Joe Romm demonstrates himself to be an angry know-nothing in his attack on Matt Ridley’s WSJ essay – Ridley responds

Joseph Romm, 2007

Joseph Romm, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest post by Matt Ridley

Joe Romm of ThinkProgress described my Wall Street Journal op-ed as:

riddled with basic math and science errors

Yet he fails to find a single basic math or science error in my piece.

He says I :

can’t do simple math

…and then fails to produce a single example of my failing to do simple math.

He says I apparently don’t know the difference between water vapor and clouds. He produces no evidence for this absurd claim, which is wrong. Water vapor is a gas; clouds are droplets of liquid water that condense from water vapor. I do know the difference.

He quotes a scientist as saying

it is very clear water vapor … is an amplifying effect. It is a very strong warmer for the climate.

I agree. My piece states:

water vapor itself is a greenhouse gas.

So there is no confusion there. At least not on my part.

However, I do discuss the possibility that clouds, formed from water vapor, either amplify or damp warming – and nobody at this stage knows which. This is the point that my physicist informant was making: the consequence of increased temperatures and water vapor in the atmosphere may be changes in clouds that have a cooling effect. You will find few who disagree with this. As the IPCC AR4 said:

Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty.

Joe Romm disagrees with this consensus, saying

The net radiative feedback due to all cloud types is likely positive.

He gives no backing for this dogmatic conclusion. By contrast, Professor Judith Curry of Georgia Tech says:

The key point is this.  The cloud forcing values are derived from climate models; we have already seen that climate models have some fundamental problems in how clouds are treated (e.g. aerosol-cloud interactions, moist thermodynamics).  So, climate model derived values of cloud forcing should be taken with a grain of salt.  Empirically based determinations of cloud forcing are needed.  At AGU, I spoke with a scientist that has completed such a study, with the paper almost ready for submission.  Punchline:  negative cloud feedback.

Joe Romm quotes Robert Kaufman as saying

“I know of no evidence that would suggest that the temperature effect of sulfur emissions are small.”

My piece never claimed that aerosols arising from sulfur emissions had a small effect, however as Nic Lewis points out, in the draft AR5 report,

Table 8.7 shows that the best estimate for total aerosol RF (RFari+aci) has fallen from −1.2 W/m² to −0.7 W/m² since AR4, largely due to a reduction in RFaci, the uncertainty band for which has also been hugely reduced. It gives a higher figure, −0.9 W/m², for AFari+aci. However, −0.9 W/m² is not what the observations indicate: it is a composite of observational, GCM-simulation/aerosol model derived, and inverse estimates.”

With regard to the rate of ocean heat absorption, which I wrote was fairly modest, Joe Romm quotes Kevin Trenberth as writing:

“On the contrary there is now very good evidence that a lot of heat is going into the deep ocean in unprecedented ways…”

and then provides a link to an article citing a study estimating the Earth’s current heat absorption as 0.5 W/ m². So what “fairly modest” figure does Nic Lewis use? Actually slightly higher: 0.52 W/m²!

Romm then says:

Ridley apparently doesn’t have the first clue what the climate sensitivity means

This is not true. I define sensitivity clearly as the temperature change for a doubling of CO2. I am not talking about the Transient Climate Response, which relates to temperature change only over a 70 year period. There is no confusion at my end.

Romm then says that

Schlesinger notes that an aggressive program of carbon mitigation can limit warming to 2°C and avoid the worst impacts

and that

“It is worth pointing out that there is a healthy debate about Schlesinger’s low estimate”.

So maybe there is some confusion at Romm’s end about what Schlesinger concludes. This is what his paper says (in “Causes of the Global Warming Observed since the 19th Century” in Atmospheric and Climate Science 2012) –

“Additionally, our estimates of climate sensitivity using our SCM and the four instrumental temperature records range from about 1.5 ̊C to 2.0 ̊C. These are on the low end of the estimates in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. So, while we find that most of the observed warming is due to human emissions of LLGHGs, future warming based on these estimations will grow more slowly compared to that under the IPCC’s “likely” range of climate sensitivity, from 2.0 ̊C to 4.5 ̊C.”

Many other recent papers have come to similar conclusions: For example, Schmittner et al. in Science Dec. 11, 2011 URL:

Combining extensive sea and land surface temperature reconstructions from the Last Glacial Maximum with climate model simulations, we estimate a lower median (2.3 K) and reduced uncertainty (1.7 to 2.6 K as the 66% probability range, which can be widened using alternate assumptions or data subsets). Assuming that paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future, as predicted by our model, these results imply a lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought.

Meanwhile for transient climate response, similar low estimates are also now being made. See for example Gillett et al.’s 2012 article “Improved constraints on 21st-century warming derived using 160 years of temperature observations” in Geophysical Research Letters:

Our analysis also leads to a relatively low and tightly-constrained estimate of Transient Climate Response of 1.3–1.8°C, and relatively low projections of 21st-century warming under the Representative Concentration Pathways.

Or Padilla et al.’s 2011 article  “Probabilistic estimated of transient climate sensitivity subject to uncertainty in forcing and natural variability” in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Association:

For uncertainty assumptions best supported by global surface temperature data up to the present time, this paper finds a most likely present-day estimate of the transient climate sensitivity to be 1.6 K, with 90% confidence the response will fall between 1.3 and 2.6 K, and it is estimated that this interval may be 45% smaller by the year 2030. The authors calculate that emissions levels equivalent to forcing of less than 475 ppmv CO2 concentration are needed to ensure that the transient temperature response will not exceed 2 K with 95% confidence.

Mr Romm seems confused about methane outgassing feedbacks, arguing that even if climate sensitivity is low, these may dominate. Suffice to say that in this he has drifted a long way from the consensus.

Mr Romm seems determined to rule out even the possibility of low climate sensitivity in the teeth of strong evidence. I can see why he wishes to do so, his job depending on there being a dangerous future. I do not understand where he gets his certainty.

Finally, Mr Romm throws the term “anti-science” at me, again with no evidence. I cited peer reviewed papers and made the scientific argument that the latest data be considered in estimating sensitivity. That is pro science. What is anti-science is to make false accusations and try to shut down legitimate debate.

Hard working people all over the world are now risking their lives as well as their wallets for the consequences of current climate policy (see Indur Goklany’s paper “Could biofuel policies increase death and disease in developing countries?”). They have a right to ask that those who determine the science behind such policies are open-minded. On the evidence of Mr. Romm’s astonishing outburst, my doubts about this are growing.

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

Added by Anthony: Regarding Mr. Romm’s unsubstantiated methane claims, maybe he should look at this IPCC graph which shows methane observations in the atmosphere and models diverging:

IPCC_AR5_draft_fig1-7_methane

Full writeup here

The writing style of Romm is pretty normal angry fare for him, though in this case he’s added some extra levels of angry bloviation, and it suggests Mr. Ridley is right over the target when Romm shoots that much flak. It also should be noted that Mr. Romm is a paid political operative for the Center for American Progress.

As such, he deals in political hit pieces catering to “low information” political acolytes, whereas Mr. Ridley deals in facts. Romm is so fearful of facts he doesn’t even allow readers to judge for themselves, as there is no link to Ridley’s article in his hit piece.

Also worth reading is Nic Lewis’ supplement to Ridley’s original WSJ essay, here– Anthony

Added: In comments below “the duke” writes:

Unfortunately, people like Joe Romm don’t debate. They publish posts that deliberately distort clear meanings and precise statements, after which they pontificate foolishly and then go hide behind the barricades of their websites, which either don’t allow comments or censor them if they are heretical to faith-based alarmism.

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Thanks, Matt, your excellent article has risen some zombies!

theduke

My sympathies to Matt Ridley for having to respond to such disingenuous drivel. I just posted the following at Bishop Hill:
Unfortunately, people like Joe Romm don’t debate. They publish posts that deliberately distort clear meanings and precise statements, after which they pontificate foolishly and then go hide behind the barricades of their websites, which either don’t allow comments or censor them if they are heretical to faith-based alarmism.

Matt, fret not. As a Warmista, Romm believes that a cause can occur after its effect (cf. http://manfredmudelsee.com/publ/pdf/The_phase_relations_among_atmospheric_CO2_content_temperature_and_global_ice_volume_over_the_past_420_ka.pdf). He is a devotee of voodoo, not science.

Camburn

Mr. Ridley has clearly exposed Mr. Romm as another case of Skeptical Science Syndrome.
Thankfully, this is not very contagious. The cure involves hot packs, exposure to sunlight, and a genteel tone in therapy.

Ed Reid

“Anti-science” is one of Romm’s favorite ad hominem attacks, along with “climate zombies” and the now widely shunned “deniers”. The combination with argument from (selective) authority is hardly new either. Just shows what you can accomplish with a PhD in polemics. 🙂

According to ALL CLASSIC meteorology work, water vapor is a NET UPFLUX AGENT. Clouds are BLACK BODY ABSORBERS. (For IR from the surface out.) They are REFLECTORS for incoming SHORTWAVE. Thus their NET BALANCE depends, like good house buying…on LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION ! (Time and space distribution.)
Look, this Joel Romm (or whatever) has always been a mockable figure. But I leave that to Lord MOCKton..
I just remind you MATT – “Wrestling with pigs…” (Come on, you know….wrestle with a pig in mud…you get dirty, the pig likes it!)

Bob Koss

[fixed, thanks – mod]
Romm’s shrilly inaccurate diatribes are good PR for the skeptic side. I wonder if big oil is slipping him some funds on the side.

Chuck

So the more actual data that is taken and analyzed, the lower we find out climate sensitivity is. This should be no surprise. When you step back and look at the big picture of Earth’s long term climate history, there are no periods of runaway warming despite periods with CO2 levels that far exceed anything we have today or expect to have in the future. This alone tells you that feedbacks in climate system have to be net negative. To believe otherwise is just that…. a belief.

Gail Combs

Thank You Mr. Ridley,
I am so happy you wrote that piece for the WSJ. It is nice to know at least some scientific fact is finally worming its way through the barricades of the ‘Climate War’
Yes ‘Climate War’ that is the newest catchphrase from the front lines at Bloomberg.

…an a new, nimbler, distributed climate diplomacy might arise capable of tackling this global challenge piece by piece. We hope so. Last-minute brinksmanship won’t work with climate change: Climate “war” has already begun.

Hat tip to Pat for finding that bit of propaganda.
Joe Romm of course is nothing but another Walter Duranty .

Phillip Bratby

Romm has responded at Bishop Hill

Sean

Joe Romm seems to be a fan a publishing libel. Someone should sue him.

Bob Koss says: December 22, 2012 at 8:28 am: Romm’s shrilly inaccurate diatribes are good PR for the skeptic side. I wonder if big oil is slipping him some funds on the side.
Hmmmm yeees I like it. If there are plenty fake sceptic sites, why not fake warmist sites? Any spy novel fan would appreciate all the smoke and mirrors. If it weren’t for the trouble.

commieBob

Max Hugoson says:
December 22, 2012 at 8:11 am

“Wrestling with pigs…”

The people who try to rise above the fray often cede the competition to their enemies. The mud slingers get to paint their victims the way they want them painted. If the victims don’t hit back early and hard, the public only sees the mud.
On the other hand:
There are Teflon politicians. Nothing sticks to them. When they are accused of something, it seems like they don’t even respond to it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teflon_(nickname)
Both approaches have their place if you know what you’re doing.

Camburn

I just read through the comments at Romm’s blog thing. Could we invite those folks to a convention and administer the cure to Skeptical Science Syndrome? I have never observed such a gathering of afflicted people. It is shameful that a grant has not been awarded to study this odd phenomenon. To think that a lack of continued warming results in the spread of this disease, I am not sure there is enough fossil fuel left to combat this.
Awwwwwww……the perils of life.

Jack O'Fall

I can prove that climate is really sensitive to changes in only 4 words:
A Lack Of Aliens!
All projections show that there should be a universe full of alien life on other habitable planets, but we can’t find them. Therefore, they don’t exist.
The only possible conclusion is that the ‘goldilocks’ zone is non-existent b/c the climate in ALL worlds is extremely sensitive and is prone to swinging to snowball or scorched and then staying there. Thus, no life can develop over the periods required, and the universe is empty of life.
Fortunately, we have managed to balance our climate (like balancing a bowling ball on top of another bowling ball) for the last 400 million years against these odds.
It’s the only possible explanation!
(sarcasm)

jbird

Matt;
If they find that they can’t win by dealing with the facts in a straight forward manner, then they either obfuscate or outright lie. This has been going on for some time by the global warming faithful, but lately they have become more desperate. Bit by bit, the “climate war” is being lost by the AGW proponents.
Romm isn’t worth your time.

In Groupthink terms, Romm is a “mind guard.” (He keeps the sheep corralled.)

oldseadog

Gail,
More like Walter Mitty – living in a fantasy of his own making.

Carter

I think any cloud effect will be minor! Because on 911 when a flights over America were stopped and due to the lack of con tails, did the temperature during the day not rise, but during the night did it not fall? Basically cancelling it’s self out!

theduke

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/22/joe-romm-demonstrates-himself-to-be-an-angry-know-nothing-in-his-attack-on-matt-ridleys-wsj-essay-ridley-responds/#comment-1180005
Yeah, he responds by trying to lure people to his website. In reply, I posted this at Bishop hill:

Notice how Romm comes here to fish for hits for his blog. I recommend no one go there. If he can’t post the material here and engage forthrightly, he isn’t worth the time. Like most of what he writes, it’s probably nonsense anyway.

Pete

Mr. Ridley’s response sure has the markings of a Slam Dunk.
As an interested layman who’s been doubtful about AGW ever since Al Gore decided to build his big whomping house in California, kudos to both Mr. Ridley and the WSJ for shedding some much needed light on things.
The world needs more “truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” illumination, whether the subject matter be AGW or government in general.

Gary Pearse

Anthony, re your methane graph from IPCC. I suggest also putting the values in parts per million for those who may be misled by the large ppb numbers. Even IPCC’s largest estimate is only 2 ppm. Also, I would like to state that measuring abundances in ppb in the laboratory is difficult enough and it is totally unscientific to think that methane in the global atmosphere can be measured to this accuracy. The error bars should be probably +/- 10,000ppb (10ppm) or more. Any analytical chemists reading this?

S. Meyer

Mr. Romm’s writing is vitriolic, full of ad-hominem attacks and devoid of logic. Mr. Ridley’s writing, on the other hand, strikes me as fair-minded and focussed on the science. If I can see that, being a layperson in regard to climate science, so will the majority of Americans, if they get a chance to see these two publications side by side. In a court of law, who do you think would look more credible to a jury? Strong going, Mr. Ridley!

Tom BR

In a beautiful and highly accurate observation in his WSJ piece, Mr. Ridley used the following sentence in referring to the IPCC :
“Unfortunately, this seems unlikely—given the organization’s record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.”
It seems to me, Mr. Ridley’s words can be nearly identically and very suitably applied to the US Congress (both D’s and R’s) as well as the entire Obama administration, if not politicians and federal bureaucrats in general…like so:
Unfortunately, this seem unlikely — given [Choose One: Congress’ / Obama’s / the Administration’s / EPA’s / etc… ] record of replacing evidence-based policy-making with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of [ Congress / Obama / the Administration / etc… ] to accept that what they have been [ legislating / uttering / proposing / enforcing / etc…. ] for many years….is just flat out wrong.

mpainter

Bob Koss says: December 22, 2012 at 8:28 am
Romm’s shrilly inaccurate diatribes are good PR for the skeptic side. I wonder if big oil is slipping him some funds on the side.
================================
If not big oil, big somebody.

Jimbo

Joe Romm quoted the following from Schlesinger:

What will most likely happen is … permanent outgassing of carbon dioxide from permafrost and methane from clathrates/hydrates. As you know, methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent, molecule for molecule, than carbon dioxide. If we hedge not against this outgassing, it’s game over.
Think Progress

My question is what happened to the clathrates / hydrates / methane when the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in summers for a millennium or more during the Holocene? Can anyone help?
References
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.08.016
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007AGUFMPP11A0203F
http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/21/3/227

Doug Huffman

O’Fall, “A Lack Of Aliens! All projections show that there should be a universe full of alien life on other habitable planets, but we can’t find them. Therefore, they don’t exist.” Mistaking, confusing a lack of evidence with evidence of lack. EVERYONE should read Nassim Nicholas Taleb, that cautions against this too common error in his Antifragile and Black Swan books.

Jimmy Haigh

Romm – like “Connoll-E-y” – has issues… They are not our problem… But I do wish that they could be.? …addressed? It really is quite unsavoury.

Steve Jones

Congratulations to you all for surviving the Mayan ‘end of the world’ prediction. Now, assuming we don’t all go and live in caves and stop this CO2 thing, could somebody just remind me what is the most imminent ‘no going back’ date? I seem to recall we had 5 years to take action action but, yikes, that might have been more than 5 years ago. I’m sure Joe Romm can magic up a date to scare the gullible.

Camburn

Jimbo says:
December 22, 2012 at 9:44 am
My question is what happened to the clathrates / hydrates / methane when the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in summers for a millennium or more during the Holocene? Can anyone help?
Jimbo: This shows the illness called Skeptical Science Syndrome.
The long term temps of the Optimum, RWP, MWP show that the hydrates etc are not going to be a problem. Only in the mind of a sick person could they be.
2+2=5 is still an unproven hypothesis, but to folks with the illness it is fact.

RockyRoad

Carter says:
December 22, 2012 at 9:29 am

I think any cloud effect will be minor! Because on 911 when a flights over America were stopped and due to the lack of con tails, did the temperature during the day not rise, but during the night did it not fall? Basically cancelling it’s self out!

Basically cancelling it’s self out!??
So you’re saying clouds have an identity? Do you think they’re sentient?
That logic has canceled you out, Carter and your spelling is atrocious. Anytime you say “I think” I automatically go to the next post.

Paul Dennis

Gary Pearse,
no problem to measure methane to precisions of better than 2ppb in the field using cavity ring down near infrared laser spectroscopy technique. Rate of measurements is many times per minute so dynamic studies are possible.

Camburn

http://www.biocab.org/Holocene.html
Temperatures and other information.

Fred from Canuckistan

To Romm or not to Romm, that is the question. To prove once again I am scientifically illiterate and a shill for Big Green or just point fingers and scream ” Ackkkkkkk . . . the sky is falling and I saw wolves”.
History will not be kind to the grifters and shills who have foisted Glowball Warming on an unsuspecting world.

Mycroft

Romm. Another paid political lacky,ignore him and he’ll likely move on to the next big bucks thing to come along..As for calling his blogThinkProgress..LOLOLOLOL all he’s thinking about is where the next paycheck will come from!

Kasuha

I have nothing to add to the main article. However, regarding the addition
“maybe he should look at this IPCC graph which shows methane observations in the atmosphere and models diverging:”
What the methane is doing can’t be called diverging. It sure is below every single prediction’s displayed uncertainity range (whoever knows what certainity do these intervals mean, 95%?) but netiher its long-term trend nor its short-term trend is significantly different from them. It’s lower and it’s not as alarming as predictions are but it’s not really diverging from them.
And besides that, if Romm’s argument is about _future_ methane outgassing, then _past_ methane concentrations are irrelevant.

john robertson

Romm’s probably been told, get more traffic or your funding will be dropped. Even the puppet masters need to show some result from their spending.
An angry little bloviater talking to himself ain’t helping the cause.
Like the Mann , are we sure he is not working for fall of the CAGW scare campaign?

mpainter

Jimbo says: December 22, 2012 at 9:44 am
Joe Romm quoted the following from Schlesinger:
My question is what happened to the clathrates / hydrates / methane when the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in summers for a millennium or more during the Holocene? Can anyone help?
=========================
Excellent point. The climatic optimum would have given all of clathrates/hydrates/whatnotrates
the purge.

3x2

mpainter says:
December 22, 2012 at 9:44 am

Bob Koss says: December 22, 2012 at 8:28 am
Romm’s shrilly inaccurate diatribes are good PR for the skeptic side. I wonder if big oil is slipping him some funds on the side.

If not big oil, big somebody.

Romm, Conn-ell(e)y, Rabbitz (where is ‘dogs’ these days?) – The batteries are going. Time for all to to find new employment I suspect. I will miss them – for a short time.

mpainter

RockyRoad says: December 22, 2012 at 10:01 am
That logic has canceled you out, Carter and your spelling is atrocious. Anytime you say “I think” I automatically go to the next post.
==================================
Poor carter is all too aware of his shortcomings. That is why he he keeps a drawer full of propaganda videos- he avoids having to think.

Pat Frank

Let’s also notice that only the WSJ would publish an article like Matt Ridley’s. The rest are either righteously censorious or too frightened, so badly has America’s open society deteriorated. For this, we can thank the self-organized cabal of green NGOs, their advocacy PR hacks, and aggressively lying activist scientists. Most shameful of all has been the stampede of scientific organizations into acquiescent support.

Ian W

Carter says:
December 22, 2012 at 9:29 am
I think any cloud effect will be minor! Because on 911 when a flights over America were stopped and due to the lack of con tails, did the temperature during the day not rise, but during the night did it not fall? Basically cancelling it’s self out!

Carter – I don’t know how you see this has any bearing on this thread. However, just to put the record straight, the NASA researchers forgot to check what the temperature would have been like under a massive dome of cold dry high pressure that was close on stationary over the East coast of the US on 9/11 – you will remember how clear the skies were in the pictures and video. Therefore, the East coast was going to be cooler in any case the presence or absence of aircraft would have had little effect. Indeed as the air was dry there would have been no contrailing as air has to be close to 100% humidity or even supercooled for there to be any contrails. If air is close to 100% humidity then non-persistent contrails form usually sublimating back to vapor within seconds. If the air is at 100% humidity then persistent contrails will form, it the air is at >100% humidity with supercooled water vapor then cirrus may form. Note that there are ALWAYS aircraft overhead in most areas of the East coast – but there are not always contrails. The small amount of CO2 from aircraft especially those at or above the troposphere would have no effect. This was poorly done research by some NASA researchers.

Aldous Tenpenny

Joe Romm still has a blog?

Laurie Bowen

What do you expect from someone who’s entire “marketing strategy” is “hot air”!

Jimbo says:
December 22, 2012 at 9:44 am
Joe Romm quoted the following from Schlesinger:

What will most likely happen is … permanent outgassing of carbon dioxide from permafrost and methane from clathrates/hydrates. As you know, methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent, molecule for molecule, than carbon dioxide. If we hedge not against this outgassing, it’s game over.
Think Progress

My question is what happened to the clathrates / hydrates / methane when the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in summers for a millennium or more during the Holocene? Can anyone help?

Here’s what I found in my ammo dump on the permafrost problem:
Pethefin says:
December 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm
http://notrickszone.com/2012/12/01/permafrost-far-more-stable-than-claimed-german-expert-calls-danger-of-it-thawing-out-utter-imbicility/
Venter says:
November 28, 2012 at 6:18 am
Permafrost melted in 1944 also. These things happen naturally and get blown up out of proportion always
http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/1944-shock-news-permafrost-melting-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see/
Houndish says:
August 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm
It’s a crying shame that all the funding provided by the NSF to UAF-GI for northern hemisphere permafrost depletion studies doesn’t allow their findings to be disseminated to the world.
The reports I’ve seen show that the depletion came to an end in 2005 with further temperature decreases since then. Good portions of the continuous and discontinuous permafrost regions get very close to 32 degrees F. and the ice lenses contained within the layers do provide rapid surface changes when they melt (thermokarsts, oblique depressions etc..), but I suspect that over the next two years the alarmists will need to change their tune, as the temperatures continue their drive downwards.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/25/remember-the-panic-over-methane-seeping-out-of-the-arctic-seabed-in-2009-never-mind/
thepompousgit says:
December 30, 2011 at 1:50 pm
Logan in AZ said @ December 30, 2011 at 1:30 pm
“The feedback factors treated on WUWT are physical mechanisms. The dimethylsulfide feedback from the oceans is a major factor that is ignored by those who only study or think about physics.”
But of course the biological effects must be left out, or else there’s nothing to be alarmed about. I was amused when someone decided to test the release of clathrates from permafrost idea in situ. The plant growth shaded the ground enabling the permafrost and clathrates to persist under warmer conditions. And contra R Gates’ claim that paleoclimatology validates the models, we know that temperatures in the high latitudes supported trees where now there is tundra only three thousand years ago. Temperatures supposedly high enough to release the methane from the permafrost.
Bruce Cobb says:
December 15, 2011 at 4:31 am
Methane Madness? http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/methane-discovery-stokes-new-global-warming-fears-shock-as-retreat-of-arctic-releases-greenhouse-gas-6276278.html

Or not: http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/methane-time-bomb-in-arctic-seas-apocalypse-not/

Abstract of the AGU paper: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011JC007218.shtml
Dave Wendt says:
November 30, 2011 at 7:43 pm
GettingWarm says:
November 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm
When I first viewed that video I assumed you were being sarcastic in recommending it, but after viewing some of your other contributions, it appears you were serious. I have a few problems with Ms Walters exposition. Most notably she spends most of it blathering on about melting permafrost killing off the trees around her, but anyone with even a rudimentary familiarity with Arctic environs would know that the very presence of those trees is strong proof that you are not in a permafrost area. Trees don’t survive in permafrost and so the only way that permafrost could be killing the trees is if it was advancing into an area which had been seasonally frozen, the only type of landscape where boreal forests can survive.
Also like most of those who prattle on about the coming methane cascade she seems to be under the illusion that permafrost means ground that remains permanently frozen year round. In a sense this is correct, but in almost all permafrost areas the actual permafrost layer lies beneath what is known as the active layer which thaws annually. There doesn’t seem to be a real “consensus” on the range of depths of this active layer, but in my explorations on the topic I’ve come across estimates of a minimum of 2 ft ( which seem to be fairly consistent) to maximums everywhere from 7 ft to 20 ft. What this means is that when you hear discussions of melting permafrost what is actually being talked about is ground somewhere between 2 and 6 meters below the surface which for a brief part of the summer season is going from being a degree or two below freezing to a degree or two above, hardly enough of a change to generate a wholesale methane cascade. The ground above the permafrost layer has already experienced innumerable annual thaw cycles and has thus had many opportunities to release whatever gas is there. Warming may accelerate the rate of release, but unless the warming of the atmosphere is well beyond anything that has been speculated about, its affect on the climate will be mostly immeasurable.
Molecularly methane may be many times more potent than other gases, but its concentration in the atmosphere is a thousand times less than even CO2 and what evidence that exists on the question suggests its present contribution to the GHE is almost negligible.

Björn

In the now dead Soviet Union a popluar public type of jokes were the so called “Radio Jerevan Q&A sessions” ( check the wikipedia entry for it if you want more detailed info ) and if i read anything coming out of his blog, I invaryably get the feeling that mr Romm does not really exists, but is something like the fictous character that answered the publics question on the “Radio Jeravan”, “alas ” not nearly as funny as the original..

Pat Frank says:
December 22, 2012 at 10:55 am
Let’s also notice that only the WSJ would publish an article like Matt Ridley’s. The rest are either righteously censorious or too frightened, so badly has America’s open society deteriorated. For this, we can thank the self-organized cabal of green NGOs, their advocacy PR hacks, and aggressively lying activist scientists. Most shameful of all has been the stampede of scientific organizations into acquiescent support.

Four years from now, and at annual intervals thereafter, let’s picket some high-level journalistic confab with reminders. Or rent a billboard near their venue.
PS: Forbes would also have published Ridley’s piece. But that’s about it. Just check out the lack of balance in the stories on the topic in the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature.

3x2

Aldous Tenpenny :
Joe Romm still has a blog?

Yep – for as long as the funds keep his head above water.
Given the desperation evident of late … that might not be for much longer.
I’ll miss him. Along with Connelly and Gaza. I feel they have done more to promote ‘scepticism’ than a ‘school’ of MacIntyre or a ‘bloom’ of Watts.
What will we do without them?

Matthew R Marler

Max Hugoson: I just remind you MATT – “Wrestling with pigs…” (Come on, you know….wrestle with a pig in mud…you get dirty, the pig likes it!)
I welcome Matt Ridley’s point-by-point disputation of Romms’ disputation of Ridley’s article. I think that falsehoods and such should always be disputed. I think that there are always some people in the reading audience who are open to actual information, not just invective and innuendo. At minimum, those people welcome accurate links to actual facts and sound arguments.

Robuk

Additionally, our estimates of climate sensitivity using our SCM and the four instrumental temperature records range from about 1.5 ̊C to 2.0 ̊C.
That`s if you accept those 4 temperature records as accuate.