Monckton's letter to the journal Remote Sensing

Christopher Monckton writes in email:

I sent the attached commentary to the journal a week back and have not had so much as an acknowledgement. So do feel free to use it.

It is reproduced below. Readers may recall of the editor resignation imbroglio over the journal Remote Sensing publishing Spencer-Braswell 2011 – Anthony

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Commentary

Empirical determination of climate sensitivity

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley

Reliable empirical determination of climate sensitivity is limited by uncertainties in the observations [1] as well as in climate theory. A fortiori, reliable numerical determination of sensitivity by general-circulation models is hindered not only by these uncertainties but also by difficulties inherent in modeling the coupled, non-linear, mathematically-chaotic climate object [2-4]. Of the ten papers [5-14] cited in [1] as attempting to determine climate sensitivity empirically as opposed to numerically, four concur with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [4] in finding sensitivity high: in [5], for instance, it is suggested that sensitivities >10 K cannot be ruled out. Two of the ten papers [13, 14] are criticisms of [7, 12], implying high sensitivity. The remaining four papers [7, 10-12] argue for low sensitivity: typically ~1 K per CO2 doubling, implying net-negative temperature feedbacks.

In this lively debate, further papers explicitly finding sensitivity low are [15], where an equilibrium sensitivity 1.1 K was determined as the quotient of the relaxation time-constant of the climate system and the heat capacity of the global ocean, found by regression of ocean heat content; [16], which found that sensitivities over various recent and paleoclimatic periods cohere at 1-1.7 K if an amplification of solar forcing owing to cosmic-ray displacement is posited, but not otherwise; [17], where a reanalysis of the NCEP tropospheric humidity data showed significantly negative zonal annual mean specific humidity at all altitudes >850 hPa, implying that the long-term water-vapor feedback is negative and that equilibrium sensitivity is ~1 K; and [18], where the observed rate of decrease in aerosol optical depth, particularly in the United States and Europe, was found to have contributed a strong positive forcing, requiring that canonical equilibrium climate sensitivity be halved to 1-1.8 K.

In [15-18] the sensitivities ~1 K were declared explicitly. However, several papers contain internal, unstated evidence for low climate sensitivity. For instance, [19] displays a flow-diagram for the energy budget of the Earth and its atmosphere, such that incoming and outgoing fluxes are shown to balance at the surface. The diagram shows surface radiation as 390 W m–2, corresponding to a blackbody emission at 288 K, equivalent to today’s mean surface temperature 15 °C. If the surface radiative flux were indeed the blackbody flux of 390 W m–2, then by differentiation of the fundamental equation of radiative transfer the implicit value of the Planck parameter λ0 would be ΔT /ΔF = T/4(F+78+24) = 0.15 K W–1 m2 (after including 78 W m–2 for evapo-transpiration and 24 W m–2 for thermal convection), whereupon, assuming feedbacks summing to the IPCC’s implicit central estimate 2.1 W m–2 K–1, equilibrium climate sensitivity ΔT2x = ΔF2x λ0 (1 – 2.1 λ0)–1 = 3.7(0.15)(1.5) = 0.8 K.

There is a further, and important, indication of low climate sensitivity in [19], where the total radiative forcing from the five principal greenhouse gases (H2O, CO2, CH4, O3, and N2O) in the entire atmosphere is given as 125 W m–2 in clear skies and 86 W m–2 in cloudy skies, giving ~101 W m–2 forcing overall. Holding insolation and albedo constant ad experimentum, the difference between surface temperatures with and without the atmosphere is readily established as 288 – 255 = 33 K, so that, assuming that any other forcings are comparatively insignificant, the climate sensitivity of the whole atmosphere is simply 3.7(33/101) = 1.2 K.

Much has been written [e.g. 34-36] of the discrepancy between modeled and observed rates of warming in the tropical mid-troposphere. The theory of the moist adiabat, supported by the models, holds that there should be 2.5-3 times as much warming in the tropical mid-troposphere as at the surface. However, [20], cited with approval in [4], regards the existence of the tropical mid-troposphere “hot-spot” as a fingerprint of anthropogenic warming. If so, in all but one of the dozen radiosonde and satellite datasets of tropical mid-troposphere temperature, the fingerprint is absent, indicating that the IPCC’s current central estimate of climate sensitivity should be divided by 2.5-3, giving an equilibrium sensitivity ~1 K.

An intriguing discrepancy between modeled and observed rates of evaporation from the surface was reported by [21]. The models predict evaporation ΔE/ΔT = 1-3% per Kelvin of surface warming: observations, however, indicate that the true value is close to 6%. The equilibrium-sensitivity parameter λ is directly determinable from the rate of change in evaporation expressed as a percentage per Kelvin of surface warming, thus: λ = (0.8 ΔE/ΔT)–1. This result, from [22], may be verified by plugging the model-projected 1-3% K–1 into the equation, yielding λ on [0.42, 1.25] and consequently a climate sensitivity on [1.5, 4.5] K, precisely the model-derived values that the IPCC projects. However, the measured 5.7% K–1 indicates λ = 0.22 and equilibrium sensitivity 0.8 K.

It is sometimes said that we are conducting an experiment on the only planet we have. We have been conducting that experiment with increasing vigor for a quarter of a millennium. Some results are by now available. In [23], an assessment of all greenhouse-gas forcings since 1750 was presented. The total is 3.1 W m–2. From this, the net-negative non-greenhouse-gas forcings of 1.1 W m–2 given in [4] are deducted to give a net forcing from all sources of ~2 W m–2 over the period. Warming from 1750-1984 was 0.5 K [24], with another 0.3 K since then [25], making 0.8 K in all, not inconsistent with the 0.9 K indicated in [26-28]. Then the climate sensitivity over the period, long enough for feedbacks to have acted, is (5.35 ln 2)(0.8/2) = 1.5 K, on the assumption that all the warming over the period was anthropogenic. A similar analysis applied to the data since 1950 produces a further sensitivity ~1 K.

More simply still, the most rapid supra-decadal rate of warming since the global instrumental record [24] began was equivalent to 0.16 K/decade. This rate was observed from 1860-1880, 1910-1940, and 1976-2001, since when there has been no warming. There are no statistically-significant differences between the warming rates over these three periods, which between them account for half of the record. On the assumption that in the next nine decades what has been the maximum supra-decadal warming rate becomes the mean rate, climate warming to 2100 will be 1.4 K.

Another simple method is merely to project to 2100 the linear warming rate since 1950, when greenhouse-gas emissions first became significant. This is legitimate, since [4] expects CO2 concentration to rise near-exponentially, but the consequent forcing is logarithmic. In that event, once again the centennial warming will be 1.2 K.

These four sensitivities ~ 1 K derived from the temperature record are of course transient sensitivities: but, since equilibrium will not be reached for 1000-3000 years [29], it is only the transient sensitivity that is policy-relevant. In any event, on the assumption that approaching half of the warming since 1750 may have been natural, equilibrium sensitivities ~1 K are indicated.

Resolution of the startling discrepancy between the low-sensitivity and high-sensitivity cases is of the first importance. The literature contains much explicit and implicit evidence for low as well as high sensitivity, and the observed record of temperature change – to date, at any rate – coheres remarkably with the low-sensitivity findings. Until long enough periods of reliable data are available both to the empiricists and to the modelers, neither group will be able to provide a definitive, widely-accepted interval for climate sensitivity.

Two conclusions follow. First, given the uncertainties in the empirical method and the still greater uncertainties inherent in the numerical method, a theoretical approach should be considered. Climate sensitivity to any forcing is the product of three parameters: the forcing itself, the Planck sensitivity parameter λ0, and the overall feedback gain factor [30]. Though the CO2 forcing cannot be quantified directly by measurement in the laboratory, where it is difficult to simulate non-radiative transports, the current value 5.35 times the logarithm of the proportionate change in CO2 concentration, or 3.7 W m–2 (some 15% below the value in [31]), is generally accepted as likely to be correct. Likewise, the value of λ0 is clear: it is the first differential of the fundamental equation of radiative transfer at the characteristic-emission altitude, where incoming and outgoing radiative fluxes are by definition identical, augmented by ~17% to allow for latitudinal variation.

The central uncertainty in the debate about climate sensitivity, therefore, resides in the value of the last of the three parameters – the overall feedback gain factor G = (1 – λ0 f)–1, where f is the sum of all individual positive and negative feedbacks and g = λ0 f is the closed-loop gain. Process engineers designing electronic circuits customarily constrain g to a maximum value +0.01 to ensure that conditions leading to runaway feedback do not occur. Above 0.01, or at maximum 0.1, there is a danger that defective components, errors in assembly, and the circumstances of use can conspire to cause runaway feedback that damages or even destroys the circuit.

The climate is an object on which feedbacks operate. Yet in the past 750 Ma [32] absolute mean global surface temperature has not varied by more than 8 K, or 3%, either side of the long-run mean. Similar results were separately obtained for the past 65 Ma [33]. It is most unlikely, therefore, that the loop gain g in the climate object exceeds 0.1. However, the IPCC’s interval of climate sensitivities, [2, 6.4] K, implies a loop gain on [0.4, 0.8], an interval so far above 0.1 that runaway feedback would have occurred at some point in the geological record. Yet there is no sign that any such event has ever occurred. Given this significant theoretical constraint on g, equilibrium climate sensitivity cannot in any event exceed 1.2 K.

The second conclusion is related to the first. It is that, in accordance with the fundamental constraint that theory dictates, climate sensitivities attained by a variety of methods appear to cohere at ~1 K per CO2 doubling, not the far higher values offered by the high-sensitivity community. As we have seen, in six papers [11-12, 15-18], climate sensitivity is explicitly stated to be ~1 K; in a further three [19-21], by four distinct methods, implicit sensitivity is found to be ~1 K; by four further methods applied to the recent global temperature record, sensitivity seems to be ~1 K; and the coherence of these results tends to confirm the theoretical argument that the feedback loop gain, and therefore climate sensitivity, cannot be strongly positive, providing a 15th and definitive indication that sensitivity is ~1 K. Since no single method is likely to find favor with all, a coherence of multiple empirical and theoretical methods such as that which has been sketched here may eventually decide the vexed climate-sensitivity question.

Remote Sensing, therefore, was right to publish [12], authored by two of the world’s foremost experts on the design and operation of satellite remote-sensing systems and on the interpretation of the results. The authors stand in a long and respectable tradition of reassessing not only the values of individual temperature feedbacks but of their mutually-amplified aggregate. Their results suggest that temperature feedbacks are somewhat net-negative, implying climate sensitivity ~1 K. In the context of the wider evidence considered in outline here, they may be right.

References

  1. Trenberth, K.E.; Fasullo, J.T.; Abraham, J.P. Issues in Establishing Climate Sensitivity in Recent Studies, Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 2051-2056; doi: 10.3390/rs3092051.
  2. Lorenz, E.N. Deterministic nonperiodic flow, J. Atmos. Sci. 1963, 20, 130-141.
  3. Giorgi, F. Climate Change Prediction, Climatic Change 2005, 73, 239-265; doi: 10.1007/s10584-005-6857-4.
  4. IPCC. Climate Change 2007: the Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. [Solomon, S.; Qin, D.; Manning, M.; Chen, Z.,; Marquis, M.; Avery, K.B.; Tignor, M.; Miller, H.L. (eds.)], Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2007, §14.2.2.2.
  5. Gregory, J.M.; Ingram, W.J.; Palmer, M.A.; Jones, G.S.; Stott, P.A.; Thorpe, R.B.; Lowe, J.A.; Johns, T.C.; Williams, K.D. A new method for diagnosing radiative forcing and climate sensitivity. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2004, 31, L03205.
  6. Forster, P.M.F.; Gregory, J.M. The climate sensitivity and its components diagnosed from earth radiation budget data. J. Climate 2006, 19, 39-52.
  7. Spencer, R.W.; Braswell, W.D. On the diagnosis of radiative feedback in the presence of unknown radiative forcing. J. Geophys. Res. 2010, 115, D16109.
  8. Murphy, D.M.; Solomon, S.; Portmann, R.W.; Rosenlof, K.H.; Forster, P.M.; Wong, T. An observationally based energy balance for the earth since 1950. J. Geophys. Res. 2009, 114, D17107.
  9. Clement, A.C.; Burgman, R.; Norris, J.R. Observational and model evidence for positive low-level cloud feedback. Science 2009, 325, 460-464.
  10. Lindzen, R.S.; Choi, Y.-S. On the determination of climate feedbacks from erbe data. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2009, 36, L16705.
  11. Lindzen, R.S.; Choi, Y.S. On the observational determination of climate sensitivity and its implications. Asia Pacific J. Atmos. Sci. 2011, 47, 377-390.
  12. Spencer, R.W.; Braswell, W.D. On the misdiagnosis of surface temperature feedbacks from variations in earth’s radiant energy balance. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1603-1613.
  13. Dessler, A.E. A determination of the cloud feedback from climate variations over the past decade. Science 2010, 330, 1523-1527.
  14. Dessler, A.E. Cloud variations and the earth’s energy budget. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2011, doi:10.1029/2011GL049236.
  15. Schwartz, S.E. Heat capacity, time constant, and sensitivity of Earth’s climate system. Geophys Res. Lett. 2007.
  16. Shaviv, N. On climate response to changes in the cosmic-ray flux and radiative budget. J. Geophys. Res., 2008, doi:10.1029.
  17. Paltridge, G.; A. Arking; M. Pook. Trends in middle- and upper-level tropospheric humidity from NCEP reanalysis data. Theor. Appl. Climatol. 2009, doi:10.1007/s00704-009-0117-x.
  18. Chylek, P.; U. Lohmann; M. Dubey; M. Mishchenko; R. Kahn; A. Ohmura. Limits on climate sensitivity derived from recent satellite and surface observations. J. Geophys. Res. 2007, 112, D24S04, doi:10.1029/ 2007JD008740.
  19. Kiehl, J.T., & K.E. Trenberth. The Earth’s Radiation Budget. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc. 1997, 78, 197-208.
  20. Santer, B.D., et al. Contributions of anthropogenic and natural forcing to recent tropopause height changes. Science 2003, 301, 479–483.
  21. Wentz, F.J.; L. Ricciardulli; K. Hilburn; C. Mears. How much more rain will global warming bring? SciencExpress 2007, 31 May, 1-5, doi:10.1126/ science.1140746.
  22. Lindzen, R.S. Climate v. Climate Alarm, Lecture to the American Chemical Society, 2011 Aug. 28.
  23. Blasing, T.J. Recent greenhouse-gas concentrations), 2011 August; doi: 10.3334/CDIAC/atg.032: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/current_ghg.html.
  24. Hansen, J.; Lacis, A.; Rind A.; Russell, G.; Stone, P.; Fung, I.; Ruedy, R.; Lerner, J. Climate sensitivity: analysis of feedback mechanisms. Meteorological Monographs 1984, 29, 130-163.
  25. HadCRUt3, Monthly global mean surface temperature anomalies, 1850-2011. http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3gl.txt.
  26. Parker, D.E. et al. Monthly mean Central England temperatures, 1974-1991. Int. J. Climatol., 1992a.
  27. Parker, D.E.; Legg, T.P.; Folland, C.K. A new daily Central England Temperature Series, 1772-1991, Int. J. Climatol. 1992b, 12, 317-342.
  28. Parker, D.E.; Horton, E.B. Uncertainties in the Central England Temperature series 1878-2003 and some improvements to the maximum and minimum series, Int. J. Climatol. 2005, 25, 1173-1188.
  29. Solomon, S.; Plattner, G.-K.; Knutti, R.; Friedlingstein, P.. Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions. PNAS 2009, 106:6, 1704-1709, doi:10.1073/pnas.0812721106.
  30. Monckton of Brenchley, C. Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered. Physics and Society 2008, 37:3, 6-19.
  31. IPCC. Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change [Houghton, J.T.; Meira Filho, L.G.; Callander, B.A.; Harris, N.; Kattenberg, A.; Maskell, K. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996, 572 pp.
  32. Scotese, C.R. How global climate has changed through time. 2002, http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm.
  33. Zachos, J.; Pagani, M.; Sloan, L.; Thomas, E.; Billups, K.. Trends, Rhythms and Aberrations in Global Climate 65 Ma to Present. Science 2001, 292, 686-693.
  34. Douglass, D.H.; Pearson, B.D.; Singer, S.F. Altitude dependence of atmospheric temperature trends: climate models versus observation. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2004, 31, L13208, doi: 10.1029/2004GL020103.
  35. Douglass, D.H.; Christy, J.R.; Pearson, B.D.; Singer, S.F. A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions. Int. J. Climatol. 2007, doi:10.1002/joc.1651.
  36. Santer, B.D.; Thorne, P.W.; Haimberger, L.; Taylor, K.E.; Wigley, T.M.L.; Lanzante, J.R.; Solomon, S.; Free, M.; Gleckler, P.J.; Jones, P.D.; Karl, T.R.; Klein, S.A.; Mears, C.; Nychka, D.; Schmidt, G.A.; Sherwood, S.C.; Wentz, F.J. Consistency of modelled and observed temperature trends in the tropical troposphere. Int. J. Climatol. 2008, doi:1002/joc.1756.

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This document also available as a PDF: Monckton_letter_remote_sensing

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Gary Hladik

The editor of the journal couldn’t even acknowledge receipt, or he would have had to resign. 🙂

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead

Methinks it was twice posted! Regardless, why would Remote Sensing stonewall this contribution? Are they stuck in the “The Science is Settled” loop, or in other words, a runaway feedback, from which their editor had to escape? Everywhere one looks these days, there is evidence of a scientific discipline in collapse. When does the tipping point occur, in this, yet another feedback loop? The stuff leaking from the AGW vortex is increasingly irrational; I can’t imagine what types of convolutions the druids must have to accomplish, daily, to survive in that toxic soup.

Sorry, but if I’m not mistaken, some commenter the other day actually compared Lord Monckton to Al Gore. I’m wondering now if Gore’s papers include such in-depth analysis and reams of references.
Please excuse me now while I laugh and laugh and laugh.

Watts using Word! Glad to see see it didn’t kill you. 😉
REPLY: Read carefully, I use Open Office now, I deleted MS-Word from my computer last year. -Anthony

Doug in Seattle

Mike asks “Why would Remote Sensing stonewall this contribution?
Excellent question, but the answer requires specialized training only available from the TEAM, and they have already stated their unwillingness to speak on the matter to anyone outside of the TEAM.

duncan binks

My absolute favourite Smartarse of the year(and indeed, of this debate)
The man is in a class of his own. Wish that I were so erudite.
Go Monckton!

Gary Swift

My favorite part is the part where he says that we need more time to collect observations. The length of time we have had high resolution data on the climate is relatively short. When dealing with cycles that operate on decadal scales, how many years of detailed observation are required to obtain statistically significant trends? Can you get a trend from only a dozen ENSO or AMO cycles? If you can, does it mean anything?

There’s no serious journal called Remote Sensing.

Ralph

Good point, that the geological record does not support the concept of a runaway feedback loop roasting the planet. Were such conditions and feedbacks a part of our real world, it would have fried long ago, when CO2 concentrations were much higher.
.

Gary Swift

To Ralph:
“Were such conditions and feedbacks a part of our real world, it would have fried long ago, when CO2 concentrations were much higher.”
That’s not really a good argument. The Earth has gone through several periods in the time frame he’s talking about which would not be very good for supporting our modern human civilization.

Gary – your argument is baseless. Humanity’s never been as powerful, resourceful and resilient as today. There’s no past climate we wouldn’t be able to adapt to, even the pre-oxygen eras and iceball Earth.

On my first read………lol, so, Christopher, are you saying the sensitivity is probably ~1K? I just wanted to clarify. 🙂 lol….. well done!
I think you may run into a bump with the exponential + logarithmic = linear. I do like the logic, but some may cry for more illumination. I only bring it up so you may prepare for your antagonists.
It is my understanding that the world’s population is expected to level off in about 40 years or so. So, even if we’re still using the same sources for fuel and energy,(very questionable) we can expect the GHG emissions to lower in the rate of rise and if it doesn’t flat-line, the increase would then likely be linear as opposed to exponential.
My best,
James

Curiousgeorge

I appreciate Lord Monckton’s contributions to the fundamental debate, but the fact remains that Kings and Commoners are no better informed of what the future holds than we were 3000 years ago. The various Oracles also founded their predictions and forecasts on what was considered reliable evidence at the time. Chicken bones and goat entrails performed the same function as modern computer models, and it seems to me that the output of those methodologies is nearly the same. Momentous (and minor) decisions were taken as a result of those predictions – to invade or not, to plant a crop or not, etc.. A prediction is made, and then we all wait to see if it comes true. If it does not, the error is blamed on interpretation by the recipient of said prediction, never on the Oracle.
From a policy and action standpoint, I see little difference between then and now.

p gosselin says:
September 24, 2011 at 11:12 am
Watts using Word! Glad to see see it didn’t kill you. 😉
REPLY: Read carefully, I use Open Office now, I deleted MS-Word from my computer last year. -Anthony
=======================================
Windows Live writer seems to handle things pretty well for me, having things move from other MS apps to a blog. Haven’t tried it with OO apps.

REPLY:
I’ll give that a try – A

Latitude

Gary Swift says:
September 24, 2011 at 11:45 am
That’s not really a good argument.
========================================================
Gary, it’s an excellent argument…
People like to argue the science, but the science is all based on “it’s not normal”.
Yet, the very people arguing the science, let the people telling them it’s not normal…..define what is normal.
There’s no one that can look at this graph and agree with where the “normal” line is…..
….Yet skeptics let them get away with it
http://climatechangedownunder.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/ice-core-data.jpg
and Christopher Monckton is also 100% correct……
“an interval so far above 0.1 that runaway feedback would have occurred at some point in the geological record. Yet there is no sign that any such event has ever occurred.”
If anything, the opposite has happened. No matter how high CO2 levels were, they crashed….
….a sensible person would be more concerned as to why it’s so hard to maintain higher CO2 levels.
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/image277.gif
Take their claim that it’s not normal away from them, and all of their science falls apart and none of it matters…………….

Gary Swift says:
September 24, 2011 at 11:45 am
{To Ralph:
“Were such conditions and feedbacks a part of our real world, it would have fried long ago, when CO2 concentrations were much higher.”}
“That’s not really a good argument. The Earth has gone through several periods in the time frame he’s talking about which would not be very good for supporting our modern human civilization.
Particularly the inevitable repeated ice ages!

Gary Swift

I normally don’t respond to fantasy posts, but I’ll make an exception:
To omnologos:
“Gary – your argument is baseless. Humanity’s never been as powerful, resourceful and resilient as today. There’s no past climate we wouldn’t be able to adapt to, even the pre-oxygen eras and iceball Earth.”
That is a straw man argument. That isn’t what I said at all. You are changing the subject to sci-fi ideas about whether we could survive a holocaust. I’m sure we could. That wasn’t my point though. I was pointing out that Monkton’s use of paleoclimate records to show that tipping points don’t happen is flawed. I would call an ice age a tipping point, and it would be catastrophic to our civilization. The race would survive, but that doesn’t have anything to do with what I was saying at all. If the previous ice age had lasted another thousand years, you wouldn’t be here.

Craig Goodrich

Gary, what was necessary “for supporting our modern human civilization” was radically different a century ago than it is now, and will be radically different in another century. No evidence that warming would produce an unlivable world has ever been presented. On the other hand, even a dozen meters of ice covering the temperate zones would present a much greater challenge.
Think before you write.

jorgekafkazar

Remote Sensing:
re·mote adj. re·mot·er, re·mot·est* …
4. Far removed in connection or relevance;
So it’s trivial whether they acknowledge the letter or not
6. Distant in manner; aloof.
So we’re not likely to hear anything back at all.
7. Operating or controlled from a distance:
So they’re acting under orders/threats from The Team, Al Gore, Joe Romm**, etc.
* From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/remote:
** Yes, yes, I know: “Joe Who?”

Septic Matthew

Well done, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley.

Kev-in-Uk

Gary Swift says:
September 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm
On my understanding of the Tipping point term – as used by the warmists in the climate sense – it’s a position of no return (or runaway warming in the alarmist AGW ‘theory’). By that token, I cannot see how an Ice Age can be a tipping point, as we have indeed returned from the last one!

p gosselin says:
September 24, 2011 at 11:12 am
Watts using Word! Glad to see see it didn’t kill you. 😉
REPLY: Read carefully, I use Open Office now, I deleted MS-Word from my computer last year. -Anthony

Anthony,
May I suggest switching to LibreOffice over OpenOffice (http://www.libreoffice.org). LibreOffice is a branch of OpenOffice, but is independent of Oracle. There is good reason to not trust Oracle with open source projects.
Regardless of that, I have found LibreOffice to be a much slicker, less resource hogging, and much less buggy than OpenOffice. LibreOffice opens all MS Office files with ease. Since it uses the exact same file format as OpenOffice, all of your saved documents should seamlessly be usable in LibreaOffice.
Anyways, just a suggestion.

Gary Swift

To Craig Goodrich:
“No evidence that warming would produce an unlivable world has ever been presented. On the other hand, even a dozen meters of ice covering the temperate zones would present a much greater challenge.
Think before you write.”‘
Once again, someone is trying to change the subject and argue against something I didn’t even say. I was saying that Monkton’s use of paleoclimate records does not support his claim that catastrphic climate change has not happened in the past. I did not say that mild warming would harm us.
Read before you post sir. I think you were responding more to Ralph’s comment than mine.

Septic Matthew

Gary Swift wrote: That’s not really a good argument. The Earth has gone through several periods in the time frame he’s talking about which would not be very good for supporting our modern human civilization.
Especially the cold periods!
However, you seem to have missed the point that the geological record rules out (most likely) the possibility of a runaway heating effect induced by CO2 accumulation.

Gail Combs

Latitude says:
September 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm
…..There’s no one that can look at this graph and agree with where the “normal” line is…..
….Yet skeptics let them get away with it
http://climatechangedownunder.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/ice-core-data.jpg
and Christopher Monckton is also 100% correct……
“an interval so far above 0.1 that runaway feedback would have occurred at some point in the geological record. Yet there is no sign that any such event has ever occurred.”
If anything, the opposite has happened. No matter how high CO2 levels were, they crashed….
….a sensible person would be more concerned as to why it’s so hard to maintain higher CO2 levels……
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The one thing that sticks out in that graph is the drops to abnormally low levels of CO2 that would have wiped out trees. Levels below 200ppm mean that plant growth comes to a grinding HALT.
“If the level decreases down below 200 PPM in an enclosed growing area, plant growth slows to a halt….” http://www.hydroponics.net/learn/co2_calculator.asp
There used to be an online peer reviewed paper claiming tree growth halts at 220ppm CO2 but it got yanked a few years ago no doubt because it contradicted the Ice Core data. Grasses do better at lower CO2 levels compared to trees btw.
What is really interesting about the graph to my mind is the long mostly stable plateau in temperature we have been enjoying while the other interglacials were sharp spikes to a higher temp. and then a crash into another long Ice Age.
If CO2 does have a significant influence on temperature, then given the default condition of the earth is a snowball we should keep pouring out the CO2. The end point of an interglacial is not the time to try to “turn off the heat”
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it comes to mind…..

Gary Swift

To Kenin-in UK:
“Gary Swift says:
September 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm
On my understanding of the Tipping point term – as used by the warmists in the climate sense – it’s a position of no return (or runaway warming in the alarmist AGW ‘theory’). By that token, I cannot see how an Ice Age can be a tipping point, as we have indeed returned from the last one!”
Okay, finally a substantial post that deserves an actual response, based on what I actually said. lol
That’s subjective, and could be effectively argued in favor of what you said. I agree with you in the context that you placed it. I was speaking in more general terms, and not just talking about warming. I was just talking about variability. Paleo records seem to indicate (dubiously) that climate has been highly variable within the limits we are accustomed to over recent geological time. It has recovered, and maintains its ability to return to equilibrium over medium time frames. I do not dispute that. I do maintain that 100,000 years of ice age and then the end of the ice age represet two tipping points. We balance on the edge of a three edged sword between the solid, liquid, and gas forms of water. Tipping points are common and natural, in that context. I wasn’t talking about the warmist horror tipping point of ZOMGWTF we’re going to die in 50 years. I really was just talking about Monkton’s reference to the past several million years of geological proxies as evidence that the atmosphere is stable. In broad terms, it’s been very stable, but in the context of human survival it’s been quite volatile on all time scales, by natural variations.

Gary Swift

to Septic Matthew:
“the possibility of a runaway heating effect induced by CO2 accumulation”
Once again, that isn’t what I said at all. I agree with the point you are making, but that wasn’t what I said. Please see my previous comments for details.

John Whitman

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley,
You’ve been busy. Thanks for the commentary.
John

Septic Matthew

Gary Swift: I agree with the point you are making,
In that case, your first post was totally pointless.
Perhaps in the context of armies clashing for our money and other political control because anthropogenic CO2 will or will not cause catastrophic cooling your post might have been on point, but as we are it was just a whiff.

There’s too many people enamored of the “collapse” meme. Why would our civilization of many thousand mile long cables, moon trips, permanent polar stations, artificial immunization, greenhouses, domesticated cultivations and people chatting on the internet …why would our civilization “collapse” rather than adapt adapt adapt and adapt as we have done for two million years?
What would get us, a loss of our Tesco or Walmart trip? No more bananas in winter? The end of Facebook? It’s easy to see even instantaneous ice age as in The Day After Tomorrow will bring no “collapse”.
Of course nuclear war would be a wholly different game but it’s like saying an acute illness is different from a chronic ailment.
I’m saying there’s not an ounce of evidence present civilization would not be able to thrive under any “chronic” change the future will throw at us, and under most “acute” changes unless they’re pretty much global and instantaneous.

Latitude

Gail Combs says:
September 24, 2011 at 12:46 pm
=========================================
Gail, funny you should mention grasses. When grasses evolved there was a distinct CO2 crash.
It’s pretty easy to explain the peaks and valleys with biology. No different than any other culture. When your culture grows until something becomes limiting (CO2), it crashes. Releasing all the nutrients (CO2) until it grows again, something becomes limiting again, and it crashes again.
…..all perfectly normal
===========
Gail said: “What is really interesting about the graph to my mind is the long mostly stable plateau in temperature we have been enjoying while the other interglacials were sharp spikes to a higher temp. and then a crash into another long Ice Age.”
==============
Also this spike was not as high as previous spikes. But it’s a lot longer, and started way before man made CO2.
Their science falls apart when you stop letting them define what’s normal.
CO2 levels are not normal…..not even close to average
Temps are not normal…..not even close to average
…..yet the very people claiming “it’s not normal” are allowed to define what is normal
http://climatechangedownunder.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/ice-core-data.jpg

PlainJane

On the topic of wether Monkton gets published in Remote Sensing, or even acknowledged, it may be that Monktons paper (letter?) does not qualify. I have no idea of the publication policies of the Remote Sensing Journal but, unless I am getting it wrong, Monktons letter reads as a literature review rather than as new research. Monkton apparently described it as “commentary”, which to me reads as commentary on the reviewed articles. I dont see why it couldnt qualify for the journals letters to the editor section if it does not fit in the main part of the journal. I would place bets that they dont publish it.
I think it is a great article, I like to see the warmists hoist on their own petard. I like that he cuts through the detail it is so easy to fall to and summarizes a general trend in the research.
Monkton does it well in very good scientific goobledegookese to make it more palatable to the preisthood. It is a pet peeve of mine that academics appear to prize work that is written in unintelligible and unnecessarily difficult manner. Reminds me of the Mediaeval church using Latin so the peasants could not understand it so making the priests look more exclusive and clever. It annoys me that warmist sites like Real Climate and Sceptical Science use scientific goobledegookese as a tool to hide their arguments. Some of their articles will even change the tone and style of language mid article so it is harder to follow, then change style back again when they want. Most science can be written in a way that is easy to read and understand. Some people do not have the talent for writing in this way, while being good scientists but they could just hire someone who is. I know Monkton has the ability to pitch to his audience, and I think he has done a good job here.

John Whitman

Latitude says:
September 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm
….a sensible person would be more concerned as to why it’s so hard to maintain higher CO2 levels.
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/image277.gif
Take their claim that it’s not normal away from them, and all of their science falls apart and none of it matters…………….
—————————–
Latitude,
I appreciate your observation about taking away the AGW by CO2 alarmist’s presumption of normal climate.
In looking at the graph you linked to in your above quote, I see no reasonable relation between atm temps and atm CO2 that provides alarmist or lukewarmist concern over our increasing release of atm CO2.
However, that graph does give me reasonable concern that atm CO2 over millions of years to now has been steadily increasingly locked up in land and ocean deposits to the extent it is <unavailable to make life flourish as much now as it has in past geologic time scales; like say during the age of dinosaurs; the Mesozoic Era. Our concern was erroneously diverted by the bias toward myopic AGW by CO2 of the IPCC . . . . we should be concerned with availability of atm CO2 as plant food. Even in the inevitable return of a period of glaciation, high CO2 would make the reduced amount of arable land more productive. NOTE: effects on our climate by continental drift millions of years ago causing ocean circulation shifts different than today to the contrary understood.
John

Philip Bradley

I’m saying there’s not an ounce of evidence present civilization would not be able to thrive under any “chronic” change the future will throw at us, and under most “acute” changes unless they’re pretty much global and instantaneous.
Like a VEI7+ eruption.
I agree, the notion that we can’t adapt to slow change and thrive is ridiculous.
It’s rapid change we have to worry about.

Wow, did Christopher wear them down? Have they given up on their pointless diversions? This has got to be a first. A post by Christopher Monckton, challenging the orthodox of climate hysteria. The post has been up several hours, and all that’s happening on WUWT is a silly discussion as to whether or not tipping points occur and whether or not humanity could survive.
Well, ok, I agree with Omn. What would have been catastrophic even 70 years ago would have much less impact today. Lat is correct, too. Normal was defined by an arbitrary and subjective view. Witness the discussion about arctic ice. The bedwetters always seem to think the ice should be at the levels of the late 70s, when an objective view is applied, we see that level of ice isn’t beneficial to mankind. And, were it to get much larger than that, it would no longer be deemed arctic ice, but rather ice accumulating in the Pacific or Atlantic oceans.
My 2 cents.
James

Kev-in-Uk

Gary Swift says:
September 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm
As a geologist, I consider the palaeo records reasonably good (within the uncertainties imposed by looking at rocks!) at showing the generic climate that was around in the past.
In respect of natural variation, perhaps the term ‘inflection’ or ‘change’ point would be more appropriate for your apparent descriptive purpose?
In essence, as you appear to concede – the atmospheric conditions are relatively stable, at least between two obvious ‘limits’ (Ice ages and interglacials) over millions of years.
So for this reason, the term tipping point is a little alarmist IMO.
I don’t disagree that such known climate extremes would likely have caused significant distress to the past human population – but it wasn’t instantaneous, and our ancestors moved and adapted….hence, we are still here?
I do agree with your last sentence. ‘In broad terms, it’s been very stable, but in the context of human survival it’s been quite volatile on all time scales, by natural variations.’ – it’s just a shame that the climate science TEAM do not accept that any current variation may largely be natural – and instead decide to impose alarmist theories upon the general public!
Moncktons piece illustrates the alarming over sensitivity being applied quite well IMHO.

“There’s too many people enamored of the “collapse” meme. ”
There are too many people who use “there’s” when they mean “there are”.

Doug Proctor

Perhaps Wagner’s resignation had to do with an ACCEPTANCE of what was in the paper and more generally in the skeptical press, not with his disagreement. At some point the warmists will want to drift quietly away into a low-profile place where their past excitements can’t hurt them. Perhaps Wagner has just done so.
A flight from CAGW is already happening. RealClimate has explicitly said in a Jan/Feb 2011 argument with me that they are not promoting CAGW, but AGW. The difference, of course, is not just a letter, but an entire concept. Unless it is a catastrophe, there is no probable difference from a “natural” climatic variation. And nothing substantial enough for humans to do anything about, as in the best scenario we can only moderate what we are doing. There is no going back to 1735.
We’ll know reality is coming back into climate when the movie celebrities decline to further push the climate cause, likely explaining that the time has come for them to focus back on their careers and let others carry the shield and spear.
Who will be first?

Oops Jeff..you’re right. The English language hasn’t moved yet to consider “there is” as an impersonal expression.

Latitude

James Sexton says:
September 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm
Lat is correct, too. Normal was defined by an arbitrary and subjective view.
=======================================================
not…………
Look how they are constantly moving the goal posts……..normal was defined to fit their agenda.
If they had used the real normal, they would have had to change it anyway or their science was going no where…………LOL
=======================
James said: “Witness the discussion about arctic ice. The bedwetters always seem to think the ice should be at the levels of the late 70s”
==============================
Look at how many times they have changed satellites….
….how many times they have “improved” their measurements
Started out measuring melt ponds as open water, changed to a higher frequency, which reads more melt ponds, etc
…and in just the course of ~30 years they claim they are comparing like for like
They have changed equipment, math, and formulas so many times in the past 30 years….
….and expect people to believe they’ve kept an accurate running record
Whatever measurements the get today, are no where near close to what they measured 30 years ago.
Again, letting the very people saying something is not normal…….define what normal is.

bob paglee

Kudos to Lord Monckton! He has summarized the scientific arguments about CO2 feedback-forcing of global temperatures from 36 papers (!) —and seems to have concluded that, if there is any such feedback, it is negative.
My common-sense unscientific conclusion is that such feedback-forcing is unlikely to be positive because if it were, Earth would have suffered a runaway temperature escalation some time ago (like the unendurable squeal caused by feedback from a high-power amplified loudspeaker with a microphone facing it), and Earth would now be uninhabitable. But see? I’m still alive!

Richard Lawson

O/T sorry but this made me laugh from today’s Grauniad……
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/24/climate-change-mount-everest-melting

Roger Knights

Attn. David Cameron: Looking for a science advisor?
(At least give this man a hearing, like the one you gave Al Gore. You thought the latter really knew his stuff. Why don’t you see how well he stands up to a cross-examination by CM?)

jim

Remote Consensing

John Whitman

Roger Knights says:
September 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm
Attn. David Cameron: Looking for a science advisor?
– – – – – – – – –
Roger Knights,
I have selected some staunch and not always socially agreeable or IPCCable science advisors/mentors. I’ll take, in addition, Monckton-san. I think he is still available. : )
John

petermue

Richard Lawson says:
September 24, 2011 at 2:38 pm
O/T sorry but this made me laugh from today’s Grauniad……
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/24/climate-change-mount-everest-melting

So all he has is his own and a sherpa’s personal impression?
If you take a look at John All’s website, http://geoggeol.wku.edu/jall/
and watch the (darker) south side (rather SSW) of the mountain, you can see global warming blowing furiously over the top of Mt. Everest.
/sarc
Who pays Jon All for that quack?
Probably the same people who’ve paid for the study about cat pee glowing in the dark.
The world urgently needs such studies!… not.

LazyTeenager

However, the IPCC’s interval of climate sensitivities, [2, 6.4] K, implies a loop gain on [0.4, 0.8], an interval so far above 0.1 that runaway feedback would have occurred at some point in the geological record.
———
Christopher is not an expert on process control engineering as some of the slightly wrong leadup to this statement proves.
However while there has been some speculation in the climate science area that thermal runaway is possible, equally there are also known arguments that there are limits arising elsewhere that make it impossible. Therefore Christopher’s argument that lack of thermal runaway in the deep past proves low climate sensitivity is a weak argument.

LazyTeenager

Remote Sensing, therefore, was right to publish [12], authored by two of the world’s foremost experts on the design and
———-
That paper has not been retracted by the journal. So it is reasonable to conclude that the main fuss at the journal is not about the rightness of publishing the paper.
The main fuss, from reading the editor’s resignation letter, seems to be about an accidental case of what Willis E. would call pal review. And following on from that there is claimed to be quality issues in the paper that would have been fixed if a more rigorous review had been done.
So it seems to me, judging by the relative amount of discourse dedicated to climate sensitivity in his letter, that Christopher is trying to Trojan horse his views on climate sensitivity into the journal and elsewhere. In other words this letter is not really about the resignation at all.

Gail Combs

PlainJane says:
September 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm
…..Monkton does it well in very good scientific goobledegookese to make it more palatable to the preisthood. It is a pet peeve of mine that academics appear to prize work that is written in unintelligible and unnecessarily difficult manner. Reminds me of the Mediaeval church using Latin so the peasants could not understand it so making the priests look more exclusive and clever. It annoys me that warmist sites like Real Climate and Sceptical Science use scientific goobledegookese as a tool to hide their arguments…..
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
You brought up a very good point. Scott Armstrong, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School made a study of.
Plain Prose: It’s Seldom Seen in Journals
Written by Dick Pothier
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, March 23, 1982.
If you want to publish an article in some scientific or medical journal, here is some unusual advice from Scott Armstrong…
Choose an unimportant topic. Agree with existing beliefs. Use convoluted methods. Withhold some of your data. And write the whole thing in stilted, obtuse prose……
He said yesterday that he had studied the publication process in research journals for years….
In one study, Armstrong said, academics reading articles in scientific journals rated the authors’ competence higher when the writing was less intelligible than when it was clear.
In another study, Armstrong said, research papers were mailed to a sampling of dozens of researchers. Half the scientists received a paper that described an experiment confirming existing beliefs; the other half received a paper describing an identical experiment but with a different conclusion that challenged the consensus.
Although the methods used in the two sets of papers were identical, the scientists surveyed generally approved of the procedures used in the papers that confirmed existing beliefs and generally disapproved of the same methods when they were used to contradict what most scientists believed, Armstrong said.
“Papers with surprising results are especially important for adding significantly to what is known. Presumably, the editors of journals want to publish important papers,” Armstrong said. “On the other hand, they are concerned that the journal might look foolish — and so they reject many of the important papers.”
For young academics who wish to be published in such journals, Armstrong said, “the factors that would seem to be a deadly combination would be choosing an important problem and obtaining surprising results.” …..”
http://www.ponyspot.com/papers/pothier.html
Scott Armstrong has done some other very good studies on research and how it is perceived.
(see: http://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/people/publications.cfm?id=226&current_flag=0 )
My favorite is J. Scott Armstrong (1980), Bafflegab Pays, Psychology Today, 12: http://marketing.wharton.upenn.edu/documents/research/Bafflegab%20Pays.pdf
The article would be very amusing if it did not have such serious ramifications in the field of science.

John Whitman

Gail Combs says:
September 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm
——————-
Gail Combs,
Have you ever read the old book ‘Less Than Words Can Say’ by Richard Mitchell ?
It bears on the observation non-communication.
Read it +20 years ago and it was great.
John