-year running average that indicates a negative (cooler) anomaly from 1880 through the mid-1930’s and a positive (warmer) anomaly from the mid-1970’s through the present. The annotations in green and violet are my initial attempt to sub-divide the anomaly into: 1) Data Bias, 2) Natural Cycles, and 3) AGW (human-caused warming).

The green line represents my estimate of the actual temperature anomaly. Therefore, the distance from the green line down to the lowest part of the red line, near 1880, represents data bias and measurement error, where NASA has adjusted data they previously published to make that part of their curve cooler. That part of their data bias amounts to about 0.1ºC. The distance from the green line up to the highest part of the red line, near 2007, is where NASA has adjusted data they previously published to make that part of their curve warmer. That part of their data bias amounts to about 0.2ºC.

The violet line represents my estimate of the actual anomaly minus the human contribution. Thus the vertical space between the violet and green lines represents AGW, which I estimate to be about 0.1ºC at the present time. The vertical space between the violet line and the lower data bias line represents the remainder, which must be due to natural processes not under human control, which I estimate to be about 0.4ºC.

I do not claim a high level of accuracy for these estimates and freely admit they may be off by 50% or more, which is why I have specified them with only one significant digit of precision. I find it humorous when government-funded climate and sunspot researchers state their estimates to two or even three or more significant digits, and then go back and change their estimates by far more than that precision indicates. (The humor fades when I realize I am paying for their efforts.)

In subsequent postings, I plan to detail how I came up with these estimates. Meanwhile, I will appreciate it if WUWT readers provide their own estimates which I will record and average for everyone’s amazement. Please state the temperature anomaly, in degrees Centigrade, you think is due to: 1) data bias, 2) natural processes, and 3) AGW. You may simply provide the numbers or you may also explain how you arrived at them.

This is what you may look forward to:

1) The Past Is Not What It Used to Be – About Data Bias: How the official climate Team adjusted past temperature data to exaggerate warming, and how the low quality of measurement stations and their encroachment by urban heat island (UHI) developments have distorted the historical record.

2) Normal Seasons of the Sun – How natural processes beyond human control, including Solar Cycles and Ocean Oscillations, are the actual cause of most climate change.

3) Some People Claim There’s a Human to Blame – Yes, human actions, mainly burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use, are responsible for some small amount of Global Warming.

4) Is the Global Warming Tiger a Pussy Cat? – If, as many of us expect, natural processes lead to stabilization of global temperatures over the coming decades, and perhaps a bit of cooling, we will realize the whole Global Warming uproar was like the boy who saw a pussy cat and cried tiger.

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52 thoughts on “Tale of the Global Warming Tiger

  1. Maybe the Tiger can adjust as quickly as temperatures do. Because the historical temperatures seem to be ‘adjusted’ every week or so. The problem with historical instrumentation (mercury and alcohol thermometers and barometers have been in use since the 1600s) seems to be uniquely a problem with Warmists.
    And is the warming enough to make him melt without running around the tree?
    There is always one thing that is sure about these Warmists. They are simpletons.

  2. Trying to continue connecting CO2 with global warming, climate change, climate disruption, or whatever, is like searching for a needle in a haystack. It is virtually impossible to to find the needle in that haystack yet, they insist on spending billions of dollars and expending valuable resources looking for it, just so they can pin it on man, and make him pay dearly for it. Even if they found a connection, they probably would not like what they find in that, the connection would probably be of such insignificant consequence as to be considered lunacy, when trying to justify such a large expenditure of time, energy, man power, and cash.
    P.S.
    Pun intended.

  3. My estimate isn’t of the delta temp so far, but is of the feedback. I reckon that feedback reduces the warming caused by a change to 1/3 of what the change would be without feedback. That compares with the warmists who seem to assume that feedback increases the warming to 3 times what it would be. They then add a few more degrees for effect.
    Doubling CO2 would by itself increase temps by 1.2 Centigrade, which would be in my estimate 0.4 after negative feedback.

  4. I like this article and the tip of the tail of the tiger analogy which is has a lot of explanatory power in my opinion. I’ll be interested to see the subsequent posts.
    My numbers would not be far off yours. I too would put the data bias at 0.3C. The natural cycles would be about 0.25C to 0.30C and the AGW at 0.20C to 0.25C.

  5. Sounds right; about 0.4 or 0.5°C of actual change to be explained. Too bad it’s not more.
    Bring Back That Holocene Optimum! Break The CO2 Famine!
    As you can perhaps detect, I’m a Contrarian Denialist. Full-bore.

  6. I think the actual warming is more than .1 degree for the time period in the chart. The increasing solar activity/recovery from the LIA seems to steady around 1950-1960 ( http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1e/800px-Sunspot_butterfly_with_graph.gif ).
    After that I’d say the AMO and PDO explain the later warmth fairly well. That being said, I do think the surface temp. record has been adjusted poorly and affected by UHI to some extent, but that corruption has been limited (a bit) by the existence of the satellite records in the later years.

  7. Considering temperatures of the past climate optima, there is NO tiger terrorizing the village in the first place.

  8. Heat pump earth has been trying to dump the heat of the last rampant sun cycles and find equilibrium. My best guess is a seven year lag, that has passed and old Sol has been slumbering for some time, unless the sun has a change of heart I would bet my left testicle that the gains for the last century in temperature will be gone by 2013. An anomaly of -0.5 C at that time and – 1C by 2015. Warming is good, what lays ahead may not be so good for those in the Northern hemisphere. The thermophobiaists will go away quietly with their tails between their legs unless old Sol can be awakened.
    In the 1970’S science told us of impending doom for the ice age commeth, oddly the same weather patterns manifest themselves at this time, with one major change. Rather than an ambivalent sun we have one that has gone on holidays. Sorry Anthony but we should get accustomed to a few less watts and make decisions for our future well-being
    unencumbered by PC AGW nonsense.

  9. The IPCC AR4 summary limits anthropogenic forcing to the period after ~1950, although in other parts it refers to the complete instrumental record.
    Human fossil fuel use, if it is a factor, was insignificant before WWII:
    http://sitemaker.umich.edu/section7group6/files/co2_emissions.jpg
    But I agree with the thrust of the article, the CAGW hysterics’ ‘solutions’ to a manufactured problem are completely unrealistic at this stage.
    The ‘greens’ are the latest in a long line of revolutionaries whose aim is not to stop ‘global warming’, but to remake society; a long line which goes back to the French Revolution and beyond (e.g. medieval religious fanatics, flagellants, Savonarola).
    For instance around 1900, French socialist Clemenceau complained that the British labour movement was not interested in “class war” or social revolution, but only in improving the workers’ conditions.
    As is now happening to The Greens, political party in Australia, the ‘mensheviks’ (like Patrick Moore exiled from Greenpeace) soon get sent to ‘Siberia’.
    The test for the genuineness of those who express passionate concerned about CAGW, is their attitude to the only viable option at this stage, nuclear power.

  10. The alarmists need to realise that that’s not a tiger, it’s a cow.
    It’s good to have around the village. It provided more food for us.

  11. I change the base line to 1981-2010. Two reasons really, first things ought to always be in the now so as to reflect our own time and secondly I do not consider the “ice age climate” of 1951-1980 to reflect any kind of normal.
    So essentially we’re pretty much just back to normal temperatures. Wow, but I’d say this though, it was a close one, but I wont. :p

  12. This is an exchange correspondence with a leading UK Government advisor and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He certainly believes a problem is induced by Man-made CO2, but when asked to show the flaw in the logic set out below to get to about 0.1 degC he responded as follows:
    —————————————————————————————-
    “Where is the flaw in this logic ?
    Greenhouse Effect = +33.00⁰C Water Vapour causes 95% of the effect = 31.35⁰C Other Greenhouse gasses cause 5% of the Effect = 1.65⁰C CO2 is about 75% of the Effect of all GHGs = 1.24⁰C. Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2 = 0.086⁰C So closure of the world carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse Effect by 86 thousandths ⁰C.
    The UK contribution to Man-made CO2 is ~2% = 0.00174⁰C.
    So closure of the total UK carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse effect by 1740 millionths ⁰C.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    The following response has been made:
    flaws are marked (*)
    Greenhouse Effect = +33.00⁰C Water Vapour causes 95% of the effect = 31.35⁰C Other Greenhouse gases cause 5% of the Effect = 1.65⁰C CO2 is about 75% of the Effect of all GHGs = 1.24⁰C. Total worldwide Man-made CO2 is about 7% of atmospheric CO2 = 0.086⁰C
    (*) Nope, steady emissions lead to CO2 concentration rising.
    So closure of the world carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse Effect by 86 thousandths ⁰C The UK contribution to Man-made CO2 is ~2% = 0.00174⁰C So closure of the total UK carbon economy could only result reducing the Greenhouse effect by 1740 millionths ⁰C
    (*) Well, that’s “the tragedy of the commons”. You can always argue that it is fine for you to be antisocial because you are just one person. But there are other views of ethics, leadership, pollution. London doesn’t have smog any more, and that’s thanks to all 7 million people all following the lead of whoever went first.”
    —————————————————————————————————–
    The author responded in part as follows but has received no further reply:
    “Thank you very much for responding to my question.
    I had expected you to find some flaw in my apparently trivial sums. However I sense that you view the figures to be in the right ballpark.
    I agree that continuing emissions are progressively adding to atmospheric CO2. Nonetheless current CO2 concentrations are still at and will remain close to historical record lows even with the addition of Man-made emissions.
    However I do not think that your argument about the Clean Air Act and London Pea Soupers, (I remember them well as a schoolboy), can in any way be analogous to the supposed “pollution” of CO2 and Water Vapour as greenhouse gasses. The SO2 and particulate matter that coal-burning in London produced then were qualitatively different: they were not natural and essential constituents of the biosphere. They truly were pollutants.
    When you argue the greater good of the “commons” I sincerely believe that there are many more pressing Green priorities for the common good of mankind than reduction of CO2 emissions. Bjorn Lomborg has made this point very clearly.
    This is especially so when one accepts that any actions, however damaging to the economies of individual countries and/or the world and to the well-being of the world population, are unable to influence global temperature to any degree at all. This is because the total elimination of all Man-made carbon dioxide production worldwide could only ever reduce the Greenhouse effect by less than 0.1°C. That is why I do not understand the idea that by drastic action worldwide many politicians think it is possible to limit any temperature rise, if it is occurring, to +2.0°C.
    However in the light of the state of the current solar cycle it seems that there is a real prospect of hugely damaging cooling occurring in the near future for several decades.”
    —————————————————————————————
    This correspondence seems to confirm the AGW effect of CO2 to be in the region of 0.1 degC.

  13. I can’t really put a number to how much warming to aportion out to various sources, but I am awfully glad the mile or so thick glacier is no longer sitting on my property.

  14. The latest research shows that the recent warming was caused by natural previously unknown inputs, like solar magnetism, cosmic rays, solar wind, to name but three, which caused the degree of warming supposedly caused by CO2. The CO2 theory of GHG’s is not true, has never been true and is due to die a deservedly tortuous death.

  15. Excellent post, Ira, and thanks.
    So-called primitive societies seem to be as advanced as 21st century Man in the urge to invent mythologies that can frighten us as soon as the sun goes down. Sadly, the rampant Green mythologies in the Western world have our current crop of politicians in thrall, who are spending inordinant chunks of the Revenue on even less effective strategies than snipping the tuft from the end of the tiger’s tail.

  16. I think it is about time to stop using anything Hansenized or Jonesied as a basis for further analyzing. If it is Manngled or Crudified it should also not come under consideration as a basis for scientific exploration. Any numbers coming out of these processes are meaningless. Might as well use Mistress Mathilda’s Cristal Ball Prognostications and Tarot Deliberations for the gullible. Astrology has a firmer grounding in reality. Better entertainment value too.

  17. Ira, repeat after me, over and over, until it gets permanently lodged in your brain: warmer is better, warmer is better, warmer is better, warmer is better…
    Write a post about that! Poll the dear readers, have them score the betterment of warming on a ten-point scale, and average those. It will be a useful exercise and will involve math, so it will resemble engineering quite nicely.

  18. Bill Illis says:
    January 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm
    I like this article and the tip of the tail of the tiger analogy which is has a lot of explanatory power in my opinion. I’ll be interested to see the subsequent posts.
    My numbers would not be far off yours. I too would put the data bias at 0.3C. The natural cycles would be about 0.25C to 0.30C and the AGW at 0.20C to 0.25C.

    Thanks Bill Illis for being the first to take me up on the challenge to come up with your own estimates. Your’s have been entered into my Excel spreadsheet.

  19. . . . It makes them feel good to talk about reducing the causes of warming over which we humans may have some control: CO2 from fossil fuels and land use that reduces the Earth’s albedo. But, since AGW, like the Tiger’s Tail, is a minor part of the threat . . .

    “Threat”? What threat? You have fallen for the baseless fear-mongering of the Climatists and Eco-whackos. As others have pointed out:

    Katherine says:
    January 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm
    Considering temperatures of the past climate optima, there is NO tiger terrorizing the village in the first place.

    StuartMcL says:
    January 14, 2011 at 12:41 am
    The alarmists need to realise that that’s not a tiger, it’s a cow.
    It’s good to have around the village. It provided more food for us.

    We are probably on the cusp of a plunge into another glaciation. Whatever warming we can eke out of this planet in the next few years (centuries? millennia?) will be all to the good for humanity—and my cold feet!
    /Mr Lynn

  20. In Feng Shui, its not a good year for tigers, just look at what happened to the tiger with a wood who loves women then crashed his car. That can be compared to global warming.

  21. Mankind’s ability to control natural climate change is equivalent to his meager attempt to stop tectonic plates from floating around on the asthenosphere–NADA!

  22. Only 1 question: why a baseline period of 1950 – 1980? Why not 1920 – 1950 before AGW was supposed to be an issue. Also 1950 – 1980 encompassed most of the hysteria over the global cooling leading to an ICE AGE. If you choose a cool period for the base line then you would expect the rebound anomalies to be positive. Unless someone can give a very, very good explanation for the baseline period other than that is what we chose to use then all the hype is meaningless.

  23. I asked myself this question on my web-page 13 years ago, or in the year 1998.
    See http://www.agust.net/sol/
    This page is in Icelandic, but scrolling down to the green part about 80% down one can read:
    Einföld samantekt á orsakavöldum meintrar hnatthitunar:
    Hækkun hita lofthjúpsins frá 1860 er talin vera um 0,6°C, á sama tíma og CO2 hefur aukist frá 0,028 í 0,036%, eða um 29%.
    Orsakavaldar eru þessir:
    — Náttúrulegar sveiflur í sólinni: u.þ.b. 0,25°C
    — Mæliskekkja ýmiskonar: u.þ.b. 0,1°C
    — Af völdum aukins CO2 um 29%: u.þ.b. 0,25°C
    Samkvæmt þessu ætti tvöföldun CO2 að valda hækkun hitastigs um 0,85°C.
    Translated to English:
    A simple summary of the cause of the supposed global warming:
    Rise in atmospheric temperature from 1860 is considered to be about 0.6 ° C, while CO2 has increased from 0.028 to 0.036%, or about 29%.
    Selected causes are:
    – Naturally occurring fluctuations in the sun: about 0.25 ° C
    – The measurement error of various types: about 0.1 ° C
    – Caused by increased CO2 by 29%: about 0.25 ° C
    According to this doubling of CO2 should cause the temperature by 0.85 ° C.

    This was in the year 1998. A long time ago. I think it is still approximately valid. Maybe I underestimate the “errors”, especially because then I did not know of the “adjustments and corrections” that has been done to the data.
    By the way, I have a MSc degree in electrical engineering and have been dealing with design of control and measuring systems in geothermal power plants since 1975. I therefore have a good sense for measurement errors etc. This webpage http://www.agust.net/sol/ has not been much updated for a decade. It is actually the first page of nine pages mainly dealing with the sun-climate connection which has interested me for a long time…
    Agust

  24. A Tiger named AL
    A story of global warming
    Once upon a time, thousands of years ago there was clan of cavemen. The whole clan lived together in a cave and spent all their available hours hunting and gathering to keep from starving.
    On day, while out hunting and gathering on his own, one of the clan members, Al, came across some strange tracks at the edge of the clan’s hunting area.. He wasn’t sure what they were from but they seamed really BIG. Young Al thought about it for awhile and decided that these tracks could be from the dreaded Saber toothed tiger.
    Al had never actually seen a saber toothed tiger nor had he ever seen their tracks. But, thought Al, what else could the tracks be from?
    Al rushed back to the clan cave to tell the others of what he had discovered. To young Al’s surprise most of the clan didn’t seem too concerned. Al said “ we need to take precautions to keep the saber toothed tiger from killing us” “ We need to build a high fence around our camp to keep the tiger out.”
    To this the clan elders said “ Sorry Al, we don’t have time to stop hunting and gathering to build a fence. We have to hunt and gather every waking hour just to keep alive. We don’t have time to waste on fences to keep out a tiger that probably doesn’t even exist”.
    “ But”, Cried Al” I saw the tracks, there may even be lots of saber toothed tigers about . I can’t be sure how many tracks I saw”
    The clan elders sat young Al down and tried to explain things to him.
    “First”, they said, “ You don’t know what those tracks were from. Could be from a big fluffy dog named Rex. Second, nobody around here has ever even seen a saber toothed tiger. We don’t even know if they still exist. Thirdly, Even if they do exist, we don’t know that they would hurt us. Fourthly, Even if all you said was true, we don’t know that a fence would keep the tiger out.”
    “ Tell you what, You go out and get some really good solid information and we will re-visit the issue”
    Well, young Al didn’t like that response. He vowed to do whatever he could to save his clan. Al went back and took a second look at the tracks he had found. The tracks had been trampled over by other animals and were hard to distinguish. Now it seemed to him there were many more tracks than he first thought. Maybe the tracks of a HUNDRED tigers. He also saw something that looked like a spot of blood. Probably from an eaten member of a neighboring clan. Also, he was able to calculate that the tiger was at least 10 feet tall. So now he had his proof. There were over a hundred tigers. They were ten feet tall and they loved to eat cave dwellers.
    “ Now they will have to believe me and build that fence.” Thought Al.
    When young Al went to the clan elders and explained of his very scientific findings he was very surprised that they still refused to stop hunting and gathering and build a fence.
    When Al came back the next day and told the elders that he was now sure that there were a THOUSAND tigers and that they were 25 feet tall they still weren’t convinced. In fact they seemed even less convinced.
    That’s when he knew what he had to do. He packed his bags and headed to Copenhagen. If those stupid clan elders wouldn’t believe him, He’d talk directly to Obama. That will get some action. Maybe even a few hundred million of those new paper dollars he keeps hearing about. Al wasn’t going to let no tiger cause any GORE in his cave.
    Hey, Al thought as he headed for his private jet, He would need a last name when he got to Copenhagen. Maybe that would make a good last name, “Tiger”, He would be: “ Al Tiger” That would be a COOL name.

  25. “…AGW, like the Tiger’s Tail, is a minor part of the threat.”
    “…solve a problem that is not any kind of crisis.”
    Part of the problem with your essay Dr. Glickstein, is that you assume there is a threat and a problem (but not YET a crisis). Your initial assumption is wrong, so the rest of your essay is also wrong.

  26. Agust,
    interesting.
    A co2 doubling amounts to an added 3.7w/m^2 of power not leaving the atmosphere to space. The average Earth at T = 288k emits about 391 w/m^2 and for balance, only about 235 W/m^2 average can escape to match the incoming solar power after the albedo reflection. That means the atmosphere, including clouds, has blocked 391-235 = 156 W/m^2 when we were in balance. Since the T is 33 Deg C above a black body, our sensitivity average is 33/156 = 0.21 deg C per W/m^2. That corresponds to 3.7 x 0.21 = 0.78 deg C rise for a doubling.
    This is incredibly close to your 0.85 deg C value for a co2 doubling estimated in quite a different way.

  27. Ágúst Bjarnason says:
    January 14, 2011 at 8:23 am
    I asked myself this question on my web-page 13 years ago, or in the year 1998.
    See http://www.agust.net/sol/
    A simple summary of the cause of the supposed global warming:
    Rise in atmospheric temperature from 1860 is considered to be about 0.6 ° C, while CO2 has increased from 0.028 to 0.036%, or about 29%.
    Selected causes are:
    – Naturally occurring fluctuations in the sun: about 0.25 ° C
    – The measurement error of various types: about 0.1 ° C
    – Caused by increased CO2 by 29%: about 0.25 ° C
    … By the way, I have a MSc degree in electrical engineering and have been dealing with design of control and measuring systems in geothermal power plants since 1975. I therefore have a good sense for measurement errors etc. …
    Ágúst

    Thanks Ágúst, from another electrical engineer (my Bachelors degree, before I defected to become a systems guy). You seem to be a hands-on engineer who knows the difference between the real world of physical systems and actual measurements, and the theoretical world of models and analysis. The latter is also important, so long as the model-makers do not think their products control the real world. As a practical EE, who knew how to use a voltmeter, oscilloscope, and even a soldering iron, I found that helped ground me as a system engineer. My employer, IBM, paid for me to go back, part time, for a Masters and PhD in System Science.
    Your 1998 estimates are far closer to the truth than the latest from the official climate Team. I’m pleased you included your original estimates. You could have updated them to account for the additional data bias NASA GISS added after 1999, and I plan to include and discuss a blink graphic that compares their 1999 and 2008 data, showing how the PAST is not what it used to be.
    I will proudly add your 1998 estimates to the summary of WUWT readers I am compiling.

  28. woodNfish says:
    January 14, 2011 at 9:25 am
    “…AGW, like the Tiger’s Tail, is a minor part of the threat.”
    “…solve a problem that is not any kind of crisis.”
    Part of the problem with your essay Dr. Glickstein, is that you assume there is a threat and a problem (but not YET a crisis). Your initial assumption is wrong, so the rest of your essay is also wrong.

    woodNfish, thanks for your comment, which echos others in this thread, who say there is no “threat”.
    Well, first of all, even if steadily rising CO2 levels are not a valid concern now (and I agree with you they are not, and will not be so for the rest of our lives and those of our children and grands) , I think you would agree there is a definite threat from the CAGW crowd who have succeeded in imposing the cap and trade an other carbon-trading scams in parts of the world, along with draconian legislation in the US. For me, that kind of manufactured crisis is a definite threat.
    Most of the media and much of the general population, including much of the educated elite (educated beyond their intelligence, I would say :^) believes that every extreme weather event is due to CO2, which is, of course, false, but that well-established and government-funded belief system is also a definite threat. I do not think we CAGW skeptics will gain any political traction by sticking to the pure science and saying higher levels of CO2 have not been proven to cause any temperature or weather event effects. That is the opposite side of the CAGW coin – they claim everything is due to CO2 and some claim nothing is due to CO2! The truth, as in most matters, in neither black nor white, but in some shade of gray, in this case closer to the nothing side,
    You are free to disagree, and write that “Your initial assumption is wrong, so the rest of your essay is also wrong”, but do you really believe it is pointless for me to illustrate and expose data manipulation by the official climate Team and provide materials that may be used to show interested and undecided readers that the human contribution to climate change is minor compared to natural processes and that they should therefore reject the crisis-mongering by the CAGW crowd and oppose any drastic government actions that will further wreck our economy?
    We also need to look to the very long run and recognize that we are burning fossil fuels that were sequestered over hundreds of millions of years, and, at current rates, we may use them up in hundreds of years. Yes, oil/tar sands and other sources will last a long time, but the more easily accessible oil and gas may peak within decades. While I agree with some comments in this thread that higher CO2 levels may actually turn out to be beneficial (as they are for most plant life), as a system engineer I do not think it is prudent to change key system parameters of a complex and chaotic (in the math sense) system more rapidly than can be adapted to within reasonable means.
    IMHO, you can’t fight something (the politically-based CAGW crisis threat) with nothing. I’d appreciate your further views and those of others who think I am going a bit off the rails here.

  29. Ira, your paranoia cup runneth over. We must be afraid of the Warmistas and counter them with science, and we must be afraid of Government Gone Wacko, and the End of Cheap Oil, and Chaos Tipped Into Chaos, and who knows what else.
    Okay, fine. I agree to a degree. But Mother Goose fairy tales about the tip of the tiger’s tail dodge the issues with childish tripe.
    And more to the point, there is no engineering solution to any of the above dire reports. Hold onto your hat because I am going to say it again. You can’t engineer your way out of what are in essence human-induced socio-political problems. More better science has a useful role, but the heart of the matter is political and thus not fixable with a hard systems approach.
    Is there a role in this human drama for engineers? Yes, but not so much for engineering.
    PS — Warmer means longer growing seasons, more rain, more arable land, more biological productivity, more biological diversity, more abundance, less scarcity, more wealth, more happiness — or more precisely, it would mean those things if warming was happening, which it is not. Please stop raving about the mythical dangers of CO2. It is the key nutrient of all life and without it you and I would not exist.

  30. “There seems to be general agreement here at WUWT that the official climate Team has exaggerated the extent and danger of Global Warming …”
    NO. It is much worse that that–MUCH worse. Far from exaggerating, they have the entire climate and CO2 ideal scene BACKWARDS. Warming is good–ask any farmer whether plants grow best at 12 C (54F) or lower or higher. Check the winter versus summer human death rates in any nation advanced enough to report these by month. And CO2 is not only plant food, but the tidbit of research available suggests that even 500ppm is also below the optimum for human and animal physiology.

  31. . . . IMHO, you can’t fight something (the politically-based CAGW crisis threat) with nothing. I’d appreciate your further views and those of others who think I am going a bit off the rails here.

    What you can fight them with is the truth, and that ain’t nothin’.
    The truth is that, as far as we know, there is no threat to the Earth’s climate from burning fossil fuels whatsoever, and there is not likely to be one.
    The truth is that much higher levels of CO2 were common in paleo-geological time, and life thrived.
    The truth is that attempting to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere is a fool’s errand that may enrich a few, but will impoverish the rest of mankind.
    The truth is that the CAGW fear mongers are not scientists at all, but ideological zealots with a political agenda; they cannot be scientists, because they admit no doubt, and strive to brand opponents as heretics and ‘deniers’.
    Shine the light of scientific truth on them, and the public will see them for what they are. There is no greater weapon.
    /Mr Lynn

  32. Mike D. says:
    January 14, 2011 at 5:13 am
    Ira, repeat after me, over and over, until it gets permanently lodged in your brain: warmer is better, warmer is better, warmer is better, warmer is better…
    Write a post about that! Poll the dear readers, have them score the betterment of warming on a ten-point scale, and average those.
    I like that. If we can somehow get a representative sample, it would be great to find out just what we think. A few actually believe ATW (kudos on your courage to read us and to post here!), some believe warming is bad but exaggerated, some know that warming is good…

  33. I have been authorised to give Jim Hansen’s vote by proxy :
    Human caused CO2 : +2.3C
    Natural variability : -1.5C
    Data bias : 0.0C
    sarc off
    Personally, I have no issue with your numbers, they look pretty much in the right ballpark.

  34. Ira,
    while I find your estimates quite compelling, I cannot offer any as I don’t think there is necessarily anyway to really tell. In fact, albedo due to clouds is quite variable and could be responsible for all warming observed although I think there is validity to my 0.21 deg C per W/m^2 average sensitivity value which suggests that some warming of around 0.35 should have occurred if co2 forcing has risen 1.7w/m^2. However, even that is assuming that co2 warming is the same for clear and cloudy sky conditions rather than merely for clear sky conditions. if this is not the case and if the effect of co2 is 0 for cloudy conditions and 3.7w/m^2 for clear conditions, then the effect could be as little as 0.13 deg C since 1750.
    Under present circumstances, cloud albedo could basically adjust our temperature by+/- 6 deg C were it to vary from 0 to 100%. A natural setpoint system could also maintain our temperature rather closely for quite a variation in other parameters. External parameters as well as internal parameters (to the Earth system) could also be responsible for practically all of the variation not due to the co2.
    Since cloud albedo does vary by a few percent, over twice as much power change due to albedo as a co2 doubling has been observed over a few year span, it is neither constant nor negligible. As such, it is fairly easy for the cloud variation to accommodate variations in parameters, like ghg effects or solar incoming, so that there is almost no surface T change.

  35. “…do you really believe it is pointless for me to illustrate and expose data manipulation by the official climate Team and provide materials that may be used to show interested and undecided readers that the human contribution to climate change is minor compared to natural processes and that they should therefore reject the crisis-mongering by the CAGW crowd and oppose any drastic government actions that will further wreck our economy?”
    Absolutely not Doctor, but I do think pointing out how their alarmism is manufactured is laudable, but I think you harm your effort lending agreement to their claim that there is a problem.
    I don’t know how many of the “elite” believe this nonsense or are just to busy or lazy to look at it close enough rather than depend on the fraudulent experts (alarmists). And yes, I do think the C&T and GHG emissions regulation is extremely harmful and wasteful. But let me give you something else to consider:
    Obama has given the go ahead to the EPA and other parts of the government to regulate GHGs. He did this just before the new Congress came in even though a majority of people want jobs, and this is a jobs killer.
    I think he did it to put his bargaining chits in place before the Republican House of Reps begins to try and dismantle as much as they can. Obama can give in on regulations that basically haven’t had an effect – the Republicans can look like they are keeping their promises and Obama looks like he is moving to the center, ensuring his re-election in 2012.
    Considering the amount of damage he has been able to do in two years, if he succeeds in getting another four years I don’t know how we’ll survive. And I am not trying to be dramatic.

  36. Mike D. says:
    January 14, 2011 at 11:36 am
    Ira, your paranoia cup runneth over. …

    GRRR! I’m NOT paranoid! (Even though the whole world is against me :^)

    And more to the point, there is no engineering solution to any of the above dire reports. … Is there a role in this human drama for engineers? Yes, but not so much for engineering. …

    I agree this is a political issue more than a science or engineering one. If engineering is involved it will a very long-range role, for adapting to the normal changes in climate, whether it be the cooling some of us are predicting, or continuing gradual warming, or more or fewer extreme weather events, or for coping with peak oil and gas, etc.
    Yes, I agree that warmer is generally better and that 400 or 600 ppmv of CO2 will not be an issue for human and other animal life and will be beneficial for most plant life.
    OK, you and I are sold on these facts, but you do not address how we will get the other reasonable citizens of our republic, and our elected leaders, and the opinion-setters to buy these truths. My posting was more for them than you.
    Talking and listening to our customer set (military pilots and their defense acquisition agencies) was a key part of my job as a system engineer involved in conceptualizing future systems. So IBM sent me to their marketing school for two weeks. One lesson that stuck with me was that people buy what they want from who they like. A second was not to trash our competitors approaches and products. It does no good to shout “XYZ company is a bunch of stinking liars and their systems are crap.” Saying that (even if it is true) will shut your audience down and they will not hear anything else you say. Better to point out the advantages of our system approach, admit where an opposing concept has some advantages, and where applicable, give factual comparisons that favor our approach and that can be verified: “Our system has X accuracy and theirs has Y accuracy.”
    What has this to do with my approach to CAGW? Well, I don’t have to sell you on this issue. But it is a fact that the majority of opinion-setters are closer to the other side than to ours. They will not respond well if we make fun of their concerns by shouting “repeat after me, warmer is better” (even though it is true), or “your paranoia cup runneth over” or “Please stop raving about the mythical dangers of CO2”, etc. Dale Carnegie wrote a great book in 1936, before you and I were born, “How to Win Friends and Influence People!” It is still worth reading.

  37. Anything is possible says:
    January 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm
    I have been authorised to give Jim Hansen’s vote by proxy :
    Human caused CO2 : +2.3C
    Natural variability : -1.5C
    Data bias : 0.0C
    sarc off
    Personally, I have no issue with your numbers, they look pretty much in the right ballpark.

    THANKS! I love the way you set the “Jim Hansen’s” estimates that they add to exactly 0.8ºC, the NASA GISS supposed total warming since 1880, and that you had to set natural variability to a negative value.

  38. Only 3.27% of CO2 is produced by man, the other 96.73% is natural.
    Only 0.001% of water vapor is produced by man; the other 99.999% is natural.
    Wv has 26 times the spectral bandwidth absorption or gge than does CO2.
    After the gge of N2O, CH4, O3, and CFCs are added, the total gge caused by man is 0.28%, the other 99.72% is natural.
    If man ceased to exist, the gge reduction would be 1 part out of 356!
    It is going to be the Grand Solar Minimum we entered in 1990 and will bottom out in 2030 that will be the harvest killer and the real crisis for mankind. CO2 is just coming along for the ride, and is irrelevant.

  39. WoodNFish;
    I agree with your adjuration not to cede assumptions to the AGW crowd. I have considerable difficulty with “lukewarmist” apologias on this account. They seem to think that saying, “OK, CO2 warms somewhat, but it’s not that much” is sane and effective. It is not. NO warming outside irrelevant lab experiments with closed containers of pure CO2 has been demonstrated. Further, the cloud albedo variability and responsiveness are, as pointed out above, far in excess of any putative effect of CO2, and will not just swamp but erase them.
    CO2 is irrelevant to weather and climate.

  40. Brian H says:
    January 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm
    WoodNFish;
    I agree with your adjuration not to cede assumptions to the AGW crowd. I have considerable difficulty with “lukewarmist” apologias on this account. They seem to think that saying, “OK, CO2 warms somewhat, but it’s not that much” is sane and effective. It is not. NO warming outside irrelevant lab experiments with closed containers of pure CO2 has been demonstrated. Further, the cloud albedo variability and responsiveness are, as pointed out above, far in excess of any putative effect of CO2, and will not just swamp but erase them.
    CO2 is irrelevant to weather and climate.

    I am no expert on these matters, but Prof. Richard S. Lindzen of MIT is and has been so recognized in several WUWT postings. See Lindzen on WUWT where he says: “For sensitivities less than 2°C, the data readily distinguish different sensitivities, and ERBE [Earth Radiation Budget Experiment] data appear to demonstrate a climate sensitivity of about 0.5°C which is easily distinguished from sensitivities given by models.”
    CO2 sensitivity is the expected temperature rise from doubling of CO2 levels. CO2 has risen from around 280 ppmv to 390 ppmv, which figures out to an expected rise of 0.14°C which I rounded down, due to negative feedbacks, to 0.1°C. (Note that the official climate Team pegs CO2 sensitivity at least four times higher than Lindzen, which would increase the temperature rise due to CO2 going from 280 ppmv to 390 ppmv to 0.6°C or more, which is why the IPCC claims, incorrectly IMHO, that virtually all the warming since 1880 is due to CO2 increases. )
    What is the basis for your blanket statement that “CO2 is irrelevant to weather and climate.” ? Are you striving to counteract the IPCC’s error (that many of us think is politically driven) of over-estimating CO2 sensitivity by underestinating it in an equally erroneous way, but only more so, in the other direction?

  41. No, your adjectives, not mine. I consider, pace Lindzen, that the power, range, and virtually instantaneous response of clouds and humidity to warming from any source makes actual “signal” and effect from CO2 null.
    The reason the Earth is warm, and has a narrow temperature range, is H2O. Period. Its spectrum, phase signatures, quantity, and specific heat characteristics make CO2 less than trivial in impact.
    The “physics” of pure CO2 in closed laboratory containers is irrelevant (in the strict sense of having so little influence in an actual wet atmosphere that it is unmeasurable).

  42. Dear Ira,
    Thank you for quoting Dale Carnegie to me. I appreciate that you are attempting to engage in a soft systems approach, utilizing marketing techniques.
    I am the first to admit that I am persuasion-skill challenged. My style is to shout, “Al Gore and company are a bunch of stinking liars and their CAGW theories are crap,” which as you point out causes spontaneous reactions in the sensitive lay audience.
    Maybe treating people like children is the ticket. Compassionate hand holding may be better than a slap upside the head.
    But consider this: CAGW is a scam perped by plutocrats with sticky fingers, Enron times a million on a gl0bal scale, the largest rip off in history that has perverted science, the economy, democracy, human rights, and human well-being worldwide. It is not a paper tiger or a set of opinions that can be easily discarded to the trash heap of history. The Big Boys who have perped the scam have their jackboots on the necks of every human being and every institution, and they are powerful beyond measure.
    So maybe some excesses of contrarian rhetoric are indeed called for. And since that’s my strength, whereas gentle persuasion is not, I’ll probably continue to counterpunch rather than whisper sweet nothings. You are welcome, however, to take whatever approach you favor.

  43. Mike D. says:
    January 15, 2011 at 10:23 am
    Dear Ira,
    … I appreciate that you are attempting to engage in a soft systems approach, utilizing marketing techniques.
    I am the first to admit that I am persuasion-skill challenged. My style is to shout, “Al Gore and company are a bunch of stinking liars and their CAGW theories are crap,” which as you point out causes spontaneous reactions in the sensitive lay audience. …

    I know you were paraphrasing a sentence I used when you wrote: “Al Gore and company are a bunch of stinking liars and their CAGW theories are crap,” but, while I am no fan of our former VP, and was very pleased to see his presidential aspirations done in by the butterfly ballot and hanging chads, I would not call anyone a liar unles they met two qualifications: (1) Said or wrote something that is clearly untrue, AND (2) Knew, or had good reason to know, that it was untrue when they uttered it. Gore certainly qualifies on (1), but the evidence on (2) is lacking. As a non-scientist, he put his faith in James Hansen and other government-funded climate scientists.
    Yes, Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth slideshow and movie contain falsehoods. Even Real Climate, a Warmist blog run by members of the official CAGW climate Team admitted, in 2004, a couple years before Gore’s movie, that “CO2 does not initiate the warmings, …” In a 2006 posting at Real Climate, while spinning the story wildly to put the best face on it, they admit:

    There are a few scientific errors that are important in the film. At one point Gore claims that you can see the aerosol concentrations in Antarctic ice cores change “in just two years”, due to the U.S. Clean Air Act. You can’t see dust and aerosols at all in Antarctic cores — not with the naked eye — and I’m skeptical you can definitively point to the influence of the Clean Air Act. I was left wondering whether Gore got this notion, and I hope he’ll correct it in future versions of his slideshow. Another complaint is the juxtaposition of an image relating to CO2 emissions and an image illustrating invasive plant species. This is misleading; the problem of invasive species is predominantly due to land use change and importation, not to “global warming”. …
    Several of my colleagues complained that a more significant error is Gore’s use of the long ice core records of CO2 and temperature (from oxygen isotope measurements) in Antarctic ice cores to illustrate the correlation between the two. The complaint is that the correlation is somewhat misleading, because a number of other climate forcings besides CO2 contribute to the change in Antarctic temperature between glacial and interglacial climate. Simply extrapolating this correlation forward in time puts the temperature in 2100 A.D. somewhere upwards of 10 C warmer than present — rather at the extreme end of the vast majority of projections …[emphasis added]

    So, I let Gore off as a well-intentioned Chicken Little, who, when he got hit on the head by an acorn, thought the sky was falling, and went off to warn and save the world. (I don’t want to know what hit Gore in the head :^)
    I do think, however, you could make the case that Hansen, head of GISS in the US and Phil Jones, head of the CRU (Climategate Research Unit) in England qualify on both: (1) They spoke falsely and (2) – They knew it at the time (or at least should have known it, no one can tell what is inside anyone else’s mind, and I accept that they were well-intentioned when they first came up with their CAGW theories and really thought, like Chicken Little, that they were saving the world). I’ve read all the CRU emails that were most likely put out by an inside whistleblower as well at all the NASA GISS emails released under the FOIA, and it is clear, at least to me, there was a concerted effort to adjust the data (in other words lie) to further the CAGW scam. For all I know, both Hansen and Jones may, even now, still have CAGW delusions (sometimes it takes a PhD to believe crazy stuff like that :^), but, as climate scientists, they should have known better, even a decade ago, and, as recipients of public funding, they had an obligation to the larger society to be sure their official pronouncements were supported by science.
    As I have pointed out here at WUWT, GISS “adjusted” US Annual temperature data seven times cooking the books to truthify CAGW. Their previously published 1998 data was a decade old and their 1934 data was old enough to qualify for Social Security, but they made that old data work until they changed the initial relationship by over 0.5ºC to make 1998 warmer than 1934. Clearly, that was a lie.
    For his part, Climategate Jones, was so frustrated by the climate’s failure to follow the pronouncements of his models, that he actually wrote in emails:

    “… there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file … We also have a data protection act, which I will hide behind.”
    “Mike, Can you delete any emails … with Keith re [IPCC 2007 report] Keith will do likewise. … also email Gene and get him to do the same? … Cheers Phil”.
    “If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences.”

    A scientist is a liar when he tries to hide data and evidence contrary to his theories, and is an absolute madman when he wishes that CAGW will happen, regardless of the consequences” (which the CAGW crowd say will be catastrophic for life on Earth) just to sooth his ego.

  44. Anthony –
    Glad you mentioned this on the 16th. I missed this article and am glad to still have a chance to “vote”.
    I think your Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index chart is quite reasonable. At the same time, I have no confidence at all in the data, given the UHI/land use issue that no one has yet plugged into a global averaging over time. Add in the Great Dying Out of the Thermometers, and I am seriously unsure that any warming has actually occurred. Too many individual sites have also shown increases only in the adjusted data, and without the metadata and replication/falsification/correction of the work we can’t know anything is real. it is all garbaged up from their apparently spurious adjustments which seem to be about 99% positive direction.
    So put me in with the people who say 0.0°C increase since 1900. It might be as high as 0.3, but I haven’t seen anything to give me confidence of more than zero. So until I see a study I trust, I don’t accept any rise. For me it’s a case of put up or shut up for them.
    I hang around here (and give sometimes lame lay comments) mostly so that I will be here when the sheit hits the fan on the data, not just the bad behavior. I honestly think we have a strong possibility that the Climategate leaker has another stash to be released at a propitious time.
    This site is the best you know.

  45. Brian H says: January 14, 2011 at 6:24 pm “CO2 is irrelevant to weather and climate.”

    Hi Brian. I’m not prepared to completely dismiss CO2. It is a GHG, but a minor one, and from what I’ve read, it seems to lag temperature increases by about 300 years. So the current increase is probably mostly natural. I don’t believe the small amount of human produced CO2 has much of an effect.

  46. WoodNfish;
    Heh. What you just said is that weather and climate are relevant to CO2, but not the reverse.
    Agreed!

  47. The half down half up argument for IR re-radiated energy is absolute nonsense.
    1. When a IR photon is absorbed by a molecule of gas, the energy is quckly thermalized into the bulk of the atmosphere.
    2. Energy flow from ir radiation is then determined by the temperature and pressure gradiants with energy radiated to space when the pressure for that particular gas is low enough.
    3. What determines the temperature on earth is the temperature of atmosphere at the radiation point where the IR is directly radiated to space.
    4. The four dominate paths to space are:
    a. 10 micron path,
    b. Lower tropospheric water vapor,
    c. Cloud

  48. Another admirable attempt to summarize a complex subject, not sure it is all that is needed. And a big part of the challenge is that you are standing in a river – the climate is varying, and some new studies are questioning or rebutting earlier ones.
    For example, the debate over which year was the warmest depends on accuracy of records seems to change, and of course climate is changing (in whichever direction for however long, it at least fluctuates).

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