A Blast From The Past: James Hansen on 'The Global Warming Debate' from 13 years ago

Guest post by Floyd Doughty

Some years ago when I was investigating the climate change issue in my spare time, I ran across a short article by James Hansen on the GISS website under “Education Resource Materials”, dated January, 1999. James Hansen is arguably the father of modern Anthropogenic Global Warming dogma. So I saved the web page for future reference because of some of the predictions contained within it, as well as the incredibly balanced and well-reasoned attitude expressed regarding the philosophy of scientific investigation. We could all benefit from Dr. Hansen’s wisdom. For example,

“Skepticism thus plays an essential role in scientific research, and, far from trying to silence skeptics, science invites their contributions. So too, the global warming debate benefits from traditional scientific skepticism”.

And another gem:

“Although scientists have a right to express personal opinions related to policy issues, it seems to me that we can be of more use by focusing on the science and carrying that out with rigorous objectivity. That approach seems to be essential for the success, as well as the “fun”, of scientific research”.

Given what has transpired in the intervening 13 years, it is not surprising that I can no longer find the article on the GISS site (but I may not have dug deeply enough). Therefore, I am making my copy of the article available to you for your reading pleasure. There is such a wealth of fascinating statements contained in this short document, it is impossible to decide where to begin. I suspect others will find numerous points to comment on. By the way, the embedded link to Dr. Hansen’s book review is still working, and I found that to be an interesting read as well.

I found Dr. Hansen’s chart of projected global temperature anomalies intriguing, particularly in light of the observational record of the last decade:

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This chart, as displayed in the January, 1999 document, is a replica of the global temperature projections, considering three scenarios that Dr. Hansen presented during his celebrated 1988 United States Senate testimony, but updated with the actual observed GISS temperature record as of 1998.

Scenario A represented projected global temperatures assuming “a fast growth rate for greenhouse gases”. Scenarios B and C “have a moderate growth rate for greenhouse gases until year 2000, after which greenhouse gases stop increasing in Scenario C”. I thought it might be enlightening, or at least entertaining, to compare the current GISS global temperature record with what was presented in January, 1999. The “… traditional analysis … global annual-mean surface air temperature change …” data series was downloaded from

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/ (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A.txt)

This time series was plotted in Microsoft Excel. Unfortunately, time series data values that were used to produce the original chart did not seem to be available. Therefore, the Excel chart of the current GISS global temperature record was rather crudely scaled and overlain onto an image of the original chart, with the following result:

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The data shown in red are from the original image published in 1999. The blue points are what are currently available for download at the GISS website. The slight apparent time shift in the vertical grid lines was necessary because, for some reason, Dr. Hansen originally plotted yearly averages between tick marks rather than centered on tick marks. The vertical scales have not been altered, and are as exact as I can make them with the manual overlay. The blue observational data points seem to roughly lie between Dr. Hansen’s Scenario B (moderate, continued growth rate in greenhouse gases) and Scenario C (moderate growth rate in greenhouse gases until year 2000, after which greenhouse gases stop increasing). Interestingly, the data currently available for download (blue) seem to be indicating a slightly warmer trend than what was presented in 1999 (red). After manually applying a slight downward bulk shift (or “bias”) to the overlay of the current record (blue), the two time series seem to be in slightly better agreement:

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It seems the historical GISS temperature record has been somewhat altered, or “adjusted” since January of 1999, such that historical global temperature anomaly values are now slightly more positive than what was published at that time. Perhaps a base line change was applied to the data since the 1999 article. But data after 1988 appear to be “adjusted” to a greater extent than data prior to 1988. Well, it is what it is, and the best we can do is to calibrate the current GISS temperature time series to the years prior to 1988, under the charitable assumption that perhaps the points that were added to the original 1988 chart in the 1999 article were accidentally mis-posted.

Now that the current version of historical temperature measurements are approximately calibrated to the historic record as presented by Dr. Hansen to the United States Senate in 1988, it seems that the GISS record in the years following 1988 have roughly approximated Dr. Hansen’s Scenario C. But wait – that scenario was a projection of temperature variations assuming greenhouse gases stop increasing after the year 2000. Did I miss something? Was the IPCC wildly successful after all?

It is also illustrative to compare Dr. Hansen’s 1988 prediction with the satellite record. UAH NCDC temperature data from analyses by Roy Spencer and John Christy was downloaded from Dr. Spencer’s website:

http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures (http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt)

Since these data are monthly averages of global temperature derived from satellite measurements, the global temperature data series was further averaged over each calendar year to enable direct comparison with the raw, currently available GISS data. The UAH NCDC chart was then manually scaled and bulk shifted in order to calibrate with the original 1999 GISS data (since the base periods for the two data sets are different). The result of this crude scaling exercise is shown with the UAH NCDC data in green, compared with the current, unbiased GISS data in blue:

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After applying the manual bulk shift to compensate for the different base line periods, it appears that the satellite data agree reasonably well with the current, unbiased GISS surface station data – except for the trend, as others have pointed out. GISS estimates since 1998 seem to be consistently higher than the UAH NCDC satellite estimates. More accurately stated (since the calibration was visual only), the GISS trend appears more positive than the UAH NCDC satellite data trend. Interesting. Now it looks like Dr. Hansen’s Scenario C global temperature forecast that he presented to the United States Senate in 1988 was amazingly accurate, according to the satellite-derived global temperature record. That is truly a remarkable achievement. So now let’s employ a bit of faulty logic that is similar to that which is routinely applied by AGW proponents: “The observational data fit the model, so the model must be accurate”. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions must have ceased in the year 2000. And I missed it. Rats.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must unambiguously state that I am a state board-certified Professional Geophysicist nearing retirement after more than 38 years spent in the search for new oil and gas reserves. As such, AGW proponents may simply dismiss my comments as the ravings of an “oil company shill”. There is no statement that I can swear to that would convince them otherwise. So be it. The truth is that the observations, opinions, and views I have expressed are the result of independent critical thought, are strictly my own, and do not in any way represent those of my employer, the oil industry in general, or any other entities.

Floyd Doughty

May 10, 2012

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Source – the Wayback machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20010223232940/http://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/gwdebate/
The Global Warming Debate

By James Hansen — January 1999

The only way to have real success in science … is to describe the evidence very carefully without regard to the way you feel it should be. If you have a theory, you must try to explain what’s good about it and what’s bad about it equally. In science you learn a kind of standard integrity and honesty. — Richard Feynman

In my view, we are not doing as well as we could in the global warming debate. For one thing, we have failed to use the opportunity to help teach the public about how science research works. On the contrary, we often appear to the public to be advocates of fixed adversarial positions. Of course, we can try to blame this on the media and politicians, with their proclivities to focus on antagonistic extremes. But that doesn’t really help.

The fun in science is to explore a topic from all angles and figure out how something works. To do this well, a scientist learns to be open-minded, ignoring prejudices that might be imposed by religious, political or other tendencies (Galileo being a model of excellence). Indeed, science thrives on repeated challenge of any interpretation, and there is even special pleasure in trying to find something wrong with well-accepted theory. Such challenges eventually strengthen our understanding of the subject, but it is a never-ending process as answers raise more questions to be pursued in order to further refine our knowledge.

Skepticism thus plays an essential role in scientific research, and, far from trying to silence skeptics, science invites their contributions. So too, the global warming debate benefits from traditional scientific skepticism.

I have argued in a recent book review that some “greenhouse skeptics” subvert the scientific process, ceasing to act as objective scientists, rather presenting only one side, as if they were lawyers hired to defend a particular viewpoint. But some of the topics focused on by the skeptics are recognized as legitimate research questions, and also it is fair to say that the injection of environmental, political and religious perspectives in midstream of the science research has occurred from both sides in the global warming debate.

So, what to do? Most scientists are willing to spend part of their time communicating with the public about how science works. And they should be: after all, the financial support for most research is provided ultimately by the public. But one quickly learns that such communication is not easy, at least not for many of us.

In late 1998, I was asked to debate the well-known greenhouse skeptic Dr. Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia. I summarize here some key points in the debate, “A Public Debate on the Science of Global Warming”, held at the New York Hilton, Nov. 20, 1998, and organized by the American Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology. A copy of my entire contribution may be downloaded as a PDF document (Note: This document is 597 kB and requires a special viewer such as the free Adobe Reader.).

I agreed to participate in this debate with Dr. Michaels after learning that he had used (or misused) a figure of mine in testimony to the United States Congress. The figure showed the first predictions made with a 3-D climate model and time-dependent climate forcings — it was a figure from a paper that we had published in the Journal of Geophysical Research in 1988 and it had been a principal basis for testimony that I gave to the United States Senate in 1988.

The figure that we published is reproduced here as Fig. 1.

Figure 1

Fig. 1: Climate model calculations reported in Hansen et al. (1988).

It shows the simulated global mean temperature for three climate forcing scenarios. Scenario A has a fast growth rate for greenhouse gases. Scenarios B and C have a moderate growth rate for greenhouse gases until year 2000, after which greenhouse gases stop increasing in Scenario C. Scenarios B and C also included occasional large volcanic eruptions, while scenario A did not. The objective was to illustrate the broad range of possibilities in the ignorance of how forcings would actually develop. The extreme scenarios (A with fast growth and no volcanos, and C with terminated growth of greenhouse gases) were meant to bracket plausible rates of change. All of the maps of simulated climate change that I showed in my 1988 testimony were for the intermediate scenario B, because it seemed the most likely of the three scenarios.

But when Pat Michaels testified to congress in 1998 and showed our 1988 predictions (Fig. 1) he erased the curves for scenarios B and C, and showed the result only for scenario A. He then argued that, since the real world temperature had not increased as fast as this model calculation, the climate model was faulty and there was no basis for concern about climate change, specifically concluding that the Kyoto Protocol was “a useless appendage to an irrelevant treaty”.

Although scientists have a right to express personal opinions related to policy issues, it seems to me that we can be of more use by focusing on the science and carrying that out with rigorous objectivity. That approach seems to be essential for the success, as well as the “fun”, of scientific research.

Fig. 1 is a good case in point. We now know (Hansen et al. 1998a, 1998b) that the growth rate of greenhouse gases in the period 1988-1998 has been flat, very similar to scenarios B and C (which are nearly the same until year 2000). Thus we can compare real world temperature changes in the past decade (filled circles in Fig. 1) with model calculations for the B-C scenarios. Taking account of the fact that the real world volcano occurred in 1991, rather than 1995 as assumed in the model, it is apparent that the model did a good job of predicting global temperature change. But the period of comparison is too short and the climate change too small compared to natural variability for the comparison to provide a meaningful check on the model’s sensitivity to climate forcings. With data from another decade we will be able to make a much clearer evaluation of the model.

As the opinions in the global warming debate do not seem to be converging, it seems to me that one useful thing that can be done is to clearly delineate the fundamental differences. Then, as our scientific understanding advances over the next several years, we can achieve more convincing evaluations of the global warming issue. (Stated less generously, this is a way to pin down those who keep changing their arguments.)

Table 1 summarizes chief differences that I delineated for the sake of a discussion with Richard Lindzen, who has provided the intellectual underpinnings for the greenhouse skeptics, in October 1998. I also used this list (Table 1) as the principal fodder for my “affirmative closing argument” in the debate with Pat Michaels.

==============================================================

Table 1. Key Differences with Skeptics

1. Observed global warming: real or measurement problem?

Hansen: global warming is 0.5-0.75°C in past century, at least ~0.3°C in past 25 years.

Lindzen: since about 1850 “…more likely … 0.1±0.3°C” (MIT Tech Talk, 34, #7, 1989).

2. Climate sensitivity (equilibrium response to 2xCO2)

Lindzen: ~< 1°C

Hansen: 3±1°C

Comments: paleoclimate data, improved climate models, and process studies may narrow uncertainties; observed climate change on decadal time scales will provide constraint if climate forcings are measured; implicit information on climate sensitivity can be extracted from observed changes in ocean heat storage.

3. Water vapor feedback

Lindzen: negative, upper tropospheric water vapor decreases with global warming.

Hansen: positive, upper and lower tropospheric water vapor increase with global warming.

References: (these include references by Lindzen stating that, in response to global warming, water vapor will decrease at altitudes above 2-3 km).

Comment: accurate observations of interannual changes (several years) and long-term changes (1-2 decades) of upper tropospheric water vapor could provide defining data.

4. CO2 contribution to the ~33°C natural greenhouse effect

Lindzen: “Even if all other greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) were to disappear, we would still be left with over 98 percent of the current greenhouse effect.” Cato Review, Spring issue, 87-98, 1992; “If all CO2 were removed from the atmosphere, water vapor and clouds would still provide almost all of the present greenhouse effect.” Res. Explor. 9, 191-200, 1993.

Lacis and Hansen: removing CO2, with water vapor kept fixed, would cool the Earth 5-10°C; removing CO2 and trace gases with water vapor allowed to respond would remove most of the natural greenhouse effect.

5. When will global warming and climate change be obvious?

Lindzen: I personally feel that the likelihood over the next century of greenhouse warming reaching magnitudes comparable to natural variability remains small.

Hansen: “With the climatological probability of a hot summer represented by two faces (say painted red) of a six-faced die, judging from our model by the 1990s three or four of the six die faces will be red. It seems to us that this is a sufficient ‘loading’ of the dice that it will be noticeable to the man in the street.” J. Geophys. Res. 93, 9341-9364, 1988.

6. Planetary disequilibrium

Hansen: Earth is out of radiative equilibrium with space by at least approximately 0.5 W/m2 (absorbing more energy than it emits).

Comments: This is the most fundamental measure of the state of the greenhouse effect. Because the disequilibrium is a product of the long response time of the climate system, which in turn is a strong function of climate sensitivity, confirmation of the disequilibrium provides information on climate sensitivity and an indication of how much additional global warming is “in the pipeline” due to gases already added to the atmosphere.

This disequilibrium could be measured as the sum of the rate of heat storage in the ocean plus the net energy going into the melting of ice. Existing technology, including very precise measurements of ocean and ice sheet topography, could provide this information.

=================================================================

Differences 1 (reality of global warming) and 2 (climate sensitivity) are very fundamental. From my perspective, strong evidence is already accumulating that weighs heavily against the skeptics contentions that there is no significant global warming and that climate sensitivity is low. These issues will become even clearer over the next several years.

Difference 3 (water vapor feedback) is related to climate sensitivity, but is so fundamental that it deserves specific attention. The topic has resisted definitive empirical evaluation, because of the poor state of water vapor measurements and the fact that tropospheric temperature change has been small in the past 20 years. Ozone depletion, which affects upper tropospheric temperatures, has also complicated this problem. This situation will change if, as I would anticipate, ozone depletion flattens and global temperature continues to rise.

Difference 4 has an academic flavor, and is perhaps not worth special efforts. But it illustrates a lack of understanding of the basic greenhouse mechanism by Lindzen.

Difference 5 is fundamental because substantial efforts to curb global warming may require that climate change first be apparent to people. If our assessments are right, we are in fact on the verge of warming being noticeable to the perceptive person-in-the-street. (See related material Global Temperature Trends and the Common Sense Climate Index.)

Difference 6, concerning the planetary “disequilibrium” (imbalance between incoming and outgoing radiation) is the most fundamental measure of the state of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. The disequilibrium should exist if climate sensitivity is as high (and thus the ocean thermal response time so long) as we estimate, and if increasing greenhouse gases are the dominant climate forcing mechanism. We have presented evidence (Hansen et al. 1997) of a disequilibrium of at least 0.5 W/m2. This imbalance is the basis by which we could predict that record global temperatures would occur within a few years, that the 1990s would be warmer than the 1980s, and that the first decade of next century will be warmer than the 1990s, despite the existence of natural climate variability. I do not know of a reference where Lindzen specifically addresses planetary radiation imbalance, but his positions regarding climate sensitivity and the ocean response time clearly imply a smaller, negligible imbalance.

The important point is that the planetary radiation imbalance is measurable, via the ocean temperature, because the only place this excess energy can go is into the ocean and, probably to a less extent, into the melting of ice. If our estimates are approximately right, this heat storage should not escape detection during the next several years.

In summary, all of these issues are ones that the scientific community potentially can make progress on in the near future, if they receive appropriate attention. The real global warming debate, in the sense of traditional science, can be resolved to a large extent in a reasonable time.

References:
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Graeme W

The URL for the page is:
http://web.archive.org/web/20010223232940/http://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/gwdebate/
(The Wayback Machine strikes again!)

Graeme W

Oops… missed that the link was already in the article. Serves myself right for being too eager.

I wonder if Eli the ice (statistics) Rabbit will have any comment/enlightenment on the bias -er- adjustments applied, one way or the other …
.

Sceptical lefty

An interesting and informative contribution.
It is worth noting (re: how science works) that there has always been a difference between how science is supposed to work and how it actually works. The credibility and prestige of scientists are derived from the former, but their real power comes from the latter.

Bill Illis

Hansen’s own comparison to the Scenario ABC temperatures at this link. [Note there is a difference between Land (meterological stations) and the Global including ocean SST values. Hansen’s 1987 paper is not actually clear to which he was projecting but the observation values used in the charts in the paper were the Global values (not the Land-meterological stations)].
http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/T_moreFigs/PNAS_GTCh_Fig2.gif

Eric Adler

Floyd Doughty wrote:
” Now it looks like Dr. Hansen’s Scenario C global temperature forecast that he presented to the United States Senate in 1988 was amazingly accurate, according to the satellite-derived global temperature record. That is truly a remarkable achievement. So now let’s employ a bit of faulty logic that is similar to that which is routinely applied by AGW proponents: “The observational data fit the model, so the model must be accurate”. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions must have ceased in the year 2000. And I missed it. Rats.”
Your straw man argument is certainly not the only interpretation that can be made. If you are really going to argue like a scientist, rather than a lawyer, you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due sulfate aerosols emitted by the rapidly developing Chinese economy , is slowing the increase in temperature. This was not included in the model Hansen developed in 1988. This is a large source of forcing uncertainty in the current models, along with feedback due to clouds.
In addition, a recent paper by Forster and Rahmsdorf, has argued that internal variations due to ENSO, and volcanos and solar decline have counteracted the effects of GHG increases, with the biggest effect being ENSO. Hansen’s 1998 model couldn’t track the effects of ENSO in the short term.
If you read the article that Hansen wrote in 1998, that was appended to the post, there are a lot of differences between Lindzen and himself that needed to be answered in order to decide whether the proponents of AGW, or the “skeptics” are right. It would be instructive to review what has been learned since then as part of this review.

Chuck Wiese

The blue outline describes clearly the major differences that distinguish skeptical ( correct ) science from Hansen’s distorted viewpoints. The whole argument really boils down to whether additional absorption of IR by CO2 can cause a positive feedback on water vapor as Hansen and Lacis claimed. Of course, neither of them bothered to study the founding work in atmospheric science that never eluded to that possibility, and the reason is that CO2 15 micron absorption and emission is so intense that the flux divergence of the upward radiation cools the troposphere at the mid and upper layers in exchange for the higher emission height. This physical reality does not bode well for Hansen and Lacis because the saturation vapor pressure of water vapor is lowewred by the cooling which trims out water vapors optical depth as a counter to the CO2 higher emission height. With water vapors enormous spectral absorption compared to CO2, it should be obvious what constituent controls the earth’s OLR, when the vapor can change phase and is affected as a negative feedback in this mix.
Hansen, Lacis and other warmers who continue to ascribe to their positive feedback nonsense in light of the real measurements continue to deliberately mislead public officials for their self serving positions. The positive feedback assumptions along with the other prescribed foolishness of these wamers who also claim enough knowledge and skill to accurately model climate are fatal blows to their scientific prowess and integrity. Hansen’s current claims in this article ( warming is not a prediction but happening as a result of human CO2 emissions ) are now resorting to acting like a true fool.

Eric Adler,
Your ‘aerosol’ globaloney is just that. It is an untested, unproven, invented conjecture that amounts to a Deus ex Machina explanation; an attempt to rationalize the lack of warming for the past fifteen years. It’s amazing that ‘aerosols’ exactly counteract the putative anthropogenic warming, huh? To within a tenth of a degree. What are the odds of that? They are astronomical.
Try thinking about Occam’s Razor for once: the simplest explanation is almost always the correct explanation: the planet’s temperature changes naturally, regardless of CO2, which is mainly the result of temperature change, rather than the cause. You’re just repeating the latest baseless fairy tale fabricated by the grant trollers. Aerosols! heh. As if.

My take on Hansen’s article, when a comparison is made between the subsequent observational data and Key Differences Table, is that far more attention should be paid to Lindzen (a *gasp* skeptic – both then and now) instead of Hansen. But any practitioner of the scientific method with respect to climate change (or perhaps even a person-in-the-street) already knew that.

Nick Stokes

There is a Javascript gadget here which lets you try out various current temperature datasets on Hansen’s original graph.

jorgekafkazar

[sarc] “Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions must have ceased in the year 2000.” [/sarc]
Or in combination with water vapor, they reached a spectral absorption saturation point.

Eyes Wide Open

With you Smokey! Eric Adler is your typical warmist hack pulling whatever lame excuse he can find up his a$$. Anyone with a brain knows that other than massive volcano events will blast aerosols high into the atmosphere, aerosol cooling is a regional occurrence. Funny thing then that the most significant cooling has been in the southerh hemisphere, far away from China.

David Falkner

Eric Adler says:
…you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due sulfate aerosols emitted by the rapidly developing Chinese economy , is slowing the increase in temperature…
I thought the cooling effect of aerosols was local and short lived? And could you point to a warming event to match the effect of the Chinese economy? I mean, the West did do a pretty good job of cleaning up the aerosols and since they are so short lived, we should be able to pick up some signals of equal amplitude, right?

Sceptical lefty

Eric Adler,
when James Hansen testified before the U.S. Senate he was expecting to have a serious influence on the future direction of public policy and disbursement of public funds. So, maybe he neglected to take account of Chinese aerosols. If this, and other (possibly unknown) factors, are to be accepted as a reasonable excuse for the falsification of his predictions, then the question has to be asked: Why take any notice of the man at all? He clearly does not have an adequate grasp of his subject. He is also unlikely to run out of excuses.
Floyd Doughty has addressed himself to the substance of Hansen’s utterances and the ‘straw man’ accusation is unwarranted.

Your ‘aerosol’ globaloney is just that. It is an untested, unproven, invented conjecture that amounts to a Deus ex Machina explanation; an attempt to rationalize the lack of warming for the past fifteen years. It’s amazing that ‘aerosols’ exactly counteract the putative anthropogenic warming, huh? To within a tenth of a degree. What are the odds of that? They are astronomical.
Modern Epicycles. For those who don’t know the Greeks had some very accurate predictions of the motions of the planets based upon the premise that the Earth was the center of the solar system. The Antikythera Mechanism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism) was the ultimate mechanical computer of the Greek civilization. It was amazingly accurate in predicting eclipses, the motion of the planets, the times of the year, basically a chronometer of the ancient world. This computer model explained all of this, their math calculated the motions, and the mechanical computer was unsurpassed until the 1700’s.
All on the flawed premise of an Earth centered solar system.
Computer models can explain many things and yet be completely wrong on the fundamental science. AGW is the modern epicycle.

…you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due sulfate aerosols emitted by the rapidly developing Chinese economy , is slowing the increase in temperature…
If this were true then the greatest cooling would be over the western pacific, when in reality the opposite is the case.

Mac the Knife

Very interesting! James Hansen seems to have started out as a relatively honest and ethical scientist. It is apparent, however, his increasing public personae and sense of self worth led him from that path, to that of an unyielding zealot, immune to either data or suasion.
Power corrupts….. and pride goeth before a fall. The age old lessons relived, yet again.

RACookPE1978

But you see, Hansen HIMSELF claims that global greenhouse gasses DID stop increasing [before] the year 2000!
Quoting the Hansen from above …

Although scientists have a right to express personal opinions related to policy issues, it seems to me that we can be of more use by focusing on the science and carrying that out with rigorous objectivity. That approach seems to be essential for the success, as well as the “fun”, of scientific research.
Fig. 1 is a good case in point. We now know (Hansen et al. 1998a, 1998b) that the growth rate of greenhouse gases in the period 1988-1998 has been flat, very similar to scenarios B and C (which are nearly the same until year 2000). Thus we can compare real world temperature changes in the past decade (filled circles in Fig. 1) with model calculations for the B-C scenarios. Taking account of the fact that the real world volcano occurred in 1991, rather than 1995 as assumed in the model, it is apparent that the model did a good job of predicting global temperature change. But the period of comparison is too short and the climate change too small compared to natural variability for the comparison to provide a meaningful check on the model’s sensitivity to climate forcings. With data from another decade we will be able to make a much clearer evaluation of the model.


So.
Hansen “proves” with his own statement about his own models and scenarios A, B, and C that CO2 emissions flattened (then – NOT needing any mythical, unmeasured, undocumented-anywhere-else-in-the-world Chinese emissions at all!).
Further, he condemns “scientists” that express personal opinions to affect national policies while ignoring the actual science involved!
Then, one and 1/2 decade later than these statements in 1998 ,(when he claims emissions were flattened by his own models in period from 1988 through 1998 but temperatures rose steadily over the same time, yet an incorrectly modeled volcano erupted in 1992 vice the modeled date of 1995 ???), how are we to use his models when seeing a flattened temperature global record but a steadily rising CO2 record and no volcanoes.
What exactly is IN his models after all?
Where does he fabricate his mythical global aerosols? What measurements were used? (Or all of his aerosols conveniently extracted from “research” papers AFTER he needed aerosols in his models between the year 2000 and 2012?)

Tom Jones

You have to look at the divergence of prediction and observation and ask, just how many years do they have to diverge and by how much. And, the answer is clearly that no amount of divergence and no time frame is enough. Senior scientists have their reputation hung out to dryand they will never give ground. More epicycles is the answer. Max Planck had it right. “Science advances, one funeral at a time”.

Floyd Doughty

Please don’t get lost in the weeds, folks. My attempts to compare the various time series data were for entertainment purposes only. I was unable to locate the actual data values used in the original chart, therefore the comparisons are qualitative only.
More importantly, I think it is instructive to compare Dr. Hansen’s rhetoric back in January of 1999 with his rhetoric of today. The irony is breathtaking, particularly his stated view of “skeptics” back then.
Also, Dr. Hansen laid down his own rules for judging the validity of GHG theory. These are important.
And Dr. Hansen’s comment regarding the chart presented in 1999 (note time frame):
“But the period of comparison is too short and the climate change too small compared to natural variability for the comparison to provide a meaningful check on the model’s sensitivity to climate forcings. With data from another decade we will be able to make a much clearer evaluation of the model”.
Dr. Hansen’s summary statement (time frame again):
“The important point is that the planetary radiation imbalance is measurable, via the ocean temperature, because the only place this excess energy can go is into the ocean and, probably to a less extent, into the melting of ice. If our estimates are approximately right, this heat storage should not escape detection during the next several years”.
Floyd

Chuck Wiese

Floyd: Hansen is wrong. He counts absorption as a forcing on temperature at the sidebands of CO2. That would only work in a atmosphere without a hydrological cycle. The spectrally integrated OLR is the ONLY way to calculate whether there is a radiation imbalance, and that must include increases or decreases in solar shorwave per cloud thickness and ratio to water vapor.
To date there are no accurate calculations of this, but the founding work suggests with good physics that water vapor and clouds control the earth’s OLR, not CO2. Hansen and Lacis made up CO2 sensitivity to temperature on their own and shelved or dismissed the founding work without offering any refutation to it.
From today forward they will pay a severe price in credibility and reputation for such a cavalier dismissal of founding principles.

philincalifornia

Eric Adler says:
May 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Your straw man argument is certainly not the only interpretation that can be made. If you are really going to argue like a scientist, rather than a lawyer, you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due sulfate aerosols emitted by the rapidly developing Chinese economy , is slowing the increase in temperature.
++++++++++++++++++++++++
….. I thought I read somewhere that it was because the missing heat was sneaking down into the depths of the ocean and hiding.
When thieves fall out !!!!

John Blake

Over a generation a Green Gang of AGW alarmists including Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth et al. has emerged as pure global-governance propagandists, inflicting their wretched Statist agenda on long-suffering populations regardless of objective or even rational scientific processes.
Now on the threshold of a 70-year “dead sun” Grand Minimum similar to that of 1645 – 1715, society’s failure to ensure energy resources from coal to nuclear power is due solely to these Luddite sociopaths’ malignant sabotage, explicitly seeking mega-deaths in termination of post-Enlightenment industrial/technological civilization (see Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, Keith Farnish as acolytes of Gaia’s “new reality”).
Either informed citizens of intelligence and goodwill blast this democidal monomania at the root, or death-eating Thanatists will tumble all humane comfort, peace, prosperity forever to Abyss.

Perhaps Hansen’s failure to see the level-off temperatures et al for the last decade (or so) is due to his ‘compliance’ with this axiom credited to Sinclair:
” It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair.
with the addendum after “his salary” the following: “or his continued legacy and importance”.
.

Stephen

To Anthony – a little bit off-topic, sorry. I posted (a similar version of) this at Bishop Hill and think it could also be useful here.
The Yamal controversy is of immense importance for the whole climate debate. However, one must read and digest the various posts before fully understanding the main points. I therefore suggest a simple post in the form of several bullet points (useful for attracting the attention of journalists) together with some links.
(1) An update of a temperature reconstruction with more data removes the hockey stick and implies there is nothing unusual about 20th century temperatures.
(2) The scientist who led this update withheld the results and pretended never to have made the study (this is called cherry picking and is simply not allowed for obvious reasons).
(3) Freedom of information requests and complaints to journals eventually allowed point (1) to be established and gave strong evidence that point (2) is well founded.
(4) There is consequently strong evidence that the accounts given to the various Climategate inquiries (including a UK Parliamentary inquiry) about this update (or lack of update) are untrue.
(5) There are serious questions which UAE must answer. To keep silent or to deride the accusers is unacceptable. Similarly, to respond that it “doesn’t matter since we’ve got other hockey sticks” is also unacceptable, not least since Yamal is strong evidence of publication bias in this field which can just as easily affect other measurements.
Unlike many here I feel somewhat sorry for Briffa. I’m also a scientist and whenever improved data destroys the “preferred message” (and there is always such a message whether we like it or not, we’re human) there is always the temptation to withhold or delay the result. One usually tries to convince oneself that more work is needed with the new data, one must have made a mistake, someone else will spot it so the new result will anyway appear eventually etc. Fortunately for me this has never gone beyond an impulse since not following basic scientific ethics would mean not sleeping well at night. I’d like to believe that Briffa holds similar standards and can provide a good defense against these allegations. Therefore I’d like journalists to pick it up and push for a response from UAE. To do this I think the central points should be made clearly and repeatedly. Although others may doubt it, I am sincere in my sympathy for Briffra – I want him to clear his name. This issue worries me more than any of the other Climategate stuff and I’d like to see it cleared up as soon as possible.

Mike

Are we having fun yet, 1981, 1988, 1998,2000, 2012 and the debate rages on…oh wait… I forgot, the debate is over.

George E. Smith

“”””” Eric Adler says:
May 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Floyd Doughty wrote:
” Now it looks like Dr. Hansen’s Scenario C global temperature forecast that he presented to the United States Senate in 1988 was amazingly accurate, according to the satellite-derived global temperature record. That is truly a remarkable achievement. So now let’s employ a bit of faulty logic that is similar to that which is routinely applied by AGW proponents: “The observational data fit the model, so the model must be accurate”. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions must have ceased in the year 2000. And I missed it. Rats.”
Your straw man argument is certainly not the only interpretation that can be made. If you are really going to argue like a scientist, rather than a lawyer, you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due sulfate aerosols emitted by the rapidly developing Chinese economy , is slowing the increase in temperature. This was not included in the model Hansen developed in 1988. This is a large source of forcing uncertainty in the current models, along with feedback due to clouds. “””””
Eric are you suggesting that these natural variability phenomena are overriding the effects of human CO2 emissions.
You are correct about the uncertainty due to clouds. I had the opportunity to chat with Professor Davies in the Climate Physics section of the Physics Department, of the University of Auckland last March, just after he and a colleague had published their paper on the falling altitude of cirrus clouds (over the last decade), and he told me unequivocally, that they cannot and do not correctly model the reflectance of clouds. Well it isn’t reflectance anyway, but rather diffuse optical scattering for wavelengths that are water transmitted, and probably absorption and subsequent isotropic re-emission for wavelengths that aren’t water transmitted.
So I think you are correct; the modellers don’t reaally know what they are doing.

Floyd Doughty

@ Nick Stokes, 7:45 PM
Way cool tool, Nick. Sure wish I had known about that earlier!

Wayne Douglas

Well, what a surprise! All the representatives of the fossil fuel industry have checked in. As Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money!” It sure doesn’t lead to Hansen.

P. Solar

Hansen 1998: “With data from another decade we will be able to make a much clearer evaluation of the model.”
Well now we have that decade of data an it fits pretty well his scenario C. Since CO2 has risen unabated in that time that suggests that his basic model was not too far off if you *ignore* his spurious CO2 forcing.
It seems that Hansen’s own work proves there is no significant warming from CO2.
Congratulations to Floyd for digging this up.

George E. Smith

“”””” Chuck Wiese says:
May 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Floyd: Hansen is wrong. He counts absorption as a forcing on temperature at the sidebands of CO2. That would only work in a atmosphere without a hydrological cycle. The spectrally integrated OLR is the ONLY way to calculate whether there is a radiation imbalance, and that must include increases or decreases in solar shorwave per cloud thickness and ratio to water vapor. “””””
Chuck,
O3, H2O, and to a lesser extent CO2; all of them green house gases, ALL absorb significant amounts of INCOMING solar spectrum energy in the range from roughly 250 nm to 4.0 microns, which contains about 98% of a 500nm peaked black body radiation spectrum, which the sun approximates. This plus the Raleigh scattering of the incomingshort end of that spectrum, accounts for much of the drop from a TSI of 1362 Wm^-2, to a typical surface irradiance (normal to the sun vector) of 1,000 Wm^-2. This atmospherically absorbed/scattered INCOMING solar energy is irretrievably lost to the deep ocean energy storage mechanism (maybe only half of the Raleigh scattered). The atmospherically absorbed (GHG) INCOMING solar spectrum energy is re-radiated as an isotropic LWIR spectrum, half of which is lost to space, and the other half cannot penetrate to the deep ocean (70% of the surface), and tends to promote prompt surface evaporation from the oceans, which adds to the water vapor absorption, and also returns a lot of latent heat of evaporation to the upper atmosphere.
I can’t for the life of me, make a positive feedback warming loop, out of any of that. More O3, H2O, and CO2, means LESS earth captured solar energy, which must ultimately lead to cooling, due to lack of sunshine.

Philip Bradley

you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due sulfate aerosols emitted by the rapidly developing Chinese economy , is slowing the increase in temperature.
While sulphates have increased over east and south Asia. There has been a comparable decrease in sulphates over Europe and N America.
Since effect of sulphate aerosols is restricted to the region they are emitted lets look at the temperature trends for these regions.
The USA and likely all of N America (ex Arctic) has warmed substantially less than the global average since 1975, while east Asia has warmed faster than anywhere else (excluding the Arctic) in the last 2 decades.
http://adrem.org.cn/Faculty/GongDY/docu/Enhancement%20of%20the%20warming%20trend%20in%20China.pdf
While south Asia has warmed in line with the global average, all the S Asia warming is in the maximum temperature, which has increased several times faster than the global average. The sulphate cooling theory requires that the cooling be in the maximum temperature.
I think we can safely say the sulphate cooling hypothesis is falsified by the data.

geronimo

Pardon my ignorance Philip, but is the increase in sulphates a resultvof the increase burning of coal?

Chuck Wiese

George Smith: All good comments above. I would also add that increasing water vapor WITHOUT an increase of solar IR ALSO increases tropospheric cooling at the water vapor boundary from emission above CO2 >15 microns. That also self regulates and mitigates a positive water vapor growth cycle from sideband CO2 absorption. And yes, water vapor has four distinct absorption bands of incoming solar IR in the near range between .6 to 2.5 microns that provide tropospheric HEATING rather than IR longer wave cooling. That is critical to changing water vapor saturation vapor pressures that would allow growth of the column and amplify IR warming.

Linmar

If aerosols have such a cooling effect, wouldn’t we be better off pumping as much of them as we can into the atmosphere?
Sure, they cause a myriad of health issues, but this must be better than the doom-and-gloom end of civilization predicted (prophesied?!) by the alarmist community.

Peter Miller

I found this comment to be one of obvious importance and I am surprised there has been so little discussion on it. If Lindzen is correct (I see he uses references), then CAGW is an obvious fantasy, but if Hansen is correct (not clear if he uses references or not), then CAGW remains a possibility, albeit small. Some of the tens of billions of dollars per year wastefully ploughed into pointless areas of ‘climate science’ should be re-directed towards this subject.
“3. Water vapour feedback
Lindzen: negative, upper tropospheric water vapor decreases with global warming.
Hansen: positive, upper and lower tropospheric water vapour increase with global warming.
References: (these include references by Lindzen stating that, in response to global warming, water vapour will decrease at altitudes above 2-3 km).
Comment: accurate observations of interannual changes (several years) and long-term changes (1-2 decades) of upper tropospheric water vapour could provide defining data.”
On the subject of scepticism, it is interesting to see how Hansen, over the past 15 years, has morphed from being a reasonably rational individual into a ranting intolerant bigot.

Slide2112

The joy of true science is that you can proove yourself to be wrong and be proclaimed a genious for it.
Slide2112

gbaikie

“Pardon my ignorance Philip, but is the increase in sulphates a resultvof the increase burning of coal?”
Apparently if US had decided in 1988 to double coal consumption using technology from the 1950 [no pollution control] we would had lower global temperature.
it’s unlikely Hansen could predicted enormous increase in Chinese coal use, so it’s true Hansen would failed to predict the significant increase sulphates, he also would not predicted China exceeding US is CO2 emission. Some could predicted increase in crude oil use by China [far less CO2 emission per power generated] and some day China exceeding the US in CO2 emission. But idea that socialist would burn coal and have such enormous economic growth, is stranger than fiction- at least for socialists.
Imagine if the Soviet Union had such economic growth {USSR had far more wealth in fossil fuels than China] in such world we would be speaking Russian.

Phil Clarke

Floyd – you attribute an estimate for climate sensitivity of 3C for 2xCO2 to James Hansen. Which is indeed our best current estimate, however you fail to acknowledge that the value Hansen used in his 1988 model was nearer 4C.
This, along with a slight mismatch between the projected and actual forcings is the underlying cause of the divergence between Scenario B and observed temperature increase.
This is how science operates – uncertainties are reduced, estimates improved. The basic physics behind the model are fine, one of its input parameters was too high by about a third, is all.

dougetit

Anthony, I plotted my own graph from Hansen’s 1988 graph a couple of years ago. It took me a couple of weeks to plot, (dot by dot), his graph and then scale the actual data for comparison. Check it out.
http://neighbors.denverpost.com/album_pic.php?pic_id=10622&sid=61fd10a0c0ec6869d17a0083df6fe85c

RACookPE1978

Wayne Douglas says:
May 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm
Well, what a surprise! All the representatives of the fossil fuel industry have checked in. As Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money!” It sure doesn’t lead to Hansen.
Yeppers, ya gotta just follow that money!
But all of the money, all of the corruption, all of the power, all of the influence, all of the papers’ editing and publication, all of the ABBCNNBCBS media attention and adoration is on the CAGW hoard of trillions of tax dollars. And control of the world’s population.
All of the billions in government-funded CAGW money is spent on and by the (corruption inside the) CAGW propagandists who so conveniently provide results favorable to their CAGW-funding sponsers inside the CAGW-funding governments and government agencies.

dennisambler

Eric Adler:
May 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm
Are those the same aerosols that conveniently caused the cooling in the 60’s and 70’s?

dougetit

Wayne Douglass… I hate it when warmies get their facts wrong.
http://monkeywrenchingamerica.com/?p=474

Stephen Richards

Wayne Douglas says:
May 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm
Well, what a surprise! All the representatives of the fossil fuel industry have checked in. As Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein, “Follow the money!” It sure doesn’t lead to Hansen.
You are either a total idiot or you live with your head up your fesse. Hansen has become a 2 times millionaire since his damascas moment in ’88. Money earned from public speaking, Fenton and other supportive AGW organisations. I Suggest you go look for the info.

richardscourtney

Eric Adler:
Scientists amend or reject a working hypothesis when its predictions are observed to be wrong.
Scientists do NOT ‘move the goal posts’ by introducing “a possibility” after their predictions are shown to be wrong: advocates do that.
But (at May 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm) you object to Floyd Doughty pointing out that observations fit with Hansen’s prediction of global temperature for cessation of CO2 emissions in 2000. And Doughty writes;
“Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions must have ceased in the year 2000. And I missed it. Rats.”
And you say to Floyd Doughty:
“Your straw man argument is certainly not the only interpretation that can be made. If you are really going to argue like a scientist, rather than a lawyer, you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due sulfate aerosols emitted by the rapidly developing Chinese economy , is slowing the increase in temperature. This was not included in the model Hansen developed in 1988. “etc..
Of course, your comment would have been equally valid if you had written;
“Your straw man argument is certainly not the only interpretation that can be made. If you are really going to argue like a scientist, rather than a lawyer, you would not neglect mentioning the possibility that a cooling effect due THE EASTER BUNNY IS STEALING HEAT, is slowing the increase in temperature. This was not included in the model Hansen developed in 1988. “etc..
And you accuse Doughty of a “straw man argument”! Sheesh!
Richard

Philip Bradley

Pardon my ignorance Philip, but is the increase in sulphates a resultvof the increase burning of coal?
Primarily burning coal in the absence of effective scrubbers.
Image of global sulphate concentrations
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gocart_sulfate_optical_thickness.png

LazyTeenager

In the interest of full disclosure, I must unambiguously state that I am a state board-certified Professional Geophysicist nearing retirement after more than 38 years spent in the search for new oil and gas reserves.
————–
Well that’s interesting.
Now let’s say a geophysicist was involved in preparing an assessment of an ore body based on drilling and seismology. Then the ore body is exploited and the actual yeild is recorded. Just how good or bad would the agreement have to be for that geophysicist to be judged competent or incompetent? How would they compare to Hansen?

Philip Bradley

There is a lot of mis-information about aerosols/particulates/sulphates in China.
What has happened is that over the last few decades, is that hundreds of millions have moved from traditional dwellings where heat and cooking was by domestic stoves to highrises where electricity is the power source.
Anyone familiar with burning coal in a stove or open hearth knows it produces an awful lot of particulate pollution. By switching from domestic burning of coal to burning it power stations, particulates have been dramatically reduced, even while sulphates have risen. The developed world went through this transition 30 to 50 years ago. And there has been a similar large reduction in particulates from vehicle emissions.
Its the reduction in particulates that corresponds with the late 20th century warming and IMO could well be the primary cause – less scattering of solar irradiance and less particulate seeded clouds.

Floyd,
Here is a copy of the oldest GISS dataset we could previously find. It should be very very close to the 1999 set.
How I found this data is described here:

Myrrh

George E. Smith says:
May 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm
“”””” Chuck Wiese says:
May 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm
Floyd: Hansen is wrong. He counts absorption as a forcing on temperature at the sidebands of CO2. That would only work in a atmosphere without a hydrological cycle. The spectrally integrated OLR is the ONLY way to calculate whether there is a radiation imbalance, and that must include increases or decreases in solar shorwave per cloud thickness and ratio to water vapor. “””””
Chuck,
O3, H2O, and to a lesser extent CO2; all of them green house gases, ALL absorb significant amounts of INCOMING solar spectrum energy in the range from roughly 250 nm to 4.0 microns, which contains about 98% of a 500nm peaked black body radiation spectrum, which the sun approximates. This plus the Raleigh scattering of the incomingshort end of that spectrum, accounts for much of the drop from a TSI of 1362 Wm^-2, to a typical surface irradiance (normal to the sun vector) of 1,000 Wm^-2. This atmospherically absorbed/scattered INCOMING solar energy is irretrievably lost to the deep ocean energy storage mechanism (maybe only half of the Raleigh scattered). The atmospherically absorbed (GHG) INCOMING solar spectrum energy is re-radiated as an isotropic LWIR spectrum, half of which is lost to space, and the other half cannot penetrate to the deep ocean (70% of the surface), and tends to promote prompt surface evaporation from the oceans, which adds to the water vapor absorption, and also returns a lot of latent heat of evaporation to the upper atmosphere.
I can’t for the life of me, make a positive feedback warming loop, out of any of that. More O3, H2O, and CO2, means LESS earth captured solar energy, which must ultimately lead to cooling, due to lack of sunshine.
==========
Water is transparent to visible light … The WATER CYCLE cools the EArth by 52°C to bring it down to the 15°C.., the ‘greenhouse warming of 33°C’ is a sleight of hand – it misses out the water cycle completely, think deserts. The water cycle is CONVECTION, the transport of heat from the Earth’s surface by CONVECTION. Volumes of hot wet air rising taking away heat and on reaching COLD heights condensing out to water, rain, fog, clouds (which is carbonic acid, water + carbon dioxide).
Doesn’t anyone here understand how weather works? How clouds are formed?
Doesn’t anyone here understand the the difference between Light and Heat? How can y’all, generic warmists, not notice that the direct heat from the Sun to Earth’s surface, longwave infrared aka thermal infrared, is missing from the comic cartoon energy budget you use??
Visible light direct from the Sun isn’t hot, you can’t feel it as hot, if you can’t feel it as hot then it isn’t converting to heat. Duh.
None of you know what you’re talking about. You’re using a imaginary fisics from an imaginary world where heat direct from the Sun doesn’t even reach Earth’s surface and you have no water cycle.
And what’s worse, you can’t see anything wrong in it..

H.R.

@dougetit says:
May 11, 2012 at 12:07 am
Anthony, I plotted my own graph from Hansen’s 1988 graph a couple of years ago. It took me a couple of weeks to plot, (dot by dot), his graph and then scale the actual data for comparison. Check it out.
http://neighbors.denverpost.com/album_pic.php?pic_id=10622&sid=61fd10a0c0ec6869d17a0083df6fe85c
===================================================================
Excellent! Thank you.