The Collection of Evidence for a Lower Climate Sensitivity Continues to Grow – now up to 14 papers lower than IPCC

By Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger

Nic Lewis and Judith Curry just published a blockbuster paper that pegs the earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity—how much the earth’s average surface temperature is expected to rise in association with a doubling of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration—at 1.64°C (1.05°C to 4.05°C, 90% range), a value that is nearly half of the number underpinning all of President Obama’s executive actions under his Climate Action Plan.This finding will not stop the President and the EPA from imposing more limits on greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels. A wealth of similar findings have appeared in the scientific literature beginning in 2011 (see below) and they, too, have failed to dissuade him from his legacy mission.

The publication of the Lewis and Curry paper, along with another by Ragnhild Skeie and colleagues, brings the number of recent low-sensitivity climate publications to 14, by 42 authors from around the world (this doesn’t count our 2002 paper on the topic, “Revised 21st Century Temperature Projections”).  Most of these sensitivities are a good 40% below the average climate sensitivity of the models used by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Lewis and Curry arrive at their lower equilibrium climate sensitivity estimate by using updated compilations of the earth’s observed temperature change, oceanic heat uptake, and the magnitude of human emissions, some of which should cause warming (e.g., greenhouse gases), while the others should cool (e.g., sulfate aerosols). They try to factor out “natural variability.” By comparing values of these parameters from the mid-19 century to now, they can estimate how much the earth warmed in association with human greenhouse gas emissions.

The estimate is not perfect, as there are plenty of uncertainties, some of which may never be completely resolved. But, nevertheless, Lewis and Curry have generated  a very robust observation-based estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity.

For those interested in the technical details, and a much more thorough description of the research, author Nic Lewis takes you through the paper (here) has made a pre-print copy of the paper freely available (here).

In the chart below, we’ve added the primary findings of Lewis and Curry as well as those of Skeie et al. to the collection of 12 other low-sensitivity papers published since 2010 that conclude that the best estimate for the earth’s climate sensitivity lies below the IPCC estimates. We’ve also included in our Figure both the IPCC’s  subjective and model-based characteristics of the equilibrium climate sensitivity. For those wondering, there are very few recent papers arguing that the IPCC estimates are too low, and they all have to contend with the fact that, according to new Cato scholar Ross McKitrick, “the pause” in warming is actually 19 years in length.

collection-climate-sensitivity

Figure 1. Climate sensitivity estimates from new research beginning in 2011 (colored), compared with the assessed range given in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and the collection of climate models used in the IPCC AR5. The “likely” (greater than a 66% likelihood of occurrence)range in the IPCC Assessment is indicated by the gray bar. The arrows indicate the 5 to 95 percent confidence bounds for each estimate along with the best estimate (median of each probability density function; or the mean of multiple estimates; colored vertical line). Ring et al. (2012) present four estimates of the climate sensitivity and the red box encompasses those estimates. The right-hand side of the IPCC AR5 range is actually the 90% upper bound (the IPCC does not actually state the value for the upper 95 percent confidence bound of their estimate). Spencer and Braswell (2013) produce a single ECS value best-matched to ocean heat content observations and internal radiative forcing.

[Note: an earlier version of this posted listed the number 12 in the title – the correct number is 14, and the title has been changed to reflect that]

References:

Aldrin, M., et al., 2012. Bayesian estimation of climate sensitivity based on a simple climate model fitted to observations of hemispheric temperature and global ocean heat content. Environmetrics, doi: 10.1002/env.2140.

Annan, J.D., and J.C Hargreaves, 2011. On the genera­tion and interpretation of probabilistic estimates of climate sensitivity. Climatic Change, 104, 324-436.

Hargreaves, J.C., et al., 2012. Can the Last Glacial Maximum constrain climate sensitivity? Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L24702, doi: 10.1029/2012GL053872

Lewis, N. 2013. An objective Bayesian, improved approach for applying optimal fingerprint techniques to estimate climate sensitivity. Journal of Climate, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00473.1.

Lewis, N. and J.A. Curry, C., 2014. The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 focring and heat uptake estimates. Climate Dynamic, 10.1007/s00382-014-2342-y.

Lindzen, R.S., and Y-S. Choi, 2011. On the observational determination of climate sensitivity and its implica­tions. Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science, 47, 377-390.

Loehle, C., 2014. A minimal model for estimating climate sensitivity. Ecological Modelling, 276, 80-84.

Masters, T., 2013. Observational estimates of climate sensitivity from changes in the rate of ocean heat uptake and comparison to CMIP5  models. Climate Dynamics, doi:101007/s00382-

McKitrick, R., 2014. HAC-Robust Measurement of the Duration of a Trendless Subsample in a Global Climate Time Series. Open Journal of Statistics4, 527-535. doi: 10.4236/ojs.2014.47050.

Michaels. P.J. et al., 2002. Revised 21st century temperature projections. Climate Research, 23, 1-9.

Otto, A., F. E. L. Otto, O. Boucher, J. Church, G. Hegerl, P. M. Forster, N. P. Gillett, J. Gregory, G. C. Johnson, R. Knutti, N. Lewis, U. Lohmann, J. Marotzke, G. Myhre, D. Shindell, B. Stevens, and M. R. Allen, 2013. Energy budget constraints on climate response. Nature Geoscience, 6, 415-416.

Ring, M.J., et al., 2012. Causes of the global warming observed since the 19th century. Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2, 401-415, doi: 10.4236/acs.2012.24035.

Schmittner,  A., et al. 2011. Climate sensitivity estimat­ed from temperature reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum. Science, 334, 1385-1388, doi: 10.1126/science.1203513.

Skeie,  R. B., T. Berntsen, M. Aldrin, M. Holden, and G. Myhre, 2014. A lower and more constrained estimate of climate sensitivity using updated observations and detailed radiative forcing time series. Earth System Dynamics, 5, 139–175.

Spencer, R. W., and W. D. Braswell, 2013. The role of ENSO in global ocean temperature changes during 1955-2011 simulated with a 1D climate model. Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science, doi:10.1007/s13143-014-0011-z.

van Hateren, J.H., 2012. A fractal climate response function can simulate global average temperature trends of the modern era and the past millennium. Climate Dynamics,  doi: 10.1007/s00382


Global Science Report is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science, where we highlight one or two important new items in the scientific literature or the popular media. For broader and more technical perspectives, consult our monthly “Current Wisdom.”

174 thoughts on “The Collection of Evidence for a Lower Climate Sensitivity Continues to Grow – now up to 14 papers lower than IPCC

  1. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but:

    Just this morning I tried to look up a list of climate sensitivity papers. Wikipedia of course has a whole bunch… but so far as I could tell, every single one of them supported the IPPC estimates. I don’t recall seeing anything of the CS papers which show (2.1) or less……

  2. Good article, it tells you right up front what the bottom line is, written in language a non-scientist can easily grasp, no technical acronyms, the variability is given in terms of degrees C which everyone knows. I would have liked to see what time frame is expected for the doubling of the earths CO2 so the reader has a time length to associate with the 1.64°C. Most people don’t know how long that is expected to take.

    • Hi Steve
      Let me try an example.
      The last century temp increase 1.0C. For the same period the CO2 at about half of doubling, the CS at about 2C.
      If temp increase at 0.7C instead 1.0C for the same period than CS at 1.4C instead of 2C.

      Maybe this a clearer angle to understand why so much data adjustments and fudging under the most rediculous excuses happening every other day lately :)

      Some do not agree but it does not have to be exactly a doubling to count for a doubling at a given moment.
      In a natural term, anywhere before the anthropogenic era, you would have to wait for about 10K years to observe a doubling of CO2 …..and that will be only during a warming trend to be fair. So about 10K years if you are at the begining of a warming trend…..Confusing…yes…:)
      For the current condition if it continues, a considered doubling would be while the CO2 at about 540ppm to 570ppm….

      cheers

      • That’s an interesting fact you state. The 3% additional to natural CO₂ production caused by men speeds up the CO₂ concentration by a factor of 50. I never would have thought that to be possible. Confusing…yes.
        /s

      • Whiten,
        Thanks for your straightforward calculation.
        As an Engineer it escapes my logic system that, given years of temperature and CO2 content data, it is so difficult to arrive at a reasonably accurate sensitivity number. Only a devious mind can make something so complicated with all that data, Sure one can believe that heat is occasionally hiding in the ocean, but it should wash out over 1 Hundred plus years.
        Of course this ignores the fact that there have been extremely long periods of CO2 increase without corresponding temperature rise, this should give any reasonable person pause to cling to the theory of an ironclad relationship.

        Also if the relationship were valid, one also needs to explain the huge spikes in temperature up and down that totally mask the correlation. Is the sensitivity that weal?

    • IPPC AR4 multi-model mean reaches +3.0C in 2082, about 22 years after CO2 doubling (560 ppm) is reached in 2060 (under the A1B scenario).

      IPPC AR5 multi-model mean reaches +3.0C in 2094, about 21 years after CO2 doubling (560 ppm) is reached in 2073 (under the RCP 6.0 scenario).

      So, the lag is 22 years for the short-term feedbacks (water vapor, clouds, lapse rate) and the medium-term ocean heat uptake lag and then another 150 years or so for the long-long-term feedbacks like albedo/glacial melt to kick in for another 0.2C or so.

  3. The problem is, there is NO climate sensitivity to CO2/GHG concentrations. The historical climatic record shows this to be quite clear then again who cares about data when it comes to AGW theory.
    Past historical climatic data shows CO2 has always followed the temperature never has led it which suggest the GHG effect is a result of the climate not the cause. It will increase as the temperature increases but is a result not a cause.

    Looking at the recent past (1900-2000) temperatures fail to correlate to CO2 concentration changes. Falling at times or steady as they are now for 18 years and counting while CO2 concentrations continue to increase.

    Yet the scientific community despite all of the data, can not separate itself from the fact through data that the CO2/CLIMATE correlation just is not there.

    What will they say when global temperatures start to drop later this decade in response to prolonged solar minimum conditions while CO2 concentrations continue to rise? Will they still be in denial ? I think yes given what has taken place up to date.

    • That bothers me about this conversation also.

      Since, in the past, temp changes first and then CO2 level, then we have no history to show that either a doubling of CO2 would cause warming or a halving of CO2 would cause cooling. Simply stated, it never has before, so why are we so sure it is happening now.

      Seems there might be a problem with the idea that warming increases CO2 which then increases warming which then increases CO2 some more … until??? (Or the opposite: cooling decreasing CO2 which decreases temp, etc.)

    • What confuses me to no end is the GHG nonsense was started by Arrhenius (1896) and was refuted by Wood (1909). Apparently Arrhenius never even bothered to do the lab work. You can replicate Wood’s refutation in just about any nominally equipped high school lab. Why wasn’t that the end of it? How can the current generation of ‘scientists’ be ignorant that GHG went out like phlogiston and aether a hundred years ago?

  4. So what are we doubling from? From 1959 it would be about 320 ppm x 2 = 640 ppm. Or are we talking from now – 400 ppm x2 = 800 ppm? Didn’t see it in the post, maybe it’s in the links. Basically we are doubling from what year?

    • Pick your year, it doesn’t matter. Any place you start, if you double the CO2 at that current place, you should increase temperature by the ECS value. According to our current understanding, and dynamic feedbacks not withstanding.

    • I had the same question until I thought about it a bit. Presumably it does not really matter if the sensitivity can be assumed to be a constant. You simply have to choose a baseline. If we choose today’s level then the temperature increase will be over the next 200 years assuming 2 ppm increase in CO2. If we choose 1959, then in 120 years from now the temperature will have increased 1.6C from the 1959 temperature.
      Regardless we will below the dreaded but arbitrary 2C threshold.

    • I think the usual approach is to base it on pre-industrial 280 ppm levels, with a doubling being an increase of 280. We’ve already upped that by 120, to get to 400 ppm, so we’re 43 percent of the way to a doubling. So we’d have 57 percent of the 1.64C figure when we hit the full doubling, which would be 0.94 C. But the ECS isn’t reached until the thousand-year ocean lag catches up, so what we’ll actually face is the transient climate response, which is generally about 4/7 th’s of the ECS, which means the 1.64 C ECS represents an increase of about 0.53 C from the present day.

      Given that temperate-zone temperatures increase about 1 C for every 90 miles you move toward the equator, we’re looking at about a 45 mile shift in climate.

      • It’s not that simple since the effect is inverse logarithmic. At 400 ppm we are actually almost exactly halfway through the first doubling (from pre-industrial levels) from a temperature point of view, so one would expect anothe 0.7 degrees warming at 560 ppm, and about 800 ppm to be required to reach the dread 2 degrees C.

    • @ J. Philip

      The best estimate I gues it will be from 270ppm – 280 ppm as a start point for a doubling, which makes the doubling at about 540ppm to 560ppm…and the half doubling at 395ppm to 420ppm about..:)
      Read my above reply to Steve and check if you could calculate the CS for the moment under the figures given.
      Temp change for the period of half doubling is at about the one you can estimate from the time of Industrial Revolution to about now [as the now been the period of 395-420ppm]. I let you to figure that out..:)

      cheers

    • They say it is logarithmic. So multiplying ANY CO2 amount, by ANY factor, is supposed to add SOME constant times the log of that multiplier factor to the mean global / lower troposphere / whatever Temperature. The some constant depends on the base of the logarithm system you use, and the value of the climate sensitivity.

      So 1 ppm going to 2 ppm (CO2) is supposed to do the same, as 100 ppm going to 200 ppm, or any other numbers in a 1:2 ratio.

      Well it doesn’t do that of course because it isn’t really logarithmic. At best we might say it is NON-LINEAR.

      Well we can’t even say that because they don’t always both go in the same direction. CO2 can go up while Temperature goes down, or verse vicea, or neither or both.

      So the whole concept is nonsense. But it makes for lots of papers. Linear is as good as anything, and no relation at all, works about as well.

      • Exactly! And is there a law about a system increasing in energy or heat where it takes more energy to get the same temperature or heat result. For instance, it takes more fuel to move a car from 90 to 100 MPH, then it does to move a car from 50 to 60 MPH.

      • As I recall, a doubling of CO2 would increase the surface flux by about 3.7 watts. I think that doubling of watts factor is the logarithmic relation being referred to – 280 ppm CO2 leaves us at 14.5C, 560 ppm increases the wattage by 3.8 watts, 1120 increases that to 7.6 additional watts, 2240 ppm increases the origianl by 11.4 watts.

        Temperatures are not the same thing as watts- black body temperatures increase as the fourth root of the wattage flux, so temperature sensitivity would be somehwat less than that wattage doubling factor.

  5. No, the “slow walk back” can never work. While CS for CO2 doubling is at best a dubious metric, unless it has a “-” before the figure it cannot possibly be correct.

    No paper using the “basic physics” of the “settled science” can ever break the “0.0 barrier”. The foundation assumption of 255K being raised 33K is in grave error. Nothing of any real scientific value can be built on this foundation.

    The only use these “slow walk back” papers have is political, and even here the value is limited.

  6. Constraints like this are the biggest stumbling block for the power hungry. What will Obama and his ilk do once they start getting cramped by the scientific constraints contradicting their wild unsubstantiated rhetoric? My guess is that they follow their past pattern of abuse and try to get their will imposed by the courts, without defending the scientific basis. That’s what they have done with the EPA, scientific constraints have no bearing when the courts will dodge the issue.

    • If they run out of global warming, they’ll just make up another crisis, the only solution for which is world socialism.

  7. Maybe the appearance of these papers will help convince the “warmists” that the “deniers” don’t deny that the climate system is affected by the build-up in CO2, just that it may not be as alarming as it’s being characterized, which, of course, has been the position of most of the “deniers” from the beginning.

  8. Thanks, Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger.
    Your clarity is appreciated. This is a complex subject,
    And, yes. It seems that every new effort to evaluate climate sensitivity yields lower figures.

  9. The current US Federal Administration has no need for this data (or any other data for that matter). They’re on their mission to save the planet and no amount of science will stop them.

    Hopefully this article will prove to have utility if and when we get a new Administration. However, I’m far from convinced the new guard will be any different :-(

  10. Given that the heat-retention of CO2 declines logarithmically to concentration, I find it baffling that climate sensitivity to doubling of concentration of CO2 is given as a constant. Even if we take the alleged feedback mechanisms into account, surely the feedback would also decline.

    There is probably some simple mathematical explanation for this, but, since my mathematical talents are limited by the number of my fingers, I am simply puzzled.

    • Yes, they do, in fact water saturation is also logarithmic. Thus increasing CO2 yields ever less increasing feedback. The climate sensitivity is a variable dependent on H2O and CO2 concentration which is to a large extent temperature dependent IE any feedback to CO2 falls with increasing temperature and thus is self limiting. It turns out of course that over land, and at the poles where evaporation is limited (because its either too cold, or there is no surface water) the dry air does not exhibit any feedback and thus would reflect CO2 influence only, less the negative feedbacks in play – ie lapse rate and atmospheric hole radiative feedbacks.

      Not only that, but we know that at about 33 degrees over water the climate reaches a saturation point where the dew point is always below the prevailing temperature. The result is that temperature over water cannot reach much above 33 degrees without creating a thunderstorm. This is a massive non linear negative feedback which instantly sends the climate sensitivity into zero or even negative territory. Climate sensitivity not only is a variable, it changes markedly with temperature and free water availability and therefore by time, latitude and geography, and it exhibits energy saturation as well.

      This is Not by any means a simple scalar number, its a complicated, non-linear time and space dependent variable that is probably unknowable.

    • That is the point of logarithmically declining. 50 to 100 means plus 50ppm gives say 1 degree C. 400 to 800 ppm means plus 400 ppm gives the same 1 degree C. But it is likely all sheer speculation, with lots of sciencey sounding words behind it.

      • @ David A.
        Very interesting point.
        The way I understand it, doubling is just the easier way to put the CS definition in the context of the measuring it in the orthodox estimate of climate science, and it requiries that a starting point from a given climate condition is considered…….

        But back to your point…. the real meaning about the doubling, I think, stands simply in that way because the estimate of the 1.5 to 4.5C with the famous average of 3C is established through the fact that the most change of temp in a climate equilibrium is at about 4C, coinciding with a change of about 200ppm of CO2.
        In a long term warming trend, moving from the Ice Age to the Holocene Optimum the temp seems to change by 4C for a change of about 200ppm of CO2 from round about of 200ppm to 400ppm.
        200ppm happends to be a value for a doubling…..it just happends.
        It could be more accurate to see the estimate for actually what it stands for, not actually for a doubling of CO2 but for a change of CO2 emissions by 200ppm.
        In this way no problem to consider the CS in a cooling trend while actually the CO2 change is a reduction.
        That is how I see it..anyway.

        The numbers 200 and 400 for the ppm are a bit of a round-up, just for the sake of clarity with the argument…. it is more like 180-200ppm for a starting point to 360-400ppm.
        So while considering for example a starting point in our current condition of 280ppm, the climate sensitivity should be calculated not for a doubling [at 560ppm] but for an increase of about 180-200ppm [at 460-480ppm].
        This covers only the part of the doubling……

        I could be wrong with this, but in the end to me it seems that the CS as it stands defined and estimated is not very convincing and used with a tendency to propagate an AGW in the case of some natural warming ocuring.

        cheers

  11. The warmists (aka ‘true believers’) may try to find technical errors or omissions in these findings. Actually there’s nothing wrong about them trying to prove these findings wrong. That’s the way science is supposed to work. More power to them to find flaws in these findings, in order to further the science of “climate sensitivity”.

    But we know how Lysenkoism works. Aided and abetted by their government sponsors and the MSM, if can’t find fight these findings technically, then they will try to smear, distort and discredit the authors with ad hominem and other personal attacks.

    I hope these latest findings, published in peer-reviewed journals by competent researchers, represent a “turning point” in the climate skeptics’ struggles to reveal the true nature of the ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ issues.

    Yes, our climate has been slowly warming for the past couple of centuries. And, yes, greenhouse gases play an important role in warming the atmosphere and surface of our planet.

    But now it is becoming clearer that CO2 is most likely _not_ the serious threat it has been claimed to be. Rather, water vapor and aerosols are main agents for these warming (and cooling) effects. The effects of CO2 are relatively small, and the current warming is not unprecedented, which supports the idea that the Earth’s climate is very stable and robust towards the kinds “climate disruptions” reported in the MSM

    To win this debate on technical grounds, the warmists will have to provide compelling proof that man-made CO2 has caused or will cause catastrophic climate disruptions on a global scale.

    No such compelling proof has yet been presented.

  12. When the draft version of AR5 was being discussed last year, I commented that the position the IPCC were adopting would soon appear to be absurd, since as long as the ‘pause’ continues there will be more and more papers dicussing climate sensitivity, with ever lowering figures/estimates for climate sensitivity.

    I observed that the time when the IPCC report will be judged, was not on publication, but rather it will be in late 2015 when the next major climate summit is scheduled. As long as there is no El Nino before then, it will be apparent that AR5 has over played its hand, since the best current research (and I know that is saying something when we are talking about climate science which is not renowned for quality or robustness), will all point to a climate sensitivity of less than 1.7, perhaps more likely between 1.3 to 1.7, ie, the papers published between 2013 and late 2015.

    We can already see that taking shape now. 2014 is looking like it will be a reasonably warm year with the on/off El Nino. May be it will develop, and give the warmists some slack, but may be it will not,

    I consider that the 2015 climate summit is already beginning to look difficult, and this summit may be the last throw for the alarmists, especially if cooling begins to kick in post 2015 thereby really putting the cat amongst the pidgeons for AR6 and the 2020 climate summit.

    Interesting times are ahead. .

    • “As long as there is no El Nino before then…”

      El nino is likely coming. Weak to perhaps moderate. See Joe Bastardi..NOAA currently sees 65 percent chance….

    • I consider that the 2015 climate summit is already beginning to look difficult, and this summit may be the last throw for the alarmists, especially if cooling begins to kick in post 2015 thereby really putting the cat amongst the pidgeons for AR6 and the 2020 climate summit.

      I tend to agree. Furthermore, even though they do not say so in so many words, it seems to me that the movers and shakers at the UNEP (the primary “source” of 40+ years of doom and gloom) already recognize this – although I doubt they will ever say so, in so many words.

      What I find interesting are the changes in the word-salads that emanate from the UNEP (and/or one or more of its many tentacles). Consider, for example, the “output document” from Rio+20, over two years ago. As I had noted in my quick ‘n dirty analysis by word count of this 300+ page “Outcome Document”, the final score was climate change 22, sustainable/sustainability 400 (“carbon* scored a mere 3, btw!)

      As I had written at the time:

      [This] does give some indication as to what they’ve decided the “priorities” will be – and where the power will lie. At least until the next meeting of some High Level Committee or Panel somewhere on the planet! In the meantime the emphasis seems to be on “voluntary commitments” towards the Future [they haven’t quite been able to convince us] We Want.

      Big Green are less than thrilled with this outcome document. Sooooo – perhaps the future won’t be quite as bad as we thought. Well, at least until the UNEP acquires its “enhanced voice”, and we find out who all these “stakeholders” might really be.

      From what I’ve read of Stern Report v. 2.0 (aka “The New Climate Economy” [Pls. see: http://hro001.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/un-enters-us4-5-trillion-twilight-zone/ ] which was conveniently released just in time for this highly staged (including the pre-meeting demonstrations in N.Y.C.) so-called climate summit, the tone surrounding the obligatory mantra of “dangerous climate change” is relatively upbeat.

      And in yet another just-in-time-for-this-one-day-summit (undated!) document, which I had stumbled across courtesy of the good folks at IISD … yesterday, I found:

      How the United Nations System Supports Ambitious Action on Climate Change

      The United Nations System Delivering as One on Climate Change and Sustainable Development [emphasis added -hro]

      This glossy publication (in remarkably plain language, considering that it’s a UN document) emanates from the highest level of this ever-increasing hierarchy: United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB). But here’s the thing … the words put into Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s mouth in the Foreword include:

      The UN System is committed to advancing solutions that will build prosperous economies and more resilient communities while addressing climate change. By acting on climate change we can significantly advance the sustainable development agenda [emphasis added -hro]

      What’s not to like about that, eh?!

      In short, with each passing paper, I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that the powers that be at the UN don’t give a tinker’s damn what the science says. IOW, they use it (and the scientists who produce the papers) merely as a convenient prop.

      And as long as they can continue to get scientists on board on the inside – along with an army of activist “journalists” on the outside – they’ll simply shift the ground and/or emphasis. Again.

      • Sorry … let me try that again:

        I consider that the 2015 climate summit is already beginning to look difficult, and this summit may be the last throw for the alarmists, especially if cooling begins to kick in post 2015 thereby really putting the cat amongst the pidgeons for AR6 and the 2020 climate summit.

        I tend to agree. Furthermore, even though they do not say so in so many words, it seems to me that the movers and shakers at the UNEP (the primary “source” of 40+ years of doom and gloom) already recognize this – although I doubt they will ever say so, in so many words.

        What I find interesting are the changes in the word-salads that emanate from the UNEP (and/or one or more of its many tentacles). Consider, for example, the “output document” from Rio+20, over two years ago. As I had noted in my quick ‘n dirty analysis by word count of this 300+ page “Outcome Document”, the final score was climate change 22, sustainable/sustainability 400 (“carbon* scored a mere 3, btw!)

        As I had written at the time:

        [This] does give some indication as to what they’ve decided the “priorities” will be – and where the power will lie. At least until the next meeting of some High Level Committee or Panel somewhere on the planet! In the meantime the emphasis seems to be on “voluntary commitments” towards the Future [they haven’t quite been able to convince us] We Want.

        Big Green are less than thrilled with this outcome document. Sooooo – perhaps the future won’t be quite as bad as we thought. Well, at least until the UNEP acquires its “enhanced voice”, and we find out who all these “stakeholders” might really be.

        From what I’ve read of Stern Report v. 2.0 (aka “The New Climate Economy” [Pls. see: http://hro001.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/un-enters-us4-5-trillion-twilight-zone/ ] which was conveniently released just in time for this highly staged (including the pre-meeting demonstrations in N.Y.C.) so-called climate summit, the tone surrounding the obligatory mantra of “dangerous climate change” is relatively upbeat.

        And in yet another just-in-time-for-this-one-day-summit (undated!) document, which I had stumbled across courtesy of the good folks at IISD … yesterday, I found:

        How the United Nations System Supports Ambitious Action on Climate Change

        The United Nations System Delivering as One on Climate Change and Sustainable Development [emphasis added -hro]

        This glossy publication (in remarkably plain language, considering that it’s a UN document) emanates from the highest level of this ever-increasing hierarchy: United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB). But here’s the thing … the words put into Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s mouth in the Foreword include:

        The UN System is committed to advancing solutions that will build prosperous economies and more resilient communities while addressing climate change. By acting on climate change we can significantly advance the sustainable development agenda [emphasis added -hro]

        What’s not to like about that, eh?!

        In short, with each passing paper, I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that the powers that be at the UN don’t give a tinker’s damn what the science says. IOW, they use it (and the scientists who produce the papers) merely as a convenient prop.

        And as long as they can continue to get scientists on board on the inside – along with an army of activist “journalists” on the outside – they’ll simply shift the ground and/or emphasis. Again.

  13. The other issue that has not been mentioned to date is that if you just use the lower troposphere satellite temps from RSS/UAH and the weather balloon radiosonde measurements, the sensitivity drops another 0.4C or so down to 1.2C.

  14. 19 years without warming.

    Why it seems that actual warming will be a rare and exciting event, something already outside the experience of today’s children ….and many college students as well.

  15. I commend Lewis and Curry for their work. I am not a scientist, but it seems strange to me that there are so many “possibles,” “uncertainties,” and “estimates,” in a field of science where so many “experts” on one side claim “the science is settled.” I don’t believe anybody in climatology actually has the faintest idea of the impact of CO2 on global temperatures.

    • “I don’t believe anybody in climatology actually has the faintest idea of the impact of CO2 on global temperatures.”

      Yes indeed, not only that but they seem to be obsessed with the concept that CO2 can only change the “average” or “equilibrium” temperature. It’s seems totally out of the realm of possibilities to climatology that CO2 may only affect the response time (how long it takes the temperature to change after the arrival of an energy source) of components in the system.

      Increasing average temperatures (regardless of the cause) increase the amount of CO2. Increasing CO2 merely changes the response time. Because of the massive thermal capacities of the Oceans (very slow response time) increases in the response time of the gases in the atmosphere have NO EFFECT on the average temperature. This is consistent with the observations. The alternate proposition that CO2 levels RESPOND TO average temperatures AND ALSO determine average temperature is ludicrous (OK, I tried to find an innocuous phrase for that, I could have referred to bovine effluent).

      In electrical engineering this would be the difference between analyzing a DC circuit and an AC circuit, but those concepts (response time, delay time, RMS (root mean squared) voltage/current/power) seem to be totally alien to the climate science community. They insist that the system is in “equilibrium” and that CO2 in the atmosphere (with a minuscule thermal capacity) is the thermostat….

      It’s very much like making a computer model that says if I throw an ice cube into the room temperature water in my bathtub all of the water will freeze…. No understanding at all that the thermal capacity of the ice cube can’t do much of anything that lasts and within a few minutes I will probably need a magnifying glass to find the remains of my initial ice cube.

      Cheers, Kevin

      • Kevin,
        The climate models are scalar models, they ignore time completely. In effect they assume that you can take the net effect of multiple feedback responses (oscillations) with different time lags and then add them together to achieve a scalar estimate of the average total response to a step input.

        In electrical engineering terms this is like saying that the AC response will be the same as the DC response (the DC analysis is a scalar response). Take an amplifier give it a gain of 3 put 1 volt in and I’ll get 3 V out.

        Seems reasonable doesn’t it? Until of course your realize that the input to the climate feedback isnt a constant is a complicated noise characteristic, so now take that same amplifier and put in the positive feedback path several feedbacks all delayed by different times and then put a 1 Volt square wave and sweep the frequency, and you can be pretty sure what comes out wont be a square wave and it wont be 3 volts at all frequencies. and there is a pretty good chance that with a loop gain of 0.7 or so at some frequency or another it’s gonna be an oscillator

        Climate modelling with scalar models is like modelling an RF amplifier using only DC analysis.

  16. Why is Ferenc Miskolczi’s 2007(?) paper Greenhouse Effect in Semi-Transparent Planetary Atmospheres always overlooked in these discussions? He was talking about a saturated greenhouse effect controlled by water vapour years before anyone else and, I believe, lost his job at NASA over it because it contradicted the prevailing view.

    • Because his theory has nothing to do with this argument. This argument accepts that the CO2 Greenhouse effect is real as proposed by the IPCC but that the climate forcing due to CO2 is low.

  17. I tell people these days “You know the earth is an open system heat engine…. Heat in at the equator and out at the poles drives climate, not even accounting for the energy input from the solar wind… Mans CO2 signal is in the noise compared to the energy that moves around the earth system…. Its similar to if you left a door open on either end of your greenhouse. How warm does it get then(if you fart)?” Usually you can see a light going off in their eyes!

  18. How many papers with sensitivity above? How many papers below? But this good we are actually discussing the details where there _is_ a scientific discussion. And remember, the Lewis/Curry paper is only another factoid, not necessarily the correct value.

  19. Yes, but are these 14 papers on sensitivity actual scientific papers or are they “Claim:” scientific papers?

    That’s the problem with constantly downplaying the importance of most other published research by doing things like attaching the word “Claim” in front of them in blog posts. It becomes hard to then turn around and make a credible appeal to *any* published research for support.

    Published research isn’t an ‘à la carte’ menu.

      • Just because they are pal-reviewed and passed the gatekeeping of the journals does not make them “science”.

        Like it or not peer-review is not a critical component of scientific method. It is just part of our current scientific bureaucracy. Repeatable observation and experiment are what is critical to science.

        Given that each of these papers are based on the 255K assumption, none can truly be considered science.

  20. Woe to be a Climate Modeler today. Morale must be tanking. Heavy drinking. Are there any Climate Modelers’ Anonymous groups out at LLNL? Boulder? NYC?

    Cheer up there is always Wall Street and Finance for physics-math quants. Just because quants didn’t do so well in 2008, doesn’t mean you still can’t get rich and retire before the economy blows up again.

    Climate Modelers please remember:

    • Those trying to “work within ” the IPCC formulaic box of CO2 and aerosols are what controls a steady-state equilibrium, then points to huge unknown in aerosols since CO2 is well-known. Further, Ocean heat content changes are important, “in the box.” But no one can measure or even estimate it without huge uncertainties. See their equation: ECS= Fco2* dT/(dF-OHC)

      If you think outside the box and question the physics upon which CO2 forcing is based, then according to Mosher, you should be excluded from the climate science discussion. You are a “denier” that CO2 is relevant or something like that. Any one who has suggested CO2 follows dT is a denier, to be excluded from the debate. Hogwash. It is the debate he wants to have, because beyond it, is a vast wasteland of What If’s, where there can never be a “consensus”. Such as, what if MGT is really correct? What if CO2 follows dT (i.e., Henry’s Law rules over Arrhenius). What if the sun is really in control?

      That to me, Mosher sounds like a Ptolemaic disciple scolding the technorati-mathematicians to find better ways to keep the epi-circle magic working for an Earth-centred universe.

    • Natural variability. We have weak solar activity and are in a phase where the El Nino frequency is lower. All other things being equal we should be experiencing noticeable (statistically significant) cooling.

      However, the fact that natural variability is able to offset ghg-enhanced warming does suggest climate sensitivity is lower than estimated by the CAGW advocates. Using a very simple energy balance model, it’s possible to show that the “no-feedback” temperature response to a doubling of CO2 is ~1.2 deg C. It’s beginning to look very much as though the true sensitivity isn’t too far off this figure.

      • John Finn,

        Please post empirical, testable, measurable evidence showing the specific amount of global warming due to human emissions.

        I would like to see those measurements.

      • dbstealey, John Finn has been asked this many times but runs away. He’s only capable of making baseless assertions. He’ll now run to Jo Nova’s blog and post the same crap there.

      • John Finn,

        Please post empirical, testable, measurable evidence showing the specific amount of global warming due to human emissions.

        Radiative transfer equations are able to produce very accurate calculations of emission spectra for earth’s atmosphere and for any concentration of ghgs. Output from MODTRAN, for example, for any given atmosphere (tropical, arctic, moist, dry) can produce a plot which is virtually an exact match of the real measured emission spectra.

        The line by line calculations suggest that a doubling of CO2 will result in a TOA (Top of the Atmosphere) forcing of ~3.7 w/m2. The question is how much will this increase the surface temperature of the earth. This is where the debate lies. If we assume no feedback (positive or negative) then we can use a quick ‘back of the envelope’ calculation to get a rough estimate, i.e.

        Earth’s average surface temperature is ~15 C which means, again on average, it emits ~390 w/m2. At TOA ~240 w/m2 is emitted to space. This is equivalent to the solar energy received by the earth. So, at equilibrium we get 240 w/m2 coming in and 240 w/m2 going out.

        The outgoing 240 w/m2 is driven by the surface flux of 390 w/m2, i.e. every watt/m2 from the surface results in 0.62 watt/m2 emission from the TOA. Right, if we now double the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere we know we will reduce the Outgoing energy by 4 w/m2 (~3.7 w/m2) so now we’ll still have 240 w/m2 coming in but only 236 w/m2 going out, i.e. we will have an imbalance so that

        Energy in is greater than Energy out = Warming

        To restore equilibrium, the surface temperature will need to increase. Since every 1 w/m2 from the surface results in 0.62 w/m2 the surface will need to emit another 4/0.62 w/m2 or 6.5 w/m2 to restore equilibrium. The new surface flux, therefore, will be 396.5 w/m2 which represents a temperature increase of ~1.2 degrees C.

        Now you can argue the feedbacks. IPCC say strongly positive; Lindzen and others say ZERO, negative or weakly positive

      • Nice, simple theory. Using simplistic single point, single curve, simple averages for an ideal flat-surfave “earth” using simple approximations of an “average” (no water, no clouds, no snow, no changes in state) earth exposed to a constant flat flux. Very clear, very simple, and very wrong.

        And none of it is measured . All is conjecture and linear extrapolations.

        Oh – The measured global average temperature rose, stayed steady, or fell while CO2 was steady.

        Or the measured global average temperature rose, stayed steady, and fell while CO2 rose.

      • John Finn,

        You seem to have missed the word in my question: “measurements”.

        As in, please provide testable measurements based upon empirical [real world] observations. Measurements, john. Not calculations. Not computer programs. Not pal reviewed papers. Not assumptions. Observational evidence, please. They have repeatedly measured global warming. It is around 0.7ºC. Now we need measurements of the human portion.

        See, when you post speculation like you did, there may well be other factors of which you are not aware. “Unknown unknowns”, if you like.

        Real world measurements take care of that problem. Where are they?

        So if you don’t mind, please post measurements showing the specific tenths, or hundreths of a degree of global warming specifically caused by human activity, out of the total global warming over the past century and a half of about 0.7ºC.

        Simples, no? Just post those measurements. Quantify how much global warming human emissions cause.

        Now, if you can’t supply any such measurements, then the obvious conclusion is that every assertion of AGW is nothing but speculation. Conjecture. Opinion. Isn’t that right? My conjecture is that global warming is all natural — and my conjecture is just as valid as yours. More valid, really, because my conjecture is based on the Null Hypothesis. Yours is based on Belief.

        You’re asking everyone to drastically alter Western industrial civilization based on… speculation; on a guess. On a conjecture. On an opinion. On an evidence-free assumption.

        Science is all about measurements, John. Without measurements, you are just guessing. Shooting the breeze. Playing chin music. But it sure isn’t scientific evidence. In fact, there is no evidence? Is there?

        So, John, I hate to put it this way, but you need to put up or shut up. Post those real world, testable measurements . Or, admit that you are merely speculating about something that you want to believe in.

        The ball is in your court, John. Return service, or game over.

      • “All other things being equal we should be experiencing noticeable (statistically significant) cooling.”

        There is a time lag. But, if you cannot see that a peak has been reached here, and we are going to be heading down for the next several years, then you are just putting off accepting the inevitable.

      • Most temperatures are not measured out in the boondocks, but near human habitation. Any measured increases in temperature could be mistaking the results of waste heat from industrialization with natural background increases.

        http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/jgr07/jgr07.html

        A planet with an advanced civilization would measure warmer than the same stone age planet even without any additional greenhouse effect.

  21. Why bother about the equilibrium sensitivity, relaxation time is centuries, plenty of time to cover the earth with thorium electricity plants, IPCC agrees with me:

    • Yes TCR is more relevant. ECS will take a thousand years to attain. Such long period of time, natural forces would have cancelled the effect.

  22. I agree with DEl Prete Above. I still dont understand why scientists are even bothering to investigate and publish anything concerning CO2 v Global temps when ALL previous data seems to show that CO2 FOLLOWS changes in temperatures. To me it seems that in the Earths atmospheric context C02 has probably got zero effect on temperatures, No one to date has shown ANY effect in fact. Its like flogging a dead horse.

  23. I predict that sometime in the future the estimates of sensitivity will be revised downwards again. The reason is that the estimates of ocean heat uptake will be calibrated better.

  24. These estimates of climate sensitivity only apply to the current the global regime or step that we happen to be in. If there is a step wise change, CO2 effects on climate have to be recalibrated.

  25. It is true that the maximum likelihood value from Lewis and Curry is 1.64C per doubling, and I agree with the method used to calculate that value. However we should also recognize this value is the highest point in a rather skewed curve, and that the median sensitivity they found (the 50:50 over:under value, if you will) is somewhat higher, and closer to 1.9 to 2.0C per doubling. The median value is arguably a better representation of the estimated sensitivity from their analysis than is the maximum likelihood value, because the way the forcing data is converted to climate sensitivity means that the maximum likelihood sensitivity changes with increasing or decreasing uncertainty in forcing, while the median value for sensitivity depends only on the best estimate of forcing; it does not change with changing level of uncertainty in the forcing.

    • stevefitzpatrick September 26, 2014 at 5:57 am: relax, you are trying to correct an imaginary value that has no meaning. There is no forcing to calculate or adjust because according to MGT it is blocked by reduction of water vapor. This explains the total absence of greenhouse warming for the last 17 years. Another period like that existed for 61 years, starting in 1948, as Miskolczi has shown. Warming older than 17 years cannot be greenhouse warming and is simply misidentified natural warming because laws of nature cannot be turned on or off.

  26. The argument is not if a increase in CO2 will cause the temperature to increase ? The answer is yes.

    The argument is what will cause CO2 to increase and does it lead the temperature?

    According to historical climate data it suggest CO2 will increase as a result of the climate because it always follows the temperature.

    So this study just done is bogus because it has the cart before the horse.

    Another point to ponder is at the end of each inter- glacial temperatures were warm/CO2 concentrations were high. So if CO2 were leading the temperature and not a result of the climate why did the warming not continue instead of all of a sudden reverse back to glacial conditions when in the midst of an inter- glacial ?

    What happened to reverse everything?

  27. I’d like to see an over time graph for the predicted global temperature for 2100 for every published published paper that can be found since 1990. Then we could draw a line through that graph to estimate the year that the models will no longer be showing that there will be any rise in global temperature.

  28. “…Nic Lewis and Judith Curry just published a blockbuster paper that pegs the earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity—how much the earth’s average surface temperature is expected to rise in association with a doubling of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide concentration—at 1.64°C…”

    This is very commendable, but not enough. It can be demonstrated that true sensitivity is not just lower than advertised, but actually zero. I said so on Judith Curry’s blog and will repeat it here. Below is the text of my original comment:

    “Aaaahhh, climate sensitivity!!! If you know its value you know how much global warming you get when you double the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Arrhenius figured it was about four or five degrees Celsius. Modern day recalculation, using more accurate values of parameteers, gives it a value around 1.1 degrees Celsius.

    That is of course non-threatening, so the brains at IPCC decided that water vapor feedback might double or triple that, and so get a danger level of 2 to 3 degree warming from doubling of carbon dioxide. It all hangs on the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere. If there was no greenhouse effect, or if something were to block it, any doubling of carbon dioxide would yield zero degrees warming and the water vapor feedback likewise would be zero, giving a climate sensitivity of exactly zero for this doubling.

    I am going to argue that this is exactly what it is, despite carbon dioxide being a greenhouse gas. A greenhouse gas is expected to work its warming through the greenhouse effect, absorbing infrared radiation and converting it to heat that warms the atmosphere. Hansen told the Sensate in 1988 that he personally had detected the greenhouse effect by observing a hundred year warming that could not have happened by pure chance. He was wrong, of course, because thirty of his hundred years were not greenhouse years, and another thirty were cooling, not warming.

    But ever since then we have been told that the greenhouse effect is responsible for causing the anthropogenic global warming or AGW. This blanket rule flies in the face of actual temperature observations today. There has been no warming for the last 17 years, but atmospheric carbon dioxide just keeps increasing on its own schedule. There is not a dent in the Keeling curve seventeen years ago that would indicate it even knows about this.

    We have a greenhouse theory, of course, that predicts warming when carbon dioxide goes up. It has been predicting warming all these 17 years, and getting nothing. If you are a scientist and your theory predicts warming but you get nothing for 17 years, you are justified in throwing that theory into the waste basket of history. There is spot there for it, right next to phlogiston, another theory of warming that failed.

    With that, the only greenhouse theory still left standing is the Miskolkczi greenhouse theory, MGT. It predicts exactly what we see: addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere does not warm the air. It came out in 2007 but was promptly blacklisted by the IPCC. That is why you have not heard about it. It is capable of handling several GHGs that simultaneously absorb in the infrared; something the Arrhenius’ theory cannot do.

    In the earth atmosphere the two most important greenhouse gases are water vapor and carbon dioxide. According to MGT they form a joint IR absorption window which they control. The optical thickness of this window in the IR is 1.87, determined by Miskolczi from first principles. If you now add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere it will start to absorb, just as the Arrhenius theory says. But this will increase the optical thickness. And as soon as this happens, water vapor will begin to diminish, rain out, and the original optical thickness is restored. The introduced carbon dioxide will of course keep absorbing but simultaneous reduction of water vapor will keep total absorption constant, and no warming takes place.

    This is the explanation of why there is no warming today despite a constantly increasing atmospheric CO2. This fact has great importance for climate science. First, it makes any runaway greenhouse effect impossible. This explains why very high carbon dioxide in geologic history never caused any runaway warming. It also takes care of Hansen, who has been warning us that burning fossil fuels will lead to runaway greenhouse like what happened to Venus. He is wrong, both about us and about Venus.

    Secondly, it makes the enhanced greenhouse effect impossible. Since that is touted to be the cause of AGW, it follows that AGW itself does not exist, either. It is nothing but a pseudo-scientific fantasy, invented by some over-eager climate worker to justify the greenhouse hypothesis.

    To summarize: Hansen did not discover the greenhouse effect; the greenhouse effect is not the cause of AGW; AGW is itself a pseudo-scientific fantasy; no runaway greenhouse effect is possible in the presence of water vapor; and finally, the true value of climate sensitivity is zero.”

      • John Finn

        For reasons known only to yourself, you ask Arno Arrak

        Can you give us your explanation for the ice ages?

        Perhaps you should provide your explanation for this off-topic subject before demanding one from others.

        So, can you give us your explanation for the ice ages?
        And can you say what relevance you think it has to the growing evidence for low climate sensitivity which is the subject of this thread?

        Richard

    • Your response would be much more readable, and hence read by more, if you break it up into shorter paragraphs. Thanks.

  29. There is a tendency to think of all the scientist that have said something that was then quoted to support the CAGW “We’re all going to die unless we control you!” meme as being dishonest.
    Many of them have assumed that the “pal-reviewed” papers they’ve trusted were actually “peer-reviewed”. And acted accordingly. By that I mean that they did research that accepted a skewed premise as a reasonably established one.
    It would seem that more of them are looking out their windows at there thermometer rather than their computer screen.
    Some are just rats jumping ship but for some reality is breaking through.
    Give the latter a break.

  30. I’m a sceptic and am not impressed by the simplifications and crude mathematics involved in ECS calculation. But I also admit that I have much to learn about this kind of “meta” pseudo-analysis.

    But, given this proviso, can anyone tell me how the “Lewis and Curry (2014)” ESC range differs in any significant way from the IPCC AR5 Assessment (likely range) as shown in Figure 1 above. (Yes, the IPCC didn’t give a mean for their likely range).

    So how does the Lewis and Curry paper represent a “sea change” or a seminal refutation of prevailing ECS wisdom. . . more likely it seems likely that they have gone “native”. Tell me where I’ve gone astray in my assessment of Figure 1.

    Thanks

    Dan

  31. John Finn,

    You seem to have missed the word in my question: “measurements”.

    The measurements are the actual emission spectra – of which there are many, many measurements. MODTRAN has been consistently validated against these measurements and shows remarkable accuracy. We can be reasonably confident that doubling CO2 results in a forcing of ~3.7 w/m2.

    The calculation I provided is a very rough estimate of the temperature increase which might be expected from a forcing of 3.7 w/m2 – without feedbacks . I then invited you to argue whether the feedbacks are positive, negative or zero which would of course affect the net sensitivity figure.

    You should be aware that many people who are far cleverer than you or I (e.g Roy Spencer and Steve McIntyre) entered the AGW debate thinking that CO2 might not have any effect on climate at all but have subsequently become convinced that CO2 must have some impact. I trod a similar path. Lindzen is another who accepts a “no feedback” figure of about 1 degree C per 2xCO2.

    The “debate” isn’t about whether CO2 has any effect. It’s about how much of an effect.

  32. There is a time lag. But, if you cannot see that a peak has been reached here, and we are going to be heading down for the next several years, then you are just putting off accepting the inevitable.

    Bart

    How much are you prepared to bet that there is significant cooling over the next 10 years. I say there won’t be and I’m prepared to bet a sizeable sum of money.

    Are you up for it?

    • 50,000 quatloos! No, John, I have no desire to entangle myself in financial arrangements with persons unknown to me. Furthermore, your willingness to recklessly wager vast sums of money on unlikely events does not especially recommend you as a person with whom one should readily enter into such arrangements in the first place. Nor does it constitute any evidence in favor of your proposition.

  33. John Finn says:

    The “debate” isn’t about whether CO2 has any effect. It’s about how much of an effect.

    John! Wake up! The question is: can you post empirical, testable measurements quantifying how many tenths or hundreths of a degree of global warming, out of the 0.7ºC total global warming of the past ≈150 years, which is directly attributable to human activity? The question was not whether CO2 has any effect, or how much of an effect it has. You can discuss that with Arno Arrak above.

    If you can post direct empirical temperature measurements showing the fraction of global warming due to human emissions, you will be the first — and on the short list for a Nobel Prize. I’ve asked the same question dozens of times over the past couple of years, but no one has ever produced the requested measurements. Do you know why that is?

    It is because there are no such measurements! The entire AGW conjectutre is a giant head fake. The alarmist crowd has convinced everyone they can that human emissions cause global warming. OK, then. Fine. Now just produce those testable measurements.

    In this article Lord Monckton quotes Professor David Douglass of Rochester University asking him if anyone has attempted empirical measurements, rather than modeling [like you do], to determine the CO2 forcing? Lord M asks:

    Please let us know in comments if you are aware of any atmospheric measurements on the basis of which the CO2 forcing has been quantified.

    So I haven’t been the only one asking; others would also like to see the putative human contribution to global warming quantified. But so far, no one has ever produced any such real world measurements. You haven’t either, and it looks like you’ve deliberately misunderstood the question.

    Without measurements at least as accurate and verifiable as the temperature measurements for overall global warming, the alarmist contingent is asking everyone to buy a pig in a poke. They are asking us to take their word for their assumption that there is a lot of human influence in global warming. The problem is, that is only a conjecture. An opinion. An evidence-free belief.

    I am asking you or anyone else to post the fraction of total global warming attributable to human activity. It must be a testable, verifiable number; an empirical temkperature measurement that withstands falsification, and it cannot be mixed with other possible factors.

    There are $Trillions riding on the answer. So make any measurements accurate, verifiable — and bullet proof.

    • How do you propose we take temperature measurements which only show the ghg contribution. You’re being totally ridiculous. Scientists are coming up with various estimates as to how much the world will warm in response to a doubling of CO2. The observations tell us how likely those estimates are to be correct. Current observations suggest that the no-feedback response is not too far off the mark.

      Now if you’ve got a theory which explains why the mean global temperature was ~0.7 deg C higher in the period between 1995 and 2011 than it was between 1859 and 1882 when natural forcings were the same – then let’s have it.

      • John, I can see you’re getting frustrated. I understand. Because up until recently, you had folks accepting your assertions. But now that you are being asked to back up those assertions with testable measurements, suddenly we are being “totally ridiculous”.

        You say:

        Scientists are coming up with various estimates as to how much the world will warm in response to a doubling of CO2.

        Well, yes. Anyone can come up with various estimates. But they are only “estimates”, not measurements. Then you say:

        Now if you’ve got a theory…

        No, John. The “theory” [actually: conjecture] is yours, not mine. My job as a scientific skeptic is to shoot holes in it, if I can. Then anything left standing, after all attempts at falsification, is accepted as current science. That’s how it works.

        The problem is that your “theory” cannot make accurate predictions; a basic requirement of any theory. And it has no verifiable data to support it. In fact, your “theory” is only an assertion: that human activity causes global warming.

        It may. Or not. But to be convincing, you need to produce verifiable, testable measurements quantifying the degree of global warming caused by human emissions. So far, there are no such measurements.

    • dbstealey

      You write to John Finn saying

      In this article Lord Monckton quotes Professor David Douglass of Rochester University asking him if anyone has attempted empirical measurements, rather than modeling [like you do], to determine the CO2 forcing? Lord M asks:

      Please let us know in comments if you are aware of any atmospheric measurements on the basis of which the CO2 forcing has been quantified.

      So I haven’t been the only one asking; others would also like to see the putative human contribution to global warming quantified. But so far, no one has ever produced any such real world measurements. You haven’t either, and it looks like you’ve deliberately misunderstood the question.

      Sorry, but in that thread I replied to the request from Lord Monckton here where I wrote

      Empirical – n.b. not model-derived – determinations indicate climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. This is indicated by the studies of
      Idso from surface measurements
      http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/Idso_CR_1998.pdf
      and Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satellite data
      http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf
      and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data
      http://www.friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/OLR&NGF_June2011.pdf
      The publication and, therefore, the precise reference is at each link.

      Subsequently, the thread obtained several comments praising the Idso paper.

      You often say there is no empirical evidence for an anthropogenic (i.e. man made) contribution to global warming and you are right; there is no such evidence.

      But that is not the same as saying there are no empirical measurements “to determine the CO2 forcing”. There are, and they each provide indications that climate sensitivity is less than 1.0°C for a doubling of CO2 equivalent.

      Importantly, if climate sensitivity is as small as the empirical measurements indicate then it is physically impossible for the putative man-made global warming to be large enough for it to be detected because natural variability is much larger.

      Richard

      • Richard,

        You are correct. I apologize if I gave the wrong impression.

        I was trying to point out that there are no measurements quantifying the human contribution to global warming. CO2 causes global warming. But how much of that is due to human activity? I don’t think that has ever been measured.

        But of course readers’ impressions are the important thing, so thank you for making it clear that CO2 causes global warming. I’ve never disputed that fact.

  34. John Finn;
    How much are you prepared to bet that there is significant cooling over the next 10 years. I say there won’t be and I’m prepared to bet a sizeable sum of money.

    Define “significant”. As measured how? By whom? You propose an imprecise and hence sucker bet. Not to mention that this is, what in poker would be called, “buying the pot”. The table knows you are unlikely to have the strongest hand, but you raise the bet so high that it isn’t worth playing. This isn’t science, or scientific debate, it is just bullying.

    You should be aware that many people who are far cleverer than you or I (e.g Roy Spencer and Steve McIntyre) entered the AGW debate thinking that CO2 might not have any effect on climate at all but have subsequently become convinced that CO2 must have some impact.

    I’ve been following this debate for a very long time and have paid attention to those two players in particular. I don’t recollect either having made any such claim, in fact the opposite for Spencer and McIntyre has gone to great pains to not express an opinion on the physics at all. Perhaps you can provide some links to statements they have made on their blogs to the contrary? Or must someone place a bet with you to get you to back up your assertion?

    We can be reasonably confident that doubling CO2 results in a forcing of ~3.7 w/m2.

    Well as a first order rough approximation, sure. But in the depths of winter at the poles, it might be -40 and upward longwave would only be 170 w/m2 or less. At the equator at +40, upward longwave would be on the order of 540 w/m2. CO2 doubling would obviously result in different values based on those factors alone, and neither would result in 3.7 w/m2. Further, in the tropics, water vapour, which competes for LW absorption with CO2 is in the range of 40,000 ppm over oceans, while over deserts and in cold regions such as the arctic, it approaches zero. So, the 3.7 w/m2 for CO2 doubling is a gross over simplification of the known physics. We have no confidence in the number other than as a first order approximation that may well be off by a order of magnitude. Unlikely for the number to be higher, because if it was, we’d very readily see the effects in the temperature record, and we don’t. But possibly lower? Absolutely possible. It is a very, Very, VERY rough guestimate.

    • Define “significant”. As measured how? By whom?

      Oh dear here we go – more wiggle room negotiation. On almost every WUWT thread there’ll be numerous posts warning us of imminent cooling (look above for examples). The posters don’t tend to commit themselves too much on timescales but there’s no doubt that a new LIA is in its way.

      Right – we have the weakest solar activity for a century and, according to Easterbrook and others, the PDO is in a cool phase and will continue to be so for some time to come. If the sun really is a major driver of climate change then it would be reasonable to expect mean global temperatures to return to 1970s levels by 2030. I’d be happy to use UAH so we’d need to base it on the 1980s.

      I’d be prepared to bet that the mean UAH temperature for 2015-2024 is higher than the mean temperature for 1980-89.

      Re: Roy Spencer and Steve McIntyre

      I definitely remember Roy Spencer saying that he was highly sceptical at the outset but does now accept that CO2 must have some effect. I’ll try to dig it out. Steve McIntyre comments on an emission spectrum plot at this link

      http://climateaudit.org/2008/01/08/sir-john-houghton-on-the-enhanced-greenhouse-effect/

      Scroll down to a “Some Comments” where you’ll find this

      The large notch or “funnel” in the spectrum is due to “high cold” emissions from tropopause CO2 in the main CO2 band. CO2 emissions (from the perspective of someone in space) are the coldest. (Sometimes you hear people say that there’s just a “little bit” of CO2 and therefore it can’t make any difference: but, obviously, there’s enough CO2 for it to be very prominent in these highly relevant spectra, so this particular argument is a total non-starter as far as I’m concerned. )

      Steve has recognised that in the colder, drier layers of the troposphere CO2 is “highly relevant”.

      We can be reasonably confident that doubling CO2 results in a forcing of ~3.7 w/m2.
      Well as a first order rough approximation, sure.

      No – my temperature calculation is a bit speculative but the 3.7 w/m2 is a robust figure

      • John Finn

        You pretended to make a bet and when davidmhoffer asked you to specify the bet you have replied

        Oh dear here we go – more wiggle room negotiation.

        I am offended that you demand “wiggle room” instead of specifying the bet you are offering.

        But such silly, one-sided demands seem to be your ‘stock in trade’. For example, earlier in this thread you made a demand for off-topic and irrelevant from Arno Arrak, and you have made no attempt to address my request that you first provide your version of what you demand from him.

        Specify the bet you are offering or apologise for your untrue assertions.

        Richard

      • “I’d be prepared to bet that the mean UAH temperature for 2015-2024 is higher than the mean temperature for 1980-89.”

        A suckers bet, for sure, given the natural underlying trend of ~0.7 degC/century. I’d already agree that is a likely outcome, as can be seen in my projection here.

        If you really believed in AGW, you would be willing to bet on 2015-2024 versus 2005-2014.

  35. db

    But now that you are being asked to back up those assertions with testable measurements, suddenly we are being “totally ridiculous”.

    Some non-smokers get lung cancer. Some smokers get lung cancer who might have got it even if they hadn’t smoked. This means that we can’t, with absolute certainty, say how many smokers got lung cancer because they smoked.

    However, using statistics we can estimate the smoking/lung cancer cases and can estimate quite accurately the incidence of lung cancer in a population based on the number of smokers.

    I haven’t yet read the paper but, as I understand it, Lewis & Curry have attempted to eliminate the effect of natural variability factors and have concluded that climate sensitivity is ~1.64 deg per 2xCO2 – slightly higher than the “no feedback” figure. In 30 years time we will have a better idea how close their estimate is to the true value. In 50 years an even better idea ….. and so on.

    But , just to repeat my earlier point. I did not predict a temperature rise or “assert” anything . I calculated an estimate based on NO Feedbacks while assuming the relationship between surface and TOA flux remained the same. Unfortunately you don’t even appear to understand that.

    • Well I have a life long friend, who is a well credentialed Behavioral Psychologist / Epidemiologist, with strong CDC associations. (now retired)

      He puts it this way: “There is a body of medical evidence that suggests that smoking tobacco, causes lung cancer. There is also a body of medical evidence that suggests that sex causes children.
      The tobacco data is much more convincing ! “

      • Along a similar vein, there are solid studies that show that the incidence of severe lung cancer, among American Blacks and Hispanics, who smoke, is much higher than among Whites, and Asians, who smoke; even though the same studies show that American Blacks, and Hispanics, as a group, smoke less, in relative numbers, and degree, than do whites, and Asians.

        So why is that ? The answer is, that they are targeted groups. American Blacks and Hispanics who smoke; to a very large degree smoke MENTHOL cigarettes, and makers of Menthol brands, heavily advertise in those cultural magazines, and regions.
        I have made a habit of asking Black persons, that I see smoking, (which is infrequent) whether they smoke a Menthol brand. I’m still waiting to meet my first Black smoker, who doesn’t smoke menthols.

        So what is up with menthol cigarettes?

        Well they advertise that “Coool” experience, and the menthol does cool the smoke.
        So menthol smokers deeply inhale the smoke into their lungs, not realizing they are playing with fire.

        And yes, I always tell them why I asked.

        Personally, I don’t mind if people smoke or not; it is still legal in the USA. I will cross the street to avoid walking by them, because I can’t tolerate the stench.
        But it’s a shame what they are doing to themselves, and their families.

        A two week stay in Geneva, back in March, had me walking across the train tracks to get away from smokers, waiting for trains or buses. So I had to duck back just before the train pulled in, and then head for a door clear of smokers. They would take their last puff, before stepping into the train. And on exit, they had already lit up, before their first foot landed on the platform outside the train. (no smoking inside the train.) Even the hospital medical staff, at the main HUG hospital in Geneva, would light up, the instant they stepped outside the building, so I was scanning for a smoke free entrance path all the time, to get into the building.
        Seems like Europeans are champion smokers. You can tell who they are, when I visit my birth town, in NZ

  36. John Finn this is the kind of solar activity which is needed to have a major impact on the climate. We are currently above these parameters due to the extended weak maximum of solar cycle 24 nevertheless sub- solar activity has been going on post 2005 and once this maximum ends and the solar criteria starts to approach what I have outlined a more dramatic climatic impact will begin to show up.

    THE CRITERIA

    Solar Flux avg. sub 90

    Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec

    AP index avg. sub 5.0

    Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute

    Total Solar Irradiance off .15% or more

    EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.

    IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.

    The above solar parameter averages following several years of sub solar activity in general which commenced in year 2005..

    IF , these average solar parameters are the rule going forward for the remainder of this decade expect global average temperatures to fall by -.5C, with the largest global temperature declines occurring over the high latitudes of N.H. land areas.

    The decline in temperatures should begin to take place within six months after the ending of the maximum of solar cycle 24.

    NOTE 1- What mainstream science is missing in my opinion is two fold, in that solar variability is greater than thought, and that the climate system of the earth is more sensitive to that solar variability.

  37. Many of us are of the opinion that the chances of cooling going forward are near 100%.

    CO2 is a non player in the global climate picture as past historical data has shown.

    CO2 and the GHG effects are a result of the climate not the cause in my opinion.

    I maintain these 5 factors cause the climate to change and they are:

    Initial State Of The Climate – How close climate is to threshold inter-glacial/glacial conditions

    Milankovitch Cycles – Consisting of tilt , precession , and eccentricity of orbit. Low tilt, aphelion occurring in N.H. summer favorable for cooling.

    Earth Magnetic Field Strength – which will moderate or enhance solar variability effects through the modulation of cosmic rays.

    Solar Variability – which will effect the climate through primary changes and secondary effects. My logic here is if something that drives something (the sun drives the climate) changes it has to effect the item it drives.

    Some secondary/primary solar effects are ozone distribution and concentration changes which effects the atmospheric circulation and perhaps translates to more cloud/snow cover- higher albebo.

    Galactic Cosmic Ray concentration changes translates to cloud cover variance thus albedo changes.

    Volcanic Activity – which would put more SO2 in the stratosphere causing a warming of the stratosphere but cooling of the earth surface due to increase scattering and reflection of incoming sunlight.

    Solar Irradiance Changes-Visible /Long wave UV light changes which will effect ocean warming/cooling.
    Ocean/Land Arrangements which over time are always different. Today favorable for cooling in my opinion.

    How long (duration) and degree of magnitude change of these items combined with the GIVEN state of the climate and how they all phase (come together) will result in what kind of climate outcome, comes about from the given changes in these items. Never quite the same and non linear with possible thresholds.. Hence the best that can be forecasted for climatic change is only in a broad general sense.

    In that regard in broad terms my climatic forecast going forward is for global temperatures to trend down in a jig-saw pattern while the atmospheric circulation remains very meridional giving rise to more persistence in weather patterns and perhaps more extremes .

    • Many of us are of the opinion that the chances of cooling going forward are near 100%.

      So you keep saying, Salvatore, but I disagree. I think we may have a relatively flat period for a few more years but I expect temperatures to start rising again after that – but not catastrophically so.

  38. Unfortunately these types of papers have encouraged the warmist’s as it feeds their petty theory that C02 has an effect on Earth Atmospheric temperatures. Just look at mainstream papers they are having a field day with Curry’s and Lewis paper CONFIRMING that C02 is heating the earth. The AGW fanatics are delighted with this publication (argument: Earth is only going to heat up 10 years later than thought). Take note that SG avoids these publications with a 10 foot pole.(as far as I can see in any case)and he is right to do so. C02 FOLLOWS temperatures rises in all temp records.

  39. John Finn;
    I’d be prepared to bet that the mean UAH temperature for 2015-2024 is higher than the mean temperature for 1980-89.

    Since we could actually see cooling from 2015-2024 that doesn’t get down to the mean of 1980-89, that would be a sucker bet. My point was that proposing to wager large sums of money on such a complex matter is just a bullying tactic to make people without sufficient wealth to play the game by your rules shut up. Then you choose to define the matter in such a way that very few people have the background on the matter to dispute you, so they shut up also.

    You are just bullying. If you want to contribute to the discussion of the science by weighing in with facts and figures and your opinions as to their meaning, by all means. If all you have at your disposal is bullying tactics, then shut up.

  40. Thanks, Anthony & authors, you have done a great job with this presentation! This is the beginning of the “great unraveling” …real-world observations (temps, sea levels etc.) do not follow the models, and now the core theory underlying the models is shown to be erroneous. Expect a vicious response.

    Shaka, when the walls fell….

  41. Richard

    Specify the bet you are offering or apologise for your untrue assertions.

    I did. This is it

    Average UAH 2015-2024 will be higher than Average UAH 1980-89.

    I might also be prepared to have a band of +0.1 where no-one loses so for me to win the mean UAH temp for 2015-24 would need to be at least 0.1 degrees higher than the mean temp for 1980-89. anything between 0.0 and 0.1 higher would be a void bet.

    That’s pretty generous. Solar activity has been in decline since ~1991 and is very low now. We’ve also got a cool PDO and a number of posters are suggesting that the AMO will be entering a cool phase soon. Current conditions favour cooling more than they did in the 1970s.

    • Average UAH 2015-2024 will be higher than Average UAH 1980-89.

      Make it RSS. That’s equally generous.

      Also: For the record, I note that neither John Finn nor anyone else has ever posted any real world, testable measurements quantifying the portion of the 0.7ºC global warming that is attributable to human activity.

      We are still being asked to buy a pig in a poke.

      • Ah the “sceptic” is back with us. The one whose brand of scepticism is responsible for more people siding with the UN-IPCC than Mann, Hansen & Al Gore put together.

        I assume that this comment is considered good reason for the “scepticism”

        Also: For the record, I note that neither John Finn nor anyone else has ever posted any real world, testable measurements quantifying the portion of the 0.7ºC global warming that is attributable to human activity.

        Several hundred years ago, Sir Isaac Newton formulated laws of gravitation from which we are able to predict the gravitational forces of planetary bodies. Newton was not able to visit these bodies and validate his theories with “real world, testable measurements” but those who understood the science accepted Newtons findings. In fact, in the 1960s, NASA sent manned missions to the moon.

        A 17th century dbstealey may well have dismissed Newton’s laws as garbage since Newton could not provide definite (measured) proof that the moon’s gravity was about one-sixth of the earth’s. The 17th century dbstealey would consider it ridiculous that a human could leap several feet into the air just because he was standing on a smaller object than the earth. But that’s because dbstealey wouldn’t have understood the science.

        It’s the same to-day. Many, many scientists on both sides of the AGW debate acknowledge that doubling CO2 in the atmosphere will result in a forcing of ~3.7 w/m2. However, the scientists do disagree over how much warming this will produce. Just like the 17th century dbstealey, the 21st century dbstealey doesn’t understand the science and, for some reason, he considers that an inability to isolate the CO2 contribution to 20th century warming represents a flaw in AGW theory.

        And this ….

        Make it RSS. That’s equally generous.

        Strange that you wish to use data which John Christy believes is contaminated by a spurious cooling trend probably due to satellite orbital drift.
        That said, it probably won’t much difference to the outcome of any bet.

      • John Finn says:

        Ah the “sceptic” is back with us. The one whose brand of scepticism is responsible for more people siding with the UN-IPCC than Mann, Hansen & Al Gore put together.

        John, don’t judge. You are reacting emotionally. It’s bad form here.

        All I have asked, and all I keep asking, is that you post verifiable measuremments, quantifying the amount of global warming attributable to human activity, out of the total 0.7ºC of all global warming.

        But apparently that is too much to ask. Your responses have ratcheted up every time I ask, which leads me to believe that you have no such measurements. Don’t feel bad, John, no one else has those measurements, either. They have been winging it all along.

        Also, I do not care to read that Many, many scientists on both sides of the AGW debate acknowledge that doubling CO2 in the atmosphere will result in a forcing of ~3.7 w/m2. That is mere speculation, and if that results in the greater mass of humanity being driven into the arms of Michael Mann, as you preposterously allege, then people are far more gullible than I think they are. Simply asking you for measurements should not make you go ballistic like that. It is obviously because your feet are held to the fire regarding that question. The proper response is: “I don’t have those measurements.”

        Next, John Christy is someone I greatly admire. But UAH is a direct competitor with RSS for the same government dollars. I have yet to see competitors who don’t denigrate their competition whenever they can, and Christy is doing that with RSS. So I take UAH’s criticisms with a big grain of salt. Anyway, both satellite databases show that global warming has stopped. The only difference is the year that global warming stopped. Both satellite databases have their pluses and minuses, so you shouldn’t be concerned if we use RSS for your wager, should we? Unless, of course, you’re trying to stack the deck…

        Next, the moon’s gravity, and Isaac Newton, and leaping in the air are all interesting. But none of them is pertinent to my request. If no one has any specific measurements quantifying the degree of global warming caused by human emissions, then as I have repeatedly pointed out, we are being asked to buy a pig in a poke. It is possible that there is no AGW. It is even possible that human emissions cool the planet. Or, it is possible that AGW is so minuscule that it can be completely disregarded for all practical purposes [the position I hold]. But without measurements, no one knows. Do they? At this point, it is all speculation. Conjecture. Opinion. Nothing more, John. Because there are no measurements!

        Remember the endless alarmist predictions of no more Polar bears? And rapidly accelerating sea levels? And vanishing ice caps? And ocean “acidification”? And runaway global warming? And increasing extreme weather events? And climate disruption? Climate catastrophe? They were all wrong. Every alarmist prediction has failed. So you need to understand that skeptics would like to see empirical measurements, before we accept your assertions that human emissions cause “most” global warming, or even “half”.

        Those are unquantified guesses, upon which your side wants to greatly reduce our standard of living. Excuse us for wanting some empirical, testable measurements. They mean a lot more than opinions that “half” or “most” global warming is caused by people. The alarmist crowd has been wrong about everything so far, so we are especially skeptical of your latest pronouncements.

        Without verifiable measurements showing how much, if any, global warming is caused by human emissions, then we need to stop right here, and wait until there are such measurements. Anything else would be foolhardy, stupid, and an affront to those being asked to pay the freight.

        So calm down, John. Go find those measurements. Report back when you can show the specific fraction of that 0.7º of global warming over the past century or so. We need to know that, before we spend any more money on what might well be a wild goose chase.

  42. Richard Courtney, you write

    So, can you give us your explanation for the ice ages?
    And can you say what relevance you think it has to the growing evidence for low climate sensitivity which is the subject of this thread?

    First, let me assure you I am of the opinion that climate sensitivity is relatively low (i.e. 1 – 1.5 deg C per 2xCO2) . However, I asked for an explanation of the ice ages because they offer the strongest support for a higher climate sensitivity and one that is more in tune with the original IPCC estimate of ~3 deg C. I invited Arno to explain the ice ages because he appeared to have an unrealistic confidence in a very low CS figure.

    • John Finn

      Sincere thanks for your post which does fulfill my requests.

      You assert that the ice ages “offer the strongest support for a higher climate sensitivity and one that is more in tune with the original IPCC estimate of ~3 deg C.” No, they don’t.

      Your assertion assumes that small Milankovitch forcing is assisted by a climate sensitivity and estimates the magnitude of the assumed climate sensitivity. To claim that estimated magnitude as “the strongest support for a higher climate sensitivity” is a completely circular argument.

      Richard

      • I’m not sure I fully understand your point but it might be worth noting that Milankovitch forcing is not some mysterious climate forcing that only comes around every 41,000 years. Ice age forcings were no different to forcings that apply to-day (most notably albedo & ghgs) – except that, during the LGM, those forcings were strongly negative.

      • John Finn

        That will not do!

        It was YOUR point and not mine which I was discussing.

        YOU asserted

        I asked for an explanation of the ice ages because they offer the strongest support for a higher climate sensitivity and one that is more in tune with the original IPCC estimate of ~3 deg C.

        I addressed that statement which you made, and I showed that the ice ages do NOT “offer the strongest support for a higher climate sensitivity”.

        If I have misunderstood your point in any way then explain what you did mean.

        And I did NOT say, suggest or imply that “Milankovitch forcing is” “some mysterious climate forcing that only comes around every 41,000 years”.

        John, you are wildly flailing your arms in hope that nobody will notice you have made a fool of yourself.

        Richard

  43. John Finn;
    I did. This is it
    Average UAH 2015-2024 will be higher than Average UAH 1980-89.

    We could easily be in a cooling period for the next 10 years and not hit that metric. Sucker bet.

  44. dbstealey

    So calm down, John. Go find those measurements. Report back when you can show the specific fraction of that 0.7º of global warming over the past century or so. We need to know that, before we spend any more money on what might well be a wild goose chase.

    Ok – done it. It’s 0.7 degrees C. Actually it’s more like 0.8 degrees.

  45. So ALL of the global warming over the past century and a half is due exclusively to human emissions?? And the planet would be getting colder if not for the added CO2?

    You do understand that no credible scientist or organization on either side of the debate agrees with that extreme position, don’t you?

    John, you are just throwing a tantrum because folks are starting to ask for measurements. Up until now you’ve gotten a free ride on your assertions. But those days are over.

    • Ok – Taking your points in no particular order I’ll give it one more go

      1. I made no assertion. You still don’t see that. I used the 3.7 w/m2 for 2xCO2 to demonstrate that with no feedbacks the expected warming will be around ~1.2 degrees C. I also noted that warming over the past century or so supported this figure. You should be aware that the ~1.2 degree estimate is very similar to estimates cited by Richard Lindzen, Garth Paltridge and many others. Lewis & Curry have completed a study from which they deduce estimates of 1.33 deg C (TCR) and 1.64 deg C (ECS) which is in the same ball park as my very roughly calculated no feedback figure.

      The main point being: Current warming is closely tracking the trend we would expect for CO2 enhanced warming without feedbacks.

      Have I made this clear enough?

      2. In your last post, you write this

      So ALL of the global warming over the past century and a half is due exclusively to human emissions?? And the planet would be getting colder if not for the added CO2?

      You do understand that no credible scientist or organization on either side of the debate agrees with that extreme position, don’t you?

      You are not correct here. While some late 19th century or early 20th century warming may not have originated from additional ghgs, the fact remains that the atmosphere has continued support the elevated temperatures even when the original forcing no longer applies. In other words we should have seen more cooling.

      Lewis & Curry find that internal variability for the 1859-1882 period and the 1995-2011 period are very similar. Solar activity, volcanic activity etc were virtually the same (using measurements) therefore the mean global temperature in each period should be the same. The mean temperature for 1995-2011 was ~0.7 degree higher than for 1859-1882.

      3. Finally, in an earlier post you talk about about “my side” and the need to to find real world measurements to prove “my” case. Let’s be clear I don’t need to prove anything to you but, more importantly, nor do the scientists who support CAGW . They only need to convince the policy makers within the various governments throughout the world that there’s a problem. If those policy makers believe that, on the balance of probability, AGW represents a significant risk then that’s the endgame. Sorry, pal, your argument about no real world measurements for the ghg contribution is simply not going to cut it.

      Sceptics (Skeptics if you’re in the US) have 2 options

      (i) Show some convincing evidence that there is an alternative reason for the warming observed to date.
      (ii) Show that the warming to date is nothing to be overly concerned about and that it is consistent with a low climate sensitivity.

      I’ve spent 10 years looking for (i) and have seen nothing other than hot air and BS about the sun. I believe there is a chance with option (ii).

  46. John Finn,

    May I deconstruct? Thank you:

    1. You say:

    the ~1.2 degree estimate is very similar to estimates… a study from which they deduce estimates … my very roughly calculated… &etc.

    There are no empirical, testable measurements in any of your comments. You keep tap-dancing around that critical point. What we need are measurements quantifying the specific fraction of the 0.7ºC total global warming in the current warming step change from the LIA. I understand that you now say it’s all due to human emissions. But still: there are no measurements. Thus, it is only your assertion. Not nearly good enough, John. CAGW is only your conjecture. There are no measurements of CAGW.

    2. …a study from which they deduce estimates of 1.33 deg C (TCR) and 1.64 deg C (ECS) which is in the same ball park as my very roughly calculated &etc. But they don’t measure. Do they? No, they guesstimate. Again, not nearly good enough.

    Solar activity, volcanic activity etc were virtually the same (using measurements) therefore the mean global temperature in each period should be the same.

    That assumes that you know all forcings and feedbacks, including all unknown unknowns. If that were true, we could make accurate predictions. But you can’t, and neither can anyone else. If you think you can, simply predict the month and year that global warming will resume. Seewhatimean?

    The mean temperature for 1995-2011 was ~0.7 degree higher than for 1859-1882.

    That is a good example of a complete non sequitur.

    3. “…the scientists who support CAGW.” They have been debunked. There is no catastrophic AGW. Yes, it was widely predicted. But in the event, that prediction fizzled just like the rest of the alarmist predictions.

    Sorry, pal, your argument about no real world measurements for the ghg contribution is simply not going to cut it.

    For someone who has never posted those real world measurements, that amounts to just one more baseless opinion.

    Sceptics (Skeptics if you’re in the US) have 2 options…

    John, skeptics have nothing to prove. CAGW is YOUR conjecture. Therefore, you have the onus — not skeptics. Climate alarmists are always trying to turn the Scientific Method on it’s head, and demanding that skeptics, in effect, prove a negative. That’s not how science works.

    But if it makes you happy, I’ll give you my own reasons:

    (i) The planet is naturally recovering from the LIA — one of the coldest times of the entire Holocene. It is simply reverting to normal temperatures, and that is entirely sufficient to explain the rise in global T. There is no need for any magic gas to explain it.

    (ii) That’s a two part question, but I’ll try: First, global warming is nothing to be concerned about, because as you can see here, we are currently on the cold side geologically. Global T has been much warmer in the past, when the biosphere flourished with life and diversity. A few more degrees of warming will be most beneficial. Any side effects can be mitigated far more inexpensively that the current proposals to sequester CO2, stop using fossil fuels, construct windmills, etc. Unfortunately, the future may well be colder rather than warmer. That would be very bad. Look at that chart again.

    And second: climate sensitivity is a number that varies all over the place, from 3 – 6ºC, to zero, to a negative number. But the generally accepted range has been steadily ratcheting down — toward zero, in fact. No global warming for many years, as CO2 continues to rise, argues strongly in favor of that outcome.

    Finally, John, you say:

    I’ve spent 10 years looking for… &etc.

    Almost as much time as I’ve spent studying this subject. But you should know that some folks spend their entire lives studying astrology, phrenology, or Scientology. The time spent looking for something isn’t important. It’s what you find that’s important.

    Me? I’m still looking for verifiable measurements of AGW. Haven’t found any yet.

    • You still don’t understand the key points so we’ll have to let it drop, but this comment really does need challenging

      John, skeptics have nothing to prove. CAGW is YOUR conjecture. Therefore, you have the onus

      Are you being serious? If CAGW really was my “conjecture” why would I bother spending hours posting comments to you? I wouldn’t be interested in convincing you about anything. You are nothing. You’re not important. I could dismiss you as a denier who is making completely unrealistic demands about absolute certainty with real-world measurements.

      The CAGW crowd do not waste their time arguing the toss with “deniers”. They do, however, put their case very eloquently to government advisers. I told you in the last post that governments will not be looking for absolute proof they will be looking at the balance of probablities

      You, as a “sceptic”, are not doing a very good job of presenting the sceptic case. Fortunately there are others who do a much better job.

    • (i) The planet is naturally recovering from the LIA — one of the coldest times of the entire Holocene.

      And you have thermometer measurements to prove this?

  47. John Finn

    You wrote to dbstealey saying

    Are you being serious? If CAGW really was my “conjecture” why would I bother spending hours posting comments to you? I wouldn’t be interested in convincing you about anything. You are nothing. You’re not important. I could dismiss you as a denier who is making completely unrealistic demands about absolute certainty with real-world measurements.

    I really would like you to answer your own question.

    Why do you spend hours promoting the disproved CAGW conjecture especially when you claim it is not your conjecture?

    And I add two questions of my own that I would welcome you also answering.
    Why do you throw such ridiculous insults at dbstealey in response to his asking for empirical evidence supporting your conjecture?
    And why are such temper tantrums typical of CAGW supporters when their conjecture is challenged?

    Richard

    • Richard

      I’ve spent hours arguing against CAGW advocates – including Michael Mann, Grant Foster and Gavin Schmidt. I’ve been banned from Foster’s Open Mind blog and I’ve had posts which challenge the CAGW position appear on the Realclimate blog then disappear due to “technical glitches”.

      Now you and dbstealey can continue to convince yourselves that the CAGW movement is dead in the water if you wish, By all means, carry on patting each other on the back every time one of you makes some totally irrelevant and usually ill-informed criticism of the CAGW case but, if this is the best scepticism can offer, you are simply going to end up as one of a sad, dwindling band of no-hopers while governments around the world introduce potentially crippling policies for the rest of us.

      To argue against CAGW sceptics must fully understand the the CAGW argument. They need to know where it is weak but also where it is strong – and it is strong in some areas. Spencer and Lindzen are reasonably effective sceptics. Dbstealey is not. He is easily dismissed as a crank.

      Take a lesson from someone like Bob Tisdale. Bob is clearly sceptical of AGW-driven ocean warming and presents accurate data to support his case. But Bob does not tolerate any attempt by the sceptic (or AGW) side to mislead or misinform. He jumped all over Don Easterbrook when it was clear that Don had presented graphs which were inaccurate and misleading.

    • John Finn

      I asked you to explain why you provide insults instead of arguments. As troll red herrings to avoid answering, you provide more insulting falsehoods saying

      Now you and dbstealey can continue to convince yourselves that the CAGW movement is dead in the water if you wish, By all means, carry on patting each other on the back every time one of you makes some totally irrelevant and usually ill-informed criticism of the CAGW case but, if this is the best scepticism can offer, you are simply going to end up as one of a sad, dwindling band of no-hopers while governments around the world introduce potentially crippling policies for the rest of us.

      Say what!?
      Nature has disproved the CAGW hypothesis by stopping global warming nearly two decades ago.

      Ill-informed? I have been studying this stuff and publishing on it since 1980.
      You merely spout erroneous drivel.

      And your concern trolling about policies fools nobody.

      Not content with that, you write of dbstealey

      He is easily dismissed as a crank.

      Bollocks!
      If his arguments were “easily dismissed” then you would take pleasure in dismissing them. You attack him as being “a crank” because you cannot answer his points which reveal your irrational ravings for what they are.

      And you name drop Spencer, Lindzen and Tisdale as being ‘on your side’ when – in reality – they would not touch you with someone else’s barge pole.

      Up your game and you may rise above the level of slime.

      Richard

  48. John Finn,

    I am not asking for “absolute proof”. I am simply asking for measurements rather than your assertions, which do not take the place of measurements. Assertions in this instance are misdirection.

    There are no measurements showing how much — if any — global warming is caused by human emissions. That fact goes right to the heart of the debate. The whole CAGW edifice, and indeed, the AGW edifice itself, is constructed based on the belief that human activity warms the planet.

    There is no basis for that, other than belief. We need measurements, John. Measurements showing how much, if any, global warming is caused by human emissions. If measurements show that humans cause most of the warming, then we have a real problem. But if measurements show that, say, only 1% of global warming, or 0%, is caused by human activity, then we can disregard our emissions.

    Do you see why measurments are essential? Without them, we don’t know what we are talking about. That is no way to make policy.

    The alarmist crowd has been winging it for a long time now, convincing the public that humans are causing global warming. But the fact is that we don’t know that. The only way we can be sure is to measure the degree of warming we are causing, if any. But we have no such measurements. That is the one thing we need in order to make a rational decision.

    You do want rational — not emotional — decisions, don’t you? As of right now, the belief in AGW is based on emotional arguments. It would be better if you put your energy into finding verifiable, empirical measurements, instead of going ballistic just because people are finally asking to see the effect, if any, of human activity properly quantified.

  49. dbstealey,

    Sorry, but John Finn is correct here. Surely you must realize that we will never, ever be able to directly measure the human contribution to the global temperature record? These figures will always be estimates in one way or another.

    So what you are asking is simply not possible, and making the skeptics look bad at the same time by unreasonable requests.

  50. SDK,

    Not Possible? ‘Never, ever’? You’re obviously new here. No one else has made that claim, and this debate has been going on for months. I am not the only one asking this question. From upthread:

    In this article Lord Monckton quotes Professor David Douglass of Rochester University asking him if anyone has attempted empirical measurements, rather than modeling, to determine the CO2 forcing? Lord Monckton asks:

    “Please let us know in comments if you are aware of any atmospheric measurements on the basis of which the CO2 forcing has been quantified.”

    Are you saying that a physical process cannot be quantified? Nonsense. That would take us back to witch doctor territory, where unexplained phenomena were dealt with by juju known only to the witch doctors. Come to think of it, the IPCC…

    Anyway, measurements of CO2 forcing are entirely possible. We know with very good accuracy how much CO2 is emitted by human activity. But they do not put the time, effort or expense into making those measurements for one very good reason: they would find that human emissions are not a significant cause of global warming.

    The fact is that despite steadily rising CO2, global temperatures stopped rising many years ago. Those are two measurements we already have.

    In science, everything is measured. They just don’t want to find out something that destroys their entire AGW argument.

    • Oh, FFS, you really have failed to understand not only what I’ve posted but what many other respected scientists have been saying for years.

      Anyway, measurements of CO2 forcing are entirely possible.

      YES WE KNOW. The forcing is ~3.7 w/m2 per 2xCO2. The debate concerns the temperature response to that forcing. Do you not understand that?

      In this article Lord Monckton quotes Professor David Douglass of Rochester University asking him if anyone has attempted empirical measurements, rather than modeling, to determine the CO2 forcing?

      To what is Douglass or Monckton referring? Do they mean the forcing, i.e. a measurement of power per unit area (w/m2) or do they mean the temperature response (degrees C) to a given forcing.

      SDK is right. It’s not possible to measure the temperature contribution directly. You can do something similar to what I showed in an earlier post,. That is, select 2 periods which have similar natural forcings but different ghg forcings and note the temperature difference. I used 1859-1882 and 1995-2011 (from Lewis & Curry) and noted that 1995-2011 was about 0.67 degrees warmer than 1859-1882. Since the only appreciable difference in forcing is the ghg component we should be able to get a reasonable estimate of sensitivity.

      • John Finn,

        I figured you would jump on the bandwagon that SDK started. It is nonsense, but at this point you will grasp at anything, like a drowning man grasps at a stick.

        As I reminded SDK, no one else has ever said that the ∆T due to human emissions is unmeasurable. But if it is, then maybe we should consult a witch doctor for advice. There’s a limit to scientific knowledge, dontcha know.

        Also, what is “FFS”? Is that another of your insults? People who are losing an argument as badly as you are tend to resort to insults. It’s all they have left.

  51. dbstealey,

    Respectfully no. What we are discussing here is attribution. And stuff like human attribution can never be directly measured of course. Only estimated. As per the IPCC estimate of “more than 50%”.

    You got to start making scientific arguments like Finn, Motl, Spencer and McIntyre etc. in order to counter CAGW. Instead you’ll just be laughed at.

  52. SDK,

    Your claim is wrong. Human-emitted gases and particulates are routinely identified, measured, and quantified. It’s done all the time. To claim that it cannot be done only in this particular case is ridiculous.

    Everything else is measured. Doesn’t it bother you that the one thing that would resolve the debate is not measured? Science is all about measurement. If there is no measurement, then you are saying we must take the word of… whom, exactly?

    “Experts”? If they can’t measure what is purported to be the human effect, then why would you accept what amounts to their guess? There are other experts who make a very good case that CO2 has no warming effect. Are you now going to select which experts we should listen to, and which experts should be rejected? Are you expert enough to determine that? Without measurements, is anyone?

    Human emissions can be measured. Temperature can be measured. The ∆T caused by human emissions can be measured. The fact that they are not measured should set off alarm bells in any scientific skeptic.

    Finally, I remind you again that you are the only one who believes that the effect of human emissions is unmeasureable. You should re-think that belief. It is not correct.

  53. dbstealey,

    So ok then, if you believe it is possible to directly measure the exact percentage of human contribution, why don’t you bring that special thermometer or yardstick or whatever it is supposed to be out in the woods and start measuring right away?

    Of course, such a magical measuring device does not exist, and never will exist. You might as well be counting unicorn droppings as you skip merrily along the path.

    Alternatively, you can look at the underlying physics and attempt as best you can to estimate the human fingerprint. Scientists do it all the time. Look it up.

  54. SDK,

    I don’t see any point in debating with someone who states that a physical process is unmeasurable. Why don’t you go argue that on Hotwopper? Tell them folks here don’t want to discuss nonsense. They’ll welccome you with open arms.

  55. dbstealey,

    Ask yourself this then, if human attribution is so “measurable” why haven’t we measured the crap out of it already? Or are the scientists hiding the magical device from us up in their labs? And why can’t the skeptics get a hold of one? Have you looked on eBay?

    Listen, we can measure stuff like CO2 and temperatures at given locations. But when you think about it, the GMST is also an “estimation” of sorts. So how can we then possibly attribute a measurable percentage-wise human contribution?

    Same as we know that there is a finite number of physical fish in the oceans, but we can never measure the actual number. All we can do is to provide our best estimate as to the fish population in any given body of water using the scientific tools at our disposal, and then attach a degree of uncertainty to it.

    For the record, I am also one that believes the ECS is ultimately low, yet weakly positive. So certainly much closer to Lewis than the IPCC average. And if that is not “good enough” for your little universe, then you’re trouble than I thought…

  56. SDK,

    I can’t answer your “What if”–type questions. But I note that money needs to be appropriated for the purpose, and that has never been done. Maybe you can guess why not.

    Your silly fish analogy doesn’t …hold water. There are ways to get a very close approximation, if you want to know. No measurement is perfect, there are always error bars. But it can be smapled and measured.

    I can’t think of any physical process that cannot be measured. As I wrote above, if you believe that a physical process is unmeasurable, there is no need to continue.

    And to repeat: you are the first one I’ve seen who believes that human emissions cannot be measured. Thus, you are alone in your own “little universe”.

  57. dbstealey,

    You wrote: “you are the first one I’ve seen who believes that human emissions cannot be measured.”

    Yep, this is truly getting hopeless when you start confusing human attribution and human emissions. Not at all the same thing.

    And next time you pick up a scientific paper on the subject, you’ll notice that human contribution is always described as being estimated. And always will be.

  58. SDK, that argument is a non-starter.

    If the effect of human emissions cannot be measured [even though human emissions can be measured], then your position debunks the entire AGW argument.

    Also, if you are going to cherry-pick which ‘experts’ you want to believe, then what do you say to those who choose differnt experts? Prof. Misckolczi says the effect of CO2 is 0.0ºC, ± 0. He is every bit as much of an expert climatologist as Mann, Lindzen, McManus, Christy, or any other expert.

    The fact is that all physical processes can be measured. The reason that the effect of human emissions is not measured is very simple: any such measurement would show only minuscule warming at most. All the grant money that pays for studies is controlled by people who have a vested interest in promoting the catastrophis AGW scare.

    Simples.

  59. dbstealey,

    Ok, so how much do you reckon this Human Attribution Detection Flux Capacitor Chronoscope X1000 would cost to develop? And why aren’t true skeptical scientists at least making an attempt to develop it? At the very least an early prototype?

    It kind of strikes me that being able to accurately measure “human attribution” could be the single-most important scientific discovery of this field in ages. Seriously — if it were at all possible — why aren’t more people trying? Surely a potential Nobel Prize could serve as a motivation?

    But look, I am of the opinion as well that guys like Mann have been shown to be serial exaggerators. And my back-of-the-envelop calculations show a low-range ECS. I’ve been downloading climate data since working for the European energy sector in the 90s, so think I have a fair handle on the fundamentals.

    But when you keep flogging these conspiracies, you are really doing more harm than good. Sorry for the comparison, but kind of like Al Gore did to AGW. Start making ridiculous arguments, and the other side will only be provided with more ammunition to counter it. So no, this cannot be concluded with “simples”. If it rhymes with “pimples”, then that should give you a clue…

    And finally, of course different experts will come to different conclusions. That’s how science works FFS (yes, look up FFS FFS).

    • You got one thing correct – a question – why are more people not trying? it is not impossible. But the answer may not be what is palatable.

      Look for the answer to your question as a major problem with the field itself, not in the people who ask questions.

  60. Don’t think this will be any more fruitful than the previous exchange, but still…

    Please, provide any scientist being quoted making the claim that “human attribution” can ever be measured. My prediction is crickets…

    Rather, what we will see is a perpetual cycle of scientific estimates on the matter. Look at how many have jumped to your support on your own turf even?

  61. SDK,

    I have been commenting here since WUWT began. Occasionally I get into an exchange like this, where the other party continues to ask questions. No matter what I answer, there are more questions.

    I have made my position clear, but you continue to ask incessant questions. You cannot accept my answers. Whatever my reply, it only causes you to continue your fruitless argument.

    I don’t have time to play this game. If you can’t understand my position, then you can’t understand. That is not for my lack of trying. Others more knowledgeable than I have asked the same questions, which are documented upthread. You cannot, or will not accept them. You are a lone voice in the wilderness, insisting that something can never be measured. I do not see it that way, and apparently others have the same view that I do.

    So we part ways here. I remind you that to the best of my knowledge, no one else has ever raised your particular issue. Even John Finn has abandoned your one-man crusade.

    I suggest that you take up your argument with the others who have expressed the same concerns that I have. If I can’t get my point across after repeatedly explaining, and responding to more than half a dozen replies from you, I give up. Please pester someone else.

  62. If you don’t believe me, maybe Judith Curry has more whack then:

    “The no feedback sensitivity is the direct response of the surface temperature to radiative forcing by the increased CO2, without any feedbacks. Why is this interesting/important? The no feedback sensitivity is in principle much easier to calculate (and can presumably be calculated with certainty) and it provides a reference point for assessing the sensitivities associated with climate feedbacks in the overall climate sensitivity to CO2.

    “The CO2 no feedback sensitivity is an idealized concept; we cannot observe it or conduct such an experiment in the atmosphere. Hence, the CO2 no feedback sensitivity can only be calculated using models.

    Off course, “no feedback sensitivity” gets you only half-way to “attribution”, i.e. with feedbacks included. There’s lot more in that thread, including this rather blunt paragraph from the comment section:

    “Change of radiative forcing cannot be measured. This is used as an input to an estimation of change of global surface temperature, without feedbacks, which can never be measured. This in turn is used as an input to estimating the effect of feedbacks, which can never be measured.”

    And more to the point with a hint towards exactly why this is the case:

    “Radiative forcing can’t be measured on a planet with water, but it’s certainly theoretically measurable.”

    http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/11/co2-no-feedback-sensitivity/

  63. And not really sure what to make of this…

    To recap, you initially linked to this Monckton quote:

    “Indeed, Professor David Douglass of Rochester University has recently asked me an interesting question: has anyone attempted empirical measurements, rather than modeling, to determine the CO2 forcing?”

    Yet then you have this this paper authored by Monckton himself:

    We cannot measure total radiative forcing, with or without temperature feedbacks, because radiative and non-radiative atmospheric transfer processes combined with seasonal, latitudinal, and altitudinal variabilities defeat all attempts at reliable measurement.”

    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200807/monckton.cfm

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