Response to a wine industry climate change skeptic

In a recent issue of the Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal, a well known West Australian wine maker, Mr Erl Happ, published an opinion piece on climate change – expressing doubt that it is caused by industrial greenhouse gas emissions. To cite Erl’s conclusion:

Greenhouse theory does not stack up. ‘Tropo’ in ‘troposphere’ is Greek for ‘turning’. If the surface of the Earth heats up the troposphere turns faster and eliminates heat more efficiently. At an average depth of 10km, the troposphere is very thin. Moving air will not hold heat. Even in the warmest places, the nights can be cool. It is the ocean that is the real store of warmth and it is the coastal places that stay warmer overnight and in winter. Carbon dioxide is less than one-twenty-fifth of 1% of the air that we inhale. It is a much larger fraction of the air that we exhale. Are we to breathe less deeply and exercise less vigorously to reduce our carbon footprint? Carbon dioxide is what the plants need to make them grow and that is why it is scarce. While we have plants it will always be scarce. More carbon dioxide enables plants to grow faster and use less water. This will help to green the deserts. Let us not confuse environmental religion with observational science. Reliable science explains what we observe. One can not understand the climate system without an appreciation of the influence of geography, spatial relations, ocean currents and the physics that drive cloud cover over the tropics. We have managed to banish religion from politics. Now we need to do the same for science.

You can read the full opinion piece as a PDF here.

I was asked by the editor to write a short response, which was published in the latest issue. I hope if gives you a useful idea of how to respond, formally, to such pieces (the version that appeared in the journal was trimmed and edited a little compared to the submitted version I reproduce below).

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A general critique of Erl Happ’s ‘El Niño warming’ opinion piece

In the July/August issue of the Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal, Erl Happ published an opinion piece on climate change and its relationship to ocean dynamics and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). It is not reasonable to attempt a direct, blow-by-blow critique of Mr Happ’s personal theories on climate change, because they constitute little more than a haphazard mishmash of fact, distortion, poorly contextualised data and ‘gut instinct’. I will instead use a few points to illustrate a more general interpretation of scepticism of mainstream climate science.

Mr Happ complains that climate warming is not global because it is confined to the Northern Hemisphere. This is patently not true. For instance, comparing the decade a century ago (1898-1907) to the most recent decade (1998-2007), we find that global temperatures are an average of 0.87°C hotter (based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data cited by Mr Happ). In the Northern Hemisphere, which is more readily warmed due to a large continental land mass, the difference is 1.13°C. In the Southern Hemisphere, predominated by ocean which takes longer to change temperature (because water has a higher thermal inertia, it takes longer for energy gain to be manifested as a temperature rise), the warming over 100 years is 0.61°C. Yet , starkly, there has been no trend in ENSO intensity or its frequency of return, nor in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, nor in sunspot activity, to account for this systematic change in the global climate system.

Mr Happ also naively conflates warming in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere) with cooling in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere). Both are expected under climate forcing due to additional greenhouse gases. A cooling stratosphere and a rise in the boundary layer (tropopause) is indeed a ‘fingerprint’ of an enhanced greenhouse, because (hold your breath) increasing CO2 enhances the stratosphere’s ability to radiate long-wave radiation (infra red), but doesn’t substantially increase its ability to gain heat. In fact, less heat is reaching the stratosphere from the surface, whereas most of its heat gain comes from short-wave radiation (visible light and x-rays) coming in from space.

The examples in above two paragraphs illustrate well enough the inherent problem with Mr Happ’s theorising. It is not science, and it neglects or ignores the huge intellectual gains in understanding that have been made, collectively and over many decades and involving millions of man hours, in the disciplines of atmospheric, chemical and physical sciences, Earth systems analysis, biological sciences, mathematics, statistics and computational modelling. All of these fields of intellectual endeavour contribute to science’s general and specific understanding of the structure, functioning and response to perturbation of the global climate system. And I’ve not listed many sub-disciplines, nor considered the humanities and social sciences, economics, or engineering – all of which contribute greatly to our understanding of the broader issues – especially with respect to the impacts of climate change and our ability (or not) to manage and mitigate it.

But this is sufficient to underscore an important point. Our current scientific understanding of global warming and climate change impacts is not the domain of one, quirky field. Indeed the leading peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change is explicitly multidisciplinary in its mandate – after all, that is the nature of the problem. Yet Mr Happ, and others who promote themselves as ‘sceptical’ of mainstream science, due to a whole host of underlying motivations, choose to dismiss as irrelevant all of these contributions and advances aside in favour of his/their narrow, personal speculation.

As a rule of thumb, those working for an organisation which conducts primary research on climate science (e.g. CSIRO or Universities), and publishes this work in peer-reviewed scientific journals (the industry gold standard), should have their theories taken seriously. This is because they are following the scientific process – the same process that underpins the massive literature reviews of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports, and indeed the same process that has taken man to the moon, decoded the genome, and given you digital watches, laptop computers and automobiles. In any research field there will, of course, be diverse opinions about causes and effects – the positing, testing and overturning of theory and hypotheses are at the very core of science. Provided such arguments are bound by empirical or experimental evidence, and have survived rigorous pre-publication scrutiny and review, then they should be considered a valid viewpoint.

Mr Happ’s have not, and it would be foolhardy indeed to dismiss mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to climate change as irrelevant to the wine industry on this basis.

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I should note that Erl later emailed me, saying he was glad to have elicited a response, was happy to continue the ‘debate’, but was (unsurprsingly) unconvinced by my rebuttal. I have not yet had time to reply to him, but I should say that he was most genial (unlike many who write to me!), and I don’t wish to disparage him by the above critique. I’m simply pointing out that in this matter he is wrong. Quite wrong. I hope you’ll read his article in full and appreciate for yourself why.

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35 Comments

  1. I too have written responses to “wrong” pieces like this. Certainly some of the authors are indeed genial. Any why should they not be? They have succeeded on two fronts. Firstly by getting their lies (and I am quite sure that these *are* deliberate lies) into print and secondly by eliciting a response – thereby perpetuating their most cherished lie that there *is* real debate and uncertainty.

    In my local paper a academic from the Tourism Dept at my University wrote an inept and illinformed piece. The paper was good enough to publish my response
    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/opinion/15309/debunking-climate-change-deniers
    and the editor handling the article expressed some emotion at the duplicitous nature of the original article. Yet – to my frustration it turned out that my half page (on page 15 – adjacent to the editorial) was overshadowed by a 3/4 front page article pushing the same old lies by Bob Carter.

    To my certain knowledge several very senior academics from the hard physical sciences wrote to the Tourism author in an attempt to set him straight. These senior academics took the approach of assuming that he had simply strayed from his field of expertise and would quickly come to realise his error. Quite the contrary; in a follow up article he stated that the “debate” showed the issue was far from decided and claimed this was his only intent – to highlight the doubt.

    This is I believe the primary motivation for writing such dodgy articles in the first place: To create the illusion of debate.

    I believe the best type of response was shown to me by another newspaper editor in a similar case. Again in response to an outrageous piece I wrote a reasoned and genial reply. The Dean of Science at my University (a sea ice modeller) saw the piece before submission and thought it suitable and scholarly. The Editor didn’t like it because it was “not confrontational enough”. The Editor said the readers of the paper (a business paper) were more impressed by the force of an arguement than the facts of an arguement.

    The mistake we make in writing pleasant and scholarly responses is to assume that the authors are genuinely mistaken and once the facts are pointed out they will issue a correction. This is not the case. These denialists know exactly what they are doing. A polite response is no longer sufficient. It is time to begin attacking their credibility and ability to judge evidence.

    For example, Bob Carter is a fellow member of several groups with Vincent Gray (see “Vincent Gray has a theory over at deltoid
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/10/vincent_gray_has_a_theory.php
    Gray is plainly not in touch with reality.

    The denialists are too few in number and too widely spread in focus to afford to drop anyone no matter how wrong they are. (As opposed to true peer review). This weakens them overall and this flaw must be taken advantage of. I think a strong attack is to try show that Carter’s continued support for Gray shows that Carter has *either* a weak understanding of the facts *or* is being deliberately deceptive.

    The papers want controversy but they want it to be between “equals”. Show that these authors are not qualified to speak on the matter. Show that their judgement is grievously flawed. Editors don’t like being taken for fools. If you can show an editor they have been deliberately deceived I believe they will exercise care in future (at least the editors concerned here said that).

    (Sigh – this of course assumes that the editor is actually is interested in the facts).

  2. Erl has become famous (in certain limited circles) for carrying on a months-long multi-thread exchange with leading solar scientist Leif Svalgaard over at Climate Audit (here, e.g.). What Leif is doing there is something of a mystery, but for whatever reason he decided to spend as much time as needed to refute the ideas of the numerous solar crazies. My guess is that in the course of those threads Erl proposed several hundred different ideas about solar influence on climate, all of them unsurprisingly wrong. With the most recent thread McIntyre basically banned Erl (by banning “personal theories”), so I suppose the latter has had to find other outlets for his views. I have to say that reading those threads gave me a much better grasp of the mentality of medieval theologians.

  3. There is some considerable irony in Mr Happ’s being a winemaker. My experience of winemakers in NZ and Aus suggests that they – and their industry – are fully aware of the challenge climate change presents to their businesses. A vineyard – especially one in a cooler climate (where quality wine comes from – sorry Aussie!) – is a very sensitive expression of how weather and climate affects plant growth. The timing of various key events (flowering, veraison etc) is something every winegrower has to watch, and changes are noted. Over the last few years, wine business conferences in NZ have featured presentations by local atmospheric scientists on projected future climate, and discussed responses. I’m sure the same thing’s been happening in Australia. Might be worth asking Richard Smart, the Tasmanian viticulturalist, to contribute a piece, Barry.

  4. Barry Brook,

    I only read what you posted on your website which I gather was different than your published response, but unless it was remarkably different, this kind of tone is not what should be expected from a “formal response.” Such things like “because they constitute little more than a haphazard mishmash of fact, distortion, poorly contextualised data and ‘gut instinct’” are no better than “the IPCC predicted catastrophic warming” and the “alarmists are at it again!!”

    While Happ is certainly incorrect, the only thing necessary to convince people that AGW is real (at least those who want to listen) is to explain the physics, personal attacks are good on blogs but not for something like this. The readership in a journal such as this may not be greatly familiar with the detailed science of climate change (aside from maybe how it impacts the wine industry) so they’d probably be very interested in hearing only the scientific ends of the discussion.

    Concenring El Nino and PDO I think it would be worthwhile to point out that temperature and ocean heat content have increased over the last half a century which is inconsistent with internally generated varibility. Just saying there “is no trend” makes little sense (the PDO by definition has no trend). But it makes no sense for internally generated variability to create a globally averaged trend over climate timescales.

  5. Chris Colose:

    I disagree that this could be considered a personal attack, but for clarity, the formal article simply read:
    It is not reasonable to attempt a direct, blow-by-blow critique of Happ’s personal theories on climate change, so I will instead use a few points to illustrate a more general interpretation of scepticism of mainstream climate science.

    There are various other points in the Journal article where more detached formal language is also used.

    Regarding PDO, I agree it has no trend my definition, which was my point. But your suggestion to state specifically that the heat content gain is inconsistent with internally generated variability is a good one that should have been made.

  6. It’s a tough one and my inclination is to opt out and follow economist John Quiggin’s line on denialists – ignore them. But failing that and having just read ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’ by Spencer Weart I suggest the time line or ‘Milestones’ that conclude the revised edition. It is a factual scientific run down beginning in 1824 with Fourier’s calculations that the earth’s atmosphere would be far colder without an atmosphere. It concludes six brief pages later with the fourth IPCC 2007 report. Probably wouldn’t win over some but would save a lot of time.

  7. Dear Barry,
    Thanks for introducing me to your readers. The realities of climate change causation will keep us guessing for a while yet I imagine. Meanwhile those who hold fervently to the view that it’s all due to man and CO2 might consider a little article I have on a blog I share with Carl Wolk at http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2008/11/08/earth-laboratory-tests-the-greenhouse-theory-once-a-year-every-year-and-finds-it-wanting-every-time/

    Briefly, ozone is a greenhouse gas of the most reactive sort intercepting radiation at 9.5um just short of the median wave length for Earth emission. Forty percent of the northern hemisphere is land whereas its just twenty percent in the southern hemisphere. Land does not accept and store energy like water, and nor does it cool by evaporation like a wetted surface. The result is a strong peak in outgoing radiation in the middle of northern hemisphere summer. This peak is enhanced by an average 3% drop in global cloud cover. This produces a very strong temperature peak at the tropopause in August. It matters not when the surface temperature peaks when ozone is present. In the southern hemisphere between 20° and 30° south the surface peak is in March. Still, at the tropopause the temperature peak is in August.

    If one looks carefully at the data for the levels of the atmosphere closest to the tropopause there is no evidence of energy transfer from the warmed layer to that beneath. We know that radiation travels in all directions and 50% is horizontal to down. The radiative impact on the layer immediately below the tropopause is undoubted. The lack of practical effect I suggest is due to the countervailing strength of convection in the ‘tropos’= turning…..sphere. The heat returns to point of origin like a tennis ball floats on water.

    This observation strikes at the very heart of global warming theory. You should give it your closest attention.

    Another observation worthy of your attention is that ozone content is high in the cells of high pressure, descending, air that tend to focus in the rain shadow zones to the east of the major land masses. Ozone absorbs UVB and warms the air strongly. Air temperatures move much more than at the surface from mid tropopause upwards synchronized with the seasonal intensity of radiant energy affected by the coupling of the Earth ionosphere with the solar wind at the equinoxes. This affects cloud cover. In 1978 200hPa temperature jumped strongly and has been in decline ever since. Currently (October-November 2008) it lies at about the long term average and satellite photos reveal good cirrus cloud cover in these areas. Surface data shows negative sea surface temperature anomalies in the same zones.

    That the solar wind is affecting upper atmospheric temperature is apparent in southern hemisphere data showing a secondary temperature peak in September.

    This observation invalidates the notion that ENSO is an internal oscillation of the climate system. ENSO depends upon the strength of short wave radiation and the intensity of the solar wind. ENSO is the only dynamic for climate change that makes any sense to me. I base my opinion on an excruciatingly close study of historical data that anyone can download at: http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/Timeseries/timeseries1.pl

    If you want to debate with me rather than simply condemn me out of hand please start with the data.

  8. My brain is melting…

    Bullet-point five from Mr. Happ’s original article:

    “Man is a land-dwelling animal.
    This is where the complaints are coming from. The fishes seem to be happy enough. The whales need to feed in the Antarctic and birth their young in the tropics because the newborns have not the fat to keep them warm. Life is a little easier for them now that the ocean is warmer.”

    Lack of scientific rigor aside – no, I can’t help it… how can we be sure that ‘the fishes seem happy enough’?!? – the author fails to mention coral bleaching. Considering the primary mechanism associated with bleaching is increased water temperature (causing the expulsion of symbiotic zooxanthallae), how can it be said that things are all honky-dorey in the southern oceans!

    I’m with John Quiggan on this…

  9. Erl Happ@ 8
    I found your post very informative.Not being a scientist I am unable to debate you (no doubt Barry will answer them for us)
    However,I am sure that climate scientists worldwide would love to hear your arguments, as no doubt they are unaware of the scientific accuracy of your research.
    Please direct me to the peer-reviewed articles, on this theme, which you must have published, in respected scientific journals.
    I am surprised I have not read of you and your work elsewhere in the CC community.

  10. Erl, you are doing it again – there are about 10 different, conflicting points you are trying to make, as far as I can tell, which makes your whole comment a non-sequitur. I do wonder, based on your theories, how you explain the temperature inversion in the troposphere. Also, the solar wind isn’t trending. The Earth’s energy balance is. Why would that be? How is this extra energy created?

    PaulF @9, as you can tell from my above comment, I can only agree.

  11. Barry,
    If you can restrain your delight in denigration and abuse for long enough to actually document ‘the temperature inversion in the troposphere’. Like where and when…. then perhaps I can help. So far, all I see from you is abuse, holier than thou statements, pissing from the pedestal and gibberish.

  12. Erl@12: I hardly think pointing out that you make conflicting points or non-sequiturs is denigrating, unless you are a particularly fragile type.

    By temperature inversion, I meant that this is what your theory would imply – that it would get hotter as you move higher into the troposphere, rather than cooler.

    But you still haven’t answered my question about the Earth’s energy imbalance.

  13. Erl Happ @ 15

    YES – that is if my “mates” are well qualified scientists whose work has been subjected to, and passed, peer-review. That is why I ask for your peer-reviewed work – it will then be safe to read and believe in- until then, how can you have the arrogance to assume that you (what are your qualifications again?) must be right and the vast majority of the world’s scientists wrong.

  14. Perps 16
    I do no depend upon this work for my income. Many advances in human affairs have been due to to the work of ‘amateurs’. Much new work languishes while ‘peers’ reject it because it does not fit their view of the world.

    Grow up. Attack the data. Make a contribution. Argue the point. Be specific. Be relevant.

    Barry, lets focus on specifics. Otherwise there is no point in me continuing. What is your question about the ‘Earth’s energy imbalance’.

  15. Barry Brook:
    You write, “In the Southern Hemisphere, predominated by ocean which takes longer to change temperature (because water has a higher thermal inertia, it takes longer for energy gain to be manifested as a temperature rise), the warming over 100 years is 0.61°C. Yet , starkly, there has been no trend in ENSO intensity or its frequency of return, nor in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, nor in sunspot activity, to account for this systematic change in the global climate system.”

    ENSO does not have to trend upwards to create warming. Strong El Ninos, specifically the 1986/87 and 1997/98 El Ninos, caused step-changes and long-term warming AFTER the events completed in the equatorial oceans. This took place in the N & S Pacific ocean, the Indian Ocean, and there is evidence that El Ninos significantly effect SST in the N Atlantic. The effect of ENSO on the globe’s oceans is not limited to the immediate variation that is most obvious in the equatorial Pacific. See my post on the blog that I share with Erl: http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/how-enso-rules-the-oceans/

    Perps:
    Is it arrogant to disagree with the majority? Is that something that should be shunned or encouraged? Do you really want a society that calls you arrogant when you disagree with the majority opinion? Also, you imply that non peer-reviewed works are not “safe to read.” If the paper is wrong and you read it, you are forced to decide if it wrong or not; you become smarter by challenging your opinions. You also imply that non peer-reviewed works are not “safe…to believe in.” I sure hope you don’t think that just because a paper is peer-reviewed, it’s safe to believe in.

  16. Erl Happ @17: Much new work languishes while ‘peers’ reject it because it does not fit their view of the world

    Oh – so you are saying you have submitted your ideals to technical peer review and it was rejected? What were the reasons stated – papers are rejected on the basis of referees comments – before we discuss things further, I’d be very interested in seeing these and understanding why you think these critiques were wrong.

    Carl Wolk @18: So what drives ENSO variation and where is the energy coming from – ultimately? Perps is simply asking whether your disagreement has an evidential basis. As to your comments on peer review, I refer to you my comment to Erl@17 – Perps’ question comes down to this, after all.

  17. Barry Brook:
    What drives ENSO? I’m not sure (I’m still trying to understand Erl’s ideas), but it is irrelevant because I am challenging your statement that ENSO cannot explain the “systematic change in the global climate system.” If you read my post, you will see that the 86/87 and 97/98 El Ninos explain most of the observed oceanic variability since the global climate shift of 1976. Of course we know that ocean heat content (the best metric for global heat budget) has been on the rise. Does this mean that ENSO is not neutral in terms of the Earth’s heat budget? Likely not, and I’m sure you’ve heard of or read Roy Spencer’s recent paper on the PDO.

    But heat budget aside, does it not appear that SST variation since the climate shift of 1976 can be explained by ENSO and (if necessary to separate it) the AMO?

  18. Erl Happ @17 and Carl Wolk @ 18
    I, like the vast majority, do not have an advanced degree in any scientific discipline. Therefore I must rely upon the research of those who do have the relevant qualifications and who submit their research,to their peers, for RIGOROUS appraisal and analysis.If the science does not survive this process the paper is not published in the submitted form, but returned for reworking of the points raised by the reviewers. I know this because I am a retired (therefore have GROWN UP) Research/Reference Librarian, who has worked in academic libraries, and accessed academic papers for students and staff. I call you arrogant, not to deny your right to comment, which I would stridently defend, but because you refuse to submit your work to peer-review, yet are still convinced you are right and do not need to follow the academic process. I visit sites like this to try to be better informed on the current scientific consensus, not to argue or debate the science, which is outside my expertise. I would be ARROGANT to believe that I could do so, lacking the years of research and training of the scientists posting here.

  19. Barry,
    I understand most of Erl’s idea, and many parts of it make sense and match with regional 200hPa data and cirrus cloud behavior in the tropics. However, I’m slow to completely endorse an idea as complicated as Erl’s. I haven’t spent enough time on it. He explains it very clearly on our blog, if you’d like to better understand it.

    I didn’t answer your question because you hadn’t responded to my initial criticism. Look at my post, does it not appear that El Ninos are responsible for the increase in temperatures since the GLOBAL climate shift of 1976. Once you answer my criticism, I’ll answer your question.

    Perps – If you don’t like us amateurs presenting our non-peer reviewed research/arguments, then think of it as if we’re not presenting research, and instead asking a question: In my case, why does it seem that El Ninos have caused more increase in SST than the IPCC assumes? In this context, I’m not trying to convince, but I’m asking for an explanation so that we all better understand climate. Are you okay with this context for discussion?

  20. Carl @ 23
    I’m certainly Ok with the concept of asking intelligent questions. Problem seems to be that, even when the questions are answered scientifically, in this blog and others of its ilk, many “sceptics” choose not to listen or not to accept the answers and merely go on asking the same questions, ad nauseam, all over the internet. I sincerely hope you won’t fall into that category:-)

  21. Perps #24
    Ignorance exists on both sides of every debate. My intention is to better understand climate change; if you can demonstrate to me why my interpretation of SST variation in my post is wrong, I would of course concede.

  22. Carl @25
    As I said previously, I don’t have the necessary expertise to answer you. As a reference librarian I suggest that you
    Google “sea surface temperature”+”variation”+”ENSO” and I am sure you will get your answers.

  23. Perps @ 26
    I do understand how to use google, and if it was that simple I wouldn’t have brought it up. The problem is that the long-term effects of the 86/87 and 97/98 El Ninos are not discussed and yet they seem to be very apparent once you do the analysis that I did in my post.

  24. Carl@ 27
    See this post on Barry’s blog “What Bob Carter and Andrew Bolt fail to grasp”
    Check Gaz @ 40 – maybe he has the time and the knowledge to help you or at least refer you to the right sources.

  25. Dr Kevin Trenberth, “The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”
    ‘Experts’ like Kevin Trenberth have promoted a message of impending climate disaster. But when he admits that he can’t explain what is going on, it’s time to put the message of impending disaster aside and look more closely at the causes of climate change. Kevin’s mechanism and his model are in trouble. What else is at hand?

  26. “erlhapp”

    This is being widely presented as if Trenberth had some doubt about the basic science, but looked at in context, it is clear that the concern was about the inadequacy of the measurement methods, as reference to the passage in context will show.

    The passage about the chill in January comes from:

    Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, which is clearly about the world’s energy budget. The passage then runs as follows:

    The fact is that we can t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

    The sentence containing “CERES” is truncated in news reports, possibly becasue the journalist saw this as less salient but it’s critical to understanding the passage.

    CERES stands for Clouds & Earth’s Radiant Energy System and is run by NASA. A brief description of its work can be found here:

    Ceres

    Inter alia it measures the energy budget of the planet.

    It is clear in context that Trenberth was having difficulty reconciling the energy budget of the planet with the apparently incongruous data about temperature and was expressing his frustration that the data about temperature were “surely wrong” i.e. an underestimate and that there should be better means of establishing the true picture.

    If for example, one began filling a bath without a plug with water and one could compare inflow with outflow and find that the former exceeded the latter, the compelling inference would be that the bath was filling. If some measurement method suggested otherwise or less than the budget, then one would surely be frustrated that better measurement methods weren’t available.

    Similarly, as a matter of simple physics, if the lower troposphere is absorbing more infra red because less is escaping to space — (this has been established securely and Trenberth would know) then the world will be warming. Hence the final line: our observing system is inadequate.

    I trust this puts matters into a clearer perspective.

  27. If proponents of AGW are correct we are burning too many fossil fuels.

    If they are wrong we are still using up a non renewable resource.

    AGW may be real and may or may not be caused by CO2 emissions.

    The remedy for AGW would not be limiting emissions.

    The real solution has to be reducing the world population.

    When the scientists , experts and politicians are brave enough to admit this , all this bickering on the whys and wherefores will look foolish.

  28. I would like to send Erl Happ a short e-mail with answers to some of the questions he puts in the WUWT reposted text – and add 1 page-file enclosed. Tio which e-mail address shall I send this?

    Yours sincerely Michael Koch, MD, Sweden

  29. I find it funny, a year on from the email leak at CRU, to re-read faith in peer review such as perps’ above, .

    Jade Peters – some contortionism there. I wonder why Kevin didn’t explain what he “meant”?

  30. It’s only “funny,” Henry, if you assume there’s anything truly scandalous about the emails.

    Google Fred Pearce and Ben Santer (if memory serves) on the “scandal.”

    Read any global warming textbook on the Tree ring (david archer, the long thaw) anomaly, the origin of the “hide the decline” comment that was supposed to signal some sort of conspiracy/dishonesty, etc. nothing of the sort.

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