New Research Finds Earth Even Less Sensitive To CO2 Than Previously Thought

As first reported on WUWT yesterday via our in-flight news office over the Atlantic, climate sensitivity is now seen to be even less, thanks to the new peer reviewed paper from Nic Lewis and Judith Curry. This press release comes today via The GWPF.

Research Used Data From This Year’s IPCC 5th Assessment Report

London, 25 September: A new paper published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics find that the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on global temperatures is likely to be even smaller than previously thought.

Earlier this year, in a widely discussed report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, climate researcher Nic Lewis and science writer Marcel Crok put forward a new estimate of the Earth’s climate sensitivity based on observational data, finding that it was much less alarming than suggested by computer simulations of the Earth’s climate.

Now, Lewis and well known American climate science professor Judith Curry have updated the Lewis and Crok report estimates using the latest empirical data, a more sophisticated methodology and an approach to accounting for uncertainties that has been described by one independent reviewer as “state of the art”. Their findings fully support the modest estimates of climate sensitivity and future warming given in the Lewis and Crok report, and compared with that report make it look even less likely that the substantially higher estimates based on computer simulations are correct.

“Our results, which use data from this year’s IPCC fifth assessment report, are in line with those of several recent studies based on observed centennial warming and strongly suggest complex global climate models used for warming projections are oversensitive to carbon dioxide concentrations,” said Nic Lewis.


Best sensitivity estimates are medians (50% probability points). Ranges are to the nearest 0.05°C

Nicholas Lewis & Judith A. Curry (2014) The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates, Climate Dynamics 25 September 2014


Energy budget estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and transient climate response (TCR) are derived using the comprehensive 1750–2011 time series and the uncertainty ranges for forcing components provided in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Working Group I Report, along with its estimates of heat accumulation in the climate system.

The resulting estimates are less dependent on global climate models and allow more realistically for forcing uncertainties than similar estimates based on forcings diagnosed from simulations by such models. Base and final periods are selected that have well matched volcanic activity and influence from internal variability. Using 1859–1882 for the base period and 1995–2011 for the final period, thus avoiding major volcanic activity, median estimates are derived for ECS of 1.64 K and for TCR of 1.33 K. ECS 17–83 and 5–95 % uncertainty ranges are 1.25–2.45 and 1.05–4.05 K; the corresponding TCR ranges are 1.05–1.80 and 0.90–2.50 K. Results using alternative well-matched base and final periods provide similar best estimates but give wider uncertainty ranges, principally reflecting smaller changes in average forcing. Uncertainty in aerosol forcing is the dominant contribution to the ECS and TCR uncertainty ranges.


Full paper of the accepted manuscript is available, along with data and code here

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September 25, 2014 6:51 am

So it’s time for another of those beginner’s questions…
Is there anything to suggest that the climate’s CO2 sensitivity itself varies? For example, has something occurred in the last seventeen years which has actually reduced the climate’s sensitivity to the CO2 which has gone up there, which as we know has increased? And that conversely it was, for whatever reason, hyper sensitive to CO2 during the warming of the 1990s?

Reply to  chrisphillips
September 25, 2014 7:03 am

Yes: The solar output decreased dramatically.

Reply to  climatologist
September 25, 2014 7:35 am

So, climatologist, when the sun is running hot, it is not the cause of warming,
but when it is a little cool, it is the cause of the cooling.
Got it. Thanks for clarifying that for us.

Reply to  chrisphillips
September 25, 2014 7:27 am

CO2 sensitivity is a highly abstract concept which is probably a non linear function of the current “average” CO2 level, current “average” temperature, current “average” humidity and a bunch of other stuff.

Reply to  chrisphillips
September 25, 2014 8:39 am

Okay, you heard the solar guy version. Now hear it from the oceans.
The PDO flipped to negative no later than 2007. There was a mild triple set of el Nino conditions from 2001 – 2007, and then an abrupt La Nina in 2008. The drop was precipitous and began in ealy 2007.
So it’s modest CO2, etc., forcing up against modest PDO forcing down. When the AMO goes over, there may be some actual cooling. Eventually it all turns around and we should see ~3 decades more warming similar to 1976-2007. Then flat-to-cooling again.
But overall it only adds up to lukewarming along the lines of what Curry is saying. Not much but not nothing. (They may wind up with a need to make a downward adjustment for microsite?)

Reply to  chrisphillips
September 25, 2014 9:04 am

The idea of sensitivity to co2 is misleading.
It is more clear if we talk about sensitivity to
That is actually what nic and Judith calculate.
This metric, lambda, is then multiplied by the forcing due
To doubling co2.
Read the equation nice provides
In other words the paper shows that the climate is less sensitive to ANY forcing.
Before you say anything read the paper. All the way to the

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 2:30 pm

Steven Mosher says No, and explains via forcing. But that misses lots of points and is also circular logic because it assumes that climate sensitivity is a constant in the first place.
Climate is a complex, coupled, non-linear system [IPCC report]. So there is no reason to believe that climate’s response to forcing (and thus to CO2) is linear. What that means is that climate sensitivity to CO2 is unlikely to be a constant.
Maybe it would help to explain that in less general terms : Climate and weather is a chaotic system. Even now, weather forecasters can only predict say, rain, as a probability – they know when conditions are conducive to rain, but not whether rain will actually be triggered. As with weather, so with climate, only there is even less knowledge. For example, the forcing from CO2 (which is well-established btw) warmed the atmosphere for decades, but in the last decade or so started to warm the deep ocean instead. No-one knows why it suddenly changed [*]. But, of course, it affected climate sensitivity, which went from quite high (atmosphere warmed) to very low (atmosphere not warmed). So there you have it : climate sensitivity does vary.
[*] The reason that we know that it switched to the deep ocean is that the atmosphere stopped warming even though CO2 concentration increased unabated. Thermometers everywhere show no warming, therefore – the reasoning goes – the heat must have gone somewhere where we don’t have any thermometers, and the only such place is the deep ocean. The logical process is known as “argument from ignorance”. It is – um – not very reliable.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 2:48 pm

Resistance to forcing is interesting. In the context of chaotic-nonlinear dynamics this would be termed the Lyapunov exponent or stability. This implies resistance to being pulled away from an attractor. I cant read the paper just now since I only have my rather old mobile phone.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 3:03 pm

Confirmation that climate sensitivity does change, from an unexpected source : Steven Mosher –
– “the longer the pause goes the smaller the ECS becomes“.
(ECS IS Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity)

September 25, 2014 6:52 am

Data and code are available? Meh, obviously an amateur paper by a non-climate scientist then, real climate scientists don’t do that…

Russell Klier
Reply to  Severian
September 25, 2014 7:18 am


Reply to  Severian
September 25, 2014 7:36 am

Yeah, clearly they didn’t get the CAGW memo.

September 25, 2014 6:56 am

This is only news to the non-science drenched cult of warm and its luke-warm advocates and members. Co2 is 20 ppm trace chemical, a derivative and thereby follows climate processes. It does not initiate ‘weather’. The earth is not a greenhouse, if it was there is no life on this planet. It is a complex million-variable convection system full of many to many relationships. You cannot model climate – period. Many to many relationships parameterize what can be modeled in IT with any accuracy. I would know after spending 25 years doing just this.

Reply to  Ferdinand (@StFerdinandIII)
September 25, 2014 8:18 am

“It is a complex million-variable convection system full of many to many relationships. You cannot model climate – period. Many to many relationships parameterize what can be modeled in IT with any accuracy. I would know after spending 25 years doing just this.”
Verification, Validation, and Confirmation of Numerical Models in the Earth Sciences
Naomi Oreskes,* Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Kenneth Belitz
SCIENCE * VOL. 263 * 4 FEBRUARY 1994
Abstract: Verification and validation of numerical models of natural systems is impossible. This is because natural systems are never closed and because model results are always non-unique. Models can be confirmed by the demonstration of agreement between observation and prediction, but confirmation is inherently partial. Complete confirmation is logically precluded by the fallacy of affirming the consequent and by incomplete access to natural phenomena. Models can only be evaluated in relative terms, and their predictive value is always open to question. The primary value of models is heuristic.

Reply to  Winston
September 25, 2014 10:09 am

You should know that one of the authors of the paper you cite , Naomi Oreskes, believes AGW skeptics are total fools and idiots.
She obviously no longer agrees with the conclusion of HER paper on model verification of open systems.

Reply to  Winston
September 25, 2014 3:12 pm

John Tyler:
I was about to comment on that also.
She certainly must have changed her mind. Would love to see her pinned down on that.

Steve P
September 25, 2014 7:03 am

“A new paper published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics find (sic) that the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on global temperatures is likely to be even smaller than previously thought”… by alarmists.

Lars P.
Reply to  Steve P
September 26, 2014 12:08 pm

Exactly. Frankly speaking I would guess it is still too high, but with the whole data tampering no reasonable science is possible any more …:(

September 25, 2014 7:05 am

I know this paper is important. But from a “layman’s” perspective, how is this less sensitiviy quantified? It seems a bit vague to me.

Walter Cronanty
Reply to  JimS
September 25, 2014 8:05 am

I will add to JimS’s question. Again in “layman’s” terms, what does this mean when compared with the sensitivity utilized by Climate Models? I would assume that this would mean less warming than predicted [in the words of Gomer Pyle: “Suuprise, Suuprise, Suuprise!”], but is it quantifiable in degrees of temperature warming per decade/century vis-à-vis predicted degrees of temperature warming per decade/century?
Perhaps a better question: If one inserted the Lewis/Curry sensitivity into currently used Climate Models, how/how much would it change the results of those models?

Reply to  Walter Cronanty
September 25, 2014 8:34 am

It’s my understanding that sensitivity is an output of the models, not an input.
Less sensitivity means that for each doubling of CO2 there is less of a ‘forcing’ or multiplying of the assumed CO2 heating effect so yes, lower sensitivity would mean lower expected (mean) temp and lower modeled max temp.
I would presume that the equations could be re-arranged and sensitivity set as an input, with some other ‘known’ input such as water vapor or clouds or aerosols assigned as an arbitrary unknown and therefore a calculable output but I don’t know if this has been done.

Reply to  JimS
September 25, 2014 8:46 am

Half to two thirds of what IPCC says. Under 2C rather than over 3C per doubling.

Reply to  Evan Jones
September 25, 2014 9:22 am

Thanks. That was what I was looking for.

Reply to  Evan Jones
September 25, 2014 11:14 am

Here is the range given by Lewis 1.25 to 2.45 with a central value of 1.64.
Here is the range given by Ar5 1.5 to 4.05 with NO central value given
In prior years a “central” value of 3 was given by the IPCC. Had they given one in AR5 it would have
been lower than in previous publications ( one could argue )
In other words According to Lewis ECS has a 66% chance of falling between 1.25 and 2.45. It has a 95%
chance of falling between 1.05 and 4.05.
What’s that mean: if you think ECS is less than 1C, all the data we have suggests you have a 5% chance
of being right. If you think ( as alarmists do) that ECS could be greater than 4C, you have a 5% chance of being right.
So, using Lewis’ figures ( 1.05 to 4.05 ) you can see that a 3C doubling is not ruled out.
In the past ( looking at the Ar4 for example ) you would see that the IPCC argued that
3C was the central value. That means ( roughly) that there was a ~50% probablity it was less than 3C
and a 50% probability that it was greater ( roughly speaking since they dont supply a CDF of the curves)
Whats changed with lewis’s work: The distribution has shifted left. 3C is still a possibility, but its probability
has gone down.
As more data comes in, as more time passes, the range can narrow. However, it is unlikely that 3C
will ever be ruled out.
For policy the more relevant metric is TCR
Lewis : 1.05 – 1.8
AR5 : 1 – 2.5

David A
Reply to  Evan Jones
September 25, 2014 9:42 pm

Wrong Mosher, because you miss the point. With a central estimate of 1.64 C.S. then the known benefits of CO2 outweigh the projected but failed to manifest harms. This is all the matters with regard to public policy. The “C” in CAGW is MIA. (For that matter the “G” and the “W” have also gone AWOL.) So all we have is “AGE”; Anthropogenic Greening Earth.
BTW, I bet within five years we will rule out 3 C climate sensitivity.

Mike Maguire
September 25, 2014 7:23 am

The longer we go without warming rates of the 1980’s/90’s, the less sensitive the atmosphere will appear to be to increasing CO2 from the perspective of those using the latest data.
However, plants continue to be very sensitive to the increasing CO2………and the result is that crop yields and world food production is going thru the roof and can benefit much more if we let CO2 double.

September 25, 2014 7:30 am

According to the Team and co., these things are likely wrong with the paper:
1. It doesn’t support the Cause
2. It’s probably funded by fossil fuel interests.
3. We need to redefine what the peer reviewed literature is.
4. They aren’t climate scientists, and if they are, then they must be funded by fossil fuel interests.
5. It contradicts the models, and therefore must be incorrect.
6. It might upset some climate scientists and cause unnecessary confusion.
7. These observations haven’t been adjusted to fit the models.
8. It doesn’t matter what the science says, we need to redistribute the world’s resources.
9. If we don’t do something in the next 3, 5 or 10 years, its good night for the climate.
10. It hasn’t offered up enough scare stories.
11. It can still be included in the 97% consensus, because it mentions climate change.
12. If we could go back in time, and knew what the observations would have been, the models would have been correct about climate sensitivity.
13. We are 95-99% certain that man has caused most of the heat which has occurred since 1950, and regardless of whatever the climate sensitivity is.
14. Our understanding of natural internal variability has changed, our understanding of climate sensitivity has changed, there are numerous vigorous debates about some of the most important aspects of climate science, but the science is settled.
15. There is a real danger that climate might not change as much as we thought, and this will have huge and unprecedented impacts on species ability to withstand a slowing down of change, ocean’s will be unable to adjust to non acidification, the lack of extreme weather will not cause enough rainfall and alleviating dry conditions, Himalayan glaciers will stop melting leading to water shortages, and sea levels might stabilise which might make coral reefs stop growing, or something. People may be unable to adapt to the extreme non-variability of climate.
You get the idea.

Reply to  thingadonta
September 25, 2014 7:38 am

Oh, geez –
it is worse than we thought!

Reply to  thingadonta
September 25, 2014 7:55 am

And besides, Koch brothers.

Reply to  thingadonta
September 25, 2014 8:16 am

LOL!! I specially loved 11 and 15.

Reply to  thingadonta
September 25, 2014 9:27 am

Nice one, thingadonta, A wide grin throughout your list, + 1 guffaw.
More please. 🙂

September 25, 2014 7:44 am

I encourage anyone who is a bit technical and has a spare hour to download the code and run it, and then read the code – it is very well commented.
If you are like me, reading source code that is well documented is a faster way to learn “what is going on” than a longhand description that you find in the paper. I would think that the scientific community would want code published for these sorts of papers if only to get a better understanding of what the authors are explaining.
Here is what you need to do to run the code –
1) download the zip file from Lewis’ site
2) download and install “R” if you don’t already have it (I didn’t)
3) run the code the first time – it will create a directory structure and then fail when it looks for data files
4) copy the 3 data files in the zip (2 “.txt” files and one “.tab”) into the created “data” directory
5) run it again
I ran into a path problem in the code yesterday. I assume it will be fixed soon but if you have a failure after step 5 then lines 217 & 218 should be replaced with:
AR5hc= matrix(scan(paste(path.heat, ‘/heat_ascii_v6.txt’, sep=””), skip=1, quiet=TRUE), ncol=13, byrow=TRUE)
colnames(AR5hc)= scan(paste(path.heat, ‘/heat_ascii_v6.txt’, sep=””), what=’character’, nlines=1)
Also – the code is in an rtf file. That means it has all sorts of formatting markup that makes it unusable for the R interpreter. The easy fix is to load the rtf file into a word processor, select all the text, paste it into a text editor and save the file. For “R” it is customary to use the “.r” extension for code. Or you can do a “save as” and save to a text file.
Download for R is here
Lewis’ code is here

Reply to  Charlie Johnson (@SemperBanU)
September 25, 2014 11:42 am

Thanks for your helpful comments.
I entirely agree with you about the best way to learn what is going on. In fact, with many papers it is the only way, hance the importance of a cahnge of culture in climate science so that code is always made available (as well as data, of course). Maybe GCM code is an exception.
I had fixed another path error but missed the line 218 one. I did run the code in a clean working directory, but of course it could still access a hard-coded path. I’ve updated the archived file. I tried saving the code as a text file. It ran when sourced, but one of the characters used in axis labels (a superscript minus sign) didn’t convert correctly, so I have retained the rtf format. It’s easy to cut and paste from a text editor to the R command window (at least in Windows), which avoids the character conversion error tha arises when saving as a text file.
The corrected code is at:

Reply to  niclewis
September 25, 2014 12:44 pm

Thanks for the updated code.
Great work, BTW. I have to think that a cultural change *will* occur as more work with code and data are published.
I downloaded and installed R for Linux (Ubuntu) and then ran it in batch. So I did a cut/paste into vi (I am really old-school) and didn’t encounter the character issue. As an aside – I noticed on comments at Curry’s site (IIRC) someone saying “would be great if it were a web app.” While I am not sure what variables you’d want people to tweak (maybe periods to compare?) if such a thing were useful to you I am offering up a robust server, bandwidth and some coding to do it. Again, I am not certain of the utility of such a webapp (other than to offer cherry picking scenarios by which people can distort the work in either direction) but perhaps I am missing what it is that the commenter asked for. Point is – if such is important to you and Dr. Curry I can do some of the heavy lifting to get it done. I am sure there are others that would volunteer time as well.
Again – great work.

Richard M
September 25, 2014 7:46 am

As mentioned in the previous thread this value is assuming all the warming is CO2 based. However, we know ocean cycles and solar variation have an effect which probably reduces the CO2 component to at most 60% of this value. That leaves us with a TCR of about .8 (1.33*.6) or less.

Reply to  Richard M
September 25, 2014 10:51 am


rcihard verney
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 2:44 pm

WHY? Your bald comment is less than helpful.
Further, it is almost certainly the case that the temperature data that this study (and all others) is based upon is wrong; past cooled, recent warmed, and polluted by UHI, and station drop outs etc.
If we had the proper temperature data, and if the appropriate corrections were made for ocean cycles, and for cloudiness, and for changes in albedo, and who knows possibly changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and Solar, it is probable that sensitivity wouid be found to be even less

Richard M
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 5:15 pm

It’s just the application of simple logic based on known influences. Not really complicated. Of course, there is always the possibility of unknowns having an influence which is why I used “probably”.

David A
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 9:46 pm

It is not polite to shout. It is arrogant to simply shout wrong and not explain your immature emotional outburst.

Salvatore Del Prete
September 25, 2014 7:58 am

This study is still using incomplete data. It is leaving out Solar Variability and the associated Primary/Secondary effects, Milkankovitch Cycles, Earth Magnetic Field Strength, Land /Ocean arrangements, and the Initial State of the climate.
The reality is if one looks at past historical data , CO2 follows the temperature, and this lends credence to the thought that the GHG effect is a result of the climate not the cause of the climate.

Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
September 25, 2014 8:29 am

You’re missing the point. The idea is to show that based on their own assumptions, the IPCC is wrong.

Reply to  Salvatore Del Prete
September 25, 2014 10:55 am


Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 11:12 am

Do you understand how irritating that is? Just saying “wrong” contributes nothing.
Why is it “wrong”? Some of us are interested in knowing.
Also, I could point out that the entire lukewarmer point of view is “wrong”. Not because I say so, but because the planet says they’re wrong.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 12:16 pm

db. If you cant see what is wrong with his comment, then you havent read the paper.
This study is still using incomplete data. It is leaving out Solar Variability and the associated Primary/Secondary effects.
A) the purpose of the study is to use the figures supplied by the IPCC. For changes in TSI between
the base periods the figure is .05Watts. In short, The difference in the forcing from the sun
between 1859 and 1882 is next to zero.
B) Seondary effects ( such as UV) HAVE NEVER BEEN QUANTIFIED. Now, if they were quantified
they could be included. To do this you need a forcing in the base period and a forcing in the current
period. THERE ARE NO FIGURES or even guesses at these figures. Its like saying Lewis left
out the effect of unicorns on the climate.
Milkankovitch Cycles,
A) not even relevant. The method computes a difference in Forcing between two period. 1859-1882, 1995-2011. The forcing difference due to “milkanovitch cycles” is not even relevant over a 100 year period
Earth Magnetic Field Strength,
A) not revelvant. For this to be relevant you need two numbers. The forcing due to the magnetic feild
in the base period ( 1859-1882) and the final period. Again, he is complaining that unicorns have
been left out. There is no data for this. No theory for this. No nothing except speculation that
it might be related.
Land /Ocean arrangements,
Wrong. Over the period of study ( 1859 to 2011) there were no changes in the arrangement of land and ocean.
Initial State of the climate.
Wrong. the initial state is defined for the BASE period.
That initial state consists of 3 elements
1. The temperature at the time T1
2. The Forcings at the time F1
3. The Ocean Heat Content at the time O1
Then we progress as follows. First we define a final period 1995 to 2011
T2 = temperature during this period
F2 = Forcing during this period
O2 = Ocean heat content
Lambda = (T2-T1) / (F2-F1)-(O2-O1)
Lambda is the Sensitivity to Changes in forcing.
So when the commenter says they left out the initial state of the climate it shows that he doesnt even understand the FIRST EQUATION IN THE PAPER, and the fact that you miss this shows you dont get the first equation.
“The reality is if one looks at past historical data , CO2 follows the temperature, and this lends credence to the thought that the GHG effect is a result of the climate not the cause of the climate.”
WRONG, the past shows that C02 can both lead and lag. The lag IN FACT is predicted by AGW theory.
I will tell you what is annoying. What is annoying is that an important skeptical paper gets attacked by folks who deny the things that even skeptics and believers agree on.
More sun nut nonsense and dragon slayer BS. It destroys the credibility of skeptics.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 2:09 pm

My take is that this is pure theory and observations contrary to theory are ignored.
All of this climate sensitivity is a string of theory and unverifiable assumptions that ignores data and contravenes sound scientific principles like the Null Hypothesis. The idea that climate science will be reformed by refining CS
principles is naive, in my view. Next will come a flurry of papers refuting this and etc. No progress can be made in our understanding of climate as long as the field is stuck in such a rut. Progress will be made only when an active investigation of climate processes brings new understanding. The field is suffocating on theory. Any GCM that uses these new CS figures will still be inaccurate, if only less so. A dubious achievement. In short, stop theorizing and start observing. But perhaps you can’t.

David A
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 10:05 pm

Mosher, some of what you say has value, but you keep arrogantly expressing it.
Hum? Pokerguy said nothing about secondary affects. Perhaps you were referring to the comment before.
I am not certain how well the well known PDO and AMO are modeled and included in the IPCC models, but perhaps they are underestimated. (In real conversation you would enlighten me here if you have information about this.)
WRT CO2 following T, for the vast majority of history it does, until we people came along.
WRT secondary solar affects, there are many published papers out describing correlations and possible connections. They are peer reviewed and in the literature. (There are NONE out describing Unicorns) These papers should be taken into account in enlarging the error margins.
It is highly likely that the error margins for the surface are likewise inadequate. Here is a German paper to that affect…
We know less then we think we know.

G P Hanner
September 25, 2014 8:13 am

As an old math professor from sixty years ago used to say: “It is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that…”

September 25, 2014 8:19 am

When you look at the daily response the the Sun (duh), The blackbody temp of the sky with low humidity, TCR is probably at the low end of their range.

September 25, 2014 8:24 am

I wrote this in 2013, but most of it dates from 2008.
Regards to all, Allan 🙂
From above:
Specifically, the draft [AR5] report says that “equilibrium climate sensitivity” (ECS)—eventual warming induced by a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which takes hundreds of years to occur—is “extremely likely” to be above 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), “likely” to be above 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and “very likely” to be below 6 degrees Celsius (10.8 Fahrenheit). In 2007, the IPPC said it was “likely” to be above 2 degrees Celsius and “very likely” to be above 1.5 degrees C, with no upper limit.
I reject the (alleged) IPCC estimates of ECS in AR5 as scientifically untenable.
Alternative A assumes that the conventional IPCC climate science hypo (that CO2 primarily drives temperature) is broadly valid:
Conclusion: These IPCC ECS estimates are “extremely likely” to be higher than reality.
An ECS of ~1C is the hypothetical equilibrium figure with no feedbacks.
An ECS greater than ~1C assumes positive feedbacks and an ECS less than ~1C assumes negative feedbacks.
Based on the evidence, the feedbacks are negative.
Therefore It is “extremely likely” that ECS will be less than ~1 degree C.
Alternative B assumes that net ECS is effectively near-zero or non-existent, because of clear evidence that CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales.
Same conclusion: These IPCC ECS estimates are “extremely likely” to be higher than reality.
Because, it is “extremely likely” that the future cannot cause the past.
I further suggest that the IPCC’s estimates of ECS are more political than scientific in origin. This reduction in ECS from previous IPCC estimates is a structured political retreat from an untenable extremist position. The IPCC are now admitting that they were half-wrong. We will have to wait for AR6 for them to admit they were fully wrong.

September 25, 2014 8:25 am

I’ve designed electronic circuits for many years and you learn when a system has positive feedback – and particularly large positive feedback – It’s kind of obvious.
I only wish there were a way to put “kind of obvious” in ways that academics would understand, because they’ve been “obviously” wasting their time trying to prove massive climate feedbacks which “obviously” weren’t there.
Unfortunately they never listened, but fortunately, there now appears to be enough data and enough people like Judith Curry with common sense that they are finally proving to themselves what has been obvious to many sceptics for many years.

September 25, 2014 8:27 am

“A new paper published in the prestigious journal Climate Dynamics find that the effect of carbon dioxide emissions on global temperatures is likely to be even smaller than previously thought.”
I don’t like the “even smaller” as it detracts from any possible mainstream credibility. The upper bounds posited by the IPCC are not small. “Smaller than previously thought” would be better imvho

Reply to  pokerguy
September 25, 2014 11:48 am

I don’t like “Smaller than previously thought”, because it assumes that previously, they actually thought that sensitivity was larger. They didn’t. They knew they were making shit up. They knew they were talking out of their ass. They just went with what supported their agenda.
How about, “A small fraction of what we have been led to believe.” …

September 25, 2014 8:29 am

Most people without a climate science background are not going to have any feel for what the ECS anc TCR numbers mean, and certainly don’t know what climate models assume for these numbers. Perhaps it is in the full report, but this summary should list what the discrepancies are, here is what the climate models assume, here is what this study (and others) show it should be, whether its an ECS number or TCS number or whatever. I get no feel from this article how much the discrepancy is, other than the statement that the climate sensitivity is “even less”. By 0.01%? That is less, but it is not significant.
I love this site, I just wish it was written less like a science journal and more like a, I hate to say it, newspaper. Meaning I wish the articles were written as if they really wanted non-scientists to understand.

Reply to  Steve
September 25, 2014 8:33 am

Steve commented:
There is no coded ECR/TCR in the models, they’re coded iirc to allow a super saturation of water vapor under certain conditions, this allows Co2 warming to be amplified by water vapor. Published TCR/ECR values are then calculated from Simulation results.

September 25, 2014 8:32 am

I thought it was accepted that C02 always follows temperature (Christie et al)? So above meaningless?

September 25, 2014 8:47 am

Layman question: This result assumes that C02 is the only cause for rising temperatures. If something else (or a lot of something elses) is responsible for say 50% of the rise in temperature, then these TCR/ECR values would be 50% less?

Reply to  ColdinTN
September 25, 2014 9:03 am

As pointed out before, the work here uses a sort of “worst case” attribution of warming to CO2. It uses the data that are used in IPCC work. So it corners the IPCC – if the math holds up the next round of IPCC estimates (and remember – the IPCC was set up ostensibly to advise policy makers) will have to be lowered considerably. And as the “pause” continues (and even enters a cooling period – my guess) the prior IPCC estimates will have all been obliterated.
This study used “their” data and “their” rules – IMHO the only thing that can shoot it down is a math error. With the code published, if a math error isn’t identified in the next few weeks, the IPCC is in a box (or they can completely ignore the study which will cause more defections from the “consensus.”)
This was well thought through, IMO.

Reply to  Charlie Johnson (@SemperBanU)
September 25, 2014 9:09 am

… and to answer the substance of the question, I don’t think the actual relationship can be shown to be linear. One can intuit that by the fact that the Earth approximates a sphere in shape – doubling CO2 (a trace gas even when doubling from 400 PPM to 800PPM) in the atmosphere won’t double the density of the molecules if the molecules are spread among different altitudes. But that’s a layman’s guess.

Reply to  Charlie Johnson (@SemperBanU)
September 25, 2014 2:23 pm

Thanks for your comment, Charlie Johnson. But it does not seem assured that one paper will force IPCC to change their ways. In other words, I am skeptical that you will find the open mindedness needed. I hope that I am wrong and that you are right because what a joy to see all of those climate models “obliterated”. But that will be the end of the IPCC and that is unlikely IMHO.

September 25, 2014 9:06 am

Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
More bad news for climate cultists: for their theory of anthropogenic climate change to work, the man-generated CO2 pumped into the atmosphere has to play a key role in an accelerating “greenhouse” effect. Only… the data doesn’t seem to support that. Cue wails and rending of garments.

September 25, 2014 9:43 am

Has it not already been established that CO2 levels LAG temperature / climate changes by a few hundred years? That CO2 levels will vary in RESPONSE to changes in temperature / climate?
Thus, CO2 , a TRACE gas in the atmosphere, cannot be a “cause” of climate change.

Reply to  JohnTyler
September 25, 2014 10:20 am

Apologies – re-posted for John:
dbstealey says on August 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm
Hello db:
Thank you for your post and your graph of atmospheric CO2 lagging “global” temperature T by about 800 years over a time scale of several hundred thousand years of recent Earth history.
As you know, CO2 also lags T in the modern data record by about 9 months, on a shorter time cycle.
It appears that CO2 lags T at all measured time scales. This still allows for other significant drivers of atmospheric CO2, such as fossil fuel combustion, land-use changes such as deforestation, ocean outgassing, etc.
There is reluctance of most parties on both sides of the “mainstream” climate debate to discuss the “CO2 lags T” issue. The mainstream climate debate is essentially an argument about the magnitude of equilibrium climate sensitivity or ECS: Warmists say ECS>= 3C or more, which is nonsense; Skeptics say ECS,<= 1C, which is more reasonable but still questionable, in my opinion.
I suspect this general reluctance to discuss “CO2 lags T” is a fear of being ridiculed or marginalized. However I suggest it is at the very core of the “catastrophic humanmade global warming” (CAGW) issue.
For example, the concept of ECS must ASSUME that CO2 drives T, but does ECS really exist is any physical sense?
What are the alternatives:
A) Maybe ECS does not exist at all in physical reality, and we should be discussing the sensitivity of atmospheric CO2 to temperature (let’s call it ECO2S).
B) Maybe ECS co-exists along with ECO2S in physical reality:
B1) In this scenario can we conclude that ECO2S exceeds ECS since that is the only signal we can detect in the modern data record; or
B2) Is it possible that ECS exceeds ECO2S but exists on a fuzzy longer time scale that is difficult to detect in the modern data record?
C) Maybe, as was strongly suggested in 2008, ECO2S is a “spurious correlation”. I suggest this notion is no longer considered valid and the correlation is real and significant.
Regards to all, Allan
[Deleted fro brevity]
My paper was posted Jan.31/08 with a spreadsheet at
The paper is located at
The relevant spreadsheet is
There are many correlations calculated in the spreadsheet.
In my Figure 1 and 2, global dCO2/dt closely coincides with global Lower Tropospheric Temperature LT and Surface Temperature ST. I believe that the temperature and CO2 datasets are collected completely independently, and yet there is this clear correlation.
After publishing this paper, I also demonstrated the same correlation with different datasets – using Mauna Loa CO2 and Hadcrut3 ST going back to 1958. Later I examined the close correlation of LT measurements taken by satellite and those taken by radiosonde.
Further, earlier papers by Kuo (1990) and Keeling (1995) discussed the delay of CO2 after temperature, although neither appeared to notice the even closer correlation of dCO2/dt with temperature. This correlation is noted in my Figures 3 and 4.
See also Roy Spencer's (U of Alabama, Huntsville) take on this subject at
This subject has generated much discussion among serious scientists, and this discussion continues. Almost no one doubts the dCO2/dt versus LT (and ST) correlation. Some go so far as to say that humankind is not even the primary cause of the current increase in atmospheric CO2 – that it is natural. Others rely on a "material balance argument" to refute this claim – I think these would be in the majority. I am (almost) an agnostic on this question, to date.
The warmist side also has also noted this ~9 month delay, but try to explain it as a "feedback effect" – this argument seems more consistent with CAGW religious dogma than with science ("ASSUMING CAGW is true, then it MUST be feedback"). 🙂
It is interesting to note, however, that the natural seasonal variation in atmospheric CO2 ranges up to ~16ppm in the far North, whereas the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 is only ~2ppm. This reality tends to weaken the "material balance argument", imo. This seasonal 'sawtooth" of CO2 is primarily driven by the Northern Hemisphere landmass, which is much greater in area than that of the Southern Hemisphere. CO2 falls during the NH summer due primarily to land-based photosynthesis, and rises in the late fall, winter and early spring as biomass degrades.
There is also likely to be significant CO2 solution and exsolution from the oceans.
See the excellent animation at
It is also interesting to note that the detailed signals we derive from the data show that CO2 lags temperature at all time scales, from the 9 month delay for ~ENSO cycles to the ~800 year delay inferred in the ice core data for much longer cycles.
In this enormous CO2 equation, the only signal that is apparent is that dCO2/dt varies ~contemporaneously with temperature, and CO2 lags global Lower Troposphere temperatures by about 9 months.
CO2 also lags temperature by about 800 years in the ice core record on a longer time scale.
I suggest with some confidence that the future cannot cause the past.
I suggest that temperature drives CO2 more than CO2 drives temperature. This does not preclude other drivers of CO2 such as fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, etc.
My January 2008 hypo is gaining traction with the recent work of several researchers. We don’t always agree on the fine details, but there is clear agreement in the primary hypothesis.
Here is Murry Salby's address to the Sydney Institute in 2011:

Here is Salby’s address in Hamburg 2013:

See also this January 2013 paper from Norwegian researchers:
The Phase Relation between Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Global Temperature
Global and Planetary Change
Volume 100, January 2013, Pages 51–69
by Ole Humluma, Kjell Stordahlc, Jan-Erik Solheimd
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 11–12 months behind changes in global sea surface temperature.
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5–10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature.
– Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 9 months behind changes in global lower troposphere temperature.
– Changes in ocean temperatures explain a substantial part of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 since January 1980.
– Changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions.
A paper by a group from three Dutch universities published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics that they have found that only about 3.75% [15 ppm] of the CO2 in the lower atmosphere is man-made from the burning of fossil fuels, and thus, the vast remainder of the 400 ppm atmospheric CO2 is from land-use changes and natural sources such as ocean outgassing and plant respiration.

Reply to  JohnTyler
September 25, 2014 10:53 am

“Has it not already been established that CO2 levels LAG temperature / climate changes by a few hundred years? ”
C02 levels both lead and lag. The lag was predicted by Hansen.
C02 is not a trace gas where it matters.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 11:20 am

I am happy to accept that CO2 leads temperature (T). Just show me.
Here is a chart showing that ∆T causes ∆CO2. Simply post a similar chart, showing that changes in CO2 cause changes in T.
If, as you say, “CO2 levels both lead and lag”, there should be equal evidence showing that T lags CO2. Please post a chart or two showing that cause and effect.
[BTW, I can post charts on time scales from years to hundreds of thousands of years, all showing that ∆T causes ∆CO2. I have yet to find a single chart showing that CO2 is the cause of changes in T. Maybe you found one?]

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 11:33 am

And where does it matter steven? 40.000ppm from all humans ? Special spots over Berkley? Close to you and zeke ? It isn’t 0.0004/m everywhere but so what ?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 12:13 pm

The other night I used an IR thermometer to measure black body temp of the sky over head.
My sidewalk on the north eastern side of my house out of the Sun by about 2:00pm
71.9 F 08-28-14/18:32:26
-39.1 F 08-28-14/18:32:38
60.0 F 08-28-14/21:49:40
-48.2 F 08-28-14/21:50:11
53.2 F 08-29-14/07:15:45
-49.9 F 08-29-14/07:16:03
69.9 F 08-29-14/21:16:29
-13.3 F 08-29-14/21:16:45
92.1 F 08-30-14/17:42:43
26.1 F 08-30-14/17:43:20
61.1 F 09-19-14/20:03:27
-36.5 F 09-19-14/20:03:41
I like this one, 112F colder
60.0 F 09-22-14/18:20:29
-52.0 F 09-22-14/18:20:42
45.8 F 09-23-14/07:28:02
-49.5 F 09-23-14/07:28:07
64.4 F 09-23-14/18:12:39
-32.4 F 09-23-14/18:12:48
55.5 F 09-23-14/23:32:06
-38.0 F 09-23-14/23:32:11
48.3 F 09-24-14/07:43:46
-43.4 F 09-24-14/07:43:49
Now Pekka will point out my thermometer does not detect IR in the 14u-16U range, so ~3watts would need to be added to these temps depending on the temp we’re talking about 1-3F, with the large amount at the lower BB temp.
Then the twist is that the bottom of clouds range from near freezing to 10-20F cooler than the ground.

Michael Wassil
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 1:03 pm

dbstealey September 25, 2014 at 11:20 am
LOL. I want to see that ∆CO2 caused ∆T chart/graph as well! Maybe it’s hiding in the deep ocean with all the missing heat.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 25, 2014 1:47 pm

Of course , you are assuming that ALL the variables that affect climate AND how they interact are known. But this clearly is not the case at all, for if it were so , scientists could explain the historical climate; but they cannot.
What caused the ice ages? What caused every ice age to end in warming? Why did the previous periods of a very warm earth end in ice ages?? If the earth was very warm, and thus CO2 levels high, how can this possibly end in an ice age??
There obviously are other factors that simply are not yet known .
Further, CO2 is an atmospheric trace gas, and MORE THAN 90% of atmospheric CO2 is NOT the result of human activity.
In fact , the only AGW observed is in the numerical climate models which are constructed to INTENTIONALLY demonstrate a cause and affect in regards to CO2 and a warming climate. And these models have a near perfect record of being wrong; repeatedly.
How many times does a “scientific” model have to be WRONG before the “scientists” begin questioning their central thesis?? 3x; 5x; 50x ??

David A
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 26, 2014 4:35 am

“The lag was predicted by Hansen.”
Jim Hansen was the first person to speculate that in a warming world CO2 would increase?
I would like a citation for that as well.

September 25, 2014 10:07 am

I will be stunned if the MSM runs this. If they do, it will be spun towards the alarmist favor. “CO2 sensitivity confirmed” or something like that.
They will NOT admit they were wrong. Bank on it.

Reply to  MattN
September 25, 2014 3:35 pm

This is a reply to John Tyler, immediately above:
You have put your finger on the problem. Our understanding about climate is very skimpy, indeed. And what do climate scientists do?
They actually retard the field with their wretched modeling. The last twenty years represent a setback for science, I believe.

David A
Reply to  MattN
September 25, 2014 10:23 pm

Matt, there have been many papers depicting lower then IPCC C.S. numbers. And you are correct, the MSM does not report on it.
Sill waiting for Mosher’s CO2 leads T chart. For that matter, “Still waiting for greenhouse”

R. de Haan
September 25, 2014 10:41 am

Co2 is plantfood en it’s marginal presence in our atmosphere doesn’t produce any measurable effect. Period.

David A
Reply to  R. de Haan
September 25, 2014 10:13 pm

A.G.E. (Anthropogenic Greening Earth)

September 25, 2014 12:22 pm

For what it could be worth.
I have commented two or three times here about CS.
I would like to apologise before hand for any confusion this comment may cause, but as I see many here seem to be already confused about CS and what it could mean I will try to explain how I do understand it. Hopefully it may help a little, maybe,..
I still could be as wrong with that understanding as any one else who is not a scientist.
First as many others seem to say CS is a very abstract concept IT RATHER SEEMS TO BE VERY CONFUSING, but in the end of the day can be seen as a metric, it’s value derived from the CS equasion.
In the most lay person explanation the CS stands for the amount of mean global surface temperature increment due to the amount of CO2 increment, if I am not wrong that is.
As to say how sensitive the climate in respect to its temperature will be to the CO2 increment.
As far as I can tell according to climate science the CS is considered in general as a varying metric from 1.5C to 4.5c for a CO2 doubling with [as they say] an average of 3C . Meaning in different periods the climate will be seen as with a different sensitivity towards the CO2 emissions increment.
No matter what you hear this estimate fos CS has been establisht and confirmed through the climate data of the past, it is a natural derived definition [no matter how wrong the estimate]. CS in principle exist outside the ACC-AGW.
To better understand it, first have to explain a very simple definition about ACC-AGW in regard to CO2.
While in natural term of Climate change the CO2 is not considered as a climate changer, according to climate science, in the ACC-AGW CO2 is considered rather arbitrarely through a false hypothesis as a climate changer.
So for the climate before anthropogenic era the CO2 is not a climate changer and for the anthropogenic era the CO2 becomes a climate changer through the ACC-AGW explanation.
Also the average 3C for CS means actually what the value of ECS is. Climate change equilibrium is a steady long term trend of climate change when for most of the trend the CS will be stabilised at very close around the value 3C.
As far as I can tell the climate is not in equilibrium if CS not stabilised at the 3C in a long term.
In a simple way, ECS is a CS value not in change for a long time. As I said in the actual estimate for CS the ECS will be at about 3C give or take a 0.3C.
The first big problem with it, …..the max change temp from the most cooling to most warming in long term is something between 4.5 to 6.5C or ROUND ABOUT THERE. The average of max temp change between an Ice Age and Interglacial maximum is at about 5C.
Considering that not the whole period of this max temp change is a climate in equilibrium, even while the most of it can be seen as such, the max temp change during the equilibrium climate will be something at around 4C, at the best.
The CO2 emissions for that SAME period will be round about the doubling value.
According to the current climate sensitivity most of that 4C CHANGE happends due to CO2 emission increment [natural]. Saying that 3C change is due to CO2 while the whole temp change at about 4C – makes by default the CO2 a climate changer.
So in one side we have CO2 considered not as climate changer and in the other hand we have a CS estimated like the CO2 emissions are a climate changer. That is the IPCC aproach. And that is before they start with the AGW.
For some that maybe don’t know,……IPCC considers the CO2, in natural term, [climate before 1700] as an amplyfier of warming, wich according to that average 4C max change in a climate in equilibrium you can not dedicate to it more than 1C.
So from this point of view is like more possible that CS is of a varaing value from 0 to 1.5C with an ECS value at about 1C.
From this point of view there is no any expectation of AGW unless there a sign of Runaway Global Warming, no matter what the hypothesis behind it or the projections of the models or any other acrobatics related.
As I have said before, according to the climate data the climate has been not in equilibrium since before LIA, a RATHER LONG TIME,…….and as I also have said before, that regardless of how CS estimated once it is the pattern will be the same. Either while CS value is estimated 1.5C to 4.5C or 0 to 1.5C the ever varaing of that value during the last 500 years with a clear tendency of running towards the lower range means only one thing, climate moving towards an equilibrium of a cooling trend. Is even more clear with the CS estimate by the IPCC.
The very reason that the IPCC lowered the range for CS is simply because from that value and below only idiots can still claim AGW, and we are at about 2C, by the very way of IPCC. So it has being lowered simply to extend time. At 1.5C for CS is as no any sensitivity at all towards CO2.
We are at 400ppm CO2. the 2C will be reached [if not yet] at about 420ppm, if the global temp remains the way it has been for the last 20 years.
For once non of them models have ever run under a CS of 1.5C below.
Whatever value estimated for the lower range, once that value reached is like instantly becoming a 0 value.
Now that is my understanding of CS……note my earlier before hand apology…..and try not to blaim me for more confusing…..CS is simple in principle but very confusing at times, as it is only a made up way to better understand the climate. And generally the aproach is going a be very arbitrary as the definition of the CS is not quite clean and easy to allow for a strait and a clear aproach,,,, but anyway I think it could be very helpful in understanding climate and climate change..
So as this already a long one comment, I am leaving it at this point for now. There is other points, I think, that can make interesting arguments about CS.
Hope I have being clear enough with my comment, as far as the English goes….thanks.

September 25, 2014 12:35 pm

That there never has been described clearly how models simulate the earlier near perfect precedence for postwar variation seen by merely splitting HadCRUT4 in two makes me, as a trained Ph.D. scientist with eight years spent with the best minds at Columbia and Harvard, to just shake my head in utter bewilderment how any of this is taken seriously by anybody. Certainly the now skeptical public seems to have a better grasp of the slapstick silly nature of climate modeling than even most seasoned skeptics do. The split plot simply demands a clear answer to the public, hey, do you really claim to know what happened before, and given the simple lack of data before, what might you be claiming to enter as forcing back then? It seems so obvious that it’s just all wiggle matching by parameter tweaking. But here enters Curry to legitimize this crooked business! Even the very concept of equilibrium climate sensitivity is a highly speculative construct, as Willis has pointed out.

September 25, 2014 2:53 pm

Please ! nobody tell Willis…
(insert evil grin)
I predict that within five years “about one tenth” will be received wisdom.

Reply to  Paul Murphy
September 26, 2014 1:46 am

Agree Paul Murphy:
If [incremental] ECS exists at all, it is below 1°C and probably below 0.2°C
And [incremental] ECS may not exist at all in the practical sense, since atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperature at all measured time scales, and the future cannot cause the past.
Alternatively, as Richard Courtney said some years ago, “Show me your time machine.”
Regards to all, Allan

Dave Peters
September 26, 2014 12:27 pm

WUWT-ers: You may freely assume that I am a hiatus-denier, and arrive here from drastic navigation error, obviously (tho please in the name of God, do not place me in bed with Amory Lovins or the “Green Agenda”). My query was prompted up thread, but I would appreciate anyone’s straightening me out.
Steven Mosher — I gave some time to an abbreviated attempt to follow the exchange between Schmidt & Curry, @ RC and Cli..Etc., in past weeks, but will require greater effort to get my arms around it, if I am even equipped to ever grok things at the level of their interplay. Your post upthread @ 12:16 pm of the 25th intrigues me. You state:
“The method computes a difference in Forcing between two period(s). 1859 –1882, 1995—2011.”
I apologize for the length of my insertion below, as it is taken from a dialogue I am conducting on Andromeda. But the question is raised, why the pre-Krakatoah cut off? And why the ’97 El Nino INCLUSION? After all, Pinatubo reduced H2O by ~20 times the model predicted delta-T, in percentage terms, and vapor responds quickly to temps.
[insertion from other thread:
1996 – 2000: .. 32 ,,, 71 … 96 … 55 … 53
1999 – 2013: .. 89 … 98 … 73 … 81 … 88
Re: Lynn, @ XXX asking about responding to the “hiatus / pause” claim.
Why is it, that 97% of seven year olds have no difficulty identifying the bottom data string as “bigger,” while opinion and professional engineering journal comment threads are loaded with folks who made it over the hump of Methods of Integration, and profess advanced degrees in quantitative disciplines, yet have emotionally dug in on the notion that those data demonstrate the absence of warming for those intervening 15 years? (The “units” above, are akin to “cents”, as we depict the HadCRUT4 surface thermometer measurements in the degrees of Fahrenheit, for the same reason Honda salesmen don’t list their new cars in yen, and things will be more familiar to the common folk if we consider a single such F. degree as one buck,)
Now, you’ve got your Apple-lovers (aka: warmists or hysterics) who seek to discern the “signal” of combustion’s consequence in warming a planet between 2/3rds & 3/4ths covered by oceans whose mixed layer is some ten times as massive as its air. Because, a quarter millennium ago Watt gave its people steam power so that coal could be mined for warmth and wrangling iron, a century and a half ago Rockefeller standardized oil to give them lamp light and then mobility, and a century or so ago Edison gave them electricity. And the question is, do these fabulous gifts impose a burden upon our descendants, a century or more off into the future?
The Apple-lovers point out that that 32 cent value for 1996 measures the warmth signal, as an anomaly when compared with a 30 year interval which concluded only six years earlier. And that were one to slide this reference window backwards in time, so as to figure out just how much total warming we have already achieved to date, it would just attain equipoise, with mid-point in 1907. If one were to slide the reference window any further back in time, it stops getting cooler and in fact starts getting warmer again, maybe all the way back to when Plato communed with Socrates, and Jesus trod the route to Jerusalem. Or maybe half that long. In any case, most evidence we tease from paleo-inferences indicates that temperatures fluctuated between a tenth or twentieth as fast, in preceding centuries, as they do in that first Carbon Century, once fossil fed fire got roaring, big-time.. And warmists draw the inference that the obvious explanation for the great inflection that creates that transposed checkmark pattern in our millennium-scale thermal record, is this appearance of such consequential combustion, and attendant exhaust. Further, enough thermometers were around to confidently measure the moment when this iconic hockey stick’s handle-era is joined with its blade-era. And it measures 66 cents worth.
We now have the “signal” of the true Apple, in hand. Big Apples, from before the warming hiatus set in, are measured by the average from the first string above, which is 61.3 cents. The sum from 1907 is 61 + 66 = $1.27, and it took 91 years, so big ones are a penny and four tenths, per year. Little Apples are measured by including the pause, and are found to measure a penny and a half each year. Wait a minute. They got bigger during the pause? Well, no matter, an Apple is the signal, and it is near a penny and a half each year. Each year the people keep digging up coal and drilling up oil and gas and burning it, and each year, on average, the world, since 1907, has warmed by half more than a hundredth degree Fahrenheit.
Orange-lovers (aka minimalists, luke-warmers, & deniers) are an entirely different breed, obviously. They absolutely hate this “signal” and all it stands for. Hence, they delight in finding noise. You can tell this about the Orangers, because they all flutter about one particular bit of noise, moths about a flame style, but we’ll look at that up close in a minute. An obvious source of natural variation could come from our sun, since if it sneezed or snoozed, we’d either fry or freeze. But though it does vary across an eleven year cycle, it only dims by a tenth of a percent while cycling, so it’s signal in our thermal trace is lost in other noise. Not noise itself. Volcanoes are noisy, and the biggie in the instrumental era was 1883’s Krakatoah. By annual global averages, it cost forty cents for a few years, though Bradley (yep, the MBH one, about ten years before he teamed up with Dr. Mann) found that it depressed summer temps in our hemisphere by a whopping $2.20, one summer. Orange lovers however don’t seem much interested in nature cool—they favor natural warmth. So, the oceans, unless they practice cold fusion on the sly, can’t “make” energy. About the most they can do is store it up from somewhere, and selectively cycle it to the atmosphere, when they are so moved. And they are good at it and do so in sundry patterns. El Nino is one such rhythm, and we’ve had about twenty since 1950, mostly dime-ante stuff. Exclusive of the event registered as such a standout by that upper data string above, 17 Ninos have averaged a bit less than 17 cents each. The name derives from baby Christ, because Peruvian fishermen observed the oscillation to appear most frequently in late December. The late nineties event not only piled up nearly forty-cents worth of heat gain in late 1997, the carry over into the new year boosted the Earth’s temperature by an added quarter across 1998. Sixty-four cents. In its most powerful twelve months, running from September of ’97 thru August of ’08, El Nino Grande added, year over year, both a half dollar and a nickel to the Hadley trace.
Back to the big question: Is it fair to future generations, to look for, select, and stand upon that most extraordinary moment, Grande being about a Krakatoah and a half only reversed in sign, and to peer out towards posterity with the inevitable aftermath of such a fleeting, cyclical phenomenon occupying the foreground? For if Apple-lovers count their penny and a half each year, for some periods maybe 3 cents for decades, and for others near nothing for a few decades, but the Orange-lovers employ a heat spike nearly forty times as large, what can be expected other than that decades might elapse, before enough Apples can be accumulated to match their one Orange? Yet in seven of the most recent twelve months, that is precisely what the globe has done. True, the Earth has not warmed, relative to that absurdly placed challenge of a sudden, forty-fold spurt, but it HAS equaled that mark, and in only fifteen years. Far from a pause, this can only result from an acceleration of the annual heat gain, relative to that of our entire history with warming. Orange-lovers are quite correct, however, that relative to the final couple decades of Century Twenty, the heat gain has diminished—but that gets into cherries, and is a whole other fruit best left for another day.
There is one final comment that cannot wait. Many Orange-lovers have a keen comprehension of the implications for humanity, of attempting to turn its back upon the sundry gifts which are gained with combustion. The intensity of this conviction animates the search through which they found their Orange, their El Nino Grande. To assume that they participate in the dialogue with unfeeling hearts, with non-relevant experiences, or with corrupted minds, or to assume that their concern with humanity either now or in the deep future is in any way of a lesser nature, does both them and the dialogue itself great, great disservice. ]

September 29, 2014 4:18 pm

A quick run of the MODTRAN calculator shows us doubling CO2 shows a 2.78 Centigrade rise. What the calculation ignores is night time. So halve it and what do we get… 1.39 Centigrade.. Am I close enough when we consider the height of the stratosphere giving a shorter night will up that number around an eighth to around 1.6 Centigrade per doubling? 😉

Reply to  Andyj
September 30, 2014 6:01 am

When I point an IR Thermometer straight up (N41,W81) most days it’s below -30F (clear sky, Dew Pnt ~50 will get you near -50F temp) . It changes with dew point.
Now can MODTRAN calculate what I should be able to actual measure?
So my thermometer is rated to -60F from 8-14u, so you’d have to add the Co2 signal in 14-16u to get a total. ~3 w/m2, would increase the temp by as much as 4 F at about -40 F. I routinely see clear sky temps that are 70-100F colder than my concrete sidewalk (more than 4-5 hours after it’s out of the Sun).
Clouds are much closer to surface temps. It seems to me that a slight change in the BB temp of the sky as seen from the surface of the earth, is many many times smaller than the variation caused by clouds.

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