Why William D. Nordhaus Is Wrong About Global Warming Skeptics Being Wrong…

Guest post by David Middleton

William D. Nordhaus is an economics professor at Yale University. He recently published this essay in the New York Review of Books

Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong

March 22, 2012

William D. Nordhaus

nprdhaus_1-032212.jpg

Photo credit: Olaf Otto Becker Icebergs in Iceland’s Jökulsárlón lagoon, which is constantly growing as the Vatnajökull glacier—Europe’s largest—melts; photograph by Olaf Otto Becker from his book Under the Nordic Light: A Journey Through Time, Iceland, 1999–2011, which has just been published by Hatje Cantz

The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early draft to colleagues, their response was that I had left out the arguments of skeptics about climate change, and I accordingly addressed this at length.

But one of the difficulties I found in examining the views of climate skeptics is that they are scattered widely in blogs, talks, and pamphlets. Then, I saw an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2012, by a group of sixteen scientists, entitled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” This is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement. The basic message of the article is that the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences.

My response is primarily designed to correct their misleading description of my own research; but it also is directed more broadly at their attempt to discredit scientists and scientific research on climate change.1 I have identified six key issues that are raised in the article, and I provide commentary about their substance and accuracy. They are:

• Is the planet in fact warming?

• Are human influences an important contributor to warming?

• Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?

• Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?

• Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?

• Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

[…]

Source: New York Review of Books

Professor Nordhaus then proceeds to address his six strawmen answer his own questions.

Is the planet in fact warming?

First off, the “planet” hasn’t warmed. The atmosphere has warmed and cooled throughout the planet’s history. And, apparently, the ability to conjugate verbs is not a prerequisite for Ivy League economics professors. Professor Nordhaus’ answer is that the lower atmosphere (AKA planet) is warming because it did warm from 1978 to 1998…

It is easy to get lost in the tiniest details here. Most people will benefit from stepping back and looking at the record of actual temperature measurements. The figure below shows data from 1880 to 2011 on global mean temperature averaged from three different sources.2 We do not need any complicated statistical analysis to see that temperatures are rising, and furthermore that they are higher in the last decade than they were in earlier decades.3

Nordhaus-graph-032212

One of the reasons that drawing conclusions on temperature trends is tricky is that the historical temperature series is highly volatile, as can be seen in the figure. The presence of short-term volatility requires looking at long-term trends.

Yes! By all means, let’s have a look at some long-term trends. Let’s take the long-term trend back to a time when mankind wasn’t burning much fossil fuel…

From Ljungqvist, 2010…

The amplitude of the reconstructed temperature variability on centennial time-scales exceeds 0.6°C. This reconstruction is the first to show a distinct Roman Warm Period c. AD 1-300, reaching up to the 1961-1990 mean temperature level, followed by the Dark Age Cold Period c. AD 300-800. The Medieval Warm Period is seen c. AD 800–1300 and the Little Ice Age is clearly visible c. AD 1300-1900, followed by a rapid temperature increase in the twentieth century. The highest average temperatures in the reconstruction are encountered in the mid to late tenth century and the lowest in the late seventeenth century. Decadal mean temperatures seem to have reached or exceeded the 1961-1990 mean temperature level during substantial parts of the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period. The temperature of the last two decades, however, is possibly higher than during any previous time in the past two millennia, although this is only seen in the instrumental temperature data and not in the multi-proxy reconstruction itself.

[…]

The proxy reconstruction itself does not show such an unprecedented warming but we must consider that only a few records used in the reconstruction extend into the 1990s. Nevertheless, a very cautious interpretation of the level of warmth since AD 1990 compared to that of the peak warming during the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period is strongly suggested.

[…]

The amplitude of the temperature variability on multi-decadal to centennial time-scales reconstructed here should presumably be considered to be the minimum of the true variability on those time-scales.

[…]

Source: Ljungqvist, 2010

Ljungqvist is recommending caution in comparing the modern instrumental reconstruction to the older proxy reconstructions because the proxy data are of much lower resolution. The proxy data are showing the “minimum of the true variability on those time-scales.” The instrumental data are depicting something closer to actual variability.

Even then, the instrumental record doesn’t exceed the margin of error for the proxy data during the peak of the Medieval Warm Period…

Horizontal red lines represent the margin of peak warmth of Medieval Warm Period with margin of error.

Since someone is bound to chime in with, “But Ljungqvist isn’t a real climate scientist!”… Let’s compare Mann et al., 2008 (EIV) and Ljungqvist, 2010…

Apart from the 20th century hockey stick, they are very similar. Here’s a blow up of the above from 1950 with HadCRUT3 (NH)…

The entire blade of the hockey stick is post-1995.

Now, on to the verb conjugation. The lower atmosphere is not currently warming, irrespective of what it did from 1978-1998, or what it has done since the 1850’s, or what it has done since 1600 AD…

HadCRUT3 variance adjusted global mean (Wood for Trees)

There has been no global warming for more than a decade. To paraphrase Paul Revere, “None if by land”…

BEST global land mean preliminary since 2002 (Wood for Trees).

“None if by sea”…

HADSST2 global sea surface temperature anomaly since 1998 (Wood for Trees).

All of the anomalous warming occurred between 1995 and 1998. This, amazingly, is what the satellite data indicate…

UAH lower troposphere global mean (Wood for Trees).

 

Are human influences an important contributor to warming?

Maybe. Urban heat islands are “human influences.” Most other land-use changes are “human influences.” Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are “human influences.” Are they important? It all depends on the model.

This model says, “Not very important”…

Although, the authors seem to have concluded that “human influences” related to global cooling were masking the “human influences” related to global warming.

Models are great heuristic tools; but they cannot and should never be used as substitutes for observation and correlation. I can build a valid computer model that tells me that an overpressured Cibicides opima sandstone at depth of 15,000′ should exhibit a Class 3 AVO response. If I drill a Class 3 AVO anomaly in that neighborhood, I will drill a dry hole. A little bit of observation and correlation would quickly tell me that productive overpressured Cibicides opima sandstones at depth of 15,000′ don’t exhibit Class 3 AVO anomalies.

Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?

I thought about answering with a treatise on plant stomata, but this was “easier”…

JPL-Developed Clean Energy Technology Moves Forward

Fuel Cell Technology Engineering Prototype
A team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory originally developed this 300-watt engineering prototype of a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell system for defense applications. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

May 26, 2011

A team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in partnership with the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, developed a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell technology for future Department of Defense and commercial applications. Recently, USC and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, which manages JPL for NASA, awarded a license to SFC Energy, Inc., the U.S. affiliate of SFC Energy AG. The non-exclusive license for the technology will facilitate the expansion of the company’s methanol fuel cell products into the U.S. market.

This novel fuel cell technology uses liquid methanol as a fuel to produce electrical energy, and does not require any fuel processing. Pure water and carbon dioxide are the only byproducts of the fuel cell, and no pollutants are emitted.

[…]

NASA

If NASA and the JPL say carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, that’s good enough for me. The plant stomata treatise will follow along shortly.

Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?

“Fear” is probably not the right word. However, this kind of attitude from government officials is somewhat disconcerting…

“When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that’s a crime.”

NASA GISS Director James Hansen

It’s of particular concern when the self-appointed inquisitor takes pride in influencing “the nature of the measurements obtained, so that the key information can be obtained” (AKA “Torturing the data until it confesses”…

It’s also a bit disconcerting when the people who make our laws are threatening skeptics with tobacco-style inquisitions. The recent Fakegate shows that the Warmists are quite willing to engage in fraud in order to bring about such an inquisition. Concerned: yes. Afraid: no.

Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?

No, all “mainstream climate scientists” are unpaid volunteers. (/Sarcasm).

Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

Yes, Professor Nordhaus, more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial…

The Little Ice Age was quite possibly the coldest part of the Holocene since the 8.2 KYA Cooling Event…

The climate has oscillated between warming and cooling throughout the Holocene with a period of ~1,000 years, with an underlying secular cooling trend. This millennial-scale cycle is clearly present in the Greenland ice cores…

The millennial-scale cycle is also painfully obvious in non-hockey stick climate reconstructions…

The polynomial trend line simulates a Gaussian filter. It is not intended to be predictive of the magnitude of future climate changes. Its purpose is to highlight the cyclical nature of the climate reconstruction.

If “more carbon dioxide and additional warming” prevent the next “Little Ice Age” from being as cold as the last “Little Ice Age,” it will be very beneficial. If it slows our inevitable transition into the next Quaternary glacial stage by a few hundred years, it will be very beneficial. Although, elevated CO2 levels didn’t make much difference in the Eemian. If CO2 was such a potent forcing mechanism, this shouldn’t be possible…

Sangamonian CO2 levels didn’t start falling (and possibly kept rising) until the cooling into the most recent glaciation had progressed 20,000 years.

The models can’t account for any of the observed cyclicity using only solar forcing. So they assume that CO2 forcing must be about 3-6 times greater than the instrumental data suggest. Funny thing: recent papers have concluded that solar forcing has been underestimated by a factor of six and CO2 forcing is much lower than the so-called consensus estimate.

As promised: A plant stomata treatise!

The so-called consensus will continue overestimating CO2 forcing until they accept the fact that ice core temperature estimates are at least an order of magnitude of higher resolution than ice core CO2 estimates. The ever-growing volume of peer-reviewed research on the relationship between plant stomata and CO2 will eventually force a paradigm shift.

Wagner et al., 1999. Century-Scale Shifts in Early Holocene Atmospheric CO2 Concentration. Science 18 June 1999: Vol. 284 no. 5422 pp. 1971-1973…

In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.

[…]

Most of the Holocene ice core records from Antarctica do not have adequate temporal resolution.

[…]

Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that were .300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception.

The ice cores cannot resolve CO2 shifts that occur over periods of time shorter than twice the bubble enclosure period. This is basic signal theory. The assertion of a stable pre-industrial 270-280 ppmv is flat-out wrong.

McElwain et al., 2001. Stomatal evidence for a decline in atmospheric CO2 concentration during the Younger Dryas stadial: a comparison with Antarctic ice core records. J. Quaternary Sci., Vol. 17 pp. 21–29. ISSN 0267-8179…

It is possible that a number of the short-term fluctuations recorded using the stomatal methods cannot be detected in ice cores, such as Dome Concordia, with low ice accumulation rates. According to Neftel et al. (1988), CO2 fluctuation with a duration of less than twice the bubble enclosure time (equivalent to approximately 134 calendar yr in the case of Byrd ice and up to 550 calendar yr in Dome Concordia) cannot be detected in the ice or reconstructed by deconvolution.

Not even the highest resolution ice cores, like Law Dome, have adequate resolution to correctly image the MLO instrumental record.

Kouwenberg et al., 2005. Atmospheric CO2 fluctuations during the last millennium reconstructed by stomatal frequency analysis o fTsuga heterophylla needles . Geology; January 2005; v. 33; no. 1; p. 33–36…

The discrepancies between the ice-core and stomatal reconstructions may partially be explained by varying age distributions of the air in the bubbles because of the enclosure time in the firn-ice transition zone. This effect creates a site-specific smoothing of the signal (decades for Dome Summit South [DSS], Law Dome, even more for ice cores at low accumulation sites), as well as a difference in age between the air and surrounding ice, hampering the construction of well-constrained time scales (Trudinger et al., 2003).

Stomatal reconstructions are reproducible over at least the Northern Hemisphere, throughout the Holocene and consistently demonstrate that the pre-industrial natural carbon flux was far more variable than indicated by the ice cores.

Wagner et al., 2004. Reproducibility of Holocene atmospheric CO2 records based on stomatal frequency. Quaternary Science Reviews. 23 (2004) 1947–1954…

The majority of the stomatal frequency-based estimates of CO 2 for the Holocene do not support the widely accepted concept of comparably stable CO2 concentrations throughout the past 11,500 years. To address the critique that these stomatal frequency variations result from local environmental change or methodological insufficiencies, multiple stomatal frequency records were compared for three climatic key periods during the Holocene, namely the Preboreal oscillation, the 8.2 kyr cooling event and the Little Ice Age. The highly comparable fluctuations in the paleo-atmospheric CO2 records, which were obtained from different continents and plant species (deciduous angiosperms as well as conifers) using varying calibration approaches, provide strong evidence for the integrity of leaf-based CO2 quantification.

The Antarctic ice cores lack adequate resolution because the firn densification process acts like a low-pass filter.

Van Hoof et al., 2005. Atmospheric CO2 during the 13th century AD: reconciliation of data from ice core measurements and stomatal frequency analysis. Tellus 57B (2005), 4…

AtmosphericCO2 reconstructions are currently available from direct measurements of air enclosures in Antarctic ice and, alternatively, from stomatal frequency analysis performed on fossil leaves. A period where both methods consistently provide evidence for natural CO2 changes is during the 13th century AD. The results of the two independent methods differ significantly in the amplitude of the estimated CO2 changes (10 ppmv ice versus 34 ppmv stomatal frequency). Here, we compare the stomatal frequency and ice core results by using a firn diffusion model in order to assess the potential influence of smoothing during enclosure on the temporal resolution as well as the amplitude of the CO2 changes. The seemingly large discrepancies between the amplitudes estimated by the contrasting methods diminish when the raw stomatal data are smoothed in an analogous way to the natural smoothing which occurs in the firn.

The derivation of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) to atmospheric CO2 is largely based on Antarctic ice cores. The problem is that the temperature estimates are based on oxygen isotope ratios in the ice itself; while the CO2 estimates are based on gas bubbles trapped in the ice.

The temperature data are of very high resolution. The oxygen isotope ratios are functions of the temperature at the time of snow deposition. The CO2 data are of very low and variable resolution because it takes decades to centuries for the gas bubbles to form. The CO2 values from the ice cores represent average values over many decades to centuries. The temperature values have annual to decadal resolution.

The highest resolution Antarctic ice core is the DE08 core from Law Dome.

Law Dome DE08 Ice Core: Reconstruction of 1969 AD depositional layer. Modified after Fischer, H. A Short Primer on Ice Core Science. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern.

The IPCC and so-called scientific consensus assume that it can resolve annual changes in CO2. But it can’t. Each CO2 value represents a roughly 30-yr average and not an annual value.

If you smooth the Mauna Loa instrumental record (red curve) and plant stomata-derived pre-instrumental CO2 (green curve) with a 30-yr filter, they tie into the Law Dome DE08 ice core (light blue curve) quite nicely…

The deeper DSS core (dark blue curve)has a much lower temporal resolution due to its much lower accumulation rate and compaction effects. It is totally useless in resolving century scale shifts, much less decadal shifts.

The IPCC and so-called scientific consensus correctly assume that resolution is dictated by the bubble enclosure period. However, they are incorrect in limiting the bubble enclosure period to the sealing zone. In the case of the core DE08 they assume that they are looking at a signal with a 1 cycle/1 yr frequency, sampled once every 8-10 years. The actual signal has a 1 cycle/30-40 yr frequency, sampled once every 8-10 years.

30-40 ppmv shifts in CO2 over periods less than ~60 years cannot be accurately resolved in the DE08 core. That’s dictated by basic signal theory. Wagner et al., 1999 drew a very hostile response from the so-called scientific consensus. All Dr. Wagner-Cremer did to them, was to falsify one little hypothesis…

In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.

[…]

Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2concentrations that were >300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception (⁠23⁠).

I merged the data from six peer-reviewed papers on stomata-derived CO2 to build this Holocene reconstruction…

Northern Sweden (Finsinger et al., 2009), Northern Spain (Garcia-Amorena, 2008), Southern Sweden (Jessen, 2005), Washington State USA (Kouwenberg, 2004), Netherlands (Wagner et al., 1999), Denmark (Wagner et al., 2002).

The plant stomata pretty well prove that Holocene CO2 levels have frequently been in the 300-350 ppmv range and occasionally above 400 ppmv over the last 10,000 years.

The incorrect estimation of a 3°C ECS to CO2 is almost entirely driven the assumption that preindustrial CO2 levels were in the 270-280 ppmv range, as indicated by the Antarctic ice cores.

The plant stomata data clearly show that preindustrial atmospheric CO2 levels were much higher and far more variable than indicated by Antarctic ice cores. Which means that the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the 1800’s is not particularly anomalous and at least half of it is due to oceanic and biosphere responses to the warm-up from the Little Ice Age.

Kouwenberg concluded that the CO2 maximum ca. 450 AD was a local anomaly because it could not be correlated to a temperature rise in the Mann & Jones, 2003 reconstruction.

As the Earth’s climate continues to not cooperate with their models, the so-called consensus will eventually recognize and acknowledge their fundamental error. Hopefully we won’t have allowed decarbonization zealotry to bankrupt us beforehand.

Until the paradigm shifts, all estimates of the pre-industrial relationship between atmospheric CO2 and temperature derived from Antarctic ice cores will be wrong… Because the ice core temperature and CO2 time series are of vastly different resolutions. And until the “so-called consensus” gets the signal processing right, Professor Nordhaus will continue to get it wrong.

References

Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226.

Davis, J. C. and G. C. Bohling. The search for patterns in ice-core temperature curves. 2001. Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change, AAPG Studies in Geology No. 47, Gerhard, L.C., W.E. Harrison,and B.M. Hanson.

Finsinger, W. and F. Wagner-Cremer. Stomatal-based inference models for reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 concentration: a method assessment using a calibration and validation approach. The Holocene 19,5 (2009) pp. 757–764

Fischer, H. A Short Primer on Ice Core Science. Climate and Environmental Physics, Physics Institute, University of Bern.

Garcıa-Amorena, I., F. Wagner-Cremer, F. Gomez Manzaneque, T. B. van Hoof, S. Garcıa Alvarez, and H. Visscher. 2008. CO2 radiative forcing during the Holocene Thermal Maximum revealed by stomatal frequency of Iberian oak leaves. Biogeosciences Discussions 5, 3945–3964, 2008.

Jessen, C. A., Rundgren, M., Bjorck, S. and Hammarlund, D. 2005. Abrupt climatic changes and an unstable transition into a late Holocene Thermal Decline: a multiproxy lacustrine record from southern Sweden. J. Quaternary Sci., Vol. 20 pp. 349–362. ISSN 0267-8179.

Kaufmann, R. K., H. Kauppi, M. L. Mann, and J. H. Stock (2011), Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS 2011 : 1102467108v1-4.

Kouwenberg, LLR. 2004. Application of conifer needles in the reconstruction of Holocene CO2 levels. PhD Thesis. Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, University of Utrecht.

Kouwenberg, LLR, Wagner F, Kurschner WM, Visscher H (2005) Atmospheric CO2 fluctuations during the last millennium reconstructed by stomatal frequency analysis of Tsuga heterophylla needles. Geology 33:33–36

Ljungqvist, F.C.2009. Temperature proxy records covering the last two millennia: a tabular and visual overview. Geografiska Annaler: Physical Geography, Vol. 91A, pp. 11-29.

Ljungqvist, F.C. 2010. A new reconstruction of temperature variability in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere during the last two millennia. Geografiska Annaler: Physical Geography, Vol. 92 A(3), pp. 339-351, September 2010. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0459.2010.00399.x

Mann, M.E., Z. Zhang, M.K. Hughes, R.S. Bradley, S.K. Miller, S. Rutherford, and F. Ni. 2008. Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 105, No. 36, September 9, 2008. doi:10.1073/pnas.0805721105

McElwain et al., 2001. Stomatal evidence for a decline in atmospheric CO2 concentration during the Younger Dryas stadial: a comparison with Antarctic ice core records. J. Quaternary Sci., Vol. 17 pp. 21–29. ISSN 0267-8179

Rundgren et al., 2005. Last interglacial atmospheric CO2 changes from stomatal index data and their relation to climate variations. Global and Planetary Change 49 (2005) 47–62.

Van Hoof et al., 2005. Atmospheric CO2 during the 13th century AD: reconciliation of data from ice core measurements and stomatal frequency analysis. Tellus 57B (2005), 4

Wagner F, et al., 1999. Century-scale shifts in Early Holocene CO2 concentration. Science 284:1971–1973.

Wagner F, Aaby B, Visscher H, 2002. Rapid atmospheric CO2 changes associated with the 8200-years-B.P. cooling event. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:12011–12014.

Wagner F, Kouwenberg LLR, van Hoof TB, Visscher H, 2004. Reproducibility of Holocene atmospheric CO2 records based on stomatal frequency. Quat Sci Rev 23:1947–1954

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Kurt in Switzerland

Plenty of good arguements here.
It would be helpful to read a counterpoint from another geoscientist who believes Middleton to be on the wrong track.
Kurt in Switzerland

Colder, Warmer, Colder, Warmer, to the 1,000,000,000 power and ever forward the same.
Before man, the same .
It is not all about you.
Get over yourselfs.

DirkH

Kurt in Switzerland says:
March 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm
“Plenty of good arguements here.
It would be helpful to read a counterpoint from another geoscientist who believes Middleton to be on the wrong track.”
They’re currently out of stock.

Once again, can some warmer provide actual, real, evidence that man’s CO2 is causing dangerous warming?
Thanks
JK

Al Gored

Norhaus on greenhouse. Oh goody. I love it when economists muse about things beyond their own fuzzy discipline.
I can see why he might believe in the CAGW projections as not so long ago so many ‘top economists’ thought the price of US real estate was on a similar ‘no place to go but up’ trajectory. And others now are doing miraculous work on employment statistics.
Excellent rebuttal Mr. Middleton.

Kurt in Switzerland

Dirk:
Andy Revkin (New York Times Dot Earth opinion blog) interviewed a Geoscientist named Lovell, who had his own epiphanous moment after reading a paper from 1999 (unfortunately paywalled). Anyway, Lovell, who is also president of a UK Geological Society, is convinced that current anthropogenic carbon emissions are unsafe (based on what such a rapid increase in the past did to temperature, ocean pH, and so on…He also is a believer in CCS.
Kurt in Switzerland

Camburn

William D. Nordhaus proposals to counter rising CO2 would cost the world trillions of lost GDP.
This would result in massive starvation, which is what the AGW folks propose as one solution is it not?

Professor Nordhaus doesn’t seem to understand that the global mean temperature graph he presents does not support his case.
The temperature graph is only “consistent with” CAGW from circa 1980-1998. It’s not consistent with the time periods 1940-1980. It’s not consistent with 1998-2012. The warming from circa 1920-1950 is on a similar scale to that of 1980-1998 yet we are told that part of the warming cycle was primarily natural. In fact, the climate models have difficulties with explaining all of these other time periods without introducing other factors and variables. In fact, they only work ‘well’ for a 20 year time window.
Here is the best way to look at the situation on the correct scale:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/compress:12/offset:14/plot/gistemp/compress:12/offset:13.885/detrend:-0.02/plot/hadcrut3vgl/trend/offset:-0.42/detrend:-0.23/offset:14/plot/hadcrut3vgl/trend/offset:14.1/detrend:-0.23/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:17/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1880/to:2010/trend/offset:14/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:9
The question then becomes, looking at global temperatures from 1840 until today, do we observe anything unusual happening recently?

William Astley

The extreme AGW paradigm is based on fibs, on white lies. It is difficult to imagine any intelligent person supporting the extreme AGW paradigm based on observation of current temperature changes vs CO2 changes and satellite analysis of top of the atmosphere radiation vs planetary temperature changes. The term “white lies” is used as it seems those making the extreme AGW paradigm statements must know that the statements that are being made are incorrect.
Planetary temperature Vs CO2 increases does not support the extreme AGW paradigm.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/uah/plot/uah/to:1995/trend/plot/uah/from:1994/to:1999/trend/plot/uah/from:1998/trend
The IPCC extreme warming paradigm requires positive feedback to amplify the CO2 warming. Satellite measurement of top of the atmosphere radiation changes vs planetary temperature changes clearly shows planetary cloud cover increases to resist forcing changes. Feedback is therefore negative (resists) as opposed to positive (amplifies).
The warming due to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide will be less than 1C with most of the warming occurring at high latitudes which will and has caused the biosphere to expand. Global warming increases the extent of the biosphere.
http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/236-Lindzen-Choi-2011.pdf
On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications
We estimate climate sensitivity from observations, using the deseasonalized fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the concurrent fluctuations in the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) outgoing radiation from the ERBE (1985-1999) and CERES (2000-2008) satellite instruments. Distinct periods of warming and cooling in the SSTs were used to evaluate feedbacks. An earlier study (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) was subject to significant criticisms. The present paper is an expansion of the earlier paper where the various criticisms are taken into account. The present analysis accounts for the 72 day precession period for the ERBE satellite in a more appropriate manner than in the earlier paper. We develop a method to distinguish noise in the outgoing radiation as well as radiation changes that are forcing SST changes from those radiation changes that constitute feedbacks to changes in SST. We demonstrate that our new method does moderately well in distinguishing positive from negative feedbacks and in quantifying negative feedbacks. In contrast, we show that simple regression methods used by several existing papers generally exaggerate positive feedbacks and even show positive feedbacks when actual feedbacks are negative. We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics, and the tropical feedbacks can be adjusted to account for their impact on the globe as a whole. Indeed, we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. The results imply that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity.
One must turn off logic and reason to support the extreme AGW paradigm. Plants eat CO2. Plants thrive when CO2 levels are increased from 0.0280% to 0.0560%. That is a fact, not a theory.
http://www.advancegreenhouses.com/use_of_co2_in_a_greenhouse.htm
Carbon dioxide is one of the essential ingredients in green plant growth and is a primary environmental factor in greenhouses. CO2 enrichment at 2, 3 or four times natural concentration will cause plants to grow faster and improve plant will quality. Carbon dioxide is an odorless gas and a minor constituent in the air we breathe. It comprises only .03% [ 300 parts per million, or PPM] of the atmosphere, but is virtually important to all life on this planet!
Plants are made up of about 90% carbon and water with other elements like nitrogen calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and trace elements making up only a small percentage. Almost all the carbon in plants comes from this minor 300 ppm of carbon dioxide in the air.
The reason you will get more rapid and efficient growth and better plant quality with a higher CO2 level is because plants must absorb CO2 in combination with water, soil nutrients and sunlight which produces sugars which are vital for growth. If any of these elements are missing or low, plant growth will be retarded. When CO2 is increased to over 1000 ppm it results in higher production and plant quality.
When atmospheric CO2 increases plants reduce the number of stomata on their leaves to reduce the amount of water loss due to evaporation.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html
The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers). Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences. The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan.
In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.

P Walker

Al Gored ( 2:28 pm ) –
Economics is a discipline ?

“• Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?”
????? Fear for the skeptics? From the skeptics? What does this mean to mean?

tetris

Kurt in Switzerland
Maybe Revkin and Lovell should read all the papers cited by Middleton post 1999, and see if they still disagree. That’s the way science works, isn’t it: new data that either corroborates that which came before and supports previous conclusions or that shows something different and thus provides reasons to question previous “certitudes” and conclusions.
Unfortunately, willfully disregarding inconvenient new data is part and parcel of the dogmatic “consensus says the matter is settled” approach to climate “science” for the past couple of decades.

Werner Brozek

Kurt in Switzerland says:
March 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm
It would be helpful to read a counterpoint…

One criticism that has been made by warmists is that we cherry pick starting and ending times. And by starting at an El Nino peak in 1998 and ending in a La Nina trough today it certainly looks that way. However a stronger case could have been made by going back earlier. For example using RSS, the line is straight as far back as December 1996 or 15 years and 2 months. (slope = -9.04377e-05 per year) Yet this does not include their February anomaly which is sure to add several more months to the lack of warming. Note the red line at the site below starts in a trough and ends in a trough. (By the way, even without the January numbers, Hadcrut3 shows no warming since March 1997. The sea surface does have the January anomaly and goes back to February 1997 without warming.)
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1996.92/trend/plot/rss/from:1990

Robertvdl

Skeptics Are Wrong because they are not in power.
Censorship comes to Australia
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Mr. Ray Finkelstein QC, a left-wing former Federal Court Judge with no media experience, at the request of the Gillard Government, issued a 400 page report which calls for a Big Brother Super-Regulator to ‘regulate’ political speech and – among other things – impose new laws with the power to stop climate change realists from speaking up.
The size and scope of the proposed Super-Regulator is breathtaking. They will have the power to impose a “code of ethics”, force you to print views you don’t agree with as part of a ‘right of reply’, take you to court, and even make you take pieces down! Even personal blogs that get only 40 hits a day will be covered! To make matters worse, the SuperRegulator “would not have to give reasons for its decisions” and the decisions “would not be subject to appeal.” Even climate change websites in other countries like Watt’s Up With That will be covered by this!

Robertvdl
Curiousgeorge

Not to put too fine a point on it, but how many times does someone need to establish that there was a little ice age, and medieval warm period, etc.? It’s getting boring.

For more on CO2 see the paper by Jaworowski and paricularly the fig in there from and references to Becks 2007
http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/zjmar07.pdf
These papers emphasise again the appalling quality of the basic IPCC science which relies so heavily on their assumptions re past CO2 , the non science of dendrothermometry a la Mann and their hopelessly flawed GCMs which simply assumed the answer they wanted to find in their basic input structures.
The problem now is to somehow overcome the vast momentum built up by the climate- academic political-industrial complex based on this great pile of codswallop.

DocMartyn

How well do the various stoma based reconstructions match each other?

Jimbo

The figure below shows data from 1880 to 2011 on global mean temperature averaged from three different sources.

Ahhhhh, but that’s a problem. Global temps have been rising from 1880 onwards. During the Holocene (~11,000) we have had higher temperatures that the Modern Warm Period (Minoan, Roman). What is the economist professors point? (I will not be relying on him for any market tips).
By the way that ice picture up top looks like it’s infiltrated with soot.

Jim Crews

The professional CAGW merchants are still seeking gain. But their ability to discredit their opponents since Climategate I & II has significantly weakened.
Also blogs like WUWT and publications like the 16 in the WSJ are making a pronounced impact upon others to recognize the CAGW scam.
Thanks Anthony for laying everything out on the table for all to see and openly discuss. I think many are will continue to be attracted to sites like yours and see earth’s climate variables put into proper perspective.

Babsy

Kurt in Switzerland says:
March 3, 2012 at 2:39 pm
“He also is a believer in CCS.”
Good for him! I’ll bet his mom is proud!

Jay Davis

Now I thought an economist would have a good grasp of supply and demand, but William D. Nordhaus must not have studied the commodities market very much. Bad harvests because of cold weather during the growing season drives prices for commodities such as wheat and corn up, which in turn drives food prices up. This is not a good thing for those of us who require food to survive. Warm weather during the growing season leads to good harvests and lower prices. Now given a choice, the majority of mankind would prefer plentiful food supplies. By the way, currently the price of orange juice is very high because of the cold experienced in the south this year.

Jimbo

Carbon dioxide is a pollutant. It is a toxin. That’ why greenhouse growers pump in 1,000 ppm in order to kill there vegetables and make an obvious loss.

DesertYote

“… market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change”
###
Nice bit of Marxist double speak.

Jimbo

Further to my last comment

For the majority of greenhouse crops, net photosynthesis increases as CO2 levels increase from 340–1,000 ppm (parts per million). Most crops show that for any given level of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), increasing the CO2 level to 1,000 ppm will increase the photosynthesis by about 50%
http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm

But Al Gore, the botanist theologian (who got rich on Occidental oil), has told us that co2 is a toxin. What is a Mann supposed to do? I am confused. Please help me out William Nordhaus. I need your ECONOMIC opinions on climate (not). Go fiddle a stock market model predictor.

Economists should focus on improving their track record of prediction in the field of economics rather than pontificating on fields requiring a knowledge of physics.

DWR54

I’d like to take issue with the WfT graph showing BEST land temperature data that is introduced under the heading: “There has been no global warming for more than a decade. To paraphrase Paul Revere, “None if by land”…http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/best/from:2002/plot/best/from:2002/trend
First, this graph does not in fact span a decade (it runs from Jan 2002 to May 2010 – which is less than 8 1/2 years). Secondly, the last two values, April and May 2010, are anomalous to the rest of the data. They are rated as highly uncertain by BEST’s own analysis and they are not replicated in any other surface temperature record, including UAH. They should be considered as outliers and excluded from the series.
This leaves us with the last 10 years of reliable BEST data running from Apr 2000-Mar 2010, and gives the following chart: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best/from:2000.25/to:2010.17/plot/best/from:2000.25/to:2010.17/trend, which shows land surface warming of 0.26 C per decade over that period.
Any chance of a correction?

Nordhaus proffers the question Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial? but then he fails to answer it.
What he discusses is the “economic efficiency” of “abatement of CO2 emissions”. He does not mention, much less discuss, the benefits of additional warming. These include longer growing seasons, more rainfall, larger crops, fewer crop failures, more agricultural efficiency, cheaper food, reduced starvation and malnutrition, more bio-productivity, more biodiversity, healthier wildlife populations, more fish, more oceanic productivity, more oceanic biodiversity, lower energy demand, fewer deaths from extreme cold, fewer cyclonic storms, etc etc etc.
Instead Nordhaus brings up that old hysterical crazy talk, “runaway warming”. That’s Hansen’s “Venus Effect”, the tipping point argument, that the seas will boil, indeed are going to boil because the Earth is already 5, 10, 20 years past the point of no return.
Sorry doctor, your nutball theory of “the end of life on Planet Earth” is complete and utter nonsense. Nobody but extreme lunatics believe that claptrap, that scientific absurdity, that irrational Thermageddon theory anymore.
Garbage in, garbage out. I don’t care how sterling Nordhaus’ credentials are. He is winging away out in scifi crazy land.
Walter, Warmer Is Better. The planet could warm up 10° C and life would abound because of it. The seas are NOT going to boil. Calm your paranoid self. Try this exercise: actually do the economic analysis, fairly and straightforwardly, of global warming without the ridiculous Venus Effect prediction. I think you will find that warming the Earth is fantastically profitable for mankind and wonderfully beneficial for Life As We Know It.

Jimbo

Has William D. Nordhaus received funding from US government / agency global warming funds???
Economics (the inexact science) is a good match for Warmist climate scientists. Go Nordhaus! Please give us more economical truths about the climate. ;>)

H.R.

“The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe”.
There is no threat of climate change. The climate is changing. The climate has always changed. The climate always will change. Adapt or die.

1DandyTroll

So, essentially, the global average temperature was:
About 14.5 degress C, 5000 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, 4000 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, 3000 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, 2000 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, 1000 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, 500 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, 100 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, 50 years ago.
About 14.5 degrees C, yesterday.
Probability then dictates that in the year 2100 the global average temperature will be about the same as it will be in 2050:
About 14.5 degrees C, or about like yesterday’s global average temperature.
And for that they want to waste trillions of taxpayers’ euros and dollars to save us all from.
And they wonder why people think they’re so full of themself. :p

Camburn

Wondering……..in his op-ed piece, did he want to build stronger homes to withstand the increased tornadoes that happen in the USA when we are in a cooling trend?
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadoes.html#history

Werner Brozek

DWR54 says:
March 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm
Any chance of a correction?

I agree with all you have said. What should have been done was take the crutem land value for the last 10 years. See the results below. As for the bad months on BEST, see what happened on crutem since April, 2010. So my guess is that once we do get all corrections from BEST and when the data is right up to date, it will in fact show extremely little change for the last 10 years.
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/crutem3vgl/from:1995/to:2013/plot/crutem3vgl/from:2002/trend/plot/crutem3vgl/from:2010.25/trend
#Selected data from 2002
#Least squares trend line; slope = -0.00718612 per year
#Selected data from 2010.25
#Least squares trend line; slope = -0.0885662 per year

Well to be honest until you Amerians learn how to spell skeptics correctly, you are pissing against the wind. It is sceptics. 🙂

Steve from Rockwood

This novel fuel cell technology uses liquid methanol as a fuel to produce electrical energy, and does not require any fuel processing. Pure water and carbon dioxide are the only byproducts of the fuel cell, and no pollutants are emitted.

Hahaha. Something from NASA I can finally agree with. The last time was in 1969. “One small step for [a] man, one giant leap…”
http://www.snopes.com/quotes/onesmall.asp
Wait…

Shooter

They got the date wrong. It’s not March 22!

Shooter

Wait…first NASA says CO2 is a pollutant…and now it isn’t? MINDWARP

Not really surprising, since economists are accustomed to working with a set of assumptions and models that are even worse than the warmist assumptions and models.
At least the warmists start from a single-piece theory about CO2 that works in isolation, if you’re examining nothing but CO2 in an extremely narrow lab environment. After that, everything is intentionally wrong.
Modern economists start with a set of assumptions that have absolutely zero connection with the way humans work and exchange value. Every one of the assumptions is instantly recognizable as wrong.

Ian H

Whereas Ice Core CO_2 measures may suffer from inadequate resolution, stomata measures of CO_2 levels have their own problems. In particular stomata measure the CO_2 levels in places where the plants grow.
It seems like an obvious thing to note, but we simply don’t measure CO_2 levels today in places where plants grow. Why not? Because the CO_2 level in places where plants grow fluctuates so wildly and is influenced by so many different factors that it is almost impossible to obtain any kind of meaningful signal.

There is currently a difference in approach to climate science between the sceptical Baconian – empirical appraoch solidly based on data and the Platonic IPCC approach – based on theoretical assumptions built into climate models.The question arises from the recent Muller – BEST furore -What is the best metric for a global measure of and for discussion of global warming or cooling. For some years I have suggested in various web comments and on my blog that the Hadley Sea Surface Temperature data is the best metric for the following reasons . (Anyone can check this data for themselves – Google Hadley Cru — scroll down to SST GL and check the annual numbers.)
1. Oceans cover about 70% of the surface.
2. Because of the thermal inertia of water – short term noise is smoothed out.
3. All the questions re UHI, changes in land use local topographic effects etc are simply sidestepped.
4. Perhaps most importantly – what we really need to measure is the enthalpy of the system – the land measurements do not capture this aspect because the relative humidity at the time of temperature measurement is ignored. In water the temperature changes are a good measure of relative enthalpy changes.
5. It is very clear that the most direct means to short term and decadal length predictions is through the study of the interactions of the atmospheric sytems ,ocean currents and temperature regimes – PDO ,ENSO. SOI AMO AO etc etc. and the SST is a major measure of these systems.Certainly the SST data has its own problems but these are much less than those of the land data.
What does the SST data show? The 5 year moving SST temperature average shows that the warming trend peaked in 2003 and a simple regression analysis shows an eight year global SST cooling trend since then .The data shows warming from 1900 – 1940 ,cooling from 1940 to about 1975 and warming from 1975 – 2003. CO2 levels rose monotonically during this entire period.There has been no net warming since 1997 – 15 years with CO2 up 7.9% and no net warming. Anthropogenic CO2 has some effect but our knowledge of the natural drivers is still so poor that we cannot accurately estimate what the anthropogenic CO2 contribution is. Since 2003 CO2 has risen further and yet the global temperature trend is negative. This is obviously a short term on which to base predictions but all statistical analyses of particular time series must be interpreted in conjunction with other ongoing events and in the context of declining solar magnetic field strength and activity – to the extent of a possible Dalton or Maunder minimum and the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal a global 20 – 30 year cooling spell is more likely than a warming trend.
It is clear that the IPCC models , on which AL Gore based his entire anti CO2 scare campaign ,have been wrongly framed. and their predictions have failed completely.This paradigm was never well founded ,but ,in recent years, the entire basis for the Climate and Temperature trends and predictions of dangerous warming in the 2007 IPCC Ar4 Summary for Policy Makers has been destroyed. First – this Summary is inconsistent with the AR4 WG1 Science section. It should be noted that the Summary was published before the WG1 report and the editors of the Summary , incredibly ,asked the authors of the Science report to make their reports conform to the Summary rather than the other way around. When this was not done the Science section was simply ignored..
I give one egregious example – there are many others.Most of the predicted disasters are based on climate models.Even the Modelers themselves say that they do not make predictions . The models produce projections or scenarios which are no more accurate than the assumptions,algorithms and data , often of poor quality,which were put into them. In reality they are no more than expensive drafting tools to produce power point slides to illustrate the ideas and prejudices of their creators. The IPCC science section AR4 WG1 section 8.6.4 deals with the reliability of the climate models .This IPCC science section on models itself concludes:
“Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining the future projections,consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed”
What could be clearer. The IPCC itself says that we don’t even know what metrics to put into the models to test their reliability.- i.e. we don’t know what future temperatures will be and we can’t yet calculate the climate sensitivity to anthropogenic CO2.This also begs a further question of what mere assumptions went into the “plausible” models to be tested anyway. Nevertheless this statement was ignored by the editors who produced the Summary. Here predictions of disaster were illegitimately given “with high confidence.” in complete contradiction to several sections of the WG1 science section where uncertainties and error bars were discussed.
A key part of the AGW paradigm is that recent warming is unprecedented and can only be explained by anthropogenic CO2. This is the basic message of the iconic “hockey stick ” However hundreds of published papers show that the Medieval warming period and the Roman climatic optimum were warmer than the present. The infamous “hide the decline ” quote from the Climategate Emails is so important. not so much because of its effect on one graph but because it shows that the entire basis if dendrothermometry is highly suspect. A complete referenced discussion of the issues involved can be found in “The Hockey Stick Illusion – Climategate and the Corruption of science ” by AW Montford.
Temperature reconstructions based on tree ring proxies are a total waste of time and money and cannot be relied on.
There is no evident empirical correlation between CO2 levels and temperature, In all cases CO2 changes follow temperature changes not vice versa.It has always been clear that the sun is the main climate driver. One new paper ” Empirical Evidence for a Celestial origin of the Climate Oscillations and its implications “by Scafetta from Duke University casts new light on this. http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/scafetta-JSTP2.pdf Humidity, and natural CO2 levels are solar feedback effects not prime drivers. Recent experiments at CERN have shown the possible powerful influence of cosmic rays on clouds and climate.
Solar Cycle 24 will peak in a year or two thus masking the cooling to some extent, but from 2014 on, the cooling trend will become so obvious that the IPCC will be unable to continue ignoring the real world – even now Hansen and Trenberth are desperately seeking ad hoc fixes to locate the missing heat

Zac says:
March 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm
Well to be honest until you Amerians learn how to spell skeptics correctly, you are pissing against the wind. It is sceptics. 🙂
As soon as the Brits lean how to pronounce “saw” 😉

Nordhaus’s ‘rebuttal’ would be better if he posited it without riddling it with logical fallacies:
Strawmen.
Yes the Earth has warmed but that’s not the question is it? He has to demonstrate (a) that the warming is consistent with climate model predictions, (b) that it’s anthropogenic in origin and (c) that it’s outside the range of natural variability. He fails to address any of these points, much less one of them.
Argument from ignorance.
Only CO2 can explain the warming circa 1980-1998. That’s little better than asserting that a light in the sky was a UFO because we ruled out the moon and aircraft. (I really am surprised that this dumb an argument gets repeated over and over again. Of course, certain ‘sceptics’ make an equally silly argument by asserting there is too little CO2 in the atmosphere to influence the Earth’s temperature. Without supporting evidence, this is referred to as an argument from personal incredulity. However, since he takes it upon himself to ‘correct the ignorant’ he should not be asserting claims that are equally ignorant.)
Begging the question.
There is little point in discussing impacts and remedies if you haven’t yet put forward a coherent case.
Non sequiturs.
Pointing out that CO2 is emitted into the air, therefore by definition it’s pollution? Can anyone follow the logic there?
Unless you’re prepared to address the sceptical case, not evade it, then you’re engaging in political rhetoric and not scientific debate.

NYT Review of Books
Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 32,068
Traffic Rank in US: 9,717
_____
WUWT
Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 16,661
Traffic Rank in US: 7,336
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So the probability is that the critique of the Nordhaus article will be more widely read than the original.

Bill Illis

Really good article David. Lots to digest. The pro-AGW people cannot be objective enough to see it of course.

DWR54

David Middleton wrote:
“Global actually includes the oceans.”
I’m not disputing that BEST gives land surface data only. In fact the graph is introduced by the author in the following terms: ““None if by land”…” thus signifying that it is indeed land surface temperatures that he is intending to represent.
What I’m questioning is the use of this graph given the context of its introduction: “There has been no global warming for more than a decade… “None if by land”…” If he wants to show the last ten years (actually *more* than ten years, since the author states “more than a decade”) land surface temperatures then why does *he* use a chart showing less than 8-1/2 years of this data?
Even ignoring the unreliable data points for April and May 2010, the chart *he* uses as a reference for his claim of “no warming for more than a decade” is not relevant.

DWR54

Werner Brozek:
As an alternative to 8-1/2 years of BEST data ending in May 2010, the author could also have used the UAH land surface data for the last 10 years, form February 2002 – Jan 2012. Since Dr Spencer is a frequent guest on this blog I thought this might be appropriate?
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah-land/from:2002.08/plot/uah-land/from:2002.08/trend
That graph shows that the warming trend in global land surface temperatures over the past 10 years according to UAH is currently +0.15 C/decade.

Well done, Dave!
I would point out in the Lundqvist vs Mann curves something to throw back at the warmists:
About the downturn/non-warming/cooling of late, the warmistas tell us, “15 years is too short of a time to draw any conclusions.” Yet the warming of the 1990s is still shoved in our faces, time after time, even though that was a shorter time period than the downturn since then.
Even if we don’t use the Lunqvist-vs-Mann 3-year, post 1995, period as the difference, even if we use the entire decade, it isn’t as long as 15 years. (I got an “A” in 1st grade for knowing that 15 was bigger than 10…LOL)
Steve Garcia

Sorry about the spelling. Should have been “Ljungqvist”!

All Dr. Wagner-Cremer did to them, was to falsify one little hypothesis…
In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.

Far out. This aligns with Slocum 1955 (http://tiny.cc/soubs), which re-assessed the Callendar 1938 (http://tiny.cc/g63qo – paywalled) value of 290 ppm for the 19th century. Slocum arrived at a value of 335 – from the same data – simply by not cherry-picking the data.
The plant stomata graph also shows a LOT of CE 1000-2000 values above 300 ppm, with 12 values above 350 ppm.
This “old” CO2 level is very important, not because the recent CO2 values are higher than past values, but because the higher “old” values means the increase isn’t 290>390 ppm, but 335>390 ppm, which percentage-wise is a LOT less of an increase – meaning less alarmism is required, and as far as can be seen from the jumps in the plant stomata graph, such 55 (and more) ppm jumps are apparently common.
I’d love to see the error bands on that graph, too.
But also, the one thing people throw in my face is the ice cores, the 270-280 ppm values that Dave mentions for pre-industrial CO2. I am VERY happy to see his bringing this into it, showing that ice cores aren’t the last word, just one voice in the crowd.

Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution…
…Most of the Holocene ice core records from Antarctica do not have adequate temporal resolution…
…Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that were .300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception.

Now 270-280 ppm vs 335 ppm is a really BIG discontinuity for readings of a time only a bit over 100 years ago. I agree with Dave, when he says,

The plant stomata pretty well prove that Holocene CO2 levels have frequently been in the 300-350 ppmv range and occasionally above 400 ppmv over the last 10,000 years.

Steve Garcia