# Bob Carter’s essay in FP: Policymakers have quietly given up trying to cut ­carbon dioxide emissions

### Deal with climate reality as it unfolds

May 23, 2012

Dr. Bob Carter

By Dr. Bob Carter

Over the last 18 months, policymakers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan have quietly abandoned the illusory goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, an alternative view has emerged regarding the most cost-effective way in which to deal with the undoubted hazards of climate change.

This view points toward setting a policy of preparation for, and adaptation to, climatic events and change as they occur, which is distinctly different from the former emphasis given by most Western parliaments to the mitigation of global warming by curbing carbon dioxide emissions.

Ultimately, the rationale for choosing between policies of mitigation or adaptation must lie with an analysis of the underlying scientific evidence about climate change. Yet the vigorous public debate over possibly dangerous human-caused global warming is bedeviled by two things.

First, an inadequacy of the historical temperature measurements that are used to reconstruct the average global temperature statistic.

And, second, fueled by lobbyists and media interests, an unfortunate tribal emotionalism that has arisen between groups of persons who are depicted as either climate “alarmists” or climate “deniers.”

In reality, the great majority of working scientists fit into neither category. All competent scientists accept, first, that global climate has always changed, and always will; second, that human activities (not just carbon dioxide emissions) definitely affect local climate, and have the potential, summed, to measurably affect global climate; and, third, that carbon dioxide is a mild greenhouse gas.

The true scientific debate, then, is about none of these issues, but rather about the sign and magnitude of any global human effect and its likely significance when considered in the context of natural climate change.

For many different reasons, which include various types of bias, error and unaccounted-for artifacts, the thermometer record provides only an indicative history of average global temperature over the last 150 years.

The 1979-2011 satellite MSU (Microwave Sounding Units) record is our only acceptably accurate estimate of average global temperature, yet being but 32 years in length it represents just one climate data point. The second most reliable estimate of global temperature, collected by radiosondes on weather balloons, extends back to 1958, and the portion that overlaps with the MSU record matches it well.

Taken together, these two temperature records indicate that no significant warming trend has occurred since 1958, though both exhibit a 0.2C step increase in average global temperature across the strong 1998 El Niño.

In addition, the recently quiet Sun, and the lack of warming over at least the last 15 years — and that despite a 10% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide level, which represents 34% of all post-industrial emissions — indicates that the alarmist global warming hypothesis is wrong and that cooling may be the greatest climate hazard over coming decades.

Climate change takes place over geological time scales of thousands through millions of years, but unfortunately the relevant geological data sets do not provide direct measurements, least of all of average global temperature.

Instead, they comprise local or regional proxy records of climate change of varying quality. Nonetheless, numerous high-quality paleoclimate records, and especially those from ice cores and deep-sea mud cores, demonstrate that no unusual or untoward changes in climate occurred in the 20th and early 21st century.

Despite an estimated spend of well over $100-billion since 1990 looking for a human global temperature signal, assessed against geological reality no compelling empirical evidence yet exists for a measurable, let alone worrisome, human impact on global temperature. Nonetheless, a key issue on which all scientists agree is that natural climate-related events and change are real, and exact very real human and environmental costs. These hazards include storms, floods, blizzards, droughts and bushfires, as well as both local and global temperature steps and longer term cooling or warming trends. It is certain that these natural climate-related events and change will continue, and that from time to time human and environmental damage will be wrought. Extreme weather events (and their consequences) are natural disasters of similar character to earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions, in that in our present state of knowledge they can neither be predicted far ahead nor prevented once underway. The matter of dealing with future climate change, therefore, is primarily one of risk appraisal and minimization, and that for natural risks that vary from place to place around the globe. Dealing with climate reality as it unfolds clearly represents the most prudent, practical and cost-effective solution to the climate change issue. Importantly, a policy of adaptation is also strongly precautionary against any (possibly dangerous) human-caused climate trends that might emerge in the future. From the Financial Post via Dr. Carter in email correspondence Bob Carter, a paleoclimatologist at James Cook University, Australia, and a chief science advisor for the International Climate Science Coalition, is in Canada on a 10-day tour. He speaks at Carleton University in Ottawa on Friday. Advertisements ## 236 thoughts on “Bob Carter’s essay in FP: Policymakers have quietly given up trying to cut ­carbon dioxide emissions” 1. Tucker says: WOW, sanity amid the insanity. He hits the nail on the head every time. CO2 is a mild greenhouse gas, and the last 15 years disproves the theory of AGW. We should attempt to prepare for change, because change is inevitable and mitigation is reachable as a goal. Reducing carbon emissions, not so much. Wonder how long before he is labeled a quack. 2. John W. says: Calm, well reasoned, dispassionate. This won’t do. 3. temp says: Must say I don’t like this guy. He runs a retarded propaganda line of “And, second, fueled by lobbyists and media interests, an unfortunate tribal emotionalism that has arisen between groups of persons who are depicted as either climate “alarmists” or climate “deniers.”” Yet his whole argument from “In reality,[…]human impact on global temperature.” is all stuff the “evil denier” crew has been saying for at least 6+ years. This moron is basically trying to caste himself as somehow “centrist” by smearing the “evil deniers” as being “extremist” because somehow we want evidence, facts, data. 4. richardscourtney says: As always, Bob Carter is right. A few years ago when the Copenhagen IPCC jamboree failed to reach agreement, I said – on WUWT and elsewhere – that the AGW-scare was over. I then predicted that the dead AGW-scare would not be declared over and its corpse would continue to appear alive like a beheaded chicken running around the farmyard. But the AGW-scare is dead and its movement will slowly cease, so in 20 years time few will remember it unless reminded of it. Similarly, few now remember the ‘acid rain’ scare of the 1980s unless reminded of that. The problem that now confronts us is to continue to keep people aware of the issue so we can continue to fight the faux science of the AGW-scare. If we fail then systems to constrain CO2 emissions will continue to gain power (as systems to constrain ‘acid rain’ emissions now continue to increase their damaging impositions). Richard 5. Well informed, scientific, pragmatic, and sane! 6. Midwest Mark says: It’s all so very sensible. And yet, sensible voices like this are continually ignored. 7. Very clear and level headed. Dr. Carter has packed a lot of wisdom into a short post. It should be quoted as preface to any discussion of climate change and its implications. 8. Steven Kopits says: “Climate change takes place over geological time scales of thousands through millions of years,..” Do we actually know this to the level of an assertion? Do we know for sure that the global climate could not tip into an ice age in only a few hundred years? 9. Ray says: Although they claim to be abandoning carbon dioxide policies, they will still push climate change policies and go forward with money grabbing. They will still blame it on anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. They won’t stop being a gold cow to “climate scientists” since they will want to put emphasis on future climate change forecasting and to do so they still need to study the past. 10. Luther Wu says: The precautionary principle being quietly rolled back? The EPA missed the memo. 11. Steven Kopits says: “…human activities (not just carbon dioxide emissions) definitely affect local climate, and have the potential, summed, to measurably affect global climate..” Have we actually ascertained the summing of local effects? Do the UHI effects of many cities make an appreciable change in global temps? 12. An Iceberg in the Room Leftist policy makers who want us to go down the path of severe CO2 reductions are facing a problem. And that is that there is an iceberg (symbolic) that’s suddenly taking up half the space of this climate change debate, and this iceberg is crunching against the wall in some spots. That iceberg… is conservative opinion against AGW theory. An earlier Pew poll showed only 19% of Republicans believed in man-made global warming. Adding to an increasing sense that this Pew poll result is no fluke, is a new poll showing only 17% of conservative Canadians (voted for the Tories) “are concerned” about global warming: http://www.660news.com/news/local/article/365630–new-poll-says-global-warming-is-not-a-major-environmental-concern And if you understand the dynamic behind this overwhelming conservative rejection of the scare-mongering Chicken Littles, you know that this iceberg is not going to melt. The leftists who support the warmist agenda will continue doing what they normally do, acting as if this massive iceberg is not there. They’ll duck beside and underneath the ice, squeeze in and out, and continue like mindless robots repeating their never ending proclamations of doom. And they will occasionally make reference to how “conservatives are resistant” to their persuasions, but eventually they’ll have to recognize that this iceberg is not going away. Indeed, the iceberg will only grow, and start to impart its coldness for the AGW theory to others, like independents, the media, a lot of Democrats (surprise!), and beyond the American shores. 13. Matthew C says: Well yeah, if you are just going to rely on logic and reason…. 14. David says: Sort of with temp here. The one thing that annoys me is this: “These hazards include storms, floods, blizzards, droughts and bushfires, as well as both local and global temperature steps and longer term cooling or warming trends.” It doesn`t seem as obvious as he tells it. Once we dig in a little, none of those risks are straitforward. 15. CodeTech says: Well written, succinct, to the point. Imagine that: stating that climate changes. Always has, always will. The idea that there ever was some kind of stable climate prior to human influence is laughable, and one of the main reasons that I never bought into the anthropogenic change hypothesis. 16. Well constructed, balanced article, reflecting reality. Only those people who have a vested interest in “The science is settled” paradigm, will disagree with the sentiments calmly and clearly expressed in this piece of writing. My sentiments entirely. 17. Chute_me says: Temp – calm down. There are without doubt a number of folks in the so-dubbed “denier” camp who reject even the most basic premises of co2-enhanced warming. They are just as much an embarrassment to the debate as are the “end-is-nigh” warmistas. Carter is right to call them out as well, even if he fails to define them clearly. 18. skeptical dave says: I wonder if he recently shared lunch with Bjorn Lomborg? 19. A fan of *MORE* discourse says: Dr. Carter’s essay is notably eccentric in its total disregard for climate theory. A more balanced view was expressed by the eminent thermodynamicist Clifford Truesdell: “While laymen and philosophers of science often believe, contend, or at least hope, that physical theories are directly inferred from experiments, anyone who has faced the problem of discovering a good constitutive equation or anyone who has sought and found the historical origin of the successful field theories knows how childish is such a prejudice. The task of the theorist is to bring order into the chaos of the phenomena of nature, to invent a language by which a class of these phenomena can be described efficiently and simply.\ \ldots\ Of course, physical theory must be based on experience, but experiment comes after, not before, theory. Without theoretical concepts one would neither know what experiments to perform nor be able to interpret their outcome.” Summary: Dr. Carter’s version of science is eccentrically circumscribed. • A fan of MORE discourse It certainly didn’t require many words from Dr. Carter for you to arrive at your preconceived conclusion. 20. Ian W says: Steven Kopits says: May 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm “Climate change takes place over geological time scales of thousands through millions of years,..” Do we actually know this to the level of an assertion? Do we know for sure that the global climate could not tip into an ice age in only a few hundred years? No we don’t know this to more than an optimistic assumption. It would appear that O-S and Bond events can be far more rapid large changes of average temperatures in a decade. I read (but cannot find a reference) of ice melting in a mountainous area disclosing flowers in bloom. So some areas could find that an extreme weather event becomes a permanent ‘climate’ state overnight.. 21. PaulH from Barcelona says: @temp I understand your anger. But perhaps it’s a purist’s fury. I reckon Bob is a smart guy that has been in the scientific trenches of the ‘climate wars’ long enough to know that we’re not going to win this one on science alone. My take on his post is that he has recognised that in order to make progress we have to allow scientifically-bereft, yet zeitgist-tuned politicians to save face. Such is the realpolitik of an imperfect real world. For me, this will only be a winning strategy if we can couple any successes of this approach to the other looming pseudo-scientific scares of ‘sustainability’, ‘biodiversity’ and ‘population concerns’ so beloved of the emerging state-funded Regulatory Class. 22. temp says: Chute_me says: May 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm “There are without doubt a number of folks in the so-dubbed “denier” camp who reject even the most basic premises of co2-enhanced warming. ” Really got any names? I know of none. Lots of ppl make the blanket statement that human c02 has zero effect but you should be sure to understand the difference because basic theory and talking about solely human. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of someone say “c02 has zero effect on warming/climate” and mean exactly as stated. “Carter is right to call them out as well, even if he fails to define them clearly.” He didn’t define them at all. In fact all of his argument are straight from the “denier” camp. 23. tango says: and in australia we are having a$23 cabon tax starting 1st july by our left wing,water mellon head, GOVT

24. He’s sacked, canned, terminated. He has become redundant.
I wish they’d listen to him.(the alarmist radicals that govern OZ)

25. richardscourtney says:

A fan of *MORE* discourse:

The long quotation you provide is drivel. In real science observations trump any theory.

Bob Carter always sticks to demonstrable facts. His sense trumps nonsense.

Richard

26. Scottie says:

“…policymakers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan have quietly abandoned the illusory goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.”

Well that’s a pity. Cutting emissions would appear to have been a uniquely successful policy. There has been no statistically significant warming for at least a decade. Wow! Success or not? Now that we can control the climate by modulating carbon dioxide emissions it seems a shame to give up on such a self-evidently successful path.

In case you need it,
/sarc

27. Rhoda R says:

Fan, a theory may be beautiful, but if data coming in doesn’t support that theory it needs to be modified or dropped altogether. Love the data not the theory.

28. Can’t possibly be correct there is not pole in the middle and only extremists are ever correct.

29. Stephen Richards says:

An excellent summation BUT :
Nonetheless, a key issue on which all scientists agree is that natural climate-related events and change are real, and exact very real human and environmental costs. These hazards include storms, floods, blizzards, droughts and bushfires, as well as both local and global temperature steps and longer term cooling or warming trends.

These hazards are weather events not climat. Had he said ENSO, AMO, MJO I would not have complained at all.

Bob Carter has always brought rational and clear thinking to the debate and for that he has been attacked and ridiculed in the MSM. Somewhat unfairly.

30. Wolfman says:

Unfortunately, in the US, there are ongoing, mostly hidden, governmental efforts to ignore the point of view expressed by Dr. Carter. The efforts to suppress the studies on the cost and availability of power n the heartland due to EPA coal regulations, the Fish and Wildlife Service exemptions for windmills from endangered/protected species, the overwhelming biased assumptions incorporated into research funding, the diversion of military fuels to biomass-based energy, and the coercive efforts of the Feds on state government environmental regulations are combining to dramatically distort our energy supplies and to increase US energy costs. The rationale is two-fold: climate change and energy security. Governmental incentives all favor economically (and environmentally) damaging activities.

It is likely that appropriate publicity on just the impact of existing/pending regulation on cost and supply of electric power would dramatically swing the election and the future direction of US policy. The other countervailing force is sheer economics. When the true costs of alarmism become evident to all, there will be a backlash.

31. John Whitman says:

I applaud Bob Carter’s FP article only to the extent that he is speaking as an objective scientist to policy makers about climate science findings/assessments. I appreciate his logical reasoning and the basic thrust of his empirical findings. Thank you Dr. Carter.

But, I disagree with Bob Carter to the extent that in his FP article he is projecting overhyped and artificially stereotyped views onto the beneficial extreme spectrum of climate scientist proponents who are voluntarily active in the open, free and very rigorous discourse on climate science. I find his views in his FP article to that effect are inappropriate to say the least. I think Carter significantly weakened his FP article in that regard.

Also, I disagree with Bob Carter to the extent that in his FP article he is advising policy direction at the same time he is providing scientific findings/assessments. To me that kind of apparent conflict of interest situation he expresses is a fundamental reason we have arrived at our current irrational policy situation wrt CAGW from burning fossil fuels. I suggest the profession of scientists is best served when scientists, as scientists, does not overlap the profession of policy advisors/makers as policy advisors/makers; and vice versa.

John

32. JohnBUK says:

I hope his life assurance is up to date! Could be in for a rough time.

33. BargHumer says:

As said by “Temp” there is a tone in this article that is worrying. I have generally liked Bob Carter’s stuff but here is something of a centrist positioning going on. It is like the politicians who try to occupy the middle ground by calling a plague on both houses.

Perhaps this is another piece in the disintegration of the skeptic camp, as the warmist campain fails and the realisation dawns that CO2 thing is irrelevant, it would be natural for the skeptics to divide.

I hope I am wrong.

34. polistra says:

If “all competent scientists” start by dealing with AVERAGE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE, they’re all wrong. The actual data doesn’t do much to support the idea. Until you can prove that ANY single influence controls the whole atmosphere, all reasoning based on average global temperature is circular. It’s an assumption that must be independently proved first.

35. wayne says:

I agree with Bob Carter.

Climate change. There is none.

And we should be damn glad it is a few tenth of a degree warmer now that in the Little Ice Age.

I am still waiting for anyone, any source, to show me some meaningful, out of the local norms, change in a local climate anywhere on this globe. I have looked for three years and still can find none. Some parameters are up, some down, at any given moment but locally they are in the normalcy of the last 2000 years locally. I don’t live in Missouri but “Show Me” anyway.

This charade has been, once again, renamed, but the corruption still remains, and this must be rooted out for the future generation’s sake. I will rule-out no one as members of this crime against humanity, much life has already killed by their actions, humans included.

36. Mike Smith says:

I could take issue with some of the fine details and tone of the article. But the fact is, the main thrust of this discussion is right on the money.

It’s scientifically, practically, economically, and politically solid!

Thank goodness a few souls are finding the courage to speak up in the MSM.

37. temp says:

PaulH from Barcelona says:

“My take on his post is that he has recognised that in order to make progress we have to allow scientifically-bereft, yet zeitgist-tuned politicians to save face. Such is the realpolitik of an imperfect real world.”

Yeah… I know that in the end that many of these religious nutjobs are going to not only walk for what is clearly massive fraud, embezzlement and a host of other ethics related stuff. To many will keep their jobs as well. Unless we can at least fire and disgrace many of them they will reform and be at it again. Global warming is nothing but a modern day eugenics movement. If real punishment isn’t put out on these people they will come back and at some point win. They are far to close right now for comfort to making all they’re dreams come true. Next time maybe the last time… and next time maybe just 10 years away.

38. Robert in Calgary says:

Is there info on when/where else in Canada he is speaking? I tried, but didn’t find anything.

39. Mac the Knife says:

“Despite an estimated spend of well over $100-billion since 1990 looking for a human global temperature signal, assessed against geological reality no compelling empirical evidence yet exists for a measurable, let alone worrisome, human impact on global temperature.” This is a metaphorical breath of fresh air, sweetly relished after a hard day of shoveling out the chicken coop! 40. Bruce Cobb says: The only statement of his that appears debateable is this: “human activities (not just carbon dioxide emissions) definitely affect local climate, and have the potential, summed, to measurably affect global climate” That they affect local climate is indisputable, but the idea that summed, you could possibly suss out a manmade signal seems highly doubtful. Only about .29% of the earth is inhabited by humans, and about 6 1/3 % of the earth is agricultural. Whatever tiny amount UHI adds to warmth globally would barely be measurable. Agriculture is as likely or more, to provide a cooling effect from evapotranspiration. Some pollutants have a slight warming effect, others cool. 41. “Climate change takes place over geological time scales of thousands through millions of years,..” Do we actually know this to the level of an assertion? Do we know for sure that the global climate could not tip into an ice age in only a few hundred years? Probably not. You can look at e.g. the Vostok ice core (or other proxy) data and judge for yourself the timescale of the hot-cold transition. Actually, I would have said that the transition back to glaciation in general has been quite rapid for the last million years of glaciation cycles, but the period and other things have been changing as well and the record we have is itself probably only indicative and not necessarily as quantitative as the curves (without error bars, sigh) suggest. As I’ve remarked a few times on the list, from the point of view of empirical (not “theoretical, model based”) stability analysis, there is zero evidence of a still-warmer metastable climate phase in the Pliestocene (within the last 5 million years, say). The current interglacial is ALREADY as warm is it appears possible for it to get before some known or unknown feedbacks regulate and limit temperature rise. There is ample, compelling evidence that in spite of the unknown or known feedbacks that have us in a warm interglacial interval (the Holocene) at the moment, there is a pernicious and much colder glaciation phase that is a lot more stable and temporally dominant. Basically the Earth has spent around 85% of the last million years some 5-6C colder than it is right now. If you rolled a die to determine the climate, only the 1 face would denote warm interglacial — the other 5 faces would all be icy cold. The way dynamical phase transitions like this (usually, generically) work is that there is a nonlinear equilibrium curve in some critical parameter (or parameter set), one that folds back underneath itself in an unstable branch connecting two stable branches. In the overlap region of the fold, you could be in warm phase OR cold phase, either way stable, depending on your recent history — if warm stay warm, if cold stay cold. But as the parameters shift around, the system eventually finds itself near the fold creases themselves. At those points one of the two solutions typically disappear — they become “imaginary” solutions or have other problems that say “no stable solution here”. Drive the parameters past those points, and the system will literally drop out of the now UNstable phase and relatively rapidly transition to the (now only) stable phase. How long it takes really depends on many things. How much energy the system has to gain or lose to re-equilibrate around the now-dominant single stable branch. How long it takes the energy to redistribute itself and go where it can actually be lost. How much the shape of the stability sheet itself changes as the system evolves in time, losing or gaining heat, re-self-organizing its dominant dissipation modes as the temperature differentials they operate across change. The one unmistakeable message of Vostok is that whether it takes 100 years or 1000, there comes a point fairly quickly — within 100 years or even less — where it becomes clear that the system has at least entered the tipping domain, where it is plunging towards the cusp of the vanishing fold. If the parameters that pushed it there reverse, it isn’t unlikely that the system will pull back to the formerly stable phase (and this sort of bobble is clearly visible in the record — the LIA is a low-rent version of it, although I don’t think it really pushed all that far down the side). But then there is that invisible line — cross it and you go steadily downhill (or uphill) as the colder (warmer) it gets positively feeds back to colder (warmer) still until you hit the stable sheet again. The real danger here is the following scenario. Let’s assume that non-ice-based albedo variation is the missing elephant in GCMs — the non-ignorable cause. We won’t worry about what makes global bond albedo vary — we’ll just use the empirical observation that around 15 years ago it dropped by close to 7% (after being historically high for most of the 80s and 90s) and that a 7% drop in albedo — all things being equal — corresponds to a drop in the pre-GHG greybody baseline temperature (the thing GHE warming supposedly proceeds “from”) of roughly 2C. If GHE warming proceeds from the greybody base (something nearly everybody agrees is at least mostly/partly the case then it is very reasonable to infer that we’ve just started to lose heat accumulated in the entire global climate system during the low-albedo period, en route to a gradual cooling off of 1-2C. How gradual? Nobody really knows. Remember, albedo variation isn’t even taken seriously and entered as an empirical parameter, at least not as far as I know — it is part of the “climate sensitivity parameter” that is supposed to include the effects of albedo and much else, and if anything it is estimated to provide net warming, although that argument is tough to really justify in the face of 2C in greybody OFF THE TOP before all that crap kicks in. Empirically, there appears to be a 10-30 year lag that is part of the “self-re-organization” that has to occur before the Earth loops through some of the short-term heat reservoirs (I’m not talking about the really short term ones that do year to year, I’m talking decadal) and one can start to seriously move heat. We’re well into that, but it isn’t that surprising — still — that there has been little overt cooling, rather just as emerging stabilization post 1999, temperatures that aren’t going up or down but are just meandering around. The PDO just inverted (first time in 30 odd years), the NAO is always wonky and may or may not invert soon, and ENSO is ENSO, looking a bit woozy itself with a double Nina just passed and a still undetermined future this year. Might as well read chicken entrails as try to predict the response of four or five coupled chaotic oscillators being driven by a noisy energy source — right after taking one of the main control knobs of the oscillators and giving it a jerk to the left a couple of notches. Hell, if the small intestine loops up instead of down it could get warmer in response, seriously! Or the butterfly could pick, beating its wings down in Brazil (pick for ten years from now, but pick). IF it starts getting cold systematically — starting Maunder Minimum (IF that is a cause of the albedo shift) and we start to lose the 2C in earnest, we are probably still fine — although the LIA happening today would be far deadlier than any observed or reasonble outcome of moderate further warming, given the lack of reason to expect a “still warmer phase” out there to tip over to — and the Holocene will probably continue — unless/until the long time-scale variation in albedo — actual significant growth in glaciation — starts to occur. When the Northern ice pack starts to march south AND the Southern pack grows to the North, that’s very likely one of the key critical parameters in the actual cold phase transition. Pass the critical point and ice will grow (increasing the mean albedo further still) year to year, until latitude and insolation limit its further creep. If we get there, the transition might still take 100-300 years to complete and re-equilibrate in cold phase, but it will get colder systematically, year after year, a few hundredths of a degree or more per year. In a decade, maybe 0.2-0.4C. The latter is really racing — it would get scary cold, scary fast, but we’re far from that point. rgb 2C is not “ice age” 42. clipe says: A fan of *MORE* discourse says: May 24, 2012 at 1:13 pm Of course, physical theory must be based on experience It’s not Dr. Carter’s version of science that is “eccentrically circumscribed”. Hoisted on own petard, then? 43. Robertvdl says: Because now they’ve got the power they were looking for. Mission accomplished. Now they have to get rid of the growing group of people that could attack them with real numbers. By taking away the power of the opposition by using the numbers of the opposition you kill the opposition. But always remember the new power structure is in place for when they need it . We just have to wait for the new Reichstag burning. 44. So then, the battlefield is only morphing into: “Instead, an alternative view has emerged regarding the most cost-effective way in which to deal with the undoubted hazards of climate change.” They will be insisting on perceived changes around us as proof that we need to build higher dikes, inact laws removing people from shorelines, i.e., massive relocation of infrastructure due to imaginary effects they see happening right now. I get the upside to the article, however, this statement alone intimates the psychology is the only thing that has changed. 45. @temp. “Unless we can at least fire and disgrace many of them they will reform and be at it again.” 100% on target! And prosecute. It’s not about helping them to “save face.” This is a disease that must be taken out from the roots, or it sprouts its Medusa heads again. 46. I wouldn’t start on that victory lap yet. I’ve always contended that CAGW’s ends was nigh because citizens of the world recognized that it was merely a way of increasing taxes, & more lately, of stifling capitalism’s economic growth. Dr Carter says that governments have realized a move toward “the most cost-effective way… to deal with the undoubted hazards of climate change…” is “choosing… adaptation…” He’s saying that there’s still a drive to increase taxes! Governments are still going to use “climate” to increase government spending. We are still screwed! 47. Scarface says: temp says: (May 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm) “This moron is basically trying to caste himself as somehow “centrist” by smearing the “evil deniers” as being “extremist” because somehow we want evidence, facts, data.” Better take a look at this presentation. It may change your mind about him. In my opinion he’s a hardcore skeptic on AGW and a big supporter of the scientific method. 48. Firey says: “Over the last 18 months, policymakers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan have quietly abandoned the illusory goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.” Of course they will quietly abandon the goal. If they admit that they are doing this they will be decimated in the polls. 49. Ally E. says: The real change will be seen when those now in power and turfed out. Right now, they continue to push their policies regardless of facts or what the people want, it’s a carry on regardless approach in their rush to lock it all in place. Meanwhile, reality keeps intruding. It’s refreshing to read that behind the scenes common sense is prevailing. When governments worldwide are replaced, we will see it come to the fore. What I would like to see are a few in-depth court findings presented to the public so they learn the truth about CAGW and don’t panic when the new politicians turn to doing what’s right for civilization instead of following some Greenie wet-dream to “save” the planet. Roll on, elections everywhere! 50. Excellent piece by Bob. I fear the alarmist are also Camelot-ists (?!) They seem to believe, as in Camelot, that “it only rains at night and sun shines all day, and snow falls evenly for three months in winter” – or some such ideas. Any deviation from this pattern is clear ‘evidence’ of man-made climate change/warming/abrupt climate tipping… we’re dooomed. – sorry just discovered http://www.ggweather.com/camelot.html is way ahead of me! 51. Ron says: What is ‘local climate’? 52. John Kettlewell says: I’d like to know which “policy makers” in these United States he refers to as “quietly abandoned…reducing carbon dioxide emissions”. He is either mistaken (a fool), or lying. I’m unable to affirm or deny with respect to Canada and Japan, except for Japan’s full nuclear shutdown which forces reductions or carbon replacements. 53. François says: Let’s keep it simple. Would it have make sense to grow an olive tree in Paris fifty years ago? And get fruits from it? The urban island effect existed then too, or did it not? 54. Mike says: [snip. Site Policy forbids comments about “denialists”. ~dbs, mod.] 55. Nick in Vancouver says: “As always, Bob Carter is right.” Unfortunately he is not. One only needs to look at the energy “policy” of the UK, USA and most of the EU to see that the policy aims of the watermelons – rent seeking; artificial “markets”; punitive “carbon” taxes applied to coal and/or petroleum products; unsustainable subsidies for renewable energy; unsolicited intrusion in private energy production and distribution companies and multi billion dollar greenmail of WWF,Greenpeace, FTE, solar and wind “energy” companies and academia etc to see that we are already in a fait accompli with respect to AGW, the damage has been done. Despite and in spite of Dr Carters best efforts, some of the worst AGW excesses have been in Australia. We will see if the electorate can roll back the countless laws, taxes, subsidies and good old fashioned bribes that have been introduced across “the West” . Australia will be a test in its upcoming federal elections. 56. MrX says: Woah!!! Wait a minute there. Canada did not QUIETLY abandon the goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. I remember it being fairly loud. At least as far as Canadian standards go for being loud about something. 57. commieBob says: Robert in Calgary says: May 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm Is there info on when/where else in Canada he is speaking? I tried, but didn’t find anything. Apparently he will be speaking at the University of Calgary. Here’s a link: link 58. Doug Proctor says: The problems remain in the background even if current officical views back off of CAGW. School and public indoctrination of CAGW is complete. Programs, especially regulatory, are in place. The bull is already moving around in the china shop. It will take a “reform” minded leader to dismantle some of these things. It took the Canadian political scene more than 10 years and > 1 billion dollars to dismantle the forced registration of “long guns”, i.e. not handguns, even though no evidence that such legislation was effective in reducing crimminal access to crime existed. But various groups, especially law enforcement, like to have records of who has what. So, for them, it was a good idea if they could check the registry before they responded to a call – I get that. But for society, we didn’t need it. And most people knew that its stated purpose was not justifiable. We/they just went along with it on an emotional, support-for-gun victims way (it came after a massacre of women at a college by a crazy misoginist). Ten years for a small piece of legislation and “only” 1 billion dollars invested. The global warming regulatory scam has a lot of life left, even if it stopped being fed today. It would take someone with no claim to the past and a claim to want less government for less money to kill what is already embedded. Another 10 years? I’ll bet more. 59. temp says: Scarface says: May 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm The presentation is overall meaningless. He’s trying to create this strawman fictional movement that never existed to cover for his buddies and for “science” in general. By making this a battle of two “extremist” groups he can run cover and try to protect the doomsday cultists and many others from being put in jail and fired. This is classic propaganda here to create this supposed “middle ground” to which the real extremists aka doomsday cultists can run and save they’re hides. The doomsday cultist let the no quarter given rules and made it a “doomsday cultist” vs everyone else argument. How many people have been fired because they didn’t “believe”, how many had careers ruined? Global warming is a sinking ship filled with rats… who attacked and destroyed huge sums of wealth. Now this guy comes along and wants to invite the rats which are now fleeing the sinking ship into the life boats… ITS INSANITY. Rats are RATS and they will do the same thing on the life boats that they did before. Sure they’re spread out more and thus has less effect and breed slow… BUT THEIRS STILL FRICKING RATS and they will do what science says they will do… Let the ship sink… let the rats drown. No one should be offering a life boat to them… If the rats sneak on border fine **** happens but to willingly let them hop in the boat… out of your mind retarded. 60. anarchist hate machine says: Just to throw this out there… In the physical sciences (anything having to do with global warming will fall into this category) empiricism trumps theory. Top down approach, to “let the facts speak for themselves.” This is the correct method. However in the social sciences such as economics or psychology, the correct method ought be a bottom up approach. In other words, theory trumps empiricism. Theories are deduced a priori logically (even though unfortunately this is not the case in most universities yet). There are no experiments in human action, and empirical analysis of data is often useless due to so many variables, whereas in the physical sciences, things can be held constant. 61. Mike Smith says: Puckster says: “They will be insisting on perceived changes around us as proof that we need to build higher dikes, inact laws removing people from shorelines, i.e., massive relocation of infrastructure due to imaginary effects they see happening right now.” Maybe. Almost any policy can be abused if those in power choose to do so. On the other hand, large scale development has taken place in locations that were, in hindsight, possibly unwise. We do know that sea levels are (very slowly) rising and they’ve been doing so for thousands of years. It is only prudent to consider these facts when reviewing the permits for proposed developments near sea level. I think the author is suggesting that inconvenient facts like rising sea levels should be addressed in a calm, sensible, and economically sound manner. And not driven into hysterical alarmism. That’s a position I can support. Killing the current culture of alarmism doesn’t mean discarding all caution to known risks. 62. richardscourtney says: GogogoStopSTOP: re. your post at May 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm. Yes, I agree, and for years I have been warning that we should be responding to Governments are still going to use “climate” to increase government spending. We are still screwed! I again say how and why I think we need to respond in my above post at May 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm. Richard 63. Steven Mosher says: “The 1979-2011 satellite MSU (Microwave Sounding Units) record is our only acceptably accurate estimate of average global temperature, yet being but 32 years in length it represents just one climate data point. The second most reliable estimate of global temperature, collected by radiosondes on weather balloons, extends back to 1958, and the portion that overlaps with the MSU record matches it well. Taken together, these two temperature records indicate that no significant warming trend has occurred since 1958, though both exhibit a 0.2C step increase in average global temperature across the strong 1998 El Niño.” 1. The MSU records are not observations. They are a data product. To create this data product from raw sensor outputs ( voltage) scientists apply a whole chain of physical models of the atmosphere. They apply the laws of radiative physics. The “temperature” ‘data’ is the product of sensor outputs and physical models and various assumptions and adjustments and interpolations. 2. Note the argument here that radiosondes are claimed to be trustworthy because they overlap and agree with MSU. That approach, however, can also be extended directly to the surface measurements that carter tries to question. Simply, he argues that the agreement during overlap (1979-present) allows one to trust radiosondes back to 1958. By the same logic the agreement between the 1958-present record, can be used to trust surface measures even further back. Basically, there was a LIA. the current temps are warmer than the LIA. Nothing in the record suggests that there was no LIA. Nothing suggests that it is cooler now than then. If one holds the MSU record as accurate ( its a model after all ) and one validates radiosondes because of agreement during overlap, then that same argument holds for the surface record. 64. LazyTeenager says: Importantly, a policy of adaptation is also strongly precautionary against any (possibly dangerous) human-caused climate trends that might emerge in the future. ———— But there is a massive contradiction here. The whole climate skeptic thing is driven by the conservative fear of change. So given a choice between a doing a little yourselves to avoid change, you are insisting do nothing and then have change rammed down your throats by mother nature. That might not be pleasant. There is also avoidance of considering what adaption will mean and how effective it will be. Are you going to jack up Venice on stilts or are you going to say SUV yes, Venice too bad? 65. Lou Skannen says: There is hope yet for the CO2 alarmists. The Law of the Sea Treaty is coming before the US Senate. It contains verbiage to regulate pollutants arriving at the sea through the atmosphere, pollution identified by competent international groups (IPCC?), groups with regulatory recommendations for member states. In the same document are provisions that hint at a promise of funds and resources from first-world seabed resource developers to be spread by a Seabed Authority among the multitudes of the less well-off of the body. So if the IPCC clings to its CO2 fetish, it can count on support from the many benefiting from the Seabed Authority’s beneficence. It’s a backdoor Kyoto. Contact your Senators indicating their possible unexpected, early retirement if they affirm the treaty. Lou 66. You’ll note one major difference between this [flawed] opinion piece and actual scientific literature is that Carter fails to provide embedded links to his spurious assertions – such as: Taken together, these two temperature records indicate that no significant warming trend has occurred since 1958, though both exhibit a 0.2C step increase in average global temperature across the strong 1998 El Niño. LoL. Utter rubbish. 67. Kev-in-UK says: Steven Mosher says: May 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm <> Not sure I follow your poiunt Steve, I think I see what you are saying, but it only makes partial sense, for two reasons: 1) that the models for the MSU data were presumably also ‘set’ to match the surface records at the time ? (with all the inherent errors, station siting, UHI etc, etc) and 2) just because a limited temporal match over a period was ‘made’ certainly does not validate an earlier unmatched period of the second ‘correlated’ or any other temporarily ‘correlated’ dataset. 68. rgbatduke says: Better take a look at this presentation. It may change your mind about him. In my opinion he’s a hardcore skeptic on AGW and a big supporter of the scientific method. Wow, butt-kicking good presentation. And still only 2007! Five more years of basically no warming since then, an ever widening gap between the straight-up alarmist predictions and observed temperatures, at least two or three more “torpedos” added to the impressive collection he already provides in the talk. And if anything, he spent far too little time on the cost issue. The numbers being discussed for abatement are truly insane — tens of trillions of dollars try to save worst-case scenario damage that is actually less expensive than trying even if you succeed. And the trying would almost certainly be fruitless, as none of the abatement scenarios have any real plausible chance of reducing or even levelling CO_2 until it happens naturally (in an economically unforced way) because we find cheaper better ways of producing energy than burning a limited natural resource (as we will, over the next 20-30 years). But yes, Carter was rigorously scientific in his presentation (when he wasn’t using his gift for sarcasm in the commentary asides:-). No real surprises — I imagine most people here are already well aware of at least most of the curves he presented (I hadn’t seen Roy Spencer’s tropical rainfall variable heat window paper, although I’ve read his book and know what he was shooting at). But his conclusions were (almost) devoid of theory — really, only the CO_2 gain curve is theoretical and it is pretty straight up physics and I think everybody sane believes that it is probably baseline correct (and predicts a whole degree of warming for a doubling of CO_2 — if you can detect it mixed in with natural variability). The rest of it was sheer common sense. But that’s what real science, good science is, isn’t it? Sheer common sense. Use theory by all means — our goal is understanding — but at the end of each and every day data talks, bullshit walks. rgb 69. Bart says: temp says: May 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm “I can’t say I’ve ever heard of someone say “c02 has zero effect on warming/climate” and mean exactly as stated.” Not anyone in the slightly oxymoronic skeptic mainstream. All other conditions being equal, added CO2 should have a warming effect. But, other conditions are most decidedly not equal. There are a plethora of reactions, generally of the negative feedback variety, which oppose any significant warming from CO2. Indeed, it is now apparent that the regulatory systems of the Earth act rapidly to sequester our addition to CO2, so that the major driver of CO2 level in the atmosphere is temperature itself. This plot shows unequivocally that temperature drives the rate of change of CO2 to very high significance. The human input to CO2, the rate of which is an upward trend, simply cannot fit in anywhere to any significant level once you remove a linear regression against temperature anomaly from the rate of change of CO2. I’ve been skeptical of the human attribution for years, because it is simply not plausible that CO2 can remain within a tight neighborhood of an equilibrium point without strong negative feedback holding it there. I found my proof in this plot about a month ago. The debate is over. Not only does CO2 not significantly drive temperature (because of cloud and other negative feedbacks), but we are not even driving the level of CO2. All that remains now is to wait for the entire sorry edifice to come crumbling down. 70. temp says: Bart says: May 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm I completely agree with your arguments but in the end run everyone agrees that changes in CO2 will have an effect… no sane person can say exactly what that effect will be. Many insane ppl have been proven wrong in that small increases in CO2 will produce massive warming. 71. Gary Hladik says: temp says (May 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm): ‘Chute_me says: May 24, 2012 at 1:10 pm “There are without doubt a number of folks in the so-dubbed “denier” camp who reject even the most basic premises of co2-enhanced warming.” Really got any names? I know of none.’ Dr. Carter may be thinking of the so-called “slayers”, who “deny” basic radiative physics as seen here: http://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Sky-Dragon-Greenhouse-Theory/dp/0982773404/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1337901368&sr=1-1 Their arguments are on display in the comment thread to Dr. Roy Spencer’s “Yes Virginia” article here: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/07/yes-virginia-cooler-objects-can-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still/ and in a rebuttal to Dr. Spencer’s article here: http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/home/9549-no-virginia-cooler-objects-cannot-make-warmer-objects-even-warmer-still or at WUWT for example in the comment thread here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/03/monckton-responds-to-skeptical-science/ Their numbers are small, but they’re something of an embarrassment to “real” CAGW skeptics whose doubts are based on science, not fantasy. Nevertheless I agree with temp that Dr. Carter has been too even-handed in his criticism. One side of the debate has been “fueled by lobbyists and media interests” far more than the other, and most of the “unfortunate tribal emotionalism” is to be found in one camp, not the other. I also think he’s far too optimistic. Perhaps some policymakers “have quietly given up,” but alarmists and CAGW profiteers haven’t, and won’t. 72. Steve O says: As long ago as LAST year, even James Lovelock said in The Guardian that mitigation was being overly considered as a strategy, and that adaptation was not being given enough attention. To get an idea that he is in NO way ideologically conservative, he said that to fight global warming would require a “temporary” suspension of democracy, which he was okay with. 73. John M says: Scott Chris says: May 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm You’ll note one major difference between this [flawed] opinion piece and actual scientific literature is that Carter fails to provide embedded links to his spurious assertions Please show us the links Hansen used in his WSJ “opinion” piece. But if Carter had linked to a figure, it probably would have been this. Real scary, huh? 74. Very clever by Bob Carter. Casting sceptics as having the middle ground, between 2 sets of extremist views. I’d quibble with some of the details. In particular, slow climate change over geological timescales is irrelevant to the debate. We know from the paleo records around the Younger Dryas that the climate can change rapidly (one or a few decades) and then stay in a stable state for a very long time. We have no idea why this happened. 75. John M says: Lazy Know-it-all says: But there is a massive contradiction here. The whole climate skeptic thing is driven by the conservative fear of change. Well, I suppose you’re entitled to your own definitons, but there are more rational analyses… http://www.studentnewsdaily.com/conservative-vs-liberal-beliefs/ Are you going to jack up Venice on stilts or are you going to say SUV yes, Venice too bad? Surely, you can’t be that simple-minded. 76. Peter Lang says: Pure sanity from a geologist. This morning a contributor on “The Conversation“, a web site for Australia’s academics, posted this comment: Geologists aren’t afraid of extinction.They see it all the time. https://theconversation.edu.au/droughts-and-flooding-rains-what-is-due-to-climate-change-6524 To which I couldn’t resist a reply: The most rapid extinction underway right now is that of the AGW Catastrophists. As geologist Bob Carter makes clear: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/24/bob-carters-essay-in-fp-policymakers-have-quietly-given-up-trying-to-cut-%C2%ADcarbon-dioxide-emissions/ Over the last 18 months, policymakers in Canada, the U.S. and Japan have quietly abandoned the illusory goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, an alternative view has emerged regarding the most cost-effective way in which to deal with the undoubted hazards of climate change. As the recent Galaxy pole (conducted for the IPA) of the Australian electorate shows, people are not willing to put much money in the plate to support the CAGW religion/ideology. http://ipa.org.au/news/2668/voters-strain-at-paying-for-even-small-carbon-cuts- 37% not prepared to pay anyting only 30% prepared to pay more than$500 per year
only 5% prepared to pay more than $1000 per year People don’t realise they will be paying$665 per year from July 1 and double that when the Clean Energy Futrure Fund starts spending (i.e. wasting). Imagine how the public will react when they realise how much they have been conned into spending for what they already realise is of no benefit whatsoever.

In other words they’ve seen through the CAGW scaremongering. They don’t buy CAGW any more. They are over it. It’s dead. But not all those still hanging onto their belief (Earthings) have accepted the reality yet.

77. Jenn Oates says:

Vewy vewy quiet, so quiet that nobody is noticing.

Yet.

78. Robert of Ottawa says:

Tucker asks @ May 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm
How long until he is labelled a quack
Bob Carter is a prominent Australian geologist (?) and has been fighting for sanity for years. Unfortunately, the Australian government has all the big money in this game.

79. Ian H says:

Bart says: The debate is over. Not only does CO2 not significantly drive temperature (because of cloud and other negative feedbacks), but we are not even driving the level of CO2. All that remains now is to wait for the entire sorry edifice to come crumbling down.

Over the medium to long term when CO_2 has a chance to reach equilibrium I agree. But over the short term I think it is clear that we are currently having an effect on CO_2 levels. Current CO_2 levels are the highest they’ve been for a very long time indeed. It is hard to explain this as a purely natural phenomenon. For example temperature alone cannot explain it since current temperatures are not all that unusual.

80. William McClenney says:

Just one bone to pick Bob.

“Climate change takes place over geological time scales of thousands through millions of years…”

Exactly 20 years ago Abrupt Climate Change was discovered in the GISP2 ice core. Since that time, evidence has been found of ACC in many proxy’s in all sorts of media, including other ice cores. Whereas climate change does indeed occur over thousands and millions of years, it can also change in as little as one year.

“Briefly, the data indicate that cooling into the Younger Dryas occurred in a few prominent decade(s)-long steps, whereas warming at the end of it occurred primarily in one especially large step (Figure 1.2) of about 8°C in about 10 years and was accompanied by a doubling of snow accumulation in 3 years; most of the accumulation-rate change occurred in 1 year. (This matches well the change in wind-driven upwelling in the Cariaco Basin, offshore Venezuela, which occurred in 10 years or less [Hughen et al., 1996].)”

“Abrupt Climate Change – Inevitable Surprises”, Committee on Abrupt Climate Change, National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 2002, ISBN: 0-309-51284-0, 244 pages, Richard B. Alley, chair.

81. Bart says:

Ian H says:
May 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

“But over the short term I think it is clear that we are currently having an effect on CO_2 levels.”

The plot I have linked to says you are wrong. There is no room for a significant human influence to fit in here.

“It is hard to explain this as a purely natural phenomenon.”

I don’t have to explain it. The data are unequivocal. The net result is overwhelmingly natural.

“For example temperature alone cannot explain it since current temperatures are not all that unusual.”

Again, this plot shows the relationship.

82. Smokey says:

Ian H,

As we see here, CO2 levels have been up to twenty times higher in the geologic past than now. After declining for hundreds of millions of years, CO2 levels again shot up to more than 2,000 ppmv [about 250 million years ago], when the biosphere teemed with life as a result of more airborne fertilizer.

I agree with Bart that the rise in CO2 is largely the effect of warming, not the cause [although a fraction of a degree warming from the ≈40% rise in CO2 may be the result of radiative physics].

But the real question is: what does it matter? On balance, the rise in CO2 has been entirely beneficial. There is no downside to more CO2; it’s all good. The entire global warming scare is predicated on the mistaken belief that an increase in CO2 is bad. But there exists zero real world evidence supporting that belief.

Once you accept that the rise in CO2 is beneficial, the “carbon” problem disappears entirely.

83. Mike says:

Sorry. I thought it was “denier” that you objected to. But if you don’t like “denialist” either I will keep that in mind.

84. rgbatduke says:

This plot shows unequivocally that temperature drives the rate of change of CO2 to very high significance. The human input to CO2, the rate of which is an upward trend, simply cannot fit in anywhere to any significant level once you remove a linear regression against temperature anomaly from the rate of change of CO2.

I’m not sure I believe you (although I’m trying to understand your conclusion). You plot: $\frac{dCO_2}{dt}$ against time and GISS global mean temperature against time, on the same graph, with ranges adjusted to match. There is a strong correspondence between the temperature and the derivative of the CO_2 concentration, agreed.

However, the derivative of a function is not the function The derivative is positive throughout the entire range. This means that CO_2 has increased over time like the integral of (some scaling constant times) the temperature anomaly. I can think of several ways human activity can fit in — for one thing, since there is a scaling constant, it could be contributing on an increasing linear scale (linear given the shortness of the graphed period). Indeed, the bulk of the CO_2 could be added by humans, with just a small temperature driven fluctuation causing the observed correlation, or nearly all of the CO_2 could be coming from some process that integrates the temperature (so that even if the temperature levels off, CO_2 continues to increase at the same rate). Or anything in between. The problem is that a nearly linear upward trend is strongly covariant with a straight line with the same upward trend, and you cannot therefore convincingly rule out alternative fits (sources) to the linear trend on the basis of correlation of fluctuation alone.

I find the latter (CO_2 increasing indefinitely (positive derivative) as the temperature levels with no additional contribution from humans) implausible. Why would it do this? Where is the CO_2 coming from?

And perhaps more importantly — while I would LOVE to believe that humans haven’t measurably affected global atmospheric CO_2 levels, the arithmetic doesn’t particularly stronly support that contention. Estimates of CO_2 production (many of which predate the IPCC and controversy) are pretty unanimous in adding up a nontrivial and ongoing human contribution. The real issue isn’t whether or not we are kicking in enough CO_2 to alter the atmosphere (I think the evidence and numbers are strongly supportive of the conclusion that we are), it is what the entire global carbon cycle looks like. Willis recent top post on the Bern model for CO_2 illustrated (in discussion) that this is not a no-brainer issue — rather it is a moderately difficult problem in open systems chemistry. It’s difficult to even positively identify the half-life of human-contributed CO_2 in the atmosphere or whether or not the system has the buffering capacity to effectively equilibrate.

Some aspects of the correlation you observe might admit confounding chemical or physical explanation, as well. Mauna Loa already exhibits a fairly regular seasonal variation around the general upward trend in smoothed CO_2, and seasonal means temperature dependent. But the actual CO_2 curve doesn’t really look much like the GISS temp curve.

So sadly, I’m not convinced that your graph is quite the smoking gun that you believe it to be. But perhaps I just don’t understand it.

rgb

85. Bart says:

Smokey says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm

“although a fraction of a degree warming …may be the result of radiative physics”

No doubt, the increase in CO2 is causing some warming, which is apparently being counteracted by negative feedback to the point where it is negligible. Otherwise, we would have continued warming for the last decade while CO2 levels increased.

But, it’s a moot question, because we are clearly not responsible for the rise in CO2, and there is therefore nothing we can do about it in any case.

86. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

“… for one thing, since there is a scaling constant, it could be contributing on an increasing linear scale (linear given the shortness of the graphed period)”

Which would mean that human input (as a rate) would have to be roughly constant. It isn’t.

Plot it. It’s a ramp. no room for that.

87. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Bart says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Perhaps you would contend that you might be able to add a ramp in by scaling the temperature dependent input down. Then, you won’t match the fine detail as in the plot.

Occam’s razor – it’s almost all natural.

88. temp says:
May 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

> Must say I don’t like this guy. He runs a retarded propaganda line…

Well, say what you must, but try to avoid ad hominem attacks, e.g. “This moron is basically trying to caste [sic] himself….”

Joe D’Aleo, Bob Carter, and Anthony Watts were the three people who influenced me the most when I became active in this sorry field. Bob and I exchanged some Emails over my first climate writings, and I was pleased he remembered me when I met him at the first Chicago ICCC. If you deem Bob to be a moron, how do you consider me?

And use your real name when you tell me where I rank.

89. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

And, keep in mind what these plots are showing. This is the derivative of CO2 with respect to time. And, it is proportional to temperature anomaly (with respect to the appropriate baseline). That means, when you integrate it, the result lags the temperature, That means, in this causal universe, temperature is driving CO2, and not the other way around.

It is not possible, e.g., to have humans driving CO2, and that driving temperature anomaly , because the temperature anomaly is not proportional to CO2, but to its rate of change.

The human attribution argument claims that the entire rise is attributable to half of the anthropogenic inputs. That leaves no room for this obvious correlation. To believe it, you have to believe this incredibly good agreement between the time series is just a coincidence.

That is simply untenable.

90. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

“But the actual CO_2 curve doesn’t really look much like the GISS temp curve.”

It looks very much like the integrated GISS temp curve.

91. Marian says:

“LazyTeenager says:
May 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

So given a choice between a doing a little yourselves to avoid change, you are insisting do nothing and then have change rammed down your throats by mother nature. That might not be pleasant.

There is also avoidance of considering what adaption will mean and how effective it will be. Are you going to jack up Venice on stilts or are you going to say SUV yes, Venice too bad?”

The Reality of the the situation is:

The vast majority of Climate/weather related issues ‘blamed’ on CO2. Aren’t caused by CO2.

That includes Venice. Venice is sinking. And yes it does need ‘repiling’. The old piles are going further into the mud or disintegrating!

92. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

“Indeed, the bulk of the CO_2 could be added by humans, with just a small temperature driven fluctuation causing the observed correlation, or nearly all of the CO_2 could be coming from some process that integrates the temperature (so that even if the temperature levels off, CO_2 continues to increase at the same rate). Or anything in between.”

The temperature anomaly matches the CO2 derivative in every detail, long term, short term, and in-between. To say “I believe the match in the short term variation is OK, but not the long term match, both of which are excellent” is nonsensical.

93. rgbatduke says:

Perhaps you would contend that you might be able to add a ramp in by scaling the temperature dependent input down. Then, you won’t match the fine detail as in the plot.

OK, suppose we try “Nitrate supply affects plant growth”. Nitrates come in two forms — lightning fixed “natural” nitrogen that is delivered to plants proportional to the frequency of thunderstorms, and by Farmer Joe. The growth rate of the plants varies (we will imagine) with total nitrate supply.

Farmer Joe delivers half of what the plants get in any given year (on average). It is delivered at a very steady rate (he uses time-release nitrogen that maintains a constant rate of delivery). Thunderstorms, on the other hand, are both seasonal and local in time — you might have one and then not have another for several weeks, or you might have one a day for a week. On average they deliver half of the total nitrogen used to make the plant grow, but of course they modulate the hell out of the growth rate because it is feast or famine. The resulting growth curve, detrended and rescaled (steps that make it absolutely impossible to assign fractional contributions to total nitrogen after the fact, BTW) will wiggle quite nicely with the thunderstorm rate and it will be really easy to forget the contribution of the tireless Farmer Joe.

The problem is that curve fitting, especially multivariate nonlinear curve fitting when you look only at rescaled anomalies, can be a deceptive process. It’s not Ockham’s Razor, it is that your assertion remains unproven because the evidence presented does not suffice to rule out human CO_2. Remember, by detrending you don’t know the constant that determines the fractional contribution.

So I remain unconvinced.

You also fail to address my observation that the real problem is way harder than that. CO_2 is contributed to and absorbed from the atmosphere by multiple channels. Some comes literally out of the ground from e.g. soil chemistry, breakdown of methane, and so on. Some comes from human or natural burning. The biosphere both absorbs and/or contributes. Some comes out of “general vulcanism” — outgassing of CO_2 either from the crust directly or from active volcanoes. But of course the elephant in the room CO_2-wise is the ocean — the ocean is an enormous CO_2 source and sink, holding order of 100x as much CO_2 as the atmosphere, and with a large number of dynamical mechanisms with different timescales that buffer the CO_2 content of the atmosphere, adding some or taking some away via first surface chemistry, then transporting it and doing any of a number of things with it in the middle and deep ocean. And best of all, a lot of the control parameters (e.g. time constants) describing all of this dynamic balance and feedback are either unknown or poorly known, measured or estimated from inadequate data and studies or filled with assumptions.

In this mix, the known, tallied, counted, measurable, utterly predictable and understandable human contribution stands out as one of the largest. You burn a certain amount of fossil fuels in a year, you get a certain amount of CO_2, it’s that simple, and that amount is not small, not in aggregate.

The question is then, how long does the human contributed CO_2 hang out? Which of the systems above absorb how much at what rate? How long do those systems hold onto it (it doesn’t do much good to absorb during the winter only to get it back when the water warms in the spring, but that’s exactly the kind of thing responsible for so<me of the observed thermal/seasonal correlation in the Mauna Loa data, the annual "ripple" on the smoothed curve)?

Note that answering any of these questions isn't as simple as saying "it's Nature, humans have nothing to do with it" because the rescaled fluctuations in the derivative of one curve happen to line up with the rescaled fluctuations in another. Nor is "Nature" a simpler explanation (and hence arguable for using Mr. Ockham, who actually can be and often is wrong, incidentally) if you can add up a human contribution that is definitely there and should be quite comparable to Nature. Why doesn’t the human contribution contribute? What happens to it? CO_2 doesn’t come with a label — once produced Nature doesn’t care who or what produced it.

Give me coherent answers to some of these questions and I might believe you. As I said, I’d love to think you are right — but that simply acknowledges a personal bias and has nothing to do with whether or not you probably ARE right. And every time I’ve looked into it in detail, I’ve ended up being convinced that you are not, that in fact one probably cannot explain the CO_2 concentration increase only from e.g. a warming ocean. But it even the negative conclusion is premature, because we really don’t know whether or how much or how fast or how permanently the ocean pulls CO_2 out of the atmosphere (driven by which parameters). A whole lot of unfinished work here…

rgb

94. Dave Worley says:

We are not capable of predicting events beyond 10 or 20 years.

How do we propose to prepare our infrastructure for climate change when we do not know the direction of the change? If we build levees and raise buildings and the sea level drops, we will have wasted resources.

IMHO we have no right to bind our children to our fears.

Our highest priority should be clearing the public debt we are burdening them with. Otherwise our legacy will be as the generation who mortgaged our children.

95. temp says:

Ric Werme says:
May 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I don’t know who you are and frankly unless you got something USEFUL to say i could care.

Letting them off the hook for whats been done is clearly moronic… at the least. This giving them life boats crap has to stop.

96. NickB. says:

Someone please convince me otherwise, because I do not believe this has been adequately studied in the micro or macro, but I propose that the majority of the surface warming is due to land use changes. Funny enough, one of the most potent UHI changes – the removal of natural groundcover and forest with impermeable paving made of concrete and/or asphalt is a corollary to CO2.

Might also explain why CO2 and temperature have a step change relationship.

97. John West says:

@temp
The key word in that quote would be “depicted”. We’re all “depicted” as deniers in certain circles, including himself.

@John Whitman
What profession would you suggest serve as scientific advisors to policy makers if not scientists?

98. temp says:

John West says:
May 24, 2012 at 8:46 pm

“The key word in that quote would be “depicted”. ”

That still goes to the problem of his statement… the idea that somehow their are “extremists” on both sides or that the “depiction” is somehow 2 way.

Doomsday cultist state they are doomsday cultists and everyone else that doesn’t buy into the religion is a “denier”. No one is “depicting” them into the cultist camp they proudly claim it. Also what lobbyists is he talking about on the “denier” side? He really saying that someone like heartland with the chump change they are “lobbying” with is somehow even remotely the same next to the billions upon billions from solar, green and other groups…

They created this complete “with us or we ruin your life” setup. No matter how your cut the verbiage it was a horrible statement.

99. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I don’t know what to tell you, Doc. When you see a correlation as strong as this… to maintain that such complete congruence in almost every detail still leaves substantial, even dominating, room for something else which bears little resemblance to it… I think maybe you need to take some time and consider all the possibilities. I do not think you can fail eventually to come to the conclusion that any other explanation is grasping at straws.

Sure, lots of small scale stuff occurs. Lots of complexity. Physics is nasty on a small level, but Ehrenfest’s theorems showed how simple Newtonian dynamics evolves from all that low level complexity. Here, we see that it all adds up to temperature controlling CO2 level.

100. Werner Brozek says:

Bart says:
May 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Doesn’t matter anyway. Global CO2 levels are overwhelmingly controlled by temperature and have nothing to do with humans.

But over the last 11 years, the correlation has not been that good. See

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:2001.25/plot/esrl-co2/from:2001.25/normalise/plot/gistemp/from:2001.25/trend

I agree with
Ian H says:
May 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

But over the short term I think it is clear that we are currently having an effect on CO_2 levels. Current CO_2 levels are the highest they’ve been for a very long time indeed. It is hard to explain this as a purely natural phenomenon. For example temperature alone cannot explain it since current temperatures are not all that unusual.

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm
Why doesn’t the human contribution contribute? What happens to it?

Excellent points! If I were ever given a chance to debate a warmist, I would never insist we humans have nothing to do with the increase in CO2. If I did, I think the audience would just roll their eyes and doubt anything else I would have to say.

101. NickB. says:

Re: Bart

It’s been a while since I’ve been out here, but do you remember an Econometrics brain named VS (IIRC)? If so any idea whatever happened to him?

102. William McClenney says:

rgbatduke says:
May 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Au contraire! I’ll see your AR4 +0.59 meter worst case sea level rise scenario and raise you tenfold (+6.0 meters) in the Bahamas, the low estimate of sea level from the last of two thermal pulses right at the end of the last interglacial. My bet, but I do not call.

You see my bet, and “Gore” me +20 meters. Ha!

From her abstract “Late Pleistocene stratigraphy and sedimentary environment of the Arkhangelsk area, northwest Russia, 2001” (Elsevier Publishing) Astrid Lysa et al (http://lin.irk.ru/pdf/6696.pdf) state: “The Arkhangelsk area lies in the region that was reached by the northeastern flank of the Scandinavian ice sheet during the last glaciation. Investigations of Late Pleistocene sediments show interglacial terrestrial and marine conditions with sea level up to 52 m above the present level.”

I go all in……………….

103. Bart says:

Werner Brozek says:
May 24, 2012 at 9:58 pm

“But over the last 11 years, the correlation has not been that good.”

Would it be too much to ask you to pay attention to the variables which have been plotted for comparison???

And, maybe read what I have written?

104. Bart says:

NickB. says:
May 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

This is a 54 year record in which the relationship, for Werner’s benefit that the rate of change of CO2 is, to an EXTREMELY high degree of significance, proportional to the temperature anomaly, has held. That is NOT chaotic, Laddie. That is compelling evidence of cause and effect.

105. richardscourtney says:

Bart and rgbatduke:

I remind you that in the excellent discussion at
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/06/the-bern-model-puzzle/
you both agreed with my statement (that I had explained in the thread) at May 8, 2012 at 1:29 am which said;

The evidence suggests that the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 is most probably natural, but it is possible that the cause may have been the anthropogenic emission. Importantly, the data shows the rise is not accumulation of the anthropogenic emission in the air (as is assumed by e.g. the Bern Model).

I know of no new data that would be reason for any of us to have changed our view since then. Indeed, additional information has been obtained which tends to confirm that view; e.g. see
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/21/measurements-of-carbon-in-the-arctic-ocean-carbon-is-the-currency-of-life/

However in this thread the two of you seem to have solidified your views in opposite directions.

Robert, at May 8, 2012 at 7:41 am in the previous discussion you quoted my statement (which I have quoted in this post) and said;

I would agree, especially (as noted above) with the criticism of the Bern Model per se.

Now, in this thread, you write at May 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

And perhaps more importantly — while I would LOVE to believe that humans haven’t measurably affected global atmospheric CO_2 levels, the arithmetic doesn’t particularly stronly support that contention. Estimates of CO_2 production (many of which predate the IPCC and controversy) are pretty unanimous in adding up a nontrivial and ongoing human contribution. The real issue isn’t whether or not we are kicking in enough CO_2 to alter the atmosphere (I think the evidence and numbers are strongly supportive of the conclusion that we are), it is what the entire global carbon cycle looks like. Willis recent top post on the Bern model for CO_2 illustrated (in discussion) that this is not a no-brainer issue — rather it is a moderately difficult problem in open systems chemistry. It’s difficult to even positively identify the half-life of human-contributed CO_2 in the atmosphere or whether or not the system has the buffering capacity to effectively equilibrate.

That is a long way from my statement which you agreed in the previous thread (although I note your caveats concerning “… what the entire global carbon cycle looks like …”.

Bart, in this thread at May 24, 2012 at 3:40 pm you say;

Global CO2 levels are overwhelminghly controlled by temperature and have nothing to do with humans.

That differs from your agreement with my statement in the previous thread which I have quoted here.

I agree with your comment in this thread at May 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm that says;

The human attribution argument claims that the entire rise is attributable to half of the anthropogenic inputs. That leaves no room for this obvious correlation. To believe it, you have to believe this incredibly good agreement between the time series is just a coincidence.

That is simply untenable.

So, my question to each of you is
What has induced you to change your view?

Richard

106. Ian H says:

Bart – you have latched onto this one graph and are ignoring everything else. As rgbatduke has pointed out a correlation between temperature and the scaled derivative of CO_2 means very little and ignores absolute CO_2 levels. You have left room for a linear increase in CO_2. Actually this is pretty close to what we see when you look at the recent history of absolute CO_2 levels. You graph does NOTHING to explain this. This linear increase is the SINGULAR MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE of recent CO_2 history and you simply wipe it away by taking a derivative and scaling and now want to pretend that it doesn’t exist. When we complain you argue instead that human CO_2 output has been increasing at faster than linear so the linear output can’t be due to human influence. I don’t see how this absolves you from having to explain it, but in any case the argument is wrong. The rate at which CO_2 is absorbed certainly depends on overall CO_2 concentration. It is entirely possible therefore for us to be pumping CO_2 into the system at an increasing rate and have the response of the CO_2 concentration to that input be close to linear.

In the meantime you have ignored my question as to why current CO_2 levels are the highest they’ve been for hundreds of millions of years. What is it about NOW that is so unusual that it could cause such a high CO_2 level – apart from us being here that is. Temperatures are NOT unusually high at present.

rgbatduke asked you to explain where all the CO_2 we have released into the troposphere by mining hydrocarbons has actually gone. We burn it. There is a lot of it. It goes into the atmosphere. What happens to it? You can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. As in – “Ignore those billions of tons of coal over there – look at my graph!”.

Well we looked at your graph. We answered your questions. You ignored ours. You seem to me to be obsessed with this simple model you’ve constructed and are ignoring reality. Isn’t that precisely what we don’t like warmists doing?

How about you look at the two questions you’ve been asked and see if you can answer them

1. Why are current CO_2 levels unusually high?
2. Where did the hydrocarbons we dug up and burned go?

If you can’t do that I can’t be bothered arguing with you.

107. kirse says:

nyc post.

108. Jonathan Smith says:

For me, cAGW was a busted flush as soon as I heard that charlatan Gore start talking about the ‘consensus’. That term is anathema to any genuine scientist because what it effectively says is pack your bags there is no more work to be done here. Physicists learned the folly of that approach the hard way in the period that immediately preceded the emergence of quantum mechanics.
Science has been hi-jacked in the MSM by arts educated, post-modern, environmental activists with an agenda. They happily use scientific terminology, in order to ride on the back of the qudos generated by the progress made in applying the scientific process since the 16th century, but steer well clear of applying the necessary rigour.
Their edifice is crumbling and they don’t like it; hence the increasingly shrill responses to even the gentlest criticism.

109. Prof Bob Carter gets to the point again. Always worth a read.

110. Gail Combs says:

tango says:
May 24, 2012 at 1:22 pm

and in australia we are having a $23 cabon tax starting 1st july by our left wing,water mellon head, GOVT ________________________________ My thoughts exactly. Here in the USA we had an EPA “ruling” that will wipe out 42% of our electric generating capacity and the cost of replacement is 8 to ten times the current amount we now pay. This means a four fold price in electric at minimum. Here in North Carolina North Carolina households with annual incomes below$50,000, representing 56% of North
Carolina’s population, spend an estimated average of 23% of their after-tax income on energy. Energy costs for the poorest households earning less than $10,000 represent 77% of their family incomes…. The relatively low cost of electric power is due in part to North Carolina’s historic reliance on domestic coal for most of its electric generation…. http://www.americaspower.org/sites/default/files/NC_Energy_Cost_Analysis_2012.pdf The paper goes on to say the residential energy cost for households with annual incomes below$50,000,ranges from $1531 to$2045 annually. (Fuel costs for private vehicles are about the same)This means we can see a rise in electric cost to at least $4000 a year. Even if vehicle fuel cost do not rise above the$2K to $6K and the usage stays the same, the total energy cost will rise to between$7,500/year to $10,000/year for those with incomes below$50,000. This represents a rough doubling bringing the expense for energy to about 50% of the after tax income. And that is just a conservative ball park figure.

The politicians method for dealing with this will be a tax payer subsidy so the turkeys who cause the problem in the first place will be voted in again because they promise to pay the “poor” for the added cost in energy from the already depleted tax payer funds.

They really do want to bankrupt our countries don’t they? Here is how bankrupted countries are treated: http://www.whirledbank.org/development/sap.html

111. Canada won’t attain greenhouse gas goals: government

“The government’s approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to meet Canada’s target for 2020,” said Scott Vaughan, commissioner for Environment and Sustainable Development, in his report presented in the House of Commons.

Officials said the 2020 target had been to reduce Canada’s emissions by 17 percent of 2005 levels, a goal that now appears unattainable.

The report follows an audit of national energy emissions which concluded that existing federal regulations are expected to reduce emissions by 11 to 13 million tonnes in 2020, but said an additional reduction of 178 million tonnes is needed to meet the target. . . .
Canada withdrew from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which was extended last year,

112. rogerknights says:

richardscourtney says:
May 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm
As always, Bob Carter is right.

A few years ago when the Copenhagen IPCC jamboree failed to reach agreement, I said – on WUWT and elsewhere – that the AGW-scare was over. I then predicted that the dead AGW-scare would not be declared over and its corpse would continue to appear alive like a beheaded chicken running around the farmyard. But the AGW-scare is dead and its movement will slowly cease, so in 20 years time few will remember it unless reminded of it.

We’ll be reminded of it in three years and over the next decade when National Science Academies are forced to back-pedal on their position statements on AGW. That’ll be fun. In the decade after that, they’ll have to try to justify their initial boner. That’ll be fun too.

113. Keith Battye says:

Bart , the clarity of your argument is both blinding and illuminating. Good job.

114. NickB. says:

Bart,

“This is a 54 year record in which the relationship, for Werner’s benefit that the rate of change of CO2 is, to an EXTREMELY high degree of significance, proportional to the temperature anomaly, has held. That is NOT chaotic, Laddie. That is compelling evidence of cause and effect.”

I’m not sure where I implied anything was chaotic, and I’m thinking that I might have you mixed up with a different Bart (ref: the question about VS).

Anyway… in a multivariate system, correlation (even perfect correlation!) does not necessarily imply causation. In proposing a causal relationship one must both establish that there is a correlation (which your graph seems to show, but I’m not sure can be said to be proven from a statistical standpoint), and propose a causal mechanism. One cannot simply do a regression analysis on two variables out of a multivariate system, identify a correlation, and simply state that one causes the other… even if movement of one variable precedes the other.

The problem you have is that while you do seem to have a very good correlation, there is no mechanism proposed (testable or not) to explain it, and therefore you cannot rule out that the relationship is spurious.

115. richardscourtney says:

Ian H:

At May 25, 2012 at 1:25 am you ask Bart:

1. Why are current CO_2 levels unusually high?
2. Where did the hydrocarbons we dug up and burned go?

Current CO2 levels are not “unusually high”. They are unusually low and were much, much higher until recently in geological history.

The carbon of the “hydrocarbons we dug up and burned” has gone into the carbon cycle, their hydrogen has gone into the water cycle, their sulphur has gone into the sulphur cycle, their nitrogen has gone into the nitrogen cycle, etc.

Nobody knows the cause(s) of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. And nobody can know it at present because the compartments and connections in the carbon cycle vary in unknown ways and with unknown magnitude.

There is no reason to suppose the carbon of the “hydrocarbons we dug up and burned” contributes to the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration in whole or in part. The “hydrocarbons we dug up and burned” may be the complete cause of that rise, but are probably trivial because the recovery from the LIA is a much, much more likely cause.
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/06/the-bern-model-puzzle/

Richard

116. shawn jaeger says:

Lazy: re: your statement, “But there is a massive contradiction here. The whole climate skeptic thing is driven by the conservative fear of change.”

A bit more thought should go into a comment before making it. Comparison: “Fear is a word liberals use, the whole climate “warmist” thing is driven by the unfounded liberal fear that the world is always a step away from ending catastrophically and their belief that the only possible cause is man.”

If we continue with your use of the word “fear,” then to be accurate, it is not a one-sided statement, both liberals and conservatives “fear” change. “Dislike” would probably a better word than fear; as in “conservatives and liberals dislike change with which they disagree.” But then it wouldn’t have the same throwaway one-liner effect, nor would the comment be necessary, would it?

Let’s provide a scenario: Liberty-driven conservatives are swept to power generally throughout the world and are implementing conservative-leaning “change” (are you “fearing” change yet?) Effect: The world view statement of “change is good” means something different than it does today. My guess is that in this situation you would be arguing against those “science positions,” policies, and laws. I could be lazy and just retort, “This whole liberal [insert desired liberal skepticism here] skeptic thing is driven by the “liberal fear of change.” If I responded that way, I would be showing my intellectual immaturity, laziness, or both.

117. richardscourtney says:

Ian H:

I apologise for my typing errors in my reply to you. Upon finding them, I think an addition to that post may help you to understand what I tried to say in so poor a manner.

The ‘compartments’ of the carbon cycle (air, oceans, biosphere, etc.) and the connections between them in the carbon cycle are observed to vary. But they individually vary in magnitude with time in unknown ways and by unknown amounts.

The “hydrocarbons we burn” add little to the natural fluxes in the carbon cycle: nature emits 34 molecules of CO2 to the air for every CO2 molecule emitted by the total of all human activities. So, a small adjustment to sizes of the compartments would compensate for the small anthropogenic emission.

The dynamics of the natural processes that sequeter CO2 from the air prove that those processes can easily sequester ALL the annual CO2 emission (both natural and anthropogenic) of each year. But they don’t: ~2% of the emissions is not sequestered each year. The question that nobody can answer is why not all the emissions are sequestered.

Richard

118. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 25, 2012 at 12:56 am

I do not recall actually agreeing with your statement – it may have been in a moment of exhaustion. There simply isn’t any significant anthropogenic contribution possible to be wedged in when you have subtracted out the temperature related variation.

Ian H says:
May 25, 2012 at 1:25 am

“As rgbatduke has pointed out a correlation between temperature and the scaled derivative of CO_2 means very little…”

It means very much. The correlation is almost perfect, or as perfect as you generally can get in this universe. It is in complete contradistinction with the rate of emissions, which does not correlate well with the rate of change of measured CO2 at all.

“You have left room for a linear increase in CO_2. Actually this is pretty close to what we see when you look at the recent history of absolute CO_2 levels. “

But, it is not what you get from the accumulated emissions.

“You graph does NOTHING to explain this.”

Of course it does. The graph is the numerical derivative of the process. Integrate it from the initial point, and you will reconstitute the original function. What in the world are you going on about?

“In the meantime you have ignored my question as to why current CO_2 levels are the highest they’ve been for hundreds of millions of years.”

We do not actually know that. All we have that says that is proxy measurements from ice cores. We have no way of validating those proxies – they are entirely conjectural. And, based on the evidence, they are severely wanting.

“Temperatures are NOT unusually high at present.”

I have showed how to derive the CO2 from the temperature directly. Scale it, offset it, and integrate it from the initial condition, and you’ve got the CO2 level. CO2 isn’t proportional to temperature itself, but to the integral of the temperature with respect to a baseline, at least in the short term for which we have observations.

“1. Why are current CO_2 levels unusually high?”

Op cit. We do not actually know historical CO2 levels with anything approaching high confidence.

“2. Where did the hydrocarbons we dug up and burned go?”

Into natural sinks, which are clearly more active than conventionally assumed.

Keith Battye says:
May 25, 2012 at 7:17 am

Thanks, Keith. Good to know someone is catching on, without blocking themselves from recognizing the obvious.

NickB. says:
May 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

I assumed you were speaking of some econometric model which had attempted and failed to predict the future based on past correlation. Again, I stand by my arguments – there are many known deterministic links between temperature and CO2, many reasons to accept that it has a major effect on CO2 levels. It is no stretch at all. And, this degree of correlation over this long a time is, IMO, very compelling.

richardscourtney says:
May 25, 2012 at 8:04 am

Thanks.

119. Bart says:

Should have said “at least in the short term for which we have reliable observations.”

120. richardscourtney says:

Bart:

At May 25, 2012 at 9:08 am you say to me:

I do not recall actually agreeing with your statement – it may have been in a moment of exhaustion. There simply isn’t any significant anthropogenic contribution possible to be wedged in when you have subtracted out the temperature related variation.

OK. That is fine, and I accept it. I could cite your agreement but that would be pointless and argumentative because you say you did not intend it.

The important point for all to note is that you do not agree my statement because
• your interpretation of the data convinces you that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is a result of global temperature change and not the anthropogenic emission
but
• my interpretation of the data convinces me that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is most probably a result of global temperature change but it is possible that the rise may have been caused by the anthropogenic emission.

Acquisition of more data in future may show which – if either – of us is correct.

I am pleased that you were not offended by my providing answers to questions that IanH addressed to you.

Richard

121. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

Fair enough, Richard. But, surely you should modify that to say: “…but it is possible that the rise may have a significant contribution from the anthropogenic emission.” You cannot possibly look at the graph to which I have been linking and believe that temperature does not play a major role (I would say, the major role).

122. Eric Simpson says:
May 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

An Iceberg in the Room…

That’s not the only one. Even the liberal media can’t keep reports out of the news about discoveries of new and huge reserves of oil and natural gas. They also can’t hide the ever increasing cost of energy. When it starts hitting them in the wallet – hard – even the most die-hard leftist begins to question their beliefs and voting priorities. Especially when you know the only thing getting in the way of cheap and abundant gas is the government.

123. NickB. says:

Bart,
I didn’t know we were arguing, and my apologies if I came across as rude. Also, in case I wasn’t clear, by spurious relationship I did not mean to imply that the correlation was invalid… the technical definition of that term is that two variables correlate but have no direct causal relationship (as in both could be driven by some other unaccounted for variable).

Regarding econometrics, I’ve never put confidence in it for predictive value (i.e. economic systems are too complex to predict, and I personally feel GCMs fall into that same category :) but I’ll just put it this way… what passes for statistics in Climate Science isn’t, shall we say, always top shelf… and I’ve never seen better statistical methods for analyzing historical data in multivariate systems than those in econometrics.

BTW – I found the VS thread – http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/global-average-temperature-increase-giss-hadcru-and-ncdc-compared/ – different Bart confirmed (apparently the one I was thinking of is definitely not a skeptic).

Temperature changes preceding CO2 changes is definitely not a stretch. Don’t forget, that “inconvenient” Vostok record ; ) But I don’t recall what methods have been proposed – if any – by which temperature would drive CO2.

124. temp says:

May 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Even when talking that really really tiny group… I’m not even sure you can call them extremists for it. They present an argument which while the very very tiny minority view maybe correct. Our general understanding of the physics that take place in many of those regions of atmosphere is limited. Which is of course why overall their is no way to prove much of anything until near after the fact.

125. Smokey says:

NickB says:

“…I don’t recall what methods have been proposed – if any – by which temperature would drive CO2.”

It’s the same method that outgases CO2 from a warming Coke.

126. In reference to the MSU time series, Dr. Carter astutely points out that”…being but 32 years in length it represents just one climate data point.” More precisely, the count of observed climatological events of the canonical 30 years’ duraton is either zero or one.. In either case, this count is far too low for the generality to be reached from this time series that the Earth has warmed.

127. woodNfish says:

“…a key issue on which all scientists agree is that natural climate-related events and change are real, and exact very real human and environmental costs. These hazards include storms, floods, blizzards, droughts and bushfires, as well as both local and global temperature steps and longer term cooling or warming trends.”

This has everything to do with weather prediction and very little to do with “climate change”.

“Dealing with climate reality as it unfolds…”

Yeah again – weather. This guy is just trying to wrap weather prediction in the garb of “climate change”. The fact that he is unwilling to acknowledge that he is simply talking about weather prediction makes me very wary of trusting anything he says.

128. richardscourtney says:

Bart:

Thanks for your post to me 25, 2012 at 10:47 am that says;

Fair enough, Richard. But, surely you should modify that to say: “…but it is possible that the rise may have a significant contribution from the anthropogenic emission.” You cannot possibly look at the graph to which I have been linking and believe that temperature does not play a major role (I would say, the major role).

Obviously, I have not been clear, and I apologise for that. I will now try to do better.

Firstly, in my opinion, the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has been caused by the rise in global temperature from the Little Ice Age (LIA). But that is merely my opinion. The overwhelming balance of available evidence supports that opinion.

However, the available evidence allows the possibility of other causes. As you know from the previous thread, one of our 2005 papers demonstrates that almost any cause can be fitted to the data. And one of those possible causes is the anthropogenic emission.

Secondly, the data shows beyond any doubt that the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration cannot be accumulation of the anthropogenic emission (as is often asserted by e.g. the IPCC).

Thirdly, a relationship between global temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration is suggested by the correlation you cite (and is also observed by others with I think Calder being the first). And, importantly, the coherence between these two parameters is that the CO2 follows the temperature at all time scales.

The correlation implies there is a significant causal relationship between these two parameters.

And the coherence indicates that if there is a significant causal relationship between these two parameters then the temperature drives the CO2.

However, those facts only suggest that the rise in global temperature since 1958 caused the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration observed at Mauna since 1958. The correlation may be indicating a short-term effect which is not significantly involved in the rise since 1958. The response of atmospheric CO2 concentration to ENSO events implies that such short-term effects have duration of ~3 years.

If the correlation is indicating a short-term effect, then it is not relevant to the overall rise since 1958. Personally, (as I said above) I think you are right. But for me, the data rules, and the data does not say if you are right or wrong.

I hope this clarifies the difference between our views.

Richard

129. Harold Pierce Jr says:

How much of the increase CO2 in the atmosphere is due to fertilization that promotes the growth and metabolism of the many species of soil oganisms such as bacteria, fungi, nemotodes, worms, insect larvae, etc? Probably a lot.

130. rgbatduke says:

I know of no new data that would be reason for any of us to have changed our view since then.

Not at all. I’m making precisely the same argument that you are. The point then, and now, is that CO_2 levels are highly multivariate, that without doubt we are producing a significant amount of CO_2, but because that CO_2 is only a part of a massive dynamical carbon cycle it is difficult to say with any degree of certainty that the rising CO_2 is connected strictly to the increase. It might well be the result of a shifting equilibrium in e.g. the oceans in post-LIA warming. Or, it might not. It might be many things.

All that I said to Bart is that I didn’t find the correlation between highly rescaled temperature fluctuations and even more highly rescaled time derivatives of CO_2 concentration to be smoking gun evidence that increasing temperature IS the cause of the increased CO_2 concentration. I explained why. I used simple pictures. I didn’t say that I completely rejected his assertion — note well. I said that I wasn’t convinced. That’s the same as saying “maybe”, which is pretty much the conclusion of the previous discussion, as you point out. It certainly wasn’t by itself sufficient evidence that that previous conclusion was mistaken.

rgb

131. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

“However, those facts only suggest that the rise in global temperature since 1958 caused the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration observed at Mauna since 1958. The correlation may be indicating a short-term effect which is not significantly involved in the rise since 1958.”

Richard, the correlation holds up continuously since 1958. That’s 54 years.

I must admit I am not following your logic. I’m wondering if what you are suggesting is that a short term event might have independently launched both the temperature and the CO2 on their current (since 1958) trajectories, without the one actually causing the other. That seems rather a stretch to me, when you consider that temperature would be expected to have an effect on CO2. Indeed, I do not think anyone denies the short term effect. The plot shows that there is also a long term effect.

Here is the integrated result to consider. There’s room for maybe 4-6 ppm from anthropogenic inputs. And, that is roughly what you would expect if the sinks are fairly active, given the estimates that we are currently pumping something like 3% of the natural flux into the system. If we had been pumping that much in for the last century, we should expect a 3% rise in concentration. That would be 9ppm. But, since we’ve been ramping up to that level, the rise should be about 1/2 that, or 4.5 ppm.

132. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm

“It certainly wasn’t by itself sufficient evidence that that previous conclusion was mistaken.”

I have done battle with people claiming that showing a superficial agreement between the scaled and offset accumulation of emissions and the measurements was insufficient to prove that humans were responsible for the rise, so I think I do see, a bit, where you are coming from.

But, the main thing I would point out to them is that the two series, no matter how superficially they appeared similar, did not match in the fine detail. In particular, I pointed out that the derivatives did not look anything like each other.

That is what is different here. There is a match in both the coarse and the fine detail. It’s as good as a fingerprint. Temperature is guilty as charged beyond a reasonable doubt. The humans are innocent.

133. cgh says:

When there’s a major error of fact in the very first sentence, that doesn’t provide great trust for the rest of it. Canada did not “quietly abandon” greenhouse gas targets. It did so very noisily and publicly.

First, it stated outright that it had no intention of meeting its Kyoto Protocol commitment of a reduction of 6 per cent by 2008-12. That was the bombshell at Copenhagen. Then at Durban two years later it publicly stated that it had no intention of signing on to any form of a Kyoto Protocol extension agreement.

If this constitutes “quiet” then I’d not like to see Bob’s definition of “loud”.

134. Ian H says:

Bart: Let me see if I can explain my issue with your graph. I’m going to use some equations for simplified graphs to illustrate the point.

Suppose CO2 evolves by the equation
CO2 = a t + b sin(t)
so it is going up in a basically linear fashion (slope a) , but also wriggling around a bit as it goes.

And suppose temperature evolves according to the equation
T = K + m cos(t)
so it is oscillating up and down but staying fairly steady

OK – lets do your analysis. You differentiate CO2 and you get
d CO2/dt = b cos(t ) + a
then you adjust units (multiply by m/b) and scale it (shift up or down by a constant) and “Eureka” it matches the temperature graph perfectly!

“Ahah” – says Bart. Temperature completely explains everything about CO2.

“Not so” say rgbatduke and Ian H. “It only explains the oscillatory bit – the b sin(t) part. The linear component (the a.t term ) has been completely ignored by the process of differentiating and rescaling. Temperature does not explain this term. It is this fairly steady growth that people are concerned about. You haven’t explained it. You’ve completely ignored it.

rgbatduke and myself tend to think this growth term is the result of human activity. While offering no explanation of your own, you object that human output of CO2 has been increasing faster than linear. I’ve explained to you that since the CO2 absorption rate depends on CO2 level this is quite possible. Your objection therefore has no force. And you STILL have not offered an explanation of your own for the linear growth term.

135. Bart says:

Ian H says:
May 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Ian, it is more like this:

T = K1 + K2*t + m1*cos(w1*t+phi1) + m2*cos(w2*t+phi2) + …
CO2 = a + alpha*((K1-T0)*t + 0.5*K2*t^2 + (m1/w1)*sin(w1*t+phi1) + (m2/w2)*sin(w2*t+phi2) + …)

dCO2/dt = alpha*(T – T0)

for a constant alpha and offset T0. The temperature series is quite complicated, and the CO2 derivative matches virtually all of it one-to-one with just a scale factor and offset. And, the offset is hardly eyebrow raising when the temperature series is itself an anomalistic term with respect to an arbitrary baseline.

So, basically, you’re bugging me because of “a” and “T0”. But, at most, these account for a linear term in the CO2, while the integrated emissions are most decidedly an upward series with pronounced curvature (i.e., at least quadratic and arguably higher powers). As I have been saying, there is no place to fit them in to any significant degree, once you have incorporated the temperature dependency into the CO2 rate to match the slope and other fine detail.

136. Bart says:

Ian – This may help. I collected emissions data from, I think, the CDIAC site back in ’06. If that is the case, they do not appear to be carrying the data anymore. I do not know where you can go to get the emissions data today, but here is a plot. I do not recall the units, or if I scaled them in any way before saving the data to my hard drive.

But, this is the shape we are looking to fit in somehow to the total CO2 without losing the very good correlation of the temperature with the fine detail in the CO2 derivative. The emissions rate, as you can see, is linear. But, in recreating the fine detail using the temperature data, we find we have already already accounted for almost all of any trend in the dCO2/dt series. There’s no room for much of anything but a constant, and the emissions rate is not constant.

137. Bart says:

Ian H says:
May 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm

“I’ve explained to you that since the CO2 absorption rate depends on CO2 level this is quite possible.”

You’ve asserted it. You have not explained it. You would be hard pressed to, since it would require some very fancy feedback (basically double integral feedback – very difficult to stabilize robustly and hardly a dynamic likely to be found in a naturally evolved system). This is worse than epicylic. It is really grasping at straws.

No, if humans are affecting CO2 levels to any appreciable degree, it has to show up as a marked quadratic or better term in the absolute level. There is no room for it – that particular morphology is already accounted for by the influence of temperature.

138. Werner Brozek says:

Bart says:
May 24, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Would it be too much to ask you to pay attention to the variables which have been plotted for comparison???

However if you want to plot the change in CO2 versus temperature, I would have thought the sea surface temperature would have been the most relevant thing to plot and not the air temperature since it is a warmer ocean that wants to get rid of its CO2, is it not? But over the last 11 years, sea surface temperatures went down but the derivative of the CO2 was flat.

139. Ian H says:

You’ve asserted it. You have not explained it. You would be hard pressed to, since it would require some very fancy feedback (basically double integral feedback – very difficult to stabilize robustly and hardly a dynamic likely to be found in a naturally evolved system). This is worse than epicylic. It is really grasping at straws.

Challenge accepted. Lets be clear about this. You claim that it is impossible to obtain a linear
increase in CO2 in a situation where human input is “ramping up”. I claim this is quite possible in the case where the rate of CO2 absorption depends on CO2 concentration to which you reply that this require “double integral feedback” and wouldn’t be stable.

OK – here is a very simple model for the rate of change of CO2

dC/dt = H(t) -kC

Where C is the CO2 concentration and H(t) is the rate of human input into the system. This is obviously an extreme simplification but it has all the features we are interested in. As you can see the rate of change of CO2 in this model depends on the amount of CO2 present. With no human input the solution to this differential equation would be exponential decay of CO2 concentration to zero.

Now lets assume that we observe CO2 increasing linearly and see what human input H(t) would be needed to cause that.

Let C(t) = at + b . Then dC/dt = a and we have

a = H(t) – k(at + b) => H(t) = ka t + (kb+a)

Human input needs to increase linearly. Let me stress that H(t) is the RATE of input. The rate of input is “ramping up” – exactly what you said couldn’t happen without “double integral feedback”.

140. Bart says:

Bart says:
May 25, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Ian H says:
May 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm

“…basically double integral feedback…”

Actually, that’s not the only way. But, you’d need wide bandwidth, which would drive your output into the negligible range, which is my whole point – the bandwidth is wider than believed, and as a result, the anthropogenic inputs are rapidly sequestered and do not contribute significantly.

Werner Brozek says:
May 25, 2012 at 10:23 pm

“I would have thought the sea surface temperature would have been the most relevant thing to plot and not the air temperature since it is a warmer ocean that wants to get rid of its CO2, is it not?”

You need to remember to average the CO2 over an integer number of months to suppress the seasonal variation.

141. Bart says:

Ian H says:
May 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Looks like we crossed paths where I already explained this above, saying: “But, you’d need wide bandwidth, which would drive your output into the negligible range, which is my whole point.”

You have solved for a steady state. You don’t reach steady state in any reasonable length of time unless you have wide bandwidth, i.e., in your equation, k is large. What happens if k is large? you say

H(t) = ka t + (kb+a)

Well, H is bounded to a not so very large value, so ka has some not so very large value. If k is large, and ka is not so very large, then a = ka/k is small. The contribution to C is negligible. Thank you for illustrating my point.

142. Bart says:

Bart says:
May 26, 2012 at 12:19 am

Werner Brozek says:
May 25, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Of course, I meant “You need to remember to average the CO2 over an integer number of years to suppress the seasonal variation.”

143. Gail Combs says:

LazyTeenager says:
May 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Importantly, a policy of adaptation is also strongly precautionary against any (possibly dangerous) human-caused climate trends that might emerge in the future.
————
But there is a massive contradiction here. The whole climate skeptic thing is driven by the conservative fear of change…..
________________________
Fear of Change?
And what if you and the others are incorrect? There is more solid evidence that we are at the end of the Holocene and headed into a gradually decline in temperatures. Even people like Joe Romm understand that. He stated over at Climate Progress”
“Absent human emissions, we’d probably be in a slow long-term cooling trend due primarily by changes in the Earth’s orbit …” http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/16/hockey-stick-paper-mcshane-and-wyner-statisticians/#more-31767

An Arctic study, Temperature and precipitation history of the Arctic states:

“..Solar energy reached a summer maximum (9% higher than at present) ca 11 ka ago and has been decreasing since then, primarily in response to the precession of the equinoxes. The extra energy elevated early Holocene summer temperatures throughout the Arctic 1-3° C above 20th century averages,…”

“Because the intensities of the 397 ka BP and present insolation minima are very similar, we conclude that under natural boundary conditions the present insolation minimum holds the potential to terminate the Holocene interglacial….”

And even Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution gives a clear warning:
Abrupt Climate Change: Should We Be Worried?

Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change, along with its ecological and economic impacts, have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. This line of thinking, however, fails to consider another potentially disruptive climate scenario. It ignores recent and rapidly advancing evidence that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted abruptly and dramatically in the past, and is capable of doing so in the future.

Fossil evidence clearly demonstrates that Earth vs climate can shift gears within a decade….

But the concept remains little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of scientists, economists, policy makers, and world political and business leaders. Thus, world leaders may be planning for climate scenarios of global warming that are opposite to what might actually occur…

The earth has already seen a 1-3° C above 20th century averages during the Holocene. CO2 makes plants grow faster with less water. Given the earth is near the end of the Holocene and headed toward the next Ice age thanks to the Milancovitch cycle, I really doubt warming is an issue at present even if CO2 has an effect. TSI may only vary 0.1% in the short term but the earth has already dropped 9% in solar energy from the Holecene maximum.

The only “Magic” CO2 could possibly preform at this late date in the Milancovitch cycle is slow the slide into the next Ice Age. Even so cooling and crop failures are more of a threat than Sea Level rise.

It is extremely frustrating to see politicians not only ignore the possibility of a cooling earth but do everything possible to make sure the deaths (and PROFITS) from cold and famine are as high as possible by jacking up energy costs and regulating family farms into bankruptcy while the wealthy corporations, individuals and even universities grab farmland. ~ So much for “Socialists” caring about anything but their bank accounts.

I suggest you take a good hard look at the newest info on the Milancovitch cycle BTW: http://motls.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-defense-of-milankovitch-by-gerard.html

144. richardscourtney says:

rgbatduke:

Thankyou for the clarification you provide at May 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm.

And I apologise for any offence my misunderstanding may have caused.

Richard

145. LazyTeenager says:
May 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm
But there is a massive contradiction here. The whole climate skeptic thing is driven by the conservative fear of change…..

How do you manage to keep a straight face while you’re writing that stuff?

Atmospheric CO2 has been increasing — who panics? Warmies.
The world has been warming since the LIA — who panics? Warmies.
Some glaciers are in retreat while others are advancing — who panics? Warmies.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The only fear generated by the climate doing what the climate has been doing for billions of years is entirely on the *Left* side of the fence, and it’s being generated (loudly and shrilly) in hopes of greasing the skids for global wealth redistribution — aka, Agenda 21.

146. richardscourtney says:

Bart:

At May 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm you quote my having said (at May 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm)

“However, those facts only suggest that the rise in global temperature since 1958 caused the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration observed at Mauna since 1958. The correlation may be indicating a short-term effect which is not significantly involved in the rise since 1958.”

And you respond saying;

Richard, the correlation holds up continuously since 1958. That’s 54 years.

I must admit I am not following your logic. I’m wondering if what you are suggesting is that a short term event might have independently launched both the temperature and the CO2 on their current (since 1958) trajectories, without the one actually causing the other.

I am sorry that my “logic” is not clear. In this thread I have twice tried to explain my view, most recently in the post you are answering. And I do not know how I can be more clear.

I can only point you to subsequent comments of rgbatduke and IanH both of whom are saying what I have been saying since 2005 in peer reviewed publication, at conferences and seminars, on WUWT and elsewhere. Perhaps it would help if you were to search the WUWT archives for related threads and to follow some of my debates with Engelbeen on the matter (he and I have been disputing this for more than a decade).

In this thread rgbatduke and IanH each use different language from me to say the same thing. For example, at May 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm rgbatduke says;

The point then, and now, is that CO_2 levels are highly multivariate, that without doubt we are producing a significant amount of CO_2, but because that CO_2 is only a part of a massive dynamical carbon cycle it is difficult to say with any degree of certainty that the rising CO_2 is connected strictly to the increase. It might well be the result of a shifting equilibrium in e.g. the oceans in post-LIA warming. Or, it might not. It might be many things.

All that I said to Bart is that I didn’t find the correlation between highly rescaled temperature fluctuations and even more highly rescaled time derivatives of CO_2 concentration to be smoking gun evidence that increasing temperature IS the cause of the increased CO_2 concentration.

etc.

These statements I quote are not the first time Robert has stated an understanding identical to my own and in words which I wish I had been capable of thinking to use.

And at May 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm IanH says;

“Ahah” – says Bart. Temperature completely explains everything about CO2.

“Not so” say rgbatduke and Ian H. “It only explains the oscillatory bit – the b sin(t) part. The linear component (the a.t term ) has been completely ignored by the process of differentiating and rescaling. Temperature does not explain this term. It is this fairly steady growth that people are concerned about. You haven’t explained it. You’ve completely ignored it.

His saying to you,
“It is this fairly steady growth that people are concerned about. You haven’t explained it. You’ve completely ignored it”
is the same as my having said to you,
“The correlation may be indicating a short-term effect which is not significantly involved in the rise since 1958.”

I really, really do not know how to explain my “logic” more clearly. Sorry.

Richard

147. richardscourtney says:

cgh:

Your post at May 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm takes knit-picking to a new level. It starts saying;

When there’s a major error of fact in the very first sentence, that doesn’t provide great trust for the rest of it. Canada did not “quietly abandon” greenhouse gas targets. It did so very noisily and publicly.

Well, you can claim whatever you like about the publicity, but you do not dispute the fact that Canada has abandoned greenhouse gas targets.

If you think a difference of opinion about the publicity of that fact “doesn’t provide great trust for the rest of it” then your lack of judgement is clear for all to see.

Richard

148. Ian H says:

Looks like we crossed paths where I already explained this above, saying: “But, you’d need wide bandwidth, which would drive your output into the negligible range, which is my whole point.”

This argument is rubbish. Disguising it in jargon doesn’t make it less rubbish.

You have solved for a steady state. You don’t reach steady state in any reasonable length of time unless you have wide bandwidth, i.e., in your equation, k is large.

It isn’t steady state. C is increasing yes? The solution is exact. It works for all k. It works for big k. It works for small k. Your whole argument depends on asserting that k has to be big. But your reasons for making that assertion are total rubbish.

What happens if k is large? you say
H(t) = ka t + (kb+a)
Well, H is bounded to a not so very large value, so ka has some not so very large value. If k is large, and ka is not so very large, then a = ka/k is small. The contribution to C is negligible. Thank you for illustrating my point.

I’m a mathematician. You are not going to win an argument with me by using lots of jargon and trying to fudge the maths.

149. rgbatduke says:

Bart, I followed your newer link to the graphs (including the integral graph) and again, while I do find it suggestive, it isn’t smoking-gun compelling. To make it so, you really do have to eliminate all reasonable alternatives. It isn’t enough to show that your very simple model works, you need to show that alternative models do NOT work, AND — and this is a very important and — you have to come up with a concrete physical model, not just point out a coincidence in the data. Otherwise one can easily show that smoking cigarettes causes teenage pregnancy, or any of the eight-zillion examples in stats textbooks for why correlation is not causality. There are many things that are covariant but are not plausibly causal.

On a second note: on the new graph, although my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I can pick up numerous places where CO_2 derivative increase precedes the GISS temperature. Systematically, not as a “noise” fluctuation — in fact several of the GISS temp fluctuations appear to be a lagged version of the CO_2 fluctuations. I know you are applying smoothing filters, and this may be an artifact of that, but I have to say that at the moment the best inference I could make from the graph is that when something causes the rate of CO_2 increase to jump, that same something (or the resulting CO_2 bump) cause a bump in the GISS temp. But this isn’t completely consistent — sometimes the temperature slightly leads or they move at the same time. Could it be that both CO_2 levels AND temperature are being modulated, through slightly different mechanisms, by a third causal mechanism altogether? Say rainfall/cloudiness, state of the sun, the value of the DJIA…

As they say, what’s up with that?

rgb

• Regarding avoidance of confusing conincidence with causality, my advice to Bart is to accoomplish it by cross-validation. The model is tested in a sample that differs from the one from which it was built.

150. cgh says:

Richard, the only lack of judgment here was your snark. I notice that you were unable to challenge the facts. Your further lack of judgment is shown by the fact that it is important that countries publicly renounce Kyoto targets, not just slide away from them in the dark of night.

151. richardscourtney says:

cgh:

At May 26, 2012 at 7:34 am you say to me;

Richard, the only lack of judgment here was your snark. I notice that you were unable to challenge the facts. Your further lack of judgment is shown by the fact that it is important that countries publicly renounce Kyoto targets, not just slide away from them in the dark of night.

I replied to your “snark” with “snark”. Don’t throw it if you don’t like it.

Bob Carter is known to me. For example, this thread has included much discussion on the carbon cycle and we shared lodgings when we were both speakers at a conference where I presented a paper on the carbon cycle. My knowledge of him tells me of his honesty.

I defended him against the snark from an anonymous troll; viz. you.

And I do not need to “challenge the facts” because Bob presents them correctly and you provide none. Your only dispute of the facts is that you differ in opinion about publicity of those facts.

My judgement is flawed: nobody has perfect judgement. And your comments show that you have no qualification to comment on the judgement of others.

Please return when – and only when – you have something to contribute.

Richard

152. Gail Combs says:

NickB. says:
May 25, 2012 at 7:51 am

Bart,

Anyway… in a multivariate system, correlation (even perfect correlation!) does not necessarily imply causation…..

The problem you have is that while you do seem to have a very good correlation, there is no mechanism proposed (testable or not) to explain it, and therefore you cannot rule out that the relationship is spurious.
__________________________________________
You can add to Bart’s correlation a very good mechanism. As the oceans warm CO2 is out-gassed. As oceans cools CO2 is absorbed. see: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/05/the-emily-litella-moment-for-climate-science-and-co2/ and especially the earlier thread referenced: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/05/the-emily-litella-moment-for-climate-science-and-co2/

Of course this is mitigated by plant life.

CO2 levels have been near starvation level and therefore we have had the more efficient C4 photosynthesis pathway evolve. Studies on a crop of wheat (C3) show CO2 remains steady at 300 ppm during the day at 2 meters above the crop. Other studies show tomatoes in a green house reduce CO2 by 50 ppm within minutes of sunrise. Therefore plants will grab any CO2 molecule they can get their greedy little leaves on as long as the partial pressure of CO2 is above their threshold. (If you want I will dig out the references again)

Add to higher air temperature (longer growing season) that higher CO2 means plant use less water and you get an expanded biosphere of CO2 starved plants.

As Dr. Roy Spencer said. After all, the human source represents only 3% (or less) the size of the natural fluxes in and out of the surface. With CO2 starved plants near the sources of man released CO2 emissions I doubt the CO2 would be around long enough to have time to even mix with the atmosphere. We have experimental proof CO2 will hug the ground.

…it killed over 1700 people, thousands of cattle, and many more birds and animals…
The CO2-rich cloud was expelled rapidly from the southern floor of Lake Nyos. It rose as a jet with a speed of about 100 km per hour. The cloud quickly enveloped houses within the crater that were 120 meters above the shoreline of the lake. Because CO2 is about 1.5 times the density of air, the gaseous mass hugged the ground surface and descended down valleys along the north side of the crater. The deadly cloud was about 50 meters thick and it advanced downslope at a rate of 20 to 50 km per hour. This deadly mist persisted in a concentrated form over a distance of 23 km, bringing sudden death to the villages of Nyos, Kam, Cha, and Subum….. http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/Nyos.html

A grim reminder of why CO2 sequestering is a really bad idea BTW.

The only way that man released CO2 causes additional CO2 in the atmosphere works is if you believe the unproven assumption made by Callender and Keeling that CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere and that there is a “background CO2 level”

There is certainly evidence that this is a bogus assumption.from Ernest Beck’s historical CO2 measurements: http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/ to what AIRS is saying about mid troposphere CO2.

Significant Findings from AIRS Data
1. ‘Carbon dioxide is not homogeneous in the mid-troposphere; previously it was thought to be well-mixed
2. ‘The distribution of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere is strongly influenced by large-scale circulations such as the mid-latitude jet streams and by synoptic weather systems, most notably in the summer hemisphere
3. ‘There are significant differences between simulated and observed CO2 abundance outside of the tropics, raising questions about the transport pathways between the lower and upper troposphere in current models
4. ‘Zonal transport in the southern hemisphere shows the complexity of its carbon cycle and needs further study

They talk of middle troposphere for their results. Even at this level AIRS does not see well mixing.

This is the paper that should make people realize just how close we were to a real disaster.

The Rancho La Brea tar pit fossil collection includes Juniperus (C3) wood specimens that 14C date between 7.7 and 55 thousand years (kyr) B.P., providing a constrained record of plant response for southern California during the last glacial period. Atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) ranged between 180 and 220 ppm during glacial periods, rose to ?280 ppm before the industrial period, and is currently approaching 380 ppm in the modern atmosphere. Here we report on ?13C of Juniperus wood cellulose, and show that glacial and modern trees were operating at similar leaf-intercellular [CO2](ci)/atmospheric [CO2](ca) values. As a result, glacial trees were operating at ci values much closer to the CO2-compensation point for C3 photosynthesis than modern trees, indicating that glacial trees were undergoing carbon starvation. In addition, we modeled relative humidity by using ?18O of cellulose from the same Juniperus specimens and found that glacial humidity was ?10% higher than that in modern times, indicating that differences in vapor-pressure deficits did not impose additional constrictions on ci/ca in the past. By scaling ancient ci values to plant growth by using modern relationships, we found evidence that C3 primary productivity was greatly diminished in southern California during the last glacial period.

153. richardscourtney says:

Gail Combs:

You make good comments in your post at May 26, 2012 at 8:50 am.

Oceanic outgassing is only one of several plausible mechanisms of the observed recent change(s) to atmospheric CO2 concentration. Several, possible mechanisms are related to temperature change and others are not (e.g. altered ocean surface layer pH resulting from variations in undersea volcanism centuries in the past inducing a change to the equilibrium between atmospheric and ocean surface layer CO2 concentrations).

Indeed, Beck’s data (which you cite) suggests that response to temperature is not the predominant mechanism (but variations in undersea volcanism could be).

However, with respect, you miss the point of the discussion with Bart. I don’t think anybody has claimed Bart’s conclusion is wrong, but some of us are trying to explain to him that the available data is not capable of showing he is right.

Bart says he concludes that temperature change is the underlying cause of the recent change (i.e. throughout the period since 1958) in atmospheric CO2 concentration. He may be right (and I think he is) but the data does not provide his conclusion because other causes (e.g. undersea volcanism) are also possible.

In conclusion, I thank you for your contribution to the discussion. And, as an addendum, I point out that this reply to you is not intended to extend the debate into discussion of the ‘undersea volcanism’ hypothesis or any other plausible explanation of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Richard

154. Bart says:

Ian H says:
May 26, 2012 at 3:49 am

“This argument is rubbish.”

I.e., you do not understand it. You clearly have no background or experience with actual real world systems. This is my bread and butter. You would be well advised to avoid being cocksure before you have understood my argument.

Work this out, for example:

dC/dt = ka*t-kC

Starting from zero initial condition, the output is

C = (a/k)*(k*t-(1-exp(-k*t))

It does not approach even a delayed version of a*t until the exponential has decayed.

Additionally, to counter your argument, there is no room for a linear term in the derivative – that is already taken up by the linear term in T times the scaling factor alpha in dCO2/dt = alpha*(T – T0). Game, set, match.

richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2012 at 3:28 am

I am sorry, Richard, but you are wrong, and I really cannot explain it more clearly. See above.

rgbatduke says:
May 26, 2012 at 6:34 am

“…you have to come up with a concrete physical model…”

Fine. Here’s a model. It may not be the model, but it would reproduce something very like the data, and implements commonly encountered processes in the natural world.

dC/dt = (Co – C)/tau1 + k1*H

dCo/dt = -Co/tau2 + k2*(T-To)

C = atmospheric CO2 content
H = human input
Co = nominal set point of CO2 in the atmosphere dictated by temperature
tau1 = fast time constant
tau2 = slow time constant
k1, k2 = coupling constants

tau1 being short, C will track Co tightly, rolling off H with high gain. tau2 being long, the set point Co will behave approximately as the integral of k2*(T-To) in the near term when there is a change.

155. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 26, 2012 at 6:34 am

“On a second note: on the new graph, although my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I can pick up numerous places where CO_2 derivative increase precedes the GISS temperature.”

It may be an artifact of the data collection and smoothing. But, it does not matter. When you integrate the derivative, you get a 90 degree phase lag. The CO2 lags the temperature.

You can always differentiate a smooth signal enough times that the result appears to lead the input, because each differentiation introduces a 90 deg phase lead. But, down cannot be made up – the output still lags the input in a causal world.

156. Further to Bart’s model, the interval between 1980 and 2012 contains between 0 and 1 thirty year observed climatological events. In either case, the event count is far too low for a model to be constructed and validated.

157. Bart says:

Terry Oldberg says:
May 26, 2012 at 11:31 am

“In either case, the event count is far too low for a model to be constructed and validated.”

I’m definitely not going to put forward a model at this point and say “this is truth”. But, I can make qualitative statements about how the model has to work, given the evidence, and demonstrate that such workings are well within the bounds of ordinary, i.e., commonly encountered, systems behavior. And, the data clearly indicate that CO2 is driven by temperature, and human inputs are rapidly sequestered and have a relatively small impact.

158. Bart:

At May 26, 2012 at 11:22 am you say:

richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2012 at 3:28 am
I am sorry, Richard, but you are wrong, and I really cannot explain it more clearly. See above.

Say what!?

I fail to find where you have stated any flaw in what I wrote.
Please cite and quote where you have shown me to be “wrong” “above”.

Richard

159. Bart says:

Richard S Courtney says:
May 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm

You said you agreed with the statement from Ian: “It is this fairly steady growth that people are concerned about. You haven’t explained it. You’ve completely ignored it.”

I have demonstrated that Ian is wrong from two points of view: 1) the bandwidth would have to be large enough that the human input would be significantly attenuated 2) there is no room for a linear-with-time term showing up in the derivative because it is already accounted for in the temperature dependence, which has to be scaled as it is in order for the fine detail to match up.

Actually, three. I also explained previous that it is highly unlikely that a low bandwidth system exists which would eliminate the curvature of the human input from the output. Number (1) was so obvious to me that I jumped several steps forward of the position which, it became apparent, Ian was arguing.

I have also showed a system

dC/dt = (Co – C)/tau1 + k1*H
dCo/dt = -Co/tau2 + k2*(T-To)

which can replicate the qualitative characteristics of what we are observing, which demonstrates that such action is not beyond the realm of the possible. In fact, it is fairly commonplace.

I therefore conclude that the attribution of significant human forcing of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration observed over the last half century is falsified. You may disagree. I cannot stop you. But, I am on solid ground.

160. Not long ago, I saw a video on the testimony of four of the scientists. This meeting was held in the presence of a United States Senate Subcommittee. “Causes of climate change” was the subject of the review. It was quite frustrating. The Committee members had questions of the scientists, “what they should do in the United States Senate for Climate Change”? The answer …. totally disorganized.

Without the necessary and sufficient reasons, how the politicians are able to break the strong economic structures?

I read in another place that the ocean water level is rising due to the harvest of subterranean water storage. According to the statement, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, therefore it is growing. If this is true, then there are many reasons by which, extensive fossil resources under exploitations to be effective on the planet as well.

In accordance with one of the witnesses present at the Senate committee meeting, the (plants) of high carbon dioxide should be happy. Even with 1000 ppm! More heat means life! What about us?

The Venus with 400 degrees Celsius Weather conditions and atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide is a good guest house.

161. Bart:

I am replying to your post at May 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm which purports to explain how and where you had shown me to be “wrong” in this discussion.

Sorry. But you have not shown that.

Yes, as you say, I do agree with – and I said I agree with – IanH when he says;

It is this fairly steady growth that people are concerned about. You haven’t explained it. You’ve completely ignored it.

Indeed, if I have no problem with your quoting my agreement with his statement as an example of what I said because I said it first and he restated it in different words.

However, that is not an example of my being “wrong”. And you have not shown it to be wrong. But you say;

I have demonstrated that Ian is wrong from two points of view: 1) the bandwidth would have to be large enough that the human input would be significantly attenuated 2) there is no room for a linear-with-time term showing up in the derivative because it is already accounted for in the temperature dependence, which has to be scaled as it is in order for the fine detail to match up.

Actually, three. I also explained previous that it is highly unlikely that a low bandwidth system exists which would eliminate the curvature of the human input from the output.

[snip]

I have also showed a system

dC/dt = (Co – C)/tau1 + k1*H
dCo/dt = -Co/tau2 + k2*(T-To)

which can replicate the qualitative characteristics of what we are observing, which demonstrates that such action is not beyond the realm of the possible. In fact, it is fairly commonplace.

I therefore conclude that the attribution of significant human forcing of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration observed over the last half century is falsified. You may disagree. I cannot stop you. But, I am on solid ground.

Sorry, but that is not true. I take each of your four points in turn.

Your first point says “the bandwidth would have to be large enough that the human input would be significantly attenuated”. Factually, that is not true as IanH showed at May 26, 2012 at 3:49 am when he wrote

C is increasing yes? The solution is exact. It works for all k. It works for big k. It works for small k. Your whole argument depends on asserting that k has to be big.

You seem to think you have answered that in your post at May 26, 2012 at 11:22 am, but you have not.

Your second point says “there is no room for a linear-with-time term showing up in the derivative because it is already accounted for in the temperature dependence”.

But that is a description of your model. As you know, I have published a variety of different models which each matches the empirical data. You have not provided evidence to show that your model is the correct model from among the many possible models.

And your fourth point says “I have also showed a system …”
So what? I have published 6 “systems” which each matches the empirical data and 3 of them have the anthropogenic emission as the cause of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

An ability to attribute a suggested cause does not demonstrate that the attributed cause is the true cause in part or in whole. Indeed, you are replicating an error made by the IPCC.

• The IPCC says the anthropogenic emission can be attributed as the cause of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 and, therefore, the anthropogenic emission is the true cause.
• You say temperature change can be attributed as the cause of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 and, therefore, temperature change is the true cause.

You and the IPCC are both wrong in your claim that an ability to attribute a cause indicates that the attributed cause is the true cause.

In summation, I reject your assertion that you have shown me to be “wrong”.
And you have not falsified “the attribution of significant human forcing of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration observed over the last half century”: you have merely demonstrated that another attribution is also possible.

Richard

162. The Venus with 400 degrees Celsius Weather conditions and atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide is a good guest house.

163. Gail Combs says:

richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2012 at 9:38 am

Gail Combs:

You make good comments in your post at May 26, 2012 at 8:50 am….

However, with respect, you miss the point of the discussion with Bart.
_____________________________________
Actually that is why I put in the information about plants.

If the temperature is Warm:
A. The oceans outgasses.
B. However the plants sequester more CO2

If the temperature is Cool.
A. the oceans absorb CO2
B. However the plants sequester LESS CO2.

And that is just two very well know parts of the Carbon Cycle. And as you said volcanism is a wild card as Lake Nyos shows.

Then there are termite who put out more CO2 than humans. According to the journal Science (Nov. 5, 1982), termites alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined. (If greenhouse warming is such a problem, why are we trying to save all the wetlands?) http://ilovecarbondioxide.com/2009/04/termites-emit-ten-times-more-co2-than.html

I very much doubt we really understand the Carbon Cycle well enough to put numbers on everything. For example they just found out soil is also a major part of the carbon cycle: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/25/earth-follows-the-warming-soils-add-100-million-tons-of-co2-per-year/

164. Don’t miss the opportunities…
I recently watched a video. The testimony of prominent scientists who had participated in the United States Senate subcommittee hearing. The Senators asked the scientists what the Senate should do to deal with global warming.
What was the response?
A handful of disorganized academic debate and then nothing. Disperse people around a table.

With full respect to these scientists, I’m sorry to say that policymakers of the session returned back to the Senate with empty hands.

Now the question is; should the policymakers break all the infrastructures based on what certain realities and or strong scientific reasons? Dr.Carter says the politicians have been silent for 18 months.
I read in an article by the harvest of subterraneous water storage, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere have increased, and the sea level is rising as well. If this is true, then how can we ignore the effects of mining the vast resources of fossil fuels on the planet?

One of the scientists present at the meeting of the above testimony, stated that the increase of CO2 is good, and even up to 1000 ppm carbon dioxide, it doesn’t make sense. It has happened in the past. And the plants are very happy. (what about us?!)

The senator said that what should we do with the phenomenon of migration of species due to climate change? The scientist remained unable to answer.

The Venus with 400 degrees Celsius conditions and atmospheric accumulation of carbon dioxide is a good guest house for us, if we don’t find the right answer to the policymakers.

165. Richard S Courtney ( May 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm):

Logic and related topics have arisen as issues in your conversation with Bart over Bart’s model. I have some expertise in this area and would like to share my views.

You point out that you have published a variety of different models, each of which matches the empirical data. Of logical interest is the fact that, in making public policy on CO2 emissions, the policy maker can rely upon but a single model. This state of affairs raises the issue of how this model shall be selected by the policy maker. To select this model for the world’s policy makers is one of the jobs that have been taken on by the IPCC in publishing the organization’s periodic assessment reports.

A scientific model is a procedure for making inferences. Each time an inference is made, there are several candidates for being made. Logic contains the principles by which the one candidate that is correct may be discriminated from the many candidates that are incorrect. These principles are called the “principles of reasoning.”

In the articles at ( http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/22/principles-of-reasoning-part-i-abstraction/ ) and ( http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/25/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-ii-solving-the-problem-of-induction /) I argue that the principles of reasoning select that candidate which: a) minimizes the missing information or b) maximizes the missing information under constraints expressing the available information.

In selecting a model for use in policy making, the IPCC has not employed a logical process ( http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/15/the-principles-of-reasoning-part-iii-logic-and-climatology/ ). Instead, as you astutely point out, it has selected this model arbitrarily.

166. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm

“Factually, that is not true as IanH showed at May 26, 2012 at 3:49 am when he wrote…”

And, I showed Ian was mistaken – there is only a finite time available to establish the linear trend. You can’t do it with low bandwidth.

I showed that the solution to the equation

dC/dt = ka*t-kC

is

C = (a/k)*(k*t-(1-exp(-k*t)))

If k*t is small, then this is approximately equal to

C := (a/k)*(k*t – (k*t – 0.5*(k*t)^2)) = 0.5*a*k*t^2

i.e., the integral of the input. And, that means the higher power character of the accumulated emissions has to show through. It doesn’t.

Moreover, Ian’s “solution” requires that there be a ramp in dCO2/dt which is unrelated to temperature. But, you cannot fit a significant one into the residual once you have subtracted out the alpha*(T-T0) term, and alpha is required to be what it is in order to match the fine detail.

You cannot add the emissions to the derivative. There is not room for it. You cannot have an arbitrarily long time constant – there isn’t enough time to have responded to it. The case is open and shut – the attribution of significant human forcing of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration observed over the last half century is falsified.

“I have published a variety of different models which each matches the empirical data.”

Show me one in which the relationship dCO2/dt = alpha*(T-T0) best holds. That is the right one, or the closest one to being right.

167. rgbatduke says:

You can always differentiate a smooth signal enough times that the result appears to lead the input, because each differentiation introduces a 90 deg phase lead. But, down cannot be made up – the output still lags the input in a causal world.

You seem to be confusing two things. One, properties of harmonic functions, which are the only context I can think of offhand where “90 degree phase lag/lead” might make sense. Two, the fact that your proposed effect — increase in CO_2 — leads the proposed cause, increased temperature.

I can think of no possible way that CO_2 will start to rise six months before the temperature rise that supposedly is causing it to rise, yet that feature occurs several times on your graph. There is no harmonic analysis that I can see present, there are no phases — I’m just pointing out that the very correlation that you are relying on tie temperature to CO_2 rise is out of order in many, but not all, places in your graph.

Since, as you note, output lags input in a causal world, that suggests problems with your assignment of causality.

You also misunderstand my problem with “no physical model” and to “not addressing alternatives”, because while you provided me with a mathematical model, things you did not do include:

a) Deriving, or at least justifying, the model in question by means of something other than “whatever it is that sets the baseline CO_2 concentration of the atmosphere as a function of temperature”. What is it? Is it the ocean? Where is your evidence that it is the ocean? Is it the soil? Evidence and plausible model please. Is it beer drinkers, who drink a lot more beer in hot weather? Evidence and plausibility. In justifying it, don’t forget to tally up the CO_2 content of the source/sink that buffers/modulates this baseline, to be sure that it has enough to do the job, and it wouldn’t hurt to address the physical time scales of the buffering process, especially since the CO_2 reaction, when it doesn’t actually lead the temperature shifts see above, is very tightly coupled to air temperature in time.

b) Addressing all of the problems with the model you propose, not just the reasons you think it might be right. This is the sort of honesty expected of a good scientist, although perhaps few of us can rein it in enough to live up to Feynman’s standards. We’re (as your “referees”, if you like:-) trying to help you out here…;-)

c) Addressing at least the major alternative models or proposed mechanisms. It isn’t enough to show that your model works. There are almost certainly many models one can build that will work to describe the data. That’s the big problem with climate science, one people constantly complain about in the context of “Global Climate Models” on this very list, is it not — it isn’t that one can’t build a GCM or a model of CO_2 — it is that the models one builds (even if they more or less work to fit a reasonable baseline of data) are probably not unique, have many moving parts and adjustable parameters (that is, not-currently-measurable parameters) and hence degrees of freedom, and often leave something out with little justification or set the adjustable parameters according to the biases of the researchers. Anyone who has messed with nonlinear models knows from experience that there is often more than one way to skin a cat in parameter space — sometimes radically different ways that still fit the data pretty well. I’d wax poetic about complex systems at this point (usually) but we’ll skip it this time and concentrate on the need to not just assert that your own model works and might be/is right, but to show why alternatives, even if they also work, are less likely to be correct and ideally present evidence that this is the case, not just a mathematical or heuristic argument.

As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, and Richard as well — this is not saying that you are wrong. It is that you have only taken the first step or two towards demonstrating that you are right, what you have is suggestive, but not yet compelling, in part because you haven’t paid any attention at all to steps a, b, or c, and you have sloughed off the temporal ordering problem in the data without really addressing it. The latter is especially worrisome as it suggests a common cause to both the CO_2 rise and the temperature rise, one that can affect CO_2 faster and earlier than it affects the temperature.

This is an important clue! You don’t want to ignore it, you want to run it down! It is a tremendous constraint on the allowable physical models, is it not, not to mention a wound that opponents/skeptics of your suggestion can twist a knife in it at will if left unattended. We both agree that effect must follow cause, but CO_2 accelerates before the proposed cause. However, your real purpose is equally well served by finding something that causes both CO_2 derivative and temperature to vary, but not by the same pathways, so sometimes one can lead, sometimes the other, but they rarely get far apart. It’s running down things like this that might let you determine the physical mechanism — how many candidates can there be for this process? Which of the few is supported by completely independent evidence?

rgb

168. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm

“One, properties of harmonic functions, which are the only context I can think of offhand where “90 degree phase lag/lead” might make sense.”

Not to an electrical engineer. Every L2 bounded time series has a Fourier transform which is equivalent in information content to the time series itself. The Fourier transform value at every frequency has a magnitude and a phase or, equivalently, a real and an imaginary part.

The derivative of a function has a Fourier transform which is amplified proportional to frequency, and whose phase is advanced 90deg from the transform of the function itself. Similarly, the integral of a function has a Fourier transform which is attenuated inversely proportional to frequency, and whose phase is delayed 90 deg from the transform of the function itself.

Speaking of harmonic functions: for every bounded interval, an L2 function can be fully described within that interval by a harmonic expansion (Fourier series) taking the 1st fundamental harmoinc to have a period equal to the interval length. Indeed, the Fourier Transform is essentially this expansion as the interval tends to infinity.

Something else you might consider, or which might gain additional insight – something very elementary for which you need no instruction, but which you might not have recalled: for a smooth function, every detail about what it is going to do in the future is contained within the value of the function itself at the initial time, and all its derivatives at that instant (Taylor series representation). So, indeed, you can predict and react to what it will do before it happens. Peering at the derivative gives you insight into the future. Peering at all the derivatives tells you everything that is going to happen.

Derivatives lead. They anticipate. It is why proportional-integral-derivative controllers are so ubiquitous. They could be called “present-past-future” controllers. The derivative part is what allows the controller to predict where the system is going, and apply a control impetus to head it off and shape the future in accordance with the design goals.

On a more practical note: how many times have you read about “adjustments” made to data? Do you think those adjustments are made with only knowledge of what happened prior to the adjustment? And, besides, there is lots of noise (inaccuracy) here in the signals we are evaluating. Numerically differentiating the data amplifies the noise (because of the amplification with frequency mentioned previously). So, what you think you see, and what is really happening, particularly as regards very fine detail such as this, is likely enough to be spurious.

Anyway, the upshot is, you really cannot hang your hat on there being anything noteworthy in these apparent (but not necessarily or even surprisingly) anticipatory events in the data.

As for providing you with a model, it rings to me a bit of refusing to believe it when I tell you the sky is blue until I can explain a mechanism for the sky appearing blue.

169. Bart says:

Bart says:
May 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm

“Moreover, Ian’s “solution” requires that there be a ramp in dCO2/dt which is unrelated to temperature. But, you cannot fit a significant one into the residual once you have subtracted out the alpha*(T-T0) term, and alpha is required to be what it is in order to match the fine detail.”

I am going to back off that statement. It requires only a constant (I know, duh, but in the heat of the battle, you don’t always sort things out clearly). But, my other argument still holds.

Basically, significant anthropogenic input only started about 100 years ago. By 1958 and until now, everything but a straight line trend is accounted for by the temperature relationship. That means you have about 50 odd years to have settled out the response. That puts a lower bound on the bandwidth, because otherwise, it would not have settled out by 1958.

If you think of a time constant as being approximately the inverse of the bandwidth, that means the time constant cannot be greater than about 50/3 = 16 or so years (assuming a standard settling time of 3 time constants). With that kind of bandwidth, you cannot get a significant impact on overall concentration from anthropogenic forcing.

Why? Because if we assume emissions have been growing linearly, the total dumped into the oceans and atmosphere is the rate of acceleration times 0.5*t^2. For t = 100 years, that is a factor of 5000. But, with the time constant limited to tau = 16 years, the amount remaining unsequestered in the oceans and atmosphere is about the rate of acceleration times tau*(t-tau). That is a factor of about 544, or approx 11% of the 5000. That’s roughly best you can do. That is, in rough terms, the max contribution of anthropogenic forcing to the total rise based on this evidence alone. And, I believe that it is conservative on the basis that it is likely enough that the rise in CO2 has been linear plus all the stuff accounted for by the temperature relationship since well before 1958.

170. Bart says:

Correction: tau*(t-tau) = 1344, about 27% of the total. That puts anthropogenic contributions potentially up to roughly 1/3 of the total (there’s little point in being too precise here).

That’s not insignificant, but I just know I am missing something key here… Well, I’ll take it back up tomorrow.

171. Bart says:

Ah, the key point is that, with a narrower bandwidth (longer time constant), the output will not be able to track the temperature controlled CO2 level to any high degree of fidelity, and there should be a delay on the order of the time constant.

Judging by the plot (using SST now, hat tip to Werner), there is only a lag of a few years at most.

Suppose the time constant is about 3 years. Then tau*(t-tau) for t = 100 is 291, so the portion of anthropogenic responsibility would be something like 6%. If 2 years, 4%. That is about the range I would expect, about 4-6%.

172. Bart says:

My estimates are all, obviously, coarse. Using PSDs and cross-spectra and other system id tools, it could all be nailed down much more accurately. There is much neglected information here to be mined, for any who wished to do so.

173. rgbatduke:

I thank you for your yet again having said what I tried to say in words I wish I had the capability of formulating.

I applaud all your post addressed to Bart at May 26, 2012 at 10:01 pm and I draw attention to its saying;

Richard

PS I hope you will forgive the abruptness of this post which is because I must now rush to other duties.

174. Bart:

I am already late in leaving for an important appointment so this reply is rushed, but I think I need to avoid your waiting for an answer to the question you pose to me May 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm; viz
I said

“I have published a variety of different models which each matches the empirical data.”

Show me one in which the relationship dCO2/dt = alpha*(T-T0) best holds. That is the right one, or the closest one to being right.

I answer that all 6 of our models matches each annual datum of the Mauna Loa data within the stated measurement errors.

Richard

175. Myrrh says:

Jimbo says:
May 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm
All I ever ask Warmists is to provide evidence that man-made co2 caused most of the recent warming.
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2012/05/new-paper-finds-water-vapor-feedback-is.html

This argument, as outlined on that page, is not only redundant, it is a distraction from the core problem here – AGWScienceFiction has taken the Water Cycle out of the comic cartoon energy budget, completely. It’s a scientific fraud to begin with. The Greenhouse Effect is created by removing the Water Cycle. There is no Greenhouse Effect.

The Water Cycle cools the Earth by around 52°C from the 67°C it would be without water. Think deserts.

By taking out the Water Cycle they pretend that there is a rise of temp from minus 18°C to 15°C and claim this 33°C ‘warming’ is caused by ‘greenhouse gases’. The main greenhouse gas is water vapour, this gives 52°C cooling to get to down to the 15°C average norm.

This isn’t about science, this is about creating a fake fisics to promote all these anti-libertarian, anti small and medium business and direct theft of taxpayers money scams.

Why isn’t this basic science disjunct ever discussed by those supposedly ‘skeptic’? Why do they, like Singer, attack as “deniers” any who point out that there is no damn Greenhouse Effect because all the science is created on the never yet shown claim that carbon dioxide can raise the temp of the Earth? The fake fisics basics, like taking out the Water Cycle and claiming that the heat from the Sun, thermal infrared, doesn’t reach the Earth surface, is a sleight of hand to create this fictional “Greenhouse Effect”.

Bob Carter appears to be like those warmists in sheeps’ clothing who loudly announce how skeptical they are, but that its a good idea to tax carbon dioxide anyway..

Unless and until people get wise to the fact that is a deliberately created long con, those who created it will continue to fudge to keep the rip off going.

The emperor isn’t wearing any clothes at all…,

176. Myrrh:

At May 27, 2012 at 2:05 am you say;

Bob Carter appears to be like those warmists in sheeps’ clothing who loudly announce how skeptical they are, but that its a good idea to tax carbon dioxide anyway..

No!
Bob Carter is one of the heroes of AGW-scepticism and is a leading public opponent of AGW-based taxation and energy policies in his home country of Australia.

Richard

177. Terry Oldberg:

Thankyou for your comment at May 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm.

I hope it helps Bart to see that I am trying to be constructive and not destructive of his work.

Richard

178. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 27, 2012 at 1:08 am

“I answer that all 6 of our models matches each annual datum of the Mauna Loa data within the stated measurement errors.”

Not good enough, Richard. Integrals hide a lot of detail. I want to know about the agreement with dCO2/dt = alpha*(T-T0).

richardscourtney says:
May 27, 2012 at 6:33 am

“I hope it helps Bart to see that I am trying to be constructive and not destructive of his work.”

I take no offense, and hope you have not either.Confrontation is what drives new understanding. Collegiality and deference, taken to the extreme, are death to science, and I think largely to blame for the fiasco which is coming to a head in climate science.

I have nailed down my case. The excellent tracking of the temperature in dCO2/dt indicates that the bandwidth of the system is wide. Thus, the net influence of human input must small. QED.

• Bart:

At this stage of its development, your model rates as no more than a conjecture, for it is insusceptible to being statistically tested. To raise it to the level of a hypothesis, you must make it testable. Steps toward making it testable include: a) describing each independent event in the underlying statistical population and b) modifying the model such that it predicts the outcomes of the events in this population.

179. Myrrh says:

richardscourtney says:
May 27, 2012 at 6:29 am
No!
Bob Carter is one of the heroes of AGW-scepticism and is a leading public opponent of AGW-based taxation and energy policies in his home country of Australia.

I stand corrected.

I think I must be suffering from an overdose of mild mannered arguments which then leave me with a sting in the tail – here,
“Importantly, a policy of adaptation is also strongly precautionary against any (possibly dangerous) human-caused climate trends that might emerge in the future.”

Perhaps I’m just getting too damn cynical., as he said elsewhere: “Control the language, and you control the outcome of any debate”.

180. Bart:

At May 27, 2012 at 10:40 am you respond to my having said

“I answer that all 6 of our models matches each annual datum of the Mauna Loa data within the stated measurement errors.”

By saying

Not good enough, Richard. Integrals hide a lot of detail. I want to know about the agreement with dCO2/dt = alpha*(T-T0).

I fail to understand how that is “not good enough”. It is perfect fit to the data for each model (within the measurement errors of the Mauna Loa data when input with the annual anthropogenic emission and the annual temperature data).

Our models do not emulate the seasonal variation. They emulate the annual values of atmospheric CO2 concentration as reported by Mauna Loa Observatory. So, for the annual values (which show the long-term increase we are discussing)

Case 1
If the Mauna Loa data agrees with
dCO2/dt = alpha*(T-T0)
then so will each of our models.

Case 2
If the Mauna Loa data does not agree with
dCO2/dt = alpha*(T-T0)
then none of our models will.

In either case so what?

Richard

181. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 27, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Richard – I maintain that the data which confirms that anthropogenic CO2 is a negligible contributor to the overall level is this close agreement in the coarse as well as fine detail. I want to know what this plot looks like using your models. I want to know how well your models track the actual CO2 measurements.

If one is effectively a straight line thorough it, and the other wiggles up and down in sync, then the latter is to be preferred. If two wiggle up and down in sync, then the one which tracks better is the one to be preferred. I would be willing to bet that you will find that, assuming your models are physically realizable, the better the agreement, the lower your anthropogenic contribution will be, at least until you get into the range of less than 10%.

182. Bart says:

Rather, the property of the data which confirms…

183. rgbatduke says:

I have nailed down my case. The excellent tracking of the temperature in dCO2/dt indicates that the bandwidth of the system is wide. Thus, the net influence of human input must small. QED.

Just for people that want to play — I wrote a small matlab program that implements bart’s coupled ODEs and found a set of parameters that at least qualitatively reproduces the kind of derivative tracking he describes. Grab it at:

http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/bart.m

(It would probably run under octave for those with no matlab handy.)

I tried to make the driving temperature increase linearly at 0.1/decade (why not, make it whatever you like) and modulated this linear increase with a 0.1 degree sin wave with a period of 11 years. Most of the other parameters aren’t picked to be particularly physical — I don’t know how to pick them physically, after all, since I don’t know the mechanisms or timescales involved — but to get good qualitative reproduction of the data you need something like tau1 = 1 and tau2 = 100 — at least a factor of 100 between the “short” timescale physics that drives atmospheric CO_2 to the “target” (equilibrium) concentration and the “long” timescale physics on which relaxation of the target concentration in response to the external temperature driver occurs.

There are several problems visible in the implementation of the program. The derivative of CO_2 concentration is tiny and has to be enormously amplified to show up at all on a commensurate scale with the thermal variation (which is already only the delta). Human added CO_2 has a nontrivial effect (depending on how extreme you make the decay constants) — it basically drives the atmospheric concentration up above the baseline/equilibrium concentration by some nearly constant amount. Whether or not the constant is small does not affect in any way the tracking of the rescaled temperature anomaly and derivative.

Which, I think, finally refutes your assertion that correlation between the derivative of CO_2 concentration (rescaled) and temperature anomaly proves that temperature must be the primary driver of CO_2 concentration. Your own equations show that if H is large, atmospheric CO_2 will be maintained well above the CO_2 equilibrium set-point you more or less independently evaluate in the second ODE while at the same time, maintaining the observed correlation between temperature anomaly and derivative of CO_2! Because you rescale the derivative to fit on the same scale as the anomaly, you can dump enormous amounts of CO_2 in and maintain atmospheric CO_2 well above “non-anthropogenic equilibrium” and still quite clearly see correlations in the rescaled wiggles.

Now, one can argue that I have the wrong parameters, that my parameters are unphysical, that other parameters produce good tracking where anthropogenic CO_2 is NOT important, but since we don’t have any actual physical mechanisms to propose here with any actual numbers that can be set by something other than curve fitting and playing around, we are left right where I originally said we were — yes, your observation is suggestive, but it is not sufficient to show that anthropogenic CO_2 is not a significant contribution. To be frank, I left H a constant, but it really isn’t. Since H is really a time dependent monotone increasing function, there is pretty clearly parameter space in abundance to make nearly all of the CO_2 increase anthopogenic in origin and still track rescaled differentials of CO_2 concentration and temperature anomaly.

Now, I’m not — repeat not — asserting that your conclusion is incorrect. Only once again, that it is not sufficient, and will never be sufficient without a physical model to restrict the actual parameter ranges in the ODEs so that they exclude the possibility of anthropogenic forcing. That requires more than math, that requires experimental chemistry and much more. And even then, you would still have at best shown that THIS model works without anthropogenic forcing being dominant — you will have by no means proven that other models do not exist that are anthopogenic forcing dominated and yet still have significant correlation between temperature fluctuations and CO_2 concentration change rates.

Finally, you will still not have addressed the causality issue. Yes indeed, when I run the model the CO_2 derivative lags the temperature anomaly as it should (it’s built into the model so it could hardly be any other way). But when I look at the data, those pesky prescient rises in the derivative of the CO_2 concentration that precede the supposedly tightly causal thermal fluctuation are worrisome indeed. One might be tempted to e.g. conclude that something else entirely is causing CO_2 to spike, and the global temperature is following it, not the other way around… or that both are caused by a third thing and can lag that thing by either order depending on a fourth or fifth thing.

It’s a hard problem. Let’s not conclude that it is solved yet, shall we?

Anyway, enjoy the program. One of the true joys of living now is that with tools like matlab/octave, one doesn’t have to speculate about the behavior of ODE solutions for various parameter ranges — one can just code them up and find out, and get answers in the forms of pretty graphs.

rgb

184. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I do not even have to run the simulation to know what you will get out. y(1) will track y(2) plus the effect on y(1) due to k1*H, which will be approximately tau1*k1*H with a delay of about tau1 seconds.

y(2) will be approximately the integral of the input, fairly well for perhaps 1/3 of tau2.

So, let’s see, currently your value of tau1 shown is 1.0, your value of k1 is 1.0 (actually, you cannot be this large because a large fraction, which the IPCC claims is roughly 1/2, goes rapidly into the oceans), and your value of H is 0.1. So, the effect on the output y(1) from H is about 0.1 ppm.

For sizing things, you can do the following. Atmospheric levels have gone up maybe 100 ppm in 100 years. That is supposed to represent about 1/2 of human emissions in the time, so they should be about 200 ppm equivalent. If you assume H is a ramp, H = Hdot*t, then you should perhaps have 200 = 0.5*Hdot*100^2, so that Hdot= 0.04 ppm/year^2.

I will assume k1 = 0.5. Now, because you have selected tau1 to be 1 year, your routine should produce about 1*(100-1)*0.5*0.04 = 1.98 ppm in the output of y(1) after 100 years.

As I stated, the maximum value of tau1 is indicated by the max possible lag in CO2 with respect to temperature, and should be perhaps 3 years. If you set tau1 = 3 years, you should get about 3*(100-3)*0.5*0.04 = 5.8 ppm from the H input alone. The rest has to be made up by the Delta(t) input.

You can try a longer tau1, which will help amplify the input from H until, in the limit, you get a straight integral. But, you will find y(1) tracks y(2) less and less well, and the temperature will lead its effects on y(1) more and more.

185. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm

“Finally, you will still not have addressed the causality issue.”

I believe I did, quite thoroughly. Did you not read my comment?

186. Bart:

At May 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm I again told you:

I have published 6 “systems” which each matches the empirical data and 3 of them have the anthropogenic emission as the cause of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

At May 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm you say to me:

I would be willing to bet that you will find that, assuming your models are physically realizable, the better the agreement, the lower your anthropogenic contribution will be, at least until you get into the range of less than 10%.

But you wrote that in reply to my having written as expansion of my statement:
“I answer that all 6 of our models matches each annual datum of the Mauna Loa data within the stated measurement errors.”
Saying:

It is perfect fit to the data for each model (within the measurement errors of the Mauna Loa data when input with the annual anthropogenic emission and the annual temperature data).

I fail to understand how anything can be in “better agreement” than a perfect fit.

Richard

187. rgbatduke:

At May 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm you report:

Just for people that want to play — I wrote a small matlab program that implements bart’s coupled ODEs and found a set of parameters that at least qualitatively reproduces the kind of derivative tracking he describes. Grab it at:
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/bart.m
(It would probably run under octave for those with no matlab handy.) .

etc.

Excellent! Thankyou. Case closed.

Richard

188. rgbatduke says:

I do not even have to run the simulation to know what you will get out. y(1) will track y(2) plus the effect on y(1) due to k1*H, which will be approximately tau1*k1*H with a delay of about tau1 seconds.

I assume you mean “years”, not seconds. And yes, this is precisely what I mean. It is exactly what I was saying with my example involving fertilizer. In the steady state (the solution has a transient from nearly all initial states before settling down) the lag in H is completely unimportant in a generally smooth monotone increasing function, by the way. But you know that.

The point is — and we seem now to agree, do we not — that there exists ranges of parameter space that cannot easily be excluded on physical ground (certainly not in an offhand way by pointing at the graphs alone!) where H is responsible for a variable percentage of the total CO_2 gain from any given post-transient initial state to a given future, all of which lead to curves in which dCO_2/dt — rescaled and centered — almost perfectly tracks Delta T. The observation of the latter in real-world data does not, therefore, suffice in and of itself to conclude that ACO_2 has negligible impact on atmospheric CO_2 gain above any given baseline.

I mean, you can play with the simulation yourself or not as you please, but I’ve empirically found values of the parameters that let me crank up the fractional gain due to CO_2 to >>nearly<< whatever you like (at some point I'd have to work harder to rescale the curves automagically in order to be able to tell because of my lazy all-on-one plot) while still preserving. I've also already done a crude "version 2" of the code where I let H(t) = H_0 exp(kappa t) to demonstrate that yes, it is pretty easy to make the variation of C_0 a weak function of temperature (it is independent of C after all), and still pick up the nearly perfectly correlated dCO_2/d T.

The problem, I think, is the rescaling. Because you rescale and shift the scale of the derivative to fit on top of the delta T curve, you lose any information about relative fractions. Be that as it may, it is a simple fact that the assertion of the correlation alone is not sufficient, and your own model is ONE of the models that refute it. Richard argues — and I have no reason to doubt him — that this is one of MANY he has tested that work, and that all of them have the unfortunate multivariate problem that it is usually possible to find parametric phase volumes that reproduce the data within its uncertainties with ACO_2 a major, or minor fraction of the whole.

If you can come up with physical arguments that eliminate the parameter space regimes in question, good for you! I'd love it if you COULD prove your point. But that's WHY I'm going to be extra-damn tough on you until you do. By the time I accept your conclusion, I'd expect that everybody will have to accept your conclusion because you have a complete physical argument, backed by explicit pieces of evidence and a concrete physical model with actual, identified sources and sinks (which this is still far, far from being — this is a mathematical toy model good for demonstrating plausibility — which you have done — and little more).

Finally, as for the effect leading the cause problem — yes, I read your explanation. Read your own explanation again yourself. Read my remarks again. This is not a periodic system of equations, there are no “phase shifts of \pi/2” to account for. You’re on the wrong side of complex. Even with a periodic driving function like the one in my matlab code, the phase shift of dCO_2/dt relative to a partially periodic Delta T(t) driver must strictly be a lag, never ever a lead.

I will help you here. There is no plausible explanation for the effect leading the cause in a two component model with otherwise smooth inputs. No glib mathematical explanation will suffice, because as you yourself have noted, our universal experience in all of science is of causes preceding effects (and yes, I do teach physics and am aware of the fact that this is an entropic illusion and so on — none of it relevant here). If you show your graph to 100 physicists, 90 or more of them are going to circle the three or four points on it where effect egregiously precedes cause and instantly — and correctly — reject your assertion of sole cause. The others, when the problem is pointed out to them, will agree. That would be 100%. I cannot imagine you convincing one single person that you are correct in an unqualified manner while this feature of the data remains unexplained, and in my opinion the only possible explanation is that your argument is not correct, that there is at least one more degree of freedom you are ignoring with an external signal on it.

I’ve tried to point out how important a clue that this is — perhaps it is THE clue (since your real results ARE an interesting analysis of real measured data!) that would let us all unravel the mess. Let me put it to you as a specific question:

Is there a third parametric, time-dependent driver coupled to both dCO_2/dt and to Delta T in such a way that the latter to are strongly covariant but either one can lead or lag the other in time?

It might take four — something (perhaps at the level of random noise or chaotic noise, perhaps not) to explain why one one or the other leads — but without at least three I don’t offhand see any way for atmospheric CO_2 to accelerate ahead of the forcing that supposedly produces the acceleration.

First my car starts to speed up — then I hit the accelerator? I don’t think so.

rgb

189. rgbatduke:

Speaking of entropy, it is a statistical concept that Bart has abolished from his frame of reference through failure to reference his model to a statistical population. In Bart’s entropy-free frame of reference, there is no bar to the existence of an effect that precedes its cause.

190. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 28, 2012 at 1:00 am

You said “within the measurement errors of the Mauna Loa data”. That suggests you mean that it threads the bumps and wiggles, which you have arbitrarily labeled “measurement errors”. That is not an unqualified “perfect”. In fact, it is not perfect at all.

I know what you have to do to make it match dCO2/dt = alpha*(T-T0). I have used logic and a deep understanding of how such systems work to lay it out for you. You have to make the contribution from H negligible and the contribution from temperature overriding. Just run the exercise. You’ll be glad that you did.

rgbatduke says:
May 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

“,,,the lag in H is completely unimportant in a generally smooth monotone increasing function, by the way.”

Taking account of lags is absolutely key to replicating a time series which has to settle within a finite time frame.

“…where H is responsible for a variable percentage of the total CO_2 gain from any given post-transient initial state to a given future, all of which lead to curves in which dCO_2/dt — rescaled and centered — almost perfectly tracks Delta T.”

No, we do not agree on that at all. Matching the bumps and wiggles requires a particularly narrow range of contribution from the temperature dependent term with a particular level of smoothing. The level of smoothing required and the limits on how much H you can pump in then limit the maximum contribution from H to something negligible, I claim about 4-6%.

“I let H(t) = H_0 exp(kappa t) to demonstrate that…”

H is known and bounded. You cannot just specify it arbitrarily.

“Be that as it may, it is a simple fact that the assertion of the correlation alone is not sufficient, and your own model is ONE of the models that refute it”

It is. When you have taken account of all of the above, you will see it.

“This is not a periodic system of equations, there are no “phase shifts of \pi/2″ to account for”

Don’t go there, Doc. This is EE 301. I’ve explained it as best I can in this venue. Please have some professional courtesy and assume that I might know what I am talking about. If you do not, I am going to get mean.

Additionally, there is another rather important fact which I have left out: in the woodfortrees plot, I have averaged values by 24 months to average out the yearly cycling and reduce the noisy variation. The woodfortrees site automatically centers the average to get a zero phase response. That means that each point is an average of the 12 months before, and the 12 months after. Capiche?

191. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

Let me give you a hand. Here is a series of simulations which do exactly what I said they would do. Start at this plot and hit the “Next” button to step through the next 6 of them. I put in tau2 = infinity, tau1 = infinity, 10 years, 3 years, and 1 year. You will see that the human input becomes progressively more negligible, and the fine detail matches better and better.

192. Bart says:

Here is a new series of sim plots in which I corrected the 11 year cycle, made the temperature input follow a ramp, and plotted the CO2 derivative.

These show why I say the real world observed phase relationship bounds the time constant tau1 to a relatively small value, which constrains the human induced atmospheric concentration to be negligible.

193. rgbatduke says:

Speaking of entropy, it is a statistical concept that Bart has abolished from his frame of reference through failure to reference his model to a statistical population. In Bart’s entropy-free frame of reference, there is no bar to the existence of an effect that precedes its cause.

Yeah, but I can cope with that because I’m perfectly happy to transform e.g. H(t), k1(t), k2(2), tau1(t), tau2(t) into functions with at least parametric noise mentally (or in the model) after the fact. As I said, he’s written a toy model, and I just love toy models. That the toy model he proposes confounds his own conclusions by actually demonstrating that one CAN find parametric ranges with ACO_2 dominant on the gain and yet with a rescalable lagged correlation between dCO_2/dt(t) (effect) and Delta T(t) (non-H part of the driver) even for this model, and then there are more models…

Also, the toy itself does exhibit the right direction for causality — basically he chose the signs of the damping terms correctly so that T varies, C_0 exponentially relaxes to the new equilibrium point tau2*k2*Delta T, but with his clever choice that the relaxation time here is (much) longer than the timescale of secular variation of Delta T. No real problem with this, although neither is there any physical model or direct evidence presented from which k2 and tau2 can be set. But in the end, one can nearly ignore the -y(2)/tau2 term and set the derivative of C_0 to be k2*Delta T. Why? Why not? It’s a toy.

The first ODE then drives C towards a fixed point at:

C(t) = C_0(t) + k1*tau1*H

(where C_0(t) is now for all intents an purposes a fixed input function, since C_0 does not depend on C). Yes, C is constantly relaxing TOWARDS this — again satisfying causality just fine.

It does this quickly (the way he sets the parameters, to suit his purpose of showing that his model CAN produce the desired correlation), and at any rate needs to move it along faster than the C_0 relaxation, so C_0 remains tightly responsive to Delta T. However, it is also quite clear that if we replace H with a smooth monotone increasing H(t), C(t) is perfectly happy — for certain values of the parameters — to get most of its value from C_0(t), most of its value from k1*tau1*H(t), or anything in between. In all cases, as long as H(t) is smooth and boring (and hence contributes nothing but background, the wiggles in dC/dt will match wiggles in C_0 which will match wiggles in Delta T.

rgb

194. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 28, 2012 at 2:51 pm

“That the toy model he proposes confounds his own conclusions by actually demonstrating that one CAN find parametric ranges with ACO_2 dominant on the gain and yet with a rescalable lagged correlation between dCO_2/dt(t) (effect) and Delta T(t) (non-H part of the driver) even for this model, and then there are more models…”

What a stupid thing for you to say. Well, same to you, buddy. Stay clueless. Over and out.

195. Bart:

At May 28, 2012 at 11:00 am you say to me:

You said “within the measurement errors of the Mauna Loa data”. That suggests you mean that it threads the bumps and wiggles, which you have arbitrarily labeled “measurement errors”. That is not an unqualified “perfect”. In fact, it is not perfect at all.

No!
It means to within an accuracy of +/-0.2 ppm of the maximum monthly value of CO2 recorded at Mauna Loa each year. It is not an arbitrary choice.

For information on why that is the stated measurement error see e.g.

Of course. you are welcome to dispute the stated measurement error (I think it is larger than stated) but that is what the compilers of the Mauna Loa data claim so that was the ‘target’ we chose for the fit. And to within +/-0.2 ppm, we obtained a perfect fit for each annual datum using each model.

Richard

196. Bart says:

“And to within +/-0.2 ppm, we obtained a perfect fit for each annual datum using each model.”

For crying out loud, +/- 0.2 ppm in a month is BIG! Show me the derivative! Oh, you can’t. Well, then, I guess we have reached the end of the road.

This is a really simple problem. I am tired of holding your hands showing how these things work and getting ignorant abuse in return. Believe what you want. Eventually, you will learn that I am correct. Frankly, I don’t give a damn.

197. Bart says:

No wonder this is such a monumental fiasco in the making. Even those smart enough to be leery of the orthodoxy are too smug about things they haven’t studied in adequate detail to make broad, sweeping statements of omniscience. I am so sick of this whole godammed farce. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right… Ei yi yi…

198. rgbatduke:

All 6 of our models assume the system is moving towards an equilibrium which it never achieves.

There are three basic models which each assumes a different process dominates the behaviour of the carbon cycle.
* One is Ahlbeck’s model which assumes ocean/atmosphere exchange dominates the system.
* Another is a power equation (of the kind often used in process engineering) which assumes several different processes determine the flow into the sinks.
* The third is derived from biology, or rather biochemistry, because we were mindful that the absorption of CO2 takes place at least partly in the biosphere (the theory behind enzyme kinetics says the surface of an enzyme is continuously in equilibrium with its substrate and that a part of the substrate at the enzyme surface – its active site – will be digested to a product).

These models can each be adjusted to obtain a fit with the Mauna Loa data.

Then the anthropogenic emission for each year was added as an input to each basic model to obtain three more models (thus obtaining a total of 6 models).

The three “anthropogenic input” models can also be adjusted to obtain a fit with the Mauna Loa data.

We conclude that the assumption of assuming the system is moving towards an equilibrium at an unknown rate permits almost any model with at least two variables to fit the data. Indeed, I was surprised by how easy it was to tune each model to get an accurate fit when it is assumed there are delays in the system and little immediate response to temperature and/or the anthropogenic input.

Simply, our models show the available data can indicate anything one wants and, therefore, cannot indicate anything specific. This confirms your statement saying

It isn’t enough to show that your very simple model works, you need to show that alternative models do NOT work, AND — and this is a very important and — you have to come up with a concrete physical model, not just point out a coincidence in the data.

Richard

199. Bart:

At May 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm you say to me:

I am tired of holding your hands showing how these things work and getting ignorant abuse in return.

I apologise for any “abuse” I have given you. It was not my intention.

It seems I have unwiittingly used imperfect language on another thread today so I am distressed to learn that I have also abused you without knowing it. Please be assured that it was not intentional.

Richard

200. rgbatduke says:

I did read it, although it was after I posted — I spent a fair amount of MY holiday morning replying to you as well. Nobody holding a gun to either of our heads, right?

You persist in missing what I’m saying. I agree that your solution works! But I am also saying that I have programmed your equations into matlab — I can’t make head or tails of your using a circuit diagram analyzer (that in any event fails to run on my system) as an ODE solver, but I guess we use the tools we know. When I want to solve ODEs, I just use e.g. RKF45 or any of a half-dozen other general purpose adaptive ODE solvers, I don’t try to think up an analog circuit that has similar derivatives.

Using this, I run your equations. Running your equations, I can reproduce a scaled correlation between the derivative and delta at least as good as the actual data for a wide range of parameter choices. Some of those choices allow for H(t) to be responsible for signficant gain over C_0 alone.

As far as I can tell, you don’t know what C_0 is or should be, what sets it, how it varies, or the timescale of variation — or at least, if you know, I have yet to see it since you — again, although I have indeed read your replies, perhaps I missed it — have yet to tell me what it is, precisely, that acts as a CO_2 reservoir that is a source/sink that sets the baseline, what its time constants are, and so on. So far, you have just established by fiat that dC_0/dt = k2 Delta T compared to some unknown baseline T_0 and some equally unknown baseline C_0(T_0) — perhaps even unknowable given a relaxation time of infinity or “very long”.

From this I conclude — again — not that your conclusion is wrong, but that it is not proven. You say “you can’t reproduce the data correlation with H(t) as a significant input compared to C_0”. I say that I have done so, and that if you download octave and run the code I posted, you can too. Hence the data correlation alone is not a smoking gun. You can say after the fact that there are physical grounds for excluding the solution range that I’ve discovered that works, and while it still won’t make the data correlation alone a smoking gun, it will better support the hypothesis.

If you can actually stop discussing electrical circuits for a moment and think concretely instead of metaphorically, perhaps you can actually turn the toy model into a model model, one with a physical basis and at least an estimate (ideally evidence based) for each term, rate, coupling and so on. Then instead of a toy model, you might have a theory for the CO_2 cycle. That theory would (presumably) be falsifiable — it might do things like make new predictions that can be checked, or people could criticize and argue about whether or not your proposed physical model is in fact well-justified.

In the meantime, you obviously think that you are right. I obviously remain unconvinced.

I close with two remarks, and then — having survived a near-death experience last week (long story, but we are all busy and giving time to discuss this, and for me time is still feeling very precious indeed) and recovered to where I can get about pretty well again, I’m off to teach physics for a few hours to my summer students before hooking up to my IV for more antibiotics. So I may not come back to a discussion where little progress is still being made, although I do admit that it has been most informative. Bear in mind that while I remain unconvinced that you are right because of the unanswered questions, I do at this point think it is more likely that you may turn out to be right when they are answered. I merely await the answers.

The two remarks are — how to put this in EE terms that you will grok — if you hit an RC circuit with a square wave pulse, the response (capacitor potential/charge) strictly lags the pulse. After all, how can its charge/voltage go up before the current that charges it is available?

I’m not going to tediously work through LC circuits (that do oscillate) or driven LRC circuits (where one can have a phase angle relative to a periodic driver — if you are a practicing EE you probably understand that better than I do, although I do teach all that stuff literally twice a year to engineering students and sundry undergrads and am not exactly ignorant of ODEs and PDEs as I teach graduate E&M and Quantum and mathematical physics from time to time. Am I perfect or too cool there to be wrong? Absolutely not, but neither is it safe to assume that I’m stupid and don’t understand ODEs.

I do not see anything whatsoever in the system of equation you posted and that I implemented in matlab that could possibly permit dCO_2/dt to lead a secular change in Delta T. If it could, I presume that we both agree that it would be a problem, an error, not a feature. So I still have no idea why you are trying to assert that it is “OK” somehow for CO_2 concentration to accelerate in front of the Delta T that is presumably its cause.

Second, because I do read what you write — and indeed looked at the woods for trees graphs in the generator and made a few alternative versions of them on my own at the very beginning of this sub-thread — I was aware and am reminded of the sliding window average, or averages(?), of the data.

If it is averages plural, so both have the same window, the problem most likely persists. Especially when one has a strong CO_2 acceleration at least 6 months before the causal Delta T in similarly windowed curves. But I agree, with so short a baseline it may be an artifact of the averaging process. If anything, it points in the need to run more detailed versions of your ODEs where at least some sources of short-timescale noise are present on both Delta T and H(t) or k1(t) or k2(2) or whereever to try to replicate the visible noise in the raw data, and then see if sliding window averages are likely to make CO_2 pre-accelerate the Delta T driver. In the meantime, you aren’t even handwaving this problem away.

The fact is that neither of us knows why the derivative of CO_2 pre-accelerates compared to the Delta T signal in the processed data, in some cases rather remarkably. Your model will not reproduce this, I think, ever, but at the very least it would require some very peculiar noise or additional physics to explain — perhaps the CO_2 derivative is driven by just one feature of the surface temperature, ENSO temperatures for example, that can sometimes precede global temperatures by some lag (requiring a more complex model to get right) But this is data, so (within some unstated error) this is presumably what nature actually did, and until it is explained within whatever model you propose it is an inconsistency that will reach and an slap you in the face every time you try to argue that Delta T causes acceleration of CO_2 concentration — sometimes even before Delta T itself changes.

rgb

201. Bart says:

rgbatduke says:
May 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm

“Some of those choices allow for H(t) to be responsible for signficant gain over C_0 alone. “

NO THEY DO NOT. You haven’t READ WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN!!!!!!!!! Or, if you have, you have read selectively and glossed over the details you did not get, and not had the courtesy to ask me to help you understand, just gone straight to issuing pompous proclamations.

H(t) has NONE OF THE FINE DETAIL of the temperature series. H(t) IS KNOWN!!!! You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!!

Let me reiterate that: You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!! You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!! You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!! You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!! You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!! You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!! You CANNOT JUST PICK AND CHOOSE ANY H(t) YOU WANT!!!!!!

To reproduce the fine detail, YOU MUST HAVE A BANDWIDTH WHICH ALLOWS IT THROUGH from the temperature forcing!!!! And, that bandwidth DISALLOWS human forcing as a significant contributor.

I showed you that in the simulations here, and here.

You appear to understand very little about filtering theory. You appear to have little understanding of the role of bandwidth. You and Richard both appear unable to comprehend that my case is built on the fine detail – you just ignore it, and Richard thinks he can shrug it off as noise.

You have been VERY RUDE, and I am fed up. I have told you everything you need to understand the issue. There is ZERO doubt about this: I have proved my case for anyone well versed in the requisite technical knowledge, whether you or Richard understand it or not.

202. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

“The three “anthropogenic input” models can also be adjusted to obtain a fit with the Mauna Loa data.”

Not in the FINE DETAIL. You have stated as much plainly when you specified the error bars. Precisely what scale do you see in this plot?

203. Carbon500 says:

There are two things which gnaw at me about AGW.
Firstly, as far as I know no-one since John Tyndall has formally set up a proper experiment to assess the impact of of CO2 in a true lab model – ie real gases and real water vapour at known concentrations and in a professional laboratory, not equations in a computer or on paper.
This wouldn’t be a true mimic of the atmosphere of course, but the maybe we’d have a better idea as to the real effects of CO2. I would have thought it essential to do this. Neither the Met Office nor the CDIAC can point me to such a paper, simply dismissing my query with ‘the physics is well known’.
Secondly, the ‘hockey stick’. Using proxy data, this purports to show anomalies relative to 1961 to 1990 within a fraction of a degree going back over a thousand years. This strikes me as technically implausible, to say the least. I’ve read Montford’s ‘Hockey Stick Illusion’.
I would appreciate any comments on both the above.

204. Bart:

At May 28, 2012 at 11:38 pm you quote my saying:

“The three “anthropogenic input” models can also be adjusted to obtain a fit with the Mauna Loa data.”

Not in the FINE DETAIL. You have stated as much plainly when you specified the error bars. Precisely what scale do you see in this plot?

There is no “FINE DETAIL” to be seen at resolution better than the “error bars”: there is only meaningless random variation.

You state your misunderstanding when you say “[I] specified the error bars”.
No, nobody is entitled to decree “error bars”:
1. nature determined the accuracy of the data,
2. the Mauna Loa Laboratory (MLL) assessed what nature determined, and
3. I (with my co-authors) accepted what MLL assessed.

Richard

205. rgbatduke:

Clearly, at present your health is by far the most important concern which you – and any interacting with you – should have.

Please take care of yourself. Take every care to not over exert yourself: only help us here on WUWT if that gives you a distracting pleasure.

You are in my thoughts and I hope you are not offended that you are in my prayers.

Richard

206. NickB. says:

Gail (and Smokey),
Thanks for the replies. Like I said, it’s been a while (a couple of years) since I’ve been out here and I have obviously been missing out on some interesting discussions.

Best Regards,
-NickB.

207. Gail Combs says:

Carbon500 says:
May 29, 2012 at 12:41 am

…. Using proxy data, this purports to show anomalies relative to 1961 to 1990 within a fraction of a degree going back over a thousand years. This strikes me as technically implausible, to say the least. I’ve read Montford’s ‘Hockey Stick Illusion’.
I would appreciate any comments on both the above.
_________________________________________
You might want to take a look at AJ Strata’s (NASA Engineer) Error analysis: http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11420

208. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 29, 2012 at 2:19 am

“There is no “FINE DETAIL” to be seen at resolution better than the “error bars”: there is only meaningless random variation.”

Says who? What tests were done? What correlations are involved? Can be be explained by observations?

Yes. It’s right there. Dismissing it as “error” is merely a way of packing it away because nobody knew how to explain it. It’s the fine detail of the temperature dependence. And, it shows that the CO2 level is temperature driven.

richardscourtney says:
May 29, 2012 at 3:29 am

I hope you are feeling better, too, Robert. It is not my intent to be churlish in such a situation. But, I must point out the facts.

209. Bart:

At May 29, 2012 at 9:06 am you quote me having said

“There is no “FINE DETAIL” to be seen at resolution better than the “error bars”: there is only meaningless random variation.”

Says who? What tests were done? What correlations are involved? Can be be explained by observations?

The definition of measurement error says that.
If two values differ by less than the measurement error then they are not discernibly different (i.e. they are ‘the same’ within the measurement error). And any data with values between those two data are also ‘the same’. In other words, each datum within the measurement error has ‘the same’ value as every other datum within the measurement error.

Hence, for data that differ by less than the measurement error
* any discerned correlations are spurious
and
* the explanation of those observations is that they are not discernibly different from each other.

However, one can statistically process a set of such data to obtain e.g. a mean (but then one needs to obtain an RMS error for the mean).

This is very basic measurement theory which I am surprised you do not know.

Richard

210. rgbatduke says:

I hope you are feeling better, too, Robert. It is not my intent to be churlish in such a situation. But, I must point out the facts.
richardscourtney says:

Thank you both (Bart and Richard) for your kind thoughts. I discovered that a sudden onset sore throat can actually be life threatening (when it turns out to be caused by a deep-tissue infection in your throat — the hard way, one that left me intubated post-emergency surgery for two days and in the hospital for two more. Intubation sucks. But hey, I lived, and am about to do my last dose of IV antibiotics and go on orals only. I’ve been back to work (teaching) for almost a week at this point, although I lectured in a whisper for the first few days.

And Bart, I appreciate that you feel the need to point out facts as you see them, and don’t interpret your passion as churlishness. I have very thick skin, and like Honey Badger, in the end I just don’t care (or at least, not that much). At this point we’ve (I suspect) communicated to each other what we have to say, and aren’t making much progress, so it is probably time to give the topic a rest. In any event, I’m going back to doing recitation for the first time in two weeks this afternoon and relieve my poor TA from having to run the whole thing herself, and will have less time for a variety of reasons to spend on WUWT quite outside of that, as well. Entrepreneurial stuff that got blown off for the last couple of weeks.

So pardon me gentlemen, if I retire from the debate for at least the time being. Perhaps if/when I have time to return to the matlab code and fancy it up a bit I may start a top post on the subject and we can resume.

rgb

211. Carbon500 says:

Gail Combs:
‘You might want to take a look at AJ Strata’s (NASA Engineer) Error analysis:’

212. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

“The definition of measurement error says that.”

No, that is not it at all. Measurement “error” is everything in the residual that you cannot account for. If the measurement error is uncorrelated (white noise), then and only then have you have extracted all of the information out of the data which can be obtained. This is why there are statistical tests for whiteness. I am surprised you do not know this.

This measurement error, at the level you are claiming, is far from white. All you have to do is look at the plot. The correlations which exist below the level at which you are cutting off are obvious. They are what links the temperature to the CO2 level. No wonder you are adrift, when you have arbitrarily excluded from consideration the mother lode of information contained in these data.

213. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 29, 2012 at 2:19 am

“No, nobody is entitled to decree “error bars”:

Except, apparently, MLL.

214. Bart:

Your posts at May 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm and May 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm are silly. I will try to explain the matter.

Consider a barometer graduated in tenths of a p.s.i. but only calibrated to whole p.s.i. It can be read to tenths of a p.s.i. but is only accurate to p.s.i..

The barometer may vary, for example, in response to temperature change. But that variation is not relevant if it is never greater than one p.s.i. because the barometer is only calibrated to one p.s.i..

However, the barometer it can be read to a tenth of a p.s.i.. Measurements of tenths of a p.s.i. can be recorded but they are only accurate to +/- 1 p.s.i. (i.e. the measurement error).

Analysing the pressure changes at better than the measurement accuracy of one p.s.i. is very misleading. This is because variations of indicated pressure less than one p.s.i. may be an effect of temperature change (n.b. not an indication of pressure change).

In this case, temperature is a variable affecting the values of the data within the measurement error.

Now consider the Mauna Loa data.

The Mauna Loa data contains many possible – both known and unknown – variables that affect the values of the data within the determined measurement errors. Those variables include variations in the measurement method.

The Mauna Loa data are accurate to +/-0.2ppm. So, any variations less than +/-0.2ppm are meaningless: they could be indicating variations in the measurement procedure (e.g. whether or not the coffee-maker was being used in the lab.).

Richard

215. Bart says:

Richard – Why to you continue to refuse the evidence right before your eyes?

You are telling me the agreement between the temperature and CO2 rate of change in this plot is random happenstance?

You are imputing God-like powers to MLL. They don’t know how accurate their measurements are. They just know the level down to which it no longer behaves as they expect. But, we do know why – it is because of the temperature correlation.

Even if you have an instrument which is actually quantized, so that you actually cannot instantaneously see below a particular level, you can still get resolution below that level over time when the signal you are looking for is low frequency and quantization levels are pseudo-randomly traversed. Electrical engineers do it all the time.

So, why don’t you just do like I ask, and try looking at your CO2 derivatives, and see how well they correlate with the temperature?

216. Bart:

I am not claiming any “powers” (deific or otherwise).

I merely try to explain very basic measurement theory. Press your case if you like but, as Robert tried to explain to you, your arguments will not gain traction if you do not consider fundamental empirical procedures.

I don’t know what your plot indicates and nor do you. I am not claiming the apparent “relationship” is “random happenstance”. I am stating that it is not possible to know what it is. Please explain the “powers” you think you have which enable you to claim the relationship you have detected is not induced by the measurement procedure.

And please note the providers of the MLL data you are analysing have stated a measurement accuracy which says they do not trust the data to have the resolution your plot analyses. That is the evidence before our eyes which you are ignoring but I am not.

Richard

217. Bart says:

“Electrical engineers do it all the time.”

Anticipating that you might not believe it, I whipped this up to show you. In the top box, the original signal is reconstructed from the quantized data and the two series lie on top of each other.

218. Bart says:

“So, why don’t you just do like I ask, and try looking at your CO2 derivatives, and see how well they correlate with the temperature?”

Use a running average filter or a series of them to get the noise down if the data are too variable to see it. You may note that, in the woodfortrees plot, I had the gadget apply a 24 month running average to the data. A non-causal running average, mind you – something Robert has not yet managed to wrap his head around. The delay of an average is half the width of the average, so you will have to slide the data up by that amount to remain current.

219. Bart says:

richardscourtney says:
May 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm

“I merely try to explain very basic measurement theory. Press your case if you like but, as Robert tried to explain to you, your arguments will not gain traction if you do not consider fundamental empirical procedures.”

Don’t explain it. You do not understand it. I do. I use it every single day of my life. And, my products work. I’m what you’d call on the advanced level.

“I don’t know what your plot indicates and nor do you.”

I really do.

“And please note the providers of the MLL data you are analysing have stated a measurement accuracy which says they do not trust the data to have the resolution your plot analyses. That is the evidence before our eyes which you are ignoring but I am not.”

Jeez, Richard. It’s only evidence that they are wrong. How can you not see this? This is data. What they say is just their say-so. It’s like they’re saying, “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes,” and you are choosing them. Are you listening to yourself?

I’m really not kidding or blustering here. I do this stuff every day. You can only imagine my frustration if you imagine yourself trying, say, to explain about the principles of powered flight to a 19th century layman.

Well, I’m obviously not going to break you out of your comfortable straightjacket. We’ll take it up another day, no doubt.

220. Bart:

I see no purpose in my providing further replies. I have said what I said and I stand by every word. I fail to see any point you have made which I have not answered.

As you say, I am in a “straightjacket” but it is not “comfortable”. It is called the ‘scientific method’.

I would be delighted to learn that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic, is natural or is some quantified combination of the two. Unfortunately, my “straightjacket” prevents me from knowing that.

Richard

221. richardcourtney (May 30, 2012 at 5:34 am):

A critique of Bart’s argument can be organized around its premise of causality. Bart argues that because the CO2 time series lags the surface temperature time series a rise in the CO2 concentration cannot cause a rise in the surface temperature, for the cause of an effect must precede this effect rather than following it.

Bart’s argument implicitly reduces the climate system to cause and effect relationships. Under the proposition called “reductionism” every phenomenon can be reduced to relationships between causes and effects but reductionism is known to be false proposition. With the falsification of reductionism, we are left with the possibility that conditions on the preceeding CO2 concentration time series might provide information about the subsequent evolution of the surface temperature time series.

Warmists argue that a rise in the CO2 concentration causes a rise in the surface temperature. Bart argues that a rise in the CO2 concentration cannot cause a rise in the surface temperature. Both arguments are flawed by the premise in them that the climate system can be reduced to cause and effect relationships. There is no reason to believe that it can.

222. Terry Oldberg:

Thankyou for your comment at May 30, 2012 at 10:17 am which is directed at me.

Richard

223. Bart says:

Terry Oldberg says:
May 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

“Bart argues that a rise in the CO2 concentration cannot cause a rise in the surface temperature.”

Never said that anywhere. What I argued is that the effect of CO2 on temperature is observably negligible in the last 54 years. You are just casting about for an excuse to ignore what is in front of your eyes.

richardscourtney says:
May 30, 2012 at 5:34 am

“It is called the ‘scientific method’.”

Puh-leeze. It’s called being hidebound and unwilling to accept that your education is incomplete.

• Bart:

I stand corrected on the specifics of your argument. If I’m not mistaken, this argument incorporates reductionism as a premise. This premise is false and in this way your argument fails.

224. michael hart says:

Bart, you haven’t wasted any time on this thread. It’s very thought provoking. I’m still digesting your comments, and the criticisms of Richard Courtney, Robert Brown [and others] which seem prudent.

What you say is certainly consistent with some less mathematical thoughts I have had about the CO2 flux, specifically the seasonal variations. The maximal rate of CO2 increase always seems to occur during the coldest months of the Northern hemisphere. I find it difficult to believe this is due to the recycling of carbon dioxide that has been sequestered by photosynthesis [as I am led to believe, reading some commonly proclaimed explanations].

Both processes rely on biological activity, which should be minimal during the winter months, so it suggests other processes account for the bulk of the flux. Thermal cycling obviously comes to mind, not least that there is a lot of water [ocean AND land] that is freezing during this period, simultaneously expelling it’s dissolved CO2 content, while the Southern oceans are warming.

Perhaps this is already well described in the literature, but I’m still catching up on this.

225. Bart says:

michael hart says:
May 31, 2012 at 7:48 am

Thanks, Michael. The criticisms Robert and Richard have maintained really are either trivial or outright wrong. Electrical engineers have devised all sorts of ingenious means for extracting information from noisy data, and have been doing it for many decades. If we were not extremely successful at it, you would not be using your computer or cell phone or any other of your marvelous electronic gadgets.

For those of us in communications or controls, it’s our whole raison d’etre. People in climate science or physics… not so much. Richard and Robert have offered words. I have explained in detail, and offered numerical simulations to show behavior consistent with what I have stated.

Regarding seasonal fluxes, I have seen many people calculate the amplitude of the measurements, compare it to annual temperature variations, derive a sensitivity, and proclaim that, that sensitivity is much too small to account for the long term variation. But, such an analysis is naive, and neglects the fact that the system responds as a low pass filter (as in this plot, as an example of a low pass filter response), attenuating the response at higher frequencies, e.g., at a cycle rate of once per year. The gain of the response can rise dramatically for very low frequency (e.g., a ramp or quadratic) inputs.

Unfortunately, much of what is considered “known” actually falls under the heading of “narrative”. That is, it is an explanation which, on a superficial level, appears to be consistent with the known facts, and some group agreed it was plausible, and the idea suddenly leaped into the realm of “established fact”. It has become very difficult to separate what is actually proven, and what is merely surmise.