# Patrick J. Michaels testifies before the Committee of Natural Resources at the hearing “An Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon”

Climatologist Dr. Pat Michaels writes:

In his introductory remarks, Congressman Lowenthal (D-NY) went on the usual these-witnesses-are-climate-deniers rant.  As I was the next speaker, I re-wrote my oral testimony to point out, in three spots, that people who did not recognize the low-sensitivity papers, or the huge disparity between the mid-tropospheric observed and modeled data, or the low sensitivity in the multiauthored Otto study (15 of the authors were lead  authors in the last IPCC report), were in fact “science deniers”.

Judging from his reaction at the end of the hearing, it really got to him.

UPDATE: The entire session is here:

http://naturalresources.house.gov/calendar/eventsingle.aspx?EventID=399064

Click on:

•Watch the Archived Hearing Webcast

Dr. Michael’s written statement is here;

## 210 thoughts on “Patrick J. Michaels testifies before the Committee of Natural Resources at the hearing “An Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon””

1. markl says:

Well done and thank you.

• george e. smith says:

My Kudos to Dr Pat as well. His session is in stark contrast with one I saw on CSPAN just two days a go, in which a retired (I think) US Navy admiral talked about the potential difficulty there might be in going in and out of the Straights of Hormuz with his aircraft carrier due to climate change (and presumably sea level rise.)
Um why are you going in there with an aircraft carrier ??
He described his difficulty in bringing home his carrier (izzat the Enterprise ?) during tropical storm Sandy. Not a great idea trying to come ashore with a boat during a storm; even a large boat in a large storm.
Other panelists included a woman Union of concerned scientists top science expert; who suggested that it was time to end the fossil fuels subsidies.
Hey ! Earth to UOCS; and especially on chief science expert; what does an economics statement have to do with sea level rise ?
The single greatest beneficiary of fossil fuels subsidies is the US of A Federal Treasury, who are subsidized by the fossil fuel industry even ahead of the owners and shareholders of that industry.
Eradicating the fossil fuels industry, would be a crippling financial blow to the US Treasury, from which the US economy, might never recover.
And how would they start up the Tonopah or Ivanpah free clean green renewable solar energy plants without any fossil fuels for kindling wood ??
Compared to the raving drivel I heard on CSPAN, whether from the UOCS or an admiral trying his damndest to make a case for sea level rise interfering with aircraft carriers; Dr Pat Michaels short and to the point presentation; is a breath of fresh air.
And as it turns out, on average, tropical storm Sandy didn’t do much during its life. You have to cherry pick some data when it was near the USA to find it doing anything at all.
The admiral said that water came up over the carrier deck 70 feet off the surface.

• Bubba Cow says:

• Yes George. I have seen and experienced storm waves big enough to break over the deck of a super carrier in the North Pacific in winter. (Talk about explosive vomiting…The only time I ever got sea sick). That was in the early ’80s, so waves that big were around back then before all this “global warming” really began to be a problem at sea… /s. So I don’t see a problem with waves that big these days.
You don’t state what his point was, but if he is saying that waves are getting bigger due to global warming, he is riding in the same idiot boat of warmunistas as one of the new Democratic Presidential candidates is riding on…The one who claims that ISIS formed due to global warming. (The same spineless one who retracted his statement that “all lives matter” in favor of “only black lives matter” because of a few boos from the crowd).
It is becoming very obvious now that the warmunistas are ratcheting up the rhetoric and idiotic claims before the Paris global warming circus this coming December.

• George
Ps. They’re called “ships”, not boats.

• And what of the Destroyers and Frigates that sailed with the Carrier??
Macusn

• Non Nomen says:

He must have mistaken a carrier for a submarine.

• Trevor H says:

I’m the first to admit I’m not a scientist, just a curious individual who peruses this informative blog on a daily basis, so maybe I’m missing something here. How can sea level make any difference to wave height on a ship? Using my admittedly limited common sense this is how I see things: A ship floats on top of the water, no matter what the sea level is the ship is always ON TOP of the water. So if a ship’s deck is 70 feet high from the water’s surface, won’t a 72 foot wave crest over the ship’s deck no matter WHAT the sea level is? If I’m wrong about this, please let me know in easy to understand layman’s terms because I really want to know.

• 4TimesAYear says:

Ok, couldn’t resist: If sea level rises, shouldn’t it make it easier to get through the Straight of Hormuz?

• Our knowledge of the true extent of natural variability, whether on land or the ocean is still in its early stages.
‘Once dismissed as a nautical myth, freakish ocean waves that rise as tall as ten-storey apartment blocks have been accepted as a leading cause of large ship sinkings. Results from the European Space Agency’s ERS satellites helped establish the widespread existence of these ‘rogue’ waves and are now being used to study their origins.
http://www.world-science.net/othernews/040721_wavefrm.htm
‘Severe weather has sunk more than 200 supertankers and container ships exceeding 200 metres in length during the last two decades. Rogue waves are believed to be the major cause in many such cases
Mariners who survived similar encounters have had remarkable stories to tell. In February 1995 the cruiser liner Queen Elizabeth II met a 29-metre high rogue wave during a hurricane in the North Atlantic that Captain Ronald Warwick described as “a great wall of water… it looked as if we were going into the White Cliffs of Dover.
And within the week between February and March 2001 two hardened tourist cruisers – the Bremen and the Caledonian Star – had their bridge windows smashed by 30-metre rogue waves in the South Atlantic, the former ship left drifting without navigation or propulsion for a period of two hours.’
tonyb

• Wil says:

Trevor, ships don’t float, they displace water.

• ddpalmer says:

Dahlquist
Ps. They are called targets.
Proud ex-sumariner

• Albert Paquette says:

Case in point confirming your statement that “eradicating the fossil fuel industry would be a crippling blow to the US Treasury”. Here in Canada, just a drop in the price of crude oil (never mind eradication) has been enough to drive our economy into a recession. I’d hate to think of what eradication would do to us.

• Just an engineer says:

That Admirals testimony was pure politics, they don’t allow anyone that “exhibits” that level of operational ignorance to have control of even a liberty launch.

• Nancy C says:

Wil said:
“Ships don’t float, they displace water”
So I guess your point is that due to rising sea levels, if you float a ship you’re more likely to drown some low lying climate refugees? Is that what makes it harder to get through the straights of hormuz? Just the psychological difficulty of all the climate refugees you’re murdering when you do it? #millimetersmurder

• Owen in GA says:

Just-an-Engineer,
Sadly officers are now promoted by how well they can maintain the political party line rather than any competence in leading troops or operating in a military environment. So he was very likely in command of a flat top at some point.

• Auto says:

tonyb
Big waves exist. I’ve had a wave break over the Bridge of the Emergency Support Vessel I was watchkeeping on – 1984, North Sea. bridge was at least 75 feet [ say 23 metres – not like the QE2’s one] out of the water – and we had a greenie come over us.
Three storms following one another west to east across the northern North sea, each with its own wavefield, creating say eight or ten metre waves. Then, when two wave trains collide, you get two peaks – and two troughs – come together – and a 50 or 60 foot wave exists briefly. We were hit by a peak of all three wavefields, having fallen into a trough of three, immediately before. Literally fallen, as we slid/fell into the hole in the water.
A stamp – http://www.bfdc.co.uk/1983/engineering_achievements/emergency_support_vessel_iolair.html – issued in 1983 shows the vessel. She is under a different name now, possibly in the Gulf of Mexico.
But the link – http://www.world-science.net/othernews/040721_wavefrm.htm – is simply wrong; there has not been anything like that number of VLCCs [supertankers, say >200,000 tons deadweight] or big box boats lost – ever.
Many that have been lost – Mactra, Marpessa and Kong Haakon [Kong Haakon VI – I think] for example, by explosion before the general protection of cargo tanks with inert gas. Venpet and Venoil collided [but may not both have been lost]; the Olympic Bravery ran aground.
Big bulkers have been lost.
I’m not a bulkie man – but a lot have been literally hammered whilst loading at indefensible rates, time after time, at terminals around the world; and then shed large areas of hull plating – weeks, months, even years later. 200? Well, yes, possibly – if over 20,000 tons say – and most with loss of life, sometimes the whole crew died. On Wikipedia – and we all know not to rely implicitly or explicitly on a site that I can edit, even after a glass of dandelion wine – quotes “99 were lost between 1990 and 1997 alone” and “Lloyd’s Register of Shipping added that the hull sides could not withstand “the combination of local corrosion, fatigue cracking and operational damage.”
Operational damage = generally – abuse whilst loading (largely due to commercial pressures).
IMO is, slowly, doing more, has been since the 1980s, but the commercial pressures at some terminals are still – literally – lethal; load quick – or get off the berth [there is always a lower-safety ship that will load quickly: it won’t always complete the voyage].
Auto – with no dandelion wine in sight.

Fascinating, Auto. Thanks.

• Trevor H says:

Will said: ships don’t float, they displace water
To a commoner like me that called floating. But let’s call it water displacement if you prefer. If sea level rises, does this mean the exact same ship displaces more water? Does the exact same ship sit lower in the water? And back to my original query how would a sea level rise make a difference based on a 72 foot wave cresting over a ship’s deck 70 feet above the water line?

• Michael Jankowski says:

Hi Trevor,
I guess we’re supposed to worry about more and larger rogue waves with sea level rise. 72 foot waves today will be 80 feet in the future or some such nonsense.
As far as floating/displacement goes…how much water a ship displaces depends on the density of the sea water. Rising sea levels due to thermal expansion would seemingly lower the density and therefore require a ship to displace more water. But you’re talking about an almost immeasurable amount. When it comes to sea ice or ice caps melting…it depends on the salt content in them, I guess, as to whether they dilute the sea or make it denser. But again, you’re talking almost nothing. It’s not like we’re going from the Dead Sea to freshwater or vice versa.

• Trevor H says:

Thanks Michael. So basically it’s as I thought, just more warmist talking out of a body part other than their mouth.

• Darrin says:

Straights of Hormuz is how you get into the gulf, been in and out of there plenty of times on board the USS Nimitz. Typically an aircraft carrier crawls through there to ensure they stay in the safe channel, go to fast and well, keel meet rock. A rise in sea level would make it easier, not harder. Makes you wonder where that admiral keeps his head stashed.

• I served aboard the Big E in the 60’s when going through the Sea of Japan, the waves were so strong that they dented the bow! (sarc on) That extra CO2 packs a wallop (sarc off).

• george e. smith says:

And that is weather; not climate.

• george e. smith says:

Well Dahlquist I mentioned the wave height only because the admiral mentioned it. And yes I thought ho hum as he said it. He also mentioned that his boat’s eight nuclear reactors all came through intact.
A sadly now gone, WW-II US navy pilot I knew for a too brief period , did 137 carrier take offs and landings in seven months out in the Pacific, on the carrier Wasp presumably in whatever the Pacific dished up in the vicinity of the Philipines and surrounding areas, and he never ever bent anything, (of ours). Somehow, I don’t think it is quite the same on a modern octo-nuclear powered super carrier. I’m sure it can get uncomfortable; and no I don’t belittle what those Navy personnel put up with to go to sea on our behalf.
I was on the final voyage of a Dutch boat coming over to the USA over a half century ago.
We got hit by a tidal wave doing 400 mph out in the middle of the Pacific from an undersea earthquake somewhere. The skipper sounded the ships horn as the wave was approaching so we could all grab something to stop being swept overboard.
I was hanging on to the ships port railing when the wave hit us going at that speed. The wavelength was 50 nautical miles, and the peak wave height was one foot. I didn’t guess the peak timing as well as some other folks did. Nobody was swept overboard as far as I can recall.
And for 30 days at sea, it sure looked like a boat to me.
g

• markl says:

george e. smith commented: “…And for 30 days at sea, it sure looked like a boat to me.”
🙂

• george e. smith says:

Make that wavelength150 nautical miles.

• george e. smith says:

Well I dunno how in hell you guys find this stuff, but gcapologist put his finger on it.
That was indeed the show I saw, with all of the miscreants named. Notice that this panel made the sound of one hand clapping. There was NO minority report.
Seems like the oysters in the Chesapeake bay, were the principal audience.
G

• David A says:

Perhaps the naval man meant that if sea levels rise, the ocean basins will be larger, increasing the fetch of the winds, and thus wave size.
Yes sarc.

• Santa Baby says:

For the culture Marxism lo

2. Very well done. Is there a video link to the whole session?

3. Severing says:

Can’t get the video to work.

• Francisco says:

Me neither

• wayne says:

Me neither.

• Khwarizmi says:

“Me too,” I was about to say.
No video stream….
But I just found a workaround:
right-click this, save the file to disc. (57mb)
then play it.

4. “….the huge disparity between the midtropospheric observed and modeled data,…”
Gotta love the chart that slammed the dagger into the heart of CONgressman Lowenthal.

5. Thanks for everything Dr. Michaels- voices that acknowledge reality are priceless in these times. Your congressional testimonies represent the benchmark for lucid discussion of the subject that is a debilitating leach to global economies and a bane for the most vulnerable humans.

6. Ray Donahue says:

Thanks Dr. M for pointing out the vacuity (typical) of our government “leaders”!

• nevket240 says:

Ray
as a very despondent Aussie I can only say ‘ to be a Government Leader you must be a Vacuous Douche bag in the first place. There are simply no other jobs you are suitable for’
regards

• Brett Keane says:

Don’t despond, Oz. You lead the way – flack is part of the job. Kiwi

7. Bubba Cow says:

excellent – consensus on low sensitivity and CO2 trillions of dollars agriculture benefits to boot
not the policy piece Lowenthal wanted to hear, I imagine

8. willnitschke says:

The voice of reason. Rare indeed, on this topic.

9. Ben of Houston says:

Well that was a rock solid presentation. It really gets to the heart of the “No, THIS is science” matter. Solid and well documented, and forceful without being preachy.

10. Since it isn’t in the video, can someone describe what the “reaction” was? Disbelief? Anger? Open mouthed confusion? What?

• The video didn’t show the congressman…Only Dr. Michaels testimony. The video was really hard to get working. Had to keep re-starting it where it got stuck at.

11. Below are the Congressman Lowenthal’s remarks as written:
I’m Congressman Alan Lowenthal, and I want to work with you all to wake-up my climate change-denying colleagues in Congress.
Denying climate change is not representing a legitimate scientific debate, it is public disinformation;
Denying climate change is not just ignorant; it is recklessly playing Russian Roulette with our earth’s future;
Denying climate change is not just affecting far-off places, it is affecting us right here at home;
Denying climate change is not just changing habitat and ecosystems, it is effecting our ports and infrastructure that drive our economy; and
Denying climate change is not just another political position, it is a denial of reality.
Wake up! Open your eyes Congress – climate change is here.
And we need all of you to force our elected officials to take action.
Thank you.

• Harold says:

I think the men in the white jackets need to take the shrink away to a nice, quiet place, where he can pick flowers all day.
Yeesh.

• george e. smith says:

How do you get a PhD degree in psychology foreign affairs and natural resources ? I once thought about getting a PhD in ice cream making. Didn’t think anyone would hire me to make ice cream.
Dr Laura has a PhD in psychology, and she doesn’t know beans about climate either.

• Stephen Richards says:

I wonder how much he paid for it.

• lowercasefred says:

Shrinks are infamous for being a bubble off themselves. It used to be said that the number one reason they got involved in the profession was because of their own problems, but they’ve learned that doesn’t sell very well so it’s not PC to say anymore.

• Duke C. says:

george e. smith
July 22, 2015 at 8:55 pm
“How do you get a PhD degree in psychology foreign affairs and natural resources ?”
He has a PhD in psychology. He sits on the foreign affairs and natural resources committees. No degrees in either.

• And why doesn’t anyone say “Ok…let’s take just one part of that. Please show us actual data regarding how climate change is “effecting our ports”. This is one of my favs to discuss with liberals/warmenistas. I ask them what the total sea level rise is on the waterfront here in St. Pete’s.
And of course, they have no idea.

• Climate Change Deniers versus Science Deniers.

• Billy Liar says:

How could one possibly argue with a skilful orator such as congressman Alan Lowenthal?

12. michaelspj says:

Lowenthal went bat-shit crazy at the end of the hearing. Trying to find a link to the whole thing for all to see. He also claimed that one year destroyed the pause and induced a significant warming trend, and then he brought in Karl’s paper. I took Tom’s name in vain–seriously–in previous questioning from the Majority.
I was talking about the 2000 Assessment and that I had found that the models they used were worse than random numbers, and that Karl emailed me that indeed they (he was the science head for the report) had found the same. The congressman was a doctor so I pointed out that this would be like prescribing medication he knew did not work or would harm the patient. The other side was not pleased..

• Heresy will not be tolerated. Wait for it, the damage control arising out of this will be the utterly predictable standard-issue “Michaels-izza-paid-industry-shill” trash (I’ve become familiar enough with all of it that I could write it myself). Such character assassination has never done a thing to disprove any scientific assessment Dr Michaels has offered over the last two decades, of course.

• Dr. Michaels; thank you for confidently speaking clearly, succinctly and very directly to our legislators. You were not condescending and you did not treat them as children. Instead you spoke intelligently and respectfully as I am sure you do with your peers.
I was trying to find a picture of Congressman Lowenthal going apoplectic from hearing genuine science; but, I’ll settle for your description.
I especially enjoyed the way you hammered the science home each time, whereupon you then pointed out that denying the copious intensive research and consensus behind your information and graphics was denying science.

• george e. smith says:

So Dr M, are you confirming for us then, that the consensus is confirmed; climate really does change. One can learn wondrous things at WUWT.
I wonder if the climate changes in between the north pole and the south pole; some people talk about the climate as if it is something you can put in a sack and take home.
So California has at least one more idiot that I didn’t know about before.
g

• Bubba Cow says:

George – the consensus he confirmed relates to a low climate sensitivity thermal response to dreaded atmospheric CO2 doubling.
Doubling, I understand, was imagined by some Catholic Pope adviser’s random selection.
Seems arbitrary to me.

• Ben Of Houston says:

Doubling is the basis of any logarithmic increase. It’s an arbitrary basis, but it’s an arbitrary whole number that’s reasonable to anticipate actually happening (compared to the other standard arbitrary scale: base 10, or the non-arbitrary scale of base e). If you want, you could use anything. However, this is the simplest and most accessible basis to use.
In short, as a basic principle, absorption is logarithmic. This means that going from one concentration to another means a division to get the impact. So warming caused by going from 250 ppm to 500 ppm CO2 is the same as going from 500 ppm to 1000 ppm.

• george e. smith says:

Well I guess that extra idiot is a New Yorker. Dunno how I got California out of that.

• george e. smith says:

Well the good lawyers say, when you are grilling a witness, you should never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to. And if they take you by the hand and lead you towards a precipice they don’t even realize is there, of course you just hang on to their hand tightly, and walk right off the edge with them.
After all you are the one wearing the parachute.
Nice work there Dr. M
g

• GeneDoc says:

Thanks Dr. Michaels. It’s been a long slow slog against well-organized propagandists, but progress is being made. I’m very grateful for your efforts, although I still mourn the AGWers’ effect on the scientific enterprise. It will never be the same. (UVa CLAS 1978, Bio/Chem, Echols scholar. Clark Hall misses you).

• 4 eyes says:

Thankyou Dr Michaels – great, direct presentation. I noticed someone behind you smile when you were pointing out who the real deniers are. Unfortunately you cannot be called a leading climate scientist anymore. Only alarmists can hold that rank, at least in the short term.

13. Mike the Morlock says:

Hmm, I wonder how much if any “green contributions make their way into the good Congressman’s re-election coffers?

• Mike the Morlock says:

Oops I meant congressman Lowenthal.

• Thank you for spelling “oops” correctly.

• old engineer says:

Chip
Thanks for the link. There was nothing but a large black rectangle in the post on my screen. Guess it’s my browsers fault. Without your link I would not have been able to see Dr. Michael’s excellent testimony.

14. Ted G says:

Dr. Michaels.
Thank you for a succinct and understandable testimony. Even I can understand therefore the democratic members Congressman Lowenthal (D-NY) of Committee of Natural Resources should be able to clearly see what is fact and what is fiction.
BUT I WON’T HOLD MY BREATH!!!!!
In Washington knuckle dragging is a progressives pastime that hurts and affects all our well being and truth be damned.

15. Doug Hilliard says:

Excellent presentation! Thank you!

16. He explains climate sensitivity to CO2, but I think eyes glaze over to the term sensitivity. I wonder if there is a better definition or way to describe sensitivity to CO2 for the laymen congress people. He did a good job testifying. He states 2 degrees C or doubling of CO2 but the alarmists are talking about 3-6 degrees C increase by 2100. (and meters of sea level rise, rather than 6-7 inches).

• I suggest just working backwards from the projected temp rise via the co2 / temperature rise relationship, to show how much co2 it would take – maybe way north of 1000 ppm? Then show how much increase in co2 emissions globally would be needed to cause 1000 ppm. But this assumes that the audience is interested in facts…

17. Eugene WR Gallun says:

I am standing up and cheering!!!!! Now that is how it is done!!!!!!
Eugene WR Gallun

18. Bruce Sanson says:

A primary tenet of the greenhouse effect is that rising co2 levels should cause an increase in temperature in the lower troposphere. This is not currently occurring as measured by two independent satellite data sets. Further, three actual surface data sets currently show a warming trend. This should increase the L.W. (heat) radiation emitted into the lower troposphere and yet as above there is no measurable temperature increase just above the earths surface! Dose this not strongly suggest a negative real-earth feedback to increasing co2 levels?

• Bill H says:

That or someone has been doctoring their data…. But that would never happen when your trying to use CO2 to tax the hell out of everyone and keep them from being independent.

• “…actual surface data sets…”?? The actual data sets aren’t used for anything. The ADJUSTED data sets are the hot ticket. (pun intended).
“…adjusted data sets currently show a warming trend, UNLIKE actual data sets”
Fixed it for ya.

19. Harvey H Homitz. says:

Thank you Dr. Michaels, A great summary of the state of the science. Let’s hope it doesn’t fall on politically deafened ears.

20. GW says:

Hey Anthony/moderators,
I can’t get the video to play or to expand to full screen. You know, I posted in the tips/notes thread weeks ago that there were problems with the adds being generated in the articles that were usurping the bandwith or something, making it impossible to read the articles. No one ever emailed a reply saying it was fixed or suggesting trying something else. Meanwhile, at present I would like and enjoy seeing Dr. Michaels’ testimony (apparently Ben “Dickhead’ Santer hasn’t beaten the crap out of him yet) but it won’t play, nor will the icon to expand to full screen operate. Do you have any help ? Sorry for not being one of Bill Gates offspring and being able to resolve such trivialities myself or being able to afford the latest/greatest PC hardwaresoftware every 6 months.

• Anthony Watts says:

If you want to experience the Internet today, you have to have the right tools, that’s an immutable truth.

• GW and AW;
One could always use a flavor of Linux and avoid many of the hassles of the internet today. I have a 7 year old portable that works great to this day. (a Thinkpad)
One could also buy a cheap Chromebook for 200 or so dollars as I did and find that the Internet is just fine even though the computer does not do everything a general computer will do.
One could use a 6 year old Macbook (I have a little extra memory I installed) but I do block ads on that machine which may help it.
And finally, one can easily use a Windows 8 computer (cheap portable by Dell) as long as one blocks the ads. Jesus, Joseph and Mary one should try the Drudge Report without ad blocking.
~ Mark

• Gunga Din says:

I had had an issue for the last few days where the screen would jerk back up to the video ad just before the comments section every time a new ad would start.
When I tried to play the video of the testimony, it would constantly pause as if the buffer was full.
A few hours ago I installed an available Firefox add-on to block unwanted ads. I just played the testimony and there were no pauses at all (after I rebooted).
Maybe WordPress changed something to with ads recently?
I hope that info helps.
(I run Windows 7pro with Firefox as my default browser.)

• Gunga Din says:

OOPS!
I forgot to mention that because of my issues I didn’t comment on Dr. Michael’s testimony.
I’m not sure who said it first, but, “I’m glad that man’s on our side.”
Knowledge + understanding + honesty + quick wit = An CAGW’er in meltdown.

• Glenn999 says:

GW
Try firefox browser and choose their adblock options.
works great and kills all of the ads

21. AndyG55 says:

I still we have to wait a while for the “science” to get down to the real sensitivity of CO2 increase on temperatures …
… ie NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER !!

• …. yep, even after a half-doubling of the effect, it has never been shown to be indistinguishable from 0.0 degrees, and that’s Fahrenheit or Celsius !!!!

• benofhouston says:

Come now, there is a clear effect on the absorption spectrum which by definition will cause warming. You can argue quite strongly that it is drowned out by other factors, but trying to say that there isn’t an effect is just nonsense. That kind of statement undermines everything that we are trying to do here.

• will cause warming
===============
what about the conservation of energy. CO2 is not an energy source. thus, warming can only occur if something else cools. you cannot create energy from a vacuum.
what is the thing that CO2 cools as it warms the surface?

• Yirgach says:

One of the better explanations of how CO2 affects the absorption spectrum is here:
http://nov79.com/gbwm/ntyg.html
From the article:
When radiation is re-emitted in the atmosphere, it moves in all directions. The energy does not move closer to space, because it is not directional. The way heat moves toward the outer atmosphere is either through convectional currents or long wave infrared radiation which is not affected by greenhouse gasses.

Another ill-informed assumption is that radiation absorbed by CO2 must be re-emitted by CO2 in exactly the same way it was absorbed, because electrons jump to a higher orbit when absorbing and must fall back to a lower orbit when emitting.
Electrons changing orbit does not apply to global warming. Electron orbit shift only applies to things like fluorescence or lasing. Global warming is about so-called finger print radiation being absorbed. This is due to covalent bonds stretching and bending during vibrations, where no electrons shift orbits.

• benofhouston says:

Ferd, you are misunderstanding this situation on a fundamental level.
The conservation of energy is maintained because of absorption and re-emittance of CO2 in the atmosphere. The radiation coming off the grounnd is absorbed and then randomly reemitted through standard blackbody radiation. As an abstraction, this blackbody radiation sometimes goes up and sometimes goes down. If it goes up, then it procedes as if nothing happened. If it goes down, then it hits and warms the Earth. It’s equilibrium dynamics. It’s not direct warming, but instead is a slowing of heat loss,
A good, comparable mental picture is a blanket . (ignore convection effects, which are another matter entirely). This cold piece of cloth absorbs and re-emits heat in effectively the same way, warming your body. Even my Kindergardener could successfully argue that this doens’t violate any natural laws. Don’t be a sophomore and argue things you don’t fully understand.
(Finally, ignore Yirgach’s nonsense. It goes on so long about irrelevant claptrap that it’s not worth the read).

• “A good, comparable mental picture is a blanket . (ignore convection effects, which are another matter entirely).”
Ignore convection? Hell, ignore atmospheric pressure, conduction, convection, h20, winds, clouds, and everything else. Yes indeed, use the bogus blanket thing. Did you kindergarten kid teach you physics?

• Definitions don’t cause warming. Only physical factors do. Increases in CO2 do cause warming in vitro, that is, in boxed containers. That much can be, and has been, demonstrated by schoolchildren. Let the CO2 out into the real world, however, and you have all kinds of interactive effects. The most convincing evidence I have seen comes from geology, where the evidence is that planetary temperature sensitivity to carbon dioxide doubling is zero.

• Yirgach says:

@benofhouston
Nonsense? Claptrap?
Well, please be a bit more specific (ala Willis E) and maybe then we can talk about it.

22. philincalifornia says:

Does the fkin idiot know that the phrase “climate change” as he uses it, is a bogus construct, or is he too thick to get that even. I never know when these idiots are just monumentally retarded or just lying.

• …. and well done Dr. Michaels. Who are the D-worders now?

• spren says:

These unethical progressives are always attempting to conflate the meaning of things. Who in the world doesn’t believe in climate change, meaning that the climate always changes? And look what they do with the issue of illegal immigration conflating its meaning with the generic “immigration.” They are all about disregarding true reality and using their “framing” to try and create an alternate reality which is where they all reside.

23. Tucci78 says:

It might serve us well to quote the Conclusion of Dr. Michaels’ analysis as submitted to Dr. Lowenthal (he’s a PhD specialist in “community psychology” by education and profession prior to fastening himself directly to the public teat) and the rest of the members of that committee:

The social cost of carbon as determined by the Interagency Working Group in their May 2013 Technical Support Document (updated in November 2013 and July 2015) is unsupported by the robust scientific literature, fraught with uncertainty, illogical, and thus completely unsuitable and inappropriate for federal rulemaking. Had the IWG included a better-reasoned and more inclusive review of the current scientific literature, the social cost of carbon estimates would have been considerably reduced with a value likely approaching zero. Such a low social cost of carbon would obviate the arguments behind the push for federal greenhouse gas regulations.

24. Dr. Michaels, re your first chart on the Recent Studies of Climate Sensitivities.
I recommend a redrafting of the chart.
As is, it visually over-weights the P05 and P95 end points. at the expense of the body of the distribution.
A better visual would be a horizontal Box-Dual-Whisker.
The box run from P25 to P75, A line marking P50.
A fat whisker from P10 to P90
A thin whisker from P05 to P95.
Y-axis is the Publishing date – as close to linear as can be managed, Oldest on top, Newest on the bottom.
Finally, Color code: Order of priority:
— Vivid pink – any study that began with a uniform Bayesian prior, no matter what the prior range was.
— Baby Blue for any paper whose lead author or majority of authors was also an IPCC lead author.
— Black — all else.
I’d be happy to contribute my labor to getting it done.

• rgbatduke says:

they were converging onto zero

No, they are not. Nor will they. Because the climate sensitivity to CO_2 is almost certainly greater than zero. It is most probably very close to the no-feedback line calculation estimates — somewhere in the 1 to 2 C range. It will take time for estimates to converge there because there are still far too many participants who have a vested interest in not being as wrong as they are turning out to be, where the actual climate sensitivity is out there in the so-called “5% likely” zone of the initial estimates, so called because the process of assigning “confidence” to all of these estimates is a confidence game, perhaps, or just a joke, not the application of sound principles of statistics. But who will look back and note that reality has turned out to be “impossibly unlikely” according to the earlier “consensus science” treating the subject? The consensus scientists devoutly hope, nobody.
Anyway, here is my standard argument against zero climate sensitivity, which is indeed usually “denying” that the greenhouse effect is real at all and is most certainly denying the rather sound physics of radiative energy transfer that is its basis.
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Toft-CO2-vs-MME.jpg
This (the solid blue line) is a two parameter fit to the HadCRUT4 global temperature anomaly, shown (for once) with its acknowledged probable error bars which in my own humble opinion are absurdly small in the first fifty years, merely too small in the second fifty years, and which might be reasonable post 1950 but I doubt it. One of the two parameters is irrelevant — it is basically equating the zero of the fit function to that of the anomaly, both of which are essentially arbitrary as the anomaly is not the actual average temperature, which is not known more accurately than 1 C.
The only relevant parameter then is the multiplier of the log function, from which one can easily empirically determine the climate sensitivity that best fits the data. It turns out to be 1.8 C. The fit, by the way, is really excellent — it explains almost all of the variation of the data, and the variation it cannot explain, outside of apparent five year noise, is a systematic sinusoid with an amplitude of 0.1 C and a period of about 67 years (for which I offer no explanation — I’m just pointing it out).
The graph also shows the MultiModel Ensemble mean from figure 9.8a of AR5. Note well that the MME mean exceeds the actual temperature anomaly according to HadCRUT4 almost everywhere outside of the “reference period” where the model is normalized to the observed temperature, and is (apparently) systematically diverging from the observed temperatures starting in the mid-90’s, much as Roy’s figure shows in Pat’s presentation but not quite as impressively. OTOH, HadCRUT4 has been adjusted multiple times and for better or worse almost all of those adjustments have cooled the past and/or warmed the present, which seems “unlikely” to have arisen by chance given any sort of assumption of unbiased errors in the measurements being corrected. But even with those adjustments the climate sensitivity extracted from this direct one relevant parameter fit that completely ignores all other possible factors and hence automatically includes the effect of all feedbacks is almost precisely where it should be if those other factors and feedbacks are, in fact, basically irrelevant.
This fit estimate itself very likely has a substantial uncertainty. This is inevitable, given that the errors in the temperatures being fit are large on the scale of the variation and are almost certainly substantially underestimated at that. However, given the probable direction of bias in the anomaly being fit towards warming (probably as determined by plotting the corrections against CO_2 concentration and finding a very high correlation which is again unlikely to be observed in any set of unbiased corrections of data intended to demonstrate just such a correlation) IMO the fit value of 1.8 C is close to an upper bound. Given the high degree of uncertainty in past temperature anomaly estimates, especially in the 19th century, a reasonable range for climate sensitivity is between 1 and 2 C, with almost no impact from either aerosols or feedback from water vapor, but note well that this is my best guess, since it is obviously completely impossible to assign a meaningful statistical confidence interval on top of a small mountain of unproven and often completely arbitrary Bayesian priors (a universal failing in climate science). I would have to state as if aerosols are indeed irrelevant, and if water vapor feedback is already implicit in the fit and if there is essentially no lag between CO_2 concentration and a non-stationary “set point” equilibrium temperature that is being gently modulated by the increase, then if the model adjustments are not too biased and if the data being fit is fortuitously not in extreme error especially in the 19th and early 20th century and if the Urban Heat Island effect neglected in HadCRUT4 is not a significant factor, then — perhaps — climate sensitivity is around 1.5 C plus or minus a degree or so either way.
Still, there is no possible way to rationalize a climate sensitivity of zero with the data, even if there have been thumbs on the scales. No, it isn’t quite “impossible”, but the quality of the fit of a theoretically predicted form to the data makes it implausible to say the least.
None of which alters the presentation to congress on the social cost of carbon. I just hope that somewhere in there they remembered to include one more very important benefit of the burned coal: it made electricity that drove the entire world economy! I read the entire transcript of Michael’s testimony and didn’t see that mentioned once. That was a bit odd — if you include the rather large positive benefit of the extra CO_2 on plant production which I estimate at around 10% to 15% increased relative to 280 ppm already, enough to be responsible for feeding the billion poorest people in the world today and every day, one surely needs to include the benefits of the electric lights, refrigerators, air conditioners, factories, music and entertainment systems, heaters, and indeed the entire basis of world civilization and the most important fraction of its total economy that is all a direct consequence of the electricity produced. That’s surely the largest benefit, one that very likely makes the “social cost of coal” net negative (beneficial, in other words) everywhere, all the time almost independent of the rest.
Anybody that doubts this is welcome to go into their house and pull the master breaker switch and leave it off for one month. In the meantime, do not drive a car, go to work, walk outside in the dark unless you do so by candlelight. If you live in a cold climate or hot climate and are uncomfortable, tough. If you die — hey prevention of death is one of the social benefits of coal, burned to make electricity. Even if you have solar power on your roof, coal probably bridges the daily intervals where there is no sun and you still need power. Even if you get power from the wind coal may well provide you with power when the wind doesn’t blow.
The truly silly thing is that we don’t need a Federal Commission to compute absolutely arbitrary estimates of the “social cost” of coal. The whole point of a free market economy is that it will automatically reflect the social cost of coal, all the time. One doesn’t need one, three, ten, or ten thousand “Monte Carlo simulated” completely hypothetical trajectories for the entire future economy projected out to 2300 (for gosh sake!) to realize that this whole process is utterly ridiculous! Imagine Isaac Newton projecting out the world economy based on his new, largely undeveloped and unproven science as of the year 1700. That makes precisely as much sense as us trying to imagine the “social cost” of one single degree of freedom in our entire functioning global economy in the year 2330 — the same 315 years in the future. Could Isaac — arguably one of the smartest men who ever lived, given that he invented calculus, physics and modern banking almost single handed — have predicted my cell phone? Coal burning power plants that light up homes hundreds of miles away and transmit information at incredible speeds through thin air or thin threads of a material nobody had dreamed of existing in his time? Cars? Airplanes? Nuclear power? Quantum mechanics?
We have no idea what the social cost of anything we do is going to be fifty years into the future. If somebody succeeds in developing thermonuclear fusion as a practical power source, everything done to “control carbon” will have been wasted because the free market will make coal burning to make power obsolete overnight (well, over a decade). Similar paradigm shifting changes could come from an easy half dozen breakthroughs in technology and physics that I can think of now, and I probably cannot even imagine what we might be on the edge of in 2040 (when I’m likely to be dead anyway).
It’s always nice to see that Our Government is being run in such a sober and responsible way. And it is extraordinary that even though the government considers the social cost of coal to be a “burning issue” of critical importance, every single poll of ordinary people, worldwide, asked to rank their primary social concerns in a list that contains real problems like crime, poverty, disease, hunger, education, and sure, climate change (since climate “catastrophe” is clearly not going to happen), rank climate change last. That’s the public’s assessment of the social cost of coal. They can see perfectly well that we have many, many things — like war and terrorism — that we should fix long, long before we start worrying about CO_2.
And by that time, we probably won’t have to. The problem itself will have evaporated, either because of advances in technology that render the entire issue moot or because it will be clear that climate sensitivity is so small that any “climate change” it produces will be almost entirely beneficial in the future as it has been, without any possible exception or doubt, in the past.
rgb

• . “Because the climate sensitivity to CO_2 is almost certainly greater than zero.”
No. It is zero or less. Certainly “converging onto zero” as the man wrote is much closer to the mark than your belief.
I did not read who;e the message as I have read your explanations before, but you will someday see that CO2 does not “back radiate” to warm the surface. The luke-warmers and the alarmists are arguing over how much CO2 warms the planet. Some of us, with very good reasons, see that the magic molecule don’t do what you think it does. I’ll not repeat any of those reasons here as it might upset our host, but “sound physics” seems to mean in your message whatever you think it does. Sorry, but physics and thermodynamics is larger than one Duke professor.
By the way, calling those of us who see that it is the sun, position of planet in regards to the sun, gravity and mass of atmosphere (hence weight/density of atmosphere), H2O in all its phases, oceans, winds, conduction, convection, advection, and even more factors …. to call us by the D-Word is really not nice since the luke-warmers get called that and don’t like it. I think there is a word that starts with “h” that describes that behavior.
We all get to voice our views here, except for one bunch but let us not mention that bunch today, and so I have no problem with you voicing your opinion. But, you are wrong. Someday science will awake from this James Hansen inspired delusion, but I can not predict when that will be. I hope to live to see it, but I am running out of time.

• mkelly says:

RGB says: ” Because the climate sensitivity to CO_2 is almost certainly greater than zero.”
You use the word “almost” which says that in could be zero. And even if the CS is .001 so what?
Radiative HEAT transfer equations have no feed back loops showing the higher temperature object getting higher in temperature. If you have some please provide as I do not.

• rgbatduke says:

but you will someday see that CO2 does not “back radiate” to warm the surface.

Sigh. Mark, the planet loses energy precisely one way. It radiates it away. Only. Well, it loses an occasional atmospheric molecule as well, but that is utterly irrelevant to its cooling. Consequently, one can learn quite a bit about how it cools in detail by looking at its outgoing spectrum. Gravity and the lapse rate certainly play a role, but it is the opposite to the role you think they play. It also doesn’t matter in the slightest how incoming solar energy is transported here and there before it is lost. What matters is the temperature at which it is emitted. It is a simple matter of utterly understood, spectroscopically verified empirical fact that energy leaving the planet in the greenhouse gas bands does so at the temperature of their emission height. That height is pretty much higher than the surface almost everywhere but the tops of snow covered mountains. Consequently it is colder than the surface emission temperature almost everywhere (in the greenhouse gas bands) — the intensity of outgoing light and the total integrated power into any given outgoing solid angle is diminished in those bands.
Again, this is a simple statement of fact. You can create any fantasy you like about whether or not CO2 is “magic” — personally I don’t think of being quantum mechanically coupled to the electromagnetic field in understandable ways as being magic, but maybe you do — but you cannot argue that the outgoing spectrum is not as I describe it because it is measured to be just that way and that really ends, or should end, that part of the discussion.
The only remaining question is what effect increasing CO_2 concentration (or any other greenhouse gas concentration) would have on this outgoing spectrum. Personally, I think that the only sane answer (given the well-understood mechanisms for absorption and emission, the mean free path, and the definition of the emission height as the height where the mean free path of in-band photons emitted up starts to reach infinity) is higher density/concentration decreases mean free path and raises the in-band emission height. There is nothing magic about this — it is a simple matter of radiative cross section and probabilities. If you think otherwise, I’d be absolutely fascinated to know how you can justify it. Since it is colder higher, it seems only reasonable that the in-band outgoing radiation (emitted from gas at a slightly cooler temperature) would have slightly diminished intensity.
Sadly, the total integrated outgoing power (integrated over area, wavelength, and to form an average power, time) has to balance total integrated incoming power, and the increase in CO_2 concentration has a much smaller effect on the incoming sunlight because it is emitted from a ~5500K surface, not surfaces or gases at a few hundred degrees kelvin, and hence has only a small (or much smaller) fraction of its integrated power in the CO_2 bands. In order for the Earth’s temperature to be stable incoming radiation must balance outgoing radiation, period. If incoming radiation remains approximately constant (and there is little reason to think that it would not, certainly not without solving the full coupled Navier-Stokes equations at a meaningful resolution which is currently absurdly impossible) then reducing the outgoing power in the greenhouse gas bands requires — in order for the first law of thermodynamics to be happy in a definition of dynamic equilibrium — an increase in outgoing radiation in the rest of the relevant thermal spectrum, practically speaking in the direct radiation from the surface. Since radiation from the surface is proportional to the fourth power of its temperature, the only way it can increase is for the surface to warm.
This is literally as simple as considering a garden hose with two nozzles and a fixed input. If you reduce the aperture of one of the two nozzles and maintain exactly the same rate of input flow, you must increase the flow out of the other aperture in order for the hose to not swell up and burst (conservation of water, not energy, but the idea is exactly the same). But the only way for flow to increase to maintain balance with a smaller total aperture is for the pressure in the hose to go up, or equivalently for the equilibrium temperature to go up in the case of the Earth.
You will note that I do not talk about back radiation, radiative forcing, latent heat transfer, lateral heat transfer, thunderstorms, oceanic currents, or sources of carbon dioxide in this argument. They are not necessary. It doesn’t matter how one transports heat into the atmosphere — all that matters is the adiabatic lapse rate, the mean free path of in-band greenhouse gas photons, and the emission height. If energy is conserved — and I rather think it is — then reducing outflow in the greenhouse gas bands implies a surface warming unless something else (partially) cancels it.
Note that I do not address that possibility. I’m not discussing feedbacks or specific imagined or hypothetical features of the chaotic solution to the highly nonlinear coupled Navier-Stokes equations on this tipped spinning, oblate spheroidal ball 70% covered in oceans and the rest oddly shaped mountains with fractally irregular height, because I can’t solve them in my head, you can’t solve them in yours, and the world’s fastest computers can’t solve them either. So sure, maybe cloud cover automatically increases to partly cancel the warming, maybe water vapor increases to automatically augment the warming, maybe natural variation in the Earth’s orbit and precession or shifts in oceanic circulation or changes in solar insolation are going to cancel, or augment, or alter, or leave alone, the simple consequence of energy conservation described above. There are indeed many things going on, but it is quite impossible to prove any of these often contrary assertions, many of which are sufficiently consistent with observations so far as to be unprovable, possibly even deliberately so.
In cases like this, the sensible thing to do — in my opinion, of course you are free to differ — is to take the comparatively simple form for the expected variation in surface temperature according to the enormously simple argument above — absolutely trivial elevation of the emission height, the subsequent slight decrease in in-band outgoing radiation, the subsequent slight increase in surface temperature, and fit it to the observational data. If it produces a good fit, then at the very least it is a very reasonable hypothesis, one that is quantitatively consistent with the data, and the burden of proof is very much on anyone who wants to just hand wave and say it ain’t so.
In my opinion — again, your judgment of fit curves may differ — the graph I built above portrays a damn good fit to the no-feedback CO2 model:
$\Delta T = F_0 \log(C/C_0)$
where $F_0$ has units of temperature and, scaled by $\log(2)$, is the climate sensitivity (expected temperature increase per doubling of concentration). If you have an equally simple model that has the same explanatory power, by all means, bring it on. If all you have is assertions about back radiation and what it can and cannot do — most of which are complete nonsense, but they do not matter to the argument above or the quality of the fit to the no-feedback hypothesis — then let me know when you can back them with a quantitative model of less complexity than the full solution to the coupled N-S equations. Simply asserting “the variation is natural” is stating a possible truth, to be sure, but until you can do better than state possible truths there is little reason to choose your favorite possible truth over somebody else’s. There is a pretty good reason to choose the one I offer above. It works quantitatively to explain the data. That doesn’t make it correct, but is surely doesn’t count as anything like evidence against the hypothesis, and top of atmosphere and bottom of atmosphere spectroscopy offer additional, in my opinion independently conclusive, evidence in favor of the hypothesis.
Feel free, by the way, to continue to attack my credentials, my lack of knowledge of thermodynamics or general physics, etc etc. I’ll save you the trouble. I have learned the hard way, over a 30+ year career in physics research and teaching, that I can be wrong. I’ll say it again — I can be wrong. I could be wrong about CO_2 and feedbacks, the data I work with could be corrupt, the interaction between CO2 and photons could really be mediated by little tiny invisible fairies wearing red ruby slippers, it could all be God’s Will, and General Circulation Models could all be perfect works of computational art and the current hiatus could be a rare and improbable event in a chaotic system that will eventually get back onto a catastrophic track or plunge into an ice age or (fill in your own favorite Future Climate Fantasy). But you might find it more useful in a discussion of the assertions that I make, which are backed by a rather large block of the physics literature and seem to be in reasonable quantitative agreement with such data as there is, to spend less time stating the obvious — that I could be wrong in spite of having a Ph.D. and having taught physics, including thermodynamics and astronomy and quantum mechanics and electrodynamics for well over 30 years. Sure I could. I often am. Just yesterday a student in my class caught me out in a mistake in my lecture. Oops. It could easily happen again today. And I’ve made far worse errors in the past, including some in research I was doing where my very sincere beliefs and hopes about things I was studying proved wrong, close but no cigar.
But you know how he caught me? He explicitly pointed out the place where I made the error (which was a wrong subscript written by the demon in my brain that moves my hand to write while the verbal part is talking). He didn’t accuse me of being incompetent in subscript-writing, or of being globally mistaken about self and mutual inductance (topic of the lecture). If he had, the onus of proof would have very much been on him to show the mistake. In the earlier research work I eventually caught myself — once my own computations advanced enough, they eliminated the tantalizing possibility I was promoting. It is easy to be seduced by the modern equivalent of platonic forms in physics, especially in theoretical physics, and making the error that I did was a valuable lesson.
So please, if you think I’m wrong and have any sort of valid argument you can offer, then offer it. Don’t tell me that “one day I will see my mistake”. Perhaps. Or perhaps you will see yours. Or perhaps we are both wrong, or will never acknowledge our mistake(s) no matter what the evidence. But I assure you that I can be convinced that I’ve made a mistake — by the development of a valid argument based on accepted principles of physics and the better agreement of that argument with data. That’s the way science works.
rgb

• rgbatduke says:

Radiative HEAT transfer equations have no feed back loops showing the higher temperature object getting higher in temperature. If you have some please provide as I do not.

I will try very hard to be patient here, forgive me if I sound a little bit testy. You are referring to passive heat transfer between two thermal reservoirs. That is not an accurate, or fair, description of the Earth as a climate system. It is actively heated by radiation from the sun. It is passively cooled by radiation to outer space. The correct first order picture of the Earth as a climate system is:
(sun) —> (earth) —>(space)
that is, it is between two more or less fixed temperature reservoirs, one around 6000 K, the other around 0 K.
It is not, I repeat not, just:
(earth) —>(space)
The incoming power on the left hand side of the top description is for all practical purposes completely independent of GHG concentration with the possible exception of condensed water vapor (clouds and snow/ice). There is negligible direct effect from increasing atmospheric CO_2. It comes in predominantly in the visible spectrum where the atmosphere is transparent, and the places where it is not transparent are not blocked by CO_2.
So the only question is what happens to the earth if you maintain a constant power flow in to the earth and increase the radiative resistance in the outflow. The answer is obvious. If you vary the conductivity in the HEAT transfer equations between an object BEING HEATED AT A CONSTANT RATE and a cold reservoir, you will without any question cause the temperature of the HEATED object to adjust up, or down, to maintain the same outflow of heat in spite of the new value of the conductivity or radiation resistance. This is bone simple detailed balance physics. You can build a trivial mental capacitive model — a capacitor being charged with a constant current (not voltage), at the same time it is grounded through a resistor (or two resistors in parallel if you prefer). If you increase the resistance of either resistor, say the one labelled “radiation from CO_2 in the upper atmosphere”, the charge/voltage of the capacitor will go up until the summed output current through both resistors once again matches in fixed input current. The current through the resistor that wasn’t increased (direct surface radiation) must increase if the current through the top-of-troposphere greenhouse gas radiation channel is decreased, and the “current” in this channel is a monotonic function of the surface temperature, so it is difficult to see how it can increase without the surface temperature increasing.
This isn’t a matter of “feedback loops” at all, it is detailed balance in an open dynamical system, and it is completely understandable as soon as you stop drawing heat flow diagrams with only two entities on them and try to understand the temperature of the one on the left as if it is a passively cooling unheated reservoir and ignore the heat input from the sun that is being balanced by the strictly radiative outflow in all channels. This isn’t a matter of “cold heating hot”, it is a matter of slowing the heat flowing out of heated, which can absolutely occur with material that is colder than the stuff being warmed. It always is, as it is between the reservoirs at an intermediate temperature.
You can understand this if you try, but as long as you repeat things you’ve read and half-understood that don’t even address the correct model, you won’t.
rgb

• “…the interaction between CO2 and photons could really be mediated by little tiny invisible fairies wearing red ruby slippers”
I like that one, but it would be hard to illustrate. Are the slippers the only things visible?

• “Sigh. Mark, the planet loses energy precisely one way. It radiates it away.”
No, really? I see we have common ground. And that radiation to space occurs mainly where? In the lower atmosphere or the upper atmosphere? I have been told that it is mainly in the upper atmosphere. In the lower atmosphere conduction and convection rule, Or as one wag said, “convection rules the Troposphere”. You, on the other hand, just toss aside lapse rate, convection, advection, conduction, winds, clouds and hell, everything else. Big Sigh from me.
I’ll stop here as Mr. Watts does not allow anyone to go to very far in the direction I would want to go. Certainly many links I would use are frowned upon. I will only say that as long as you think that just because a CO2 molecule radiates back towards the planet that it warms the surface …. then you are simply wrong. Someday people will wonder why learned individuals could think that way. Oh well,
I think that the following two posts are a good place for you to start, but am really not trying to change your mind — other than remind you that there are a lot of people of various disciplines that think your back radiation warms the surface is nonsense. I dislike you calling us the D-word. In fact, I would have never posted a word to you if you had not called me a D-word. I really, really don’t like it from a luke-warmer.
Why atmospheric MASS, not radiation? Part 1
Why atmospheric MASS, not radiation? Part 2
PS: I think you should comment about those ideas in the second part over there if you care to do so. I am sure that the author would appreciate your input if you have the time.

• rgbatduke says:

I think that the following two posts are a good place for you to start, but am really not trying to change your mind — other than remind you that there are a lot of people of various disciplines that think your back radiation warms the surface is nonsense. I dislike you calling us the D-word. In fact, I would have never posted a word to you if you had not called me a D-word. I really, really don’t like it from a luke-warmer.

I actually find very little to disagree with in these two articles — they do in fact describe very much what I was describing, and you will note that my description carefully avoided discussing back radiation in spite of the fact that it is direct measureable and not really subject to claims that it doesn’t exist or isn’t part of the surface energy budget. I think that the pictures presented of this sort of flow are bogus representations, of what warmists assert happens, but then I think their representations are a bit bogus as well. The problem is that the actual heat transfer mechanisms at the surface are complicated, and I do not feel terribly comfortable assigning specific numbers to them as global averages simply because they are hard numbers to measure or even estimate and they change all of the time. The measured TOA spectra are, on the other hand, free from these concerns. You can make up pictures for what you think the energy flows are, but at the end of the day you have some energy that is manifestly being radiated directly from the surface, and energy that is manifestly being radiated from a layer where the atmosphere becomes transparent enough for LWIR coupled to the IR active greenhouse gases can escape, cooling the atmosphere and, as the articles correctly indicates, providing the basis for the convective motion of energy that maintains the (or really a, since it to is not constant nor is it perfectly adiabatic) lapse rate.
Again, no argument that this cooling radiation is released from a layer of atmosphere, not a sharp surface, in the general vicinity of the top of the troposphere. Nor any argument that the breathing variations of high and low pressure systems that elevate and drop the tropopause modulate the outgoing radiation rate (in multiple ways, some of which were not mentioned — since the absorption bands are primarily collision broadened up through the troposphere, lines sharpen and broaden as air pressure and density change and so the opacity of the atmosphere to LWIR varies with the weather, which IMO is probably an additional negative feedback on global temperature along with Willis’ clouds).
The one thing he does not mention or directly address — in my opinion unfortunately — is the marginal response of the very system he describes to added IR active molecules. In this, Venus and Mars aren’t terribly helpful — as he notes but doesn’t seem to fully appreciate, in both cases the atmospheres aren’t just “IR active” with a large passive non-radiating reservoir, the entire atmosphere is IR active, one super dense, the other super thin. Neither one is a good proxy for the Earth’s atmosphere.
So we have a lovely question. Clearly an atmosphere that is completely (or nearly so) IR-transparent — nothing but N2 and O2 — would have a very different profile and would have a cooler average surface temperature. Clearly an atmosphere that was entirely IR active would be opaque to IR out to a lower pressure/density which ordinarily one would think is going to happen at a greater height, further up in the lapse — in any event it would have a warmer — arguably the warmest possible — surface temperature for otherwise identical atmosphere mass. That suggests that that there should be a differential response to temperature as one increases the IR active component of an otherwise IR transparent, mass conserved atmosphere. I would further suggest that the partial derivative of the “ideal” equilibrium average surface temperature with respect to concentration is monotonic and positive everywhere.
The article did not address this, being too concerned with asserting that the downward directed thermal IR from the atmosphere mass wasn’t important and that all that mattered was mass and IR activity. But surely that isn’t all that matters — and if it is it remains to be proven, or even effectively argued, in these two articles. As I said it is quite reasonable to expect a monotonic response in the very cycle he so admirably describes as the IR active component of the atmosphere is increased from zero to 100% of an otherwise equal mass atmosphere, or if the IR opacity in the LWIR bands is varied.
The following was very definitely not proven or even argued. Suppose we take a very simple atmosphere, one that is completely opaque for all wavelengths greater than, or less than, some cutoff roughly half way through the 288 blackbody curve. Its mass can be supposed to be fixed. The planet surface iis heated at some fixed rate, and we wait for equilibrium to be reached as he correctly insists at the end of the second article. When it is reached, we go to the top of the atmosphere and what do we find? The surface (at whatever temperature it reaches) is directly radiating to space across half of its outgoing equilibrium temperature spectrum, so we see a blackbody spectrum at that temperature from the peak over to the left characteristic of that temperature. We see on the other half radiation at a much lower temperature from the IR active gas coming from the level that self-constistently establishes itself so that the integral over this power spectrum equals the input power. The particular height where it is established, and the temperature, without any doubt will depend on the atmospheric mass, g, and so on.
Now imagine that we remove the LWIR transparent component of the atmosphere. Now NO radiation from the surface escapes directly to space. Since the same power has to be emitted by the planet as a whole, the temperature at which the fully IR-opaque atmosphere emits has to rise. Also, the density of the tropospheric layer where the atmosphere is transparent to LWIR at worst remains the same. If I understand the two papers, he would like to assert that the surface temperature would not change — the atmospheric mass hasn’t changed, the lapse rate hasn’t changed, and he seems to wish to imply that IR activity is like a switch that is either on or off with no smooth monotonic activity as the IR concentrations or opacity of the atmosphere is varied. But I do not see this proven, or even explicitly stated in a form conducive to proof.
I don’t think it is true. I think that even assuming no worse than the same height where the atmosphere becomes transparent and the same lapse rate, the atmosphere at that height would have to warm to reject the same amount of heat that was rejected by both the surface directly at a much warmer temperature and a much cooler IR active layer at the same height in the first case. I think there is no real doubt that the surface temperature of the planet with no direct channel for heat to radiate to space from the surface would be lower than the planet where all of the energy absorbed at the surface was absorbed and had to be emitted by only the atmosphere at the height where it became transparent to LWIR in both cases.
I also think that it is implausible in the extreme that “IR activity” (again, in a regime where we aren’t really varying the total mass of the atmosphere, its transparency to SW, albedo, etc) is some sort of “step function”, especially at very low concentrations. I agree with him (and for that matter, with everybody else that looks at this) that the warming that one expects from adding IR active molecules to an otherwise LWIR transparent atmosphere is an initially steep function of concentration — it does indeed “turn on” as the atmosphere goes from being transparent to being opaque in the LWIR bands and then saturates. I even agree that we are in the saturation regime where changes from changing IR active molecule concentrations has a much smaller effect than they did initially. But everybody else agrees with this, too, which is why temperature increases logarithmically with concentration. Log increases are very slow, and get slower! We’re not talking a linear increase, we’re talking a fixed increment per doubling of concentration.
So what I don’t understand and can’t figure out from the article is where the author stands on this issue. Does he really think IR activity is a switch? Does the comparative spectral width of the IR absorption band not matter so that a planet that radiates a substantial amount of its input away directly at the surface temperature to the fourth will somehow end up with the same surface temperature when instead all the outgoing radiation comes from an atmosphere of exactly the same mass but that is now completely opaque to LWIR in all wavelengths (up to where the density is low enough to permit the energy to escape)? If he truly believes the latter, he needs to prove it, algebraically because I think this is must plain wrong. I do not think that there is zero marginal effect to altering the IR active molecular composition of an otherwise mass-constrained atmosphere. I think that is actually a pretty silly (to use his own word) assertion, and certainly not one that can just be thrown out there when there appear to be direct counterexamples such as the one I propose, where I could just as easily have made the fraction of the outgoing energy absorbed by the IR active molecules 0.1 instead of 0.5, or 0.05, or 0.001, or 0.000001 — you can see the problem, at some point we know that IR “activity” will be insufficient to sustain even the model he seems to propose, but he indicates no smooth path from zero to “enough” and on to complete saturation.
If he, and you, agree that varying the bandwidth and opacity of the IR channels in question will have some monotonic effect on surface temperature, we are right back to where we have to worry about how large an effect atmospheric CO2 increases will have on the surface temperature. The response will almost certainly not be zero, nor is it likely (in saturation) to be linear. So what explicit function can he or you derive for it? Do you like logarithmic? Everybody else does, using exactly the same lapse rate argument you use, because they do not, actually, compute surface temperature using back radiation, they use back radiation to explain (badly, IMO) why the surface heats up. At the bottom of the atmosphere, the atmosphere is very close to being in equilibrium with the surface temperature, after all. Absorption of LWIR is only one of several mechanisms for energy transfer both ways that maintain that equilibrium. But that doesn’t mean that adding IR active CO2 won’t raise the effective radiation height relative to the lapse and thereby alter the relative dynamics of the outgoing heat flow in all channels to raise the temperature of the surface.
rgb

• “I actually find very little to disagree with in these two articles …”
OK, then. Since he reaches the point of zero or near zero sensitivity and that is still “science” then perhaps you would care to withdraw your crack that those of us with different hypothesis are d#niers of science?
As to the questions you mentioned. Take them up with “Okulaer”. Kristian can be a very reasonable man to debate with. He even puts up with me on occasion. I think that both of you would enjoy an exchange of ideas in a small blog setting. If you have the time it might even be an enjoyable debate.
http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-greenhouse-equation.html
The above link is a sort of summary of his ideas along the same lines but not the same as the two posts of Okulaer that you read. The differences are small to me, but apparently not to the two authors. You might be interested in his take on gravity and mass of the atmosphere being the driver.
I think I am done with this sub thread. All I wanted to do was demonstrate that some of us who see zero or negative sensitivity are not science d#niers or uneducated.

• ” … Kristian? Say, would that be the same Kristian …”
I don’t know for sure. I missed that exchange. You could ask him (the “Okulaer”) over at his site yourself.
https://okulaer.wordpress.com/

Thanks, Mark.

25. Harold says:

That’s called ‘communication’.

26. Jim G1 says:

Thank you Dr. Michaels. I fear it has little to do with facts, though, and everything to do with politics. However, we must continue to air the facts as you have done quite well. I suggest that “climate deniers” be combated with the term “science deniers” for those who insist upon using poor science to justify their political position.

• Gary says:

Finally someone has co-opted the “denier” meme. I agree that using it this way will rob it of power.

27. Thank you. This is an excellent presentation. His calling their bluff on denying science was very clever and something we should all do going forward.

• rw says:

It’s also another demonstration that in this debate the skeptics have to be twice as intelligent as the warmists, but that, fortunately, they are.

28. Brian S says:

Not to mention that even if ALL of the gigatonnes of carbon currently sequestered as coal could be returned to the atmosphere that would only recreate the excellent growing conditions that that fossilised vegetation evidently enjoyed.
Yours from a very cold South Africa, where even sub-tropical Durban is suffering this year. On the Highveld it has been teeth-chatteringly cold for weeks now. When you don’t have central heating, double glazing and all the essentials for keeping warm you tend to notice these things more.

29. people who did not recognize the low-sensitivity papers, or the huge disparity between the midtropospheric observed and modeled data, or the low sensitivity in the multiauthored Otto study (15 of the authors were lead authors in the last IPCC repor)t, were in fact “science deniers”.

Yes, yes, yes. We need more of this. I also like calling people out for denying The Pause.

30. Patrick says:

Obama will arrive in Nairobi, Kenya tomorrow, his second visit, but this time as PotUS. He won’t go to see the birth place of his father. I can assure you no Kenyan, who is not on the receiving end of taxpayer funded climate alarmism, will be to worried about the “social cost of carbon” pollution. My Kenyan friend is already struggling to deal with the heavy security measures being put in place.

• spren says:

It is close to his birthday, so apparently he wants to celebrate it in his homeland, where he ostensibly wasn’t born.

• Patrick says:

He’s off to Ethiopia too afterwards if I understand correctly. There isn’t anyone there, not on the alarmist payroll, who cares about “carbon” emissions either.

• benofhouston says:

Obama was born in Hawaii. Get over it.
If nothing else, it’s his anscestral home and he still has family there. I know a great many people who identify as “Irish-American” and are proud of it, despite being far more than 1 generation removed.

• Patrick says:

“benofhouston
July 23, 2015 at 8:10 am”
If you really want to be picky Ben, we’re all “East African” via our mDNA. Maybe you should get over that?

31. 601nan says:

Waiting for Der Fuhrer Latin Pope Francis of the Merkel Fourth Reich (EU) to declare that Negros, Greeks, Slavs and Wetbacks are the byproducts of Global Human Warming Climate Change.
Ha ha

32. bones says:

Thanks for a solid, factual presentation to some people who really needed to hear it!

33. michaelspj July 22, 2015 at 6:51 pm
Lowenthal went bat-shit crazy at the end of the hearing. Trying to find a link to the whole thing for all to see.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.
I was once confronted by an erstwhile promoter of a nearby house of worship who claimed authority on a matter based on reference to his religious text. I advised him that his religious text said no such thing. As he became very agitated upon hearing this, I provided to him, from my private collection, a copy of his religious text, and challenged him to show me where within it the claims he had made were written. The more he looked and was unable to find the passage he was so certain existed, the angrier he got. Eventually he called me names (as if it was my fault), threatened violence, and was asked to leave the premises.
You might say he went bat sh*t crazy.
I’m always amazed at the emotional and aggressive response one receives for merely pointing out the facts which contradict cherished long held beliefs. You did an admirable job, rarely have I seen the alarmist viewpoint so succinctly and convincingly crushed by the very science the alarmists insist is on their side.
’tis most unfortunate that going bat-shit crazy in the face of facts is a response more common than admission of error, or even a pause to consider that the belief system may in fact be incorrect.

• “I’m always amazed at the emotional and aggressive response one receives for merely pointing out the facts which contradict cherished long held beliefs.”
Yes indeed. You make a great point. It is one aspect of human nature that most people can’t seem to overcome.

34. asybot says:

About his “boat”, “ship”, “vessel” or “carrier” that the admiral was talking about combined with sea level rise and the Hormuz Straight? Wouldn’t sea level rise give him more room to maneuver? (at least 2 inches anyways? It would mean he could carry at least another case of brew for the crew!).

• I was wondering about that, too. But I think he is making the jump that higher sea levels mean more frequent storms and bigger waves. Bigger waves mean deeper troughs. Couple that with a shallow water straight and the keel of his big ships get closer to the rocks.
But he is worried about a possible increase in severity of waves from very predictable weather systems? I’d think mines, torpedos, air to ship missiles, and suicide speed boats would be his greatest worry such that stronger storms would be his ally.

• The admiral is only trying to increase funding for the Navy, plain and simple. As an admiral, you are, for the most part, a political entity, and you’re driven to do what you believe will benefit the Navy.
And frankly, given the way we’ve decimated our military?…I can’t blame him for that.

35. richardscourtney says:

Friends:
In his introduction to the Meeting the Chairman of the Hearing reminded that Dr John Christy had previously informed the Committee of the disparity between CMIP5 model projections of global surface temperature anomaly (GSTA) and ‘measured’ values of GSTA. In his presentation to the Hearing Prof. Michaels concluded by showing the graph of that disparity which John Christy had provided.
As Prof. Michaels says, anyone who does not accept that disparity is denying science.
Long ago (i.e. in 2000) 15 scientists were invited from around the world to give a briefing at the US Congress in Washingtom, DC. The briefing consisted of three Sessions each Chaired by one of 5 of the invited scientists who each gave a presentation and questions were invited from the floor after the 5 presentations.
Fred Singer chaired the first Session on Climate Data,
I chaired the second Session on Climate Models, and
David Wojick chaired the third Session on possible Climate Policy options.
After the presentations of the second Session the first questioner stood and said in an aggressive manner,
“The first Session said we cannot believe the climate data and this session says we cannot believe the climate models. Where do we go from here?”
Gerd Rainer-Weber stood to answer but as Chair I gestured him to sit then I turned to the questioner and said,
“Either the Climate Data are right or they are not.
If the climate data are right then the climate models cannot emulate past climate.
If the climate data are not right then we have nothing with which to assess the Climate Models.
In either case we cannot use the Climate Models to indicate future climate. So, I agree your question, Sir, where do we go from here?
The questioner did not reply but studied his shoes.
Gerd then signaled that he was satisfied, so I took the next question.
Climate Change scaremongers don’t like science and have no answers to it except to – as Prof. Michaels says – go “bat sh1t crazy”.
Richard

“In either case we cannot use the Climate Models to indicate future climate.”
Ouch! Boy, I’ll bet that left a mark!

• richardscourtney says:

Whether or not it “left a mark” it was true then (i.e. 15 years ago) that “In either case we cannot use the Climate Models to indicate future climate.”
Importantly, very importantly, as Dr Christy said in his recent presentation to the US Congress and as Prof. Michaels reminded in his very recent presentation to the US Congress, it is still true now. But politicians still continue to pretend that Climate Models do indicate future climate.
It would be cheaper to employ astrologers than to employ climate modelers, and they both provide ‘projections’ of equal value: i.e. all their ‘projections’ are worthless.
Richard

36. 4TimesAYear says:

Why can’t anyone make them say “CO2” instead of carbon? It’s what they mean.
As per the “social cost” of CO2, it’s a total fabrication. It’s an invented term so they can tax us to death.

• Barbara says:

Carbon implies coal which is black and bad. Anything black like a black cat for example is bad or scary.

37. Non Nomen says:

Thanks to Dr. Michaels for rubbing it in – unmistakably. I’d love to see Mr. Congress-Mann’s reaction on video.

38. John in Oz says:

This process is crazy when Mr Lowenthal can:
– list supposed ‘climate-denial’ contributors to the organisations that Dr Michaels et al work for and infer that that is the reason for their positions on climate
– not list his own contributors
– ask these questions, get them on the record and then not allow answers due to time limits
– demand yes/no responses to complex questions
They need to look up the meaning of kangaroo court,

• rogerknights says:

Imply

• John in Oz says:

Thanks – my lesson for the day 🙂

39. William Astley says:

Clear concise and accurate.
There is no CAGW problem to solve even assuming very, very, conservatively that 100% of the recent warming is due to recent increase in atmospheric CO2. The key issue is the planet’s sensitivity to the a change in forcing.
The second testimonial issue was the fact that there are hundreds and hundreds of papers that support the assertion that plants require CO2 to live and thrive when atmospheric CO2 increases. The quantify benefit of increase atmospheric CO2 on commercial agriculture is roughly $3 trillion dollar for the CO2 increases from 1961. There is a net benefit for the CO2 increase not a net cost. Due to point 1 and 2 there is no justification to spend trillions of dollars on green scams that do not work, The above points are consistent with the most recent scientific papers. Those who do not accept the results of the most recent scientific papers are denying the scientific process. 40. Chris Hanley says: It is depressing to see the old canards like pollution and the incidence of asthma continue to have credence in a debate about CO2 emissions, even with alleged educated experts. In fact it is depressing to see the overall ignorance displayed by the questioners on both sides. • Go ask your neighbors if they believe the ban on DDT was a good thing, and restored the populations of ospreys and other birds. And THAT happened back in the 60s, has well documented proof of the fraud, but it is still a major tenant of the public’s belief system. 41. JPinBalt says: Great Pat, If global warming was occurring, would be beneficial solely by longer growing season and higher crop yields, if had opposite and 100 ppm less CO2, world would be less green, plants need CO2, and millions starving to death. IPCC economic estimates ignore this and says economic damage is due to things like recreational ski resorts closing due to lack of snow. Would have wished you mentioned official temperature record and continuous political adjustment scam by GISS and NOAA on land based measurements now massively deviating from more accurate RSS satellite data. 20 years of flat or marginally decreasing lower troposphere temperatures should attest that this forecasted CO2 induced catastrophe is a Mann made myth. Hanson, Gavin Schmidt, Gore, garbage, yes Arctic was supposed forecasted to be free of ice this year, global ice extent at 1979-date mean today. These hucksters peddling AGW, we have more than the$ billions in gov agency budgets, scientific research grants dependent on theory, look at gov subsidies of solar like Solyndra, et al, Tesla motors is almost entirely dependent on subsidies as opposed to profits, and what is their lobbying budget? AGW is just a money scam with lots of sell outs to true science.
– JP

42. Well it helps against the alarmism, but you still think a cooler atmosphere can add heat to a warmer ground and ocean surface because of the trace gasses in it. To assert this, is also as you so succinctly put it “to deny science”

• rgbatduke says:

PLEASE look at my comment just above, where I show that you are addressing a completely incorrect model for the Earth. It is not a matter of the cooler atmosphere adding heat to a warmer ground. It is a matter of the heated earth having to lose heat both directly from the warm ground and from the cooler atmosphere (very high up). If you reduce the radiation from the cooler atmosphere (which is exactly what you expect to happen if you increase GHG concentration, raising the emission height to where it is cooler) you must increase the radiation directly from the surface or the system is no longer in energy balance.
The “trace gases” you disparage, by the way, are utterly opaque to in-band photons for the first 6000 meters or so of atmosphere. Simple matter of fact, thought you might like to know. And increasing their concentration will raise this to e.g. 6100 meters (on average) etc. where it is cooler.
The argument that cold gases interpolated gases cannot warm a static unheated reservoir cooling to a cold reservoir is simply irrelevant to the climate, because the Earth is a dynamic heated reservoir and has to lose energy at the same rate it receives it in order to stay at the same temperature. Cold interpolated gases are perfectly capable of modulating the resistance of the outgoing radiative channels, and if they increase the resistance in some band — reducing the intensity in that band — the intensity in the remaining part of the spectrum must increase to maintain detailed balance. The surface warms, not by being “heated” by the cold gases but by retaining enough heat from the heat source (the sun) to overcome the extra resistance and maintain the same net outflow of energy.
Dr. Michaels does the world a service because, as an actual climate scientist, he actually understands this and does not argue with it and thereby display his general incompetence to even participate in an adult discussion of the issue while he points out that the climate sensitivity is strictly empirically too low (while being nowhere near zero) to warrant extraordinary and expensive measures at this time to prevent an imagined future catastrophe or pay off some imagined future “cost” to using carbon now to our extreme and direct benefit. You do the world a disservice every time you weaken his argument by displaying your ignorance of the science and making it appear to third parties who have no good way to judge the science themselves that only crackpots who don’t understand basic physics oppose the draconian measures proposed to regulate coal use and CO_2 production. And sadly, this goes for many, many others on this list that constantly refer to what amounts to a two reservoir conductive model and an utterly irrelevant thermodynamic argument instead of acknowledging that the Earth is heated and has to be in detailed energy balance through radiation in and out only in order to remain at a roughly constant “climate” equilibrium temperature.
rgb

• RoyFOMR says:

@rgb
+Thanks^4

• “PLEASE look at my comment just above, where I show that you are addressing a completely incorrect model for the Earth.”
You mean where you believe that you show that. You could also easily say that the CO2 warms the earth people use various models depending on the audience. We have all seen the CO2 warms the surface argument. We have also seen the CO2 slows the release of heat argument. And others. But in the end, the alarmists and the luke-warmers argue that CO2 warms the earth and only disagree on how much.

• rgbatduke says:

You mean where you believe that you show that.

True, I do assume that when I point out that the assertion that a “trace gas” helps a colder atmosphere add heat to the Earth is a complete misrepresentation of the Greenhouse effect because it completely ignores the fact that the only source for actual heat in the system is the sun that the reader and I share things like a common language and sufficient knowledge about the system in question to realize that it is true. So it is indeed a belief. Obviously I cannot help it if some of my readers, wishing to beat up on the straw man they’ve erected in their own minds, continue to whack away saying NO! It is JUST a cold trace gas heating a warm earth and that’s impossible! There is no Sun! Whack! Whack! You think CO2 is magic! Whack! Second Law! Whack! Gravity does it! Whack!
Of course, ask any of those readers to actually explain, algebraically, precisely where the supposed violation of the second law occurs (with algebra), or provide a model of their own for the climate that doesn’t seem to require sunlight and uses gravity to heat the surface and to somehow explain the bone-simple spectroscopic data obtained at the TOA looking down, and there is a deafening silence, a pause, and then it is back to AHA! We Win! You think it is JUST a cold trace gas heating a warm earth and that’s impossible! There is no Sun! Whack! Whack!…
Sort of like just now.

But in the end, the alarmists and the luke-warmers argue (sp agree) that CO2 warms the earth and only disagree on how much.

Yeah, it’s really funny how that works, isn’t it, all the people who actually have science degrees and work in fields like physics or climatology all agree that when you actually measure the top of atmosphere spectrum, looking down, and find a black body curve with big bites taken out of it that corresponds to the surface temperature in wavelengths where the atmosphere is transparent and drops to a black body curve corresponding to top of troposphere temperatures in the bites, and notices that the bites directly correspond to absorption bands in particular molecular components of the atmosphere, it kind of ends any possible argument about the Greenhouse effect being real, and leaves one only with the nearly hopeless task of determining whether or if feedbacks within the system amplify or partially cancel any modulation of the effect brought about by mucking around with greenhouse gas concentrations. That is, with plenty of room for disagreement on “how much”. Very perceptive of you to notice.
It’s only the people who don’t understand the science at all who argue otherwise. After all, you have to start by ignoring the spectroscopic data that constitutes a direct measure of the outgoing radiation flux (and the bottom of atmosphere looking up data that constitutes a direct measure of the incoming radiation flux), then you have to continue by asserting absurdities about what photons can, or can’t cause “warming” by misrepresenting the SB law, misstating the second law (but never actually using it algebraically in a computation of energy flow), and finally you have to come up with an alternative explanation for ground warming that usually involves gravity doing work, in perpetuity, without ever quite writing out a complete description of how gravity can keep doing work all by itself or how any other energy in the system gets into the system and gets out again. Usually by referring disparagingly to “trace gases” in spite of the fact that the mean free path for radiation in the absorption bands of those trace gases is simple to compute, measure, and understand, and that like it or not the atmosphere is completely opaque in those absorption bands for the first five or six thousand meters of atmosphere from the sea level surface up.
rgb

• RoyFOMR says:

@rgb
Apologies in advance for any subsequent misunderstandings on my part of what you’ve explained in this, and other, threads. I lay claim to all of these misrepresentations as being mine alone and totally divorced from anything you have carefully and (mostly patiently:) repeatedly, explained.
My current interpretation of what you’ve said is that Pin and Pout has three interacting environments; planet, space and sun; and that makes sense to me (even if I’ve missed or misunderstood some of your qualifiers)
Ignoring the spectral distributions of Solar Pin, that may or may not have significant effects, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to state that this is relatively constant and given that the incident ingress area is both well known and only marginally variable (I’m assuming) then the input Solar radiant Energy is consistently estimable. So, excluding internal (to earth) energy inputs and extra-solar influences we know what’s coming in fairly well.
My question, and bear with me here for a moment, is about how much energy we spit back out. I think I grasped the thrust of your argument about the irrelevance of what happens before we actually lose energy to the cosmos. That made lots of sense by essentially discarding cartloads of pointless agonising about how, and how much, our planet shunted all that energy stuff about before removing it from the balance sheet!
Gosh, I wish I had your way with words, let me get to my question that, if it makes any sense, does necessitate a glimpse of the mental image I have about how Earths radiative energy slips into the red.
I visualise that a planet has gazillions of sources of variable temperature-energetic bullets (photons?) that fire in all directions – crudely speaking- out and in. The ones near the top of atmosphere (TOA) being at a relatively low emissive temperature (to the rest) may be slow but have an easier egress path than their more energetic cousins nearer to the surface which are more likely to suffer collisions and being swallowed up in low level disordered states that struggle to get away. But, guessing again, some will make a clean break. (I have to admit that I have probably conflated my thoughts when I discovered that, despite the 3×10^8 m/s of in vacuum light, photons from the interior of the sun could take thousand of years to get to the surface.
Should we take the TOA as a narrow barrier or as a broadband of variable spectral emissivity that may imply that the implicit T may be greater and more spread out than that implicit with a narrower emissive shell and, guessing again, that internal atmospheric disturbances at higher temperatures may move to increasing Pout and reducing climate sensitivity estimates without compromising the background physics one iota?
Can we accurately calculate a value of TOA Pout that is independent of lower altitude processes that occur at various values of effective temperature and probability of egress and, if so, what level of error bands are likely?

• rgbatduke says:

Can we accurately calculate a value of TOA Pout that is independent of lower altitude processes that occur at various values of effective temperature and probability of egress and, if so, what level of error bands are likely?

In detail, no, on average, yes. Or at least, maybe. Let’s express it in a way that keeps it simple to illustrate both the problem and the approximate solution. I reduced the GHE to two channels. One is thermal radiation from the surface that goes straight to space as if the atmosphere is totally transparent, because in some bands it pretty much is, at least some of the time. The other is thermal radiation given off from a range of heights called the “effective radiating level” (ERL), a term I don’t like because it implies that it is a constant and its not. It varies by wavelength, the density of the species with active lines at (within a small range of) any given wavelength, and temperature. It varies a lot day to day for things like water vapor, a little day to day for CO_2 or methane. It is better to think of there being a band of heights from which the atmosphere bleeds out radiation in different wavelengths. The key thing to remember, though, is that these heights are all near the tropopause and are one of the things that helps to establish the tropopause and the adiabatic lapse rate (the rate the atmosphere’s temperature reduces in the convective zone with height). It is cold up there.
The actual loss mechanism involves the atmosphere itself — mostly N2 and O2 — bouncing water molecules and CO2 molecules and so on around, eventually exciting one of their upper levels so that the GHG molecule gives off a photon. This photon either goes down (where it is eventually reabsorbed by something, most likely the same species of GHG molecules but near the surface of the Earth the Earth as well) or up. If the density of absorbing molecules above it is low enough, it has a chance of going through them without being absorbed again to outer space, and once there it is gone, carrying energy away from the Earth irreversibly (the “temperature” of space is so low any back radiation is negligible). CO_2 and water vapor have LOTS of levels that couple to the IR wavelengths that correspond to the temperature range (and hence available internal energy) of the atmospheric molecules in question. N2 and O2 do not, and hence make only very small contributions to the outgoing radiation from anything close to Earth or upper atmospheric temperatures (they are basically “transparent” to these wavelengths and don’t absorb or emit to them).
There is a lot of energy in the N2 and O2 reservoirs, and it takes time for CO_2 or water vapor to lose it, so it isn’t like energy reaches a single height and then bleeds out to space instantly. Even though one species and line might begin reaching space at (say) 5 km, there is still plenty of energy to be lost when another species or the same species with a different line/wavelength reaches its ERL at 5.2 km. So “cooling” of the atmosphere occurs over a band of heights near the top, where the atmosphere itself is cold compared to the surface and where the LWIR radiation is emitted at a much lower intensity.
As I pointed out above, the sum of the power emitted by the whole surface of the Earth directly from the surface (no interaction with the atmosphere) plus the energy emitted from the atmosphere (from a range of heights that reaches weakly down to the surface as the absorption lines themselves narrow a bit with height, but MOSTLY from near the tropopause) has to balance to power absorbed by the whole surface of the Earth directly from the sun (this includes both the surface and the atmosphere, which does absorb some of the sun’s energy as well). So far, so good.
This is a VERY SIMPLE MODEL. It helps one understand that if one throttles atmospheric emission, surface emission has to rise to compensate. But is it all that is going on? Really?
Not at all. SOME incoming sunlight is absorbed by the Earth — either surface or atmosphere or even delivered to some depth in the ocean. SOME incoming sunlight is directly reflected before it even has a chance to warm anything! The atmosphere itself reflects some (without heating). White cloud tops reflect a lot! Ice and snow reflect a lot as well. Water and and soil and trees and mountains all reflect different amounts, at different times of the day and year. When you see pictures taken of the Earth from space, the light that made the picture is part of this lost energy.
The “albedo” of the Earth “reflects” the fraction of light energy that is reflected without being absorbed. It is usually treated as being (on average) a constant, but we have little reason to think that it is (on average) a constant. It is also not a symmetric constant — the NH and SH have different average albedos, which has some surprising effects on apparent global average temperature over each year.
Another problem is that the Earth’s orbit is not circular — it is strongly elliptical. You can’t “see” it from the surface, but the sunlight reaching the top of the atmosphere varies by around 91 watts/m^2 — almost 7% of the total — every six months from max to min and back to max. It is maximum when global average temperature is a minimum — in case you like annoying paradoxes — presumably because of the big difference in the amount of land vs sea area in the NH vs the SH, and the very different albedo (and a lot of other things) of both.
Even locally albedo is not only not a constant — as has been asserted on this list, it may well be part of a profound negative feedback cycle over a large fraction of the Earth, where as the day warms, clouds form and start to limit that warming by reflecting away a lot of sunlight before it is absorbed. So water vapor is a greenhouse gas, but it can easily have a net cooling effect because of its variation of albedo as it forms clouds.
But that’s still too simple — the Earth turns on its axis, so we only get sunlight at all part of each day, and the amount we get varies continually. And at night clouds warm, they do not usually cool, because then the only thing reflected by the high albedo is LWIR being given off by the Earth as it tries to cool to space. Anybody who has lived on the Earth for a reasonable amount of time knows that clear, dry nights are likely to be colder than cloudy nights, all things being equal, and humid nights often don’t seem to cool at all.
Not done yet. The Earth is tilted — by quite a bit — so we have seasons, the time of day and angle of sunlight hitting the Earth varies all year long, with two major sections where it is light all day or dark all day for months of the year. Being dark 24×7 really does tend to favor cooling, as the only real source of heat is energy transport from where the sun falls and it is at least somewhat warmer. And did I mention that the world is round? Well not exactly round — oblate spheroid, distorted from being round by its rotation, but distorted enough that mount Everest is not the highest point on Earth as measured from its center of mass. It isn’t even close.
A lot of complexity, right? So people say “Hey, screw all of this complexity. We’ll estimate the average TOA insolation and pretend that it is really a constant and ignore the annoying NH/SH problem as if it isn’t there. Then we’ll somehow compute an average value for “the albedo” and throw away that much TOA sunlight. Then we’ll average the incoming radiation over the sphere of the Earth, mostly ignoring the fringe effects at “sunrise/sunset” where the sunlight isn’t really hitting the Earth per se any more but only the atmosphere and any day/night accidents of resonance with the underlying albedo and any day/night variation of “average cloudiness” or “average snowpack” and so on. Finally (depending on what we are trying to argue) we’ll either consider the remaining energy to be delivered all the way to the surface or for part of it to be absorbed on the way down by the atmosphere.”
At the end of the day they come up with a number that is supposed to represent the average input power of the whole planet or more likely, they divide this out by area to get the average “intensity” of incoming energy per square meter. As you can see, this number is entirely meaningless, and yet it is also in a sense meaningful as one at least hopes that it is, in fact, the total average power divided into the total radiating surface area.
OR, they write a General Circulation Model, and do not do all of this. They use the actual shape of the Earth, the actual orbit around the sun, the actual tilt — all of the things they can actually/exactly compute — and do not ignore the fact that treating albedo as an “average” might be horribly wrong, but instead try to express it as some sort of distribution of space and time, perhaps even one that is a function of the nearby surface state. Then they try to actually account for all of the internal energy transport.
I don’t know which one is worse. The first one you can draw on a piece of paper to try to convince people that you understand what is going on, is “computable” given simple enough assumptions, but the answer that results is almost certainly wrong and is easily manipulated by people who want to “prove” this or that because making even small changes in the numbers you assign freely to the whole planet can produce major changes in what you say is going to happen. The second one is implemented at a level that by design is computable, and the answers look like they should be meaningful, but we actually know enough about the dynamics being solved to know better than to think that they are. And when we compare them to nature, they give terrible answers.
That’s why I try not to do this. Sure, clouds on one part of the Earth can block a lot of LWIR in what is supposed to be a “transparent” atmosphere, dropping the radiation intensity for that patch. At a different time of the same day those same clouds might block incoming sunlight and actually prevent the absorption of more radiation than they trapped a few hours earlier. Yes, it is very difficult to determine if “average cloudiness” is varying in time, or worse if details of cloudiness are changing so there are more daytime (cooling) clouds and fewer nighttime (warming) clouds at constant average cloudiness. Models don’t prove anything at this scale that you don’t build into them. We have almost no real data and what data we have we have only over an utterly insignificant window in time (we have only had “flight” for around a century, and only had satellites for maybe half of that and had good satellites with good instrumentation for maybe half of that). And to top it all off, climate phenomena are part of what Prigogene referred to as self-organizing phenomena things that self-organize to maximize dissipation. Maybe his ideas will turn out to be wrong, but tif not, even if we do warm the Earth, we are most likely to force the Earth to discover new modes of cooling that are a bit more efficient and reduce the all-things-equal rates we might otherwise predict. Things like El Nino/La Nina are large scale self organized phenomena that do just that. So is the Gulf Stream. A small change in either one could have huge effects on global average temperature and the distribution of heat on its way out of the system.
In the end, IMO all we can say is what I said above. All things being equal, increasing CO_2 is almost certainly going to raise the ERL of its emission lines. This in turn will slightly reduce the temperature that fuels the emissions from those lines, which will slightly reduce the radiation intensity from the upper atmosphere. This, in turn, will probably raise surface temperatures to compensate.
But, it could end up just making it a bit cloudier during the day in the tropics. Or, it could make it more humid, and hotter still, everywhere. Or, it could leave the tropics pretty much alone and warm primarily the polar zones, which in turn could precipitate land ice melt, huge positive feedback, and Hansen’s “five meter by 2100” of sea level rise. Or it could cause the Atlantic to divert the Gulf Stream just a bit south, cool the arctic and start a negative feedback loop of albedo driven cooling, while confining the additional heat to the tropics where it is maximally efficiently lost and where the cloud response minimizes the absorbed heat at the same time. Or it could do something nobody can anticipate because the Earth’s climate is a chaotic highly nonlinear systems and we don’t come close to understanding it, or having enough data to start to properly understand it.
But the data, such as we have, suggests that CO_2 is in fact gently warming the Earth as my simplest model describes, with little “uncommitted warming”. And we have the promise of finally getting enough, good enough, data to resolve many questions. CERES in particular:
http://ceres.larc.nasa.gov/
more than any other project at hand is likely to put solid numbers in our hands in many places where right now we don’t even have particularly “educated” guesses. In particular, we ought to be able to see a clear correspondence between directly measured average radiative imbalance at the TOA and average surface temperature. We also ought to be able to see a clear correspondence between CO_2 concentration and the specific intensity of radiation in all the wavelengths coupled to it, over a long enough time to begin to average out confounding effects. It shouldn’t be too difficult to compare CERES output to the predicted modulation of TOA outgoing radiation as ERL increases and pushes up the lapse rate to colder temperatures. It should also be easy to look to see where, how, and if this is dynamically compensated or augmented — so called “feedback”.
So why theorize or argue in the meantime? In a decade, or two, we will know. One measurement trumps any amount of jawing. And with the Sun about to (maybe) enter a near-Maunder minimum for the next cycle, or maybe even two, we might learn a bit from that as well. With ARGO out there, we might eventually learn something about the ocean. If we simply had somebody appointed to head NASA who was an actual scientist, somebody whose integrity and objectivity is not easily questioned — personally I’d vote for Trenberth if I had the choice because I think he is a basically honest man and would follow the data, not the politics the way the House that Hansen built did for the last few decades — and who might, just might, clean house and force a serious reappraisal of their temperature products as CERES data comes in.
Because CERES, more even than the tropospheric temperature series, is going to be a serious, serious limit on what can be claimed for warming. During “the pause”, the TOA radiation imbalance should have been increasing if the GHG theory was accurate and there were no confounding natural processes. CERES data ought to instantly reveal if aerosols matter, what is happening to the brightness of the tropics vs the poles, and so on. It will take decades, but in decades we should have little doubt about what is going on. The trick is going to be to avoid spending all of the world’s surplus income on the worst case scenario when the best fit to the past data does not justify it, when the failing GCMs do not justify it, while waiting for new data sources to produce enough real data to be able to answer the unanswered questions to the satisfaction of all reasonable, honest, people (the ones that, for example, acknowledge that there are unanswered questions that matter).
rgb

• There is some water in a lake that flows out over a water fall. In the water fall are some impellers that cause a generator to spin. In the generator there are magnets which create a magnetic field. As the generator spins, the magnetic field induces an electric charge in coils of wire. This produces electricity which flows for miles and miles through wires to the wall sockets in your house. You plug a tea kettle into one of those wall sockets, and in a few minutes, the water boils.
Neither the water in the lake, nor in the water fall is as hot as the water in the tea kettle. Nor the impellers, nor the magnets, nor the coils of wire, nor the power lines to your house, or the wall socket, or the power cord from the tea kettle. [Though] energy is transformed multiple times from the lake water to the tea kettle, not a single one of them is hot enough to boil water. They are ALL cooler than the boiling water.
Yet it boils.

• Another Scott says:

“some water in a lake that flows out over a water fall.” Is the the potential energy in “some water” cooler than the boiling water?

• Is the the potential energy in “some water” cooler than the boiling water?
Potential energy doesn’t HAVE a temperature. That’s the point. It is potential energy. Only the water had a temperature, so it has energy stored as a combination of heat and potential energy. When it goes over the waterfall, potential energy is transformed to kinetic energy, which ALSO doesn’t have a temperature. Then the kinetic energy is converted to electrical energy by the generator, and that ALSO has no temperature.
All these energy types are contained in the mediums in which they are temporarily stored, none of them are warmer than the boiling water, all of them nonetheless can be used to boil that water.

• Neither the water in the lake, nor in the water fall is as hot as the water in the tea kettle. Nor the impellers, nor the magnets, nor the coils of wire, nor the power lines to your house, or the wall socket, or the power cord from the tea kettle. Thought energy is transformed multiple times from the lake water to the tea kettle, not a single one of them is hot enough to boil water. They are ALL cooler than the boiling water.
Yet it boils

Here in central Florida the energy makes my house 30F cooler than it is outside.
Your little story is fine, but you forgot that there is no radiation by CO2 involved in the fable at all. And you never mentioned gravity that is the force that makes it all work. By the way, my grandfather took me to all the TVA dams when I was a lad and I even got to operate the lock system at one of them. Gravity is something my friend.

• “Yeah, it’s really funny how that works, isn’t it, all the people who actually have science degrees and work in fields like physics or climatology all agree …”
Oh really? All agree? But I know of several who dispute what you have wrote. As a matter of fact, I bet you know who I am talking about. I watched a bit of that debate where you and other luke-warmers got clobbered. But I can’t link to those pages from here. Caelum draco interfector references are not allowed here for some reason. But I did mention the blog Okulær who is not in any way associated with the you-know-who people. Did you read it? It is a take down of most everything you wrote. Are you interested in real debate? If so, those two blog posts would be a good start.
In all fairness, it is possible that Okulaer, or the draco interfectors or the fellow at the Hockey Schtick or Stephen Wilde or all the others may not be totally correct but they are, in my judgement, far closer than you are to the truth. In overly simplistic terms: it is the sun and the mass of the atmosphere plus gravity.
Everyone with a science degree agrees with you? Consider: “New paper finds greenhouse gases causing radiative cooling, not warming, at current Earth surface temperatures ” http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2015/07/new-paper-finds-greenhouse-gases.html
A paper in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society no less.
Are all these people “d#niers” in your book? All of them deny science? All of them?
You see, you offer a very sophisticated version of the CO2 warms the planet delusion which Joseph P. dealt with specifically and in my judgement blew totally out of the water. E-mail me for links to that one if you want mark.stoval AT gmail
But the point of my writing anything to you was the statement where you said that those who disagreed with your view on CO2 was denying science. That is wrong on so G.D. many levels.
I only ask that you honor those that don’t buy the CO2 delusion hypothesis and stop with the arrogant calling us d#niers. Is that too much for you? Don’t you think that we have enough trouble with our common enemy (yes, enemy — consider the politics) the alarmists? Don’t you think we have both wasted time here today simply because you called me a d#nier?
All I ask is that you stop with the appeals to authority and other condensing statements — but mostly just stop trying to win the debate by calling us “d#niers”.

• rgbatduke says:

All I ask is that you stop with the appeals to authority and other condensing statements — but mostly just stop trying to win the debate by calling us “d#niers”.

I’m not trying to win the debate by calling you anything, but I am waiting for you, personally, to engage in some sort of substantive argument that is not appealing — well, I can’t exactly call it “to authority” in the case of dragonslayers, but to third parties whose understanding of physics — in my personal opinion, based on an absolute eternity of nonsense about the second law of thermodynamics and the impossibility of cold heating hot — is almost the inverse of authoritative.
I read, and commented, on both of the articles you linked above. Good, interesting articles. Definitely not dragonslayer material but they deftly dodge any sort of actual demonstration that IR “activity” is a binary switch rather than a slider bar with a differential effect in an atmosphere with constrained mass that is mostly not IR active. Otherwise they describe the same process I describe, without in any way proving that this process will have no differential response to an increase in concentration of a greenhouse gas component. It doesn’t even provide a way of estimating the response and showing that it must be less than thus and such, and hence is negligible, or deriving a functional for for the response (even if that functional form is supposed to be a straight line).
I will repeat in non-denier language what I stated above. I have yet to read a single convincing computation of the dynamical energy balance of the planet that a) is in quantitative agreement with observational evidence in the form of top of the atmosphere spectrographs; b) is in theoretical agreement with ordinary quantum mechanics and electrodynamics; c) is in any sort of agreement at all with the laws of thermodynamics, that predicts the equilibrium surface temperature of the earth. I would include most of the toy models you seem to object to as well as the incomplete model laid out in the two articles you linked. I absolutely do not think that the GCMs work and that the problems is currently computable. You haven’t provided one, and please, you can cheer all you want for Joe, but he hasn’t provided one either in his online sniping and — but let’s not get started down that path… I had actually managed to forget that he existed and then you had to go remind me.
I do, however, find the comparatively simple e.g. single layer models convincing, largely because they do not depend on various details that are otherwise areas of contention. They are ultimately capacitative resistance models, and one can look only at the “currents” on the wires going in and the wires coming out and tell a great deal about what is going on inside using only simple physics. Petty’s single layer model (which is the grown-up version of Willis’ steel atmosphere model with adjustable and hence much more realistic multiband absorption coefficients) is a solvable quantitative model. These models do not, actually, critically depend on how heat is transferred into the atmosphere at the bottom. They do, critically depend on how it is lost to space at the top.
And that’s where one should concentrate one’s energy. If one doubles atmospheric CO_2 concentration, does it have no effect on the top? There is no doubt that the density of the atmosphere where CO_2-coupled radiation can escape must decrease, because it is the density of the partial pressure of CO_2 that has to remain the same (the distance between molecules has to reach, approximately, a sufficiently large number). In order for the temperature at the surface not to change, the temperature of this emission layer must not change, even though its density must be smaller than before the change. In order for that to occur, the lapse rate much change by just the right amount, and since we haven’t altered the total mass of the atmosphere a whit, that seems extraordinarily unlikely.
Beyond that, who cares how the energy gets into the atmosphere at the bottom? Radiation, conduction, convection, latent heat. They all can participate — none of them actually remove energy from the system, and while the capacity of the atmosphere probably does change (with water vapor) making the real system even more complex, again it isn’t the bottom that matters.
As I pointed out earlier, I can be wrong, I can make mistakes. If you, or Joe, or anyone else can come up with a quantitative model that is convincing, I’m happy to be convinced. But arguing that cold cannot heat hot in an open heated system is not a quantitative model, and if by that it is intended to suggest that altering the density of cold material between a heated object and a cold reservoir will not alter the temperature of the heated object, it is not true.
One last comment. I provided a simple functional fit of the standard no feedback model to the temperature, and got excellent agreement. Do you, or any of your draconic friends, or any of the papers you find online, have a model simple or otherwise that can provide an equally impressive quantitative agreement with the data (such as it is)? Or are you limited to saying “it’s all natural variation” (another way of saying we cannot compute it or understand it, which I’m actually very sympathetic to but which does not alter the fact that the simple model works, which is hardly evidence that it is wrong. You systematically dodge this question in each of your replies, where you appear to have your feelings hurt by the d*** label you seem to think that I threw out there for you personally. Here, I will apologize. I’m sorry I called you, or anyone a denier just because you don’t think that there is any greenhouse effect at all. But I’m not sorry about insisting that one has to do a lot better than to just assert this, repeatedly, loudly, usually accompanied by physics nonsense and straw men galore, when faced with a working model that explains the data and is based on sound physics.
If you don’t want the d-label, fine. Don’t just say no its not, show me the equations. Show me some proof. And don’t assert that the “proof” is that the process violates the second law, because obviously that didn’t bother the author of the two articles you linked — it does no such thing. Nor does the single layer radiative model — there one can prove that no laws of nature or thermodynamics are violated in the way you and dragonslayers often assert by actually computing the entropy changes of all of the steps in a direct statement of the first law, something I did repeatedly for Joe but that he somehow was unable to grasp.
I’m not asserting that this is a good model for the climate — quite the contrary — but it is quite enough to put to rest hyperbolic assertions of egregiously incorrect physics. Once those are put away, one can in principle get serious and have to actually produce a working quantitative model of your own that doesn’t violate natural laws and that at least qualitatively behaves as expected when one does things like vary greenhouse gas concentrations in the model, in detail (the detail lacking in the linked articles). So go ahead — try to convince me. I’ll listen. I just told a person that I’m almost certain is a complete nut that I’d read his copyrighted/patented “book” where he connects G to the expansion rate of the Universe, using little g is a key parameter along the way. He’s sending it to me. No mind could be more open than that. But don’t expect to convince me with misused physics terms and argumentation. The alternative model has to make sense and at the very least be quantitatively estimable or I chuck it.
rgb

• The paper doesn’t say what you seem to think it does. It posits a net negative feedback at certain temperature ranges. Note that it is the feedbacks that they are talking about, not the direct effects of CO2. Two rather different things.

• “I’m not trying to win the debate by calling you anything, but I am waiting for you, personally, to engage in some sort of substantive argument that is not appealing …”
Then you are seemingly incapable of reading with comprehension. I have told you that I don’t care to try to change your mind. I am not going to debate you here on your home turf where I will get moderated, snipped or banned. I have read of way too many others who experienced that when they engaged in full debate here. So, as I said, I set out to demonstrate that there are other theories than your “CO2 what done it” line. And that was done when you claimed that there was little to disagree with in Kristian’s latest posts on a theory that it is mainly mass and not radiation by CO2. Many other theories have theories along similar lines that have been discussed at Tallbloke’s Talkshop has caused problems with Mr. Watts in the past. You know the story better than I do.
I also told you in as simple a language as I can that my point was simply that there are other hypothesis out there that do not rely on the absorption and radiation of CO2 to warm the planet. In fact several different groups think it has a net cooling effect. Did you read the paper referenced on that subject?
I did mention that you could ask questions at another site. I read there and post there. But I doubt you will leave your comfort zone. In fact, I have not seen you at any of the other sites that allow occasional open debates on gravity/mass vs. radiation as the main driver of climate. And that is odd given that you claim that only those with science degrees in physics or climatology know enough to be worth debating. (on the other hand, as I am very busy and I may have totally missed you at another site)
You might think that Joseph P. and that whole crowd only talk about the second law, but you would be wrong yet again. You might think you are right on the second law but if you were honest in saying that you know you have been wrong in the past and might be again, then you might actually read some of the detailed posts and papers which are not the cartoonist deal that you claim. On the other hand, the two posts that you said you read at “Okulær” are similar to the one that set of a large tiff between Joseph P. and himself. By the way, I have mentioned folks other than the not-to-be-mentioned group. Several others but you seem to be fixated on them. Perhaps due to the exchange that some judge you lost decidedly. (and others think the opposite — but that is science is it not?)
I understand that one of the moderators here also believes that the CO2 effect is so small (if it exists) that we will never be able to measure it in the real world. At least that is what he told me on one thread. That is what I see in the data myself. That is what a host of others see in the data. Yet you just said on a recent thread (maybe this one) that a doubling of CO2 had to be at least 1C. Like all the folks who claim that CO2 warms the planet, there is no real world data/experiment showing that or you are hiding it someplace. Care to share?
You are clever. You claim in a roundabout way that a theory that is different from your own might be true but that I would have to prove that to you to not be a “science d#nier.” So, as Reagan said, there you go again.
As I said before, time will tell which theory of why the planet is at the temperature it is wins out in the long run. I think, based on everything I have read over 40 years, that the CO2 hypothesis will not win after government funding stops propping it up. Regardless, others are offering theories that are science based. You and your friends here deny them by name-calling and so forth. Most anti-science don’t you think. (and I have seen other groups call you some pretty bad names — both sides should stop that)
By the way, the Scottish Skeptic wrote a piece on the group-not-to-be-named and claimed they were right on the physics but were horrible at PR. I can agree that Joseph P. can be an arrogant little #$%# as can some here. (present company excluded?) There have been various groups offer models of how the planet’s climate works that have no need of CO2 doing any warming. That was the point. The G.D. debate is not over. It will continue. Bottom line: CO2 may have a warming effect, may have no effect, or may have a cooling effect in the lower atmosphere. There are scientific arguments for all 3 possibilities. The only anti-science is by those who think that the debate is over. (note: most everyone agrees that radiant gases have a cooling effect in the upper atmosphere — heat gotta leave here somehow) • “I’m not trying to win the debate by calling you anything, but I am waiting for you, personally, to engage in some sort of substantive argument that is not appealing …” Then you are seemingly incapable of reading with comprehension. I have told you that I don’t care to try to change your mind. I am not going to debate you here on your home turf where I will get moderated, snipped or banned. I have read of way too many others who experienced that when they engaged in full debate here. So, as I said, I set out to demonstrate that there are other theories than your “CO2 what done it” line. And that was done when you claimed that there was little to disagree with in Kristian’s latest posts on a theory that it is mainly mass and not radiation by CO2. Many other theories have theories along similar lines that have been discussed at Tallbloke’s Talkshop has caused problems with Mr. Watts in the past. You know the story better than I do. I also told you in as simple a language as I can that my point was simply that there are other hypothesis out there that do not rely on the absorption and radiation of CO2 to warm the planet. In fact several different groups think it has a net cooling effect. Did you read the paper referenced on that subject? I did mention that you could ask questions at another site. I read there and post there. But I doubt you will leave your comfort zone. In fact, I have not seen you at any of the other sites that allow occasional open debates on gravity/mass vs. radiation as the main driver of climate. And that is odd given that you claim that only those with science degrees in physics or climatology know enough to be worth debating. (on the other hand, as I am very busy and I may have totally missed you at another site) You might think that Joseph P. and that whole crowd only talk about the second law, but you would be wrong yet again. You might think you are right on the second law but if you were honest in saying that you know you have been wrong in the past and might be again, then you might actually read some of the detailed posts and papers which are not the cartoonist deal that you claim. On the other hand, the two posts that you said you read at “Okulær” are similar to the one that set of a large tiff between Joseph P. and himself. By the way, I have mentioned folks other than the not-to-be-mentioned group. Several others but you seem to be fixated on them. Perhaps due to the exchange that some judge you lost decidedly. (and others think the opposite — but that is science is it not?) I understand that one of the moderators here also believes that the CO2 effect is so small (if it exists) that we will never be able to measure it in the real world. At least that is what he told me on one thread. That is what I see in the data myself. That is what a host of others see in the data. Yet you just said on a recent thread (maybe this one) that a doubling of CO2 had to be at least 1C. Like all the folks who claim that CO2 warms the planet, there is no real world data/experiment showing that or you are hiding it someplace. Care to share? You are clever. You claim in a roundabout way that a theory that is different from your own might be true but that I would have to prove that to you to not be a “science d#nier.” So, as Reagan said, there you go again. As I said before, time will tell which theory of why the planet is at the temperature it is wins out in the long run. I think, based on everything I have read over 40 years, that the CO2 hypothesis will not win after government funding stops propping it up. Regardless, others are offering theories that are science based. You and your friends here deny them by name-calling and so forth. Most anti-science don’t you think. (and I have seen other groups call you some pretty bad names — both sides should stop that) By the way, the Scottish Skeptic wrote a piece on the group-not-to-be-named and claimed they were right on the physics but were horrible at PR. I can agree that Joseph P. can be an arrogant little #$%# as can some here. (present company excluded?) There have been various groups offer models of how the planet’s climate works that have no need of CO2 doing any warming. That was the point. The G.D. debate is not over. It will continue.
Bottom line: CO2 may have a warming effect, may have no effect, or may have a cooling effect in the lower atmosphere. There are scientific arguments for all 3 possibilities. The only anti-science is by those who think that the debate is over. (note: most everyone agrees that radiant gases have a cooling effect in the upper atmosphere — heat gotta leave here somehow)
Note: 2 attempt to post this one. Odd.

• EdA the New Yorker says:

Markstoval@4:11
“Don’t you think we have both wasted time here today…?”
No, Mark, I don’t. Professor Brown deals with the second part of your question, so, with RGB and your leave, I’d like to address this part.
The exchange here discusses the fundamental scientific basis for whether ANY political action is warranted to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That was the raison d’être for Dr. Michael’s testimony. I suspect that many viewers of this site have a much better understanding of the arguments surrounding net radiative heating for temperature variation and the myriad feedbacks (convection, etc.) that can diminish the effect. The main upshot is that the “C” in CAGW is toast, from both perspectives. Evidently, the two of you have discussed this issue at length on other sites, but it’s beneficial to have it presented on the Big One.
The paper you reference on net negative sensitivity narrowly addresses a more general concern that I have had since the Willis E post that presented a graph of surface temperature v. Net radiative flux TOA, particularly for land. Ocean currents and atmospheric circulation pump a huge amount of energy from equatorial regions toward the poles. Yet, there was a fairly uniform relationship evident in the plot. RGB points out that over the 4π steradians TOA, a net radiative flux MUST lead to a surface/atmosphere temperature change. So, in my mind, two questions emerge. Is the satellite coverage sufficient spatially and temporally to resolve the energy circulation? Can storms transport enough warm air to a sufficiently high altitude for the water to emit radiation to space without it being detected?
All of the spectra that I’ve seen for the radiation balance have residual water bands, despite efforts on the part of the authors to suppress the aspects to dry conditions. The overwhelming majority of the GHG effect is through these bands, and can’t be neglected in a comprehensive model.
Obviously, I don’t mean to snub the redoubtable RGB here, but he seems to want quantitative descriptions, which I am unprepared to provide. Comments from either or both of you would be appreciated.
As for this being RGB’s “home turf,” get real. Many of us look forward to your comments as well! 🙂
Hopefully one or both of you is still checking this thread. I’m doing a summer session, and the students are keeping me out of trouble.

• “As for this being RGB’s “home turf,” get real. Many of us look forward to your comments as well! 🙂
Well thanks for the kind words, but I rather doubt more than one of two look forward to anything I have to say here. During the school year I don’t have time for more than a drive by comment or two and I have almost run out of summer again.
I am no expert at all as what I have been doing for the last couple of decades is far afield from the topic at hand, but I have tried to keep up with some of the main schools of thought on the issue. I was reading a paper today (don’t get near enough time for that sort of thing anymore) that pointed out in part of it that the amount of energy that the earth gets from the sun must match the amount of energy the earth sheds off to space. The paper mentioned (I wonder if this is true) that any energy from the moon (reflection of course) or from the earth’s interior was too small to matter. So energy in better match energy out or we have a warming or a cooling.
I have been thinking for some time that we should be able to use our satellites to measure energy incoming from the sun very exactly and then use satellites to measure very exactly the energy back out. I speculate without any data do back it up that we could measure with enough precision and accuracy to be able to crack the riddle of the question of is the planet warming or cooling. Certainly using land based thermometers is not doing the job.
As to your question, I can not help other than to point out that many experts claim that the weather system — heck, storms — as well as ongoing convection and advection (and other factors) take the energy high into the upper atmosphere where it is easily radiated out to that infinite heat sink called space. The hotter the surface gets the faster the energy goes up.The more energy that comes in, the more that goes right back out — and no energy is “trapped”.
We should be able to measure the energy flow and see what is happening. I read one paper or blog post (forget now) that claimed that NASA’s own information showed that energy in was matching energy out exactly. I can’t recall where I read that so take that with a grain of salt. I wonder if we really already have that kind of exactness with our equipment.
Sorry I can’t be of more help. (or any help at all for that matter) I don’t have time to look at my bookmarks and notes for more. If you ever want to reach me for anything just e-mail mark.stoval AT gmail but I doubt I can offer more than a small chat.
I am thinking of writing up my thoughts on the climate issue and posting them at my political blog on some page. Then I could just link to what I want and not worry about moderation, snipping, banning and so forth. Ah, but getting the time is often the problem. Perhaps someday before I rejoin the Tao.
~ Mark

• rgbatduke says:

I have been thinking for some time that we should be able to use our satellites to measure energy incoming from the sun very exactly and then use satellites to measure very exactly the energy back out. I speculate without any data do back it up that we could measure with enough precision and accuracy to be able to crack the riddle of the question of is the planet warming or cooling. Certainly using land based thermometers is not doing the job.

And I agree. So does NASA:
http://ceres.larc.nasa.gov/
So in a decade or two, the argument will be resolved the best way — by actual data. In the meantime, the actual data we have — massaged or not — suggests that increasing CO_2 without bound or care is probably unwise, but that it is not very likely that any increase we will experience before the world turns and we invent new sources is going to cause a catastrophe that justifies demonizing coal-based electrical power in the meantime. In the meantime, the failure of the GCMs to agree with all of the temperature records, even after the latter have been repeatedly adjusted, suggests that they (to be very quite and understated about it) “are not suitable as the basis for public policy decisions of any sort”.
That’s what Dr. Michaels, and Roy Spencer, and many others are pointing out at every opportunity. It isn’t about whether or not “the greenhouse effect is real”. It is about a serious lack of evidence for a climate sensitivity much greater than $\lambda \approx 0.5$ (roughly 1.8 C per doubling of CO_2). RCP 8.5 is a fantasy and shouldn’t even be considered as a possible CO_2 future. CO_2 is not likely to peak much over 600 ppm if that, and will go up slowly enough that we have plenty of time to react if CERES and other UNbiased experiments reveal a problem. In the meantime no, we do not need to take expensive mandated action, or embrace carbon trading schemes, or outlaw coal burning plants in general. We just need to continue to invest public money in alternative energy generation science until technologies emerge that need no subsidy to have them adapted by the world out of sheer self-interest, not “to save the world” while lining certain people’s pockets and keeping the world’s poorest people safely poor for another generation.
BTW, I apologize again if I made you feel bad at any point in our discussion. I’m hoping that if nothing else I have made you a bit more skeptical about the claims that there is no meaningful CO2 linked greenhouse effect, as both the contemporary data and the simplest possible model suggest that there is, at the same time that same data suggests that there is little chance of catastrophe. So far, CERES seems to be closing to the door on the last bastion of the catastrophic warmists like Hansen, the uncommitted warming problem, where they claim that it will take another (fill in the blank with a time order decades to centuries) to equilibrate the Earth to the CO2 we already have. The actual TOA imbalance it measures suggests that if we froze CO_2 right now at 400 ppm, there is a whole 0.1 C of “uncommitted warming” (or so) required to bring it back to balance. and that it would likely accomplish it in around one decade.
As I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this and other threads TODAY, I’m fully aware that the climate is complex and that the model I fit and its physical basis (and that is being discussed on the Mathematical Basis thread) is highly conditional and could be completely wrong just because the Earth is complex. That doesn’t stop it from fitting the last 165 years of data well enough to make one think twice about rejecting it on the basis of crude arguments. I’d be happy to be wrong — I just don’t think that I am at the same time I’m pretty sure that the egregiously large estimates for climate sensitivity to date are absurdly large and not supported by the data without the “uncommitted warming” that CERES appears to be eliminating as a serious possibility. Beyond that I can make up science fiction as well as Hansen or the producers of climate catastrophe movies, but even the best-told story has to eventually be confirmed by correspondence with data to become science.
rgb

• rgb
Respectfully, you keep saying, and I don’t understand this, that sensitivity to a doubling could be 1.8 C. We’ve had (the effect of) a half-doubling since 1950, so wouldn’t you, I and people like Karl be able to point to the .9 C increase in temperature over and above the background rise without having to resort to ship’s bucket technology and other embarrassing stuff ?
Even with the embarrassing stuff, 0.9 C just isn’t there. What am I missing ?

• rgbatduke says:

What am I missing ?

I’m not sure. Here is the data (HadCRUT4, with error bars) and my own computed best fit (using R). I also throw in AR5 MME mean and a purely for fun CO_2 driven warming PLUS a sinusoid (because a lot of people have noticed the approximate sinusoid in the data and like to make much of it). Don’t take the sine bit seriously, but it does improve the already excellent fit, doesn’t it?
http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/Toft-CO2-vs-MME.jpg
As you can see $2.62 \log(C/C_0)$ fits the data damn well, and this corresponds to a total climate sensitivity defined as temperature increase per doubling of around 1.8 C, and the adjustments probably make little difference to this (and I don’t think HadCRUT4 has jumped on this bandwagon just yet, as it is their/Hadley’s work that Karl et. al. were disrespecting).
HadCRUT4 has more like a 0.8 C rise over the run of the data — it is GISS that does an extra 0.1 or thereabouts. But either way, that’s chickenfeed. I get a $\lambda \approx 0.5$ either way. This is a direct fit of the CO_2 only model to the actual data (see the Mathematics of Carbon Dioxide… ” on WUWT elsewhere just now) with no lag for uncommitted warming. This means that RCP 6.5 is unlikely to produce any sort of catastrophe, and frankly 6.5 is probably excessive. This TCS predicts 1 — that is 1.0 C of additional warming at 600 ppm, which is probably a reasonable upper bound for the peak CO2 we are likely to see before coal based power just can’t compete with one or more of the alternative technologies in the open marketplace. So why worry about it or spend a fortune on it now? That won’t even shift NC’s climate one whole growing subzone south.
rgb
[‘shift .. one growing subzone south” – or shift NC’s (current) climate one zone north? .mod]

• I’m still missing something, because for your answer to be valid, you have to definitively know that temperature rise that is unrelated to CO2 forcing (that which we have observed as we have exited the LIA) FLATLINED around 1950.
While this is, of course, possible, it is counter to the null hypothesis.

• If you’re saying that 1.6 C or 1.8 C is an absolute upper bound, then I get it.

43. Geoff says:

I had the rare experience of being onboard USS Forrestal off the coast of Florida during hurricane Davd in 1979. Only a Cat 2 but we refueled underway which can be dicey even in the best of conditions. The wildest ride on her was Operation Northern Wedding in the North Atlantic near the Arctic Circle a year before. A rogue wave hit our stern and the wall of water knocked a tow tractor into an aircraft.

• A friend of mine served on the Ticonderoga in the late 60s. Said the only time he got sea sick was during a typhoon in the Sea of Japan, where they took water over the bow and down the flight deck for 12+hrs.
Also read an interesting interview with a former captain of the QE2, who talked about prepping for a rogue wave. They had been informed it was heading their way and to prepare. All passengers had life vests on and were laying down in the corridors. He described the feeling of looking straight ahead from the bridge, which was 120′ above sea level, and looking at the top of the wave.
That would make most folks muddy their armor.

44. Bruce Cobb says:

Oh-oh, better watch your back now. Lowenthal might have Ben Santer beat the carp out of you.

45. steverichards1984 says:

Just been watching the full video, how disappointing that most of the US elected leaders seem to be as stupid as my lot over here in the UK.

• Jim Francisco says:

I’ll bet you our US elected leaders could out do your elected leaders on stupid by a mile or 1.609344 kilometers.

46. hunter says:

Keep pushing back against the hysteria and extremism with rationality and facts.
Thank you, Dr. Michaels.

47. Bruce Cobb says:

“The social cost of carbon” is of course pure fantasy; it’s a fairy tale being sold as “science”. However, the Social Cost of CO2 Mania” is very real, and very damaging.

48. menicholas says:

I have never met anyone who denied that there is a climate.

49. one more very important benefit of the burned coal: it made electricity that drove the entire world economy!
====================
I’m also surprised that this never gets included as a social benefit. if you want to know if coal is a cost or a benefit, the quickest and surest test is to do without.
stop using coal in the US. stop today and you will quickly know if it is a cost or a benefit. you cannot argue that this is impossible. Obama could sign an executive degree making the possession or burning of coal a federal offence.
the US could then overnight replace coal via energy rationing and fuel substitution. this would yield the sort of CO2 reduction the government is planning and answer the question of whether coal is a social cost or a social benefit.

• Jim Francisco says:

Well the test you suggest would certainly benefit the undertakers because within a few days without electricity we would be killing each other. I have witnessed the halt of traffic flow in California within a few minutes of a large area blackout because of the loss of traffic lights. Within minutes there were several accidents at intersections which then caused gridlock on a large area. Just imagine what that does for police and emergency vehicle movement. It really goes down hill from there.

• rgbatduke says:

because within a few days without electricity we would be killing each other.

Or just plain dying. I live in NC, which is actually one of the top three hurricane states (Florida, and maybe Texas, beat us out). The last category three that hit NC squarely was Fran. I spent a week in Durham without electricity, as it uprooted pin oaks over a meter thick, lifted them into the air, and twisted the power lines around them before dropping them down across the roads. They had to virtually rebuild the electrical grid from scratch down any semi-rural road. This was early fall, and it was still hot out — no air conditioning. No refrigeration — we had to throw out all of our perishable food (including from the freezers) within a day. We had hot water then (gas with a pilot light) and could cook on a gas grill outside (bic lighter) or on our gas stove ditto — but now we wouldn’t have that, because our tankless hot water heater requires electricity. I couldn’t even use my oven now — my gas stove requires electrical power to operate the oven. No lights but candles or oil lamps (we keep a few of the latter just in case). A few years later we had an ice storm in mid-winter that knocked out the power grid for five days. This time it was actively dangerous. No heat! No light at night, and early dusk and late dawn. No hot water. Almost impossible to cook (bless you gas stove!). Refrigeration still an issue, but less so because it was so cold outside.
In both cases, it wasn’t just us — food stores had no refrigeration, no lights. Deliveries were delayed and the stores ran out of key staples (and had a lot of difficulty taking money even then — now it would be impossible because money itself relies on electricity these days. The entire social fabric of most of NC dropped back to the early 19th century almost overnight. 19th century supply lines are literally incapable of supporting 21st century urbanization. If the outages had lasted more than a week, people would have actually gone hungry (and may have in some cases even in a week, but relief workers tried pretty hard to rescue the elderly and poor).
Sometime — this year, next year, in ten years, in 100 years — we will have another Coronal Mass Ejection like the solar storm of 1859:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859
This “Carrington Event” was the largest geomagnetic storm ever observed, to this date. There was so much magnetic energy that:

Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases giving telegraph operators electric shocks.[8] Telegraph pylons threw sparks.[9] Some telegraph operators could continue to send and receive messages despite having disconnected their power supplies.[10}

That was low voltage telegraphs with comparatively short runs. This event lasted over 24 hours, long enough for the entire world to experience incredible auroras to the equator, electrical shocks, and a night that never properly got dark.
If this event were to occur today — and it lasted 24 hours — it would blow every electrical grid on the planet. Every single major transformer would be fried, most of them irreversibly broken. It would shut down the electrical energy delivery system worldwide. Microelectronics are very susceptible to overvoltage — every cell phone, every tower, every radio, every TV — it it was plugged in, it would be toast. Think electromagnetic pulse (like the one produced by a nuclear bomb) that does not end powered by the big bomb that is the sun.
We would wake up with the world dropped back to the mid-19th century overnight, but with the needs for food production and distribution associated with huge 21st century urban enclaves. Nothing would move — it is possible that the CME would even fry the alternator of cars and trucks, although the engine compartments might be an adequate faraday cage so maybe not — but either way gas pumps are electric so within a day or two there would be no more gasoline. There would be no money — only cash would work and who carries much of that any more?
Within hours, people would start to die who would not have died otherwise. Hospitals are not equipped with operating rooms and anesthesia delivery systems that can function without electricity. People, especially the poor, would run out of food and local stores would be stripped and not resupplied. There would be looting, martial law, and a general breakdown of social order. And it would not stop! It might take a year or even longer to rebuild the entire distribution system, longer if the CME blew out the actual generator coils themselves. Every major generator or transformer coil might need to be remanufactured as the CME pulse would cause an inductive surge that shorted out the coils internally and fused the shorts. The industrial infrastructure that makes those coils would itself be affected and would have to be bootstrapped, perhaps using military-grade, EMP hardened portable power.
That’s what life without the grid would be like. One single event like this and people would lynch anybody that threatened their electrical supply, because I’m guessing at least a billion people would die before it was over, of starvation, sudden war, breakdown of medical services, violent crime, and social unrest (read — rioting and looting). Most of this would happen in the cities, with the worst of it in the biggest cities. We survived a week of it, because we had plenty of food, working cars, because there was still electricity in some parts of town, because the stores worked hard to remain open and because there was still a cash economy. A month of it? A year? Without any outside of the affected area that continued to function normally to provide emergency relief and replacement parts for the destroyed infrastructure — I dunno. One is back to Alas! Babylon! nuclear war scenarios without the radioactive cities — the complete breakdown of social and economic order.
Me, I like my electricity, and don’t have a survivalist retreat where I can easily regress to Walden Pond and shoot my own deer and raise my own hogs and get by. But one of many, many things to worry about is that our entire electrical supply is not only vulnerable to political predation and global warming hysteria, it is vulnerable to a number of extrinsic risks that could take down all of it (CMEs!) or part of it (EMP bombs, nuclear war, very directed terrorism, economic collapse in general). And the one thing that separates us from kerosene lamps and cooking our beans and rice over a wood fire if at all is electricity!
rgb

• george e. smith says:

So has anybody calculated the induced EMFs and resultant currents one can get in typical closed circuits due to say a massive lightning strike close by. The coupling is rather puny.
So the likelihood of inducing damaging levels of power in circuits from sun events is rather remote, I would say.
Now if such a surge were to scramble some ones and zeros is a controlling computer that then switched short circuits onto the grid, that could do damage; so the problem is not the energy of such events, but the poor fail safe design of grid control systems.
When Monsanto’s chemical process control systems were all hydraulic or pneumatic they just shut down safely in the event of power failures. Now if you brush your hair near the system control computer all hell breaks loose.
It’s not the grid that is vulnerable; it’s the control systems. Trains don’t bash into each other because lightning strikes the track. But a controller malfunction can crash trains.

• RD says:

Hey RGB,
Hurricane Ivan in 2004 brought tropical storm warnings to western North Carolina. More people were killed here in NC than in Florida where the storm made landfall. There was widespread flooding,even in downtown Asheville. Many NC mountain counties received 12-18 inches of rain and big wind. But we are likely more hardy than some folks, say those poor lambs in New Orleans with Katrina.
I’ve seen 5 feet of snow on the blue ridge parkway in March! Asheville, NC power was out in spots for 10 days. My wife’s grandmother refused to leave her home. She boiled eggs and coffee over a candle. No FEMA, national guard, nada – just friends and family. Folks could have used a hand. Without power those most vulnerable are in real trouble real fast.

50. paqyfelyc says:

OK men, let’s determinate social price of carbon.
the unit must be “ton”. Gallon or pound are too small.
Now the price.
* high enough to mean something and justify action. But not too high (to begin with ; it will be raised later) lest it be fearful
* The price must begin with 3. 3 is magic, everyone knows that.
* 300 is too high. 3 is too low. so it must be thirty.
* 30 is round number. That may be fair for many thing, but here it would smell amateurism. no zero.
* 35 and more would be understood as into 40. no way. It must less than 35.
* 33 has too many 3. a 3 is good, two are too much.
conclusion : Social cost must be 31 32 or 34 \$/ton.
Plenty of choice …
Now you can run your simulations, guys.

51. jst1 says:

Just watched Lowenthal’s questioning period. He is a hack of the worst order. Pathetic that his constituents are fooled into believing that he is a man of substance. His attempt to discredit based on association cannot be refuted by those that testify as the clock runs out. Of course, his donor list is not in question.
Who could have faith in government after watching such a display?

• I half-expected someone to point at him when he made accusations of climate denial and yell, “LOOK! SQUIRREL!”

52. Ralph Kramden says:

Congressman Lowenthal (D-NY) went on the usual these-witnesses-are-climate-deniers rant
Warmists resort to name calling, the lowest form of argument, because that’s all they can do.

53. Sadly, Dr. Dorsey has apparently not researched his claim that Alaskan villages are being relocated due to rising sea levels.
From “CLIMATE CHANGE: REALITIES OF RELOCATION FOR ALASKA NATIVE VILLAGES:

Understanding Relocation
Extreme weather in Alaska is not a new phenomenon, and Alaska Natives are accustomed to adapting to its effects. Traditionally, many communities would adapt to the seasonal variability by migrating between hunting grounds throughout the year. However, beginning around the turn of the 20th century, Alaska Natives were forced to settle by the U.S. government, creating a dependence on the immediate area and subsequent vulnerability to events like erosion and flooding.

The problems are softening permafrost and increased coastal erosion due to recent ice loss, not rising sea level (relative sea level is falling as much as −17.59 mm along the AK west coast). And the permafrost melt that exacerbates erosion is not due entirely to warmer temperatures. Early residents did not live in blocks of heated homes separated by dirt roadways.
Is it any wonder permafrost melts and doesn’t refreeze on Kivalina, one of 31 villages cited for relocation?
Interesting factoids: The President has the authority to force relocation whether or not the inhabitants desire it. The Inupiaq were relocated to Kivalina in 1905, after which more than 70% of the tribe died of disease and starvation. (source)

• “…relative sea level is falling as much as −17.59 mm per year along the AK west coast”

• verdeviewer

“…relative sea level is falling as much as −17.59 mm per year along the AK west coast”

Blast! That implies the pacific plates are shoving under the main AK plate, thus increasing volcano/earthquake activity all along the Aleutian/Alaskan/Canadian coasts …

54. RD says:

Well done! Real science pushing back. Thank you!

55. Erik says:

Thank You Dr. Michaels!

56. Eric H. says:

Dr. Michael’s, I liked how you threw the denier label back at them. Well done!

57. Justthinkin says:

In order for the Earth’s temperature to be stable incoming radiation must balance outgoing radiation, period.
And just when, exactly, was the Earth’s temperature EVER stable? And no computers model’s “proof”, please.

• Jim Francisco says:

There must have been a big imbalance when the earth became an ice ball 716 million years ago. Does anyone think that was caused by too little CO2?

• george e. smith says:

So what if its specific heat keeps changing all the time ??

58. Tony says:

Why not calculate sensitivity based on man’s period of civilisation – the past 10,000 years, during which temperatures have been falling.

59. richardscourtney says:

Tony:

Why not calculate sensitivity based on man’s period of civilisation – the past 10,000 years, during which temperatures have been falling.

There are no direct measurements of temperature or atmospheric CO2 concentration over “the past 10,000 years”. We only have proxy indications of those parameters over that time and those indications are not sufficiently accurate or reliable for them to be used as indicators of climate sensitivity (CS).
However, if you are interested in direct measurements of CS then I commend Idso’s eight natural experiments reported in his paper that is written in plain English.
Also, you may want to read the determinations of CS by Lindzen & Choi from ERBE satellite data and Gregory from balloon radiosonde data.
These three papers each find climate sensitivity to be less than 1.0°C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent which is so small that it is physically impossible for the postulated man-made global warming to be large enough to be detected.
Richard

60. Brett Keane says:

Thankyou Dr Michaels. A Churchillian effort, that is, superb. We all appreciate your hard work and courage.
RGB – I wish you weren’t too well educated to remember that gases in an atmospheric situation react not by specie, but as a unit, to energy inputs. Physics works not by radiation ultimately, nor prolixity, but by simple mechanics. Brett

61. johann wundersamer says:

Patrick J. Michaels – Bravo!
Hans

62. johann wundersamer says:

excerpt:
Civil courage – definition of Civil courage by The Free Dictionary
The state or quality of mind or
spirit that enables one to face
danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, …
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Civil %2Bc…
___
And yes,
Patrick J. Michaels – Bravo!
Thanks – Hans

63. PaulH says:

The good Doctor is correct. There is no “social cost of carbon.”

• JPinBalt says:

In Re “The good Doctor is correct. There is no “social cost of carbon.” ”
The troposphere’s temperature is not significantly effected by human emitted trace gas CO2, but more by natural cycles, sun, oceans, etc, 20 years now no warming despite CO2. Even if global warming was occurring, scratch overtly biased GISS and NOAA data for more accurate RSS satellite data, a degree or so global warming would be beneficial to planet, longer growing seasons, more green plants, less energy to heat houses, how many people vacation to Caribbean for warmer weather?, grape vines in London during Medieval Warming was bad? IPCC idiots attribute economic costs to BS like ski resorts not having enough snow by a degree C rise over a decade forecasted which is statistically insignificant and by their own words unnoticeable by humans.
Even if admitting a AGW, would be beneficial, versus opposite and colder.
How much propaganda and lies are into this is unfathomable, solar energy subsidies and electric cars dependent on gov. subsidies, follow money, not just climate alarmists seeking research funding, big corporations making money off this, gov in hands to keep scientific fraud going,
In any case, social benefit, not cost, if admit CO2 has any significant impact..