An opportunity for online peer review

I have been asked to present this for review by readers here, and to solicit critical comments for the purpose of improving the presentation. Moderators please remove any off-topic comments and commenters please stick to the issues of review. – Anthony

[…]

Now, about the climate science:

‘It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere,”

But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change.”

— Professor John Beddington

The British government’s chief scientific adviser, John Beddington, has called for more openness in the global warming debate. He said climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports. He also said public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly disputed issues.

I don’t think it’s healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can’t be changed.” [As reported in The Australiani. Other reports were similar.]

I would like [the two speakers] to address the specific issue of the deleted data in reconstructed temperature graphs.

The issue is as follows: In their third report (“TAR”), the IPCC published the following graphii:

This is a graph of several temperature proxies, with the instrumental temperature record from around 1900 added. What it shows is that temperatures had been declining fairly steadily for nearly 1000 years, but then suddenly shot up in the 20th century.

It has now been discovered that some of the data series had been truncated in the graph. The result of these truncations was to make the data series look more consistent and therefore convincing. (NB. I make no statement about intent.). If the data series had not been truncated, the end result would have been very differentiii:

The two red segments are the truncated data. These two segments and the dotted curve connecting them are a single data series “Briffa-2000”1. Note that the first downward segment of the black graph (instrumental temperature) has also been deleted in the version used by the IPCC.

The extreme divergence between the “Briffa-2000” proxy and the instrumental temperature record shows that this proxy is completely unreliable (the “divergence problem”). To delete segments from the graph – especially without a prominent explanation – is bad scientific practice. Contrary to claims by various climate scientists, the deletions were not disclosed in the TAR. Nor was the “divergence problem” discussediv. As Professor Richard A Muller of University of California, Berkeley, has said “You’re Not Allowed to Do This in Sciencev.

Was the “Briffa-2000” data series the only unreliable proxy data series? It seems not. Phil Jones’ 1999 “Climategate” email indicated that other proxy data series had been truncated to “hide the declinevi.

It has been argued that this “hide the decline” graph (aka the hockey-stick) is not important in the overall scheme of things, ie. in climate science as a whole. Gavin Schmidt put it this way on RealClimate.com, “if cherry-picked out-of-context phrases from stolen personal emails is the only response to the weight of the scientific evidence for the human influence on climate change, then there probably isn’t much to it.vii.

Unfortunately, the “hide the decline” graph is much more important than that. In the fourth IPCC report (“AR4”), the effect of solar variation on climate is discussed. Theories such as Henrik Svensmark’s are dismissed as “controversial” and then ignoredviii. Consequently, solar variation is included in the climate models purely as the direct climate forcing from total solar irradiation (TSI). Since variations in TSI are quite small, in percentage terms, the climate models allow only for small temperature changes from TSI changes.

Such small temperature changes are quite consistent with the “hide the decline” graph, because that graph shows only small temperature changes prior to the 20th century. If the IPCC had persisted with their original estimate of earlier temperatureix

… then the climate models would have been unable to replicate the temperature changes in either the MWP or the LIA, because the total effect of all natural factors (including TSI variation) allowed for in the models is far too small. If the climate models were unable to replicate the MWP and LIA, then they would lack credibility, and any scientific conclusions based on the models could be disregarded.

But it gets worse.

With the “hide the decline” graph representing global temperature, the climate modellers had only one factor which could give a sudden upward movement in temperature in the 20th century – CO2. This was the only factor whose pattern changed significantly then and only then. The IPCC analysis is based on “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS), which is defined as the equilibrium change in the annual mean global surface temperature following a doubling of the atmospheric equivalent carbon dioxide concentrationx. The way ECS was arrived at was to map the 20th-century temperature rise to the increase in CO2 concentration : “Estimates of the climate sensitivity are now better constrained by observations.xi.

The IPCC and the climate modellers still had a problem: the scientific studies on CO2, and the physical mechanism by which it warmed the atmosphere, gave an ECS which was far too low. But the discrepancy was explained by climate feedbacks. A climate feedback is defined as follows: “An interaction mechanism between processes in the climate system is called a climate feedback when the result of an initial process triggers changes in a second process that in turn influences the initial one. A positive feedback intensifies the original process, and a negative feedback reduces it.xii

This leads us to clouds. The IPCC state repeatedly that they do not understand clouds, and that clouds are a major source of uncertainty. For example: “Large uncertainties remain about how clouds might respond to global climate change.xiii There are many statements along these lines in the IPCC report. Now simple logic would lead one to think that clouds would be a negative feedback:- as CO2 warms the oceans, the oceans release more water vapour, which forms clouds, which have a net cooling effect (“In the current climate, clouds exert a cooling effect on climate (the global mean CRF [cloud radiative forcing] is negative).xiv).

But the IPCC report claims that clouds are a massive positive feedback: “Using feedback parameters from Figure 8.14, it can be estimated that in the presence of water vapour, lapse rate and surface albedo feedbacks, but in the absence of cloud feedbacks, current GCMs would predict a climate sensitivity (±1 standard deviation) of roughly 1.9°C ± 0.15°C (ignoring spread from radiative forcing differences). The mean and standard deviation of climate sensitivity estimates derived from current GCMs are larger (3.2°C ± 0.7°C) essentially because the GCMs all predict a positive cloud feedback (Figure 8.14) but strongly disagree on its magnitude.xv.

The IPCC provide no mechanism, no scientific paper, to support this claim. It comes in some unspecified way from the climate models themselves, yet it is acknowledged that the models “strongly disagree on its magnitude“.

So, to sum up, the situation is that the “hide the decline” graph leads to nearly all of the 20th-century warming being attributed to CO2, thanks to a factor (clouds) which is not understood, is not explained, and comes from computer models which strongly disagree with each other. The inevitable conclusion is that without the “hide the decline” graph, the clouds “feedback” as described in the IPCC report would not have existed.

Now, returning to Gavin Schmidt’s comment. When he talks about “the weight of the scientific evidence for the human influence on climate change“, a very large part of that evidence is the IPCC report and everything that references it. But as I have just shown, the IPCC report itself relies for its credibility on the “hide the decline” graph. In other words, the entire structure of mainstream climate science depends on a single work which is itself based on methods which are “not allowed” in science.

So of course there are, in Professor Beddington’s words, challenges on the speed of change. If the MWP, which was of course completely natural, was about as warm as today, then it is entirely reasonable to suppose that natural factors are largely responsible for today’s warm temperatures too, and that the speed of change from CO2 has been grossly overstated by the IPCC.

Mike Jonas

March 2011

References:

1 There are number of different versions of this graph, in the various IPCC reports and elsewhere, where different versions of the proxy data have been used.

ix http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/lambh23.jpg (I could not provide a link to this graph in an IPCC web page, because earlier IPCC reports are no longer linked there. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml)

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Ted

An excellent summation of the facts as I understand them. I will leave the scientific points of order to the more qualified readers of your great blog.

Al Gored

Excellent, concise dissection. There appears to be no reasonable answer to this but the spin will be entertaining.
The hockey stick always mattered. It was the central icon that this political project was sold on. Now we see how much it mattered to everything.

higley7

The assumption that the only factor which rises in the latter half of the 20th century is only ” valid” if you base your CO2 history on indirect Antarctic ice core data (known to be a violent process in reality and prone to CO2 losses for a variety of reasons) fused with direct CO2 data from a volcano in Hawaii (Mauna Loa). This is patently unacceptable and invalid scientifically, but there are also 80,000 direct CO2 chemical bottle measurements (a la E Beck) being specifically ignored and discounted.
Since when are direct measurements not as good as indirect? When the direct readings show periods of recent history (in the last 200 years) when CO2 has been higher than now. This cancels the CO2-warming connection, regardless of how the temperatures data and proxies have been adulterated. And, thus, it is required that other factors be considered, such as solar, clouds, ocean cycles, and the Easter Bunny.

dp

He said climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming.

He’s nicely framed my part of the discussion with this statement. Problem is, this is not the centrepiece of the sceptical movement. Not even close. The first problem is the globe has not warmed globally. It has warmed regionally, and only during certain hours of the day. We don’t yet know the cause but many suspect human contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere. Fine – prove it is unprecedented, and also unique and so, unusual, and that the trail of blame leads directly to humans. Explain why, even if humans stop releasing CO2, the level CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to grow, and explain what we do to stop that and why we should. Show your work. Be prepared to answer questions and defend your science.
But don’t frame my position – that is my job.

Leon Brozyna

One small detail.
The author references problems with “Briffa-2000”. However, on close examination it looks as though that series runs through just fine (the light green line). The problem appears to be with the “Briffa-Osborn MXD” series which appears truncated (the light blue line with dashed lines overlayed connecting the two deleted portions of that series). IE9 has a neat magnification capability which helps bring out these hard to discern details.

R. Gates

It would seem apparent that an honest discussion about the true context of the “hide the decline” comment would be in order to really get at the meaning and intent when discussing its ramifications in any type of paper. This is especially true when bringing up the issue of truncated data, and reasons why it may be indeed a prudent thing to have truncated certain data. It gets rather discouraging to see quotes from discussion between professionals taken out of context, when the full meaning and intent among those professionals could be easily explained if non-professionals would truly understand the full context.
The “hide the decline” is of course referring to the apparent decline in temperature in the high northern latitudes as shown in in tree-ring data from about 1960. This divergence of reconstructed temperatures shown in tree-ring data after 1960 in HIGH NORTHERN LATITUDES diverges from the actual measured temperatures during this period, as there were actual measurements of temperatures during this period. This “problem” is known among professionals as the “divergence” problem. It is not as though anyone is questioning the rise in temperatures during the period, for we have actual measurements, but rather, these actual measurements did not match what the tree-ring reconstructions were showing. Obviously, there was something wrong with the accuracy of what the tree-rings were showing, and so the data was, quite justifiably truncated. This truncation was hardly ignored by the IPCC reports, as professionals were quite award of the “divergence problem” and it was discussed in the 3rd IPCC report in 2001 and in even more detail in the 4th report in 2007. Discussions about the divergence problem can be found here:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Tree-ring-proxies-divergence-problem.htm
Discussions about the “hide the decline” comment, in full context can be found here:
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Mikes-Nature-trick-hide-the-decline.htm
It is, in my opinion, very dishonest at best to use the “hide the decline” comment to insinuate that there was any attempt at dishonesty, academic or scientific, but rather, the truncation of the data was valid, as everyone knew the truncated N. Latitude tree-ring reconstructions were wrong, and they would skew the data in an erroneous way. Before any discussion of truncated data can be included in any paper, one needs to look at the full scope of reasoning behind that truncation, and to do that, a discussion of the true nature of the “divergence problem” needs to be addressed.

Brian H

Were he honest (!) he’d also mention the direction of change (for the next few decades).
Here’s an argument that using grey-body physics to analyse CO2 efficacy cuts its contribution to atmospheric temperature by a factor of 500:
http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2011/03/total-emissivity-of-the-earth-and-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide/
The claim is made that this tightly matches observations and engineering principles, as opposed to the Consensus Average of the 23 IPCC GCMs’ spaghetti graph “projections”. SoD and “gavin” weigh in with vociferous objections to the dissing of true GCM science. Etc.

TFN Johnson

It’s good to see Beddington moving on, in only a few weeks, from asking for ‘zero tolerance’ for climate sceptics to this new position. But it will be an even bigger step for him to come to terms with this excellent article. As someone said a few months ago, climbing down is easier than climbing up. We must do all we can to help the Beddingtons of this world, the most important of them being outside science, in politics.
By the way, the Global Warming Policy Foundation currently has an exquisite top post by Lord Turnbull which widens the duscussion of the article above.

a jones

All right if others have not I will start the ball rolling.
Read carefully the statements of Beddington and note the inconsistencies.
1. We do know that the atmosphere and the oceans affect the climate but not how or why because we cannot quantify it with any degree of precision: perhaps it keeps us warmer than we would otherwise be: or perhaps cooler. And calculations on the back of envelope using Steff Boltz and the rest do not tell us much.
2. What if any role CO2 plays in this is unclear and again cannot be quantified to any degree of precision: other than to say it must be minor to nonexistent.
3. It is undoubted that we are adding CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels but again because we only imperfectly understand the enormous carbon cycle we cannot say what effect this has on global atmospheric levels of CO2. It might affect them or not: we have no way to tell.
4. Before you consider the speed of change you must define what change you are talking about. Which raises the question of exactly what change? there does not seem to have been much change in the weather or the climate beyond what we have seen before in recent times. So whence the speed? and of what?
5. As to the treenometers all that shows is that you can find a correlation over a period of time between almost any two variables: if you pick you period carefully. The need to truncate at either end simply demonstrates that there is no relation between correlation, and actual causation, that is temperature. It is an elegant demonstration that treenometers don’t work.
6. What the IPCC has considered or not is largely irrelevant, we barely understand the great natural forces which drive the enormous weather systems of our planet: and to imagine we can predict their effects beyond a few days let alone years or centuries is risible.
7. The earlier and serious work done on climate thirty years and more ago is essentially sound, yes there was a MWP and so on. We cannot quantify this very well, our proxies are too limited in terms of temporal and temperature resolution. But we can still see the Viking farms buried under the permafrost in Greenland.
In short we do not even understand enough to appreciate how little we actually know.
Written in haste so I apologise for any oversights.
Kindest Regards.

Lawrie Ayres

There are already enough observations to disprove the hypothesis of AGW. The hockey stick fabrication was absolutely necessary to show a correlation with emissions and temperature. The fact it had to be doctored to fit, the fact it didn’t show the well reported LIA and MWP and the fact that real world observations do not support the hypothesis should have been enough to falsify it utterly.
The fact that the hypothesis continues says much for the politics and the media let alone scientists who are too proud to admit their error. However every day this scam is allowed to persist costs the world any chance it might have of facing up to the real environmental problems and fi9nding non biased solutions.
The scientists involved in AGW may well have thought they had found something important and acted honourably. Now there is no doubt to perpetuate the lie is not simply a mistake or a case of hubris but blatant criminality. The AGW scam could be put to bed today if the likes of Phil Jones and Jim Hansen issued a press release saying they were wrong.
It is vital that scientists with expertise in associated disciplines be given the same access to data and journals as the chosen few. If that means on line peer review then so be it. It also means an end to scientific associations speaking of consensus among their members when it is obvious none exists.

Peter Miller

Brilliant – the sceptic position cannot really be put much clearer than this.
As for the warmists, their basic arguments are based on the interpretations of deeply flawed/manipulated/fraudulent data, combined with an almost complete disbelief in natural climate cycles. These arguments include the deliberate misinterpretation (a spurious theory which cannot be proved otherwise, except by the application of reasonable logic) of the ‘feedback’ from cloud formation – a cornerstone of warmist theory for which there is absolutely no foundation.
“We must act now against climate change” has got to be one of the stupidest things to ever spout from a warmist or politician’s mouth. Climate change is completely natural – it’s been happening for hundreds of millions of years and it will continue to happen for hundreds of millions of years. The Earth will get hotter and it will get cooler, but there will not be any massive heating up of the climate, until the next super-continent is formed in a couple of hundred millions of years from now.
Mankind can do virtually nothing about climate change on our planet, short of creating a nuclear winter after a full blown atomic war.
Many of the major western economies are in a dire state (USA, UK and much of the European Union) due to the irresponsible/wasteful spending policies of politicians prior to the recent economic crisis. Loading these tottering economies up with further tax burdens to support bloated bureaucracies and welfare systems on the basis of a ‘science’, whose practices would not be accepted in any real scientific field, is simply insane.
This article will undoubtedly provoke some warmist comments – it is always amusing to see how they defend the indefensible logic of their position.

Cassandra King

TFN Johnson says:
March 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm
It’s good to see Beddington moving on, in only a few weeks, from asking for ‘zero tolerance’ for climate sceptics to this new position.
Yes, I heard Beddington use the term ‘climate denier’ several times in an interview for BBC radio. He also claimed that deniers were solely responsible for the decline in CAGW belief and if only he was not forced to debate these ‘climate deniers’ then all would be well. It speaks volumes of the mans intent when he uses the term ‘climate denier. Nobody denies we have a climate, the fact that he so openly attempts to misrepresent his political enemies shows us who we are dealing with.
Mr Beddington is a thoroughly nasty and unpleasant individual, a typical CAGW alarmist and in fact he has been a primary agent in the spread of this malignant theory and owes his high position not to his qualifications in chemistry but his fanatical support of CAGW theory. This man has more in common with Trofim Lysenko than with with Robert Boyle and if I ever meet him in person I will tell him so.

AusieDan

I have three points:
(1) expand CO2 to read carbon dioxide whenever it appears
(2) in relation to feedbacks from clouds – your comment is quite weak.
You only talk about common sense or somesuch, which is not scientific.
Roy Spencer had done a lot of work on feedback and has shown that it is negative, rather than positive.
While it is not peer reviewed, at least it describes scientific research by Professor Spencer who is the lead scientist for NASA in the management of the satellite system which measures atmospheric temperature.
No work of this kind can ignore Roy Spenser’s findings.
(3) it is often said that this is the hottest decade “ever” or at least since instrumental measurements of temperature began.
That claim should also be challenged.
There was a post at WUWT several months ago, which showed that up to ten tears ago, the GISS series showed that the 1930’s was the hottest period.
In the intervening years, the temperature data for the 1930’s has been lowered by very small increments, year by year, until now it is well below current values.
That should be strongly emphasized as bringing the whole carbon dioxide is the sole controller of climate” story into complete disrepute.
You should be able to find this item by searching WUWT.

John Van Krimpen

In high level real world mathematical modelling for a model to be validated, it must back predict on the hypothesised main variables (ot variable functions) against the reality measured.
I leave the physics to physicists. This is a journey man mathematical test. if you can’t accept this mathematically then your degree should be revoked. If the models can’t back account for MWP and LIA, then they fail. No if buts or maybes they are missing variables or inaccurately reflecting variables and functions of variables.
Many interesting concepts outside of the futile experiment of post modern science have been developed because of skepticism, not contrived consensus. This is the only bright part of the debate.

“The IPCC and the climate modellers still had a problem: the scientific studies on CO2, and the physical mechanism by which it warmed the atmosphere, gave an ECS which was far too low. But the discrepancy was explained by climate feedbacks. A climate feedback is defined as follows: “An interaction mechanism between processes in the climate system is called a climate feedback when the result of an initial process triggers changes in a second process that in turn influences the initial one. A positive feedback intensifies the original process, and a negative feedback reduces it.”
From memory, and I am sure a blog or two will have the cite, the IPCC was happy to explain the somewhat low temps as being caused by aerosols which were, in the 80’s and 90’s lessened in the NH by more stringent pollution controls. This was the explanation for the “too low” temps in the 50’s through 70’s.
But my memory may be incorrect.
As well, were I reviewing the paper I would want you to make your claim “But as I have just shown, the IPCC report itself relies for its credibility on the “hide the decline” graph.” even more express and, more importantly, deal with the claims by the IPCC that a whole host of observations – sea ice, glaciers, plant and animal habitat – all point in the direction of significant climate change. I see your point vis a vis the strong CO2 claim; but the ankle biters will be out in force on this and you need a bullet proof argument.

good grief.

kwik

TFN Johnson says:
March 27, 2011 at 10:16 pm
“It’s good to see Beddington moving on, in only a few weeks, from asking for ‘zero tolerance’ for climate sceptics to this new position. ”
Hmmm, it seems Beddington will be on the BLACKLIST now?
Anyway, it is all too late;
http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/latestnews/Brown-Fifty-days–to.5747301.jp
haha!

AusieDan

To be more specific about cloud feed back, you said in part “Now simple logic would lead one to think that clouds would be a negative feedback …..”

AusieDan

R. Gates in a comment above states that “It gets rather discouraging to see quotes from discussion between professionals taken out of context, when the full meaning and intent among those professionals could be easily explained if non-professionals would truly understand the full context.” UNQUOTE
I see that you have already read the analysis by Steve McIntyre, who has over the years put the “hide the decline” comment into proper context. His latest work can be found at:
http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/23/13321/#comments

Richard111

‘‘It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere,”
Seems to be a lot of academic discussion about the graphs which is pointless without verification of the above statement that “CO2 traps heat” in the atmosphere. Just why is this statement “unchallengeable”?

R Gates – the first link you give, http://www.skepticalscience.com/Tree-ring-proxies-divergence-problem.htm, says “Tree-ring growth has been found to match well with temperature and hence tree-rings are used to plot temperature going back hundreds of years. However, tree-rings in some high-latitude locations diverge from modern instrumental temperature records after 1960. This is known as the “divergence problem”. Consequently, tree-ring data in these high-latitude locations are not considered reliable after 1960 and should not be used to represent temperature in recent decades.“.
Surely this means that they should not be used, period. If the tree-rings have been found not to match temperature over any significant period, eg. 1960 onwards, then the tree-ring data is necessarily unreliable over all periods. You can’t just pick the bits that line up and say they are reliable, while rejecting the bits that don’t line up. That’s cherry-picking.
And please note : Neither of your links addresses the deletion of data before about 1550, or the deletion of the instrumental record up to about 1900.

AusieDan

In relation to the 1930’s being hotter than at present, here is one reference to an article by Ryan Maue which provides the relevant details.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/15/controversial-nasa-temperature-graphic-morphs-into-garbled-mess/

Mike Jonas, you demonstrate some logical weakness which, if cleaned up would strengthen your conclusions.

When he talks about “the weight of the scientific evidence for the human influence on climate change“, a very large part of that evidence is the IPCC report and everything that references it.

A more accurate statement would be everything it references, as the report references hundreds if not thousands of documents, some documents which may be more important or accurate than others. It doesn’t matter that people point to the IPCC report as authoritative as it is primarily derivative.
You need to deal with this issue, the actual edifice of evidence being relied upon by AGW proponents, and not dismiss it with a hand wave that it’s just the IPCC. Despite the contempt many hold the IPCC, this is not enough to make a case.

In other words, the entire structure of mainstream climate science depends on a single work which is itself based on methods which are “not allowed” in science.

No, and if you don’t know why the above quote is wrong, you have much research to do. Much, if not most, of the research is severable from the work of Mann, Briffa, and Jones. I’m not saying it’s valid, just that much of it stands without this single line of evidence.

R. Gates;
Obviously, there was something wrong with the accuracy of what the tree-rings were showing, and so the data was, quite justifiably truncated. >>>
C’mon sir Gates, you’re really twisting yourself in knots to justify this one. The temperature record runs from about 1880 to current, and based on that they “justifiably”truncated data that didn’t agree with it. Oh, the data with no temp record to verify against for 900 years before that is all OK though, just trust us.
Ooooops, it turns out we truncated some data from back then too. No temp record to justify it, we just decided it was wrong. We knew it was wrong because….well it was either that or WE were wrong, so obviously….
Gimme a break.

Review:
then the climate models would have been unable to replicate the temperature changes in either the MWP or the LIA, because the total effect of all natural factors (including TSI variation) allowed for in the models is far too small. If the climate models were unable to replicate the MWP and LIA, then they would lack credibility, and any scientific conclusions based on the models could be disregarded.
Where is the evidence to support that the GCM’s cannot replicate the MWP or LIA? Despite the fact that warmists tend to ignore them, this statement seems unsupported.
Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity
This is generally regarded as the very long term that includes the total warming of the oceans to the new equilibrium temperature. Transient climate sensitivity involves year to year increases in CO2 levels to a new higher level. This is strongly used to explain why warming is delayed since this better represents the behavior in the real world.

AusieDan

I agree with Richard111 that the claim “that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth ” should be challanged.
My understanding is that the theoretical physics is well understood and that it has been amply demonstrated in laboratory experiments, that CO2 traps heat in a sealed container.
Further it is my understanding that Roy Spencer is the only person to attempt to demonstrate what happens in the atmosphere.
As already noted, he claims to have shown that the clouds provide negative feedback, which if correct, completley destroys the IPCC arguement.

A purely stylistic suggestion. Sometimes it is necessary for an article to reference the author, but where it is not necessary, I suggest avoiding it. For example, right there, I use “I” because I am referencing my own judgment, and it wouldn’t make sense to leave it ambiguous whose judgement I am referring to. Mike, however, uses an unnecessary “I”:

But as I have just shown, the IPCC report itself relies for its credibility on the “hide the decline” graph.

It might be preferable to employ the passive voice, leaving the unambiguous doer (mike) unstated:

But as was just shown, the IPCC report itself…

Bruckner8

steven mosher says:
March 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm
good grief.

If you’re not going to be specific about your disdain, then don’t bother posting. Such condescension brings down the standard of Anthony’s blog. IMO, this should’ve been censored by the moderators, since it adds nothing more than “mosher doesn’t approve.”
So what?

Udar


R. Gates says:
March 27, 2011 at 9:56 pm
….
It is, in my opinion, very dishonest at best to use the “hide the decline” comment to insinuate that there was any attempt at dishonesty, academic or scientific, but rather, the truncation of the data was valid, as everyone knew the truncated N. Latitude tree-ring reconstructions were wrong, and they would skew the data in an erroneous way.

They did not (and still do not) know the reason for the decline! How do you know that decline would skew the data in erroneous way if you have no idea why it was happening? This decline, without a proof that it does not affect all of the data, should completely invalidate ALL of the data. How could this not be dishonest?

Don K

I think it’s relevant to ask about ice core data. If I understand it correctly, it has become more and more clear over the past decade or so that Antarctic and Greenland ice data shows that CO2 and temperature to track reasonably well, but the CO2 concentration lags the temperature by 600 years or so.
1. Why is this not evidence that past temperature changes were not driven by CO2?
2. If the temperature upswing wasn’t driven by CO2, what did cause it?
3. If, as a reasonable person who is not one of R Gates’ “professionals”, might conclude, temperature increases, release CO2 or inhibit the uptake of CO2 or both, where in the ice core records is the dramatic temperature change that the increased CO2 should have provoked.

AusieDan

Jeez before you get too excited about CO2 and the IPCC report, you need to make sure that there is a problem at all.
Is a rising temperature a net benefit or a net problem?
That has not been evaluated in any meaningful, unbiased way in any of the IPCC reports.
Next you have to establish that the temperature has really been rising at all.
For example see Roy Spencer again where he shows that the temperature of the lower atmosphere in February 2011 is the same as occurred in 1980.
http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/03/uah-temperature-update-for-feb-2011-0-02-deg-c/

RDCII

R. Gates…
The issue you don’t seem to understand is this:
If the tool you are using sometimes gets wrong results, then you have to either figure out exactly why you tool gets wrong results, or you have to abandon the tool as unreliable.
Naming the phenomenon and then ignoring it doesn’t help; if everyone is familiar with divergence, why in the world, after all this time, can’t they explain it? You can’t just name it and ignore it. You have to name it and quantify it.
If what you do instead is hide the parts of the tool’s measurements that disagree with reality, then you are giving the impression that the tool is universally accurate, when, in fact, you know that it is not. This is called “lying”.
Please don’t attempt to justify this nonsense anymore until you can point to the peer-reviewed analysis that explains the divergence.

The extreme divergence between the “Briffa-2000″ proxy and the instrumental temperature record shows that this proxy is completely unreliable (the “divergence problem”).
If the proxy is ‘completely unreliable’, deleting all of it would seem appropriate. Deleting all of Briffa does not change the result significantly, so that seems to be a reasonable thing to do. Why complain about deleting just part of Briffa? You should rather complsin, that not enough was deleted. But since it makes little difference, the result is not critically dependent on the non-deleted part. So, apart from the ethical problems with partial deletion, full deletion seems the way to go.

LabMunkey

Few comments:
1- Loose the “Now simple logic would lead one to think that clouds would be a negative feedback” statement. Simple logic it may be, but evidence of a position it is not. Use literature.
2- The reference statement about the IPCC seems too forceful- almost from a standpoint of someone who’s already made their mind up. Remember, you must not only BE impartial when looking at evidence but be SEEN to be impartial to. I’d re-word it.
3- More details on the GCM’s, as outlined above you’ve stated that models cannot model the MWP. You should expand this to say that models cannot simultaneously model the MWP and current temps (which i believe is true and closer to what you were trying to say anyway).
4- You should include a graphic that has the expanded error limits for the ‘new’ hockey stick if the ‘decline’ is added (or rather not deleted). I’m pretty sure it will significantly skew the results- this is not to say that it’s a real reflection of the ‘actual’ situation- but it will give further weight to the accusations of scientific fraud if the average trend is significantly altered.
5- If there is ANY evidence that the other proxies are suspect you must find it and include it. There’s no poiont doing a one-cheeked job here (not that i’m saying you are!) but if you can fully skewer the issue in one go, then all the better (prevents the inevitable and protracted arguments on the other proxies).

savethesharks

R. Gates says:
March 27, 2011 at 9:56 pM
It is, in my opinion, very dishonest at best to use the “hide the decline” comment to insinuate that there was any attempt at dishonesty, academic or scientific, but rather, the truncation of the data was valid, as everyone knew the truncated N. Latitude tree-ring reconstructions were wrong, and they would skew the data in an erroneous way. Before any discussion of truncated data can be included in any paper, one needs to look at the full scope of reasoning behind that truncation, and to do that, a discussion of the true nature of the “divergence problem” needs to be addressed.
=================================
Your ridiculous and bogus “reasoning” [if you can call it that] is why people make a laughing stock of climate science.
Rest assured, R, your posts….do not go without laughs.
You are the court jester version of the “scientist”….hey who would blame ya….your cause needs all the props (false or not) it can get.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

An opportunity for online peer review
If this is intended to be a trial of online peer review, then it is terrible. The main assertion seems to be that there is no feedback from clouds – or was it the “hide the decline” political slogan? The cloud assertion is totally unsupported by evidence – what is there to review?
The IPCC provide no mechanism, no scientific paper, to support this claim. It comes in some unspecified way from the climate models themselves, yet it is acknowledged that the models “strongly disagree on its magnitude“.” what page? What is the context? Who else has made similar comments? How do you review something where all the work has to be made by the reviewer to go and find the facts that are not present in the article for review?
I strongly suggest that any article intended for online review follows a layout similar to this:
1. Title – saying what is to be reviewed (or are we reviewing the online review process? And if so why wasn’t this the main thrust of the article?)
2. Summary/abstract – giving a short synopsis of the article so that anyone reviewing it can understand the framework and thrust of the article so they can understand the relevance of evidence provided in the first reading and not have to reread the same article several times in order to: understand what it is trying to say, understand what it is actually saying, make specific points where there are specific problems.
3. Add references in the text
4. Add a summary
5. Add a list of references (done)
In short: this article needs a complete rework because it is well below the standard that should be expected if someone is expecting others to give up their time and effort to review it

jeez

AusieDan,
What does any of your comment have to do with anything I wrote?
Did you even read the words or did you just run them through some yes/no good guy/bad guy IPCC filter to come to a conclusion?
It is disconcerting that attempts to raise the level of discourse here are always followed up with comments such as yours. I was kind to Mike Jonas, but in fact articles such as his are not helpful to our (yes OUR, yours and mine) side. His main conclusion is unsupported by the arguments he states. Climate Science is lousy with liars, but does not crumble en masse because of this latest discovery of malfeasance.

Harold Pierce Jr

There are many regions on the earth where annual mean temperaure has remained unchanged for about century such as Texas, Alice Springs, Death Valley etc.
Go to: http://www.wolframalpha.com
In the input box type: weather alice springs. Click on the red box with the “=” sign.
In a flash the Wolf retreives and displays the temp data for Alice Springs for that day.
In the “Weather History and Forecast” section, you can get annual mean temperature back to ca 1940 and a OLS trend analysis from that time to present.
For Alice Springs the trend is very slightly negative.

John Kehr says: “Where is the evidence to support that the GCM’s cannot replicate the MWP or LIA?”
Well, what I actually said was “If the IPCC had persisted with their original estimate of earlier temperature … then the climate models would have been unable to replicate the temperature changes in either the MWP or the LIA, because the total effect of all natural factors (including TSI variation) allowed for in the models is far too small.“.
Based on everything I know about the models (and the ice core CO2 history), that seems to me to be a reasonable statement. I don’t think I can claim that “the GCM’s cannot replicate the MWP or LIA“, because they haven’t AFAIK tried to do so with MWP temperatures similar to today’s. However, if you do know of a climate model, referenced by the IPCC, which does show a MWP with temperatures similar to today’s, and does so without having its parameters changed from the ones it uses now, I will change my statement.

geronimo

“He said climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming.”
I’d take that with a pinch of salt if I were you, he’s obsessed with CAGW and thinks the public, including other scientists, mathematicians, engineers etc. should do as they’re told by the climate science community. Moreover he’s transformed this scepticism of the work activists at the heart of the climate science community into an “attack on science” to give a cloak of respectability to his own attacks on those who are (a) questioning what is the most dubious scientific theory since scientists thought the sun went round the earth; (b) suggesting, quite reasonably in my view, that even if the greens are right that for the foreseeable future there is no viable solution for the replacement of fossil fuels as our main source of energy. Whatever happened to the Chief Scientific Advisers to the UK Government who used to have pens in their top coat pocket and could talk and understand engineering issues?
RBates, I know the warmist community have been trying to shift the debate about “hide the decline” to say it was known about and that it doesn’t matter anyway, (see Leif above) but that’s not and never has been the sceptics issue. The issue is that the IPCC, the acclaimed gold standard in scientific expertise (seemingly provided by a large number of people who haven’t left high school yet) has published a graph that the authors knew didn’t represent the proxy data post 1960, because it didn’t follow the temperature records. In other science this would have negated the whole series and the public, who are paying for this stuff, should have been told. If there was no skullduggery going on why didn’t Jones write saying something to the effect that “I’ve adjusted the graphs to deal with the divergence problem”? Why use the words “Mike’s trick to hide the decline”? If as you say the divergence problem was well known why wouldn’t Jones have referred to it directly?
Leif, it doesn’t matter to you that scientists manipulated the data to produce a chart that suited their purpose because the other charts would do the job anyway? Is that what you’re saying?

The other point, is that if we are being asked to review something, we need to know the intended audience.
Who is this for?
As far as I can see (and it isn’t clear partly due to Anthony’s comment) the first line is: “Now, about the climate science:”. If this is e.g. an article to be sent to a professional audience then it completely sucks. If it is an article for self congratulating remarks on a sceptic blog then fine … but don’t expect anyone outside to take this process of online review here seriously.
What is the intention?
How can I help achieve the intention where it is as clear as mud? What is the key point they are trying to put across, who are they are they trying to put it across to, when does it need to be put across.
How is this process going to work? If this is THE ARTICLE, then to be frank, we’ve heard it all before because it seems to be a rehash of other articles.
How to cite this article
This may sound a silly point, but how would I cite this article in my own work?
Author (done)
Date (done)
Title paper (not at all clear. If it is: “An opportunity for online peer review” it is going to look a pretty naff reference in a list of climate references)
Publication: What is the official name of this publication? I hate citing web pages because it is never clear what the publication is, who is the publishing organisation.
Who is the author
If you want to start having online review, the intention must be to allow others to cite the articles in some way. Who is this “Mike Jonas”? How do I contact him to e.g. ask permission to reproduce his work? How do I know his credentials for – is he a real scientist with a host of papers, has he produced other works for “online review” is he the one and only “Mike Jonas” in the world, and therefore any search for “Mike Jonas” will be this one and only “Mike Jonas” … or is his real name “Michael Jonas”?

son of mulder

“‘‘It’s unchallengeable that CO2 traps heat and warms the Earth and that burning fossil fuels shoves billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere,”
“But where you can get challenges is on the speed of change.”
– Professor John Beddington”
I’ll rewrite this bit
‘It is estimated that a doubling of CO2 will increase the amount of back radiation from CO2 in the atmosphere to earth by 3.7 Watts/sq meter out of a total of 333 Watts /sq Meter from all greenhouse gases. Since 1880 the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere has been from 280 parts per million to 390 presently. It is currently increasing by 2 parts per million per year and the amount of CO2 from fossil fuel burning is 10 billion tonnes per year at present.
Where you get challenges is what the impact of this on other forcing/feedback components of the overall climate system and how that will affect our future life on earth’

Alexander K

Two points present themselves from the foregoing discussion and have excited my curiosity;
1 If a proxy technique fails over much of the time for which it is being employed, the results from using that proxy should be discarded completely as being unreliable. Being a ‘little bit unreliable’ is anamolous to being ‘a little bit pregnant’.
2 The laboratory experiments which determined the ability of carbon dioxide to trap heat were carried out in sealed containers. How do such experiments relate to real-world conditions?
Could any knowledgable reader answer the above questions.
Steven Moshers inscruitable comment has excited my curiosity – would he care to expand rather than make vague noises.

Keith Minto

Harold Pierce Jr says:
March 28, 2011 at 12:53 am
WA is a valuable resource.
For an east (Australian) coastal version of steady temperatures, type in weather moruya airport. Hit ‘all’ to go back to 1940.
Very steady temperatures for a small airport close to the sea, no urban influence.
My stamping ground in summer.

oldseadog

A very minor point, but you say “…if the MWP was as warm as today …..” .
S. Greenland must have been a lot warmer then than it is today for the Vikings to be able to farm there in the way that they did.

Anoneumouse

John Beddington current position is ‘hide the malign’

Rob R

Yes Leif,
Then we can move on to proper QC on the other curves in the IPCC and related spaghetti graphs. Note that some of these other published graphs actually exhibit a MWP of similar magnitude to the current warm period. The risk for alarmist climate scientists is that such an endeavour could further upgrade the MWP, especially when the upsidedown bits are flipped to the proper orientation.

EternalOptimist

Just imagine where we would be if there were no thermometers.
If there was no direct way to measure temperature, we would have to rely completely on the proxies and R Gates would be explaining that the earlier data was truncated because it does not correlate, but the latter sharp increase would not only stand, it would prove the CAGW position completely.
EO

Scottish Sceptic – there are a number of references given at the end of the document. For example, “… strongly disagree on its magnitude” is reference xv, which is the IPCC report, chapter 8, para 8.6.2.3. I said “The IPCC provide no mechanism, no scientific paper, to support this claim.“, and certainly I couldn’t find any in para 8.6.2.3 or anywhere else in the IPCC report. If you know of any, in the IPCC report, please let me know and I will change my document.
Sorry about the format of the document not being to scientific paper standard. It is part of a larger document which has its own overall format. Only this part addresses the science. Hopefully, factual errors will be obvious regardless of format.

NikFromNYC

This whole business lacks daylight. It’s just like the art world in which academics still debate the finer points of a bicycle wheel mounted upside down to a stool all based on an age old idea of “art” but in this case it’s the idea of “science”. A graph isn’t science. It’s just a graph.
At some point there’s just nothing there! At some point there needs to be a more popularized, common man level of debunking. The Team has repeatedly turn random noise into a false signal. The worst case I ran into was Mann’s algorithmic cherry picking update of his hockey stick in which noisy data was tossed out unless it conformed the the instrumental record, but being mostly just noise, it cancelled out before the instrumental record kicked in in 1900, so it formed a hockey stick. Any noisy data as input gave the same result. And yet it’s still in the literature.
The “presentation” above is not well organized. It starts out with some vague addition to “hide the decline” and then juts out into clouds as cooling factors.
I think it needs to take a u-turn back to the starting gates and slow WAY down. The age old question of how you would explain this mess to a child would be a good exercise to start with. What if Suzy said she was a famous opera star? If in the future she definitely is destined to be one, does that make her one now, already?
The presentation jumps directly into uber nerdiness and insider gossipy minutia.
“The speed of change” is not an easy concept to humanize in an intuitive sense when the issue at hand is whether CO2 is bad instead of good for the biosphere. I want a very fast speed of change, as the innate robustness of plant life kicks in big time to take advantage of increased CO2.
Another exercise would be to ask “What would Richard Feynman say?”. I don’t think he’d talk about Gavin Schmidt, who works three blocks from me, actually. What does some PR guy with a math background who works above Tom’s Diner have to do with empirical science? He’s just a theory dude. Whatever.
I would use the analogy of a patched together monster. He could not live without odd parts being taken apart and patched back together in unnatural ways. And ultimately he could not survive since he could not grow out of the framework the initially bound him together.
Some type of metaphor or story line needs to run through the presentation.