Climate Change – it’s complicated, but it’s real

I was recently invited to provide a response to an opinion article on climate change that was offered to “The Punch” website. The lead article can be read here: It’s just too hard to understand climate change. My response, reproduced below (original here), should be read with this context in mind.

It seems that many of the commenters on The Punch website thought I was being patronising or pontificating. Maybe I was, but how else to answer such a “it’s all too hard” complaint? As one of the others commenters noted: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride”, i.e. just wanting for simple answers and consistent outcomes won’t make them so. Anyway, see what you think…

————————

Dylan Malloch laments that understanding climate change is difficult, with the forecasts sometimes appearing to be contradictory or having a bit both ways, and therefore seeming all rather confusing! It’s easy to sympathise with him. Unfortunately, this is the nature of science.

Let’s consider another example. Newton’s laws of physics work just fine for the everyday world, but if we tried to use them in the timing system of our global positioning satellites, the resulting drift error would be about 10 kilometres every day.

So, the engineers at GPS mission control need to use Einstein’s relativistic theories to make sure your iPhone tells you precisely where you are, whenever you want to know. Similarly, neither Newton’s or Einstein’s equations allow scientists to properly predict the subatomic interactions within the electronics of satellites or iPhones. For that, you need to reference the weird world of quantum mechanics.

Each of these model systems – Newtonian, Einsteinian and Quantum physics – produce some contradictory predictions, and gaps in understanding remain. The theories have not yet been unified, for instance, to the lament of Einstein and his successors.

Yet the vast majority of us – the average Joe and Josephine Public –  are not confused or worried about GPS and iPhones, for the simple matter that we don’t try too hard to understand how they work. After all, it’s plain enough to our eyes, immediately and incontrovertibly, that they do! So we just accept it, like we do for most forms of technology.

Climate science is now treated rather differently, however. This is because although the stochastic and chaotic systems involved are, in their own way, just as complex as relativity and quantum theory, many people just don’t want to take the underpinning science and evidence for granted.

They WANT to know and understand this stuff (which is good, from a science education perspective), and their motivation usually comes about because they feel threatened by it, or guilty about it, or whatever. Dylan’s example of not wanting to be responsible for suffering poor people underscores the point.

Yet at its core, much of the maths, physics, chemistry, models, theory, and so on, which together make up the many fields of climate science, can be really difficult stuff. It takes a lot of learning time, and lots exposure to the many lines of scientific evidence and the general practice of doing science and dealing with uncertainty, to appreciate the complexities and nuances involved.

So when people don’t ‘get’ the science and are left confused by media sound bites, it’s typically because they haven’t got the time, experience or training to really grasp the interconnections, feedbacks and apparent contradictions.

The other obvious problem is that climate model forecasts are not tangible and deterministic – unlike the GPS or iPhone, there is no simple, repeatable test of whether they ‘work’ or not. Climate change is also not being painted on a ‘blank canvas’ – extreme weather has always been with us, for instance, so how to tell what can be attributed to natural versus human-caused effects?

It’s tough, no doubt about it, and there is a huge scientific effort dedicated to identifying the ‘fingerprints’ of human activity amongst the many ‘smudges’ caused by ever-present natural influences on weather and climate.

Imagine, for example, that you wanted to safely cross a busy road, and there were 20 cars going past you every minute (natural events). Then, a traffic signal somewhere up the street failed, and started to let more traffic through (climate change), such that there were now 30 cars whizzing past each minute.

You step out on the road and are unfortunately hit by a car. As you lay in hospital with your leg in traction, you wonder: was I hit by one of the original 20 cars, or one of the new 10? You decide that you can never know for sure, but having later been told about the circumstances, you realise that your risk of being struck went up by half because of the failed traffic signal that you didn’t even observe.

Analogies like this are always imperfect, but it might help you get the point.

So Dylan is left wondering how ‘global warming’ can cause more heat waves and droughts, and yet also be attributed to torrential down pours and flooding.

The simple answer is that you can have both, because more and more energy is being trapped by the Earth’s atmosphere as greenhouse gases accumulate, and the climate dynamics that result from this energy input is expressed in different ways in different parts of the world at different times. The full answer? Well, it’s complicated…

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232 Comments

  1. Yes, David, indeed I made a comment over on The Punch website that referred to Weart’s writing. Here are a collection of my responses:

    The article was written as a response to Dylan. He said that the messaging of climate change was confusing and difficult to understand. I agreed with him, but tried (perhaps not all that successfully) that there is no simple way to make this better. There are no simple sound bites that are correct all of the time, in all circumstances, as another commenter already pointed out. Yes, it can be difficult, but doesn’t make the science wrong.

    The car/mechanic analogy is a bit different, because it is (usually) obvious when a car is broken. You may need a mechanic to tell you what exactly is broken, or why it happened, but I agree that you don’t need one to tell you that it happened.

    For climate change forecasts, it’s more like your mechanic telling you that your spark plugs are carbonizing and this is reducing the performance of your car and will eventually lead to a breakdown.

    You don’t need to be a meteorologist to use weather forecasts. But if you want to understand how those forecasts were produced and the probabilities were arrived upon, then perhaps you do. And so on.

    The science argument is not whether humans are releasing fossil CO2 and causing a rise in its atmospheric concentration, nor that CO2, CH4 etc. are greenhouse gases. It is the degree to which +ve or -ve feedbacks result in a lot or a small amount of warming.

    in that context, evidence of strong -ve (diminishing) feedbacks would force me to conclude that future anthropogenic warming would be on the low end of forecasts, and if the -ve response was strong enough, could even lead to no further warming.

    However, the majority of data to date, both recent observations and palaeoclimate records, suggest that +ve (amplifying) feedbacks predominate. As such, the climate sensitivity of 2-4.5C seems robust.

    Tangible means you can touch it.

    Deterministic means, essentially, not random. Contrasts with stochastic.

    Climate models have deterministic skeletons (the maths-physics equations), which can lead to chaotic behaviour (mathematically, chaos is driven by deterministic functions but is highly sensitive to initial conditions), but they also have stochastic components that are typically imposed (parameterisations).

    Climate models simulate inherent variability, and climate measurements used to build them have unavoidable uncertainties. It’s the old axiom, “all models are wrong, some are useful”. Quantum mechanics also has irresolvable uncertainty, e.g. Heisenberg’s principle.

    In the broad sense, it is interesting and reassuring that AOGCMs consistently produce patterns like the ITCZ as an emergent property. The diagram on this page gives an interesting visual comparison of model vs observed precipitation, and the match is surprisingly good:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-3-1-2.html

    Essentially, the numerical weather prediction models used for 1-10 day forecasts have the same fundamental underpinnings as the GCMs applied for century-scale climate forecasts.

    However, the ensemble of IPCC AR4 models do produce some quite divergent predictions of future change under identical GHG scenarios – at least for some metrics. There tends to be strong agreement amongst temperature forecasts, for instance, but weak agreement or contradictory predictions with respect to changes in precipitation. A useful way to explore these inter-model similarities and differences is with the MAGICC/SCENGEN software—a useful tool to muck about with and test various assumptions (written by my good friend Tom Wigley):

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/wigley/magicc/

    M/SG can also be used for serious work – especially if the coarse-scale outputs are downscaled by coupling to statistical splines of met station data (I’ve done some of this as part of my work on biodiversity adaptation).

    Ben Santer’s fingerprinting work also look at a range of observed vs model outcomes:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/35/14778 (might be behind a paywall? – can’t tell from my Uni connection)
    http://www.clivar.org/organization/wgcm/wgcm-13/talks/monday/bsanter_idag.ppt (has most of the same figures)

    Gerald Meehl and colleagues have done a lot of work looking at the match of past/current climates and GCM outputs under different forcings – a type of fingerprinting called hindcasting (as opposed to forecasting). The match of observed to predicted temperatures, when all factors (natural and anthropogenic forcings) are simulated. Note that there is no ‘tuning’, other than forcings, and these are set at equilibrium conditions at the start of the model runs. The results are are quite impressive:

    http://cawcr.gov.au/bmrc/clfor/cfstaff/jma/meehl_additivity.pdf

    In the historical context, Spencer Weart provides a detailed and readable overview of the development and validation of GCMs:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/gcm.htm

  2. Your analogy works well because the power of science is not so much in theory as so many armchair philosophers have tried to argue but in the ways it acts on the world.

    Scientists are only powerful when they can step back and let their apparatuses do the talking for them – whether that’s in the laboratory or embedded in iPhones and GPSs.

    It’s scientific practice, stupid. This is why reducing science to ‘interests’ or theories like the Punch guy completely misses the point.

  3. Let’s be quite clear: ignorance is no excuse.

    Not knowing that it was my car that you stole would not save you from being beaten to death when I catch you. You know it is wrong, so don’t do it.

    The ultimate authorities have told us that our fossil emissions are bad for our descendants. Being ignorant of the details is irrelevant. If we emit fossil carbon, we must expect to be beaten to death by our descendants. You’ve been told, that’s enough to know. So don’t do it.

  4. It’s not difficult to understand that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as methane, cause warming, although there are other variables involved.

    It is also not difficult to understand that while there are fluctuations in the weather, it is long term climate trends that are important.

  5. There’s a lot more at issue than understanding. It’s a matter of trust. Very few people have the time and background needed to understand the science but they need to understand that scientists care about
    the truth and will sanction people who are misleading and deceptive. This isn’t happening.

    Consider the difference between what has happened in the vaccination “debate” and the climate change “debate” … the main star in the anti-vaccination lobby (Andrew Wakefield) has been stripped of the right to practice medicine in his homeland and denounced quite formally as fraudulent. If Ian Plimer weren’t being given a safe haven by McWha at Adelaide University his misleading and deceptive book might carry less weight.

    I’m not saying he shouldn’t be allowed to publish, he can publish and say whatever he likes, but he should not be allowed the credibility his official position gives while publishing rubbish. Because it is that credibility which is more important than the content of his book … as witnessed by the following frequently heard response: “He’s a Professor at the University, how could his book be the complete rubbish you say?”

  6. So Peter Lang – do you think Barry is,(to quote you) “pushing climate change alarmism and scaremongering” and is therefore fraudulent? You should be ashamed of yourself – and be careful of what you say and write in future.

  7. Many {Relatively few} people feel it is those pushing {warning of} the catastrophic climate change alarmism {serious and difficult to reverse risks to important ecosystem services} and scaremongering that are being fraudulent.

    Sometimes Peter needs help with his posts excluding strawman arguments and baseless claims. A handful of people are spamming cyberspace with unsubstantiated claims of fraudulent conduct by scientists. There is simply no evidence that any substantial number of people actually believe these claims and even those making them often contradict themselves,showing that they are repeating things they simply don’t understand and thus can’t really believe.

    At this stage, nobody supporting the IPCC position has been shown to have acted fraudulently in putting their case despite exhaustive inquiry in the UK and the US. In short, those who are best placed to know and declare on the matter have exposed this slander for the abuse of the truth in the service of culture war it is.

  8. “Maybe enough to understand the general prediction of increased droughts punctuated by extreme precipitation events.”

    DBB,

    Do you have any proof that extreme events are any more extreme?
    In my NOTW, since the AGW theory has been promoted we have never had it so good AFA weather extremes are concerned. Might be different where you are.

    Geoff Russell,

    You’re not referring to safe havens like UEA are you?

  9. “A handful of people are spamming cyberspace with unsubstantiated claims of fraudulent conduct by scientists.”

    Fran,

    Do you know what science is?

    “For a theory to be scientifically proven, it has to be stipulated and tested, and the test must be repeatable and give the same results in successive tests for the theory to be proven.

    “If not, it is not science, it is guessing.

    “More like a horoscope…”

  10. “At this stage, nobody supporting the IPCC position has been shown to have acted fraudulently in putting their case despite exhaustive inquiry in the UK and the US”

    Fran,

    There are lots of scientists concerned about warming who think that those inquiries were not as exhaustive as you claim. When there was no criticism of them or the IPCC for emails like this from Phil Jones:

    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    And the IPCC broke its own rules to accept papers prior to peer review and assigned high-status positions to untested researchers who happen to make claims which support the IPCC narrative of impending doom.

    To not be sceptical is being in denial of the real world. A state of disconnect.

  11. I’m inclined to believe the researchers who say that all fossil fuels will be in severe decline within a generation. Google names like Aleklett, Patzek, Heinberg and Rutledge. Others like Barry suggest unconventional hydrocarbons will take up the slack but a case by case look at logistics and other limiting factors suggests otherwise.

    Of the Peak Everything group some have access to GCM computation which comes up with AGW maxing at say 2.6C. The IPCC high emissions scenario that has man made CO2 increasing beyond 2050 is not plausible …. consult any of the authors mentioned. Anyway we might need to invent Category 6 or 7 cyclones if extreme weather gets even worse. Major southern cities are a smidgin off 50C summer temps. We’re just coping with 0.8C of warming not 2-3C.

  12. “Please don’t feed the trolls.Arguing with a troll is just an invitation for them to shit all over you”

    Podargus, check the name on this thread and check what constitutes a troll. Many sceptics believe in Nuclear Power. I happen to think that AGW, though it probably exists, may not only be a non-problem but [like NP] could be essential to our survival.

  13. SD, it might sound simple, but saying “there’s a completely natural increase of 0.5ºC per century”, without proposing any possible cause for this warming, is not even a hypothesis, let alone a theory.

    On the other side, we have a large group of highly qualified climate scientists who have proposed that it’s not natural, and who have also gone into great detail as to exactly *why* they think it is not natural, and what is most likely to be causing it.

    To dismiss that with a wave of the hand and a statement of “it’s all natural” is, to quote your earlier comment: “…not science, it is guessing. More like a horoscope…”

    Without any credible explanation, I’ll pay it about as much heed as a horoscope, too…

  14. It pains me to disagree with Barry but his arguments based on the relationship between Newton’s and Einstein’s theories concerning acceleration and the addition of velocities are inappropriate.

    The theories of Newton and Einstein can be tested well beyond the 3 sigma level that is expected in the “Hard sciences”. Climate “Science” on the other hand is annoyingly fuzzy.

  15. GC’s attempt to define science in terms of 3 sigma, or hard and soft, is a ploy designed to exclude much of what science is all about.

    Even the so-called hard sciences have their roots in much fuzzier pasts. Does that mean that Copernicus (for example) was wasting his time, or that what he was doing was not science?

    Were Watson and Crick not doing science as they wrestled with the nature of DNA? Are medical researchers who are seeking to combat malaria not doing science, despite immense frustration?

    Perhaps science is the study of the unknown, using all rational tools available.

    So, enough with that 3Sigma nonsense and the notion that just because something is not “hard science” then it is not science at all.

  16. Extreme events: For example Tamino carefully calculated that last summer’s heat wa ve in Russia was a 1 in 1000 year evernt until excess CO2 (thus warming) is taken into account whence it becomes a 1 to 240 year event.

    For another, see NOAA’s postings of record highs and record lows for verious places and ti8me intervals.

  17. Alarmism? UAE? Global food distribution has helped us smooth out disasters and we can handle crop failures that would have caused vast famine 150 years ago. But multiple events can swamp our capacity to cope. 1.2 million big animals died in the Pakistan floods this year … and 6 million poultry … even if you only care about the owners, this is a massive disaster. The technical impossibility of tieing individual events to climate change is just a definitional issue. We are seeing more extreme events. How can you be too alarmist about something which is killing people in the here and
    now and not quickly, but by starvation?

  18. Geoff Russel,

    There is zero evidence that a carbon price in Australia will change the climate. I don’t believe it will even cut world emissions, for the reasons I’ve laid out on the “Alternative to Carbon Pricing” thread. The arguments I’ve put been mostly uncontested let alone refuted.

    However, most BNCers and people of similar persuasion are arguing for a carbon price. It appears to me they are doing so to achieve more symbolic gestures, and for political reasons, rather than for sound policy reasons.

  19. “Without any credible explanation, I’ll pay it about as much heed as a horoscope, too…”

    Bern,

    Occam’s razor is a principle in science which generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions.

    You guys love to tout your science creds while all the time denying the science fundamentals.

  20. C’mon SD, radiative physics is well understood. Also the empirical evidence is loud and clear. As Barry pointed out there is a lot more energy in the system as a result of us dumping CO2 in the atmosphere. Eventually the system will reach equilibrium again, whether the ecosystem will then be benign for hairless primates , let alone countless other creatures, is the question.Somehow I doubt it very much.

  21. @SD, 6:10pm.
    Yep, the Brisbane floods were not unprecedented. They are quite possibly a 1-in-30 type event. But what is your point?

    If you are trying to demonstrate that extreme climate events will or will not be more frequent as the climate deteriorates, then this opinion will not be falsified or demonstrated by a single data point. That is the business of trends, statistics and climatologists. I, for one, think that the jury is still out as to whether the weather apocalypse has commenced. Plus or minus a bad season in Qld is just a fly speck on climate’s wall.

    Whether or not global climate is heading in that direction, is another question altogether. My feeling is “yes”, and this is based on what I perceive to be the collective advice of the resounding majority of true climatologists. Not climate nay-sayers, or climate deniers, but those trained and employed in the business of climate science.

  22. John,

    Ya mean this:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/15/russian-winter-severe-cold-to-invade-moscow-and-eastern-europe/

    compared with:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1353073/Winter-storm-Map-shows-Northern-Hemisphere-covered-snow-ice.html#ixzz1DytF0Zgq

    But as Lindzen says, if, with warming, the gradient between equator and poles is less steep [and that's what the GCMs predict] then weather will be less extreme, not more.

    unclepete,

    Radiative physics is possibly reasonably well understood in theory but the uncertainty monster has many heads in practice. It will be interesting to see what the argo floats really tell us about energy in the system and I hope the data can be given to a few different agencies to report on.

  23. @SD:
    Thanks for the WUWT web site stuff. I have placed a link in my Favourites.

    However, again, I am compelled to say that individual factoids, including funny little charts of winter temperatures from mid-England and particularly error-prone estimates of world cyclone intensity through a… wait for it… couple of years, provide no real insight into global climate change at all.

    Not a whit.

    Climate change, particularly global climate change, is the stuff of real experts, working together, pooling talents and resources across as many threads of the global climate tapestry as possible.

    Individual facts are, as stated above, just fly spots on climate’s wall. This is especially true when these facts come pre-sorted, cherry-picked and unaccredited.

    Why, when posting something about English warming, did SD not also post stuff from NOAA about 2010 being the hottest year for yonks globally? We all know the answer, don’t we? And we can all spot the bias of a troll from a distance.

    That’s it from me for this thread.

  24. And the more recent “unprecedented” past:

    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/hadley/Hadley-global-temps-1850-2010-web.jpg

    With 6billion people on the planet don’t you think it will warm a little even if we emitted no CO2?

    Even a lone koala in a tree is a heat island. A whale in the ocean. A polar bear in the Arctic.

    What heat do 6 billion humans with all their infrastructure create?

    Probably more than the current warming signal.

    Observe your car’s thermometer as you drive through the bush then come to a bitumen road, then come to a village, then come to a town, then come to a freeway, then come to a city.

    Everything we do, even without our CO2 emissions creates heat.

  25. Considering the cost, we should be critical:

    “The BOM claim their adjustments are “neutral” yet Ken Stewart showed that the trend in the raw figures for our whole continent has been adjusted up by 40%. The stakes are high. Australians could have to pay something in the order of $870 million dollars thanks to the Kyoto protocol, and the first four years of the Emissions Trading Scheme was expected to cost Australian industry (and hence Australian shareholders and consumers) nearly $50 billion dollars.
    Given the stakes, the Australian people deserve to know they are getting transparent, high quality data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). The small cost of the audit is nothing in comparison with the money at stake for all Australians. We need the full explanations of why individual stations have been adjusted repeatedly and non-randomly, and why adjustments were made decades after the measurements were taken. We need an audit of surface stations. (Are Australian stations as badly manipulated and poorly sited as the US stations? Who knows?)”

  26. Too many critics of the temperature record appear not to know what a temperature anomaly. is.

    It is not the absolute temperature measurement, it is the amount by which the measurement of that same station has increased or decreased compared to readings on the same days and times in previous years.

    This has the effect of cancelling out the effects of local siting, whether it’s near a road, high up a hill, by the coast etc, and changes due to the seasons, day/night etc, since we are looking at changes, not absolute measurements.

    The BOM takes considerable trouble to site stations well, see its document http://www.bom.gov.au/inside/oeb/networks/20131.pdf

  27. Oh, and drongo, the the sun has an average day/night heat energy output of about 250 watts for every square metre of the earth’s surface.

    When the heat energy output of all the humans, whales and koalas starts getting remotely near even one watt per square metre of the earth’s surface – the equivalent about one human for every 10 sq.m of land and sea – your remark might be slightly less stupidly irrelevant.

  28. David B. Benson, on 15 February 2011 at 9:31 AM said: “Extreme events: For example Tamino carefully calculated that last summer’s heat wa ve in Russia was a 1 in 1000 year evernt……..”

    Tamino is a statistician who can “prove” almost anything to his own satisfaction. Personally I am more impressed by what historians and archaeologists can tell us about extreme climate events.

    Here is a link concerning really hot summers that occurred in the 16th century:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/02/000208075420.htm

    Let’s not forget that it sometimes gets hot in Europe too:
    http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1500_1599.htm

    Consider the years 1538 to 1541 when there were major rivers around Europe that dried up from time to time. There were prolonged droughts over a wide area that ranged from Russia to Italy.

  29. John Bennetts, on 15 February 2011 at 8:16 AM said:
    “GC’s attempt to define science in terms of 3 sigma, or hard and soft, is a ploy designed to exclude much of what science is all about.”

    My statement was no “ploy” but a simple statement of fact. Personally, I will be delighted when climate “Science” matures to the point that it can make credible predictions but at present comparing it to the hard sciences is like comparing astrology to astronomy.

  30. “This has the effect of cancelling out the effects of local siting, whether it’s near a road, high up a hill, by the coast etc”

    And it needs to be checked. The period of warming just happens to coincide with the period of phenomenal increase in our infrastructure. When you measure up to 7c variation due to infrastructure change, do you believe this is being fully accounted for?

    And read what I wrote. It was about the heat generated by the infrastructure of 6 billion humans, not the animals.

  31. @Drongo

    And read what I wrote. It was about the heat generated by the infrastructure of 6 billion humans, not the animals.

    Unfortunately as you persist in spamming this thread, some people (with the patience of saints) are reading what you wrote.

    Before you mouth off with this nonsense, if you had any interest in facts and the truth, you would do an order of magnitude check.

    The world energy consumption in 2008 was 474 exajoules.

    The climate forcing from CO2 alone without feedbacks is 3.7 W/m^2 (Stefan Rahmstorf) per doubling of CO2. If we integrate that over the surface of the earth and one year to get the yearly excess energy due to CO2 forcing, we get ~59,500 exajoules.

    Your claims are off by two orders of magnitude.

    Will you please stop spamming these thread with nonsense.

  32. New definition of FUD, as exercised by SD:

    Fear, Uncertainty, Defamation.

    If SD was prepared to consider that which was placed before him and to build is knowledge, he would be welcome. Unfortunately, it all keeps coming back to childish efforts to justify an a priori position by grabbing at straws.

    It’s sad to see that this has continued this far, but some good has come of it… Mark D’s link demonstrates that global climate may have deteriorated more than I had realised.

  33. Great News !

    The Space and Science Research Center (SSRC) announces today that the most recent global temperature data through January 31, 2011 using NASA and NOAA weather satellites supports the previous forecast from the SSRC that a historic drop in global temperatures is under way and that the previously predicted climate change to one of a long and deep global cooling era has begun.

    http://www.spaceandscience.net/id16.html

  34. Like Barry, I thought Gordon was trying to be funny. As the SSRC is located in Orlando, only a few miles from my home, I will try to visit them.

    I learned a great deal by visiting the NCDC in Asheville last October. Maybe “Director Casey” will make as much sense as “Director Peterson” did.

  35. Quokka,

    Is it pretense or are you really this dumb?

    What I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter where or how the temperature is generated, if you have the official thermometer beside the “fire” you’re never gonna get the truth.

    And when Australians are living beside the “fire” more than their counterparts in the northern hemisphere they are possibly more perepared to accept inaccurate warming claims.

  36. The UAH temperature series shows a large drop in January
    ( http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/02/uah-update-for-january-2011-global-temperatures-in-freefall/ )

    and also a large drop in Sea Surface temperatures (same link), the SST data is from a NASA satellite.

    This is the same satellite data reported by the SSRC which Gordon linked to.

    Ms Perps dismissed this data by saying ” Trust genuine sources like NASA and NOAA on the subject of whether temperatures are increasing – hint – it is getting hotter ” which seems to me to be a bit odd, given that the NASA source is actually saying that SST is much colder.

    So I would like to see her counter evidence that the change which was accurately reported by Gordon has been disowned or corrected by NASA.

    After all, it’s the data which is important. It may be that the planet is warming, but the latest satellite and SST data doesn’t seem to say that, rather the reverse, perhaps, maybe..

  37. “No computer simulation can conclusively attribute a given snowstorm or flood to global warming. But with a combination of climate models, weather observations and a good dose of probability theory, scientists may be able to determine how climate warming changes the odds.”

    I wonder what the collective is for GCMs?

    A Gavin?

    Well this gavin of GCMs now claims that it’s AGW whether these extreme events are hotter or colder than normal, wetter or dryer than normal or more or less than normal and there I was thinking that to be scientific, all hypotheses had to be falsifiable.

    Would Karl Popper laugh or cry, do you think?

  38. @Drongo

    Is it pretense or are you really this dumb?
    What I’m saying is that it doesn’t matter where or how the temperature is generated, if you have the official thermometer beside the “fire” you’re never gonna get the truth.
    And when Australians are living beside the “fire” more than their counterparts in the northern hemisphere they are possibly more perepared to accept inaccurate warming claims.

    More bait and switch nonsense. Your ramblings are so vague that it’s exceptionally difficult to pin down exactly what you are saying – but that’s the way you like to do it – because you then attempt to disavow your previous claims when they are shown to be nonsense.

    If you are attempting to raise issues of weather station siting and urban heat island effect and imply that such issues have not been extensively studied and dealt with in the major global temperature records and the Australian record produced by the BOM, then you are telling porkies.

    In this 2003 paper Updating Australia’s high-quality annual temperature dataset, Della-Marta and Collins of BOM and Braganza of CSIRO detail the techniques used in addressing just such issues.

    And they deal with those issues via detailed data analysis and not by waving pictures of weather stations around and shouting “Urban Heat Island” in microWatts style.

    This paper
    On the reliability of the U.S. surface temperature recor
    deals with station siting in the US and concludes

    “Results indicate that there is a mean bias associated with poor exposure sites relative to good exposure sites; however, this bias is consistent with previously documented changes associated with the widespread
    conversion to electronic sensors in the USHCN during the last 25 years. Moreover, the sign of the bias is counterintuitive to photographic documentation of poor exposure because associated instrument changes have led to an artificial negative (“cool”) bias in maximum temperatures and only a slight positive (“warm”) bias in minimum temperatures.”

    In other words, bias in data from “poorly” sited stations has introduced a cooling in the max anomaly temperature record. Once again, this is via data analysis and not by wild claims based on a bunch of photographs.

    There is plenty of other literature on station siting too, if one only cares to look. As an issue that calls into question the validity of various temperature records. urban heat island is well and truly dead and buried.

  39. John Bennets kindly responded to my post on NASA sea surface temperatures as follows:

    “Novandilcosid has chosen to quote something by a known climate dolt (or worse). For more on Dr Roy Spencer, see http://www.desmogblog.com/roy-spencer. Talk about charlatan!”

    and later: “Anybody who cites Roy Spencer cannot express surprise that he is being treated as Dr Spencer deserves to be.”

    In debates I try to engage in substance rather than in personal attacks. The reason for this is that it is very easy, particularly in subjects where opinions are always going to be strongly held, to lambast the idiot who believes something wholly stupid. We are all human, and it is a human tendency to do this.

    But we all also make mistakes. It is my experience that it is all too easy to overlook something and saddle up the white horse, ride into the attack, and discover you forgot the lance.

    In these debates it is important to engage in the substance of the other idiot’s argument. Sometimes the other idiot is actually saying something sensible, something previously overlooked.

    Now I can’t claim total infallibility. It may be that my post, which asked the question “has the SST data been disowned or corrected by NASA?” is silly. I wouldn’t know.

    Perhaps John would like to address this question, which is the substantive issue on the table.

  40. Finrod most kindly responded to my post above with the highly intelligent observation: “It would appear that novandilcosid has just admitted that he has no idea what he is talking about.”

    There is a series of posts on Sea Surface Temperatures.
    Gordon linked to a site which posted the NASA temperature data.
    Ms Perps denied the data, saying one should only trust NASA data.
    I pointed out that the data was NASA’s, and asked if NASA had repudiated or amended the data.

    That question is still on the table. At present, there being no refutation, the statement that the latest NASA data shows a considerable drop in Sea Surface Temperatures stands.

    Perhaps Finrod would care to address the substantive issue.

  41. Oh for pete’s sake. Is it really so hard to understand high frequency oscillations superimposed on a trend? In this case, the current downward spike is largely a manifestation of the current highly intense La Niña event (thus mirroring the high spike caused by El Niña in 1998), and was identified and even predicted as such by none other than Dr Roy Spencer, amongst myriad others.

    So, SD and novandilcosid, your point is…?

  42. Mark Duffett helpfully respoded on topic, with:
    ” Is it really so hard to understand high frequency oscillations superimposed on a trend? In this case, the current downward spike is largely a manifestation of the current highly intense La Niña event (thus mirroring the high spike caused by El Niña in 1998), and was identified and even predicted as such by none other than Dr Roy Spencer, amongst myriad others.

    So, SD and novandilcosid, your point is…?”

    I think the original substantive discussion was whether the data is valid, which I assert and with which Mark agrees. I agree that it may show a “high frequency” oscillation superimposed on a long term trend.

    Mark mentioned La Nina and El Nino. These seem to be large natural swings in the climate pattern (hard to be sure with a chaotic system). Are there any thoughts on what the natural forcing agents are?

  43. ” urban heat island is well and truly dead and buried”

    Podargus,

    I think that link from Jo Nova and the NIWA fiasco shows how dead and buried UHI is.

    The fact is that the people who advocate AGW, who are the most financially rewarded, who are the “gatekeepers”, also make the “adjustments”.

    Now when we have already spent billions, with more trillions to come, based on a very obscure signal during a time of natural recovery from a cold era, I am absolutely gobsmacked that people like yourselves who claim to be interested in the future of the planet, are not the least bit sceptical of this potential, if not real, carpet-baggery.

    JB,

    If you watched the ball for a change you would see that as even Mark D says, they all agree but I suppose that’s no reason to stop villifying Roy Spencer.

  44. SD:

    Mark D says that Dr Roy agrees on one issue. Not all issues. This indicates the type of logical inconsistencies which infect your writings. A fly speck is not a universal truth – it is a fly speck.

    On most matters, Dr Roy is also a fly speck.

    I know that you are being intentionally obtuse, prepared to insult, determinedly ignorant of integrated analysis and generally a nigger in the woodpile. We are all capable of that if we try. Unfortunately, your form indicates that you are stuck in this fruitless rut, intent on FUD and prepared to quote anything or anybody, regardless of ethical or theoretical foundation and without relevance and context.

    One thing I will say in your favour, though – you are nothing if not consistent.

  45. “On most matters, Dr Roy is also a fly speck.”

    Well JB, you are yourself incredibly consistent at the unfair and moronic practice of playing the man and not the ball.

    Care to list these “matters” and your reasons?

  46. @Drongo

    I think that link from Jo Nova and the NIWA fiasco shows how dead and buried UHI is.

    You’ve got it right for once. The fact that only crank web sites bang on interminably about UHI, while real science has methodically dealt with the issue of weather station siting providing the best obtainable adjustments in all the major temperature temperature records is surely an indication that the inflation of the importance of UHI is a tactic of politically motivated cranks.

    Readers should be aware that NIWA in December 2010 released the results of an extensive review of the NZ annual temperature trend. The work was peer reviewed by Australia’s BOM.

    The results – minor changes to the record, but no discernible change to the previously reported long term trend as shown in this chart:

    http://www.niwa.co.nz/__data/assets/image/0003/108930/varieties/gallery.jpg

    The full 167 page extremely detailed report is available here: http://www.niwa.co.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/108934/Report-on-the-Review-of-NIWAas-Seven-Station-Temperature-Series_v3.pdf

    Why reference to the activities of cranks and fools in NZ by an Australian crank website should be taken as evidence of anything other than the existence of a surplus of cranks and fools is rather difficult to comprehend.

  47. So quokka, the similarity of the BoM auditing and approving of NIWA’s actions with the UEA old boys auditing and approving of the UEA climategate debacle doesn’t strike you as anything to worry about?

    CAGW promoters auditing CAGW promoters?

    Because if you can’t see a conflict of interest there, I have to point out that the average informed person is just not that dumb.

    Then to refer to them as cranks and fools, reflects only on yourself.

    When did Caesar judging Caesar suddenly become part of due diligence?

  48. To paraphrase Geoff Sherington:

    The purpose of an audit is twofold; 1/ to see that the numbers are a proper reflection of the original records and 2/ because of the huge cost involved it is essentially a financial audit. Accounting, not about attributing motives.

  49. @novandilcosid

    A number of people have posted on Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect.
    My favourite demonstration of this effect is this post at Warwick Hughes’s site: http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=575
    This shows a 2 degree UHI in a town of 227 inhabitants.

    It’s a pity you did not take heed of it. Let me repeat it for you. Siting of weather stations has long been recognized as an issue by scientists compiling temperature records. Through careful data analysis, methods have been used to remove bias from the records induced by issues of siting, changes in instrumentation and instrumentation drift.

    This has been done for thousands of stations over countless data points for records stretching over many decades. The methodology has been published in a number of papers and it available for anybody to examine.

    Instead of spamming with anecdotes about somebodies country outing, why don’t you actually read the available scientific literature and raise questions or issues that you feel are relevant.

  50. @Drongo,

    To paraphrase Geoff Sherington:
    The purpose of an audit is twofold; 1/ to see that the numbers are a proper reflection of the original records and 2/ because of the huge cost involved it is essentially a financial audit. Accounting, not about attributing motives.

    Audits, strangely enough, are generally carried out by accountants. Governments when seeking advice on science perceived to be of significant public interest, strangely enough generally turn to scientists. There is probably no recorded instance of governments seeking scientific advice from accountants.

    Very frequently national governments turn to their national science academies, whose membership consists of many of the most eminent and senior scientists of their respective nations, for expert advice and reports.

    As you should well know national academies across the planet have spoken with one voice about the reality of AGW. The “audit” has been and gone and you missed it.

    In the bizarre event of an audit office being called upon to provide scientific advice, it would clearly need to draw on outside scientific expertise. And who would be the logical first port of call for that – the national academy.

    Which all seems rather pointless and circular, but guaranteed to waste a fair of public money and more importantly time. But that is the whole point of this nonsense, isn’t it?

  51. “As you should well know national academies across the planet have spoken with one voice about the reality of AGW.”

    You mean through the IPCC/hockey team filter as per the climategate emails such as I listed above from Phil Jones:

    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    You lot are in really serious denial if you think that is the right attitude to sorting out a difficult problem.

  52. I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    Any suitably malicious person can steal some private emails, pick a few bits out of context and twist them for their own purposes. In this case, the facts are these:

    - The two papers in question were McKitrick, R. and P.J. Michaels, 2004: A test of corrections for extraneous signals in gridded surface temperature data. Climate Research,26, 159-173 and Soon, W. and Baliunas, S., 2003: Proxy climatic and environmental changes of the past 1000 years. Clim. Res. 23, 89-110.

    - Both these papers were shown by independent peer review to have serious flaws. The Soon and Baliunas paper was only published because of an editorial failure and the journal subsequently repudiated it. Phil Jones’ misgivings were entirely justified.

    - Both these papers were in fact referenced in the IPCC AR4 report, contrary to Phil Jones’ expectation. As a new reviewer that year, he had misunderstood that the job of the IPCC was not to pick-and-choose “good” papers, but to assess the whole body of climate studies and knowledge that existed at that time and come to a detailed overall view.

    Kevin Trenberth has given his own account here.

    Any suitably interested person can read the entire IPCC report at http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.shtml and decide for themselves whether the report gives a true and fair view or not.

  53. Come on, SD. Be a man. Admit that Phil Jones’s email is not what you, and others, said that it was and that, under the circumstances, his comment was entirely justified.

    I suggest a simple “Thanks, turnages. I now see that I misunderstood the true meaning of Phil Jones’s email.”

  54. Quokka stated:
    “Audits, strangely enough, are generally carried out by accountants. ”

    This claim is untrue.
    There are many non-financial audits conducted. For example most organisations have quality system audits annually.
    Virtually every engineering activity is audited, from preliminary design, through to final design, the auditing of tests to ensure that all specifications are tested, the auditing of the tested sample to ensure that drawings and parts lists comply with what was tested, and so on.

    If mitigating climate change was to be undertaken as an engineering activity, then at the preliminary stages the entire set of assertions and assumptions would be subjected to audit scrutiny to determine where uncertainty exists and where additionalo research is required.

    Many engineers are sceptical of the claims made in climate science, for the reason that such audits have not been performed, and where they have been done there appear to be deficiencies and great uncertainty.

    Peer review is often touted as if it was audit. Such reviews would not be of acceptable standard in engineering. It is also true that peer review has been abused in Climate Science in two ways:
    1. To shut out dissent;
    2. To give on-message papers an easy ride

    To see these faults (which are human) one only has to read the climategate emails, and also the latest incident involving Dr Steig. (See the front cover of this week’s Spectator).

  55. Quokka replied to my post on Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect as follows:
    “Instead of spamming with anecdotes about somebodies country outing, why don’t you actually read the available scientific literature and raise questions or issues that you feel are relevant.”

    I would like to thank Quokka for his response.

    In my original post, I cited a link http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=575 to an interesting experiment, where Warwick Hughes strapped a thermometer onto his car and drove through Barmedman, a 227 person town in NSW Australia.

    I think it is interesting because it shows what a large magnitude effect it is. Certainly the size of the effect suprised me.

    I know that many here believe that UHI has been adequately addressed in the climate literature. However it remains the fact that the seminal paper by Jones and Wang in 1990 was very flawed (to the point of accusations of academic fraud), and that the supporting data for this paper, which derives an exeedingly low UHI adjustment, has never been published. This paper is still being cited as the final authority on this subject, but there are also other peer-reviewed papers in the literature which claim that UHI is being underestimated.

    One of the most recent of these, which debunked the 2009 criticism by Gavin Schmidt in 2009 of McKitrick and Michaels 2007 , has been accepted for publication.

    One cannot say that the process of scientific audit of UHI is complete. As is normal, claims and counter claims are being made, and at present the final word is with thise who claim that it is under allowed for in the temperature data.

  56. Gregory Meyerson replied to my post on audit (where I criticised peer-review for being insufficiently rigorous as an audit mechanism) as follows:
    “what does the “stieg” incident have to do with shutting out dissent or giving papers an easy ride?

    here’s stieg:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/odonnellgate/#more-6764

    perhaps you can post the charge from CA.”

    I thank Gregory Meyerson for his question.

    I think the details of the process leading to publication of the O’Donnell et al paper are now quite well known.

    The journal editor, in my view, was wrong in appointing the lead author (Steig) as a reviewer of a paper highly critical of his paper. A more proper procedure would be to seek INDEPENDENT review and a rebuttal paper from the original authors. Otherwise the process is open to “gatekeeping”.

    It is clear that Steig did his best to delay or prevent publication of this critical paper. (Only natural. That’s why the Nature editor was wrong.)

    Science is best served by getting the discussion out in the open. In this case, it was nearly shut out of the literature.

    The recent infamous case involving innoculation demonstrates that it is not only Climate Science where peer-review is on the nose. There is considerable discussion in the science community on how to best address the problems of peer-review.

    For what it’s worth, I think that the review process should be anonymous and confidential (including the author’s name), but that the entirety of that pre-publication correspondence, including the names of the participants, should be made available to everyone on the journal’s archive site post-publication. Together with the actual data and code used in the paper itself.

  57. @novandilcosid

    In my original post, I cited a link http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=575 to an interesting experiment, where Warwick Hughes strapped a thermometer onto his car and drove through Barmedman, a 227 person town in NSW Australia.
    I think it is interesting because it shows what a large magnitude effect it is. Certainly the size of the effect suprised me.

    What a load of old rubbish. This kind of stuff would fail a high school science assignment. You are talking about data from ONE DAY for ONE SITE with no attempt to put error bars on the data, no attempt to consider confounding factors and no grounds whatsoever for attribution. Fools that produce such nonsense should be compelled to take an undergraduate lab subject in any science.

    I know that many here believe that UHI has been adequately addressed in the climate literature. However it remains the fact that the seminal paper by Jones and Wang in 1990 was very flawed (to the point of accusations of academic fraud), and that the supporting data for this paper, which derives an exeedingly low UHI adjustment, has never been published. This paper is still being cited as the final authority on this subject, but there are also other peer-reviewed papers in the literature which claim that UHI is being underestimated.

    More nonsense. You are just making stuff up. In fact Jones revisited the 1990 work in a 2008 paper and the reanalysis showed almost identical trend to the 1990 paper

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008JD009916.shtml

    The paper is paywalled but SkepticalScience has reproduced a chart showing the results from Jones 1990 and 2008 and four other analysis of the Chinese data including studies using both homogenized and non-homogenized data. They all show the same trend

    The SkepticalScience page also references several other papers dealing with UHI and station siting:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/urban-heat-island-effect-intermediate.htm

    Furthermore, on this thread I have already provided a reference to Menne (2010) and to the papers detailing the production of both the Aus and NZ annual temperature records.

    Your assertion that Jones (1990) “is still being cited as the final authority on this subject” is completely untrue. A less charitable observer would very likely use stronger terms.

    Go and do your homework before spreading mischievous nonsense.

  58. All temperature records show very similar trend – and it’s going up

    The truly remarkable feature of all the nonsense, half-truths and downright lies about temperature records spread by politically obsessed cranks (and there are are plenty of examples on this thread) is that there are no records in existence that do not show a similar warming trend.

    SkepticalScience has produced a chart showing the ten most important records including surface temperature, satellite temperature and re-analysis products: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Ten-temperature-records-in-a-single-graphic.html

    All records show a similar trend.

    Moving away from what one may call “official science” to “blog science” a number of bloggers also have had a go:

    SkepticalScience has kindly produced a summary here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Assessing-global-surface-temperature-reconstructions.html

    All of these also show a similar trend and and the trend is very similar to the major accepted records.

    Somewhat interesting is the work of Jeff Id and RomanM both raving contrarians that also shows a similar trend. In fact it shows a higher trend than CRUTEM. Ouch, that must have stung, but credit where credit is due for their integrity.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/romans-temperature-reconstruction-higher-trends-than-hadcrut/

  59. Wow. Two weeks without internet access and I come back to an article with the comments section more full of rubbish than I’ve seen on this site since Barry closed comments on this thread over a year ago (though I see that that thread has been reopened now).

    A challenge to the “dissenters”: reference something from the peer-reviewed literature to support your argument for once.

  60. Tom Keen

    A challenge to the “dissenters”: reference something from the peer-reviewed literature to support your argument for once.

    Challenge number 2:

    Produce a temperature record where does not show an upward trend similar to the well established records. The “dissenters” have had two decades to do this and the result – a big fat nothing.

  61. Still spouting that So-called Sceptical Science?

    Yes by all means stay well clear of SkepticalScience where they place a very high value on peer-reviewed science and authoritative sources.

    It is no place for cranks and defamers.

  62. “A challenge to the “dissenters”: reference something from the peer-reviewed literature to support your argument for once.”

    Tom Keen,

    How about 800 or so?

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    And when the gatekeepers stack the review board with the CAGWers that are being criticised, peer review for sceptics is not the cakewalk it is for CAGWers:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/17/peer-review-pal-review-and-broccoli/

    But that wouldn’t even occur to you scorn-pourers.

  63. quokka: if you’re going to offer a temperature challenge, don’t forget to include your scale parameters. Otherwise, the denialists will pick a graph over a multi million year span to “disprove” your argument.

    SD: name one climate scientist who would disagree with that last graph, which is designed to truncate and render insignificant the period that is relevant to climate scientists in this discussion.

    Your thesis depends upon attributing massive blindness/fraud to thousands of climate scientists while viewing yourself and other libertarian followers of Koch brother types as Galileos.

    As far as stieg, I thought the article was accepted and the head editors of the journal in certain particulars did not follow stieg’s recommendations.

    As stieg shows, he was actually quite complementary of the article. And either way, isn’t this about the warming of Antarctica?

  64. quokka and Co,
    You make fun of Spangled Drongo but he answered your challenge pretty well. How about dropping the name calling for once. Let’s hear a reasoned response on at least the following questions:

    Why do the ice core records (GISP, GRIP, Vostok etc.) show that most of the Holocene was warmer than today?

    Why is the Eocene “Climate Optimum” called that?

  65. When posting I try to avoid derogatory name-calling. This is because it is so easy to slip into the following sort of dialogue:

    This is True.
    No it isn’t, see here.
    Your post stinks.
    Not as much as your garbage.
    Rubbishmonger!
    Charlatan!
    Moronic Cretin!
    Low-Life Pond-Dwelling Illegitimate!

    In such dialogues, the only worthwhile bit is the initial exchange. The debate then gets buried in noise.
    Giving in to the urge to insult the other idiot is very easy, restraint and being polite is very hard. I try to remember that everyone in the debate has their own point of view, often strongly held. So I try to be polite, to respect their individuality. Sometimes I fail…badly.

    There is a second point here. Blogs such as this attract “lurkers”. Often these are people with no fixed strong view. If they read a thread where one side of the debate is being polite and forebearing, and the other resorts to personal attack, whose posts will the Lurkers read?

  66. Quokka responded to my post on UHI inj part as follows:

    “@novandilcosid

    In my original post, I cited a link http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=575 to an interesting experiment, where Warwick Hughes strapped a thermometer onto his car and drove through Barmedman, a 227 person town in NSW Australia.
    I think it is interesting because it shows what a large magnitude effect it is. Certainly the size of the effect suprised me.

    What a load of old rubbish. This kind of stuff would fail a high school science assignment. You are talking about data from ONE DAY for ONE SITE with no attempt to put error bars on the data, no attempt to consider confounding factors and no grounds whatsoever for attribution. Fools that produce such nonsense should be compelled to take an undergraduate lab subject in any science.”

    I think the attack on Warwick Hughes is unfair and unwarranted. There was no attempt on his part to hide the limitations in the data set or collection method. See the comments on his site.

    Whilst I agree with the thrust of the claimed limitations of this data, I see no effort being applied to follow up on such pointers with a scientific study. Where is the study of an isolated small hamlet and its surrounds over time?

  67. Quokka went on to say:

    “[Novandilcosid] I know that many here believe that UHI has been adequately addressed in the climate literature. However it remains the fact that the seminal paper by Jones and Wang in 1990 was very flawed (to the point of accusations of academic fraud), and that the supporting data for this paper, which derives an exeedingly low UHI adjustment, has never been published. This paper is still being cited as the final authority on this subject, but there are also other peer-reviewed papers in the literature which claim that UHI is being underestimated.”

    [Quokka] More nonsense. You are just making stuff up. In fact Jones revisited the 1990 work in a 2008 paper and the reanalysis showed almost identical trend to the 1990 paper

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2008JD009916.shtml

    The paper is paywalled but SkepticalScience has reproduced a chart showing the results from Jones 1990 and 2008 and four other analysis of the Chinese data including studies using both homogenized and non-homogenized data. They all show the same trend

    The SkepticalScience page also references several other papers dealing with UHI and station siting:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/urban-heat-island-effect-intermediate.htm

    Furthermore, on this thread I have already provided a reference to Menne (2010) and to the papers detailing the production of both the Aus and NZ annual temperature records.

    Your assertion that Jones (1990) “is still being cited as the final authority on this subject” is completely untrue. A less charitable observer would very likely use stronger terms.”

    The Jones et al paper was cited in IPCC AR4 in 2007. There is a highly critical appraisal of the paper here: http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/03/phil-jones-and-the-china-network-part-1/ with additional history here: http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/04/phil-jones-and-the-china-network-part-2/ and here: http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/06/phil-jones-and-the-china-network-part-3/

    The McKitrick and Michaels 2007 paper is here: http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/jgr07/M&M.JGRDec07.pdf This paper claims on statistical grounds that a significant fraction of th observed warming is in fact underaccounted UHI.

    The history of this paper is here: http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/temperature-data-quality.html

  68. Quokka made the following challenge:
    “Produce a temperature record where does not show an upward trend similar to the well established records. The “dissenters” have had two decades to do this and the result – a big fat nothing.”

    This is an interesting challenge from several points of view.

    Firstly, I know of no-one who would challenge that the planet has warmed since 1870. [Attribution of cause is much more controversial, with several big contenders.]

    Secondly, there is an implication in the question that the temperature records are error free. This is not the case. There are many Climate Scientists who think that there are large uncertainties in the published series. There is now a push to establish another independent, and truly open, series.

    Thirdly, there is an implication in the question that it is only the last couple of hundred years temperature records which are important. But the demise of the Hockey Stick means that all the other papers on the MWP and the LIA (abourt 500 or so) come to the fore ( see http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/description.php ). These establish that the MWP was warmer than now. Furthermore there is very good evidence for the preceding warm periods every thousand years or so. Once again there is the dual problem of uncertainty and attribution.

  69. @novandilcosid

    Firstly, I know of no-one who would challenge that the planet has warmed since 1870.

    Utterly disingenuous. It’s all over the crank blogosphere – interminably. This thread is a microcosm.

    Secondly, there is an implication in the question that the temperature records are error free.

    Stop being stupid. Go and look at the error bars on GISSTemp. There will always be uncertainty and absolute precision is forever unattainable.

    This is not the case. There are many Climate Scientists who think that there are large uncertainties in the published series. There is now a push to establish another independent, and truly open, series.

    GISSTemp is produced from the freely available GHCN station data, GISSTemp is documented in a number of freely available papers. The source code for the software is freely available. How much more open can you get?

    You are talking crank nonsense.

    Thirdly, there is an implication in the question that it is only the last couple of hundred years temperature records which are important.

    More complete drivel. Paleoclimate is hugely important part of climatology. In fact it is one of the three pillars of understanding how the climate may change. The other two being direct observation and modelling.

    However we do live in the here and now and the huge disruptions to climate due to human activities are of paramount importance.

  70. @novandilcosid

    I think the attack on Warwick Hughes is unfair and unwarranted. There was no attempt on his part to hide the limitations in the data set or collection method. See the comments on his site.

    Or really? Then why is the page heading “Errors in IPCC Climate Science” ?

  71. Quokka responded to my post on temperature as follows:
    “@novandilcosid

    Firstly, I know of no-one who would challenge that the planet has warmed since 1870.

    [Quokka] Utterly disingenuous. It’s all over the crank blogosphere – interminably. This thread is a microcosm”

    I would like to see a direct quote. As far as I can tell, while there is considerable disquiet over the changes to the temperature record and the ditching of the original measurements, the fact of temperature increase since 1870 is not in dispute.

  72. Quokka went on:
    “[novandilcosid] Secondly, there is an implication in the question that the temperature records are error free.

    [Quokka] Stop being stupid. Go and look at the error bars on GISSTemp. There will always be uncertainty and absolute precision is forever unattainable. ”

    I think that the disquiet is more over the differences between the temperature series, the loss of the original data, the strangeness of some of the adjustments at some sites, the quality of some sites (over 80% of US sites are +/- 2DegF or worse), the omission of some sites still in operation, the inclusion of sites which will be affected by UHI etc. In short, Quality Control (which also implies Audit) is in some series quite poor.
    See http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1653928 for example, but there are many other critiques.

  73. Quokka also continued:
    “[novandilcosid] Thirdly, there is an implication in the question that it is only the last couple of hundred years temperature records which are important.

    [Quokka] More complete drivel. Paleoclimate is hugely important part of climatology. In fact it is one of the three pillars of understanding how the climate may change. The other two being direct observation and modelling.”

    I am pleased to note that Quokka acknowledges that the Natural system is quite variable, and has been responsible for similar warming (and subsequent cooling) periods in the past, some of which appear to have been considerably more intense than the present episode.

  74. Finally Quokka posted:
    “However we do live in the here and now and the huge disruptions to climate due to human activities are of paramount importance.”

    It is true (so far as we can tell) that CO2 has increased by around 33% in the last hundred years. An acquaintance of mine said that he couldn’t believe that there would be no consequences.

    While there are many many systems where a small change like that has zero measurable effect, in the case of CO2 we know that the direct effects are:
    1. Temperature increase
    2. Effects on land biology
    3. Effects on marine biology

    Taking these in turn:
    1. The supposed temperature effect of CO2 is based on science which is not settled. Although there is considerable agreement on a 1DegC rise for a doubling of CO2, any higher rise due to “feedback” effects is strongly in dispute.
    2. The effects on land biology are not in dispute. They are all positive. For a doubling of CO2 you get 40% greater crop yields under all climatic conditions. See the database at http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php
    3. The effects on ocean biology are in dispute. Much has been written about Ocean Neutralisation (the correct scientific term), but there are many papers which show that sea organisms, like land organisms, are starved of CO2, and could do better with a bit more. See http://www.co2science.org/data/acidification/acidification.php

    Note that I have not addressed the oft-touted secondary consequences of temperature change (glaciers melting, ice sheets melting, seas rising, polar bears dying, seals surviving and so forth). Let’s sort out the temperature rise first! When that is no longer in dispute in the Climate Science community, then we can possibly look at these other uncertainties. But I would point ouit that in the past Warmer = More Prosperous. (Not in dispute by Archaeologists.)

  75. novandilcosid,

    With many but not all CAGWers, the more you are insulted, scorned and abused the more you know you are making your point. It is really the only gauge with the foolish but even so it is probably a WoT.

    The main problem with the GHG theory when it gets down to the basics of back radiation and feedbacks is that the level of scientific understanding is low yet the gatekeepers want to impress on us that they are completely across it.

    When even honest scientists like Einstein couldn’t work out radiation but at least admitted it, why would the informed public have faith in the climategatekeepers and go along with dubious, expensive policies derived from their GCMs.

    http://www.worldsci.org/pdf/abstracts/abstracts_5711.pdf

    When these climategatekeepers’ emails were laid bare and their attempts at cheating were exposed, their credibility as honest, independent scientists was shot to pieces and will never recover.

    And now, this is why everything they put forward needs to be audited by a body of scientists that can be seen to be honest.

    Like justice. Needs to be seen to be done.

  76. Quokka posted:
    “@novandilcosid

    I think the attack on Warwick Hughes is unfair and unwarranted. There was no attempt on his part to hide the limitations in the data set or collection method. See the comments on his site.

    [Quokka] Or really? Then why is the page heading “Errors in IPCC Climate Science” ?”

    Quokka is correct that I cited a really interesting post from someone who believes the IPCC reports are riddled with errors. That is no reason to make an unfair and unwarranted attack – it just demeans Quokka – the substance, not the man, that’s the important thing.

    I think Quokka has strongly held views. I think he is worth debating as he is prepared to make an argument and support it, (unlike some others here who seem to concentrate on vacuous sniping.) I would like to commend Quokka for taking the trouble to engage in debate.

    But I also think his personal attacks lower his standing. If he could try harder to edit these thoughts out, then his posts would be more useful.

  77. Only because there is no open thread at the moment …

    Heads up on a couple of Green Functions in Sydney that some at BNC might like to attend.

    1. Gasland movie — examines the problems in the US associated with Coal Seam Gas, fracking etc …

    Date/Time: 1PM Saturday 5 March 2011
    Venue: Boronia Grove, 49 Rawson St Epping (opposite Coles and adjacent to Car Park)

    RSVP: epping@nsw.greens.org.au or simply turn up.

    Cate Faerman, Greens MLC will be in attendance to answer questions on issues related to CSG harvest in NSW.

    2. Climate Solutions Forum — examines the problems in the US associated with Coal Seam Gas, fracking etc …

    Date/Time: 2PM Saturday 12 March 2011
    Venue: Shepherds Bay Community Centre, 3 Bay Drive, Meadowbank

    RSVP: ryde@nsw.greens.org.au or simply turn up.

    Speakers: Mark Diesendorf, Deputy Director Institute of Environmental Studies, UNSW, David Shoebridge Greens MLC

    Could I urge those who attend and who share with me the consensus at this site that nuclear power is foundational to any effective and maintainable clean energy future or climate solution behave in an exemplary fashion and resit the temptation to engage in what fair minded persons might interpret as uncivil or hectoring conduct?

    While I certainly understand the momentary satisfaction that attends exposing someone uttering credulous nonsense in public, unless one stays on the right side of the line that divides disruptive behaviour from fair comment, not only does this give those in attendance something other than one’s important point to consider, but it also increases the difficulty that those of us in the party who support a review of the party’s stance on nuclear power in having a normal discussion about the feasibility of the technology in an Australian context.

    We have come to a point in which those seen as honest brokers by The Greens (e.g. Penny Sackett, Tim Flannery) have begun to urge consideration of nuclear power, and even just this morning on The Insiders, Sarah Hansen-Young, while repeating the party line on nuclear power, defined the deal breakers as proliferation and waste handling, with the emphasis on the latter when pressed.

    Speaking as a Green I would always urge those who share The Greens’ concerns over matters of equity, human rights, the environment to join us, but I would note that this is an especially good time for those who share the above perspectives with The Greens but see nuclear power as important to join. I think it is fairly obvious that if The Greens’ were to do no more than abandon their express anti-nuclear stance and declare it “one of the options under certain conditions” that the entire picture for nuclear power in this country would be rapidly transformed.

    If we can keep that, and the efforts of those within The Greens’ to effect a change in policy in mind as we attend that forum, that would be most helpful.

  78. Seeing as some people just can’t resist bringing up the stolen CRU emails (in which all offical inquiries cleared them of any breaches of academic integrity), I think it’s only fair to mention the integrity of some other players in the “climate debate”.

    novandilcosid, see this paper for an assessment of the validity of the McKitrick and Michaels (2007) paper, and the influences of anthropogenic surface processes. Bottom line is: “there is no compelling evidence from these correlations of any large-scale contamination“.

    spangled drongo said:

    And when the gatekeepers stack the review board with the CAGWers that are being criticised, peer review for sceptics is not the cakewalk it is for CAGWers

    So all of the following fields consist of “CAGWer gatekeepers”? – Climatology, Meteorology, Atmospheric dynamics, Atmospheric physics, Atmospheric chemistry, Solar physics, Historical climatology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, Geology, Soil Science, Oceanography, Glaciology, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction, Ecology, Synthetic biology, Biochemistry, Global change biology, Biogeography, Ecophysiology, Ecological genetics, Applied mathematics, Mathematical modelling, Computer science, Numerical modelling, Bayesian inference, Mathematical statistics, Time series analysis, and all of the relevant sub-disciplines?
    (List is from this post)

    All of these fields are corrupted. Is that what you are saying?

    And posting a list of papers which purport to “support skepticism of AGW” is not the same thing as using the findings of the peer-reviewed literature to support an argument. That would be like me posting a link to, say, “30,000 papers which support the core findings in climate science” while on the topic of UHI.

    So, can you provide a link to a peer reviewed paper in which the temperature record does not show an upward trend?

  79. Tiom Keen kindly posted:
    “novandilcosid, see this paper [http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2009/2009_Schmidt_3.pdf ] for an assessment of the validity of the McKitrick and Michaels (2007) paper, and the influences of anthropogenic surface processes. Bottom line is: “there is no compelling evidence from these correlations of any large-scale contamination“.

    Tom has linked to Gavin Schmidt’s commentary on the M&M paper. M&M have a comprehensive rebuttal of Gavin’s remarks in press at the moment (accepted peer-reviewed paper, see http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/final_jesm_dec2010.formatted.pdf ). It should be noted that the International Journal of Climate, in which Gavin had his paper published, refused to allow M&M to comment on his criticisms.

    Now I think that is very strange science indeed. McKitrick’s take on this is here: http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/temperature-data-quality.html

    in part:
    “The paper provides a complete and thorough refutation of Schmidt’s critique. Why JESM? First, because it is a journal that focuses on the critical evaluation of policy-relevant databases, and its editors and reviewers have considerable econometric depth, and this paper is fundamentally an application of econometrics to the evaluation of data quality. Second, we submitted the paper to the IJOC in April 2009, on the assumption that, having published Schmidt’s paper, they were interested in the topic. Evidently their interest only extends to analyses that support IPCC views. After 10 months we found out that IJOC was rejecting our paper on the basis of some inane referee reports to which Nico and I were not given a chance to reply. We did anyway, and if anyone thinks the rejection by IJOC amounts to a knock against our paper, please read our response letter for some perspective. Whether or not the IJOC editors read it, they refused to reconsider our paper. Interestingly, we learned from the Climategate release that Schmidt’s paper, which focuses on defending Phil Jones’ CRU data against its various critics, was sent by the IJOC Editors to be reviewed by Phil Jones of the CRU. As you can imagine his review was shallow and uncritical, but evidently impressed the editors of IJOC. They didn’t ask deLaat or me to supply a review, nor did they invite us to contribute a response. Every interaction I have had over the years with the IJOC has left me very unimpressed.”

  80. Uncle Pete said:

    I would love to join your cause Fran, but aren’t the greens irrational watermelons ? :)

    and Tom Keen added:

    I’m not into ad hominems, but… yes

    No. On most issues we are closer to good sense and ethics than any organised party in any parliament. The nuclear power issue is for us close to an accident of history and demography. We urgently need people who can bring good sense on nuclear power and a passion for social justice and sustainability, to the party.

  81. While not having access to information on why exactly the M&M paper was rejected by IJOC, I think the initial rejection and subsequent release of the paper in The Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, rather than in a journal even remotely related to the discipline, probably says more about the quality of the work, rather than some kind of institutionalised bias against their work.

    I find this comment from the paper rather interesting:

    Regarding the first point, it is true that numerous different data sets show an upward trend after 1980. But the surface data show a relatively large trend compared to data collected from satellites

    The relatively large trend compared to satellite data is really not the large difference they seem to be inferring. Just scroll up to the top of this page and look at the image right in the middle.

  82. Tom Keen wrote:
    “While not having access to information on why exactly the M&M paper was rejected by IJOC, I think the initial rejection and subsequent release of the paper in The Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, rather than in a journal even remotely related to the discipline, probably says more about the quality of the work, rather than some kind of institutionalised bias against their work.”

    The response to the rejection makes interesting reading, and indicates that such institutionalised bias may well have been in operation. See http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/response_to_ijoc.pdf

  83. Tom Keen Said:

    while I agree that the Greens do have some good policies, overall I find them about as untrustworthy as both of the major parties.

    Unlike the major parties, general policy is decided by the membership rather than the parliamentary leaders based on what they make of polling. That makes them a lot more trustworthy. There are mechanisms for pulling our parliamentary team into line if they are out of step. That’s because getting elected is less important than getting our public voice right. Also, there’s no incentive for our party to pander to ignorant opinion. Unlike the major parties we are not lying over Afghanistan, for example. Unlike the major parties, we don’t have to pretend Julian Assange is a criminal to kee the US happy, or filter the internet for porn to keep Fred Nile happy, or make up porkies on debt or banks or the mining tax or human rights.

    That makes us a lot more trustworthy than anyone else in parliament even if people disagree with what we say.

  84. “So all of the following fields consist of “CAGWer gatekeepers”?”

    Don’t be obtuse and disingenuous. You know who the CAGWer gatekeepers are. Those who said the following along with the rest of the leaked email scandal:

    “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    AKA the “Hockey Team” Aiydk.

    And I could have sworn you asked:

    “A challenge to the “dissenters”: reference something from the peer-reviewed literature to support your argument for once.”

    And I did it 850 times.

    And like quokka you ask:

    “So, can you provide a link to a peer reviewed paper in which the temperature record does not show an upward trend?”

    If you check my replies I’m sure you’ll find numerous papers that incorporate that data.

  85. Drongo and other CC deniers- you may produce as much FUD as you like but it won’t change the science, or the climate outcomes which we are already seeing. I know you are frightened and worried about your future but denying the truth won’t help. The only way to get past that is to look for a solution which will reduce the impacts and allow you to continue your comfortable lifestyle and avoid catastrophiuc outcomes. Instead of using your time and effort desperately trying to convince yourself and other people CC isn’t happening why not support new nuclear energy as the way forward.
    I suggest we should now cease from giving the trolls an opportunity to continue this outpouring of debunked pseudo science and let them go elsewhere.

  86. Fred Singer… in the pay of Big Tobacco and Bigger Oil. Documented peddler of untruths. Denies responsibility for even his own wife’s posts on his site, then “forgets” to remove the erroneous article… for 18 months and counting. Generally not to be trusted, but SD quotes him.

    Nice work, SD. Please do learn to discriminate between science and spin.

    Reference: http://www.desmogblog.com/s-fred-singer

  87. Ms Perps wrote above:
    “I suggest we should now cease from giving the trolls an opportunity to continue this outpouring of debunked pseudo science and let them go elsewhere.”

    Whilst that would be nice, it is better to engage them with reasoned argument. But I must agree – it is unbelieveable that anyone would still endorse the thoroughly debunked Hockey Stick, the thoroughly debunked claims that the non-hotspot which the models predict, and which isn’t there, is still within the statistical predictive range of the models, and the thoroughly debunked claims that West Antarctica is warming.

    Still, I suppose we must put up with them, difficult though it will be for all of us.

  88. novandilcosid,

    The evidence that West Antarctica is warming is strong, as the research in this paper,this paper and this paper shows. It is even supported by this paper, which was an attempted refutation of the first-mentioned (Steig et al.) study.

    The hockey stick graph has been reproduced so many times by individual research teams, I find it hard to believe that anyone would continue to claim it has been debunked (but by any means, reference some other credible results published by the likes of Nature to refute this claim).

    I don’t understand the non-hotspot claim you are refering to (in a climate context, “hot spots” are generally refered to when talking about ecological impacts of climate shifts).

  89. @spangled drongo

    “So, can you provide a link to a peer reviewed paper in which the temperature record does not show an upward trend?”

    If you check my replies I’m sure you’ll find numerous papers that incorporate that data.

    My challenge, in light of the all the previous gumpf talked about audits and UHI and any other red herring than you care to name was with regard to the instrumental global temperature record. That was what was under discussion. I naively assumed that responses would relate to the instrumental record, but no, with scatter gun ever on hair trigger, the deniers wander off into paleoclimate.

    Of course if you want to go back in time a long way you will find periods that are very very likely to have been much warmer than today. That is uncontentious.

    I repeat my challenge – produce a credible instrumental record with a significantly different trend to the major records. Contrarians Jeff Id and RomanM had a go and came up with a higher trend than HadCrut. With commendable integrity, they published it. Any other takers?

  90. spangled drongo,

    You really expect me to look though 850 papers to find what is very probably a non-existent paper showing anything other than an upward temperature trend from the instrumental record? I stand by what I said before: that is not providing a reference to your argument about the accuracy of land-based temperature records.

    If UHI really hasn’t been adjusted for adequately, why then do the (adjusted) land-based data agree so well with the satellite record (GISTEMP)?

    And you called me obtuse!

  91. quokka,

    This is the oldest instrumental record:

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/cet_december2010.png

    But since we have had the frightening total of 0.7 c warming during the last 150 years during which time we have been naturally recovering from the LIA, how much of that is due to ACO2e would you suggest?

    And what part of it is unprecedented?

    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/hadley/Hadley-global-temps-1850-2010-web.jpg

  92. Also as Phil Jones has agreed, there has been no statistical warming since 1995 and during this time ACO2 has increased hugely.

    So with temperatures plateaued for a decade and a half in the face of these enormous ACO2 increases, the GHG hypothesis is looking a little shaky.

  93. The House approved a GOP amendment to federal spending legislation Friday that would block fiscal year 2011 funding for EPA’s implementation of greenhouse gas regulations. (from this morning’s papers)

    Spangled, I hope you are sure enough of the science to take responsibility for the effects (above) of your views.

    On Jones:

    Quokka cited multiple graphs of the instrumental record for the late 20th and early 21st century. It is amazing for you to cite this misreading of Phil Jones’s point about warming.

    and if the globe were not warming, there would be a real scientific anomaly to explain: how is it that increasing CO2 has no influence on temperatures (but of course it does)? Either as forcing (what’s happening now) or as feedback (as in the past)? If CO2 is a ghg of no significance (all denialists are committed to this position), then presumably methane is nothing to worry about either.

    On the 800 peer reviewed essays you link for us, what percentage denies AGW outright? Denies that C02 is a significant ghg? to put what you say in perspective, how many peer reviewed papers accept the basic AGW position?

    Barry: do you know this? tens of thousands?

    Oreskes made the famous point that in a random search of the literature she found no paper that denied the consensus. This does not mean that in a non random cherry picked search, you could not find a few that did. Though again, it is important to ask how many among the 800 papers SD cites fall outside the purview of Oreskes point, detailed here:

    “The drafting of such reports and statements [from AMS, AAAS, AGU] involves many opportunities for comment, criticism, and revision, and it is not likely that they would diverge greatly from the opinions of the societies’ members. Nevertheless, they might downplay legitimate dissenting opinions.

    That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords “climate change” (9).

    The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.” http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full

    btw, I don’t know if you mentioned the MWP arguments against current global warming, but it is worth noting Archer’s comments in The Long Thaw:

    he notes that during the Mediaeval Optimum, temps AT LEAST IN EUROPE, were warmer than in the Little Ice Age, perhaps as warm as today, more or less.” That said, he notes that this whole question about MWP is an “irrelevant question for evaluating global warming” as MO was probably ” the result of a warmer sun.” “In our time, the Sun has not been getting warmer since 1970,” and “the warming in the past few decades can be explained only as a result of rising greenhouse gas concentrations.” (61)

    If rising ghgs is the main cause of increasing temp, it is the future increase that is the worry.

    The troposphere is warming and the stratosphere is cooling. Why is this?

  94. Novo:

    It’s nice to hear your commitment to rational discourse:

    here are two letters Hansen received from the purveyors of rational discourse. Before I cite them (they are in the notes to his TRIP report), you should read Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt before making the denialists out to be misunderstood and persecuted.

    TWO LETTERS TO HANSEN FROM JOHN DOE.

    I realize you don’t have enough intellectual integrity to acknowledge it now,but YOU are the one who admitted lying to Congress about so
    called ‘anthropogenic global warming’…and now you want to put oil company execs on trial for telling the truth about it?….what kind of
    kindergarten fairy land are you living in,Jimmy?….I’ve been doing my level best for the last 2 years to tell people what a fraud you and your ilk
    are by using things like the Milankovich variations as well as showing them the actual temperature readings for the last 10 years showing that the
    earth is actually in a mild cooling cycle…and I don’t get paid a dime from ANY oil company…or from anybody at all for that matter…I’ve also
    been telling people that you were basically bribed to lie about AGW and that you don’t even have a degree in climatology…so your biggest
    enemy is ME,buddy boy…not the oil companies…I am completely impartial and have no economic stake in the argument one way or the
    other….which gives me a lot more credibility then you….now I know you aren’t familiar with the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution which
    guarantees free speech and THAT is the reason that you thought you could browbeat the clowns in Washington into putting oil company execs
    ‘on trial’ for daring to question your self proclaimed omniscience…so you just keep sounding off like some closet Hitler and spewing your lies
    about AGW and calling for kangaroo courts…in the meantime,I will continue to trash your professional reputation and your pretended manhood
    with the truth…I told you in an email over a year ago I was going to do this..and I always keep my word when dealing with incipient nazis like
    you….I will destroy you,Jimmy…do not doubt it….the science and the facts are on my side..and if public opinion polls are any indication,most of
    the American people are as well…and they do not take kindly to your attempts to suppress the truth or to bully and oppress those of us who have
    the audacity to disagree with you…..you see,Jimmy,you are so naive about things like this that you don’t even realize that you have just shit
    yourself by calling for oil execs to be prosecuted….if the truth were on your side,you wouldn’t have to do that…the facts would speak for
    themselves without any bullying on your part….but now that your so called scientific ‘consensus’ about AGW has been shown for the fraud that it
    is,support for your position is melting away like snow in late spring…and you know it…which is the real reason that in your panic,you said what
    you said about oil execs….so you just keep it up,Jimmy…keep trying to throw your weight around…and I will softly and gently use facts and
    graphs to gradually persuade people that you and AGW are a fraud and a hoax…and you can be damn sure I will outlive you and win this
    war…you made the mistake of either ignoring or underestimating me over a year ago…and I’m willing to bet you a British knighthood you will do
    so this time as well….please do….you’re coming off as some kind of half-assed mini tyrant…which is exactly what I had hoped for…and you didn’t
    disappoint me….you wanted war,Jimmy…and now you’ve got it…for the rest of your short and pitiful life
    John Doe Texas

    Dr. Hansen:

    Since you admitted before Congress that you had lied about being ‘muzzled’ by the Bush Administration vis-a-vis your ongoing attempts to
    persuade people that ‘global warming’ constitutes a danger to mankind and the planet,why should anybody believe anything you say about it?
    Evidently you are laboring under the self induced delusion that the ‘end justifies the means’…or is it simply that you think that the solutions to
    what you profess to believe should be implemented ‘by any means necessary’?….Giving you the benefit of the doubt,that you do actually believe
    what you claim to, I challenge you…and your so called scientific expertise…and your integrity…to state publicly and categorically that you believe
    that an anthropogenic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is the primary CAUSE of ‘global warming’…no equivocations or qualifying your
    assertions….say it once and for all,Dr….so that people will know EXACTLY what you believe and why…state it based on your prestige as a
    NASA scientist…one who is willing to put his scientific reputation and that of NASA on the line by stating it as FACT…..that way those of use
    who know that the exact opposite is true will be able to point to you as the lying political fraud that you are….I don’t intend to hold my breath
    waiting for that to happen….but when it becomes apparent that you won’t do so due to the lack of courage of your own convictions, you may rest
    assured that I will do all within my power to destroy you professionally and personally…it is time you and your cronies understood that you
    simply do not possess the requisite intelligence to con the American people with your so called ‘consensus’ about ‘global warming’….much less
    that its cause is primarily anthropogenic….. By your blatantly false assertions that you were ‘muzzled’ by the Bush Administration,you have
    presumed to question the honor of a President who I not only respect but worked for as a fellow USAF veteran….I take umbrage and vehement
    offense at your vile and self serving arrogance…..watch your back,Jimmy boy….you’ve made a LOT of enemies with your whiny little
    prevarications….me among them….and I have a long,long memory….just for the record…I have just as many degrees in climatology as you
    do…none….all I have as a resume enhancer is being the only person ever kicked out of the Mensa Society….and that done by YOUR political
    bedfellows….so you might say I am well motivated to grind your lying ass into the dirt and utterly destroy you as a scientist…and as a man…and I
    don’t think that the latter will be too difficult at all given the diminutive nature of your testicles…..you’ve been warned,Dr….so either clean up
    your act and begin telling the truth about CO2 and causality vis-a-vis ‘global warming’…or spend the rest of your life with people like me up your
    ass till the day of your ultimate demise.

    John Doe Texas (a year earlier)

  95. Tom Keen graciously responded to my post as follows:
    “novandilcosid,

    The evidence that West Antarctica is warming is strong, as the research in this paper,this paper and this paper shows. It is even supported by this paper, which was an attempted refutation of the first-mentioned (Steig et al.) study

    As Tom points out, the first link is to a paper by Steig et al, the method used in which is refuted by a paper by O’Donnell et al. see for example: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/2/8/steigs-method-massacred.html and the front cover of this week’s Spectator. I doubt whether any scientist would claim that the Steig et al paper has any residual merit. Wrong method = right answer is generally not a good paradigm.

    I would like to thank Tom for the other two links, and will consider them over the next few days.

  96. Tom Keen posted:
    “The hockey stick graph has been reproduced so many times by individual research teams, I find it hard to believe that anyone would continue to claim it has been debunked (but by any means, reference some other credible results published by the likes of Nature to refute this claim).”

    I’m not sure why “Nature” should be mentioned. What are “the likes of Nature”? Is this a veiled reference to “Some Publications are Higher Status than Others”? IE if I cite a paper not published in “the likes of Nature” will it be derided because of that?

    Notwithstanding the above, the latest in a long string of falsifications of the Hockey Stick analyses is by McShane and Wyner, published in The Annals of Applied Statistics late last year. Links to this paper, the editorial on it, and the published discussions of it are at http://www.imstat.org/aoas/next_issue.html under the heading “Climate Change Discussion”.

    It is most gratifying to see that the paper was published in a journal which is the correct discipline, statistics, and that the paper used the archived data which Mann et al claimed to have used in their paper.

    A good general expose of the hockey stick, the criticisms and the history is “The Hockey Stick illusion” by AW Montford, published last year.

    Most mathematically unchallenged people would be highly sceptical of anything claiming surety on the basis of the methods or the data used in the Hockey Stick papers.

  97. Tom Keen wrote:
    “I don’t understand the non-hotspot claim you are refering to (in a climate context, “hot spots” are generally refered to when talking about ecological impacts of climate shifts).”

    The Enhanced Greenhouse Hypothesis is that a thicker layer of CO2 means that radiation to space (around 15-20W/m^2) in the CO2 active frequency band (wavenumbers 625 to 725) must come from higher in the atmosphere. Since much of that layer (but not all) is beneath the Tropopause, and higher = colder, and colder = less emission, there will be an energy surplus in the atmosphere (of around 4W/m^2) until the atmosphere warms up, so that the radiation to space balances the incoming sunlight.

    This warming occurs until the Water Vapour layer(which is well below the CO2 radiative layer) warms sufficiently for balance to be restored.

    The “Hot Spot” is the name for this – a signature for the EGH effect is a warmer lower to mid Tropopause, mostly in lowish latitudes. This signature was identified in IPCC AR4, WG1.

    The trouble is that this expected hot spot isn’t there. In fact measurements over the last 20 years show a slightly cooling spot. But all the models show a hot spot.

    This is another matter of statistical controversy. The modellers claim that the data falls within 2 Standard Deviations of the ensemble of model predictions, and that in any case, thermometers are not the best measuring devices for temperature, and that wind shear measurements are best (I know that sounds silly, but that’s what’s been said!). The claim that the data was within model predictive range was refuted by statisticians in a paper late last year.

    My comment on this is that if the models all predict a hot spot, and if the data shows no such thing, then the models need to be changed.

    In fact the lack of a hot spot seems to me to indicate one of two things. Either:
    1. The Enhanced Greenhouse Hypothesis is false, or,
    2. The warming seen over the last two decades is not the result of forcing from additional CO2.

  98. The trouble is that this expected hot spot isn’t there.

    That is incorrect (and this post dates back to the very dawn of BNC). Further, the hotspot is not a signature of greenhouse warming — it is an adiabatic effect caused by warming from any source. More details:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-causes-the-tropospheric-hot-spot.html
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-Jo-Nova-doesnt-get-the-tropospheric-hot-spot.html
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/tropospheric-hot-spot.htm

    Please cease with the nonsense. This is a science blog.

  99. I went to the applied statistics site where the mcshane paper is, with numerous responses.

    Perhaps someone with an advanced stat background could assess the entire discussion. The editor of the journal (Michael Stein) wrote the followiing, which I thought interesting (this guy is not exactly in the “denialist” camp, is he?) :

    Some of the discussants touch on the broader implications of paleoclimate reconstruction for the study of climate change. I would just like to raise one
    further issue, again related to something I tend to say in every class I teach: classical statistical hypothesis testing is overused in the scientific literature. I particularly object to the testing of sharp null hypotheses when there is no plausible basis for believing the null is true.

    An example of an implausible sharp null hypothesis would be that a large increase in the concentration
    of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero effect on the global mean temperature. When a null hypothesis of no effect is untenable, emphasis should be on estimation and/or prediction along with uncertainty quantification. Thus, the testing and attribution questions for climate change seem to me
    to be irrelevant and the focus needs to be on prediction.

    Seen in this light, paleoclimate reconstructions on a range of time scales are more useful for estimating the effect of various climate forcings (e.g., solar variability, aerosols and trace gases) on the climate than for testing sharp null hypotheses. Appropriate assessment of uncertainties in reconstructions of both the climate and the forcings are, of course, critical to this endeavor.

    Statisticians are, by their professional nature, skeptics. We often find that researchers in other fields have not taken proper account of all important
    elements of uncertainty when they analyze data. However, uncertainty is not a basis for inaction. (If it were, none of us would get out of bed in the
    morning.) Taking appropriate account of the uncertainties about the future climate, we need to be evaluating the consequences of various courses of
    action by making the best use of all of our knowledge about climatology and the many other disciplines that bear on the issue.

    Careful study of tiny pieces of the knowledge base is important, but no single study provides a direct
    basis for action or inaction. In particular, the presence of even substantial uncertainties does not necessarily mean that the appropriate response is to
    wait for better information about the future climate.

    Any potential benefits of waiting depend in part on estimates of how much our uncertainty is likely to decrease over the next several years. My understanding is that the major uncertainties in climate projections on time scales of more than a few decades are unlikely to be resolved in the near future. Thus, while research on climate change should continue, now is the time for individuals and governments to act to limit the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions on the Earth’s climate over the next century and well beyond.

  100. Novo:

    Few of the discussants endorse the paper you cite, and fewer would be reasonably called climate denialists.

    Your interpretation of the discussion around the paper is incredibly one sided (“long string of falsifications”–pure hype). I’d like to hear from someone like Barry on this discussion, which includes response from Mann, Schmidt and Rutherford.

    thanks for the links to the paper and the responses.

  101. Not that I’m necessarily endorsing this state of affairs; in an ideal world papers might be discussed purely on their merits. However, “Some Publications are Higher Status than Others” (novandilcosid @ 8:50) is simply a statement of fact, not least because the people who hand out research money say so.

    Despite myriad flaws, distortions and inconsistencies in publication status ratings, they are not entirely unrelated to editorial standards. There are reasons why we have peer review, and some publications clearly do it more rigorously than others. For this reason amongst others, the answer to “if I cite a paper not published in “the likes of Nature” will it be derided because of that?” is quite likely to be ‘yes’, my first sentence notwithstanding.

  102. Barry Brook wrote:
    “That is incorrect (and this post dates back to the very dawn of BNC). Further, the hotspot is not a signature of greenhouse warming — it is an adiabatic effect caused by warming from any source. More details:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-causes-the-tropospheric-hot-spot.html http://www.skepticalscience.com/How-Jo-Nova-doesnt-get-the-tropospheric-hot-spot.html
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/tropospheric-hot-spot.htm

    Please cease with the nonsense. This is a science blog.”

    I thank Barry for his post.

    Warming from an imbalance at the Tropopause is inherently different to warming from a sunlight or albedo change.
    In the latter cases, the Surface Balance is directly affected, and the Surface warms (at the no-feedback rate of between 0.095 and 0.15W/m^2) in response. The warmed surface leads to a warmed atmosphere (the lapse rate etc is anchored by the surface temperature). There is no hotspot.

    In the former case, it is quite difficult to determine what happens. The claim is that the imbalance at the Tropopause (actually slightly below) results in heating DOWNWARDS from the TOA to the surface, with b alance being achieved when the emitting layer of water vapour (somewhere around the clouds) heats sufficiently, restoring radiative balance. Because of the lapse rate, the surface is pulled along for the ride. (I am very sceptical of this – how is surface balance maintained?)

    See IPCC, WG1, Chapter 9, Figure 9.1. In this figure, the hot spot (which is a product of the climate models) is clearly identified as a GHG-caused warming signature.

    The paper nailing the statistics ( it is incorrect to claim that the data lies within the model ensemble predictions) is at http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/mmh_asl2010.pdf

  103. I do apologise. In my last post I said:
    “In the latter cases, the Surface Balance is directly affected, and the Surface warms (at the no-feedback rate of between 0.095 and 0.15W/m^2) in response.”

    This should read:
    “In the latter cases, the Surface Balance is directly affected, and the Surface warms (at the no-feedback rate of between 0.095 and 0.15 DegC/ /m^2) in response.”

  104. See IPCC, WG1, Chapter 9, Figure 9.1. In this figure, the hot spot (which is a product of the climate models) is clearly identified as a GHG-caused warming signature.

    Incorrect. You didn’t read the link I provided, which explains it in simple terms, and includes the IPCC AR4 figure.

    There’s a figure in the IPCC 4th Assessment report that shows the “temperature signature” expected from the various forcings that drive climate. This figure is frequently misinterpreted. Let’s have a close look:

    Figure 1: Atmospheric temperature change from 1890 to 1990 from (a) solar forcing, (b) volcanoes, (c) greenhouse gases, (d) ozone, (e) sulfate aerosols and (f) sum of all forcing (IPCC AR4).

    The source of the confusion is box c, showing the modelled temperature change from greenhouse gases. Note the strong hot spot. Does this mean the greenhouse effect causes the hot spot? Not directly. Greenhouse gases cause surface warming which changes the lapse rate leading to the hot spot. The reason the hot spot in box c is so strong is because greenhouse warming is so strong compared to the other forcings.

    The hot spot is not a unique greenhouse signature and finding the hot spot doesn’t prove that humans are causing global warming. Observing the hot spot would tell us we have a good understanding of how the lapse rate changes. As the hot spot is well observed over short timescales (Trenberth 2006, Santer 2005), this increases our confidence that we’re on track. That leaves the question of the long-term trend.

  105. “I cleared that one up in January”

    C’mon Barry,

    You told your side of the story which I respect but if Phil Jones agreed with the statement then, coming from him, it was either correct or so close that it doesn’t matter so it’s a very grey area.

    Like so much of what we are arguing over.

    “and if the globe were not warming, there would be a real scientific anomaly to explain:”

    GM,

    I’m sure if you put your mind to it you could find another reason for that 0.7 c anomaly since the beginning of the LIA.

    In spite of perpsy’s rant we sceptics do accept that the earth is warming. It’s just that we’re not convinced it’s a catastrophe [some of us even think it may be our only salvation]

  106. No, SD. Whilst I presented my preferred way of analysing this data, the fact remains that even if you use the method/data Phil Jones was referring to, and add in 2010, it becomes “significant”. So your statement was incorrect/outdated thanks to a single extra year of data, even using a the simple null hypothesis test.

  107. John Bennets:

    According to conway and oreskes, Singer in 1970 accepted the greenhouse effect and the role of CO2, but argued that aerosols would negate any temperature increase.

    At the time, this negative feedback had some explanatory force.

  108. “According to conway and oreskes, Singer in 1970 accepted the greenhouse effect and the role of CO2, but argued that aerosols would negate any temperature increase.

    “At the time, this negative feedback had some explanatory force.”

    GM, thanks for playing the ball.

    But that indicates what a realist Singer is. Fully aware of the scientific theory and potential of ACO2e but sceptical of the physical outcome.

  109. Barry Brook kindly responded to my post on the “Hot Spot”, in part as follows:

    “Barry Brook, on 21 February 2011 at 11:30 AM said:
    See IPCC, WG1, Chapter 9, Figure 9.1. In this figure, the hot spot (which is a product of the climate models) is clearly identified as a GHG-caused warming signature.

    Incorrect. You didn’t read the link I provided, which explains it in simple terms, and includes the IPCC AR4 figure.

    There’s a figure in the IPCC 4th Assessment report that shows the “temperature signature” expected from the various forcings that drive climate. This figure is frequently misinterpreted. Let’s have a close look…”

    I would like to thank Barry for the effort he has put in in responding to my post: it cannot be easy to deal with multiple threads and multiple topics all at once.

    I want to assure Barry that I did read the explanation in the link he provided, but I don’t agree that it addresses the Physics very well at all. My reasons are:
    1. The figure appears in the section of IPCC AR4 WG1 Chapter 9 entitled “9.2.2 Spatial and Temporal Patterns of the Response to Different Forcings and their Uncertainties “. The figure’s caption leaves no doubt that the intent of the IPCC authors was to compare the atmospheric responses to different “forcing” mechanisms.
    2. And they are very different. Note that a change in solar forcing for example, results in a fairly uniform temperature change from the surface through to the Tropopause. But the response to GHG forcing is quite different. The lapse rate changes are uneven, and there is also stratospheric cooling. There is a hot spot.
    3. The author of the piece Barry linked to does not seem to be aware of the two different mechanisms at play:
    a. In the Solar case, there is a surface energy imbalance, leading directly to a temperature change at the surface, and
    b. In the GHG case, the effect on the surface balance is negligible (about 0.5W/m^2 NEGATIVE no feedback), the imbalance is in the outgoing energy to space. This deficit causes local heating at the level of the CO2 radiative “top”, usually taken to be around 10km altitude. This heated atmosphere then propagates downward – see the IPCC AR4 WG1, Chapter 2, Figure 2.2 [ http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-2-2.html ] (I might add in passing that I don’t like this concept very much, and I am unconvinced that the Surface balances, but that is a different discussion for a different day.)

    These two processes produce very different atmospheric profiles. In particular it is clear that once all the changes have occurred, the outgoing energy deficit caused by higher emission from the CO2 radiative “top” is taken up by increasing the temperature at the much lower Water Vapour radiative “top”, which you can sort of see in the cited figure.

    So I must apologise – I do not agree with the author at Barry’s link, for the strong reasons given above.

  110. @novandilcosid

    1. The figures show temperature change as a result of the forcing. This is the realised forcing, not a standardised sensitivity per equalised W/m2 of forcing. So the figure panels look different because of the magnitude of forcing is different.

    2. As explained in 1, they are different because the magnitude of forcing is different for the various factors. The solar change is ‘fairly uniform’ because the forcing is so minor (about 0.1 W/m2) compared to GHG forcing (>2.6 W/m2). And yes, there is a hotspot:

    3. Your point 3 is very convoluted and poorly expressed, such that it is extremely difficult to understand what you are trying to argue. So I’ll leave that aside, and refer interested readers here for more information.

    Some questions to you. Clear answers would be helpful.
    1. Are you arguing that there is no greenhouse gas rise, or that the GHG rise is having no discernible effect on temperatures?
    2. Are you arguing that there has been no rise in global temperature, or are you saying that there has been a rise but that GHG rises are irrelevant to this?
    3. If you are acknowledging a rise in global temperatures and do not think it is due to GHG rises, to what do you ascribe it?

  111. I would like to thank Barry Brook for his comprehensive and patient reply, which raises many issues. I will respond in a series of posts covering:

    a. What was meant in the IPCC report when it showed a hotspot.
    b. A more detailed and I hope clearer explanation of the greenhouse physics, and,
    c. replies to Barry’s questions.

    Taking the last first…
    1. Are you arguing that there is no greenhouse gas rise, or that the GHG rise is having no discernible effect on temperatures?
    There is an ongoing rise in the concentration of CO2. There has been a rise in the concentration of methane, but this seems to be static/decreasing at present.
    I am unconvinced that there is a significant temperature rise (ie >1DegC) in store if CO2 concentration is doubled.

    2. Are you arguing that there has been no rise in global temperature, or are you saying that there has been a rise but that GHG rises are irrelevant to this?
    There has been a rise in global temperature since the end of the Little ice Age..
    The attribution of cause is problematic. I think there is much more awareness these days of the natural oscilliatory cycles, but still little understanding of the causes of these.

    3. If you are acknowledging a rise in global temperatures and do not think it is due to GHG rises, to what do you ascribe it?
    “Natural causes” is a very strong candidate, and until these are well understood, any residual signal from GHGs cannot be extracted – if it is indeed possible to extract a signal in a chaotic system.

    I think the correlation of previous warm/cold periods with sunspot activity is interesting, particularly as the strong recent warming coincided with the strongest 50 year total of sunspots on record, and the recent very cold northern winters are coincident with a very inactive sun (until last week!). So Svensmark (modulation of cloud formation by modulation of cosmic rays due to variation in the sun’s magnetic field) may be onto something.

    On the other hand, the climate oscillations also look interesting – what causes ice ages? (could be many things – I favour Hoyle’s theory over Milankovitch). What causes the 1000 year cycle of warm periods? (Roman, Medieval, Modern). What causes the ocscillations within these cycles? (NAO, PDO, etc)

  112. Barry Brook wrote:
    “3. Your point 3 is very convoluted and poorly expressed, such that it is extremely difficult to understand what you are trying to argue. So I’ll leave that aside, and refer interested readers here for more information.”

    I must apologise for my lack of clarity. The point I was trying to make was that the mechanism for atmospheric temperature change is different if it is a Greenhouse driven change compared to a solar driven change.
    This will be a long post (sorry!). It should be noted that if I discuss energy balance it is assumed that equilibrium exists, along the lines of the Kiehl&Trenberth1997 figure in the IPCC report http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-1-1-figure-1.html

    1. Change in Insolation
    There is no direct effect on the atmosphere from a change in insolation (could be caused by change in cloud cover, change in surface albedo, or change in sun’s output). The increased sunlight absorbed by the surface is converted to surface warming which increases two fluxes into the atmosphere – radiation (minor flux, about one fifth of the surface fluxes into the atmosphere) and evaporated water (major flux, about 3 fifths of the surface flux into the atmosphere). As the atmosphere warms up, surface balance is restored at a new higher temperature.

    Depending on the rate of change of evaporation with temperature ( a large unknown and disputed in the literature), the temperature change is between 0.095 and 0.15 DegC/W/m^2. (calculated from the numbers in Kiehl & Trenberth, 1997).

    The important point is that the atmosphere warms from the bottom up. In this scenario, there is also a real increase in surface flux into the atmosphere, UNLIKE the GHG case.

    2. Doubling of CO2
    The direct effects on the surface of a doubling of CO2 are:
    a. An increase of 0.5W/m^2 in back radiation (caused by a lowering of the CO2 radiating layer), and,
    b. A reduction in solar insolation of 1W/m^2 (caused by increased absorption of sunlight through the thicker CO2),

    for a net DECREASE in energy at the surface of 0.5W/m^2.

    So left to its own devices the surface would cool slightly, and the NET outward surface flux would drop by 1W/m^2 (outward surface flux always equals absorbed sunlight).

    However what also occurs is a change in the outgoing radiation. Using the Kiehl & Trenberth numbers, and calculations from satellite spectra the rough breakdown is:
    a. Direct radiation from the Surface, 40W/m^2
    b. Radiation from the radiating “top” of the CO2, 18W/m^2 (the “top” is where the overlying CO2 is no longer absorbing significant amounts of space-bound photons. it differs depending on frequency but is generally taken to be around 10km).
    c. Radiation from clouds, water vapour, with a little help from ozone and minor GHGs, 177W/m^2

    When CO2 is doubled, The CO2 radiation “top” moves higher (there is more overlying, photon absorbing, CO2).
    At wavenumber 670, where the “top” is in the Stratosphere, this means emission at a higher temperature, ie more emissions to space and a consequent cooling of the Stratosphere (not enough energy coming into the Stratosphere to support the increased emission).
    For the rest of the CO2 band, near the top of the Troposphere, higher emission = colder, so the emission to space will be reduced.

    Summing these two effects, the IPCC have found that the net effect is an imbalance at the Tropopause of around 4W/m^2. They call this imbalance “Radiative Forcing” and stress that this is not to be confused with Surface Forcing.

    The imbalance in the troposphere will cause local heating of the atmosphere. This heating works its way down through the atmosphere ( see the IPCC diagram at http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-2-2.html

    This heating affects surface balance and the surface warms, the whole system stabilises when:
    a. Surface balance is restored (by heating)
    b. Outgoing radiation balances incoming sunlight – this implies that the 4W/m^2 or so deficit from the CO2 “top”, reducing CO2 emissions to around 14W/m^2, is mostly balanced by increased emission from the water vapour layer as it warms up.

    [The net outgoing flux from the surface is reduced by 1W/m^2, but the surface has heated up, implying an increae in evaporated water. What happens is that there is a considerable reduction in NET radiation from the surface to offset these two effects, ie that back-radiation has increased at a GREATER rate than the Stephan-Boltzmann radiation from the surface, implying that a positive feedback mechanism is necessary to support a surface warming hypothesis. Also note that the NET surface flux into the atmosphere has DECREASED, implying a more negative lapse rate).

    In Conclusion
    A change in insolation implies an increase in surface flux into the atmosphere, so a more positive lapse rate. Atmospheric warming is from the bottom up.

    A change in CO2 concentration means a decrease in surface flux into the atmosphere, so a more negative lapse rate. There is a change in the emission to space, with less emission from the upper troposphere and more from the water vapour/clod “tops”. The system warms from the top down.

    I hope that explains my 3rd point.

  113. …the recent very cold northern winters…

    I don’t think this is really true, see for example here which shows northern hemisphere January temperatures. There may well have been lots of snow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been particularly cold, more that there’s been lots of moisture in the air.

    I have my own theory about this. Everyone bangs on about the positive feedback arising from shrinking Arctic sea ice decreasing albedo. But obviously this is only operative during summer. What I haven’t seen much discussed is what’s going on in winter, when you now have all this extra area of open Arctic ocean, with no ice cap to hold in both heat and moisture, with the consequence that extra water and energy are entering the atmosphere. I’d be looking there as a proximate cause of the recent big NH snow dumps.

  114. Barry Brook wrote:
    “1. The figures show temperature change as a result of the forcing. This is the realised forcing, not a standardised sensitivity per equalised W/m2 of forcing. So the figure panels look different because of the magnitude of forcing is different.

    2. As explained in 1, they are different because the magnitude of forcing is different for the various factors. The solar change is ‘fairly uniform’ because the forcing is so minor (about 0.1 W/m2) compared to GHG forcing (>2.6 W/m2). And yes, there is a hotspot…”

    It is now being claimed that the IPCC diagram at http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-9-1.html does not intend to show that a hotspot is a distiguishing feature of the Greenhouse warming mechanism used in the models.

    But clearly that is the intent of the authors of Chapter 9, and the intent of Figure 9.1. I quote directly from the text at 9.2.2:

    “The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings described above. Solar forcing results in a general warming of the atmosphere (Figure 9.1a) with a pattern of surface warming that is similar to that expected from greenhouse gas warming, but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere (see, e.g., Cubasch et al., 1997). ”

    The fact that the author that Barry cites disagrees with the IPCC interpretation is interesting – he was not an author of this chapter, and could not be expected to understand what the authors intended – except that their words and diagram are very explicit.

    So either Barry’s cited author is correct and the IPCC is wrong, or vice-versa.

    At present I am forced to the conclusion that the IPCC is the superior authority, and that therefore the hotspot signature identified therein is believed to be a distinguishing feature of the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect.

    But there is no measured hotspot.

  115. As the previous commenter said, there is a measured hotspot. But I’ll put that aside for a moment, since it is not a signature of greenhouse warming anyway as you wrongly imagine.

    Did you read the caption for the figure? Here it is in full:

    Figure 9.1. Zonal mean atmospheric temperature change from 1890 to 1999 (°C per century) as simulated by the PCM model from (a) solar forcing, (b) volcanoes, (c) well-mixed greenhouse gases, (d) tropospheric and stratospheric ozone changes, (e) direct sulphate aerosol forcing and (f) the sum of all forcings. Plot is from 1,000 hPa to 10 hPa (shown on left scale) and from 0 km to 30 km (shown on right). See Appendix 9.C for additional information. Based on Santer et al. (2003a).

    Do you see the first sentence? Change from 1890 to 1999 as simulated from the various forcings. These are not made up forcings, and they are not standarised (equalised) forcings. They are the real-world forcings from 1890 to 1999. Sum them all together to get the total result. The GHG image (c) has the strongest adiabatic lapse rate hotspot because the the forcings from 1890 to 1999 were the largest — by a good measure.

    You then cite the following passage:

    The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings described above. Solar forcing results in a general warming of the atmosphere (Figure 9.1a) with a pattern of surface warming that is similar to that expected from greenhouse gas warming, but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere (see, e.g., Cubasch et al., 1997).

    The simulated responses are different because the magnitude of the forcings are different. Again, in the figure is based on the PCM model with the forcings from 1890 to 1999, which has the simulated solar-forced warming of ~0.1 W/m2 and the GHG warming is based on a forcing of ~2.6 W/m2. Or are you claiming — in contestation to the figure legend — that the figure is showing something different to this, and that the forcings have been standarised/equalised in this figure?

    Did you read the Appendix to 9C, which explains this further? https://www.ipcc-wg1.unibe.ch/publications/wg1-ar4/ar4-wg1-chapter9-supp-material.pdf

    Figure 9.1 shows zonally-averaged temperature changes as a function of latitude (90°N-90°S) and height (from 1000 hPa to 10 hPa). Temperature changes are expressed as linear trends in degrees Celsius per century, and were calculated over the period from 1890 to 1999. All results are ensemble means (averages over four individual realizations).

    Did you read the Santer et al 2003 paper on which the figure was based? Here is the link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/301/5632/479 It includes the following:

    During the 20th century, G and O account for 77 and 88% (respectively) of the total increase in tropopause height in ALL. Their combined percentage contribution of 165% is partly offset by the smaller decreases in height caused by A and V (–32 and –39%). Solar irradiance changes make a small positive contribution to the height increase in ALL. The relative contribution of each forcing varies with time. Whereas G and O make roughly equivalent contributions to tropopause height change over 1900–1949, ozone becomes more important in the second half of the century and during the satellite era (Fig. 2A). Similarly, S and V together explain 74% of the total tropopause height change over 1900–1949, but their net contribution to ALL is only –40% over 1950–1999. The large influence of V over 1900–1949 arises from the Santa Maria eruption in 1902 (Fig. 1A).

    Decadal-scale increases in the height of the tropopause are driven by temperature changes above and below the tropopause. Temperatures in this region are influenced primarily by ozone- and greenhouse gas–induced cooling of the stratosphere and greenhouse gas–induced warming of the troposphere. Both of these effects tend to raise tropopause height (4, 6). To first order, the global mean changes in pLRT over a stipulated time period are linearly related to ΔT4 – ΔT2. A key question, therefore, is whether the simulated height increase in ALL could have occurred solely through stratospheric cooling and without significant anthropogenically induced warming of the troposphere. We address this question by estimating the contributions of individual forcings to T4 and T2 changes.

    Previous model-based work suggests that ozone forcing is the major driver of recent stratospheric cooling (10, 34). A similar result holds in PCM: Ozone changes account for 123% of the total linear change in T4 over 1950–1999 and for 82% of the T4 decrease during the satellite era (Figs. 1D and 2B). The corresponding contributions of greenhouse gas forcing to T4 changes are only 9 and 3%, respectively (6). In contrast, well-mixed greenhouse gases are the major contributor to PCM’s tropospheric warming and explain 174% of the total change in T2 over 1950–1999 (Figs. 1F and 2C). The ozone component of T2 changes is small over this period (–6%) (35). In PCM, therefore, the main effect of well-mixed greenhouse gases on tropopause height is through warming the troposphere rather than cooling the stratosphere.

    Several additional features are noteworthy. Anthropogenic sulfate aerosols decrease tropopause height, primarily by cooling the troposphere (Figs. 1F and 2C). In the model, sulfate aerosols cause only a small decrease in T4 (Figs. 1D and 2B). Solar irradiance changes over the 20th century warm both the troposphere and the stratosphere, with offsetting effects on tropopause height. The sign of the solar effect on pLRT must therefore depend on the relative magnitudes of solar-induced stratospheric and tropospheric warming. The small rise in tropopause height in S (Fig. 1B) suggests that for solar forcing, tropospheric warming is more important.

    A key assumption in many detection studies is that the sum of the individual climate responses to several different forcing mechanisms is equal to the response obtained when these forcings are varied simultaneously (8, 9, 36). This implies that there are no strong interactions between individual forcings. We tested this assumption for pLRT, T4, and T2 by comparing ALL results with the sum of the individual responses to G, A, O, S, and V (SUM). ALL and SUM show very similar global mean changes (Fig. 1, B, D, and F). For the three variables considered here, the estimated linear changes in SUM are within 10% (37) of the corresponding ALL values (Fig. 2). For these global-scale changes, additivity is a reasonable assumption.

    I was most interested by your responses to my three questions. I will follow up at some later point when I have time.

  116. Once again I would like to thank Barry Brook for the detail of his response.

    However I fear he has not answered the point at all.

    In the IPCC section titled .2.2 Spatial and Temporal Patterns of the Response to Different Forcings and their Uncertainties the authors show a diagram http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-9-1.html .

    This shows the calculated responses for each agent for the period 1890-1999. In the text they then say “The simulated responses to natural forcing are distinct from those due to the anthropogenic forcings described above. Solar forcing results in a general warming of the atmosphere (Figure 9.1a) with a pattern of surface warming that is similar to that expected from greenhouse gas warming, but in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere (see, e.g., Cubasch et al., 1997).”

    They do not say ” [Barry Brook]The simulated responses are different because the magnitude of the forcings are different.”
    they say
    in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere ”

    It is clear that the authors intended that the two change agents be differentiated, and differentiated by the extent to which warming was distributed throughout the atmosphere. Nowhere do they indicate that this differentiation is an artefact of the magnitude of the agent.

    That claim was only made anywhere after the missing “hotspot” was indentified.

    [In answer to Barry's question as to whether I read Santer et al's 2003 paper, which was cited by the IPCC, the answer is "no". I relied on the IPCC authors to do that. And if it claims that there is no difference in the effects of the two agents, all I can say is that the IPCC authors do not say that. They say, after their long and detailed review of the best science available to them to the end of 2006:
    "in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere "]

    So the IPCC authors claim the two are different, in the section where they are trying to identify differences, and back it up with a diagram showing the differences.

    Subsequently someone else, not one of the authors, claims that the effects are the same, that really truly the differences clearly expressed by the IPCC authors are all in our imaginations, they didn’t really mean what they said, they meant to say the differences were due to magnitude.

    But they didn’t say that. They said “in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere ”

    Which is true? The author of the revised wisdom, who is not one of the IPCC authors, or the well researched, diligent conclusion of the IPCC? One contradicts the other.

  117. novandilcosid, your ‘fear’s are misplaced. I have answered the point — you just didn’t like, or perhaps didn’t understand, the answer. Also, you didn’t answer my question:

    The simulated responses are different because the magnitude of the forcings are different. Again, in the figure is based on the PCM model with the forcings from 1890 to 1999, which has the simulated solar-forced warming of ~0.1 W/m2 and the GHG warming is based on a forcing of ~2.6 W/m2. Or are you claiming — in contestation to the figure legend — that the figure is showing something different to this, and that the forcings have been standarised/equalised in this figure?

    Don’t you understand what the “simulated solar-forced warming” refers to? Doesn’t the date 1890-1999 give you a hint?

    The plain fact of the matter is that you have misinterpreted what the IPCC AR4 authors said. This can be verified from what is stated in the Fig 9.1 legend, and from a reading of the source data paper, Santer et al 2003 Science. There is no disagreement or contradiction between the two. It is YOU who are wrong. Happily, this is also the most parsimonious explanation.

  118. Mark Duffett wrote:
    “…the recent very cold northern winters…

    I don’t think this is really true, see for example here which shows northern hemisphere January temperatures. There may well have been lots of snow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been particularly cold, more that there’s been lots of moisture in the air.”

    Then again, the satellites are showing the opposite: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/02/uah-update-for-january-2011-global-temperatures-in-freefall/

    Mark went on to say:
    “I have my own theory about this. Everyone bangs on about the positive feedback arising from shrinking Arctic sea ice decreasing albedo. But obviously this is only operative during summer. What I haven’t seen much discussed is what’s going on in winter, when you now have all this extra area of open Arctic ocean, with no ice cap to hold in both heat and moisture, with the consequence that extra water and energy are entering the atmosphere. I’d be looking there as a proximate cause of the recent big NH snow dumps.”

    Mark may be right about this. See also http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/03/sea-ice-news-34/

  119. I must again thank Barry for his opinion, that the IPCC authors did not mean what they said, but meant something else which they never expressed.

    Does this sort of thing happen often in the IPCC reports – where they say one thing but don’t say the important thing?

    I never claimed that the forcings had been normalised, merely that the authors had clarified that solar and GHG agents had markedly different effects on the atmosphere. Nowhere do they say this is the result of magnitude.

    Unless Barry can find a place where they did say that.

    If not, my comment stands: They did not say that the two agents had the same effects. They meant what they said, that the two agents have different effects.

    Other people, not the authors, are now claiming this means that the two agents have the same effect.

    So unless an explicit statement that the two forcings have the same effect can be found in AR4 WG1 Chapter 9, then the hotspot was an intended differentiation of the two effects.

  120. Now you are obfuscating, novandilcosid. Your comment/opinion clearly does not stand up to scrutiny, and you have misread/misinterpreted/misunderstood (take your pick) what AR4 WGI Ch9 says, as I have shown. I’m sure the readers of this ‘interesting’ little exchange will appreciate that.

    To do a final recap, first there is indeed a hotspot, as the figure I reproduced from Sherwood et al showed. Second, the hotspot is not a ‘signature’ of GHG warming, it is a feature of all warming (due to the adiabatic lapse rate), but its intensity will obviously depend on the magnitude of the forcing, which was historically (1890-1999) different for various factors, with the GHG forcing over that period being an order of magnitude strong than the other effects.

  121. “…the recent very cold northern winters…
    I don’t think this is really true, see for example here which shows northern hemisphere January temperatures. There may well have been lots of snow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been particularly cold, more that there’s been lots of moisture in the air.”

    Then again, the satellites are showing the opposite: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/02/uah-update-for-january-2011-global-temperatures-in-freefall

    Your language is incredibly imprecise. You say the satellites show the opposite of Mark’s supposition that it hasn’t been “particularly cold?” what would be the opposite of the claim that the snow is not necessarily a sign that it’s been particularly cold?

    That it has been particularly cold? The January temperature anomaly on spencer’s site is .009 below the baseline. That’s not “particularly cold,” though what that would mean is unclear.

    If it had in fact been particularly cold–a large negative temperature anomaly, that would have told us virtually nothing about global warming anyway.

    What’s clear is that your views–the minimal warming is due to the sun (sunspots)– contradict Santer.

  122. The authors of the IPCC report said
    “in contrast to the response to greenhouse warming, the simulated solar-forced warming extends throughout the atmosphere”

    I agree with them.

    Barry has asserted that I have misinterpreted their statement. But
    a. What is there to misinterpret here? The authors claim a material difference in the simulation.
    b. No-one has cited any place where they said that solar forcing had the same effect as GHG forcing, nor any place where they say the diffence is due to magnitude of the forcing. That’s because they didn’t say that. They said the two had a different effect.

    Now one can claim that that is misinterpretation. If one wants to.

    I will be happy to agree with Barry when he shows me where the authors claim that the difference is solely due to magnitude.

  123. question for barry:

    isn’t the temperature anomaly normally compared to the 1951-80 baseline?

    spencer compares 1980-2011 anomalies to a 1980-2011 baseline. this will reduce the anomaly greatly relative to the 51-80 baseline.

  124. Greg Meyerson commented:
    “[novandilcosid]…the recent very cold northern winters…
    [Mark Duffett] I don’t think this is really true, see for example here which shows northern hemisphere January temperatures. There may well have been lots of snow, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s been particularly cold, more that there’s been lots of moisture in the air.”

    [novandilcosid]Then again, the satellites are showing the opposite: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/02/uah-update-for-january-2011-global-temperatures-in-freefall

    [Greg Meyerson]Your language is incredibly imprecise. You say the satellites show the opposite of Mark’s supposition that it hasn’t been “particularly cold?” what would be the opposite of the claim that the snow is not necessarily a sign that it’s been particularly cold?

    That it has been particularly cold? The January temperature anomaly on spencer’s site is .009 below the baseline. That’s not “particularly cold,” though what that would mean is unclear.

    If it had in fact been particularly cold–a large negative temperature anomaly, that would have told us virtually nothing about global warming anyway.

    What’s clear is that your views–the minimal warming is due to the sun (sunspots)– contradict Santer”

    My link was showing a quite different measurement to Mark’s link. I’m not sure where Greg thinks I have used imprecise language. There’s very little in my post: “Then again, the satellites are showing the opposite: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/02/uah-update-for-january-2011-global-temperatures-in-freefall” As far as I can see it is a succinct and accurate statement. The satellites are showing the opposite effect – a cooling not a warming.

    I have nowhere claimed an attribution for cause of warming or otherwise.

    Nevertheless we all know that natural forces, which we do not at all understand, can be responsible for huge changes in the planetary condition.

  125. What a tangled web is being woven here.

    “My link was showing a quite different measurement to Mark’s link” Indeed it does, so how can you put it up and say it indicates the opposite of what I was demonstrating? Which it doesn’t anyway, since ‘not particularly cold’ and ‘cooling’ are not opposites in any case.

    Any perceived ambiguity here is spurious. I think it’s quite clear what ‘very cold northern winters’ and ‘particularly cold’ mean: they connote seasonally averaged temperatures substantially below historic norms, over a period of some years (indicated by the plural ‘winters’). As I believe you were well aware when you first used the phrase, novandilcosid. And no, 0.055 (the NH figure) below a 1980-2011 baseline in a single month does not qualify.

    GM, the reason (or at least one of ;-)) Spencer uses a 1980-2011 baseline is probably to correspond with the availability of satellite temperature measurements. I’ve adjusted the WoodForTrees link (which was specifically designed to examine novandilcosid’s ‘recent northern winters have been particularly cold’ assertion, by looking only at northern hemisphere January temperatures) to match the satellite timespan here.

    The assertion remains clearly false.

  126. What a waste of time and space this is becoming. It doesn’t matter what the pseudo sceptics on this thread believe (or claim to believe) the outcomes persuant to GW and CC will impact on them as well on the rest of us who ACCEPT(this is not about belief which has religous and mythical connotations) the science. This is not about winning a debate or entrenching a political position.I repeat – instead of endlessly denying the patently obvious, do us all a favour and put your efforts into solutions for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere and advancing mitigation scenarios (like nuclear power) which also allow society (First and Third World) to continue to develop. Stop being afraid and start being pro-active.

  127. On scepticism in science:

    ‘The great, and tragic, irony in all this is that science was one of the principal beneficiaries of the emergence of the ethos of tolerance. Science by its very nature thrives on open debate, which is why scientists were often in the forefront of advocating tolerance of dissident and despised views. The nineteenth-century biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, who was known as Darwin’s bulldog, said ‘scepticism is the highest of duties’. Many scientists believed that no ideas or views should be beyond discussion. The motto of the Royal Society was: ‘On the word of no one.’ Sadly, science has become politicised and has become prey to dogmatism. There is now a tendency to devalue debate and to replace argument with moral condemnation.’

  128. I have a scientific question, which I hope one of you experts here can answer.

    background physics
    The dry adiabatic lapse rate is about -10DegC/km. The addition of energy (mostly fropm water vapour condensing) reduces this to an “environmental lapse rate” of around -6.5 DegC/km. ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapse_rate ).

    It is useful to consult the Kiehl&Trenberth 1997 diagram reproduced in the IPCC AR4 report here: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-1-1-figure-1.html

    This diagram shows a schematic of the average equilibrium energy fluxes.
    Looking at the surface it is clear that the NET fluxes from the surface (NET radiation [ ie surface radiation minus back radiation from the atmosphere], plus evaporation plus thermals [=conduction]) always equals the surface absorbed insolation.

    IF the situation changes such that surface temperature increases, but assuming that conduction remains the same (no good reason not to – this assumption implies the same temperature Difference between the surface andf the air in contact with it) and the absorbed insolation remains the same, then:
    1. The evaporation increases, and
    2. The radiation from the surface and the back radiation both increase, but in such a way that the NET radiation (difference between the two), falls, so that
    3. The surface flux balance remains: net outgoings = absorbed insolation.

    If the radiation to space from the surface directly through the window is also roughly the same, then the amount of energy going into the atmosphere from the surface is a constant.

    All forms of flux into the atmosphere thermalise the atmosphere at the point of entry. So the conducted energy is straight away manifested as molecular kinetic energy, the latent heat given up by condensing water vapour is manifest as kinetic energy, and the absorbed radiated photons are almost immediately converted to kinetic energy by collision with other air molecules.

    So the environmental lapse rate is due not just to condensing water vapour, but to all three surface fluxes (plus the direct absorption of sunlight by the atmosphere).

    My Question
    Given a constant total flux into the atmosphere, the overall lapse rate should not change, ie there should be the same temperature difference between the surface and the bottom of the Tropopause.
    It is often claimed that higher surface temperature means more water vapour into the atmosphere and therefore a changed lapse rate. But lapse rate depends on total flux, not just water vapour flux. As the surface temperature increases, radiated flux is being exchanged for water vapour flux, but the total is nearly constant.

    Is the above statement correct, and if not, where is the error?

  129. @novandetc…..I suggest you pose these deep and meaningfuls on Real Climate. There’s wall to wall climate scientists, radiative physisists, statisticians, and assorted math geeks lurking over there.I am sure they will be happy to set you straight.

  130. mark: thanks for your comments. I did not think the timeline used was fishy or anything. and thanks for the reconstruction.

    spangled: thanks for the curry link.

    we should note though that Schmidt is right about the divergence problem being routinely discussed.

    It’s discussed in Archer, The Long Thaw (before the “hide the decline” business):

    “a puzzling fact is that tree rings don’t show the warming of the past few decades…” but “do correlate quite well with temperatures in the instrumental record before 1970 and agree with other climate proxies through the last milennium.” (59)

  131. http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/fac/trl/downloads/Publications/divergence2007.pdf

    above is a recent article on divergence problem, cited by Schmidt in the brouhaha at Curry’s site.

    curry does seem to think that the divergence issue invalidates proxy reconstructions.

    I don’t get her conclusion. btw, someone on the curry site claimed that RealClimate ignored the Montford book on the hockey stick: but they have a detailed review of it here:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/the-montford-delusion/

    I’d like to end with Archer’s comment that “for the global warming forecast to be wrong, the climate needs to be insensitive to C02 and other greenhouse gases.

    barry: I’d be curious to get your comment on the Curry thread.

  132. Judith Curry said in here conclusion:
    “This raises the issue as to whether there is any value at all in the tree ring analyses for this application, and whether these paleoreconstructions can tell us anything. Apart from the issue of the proxies not matching the observations from the current period of warming (which is also the period of best historical data), there is the further issue as to whether these hemispheric or global temperature analyses make any sense at all because of the sampling issue. I am personally having a difficult time in seeing how this stuff has any credibility at the level of “likely” confidence levels reported in the TAR and AR4.”

    Other scientists have commented on ther thread that they no longer READ anything written by the scientists concerned as they do not trust that they will expose problems and fully explain them. And that’s the point, the scientists concerned have NOT highlighted their problem, a problem which prima facie is a demonstration that tree rings are unreliable as a temperature proxy. And they have not robustly or reliably shown that they are reliable. The truncation of the data, and its replacement with the late 20th century temperature record is about as unscientific and unprofessional as it gets.

    Many have pointed out that if companies did this, the directors would be in jeopardy of jail time.

    It is silly to try to defend the figures which seek to minimise this issue, which essentially boils down to:

    If the tree rings do not show the late 20th century warming, but rather a cooling, how can they be used as a reliable reconstruction of past temperatures?

    It is also silly to try tio hide the issue with smokescreens such as “I’d like to end with Archer’s comment that “for the global warming forecast to be wrong, the climate needs to be insensitive to C02 and other greenhouse gases.” That is completely off topic. That’s saying that unscientific behaviour, a hiding of the possible major problem with method and data in the key papers underpinning temperature reconstructions is OK because after all the end justifies the means. So it’s OK. Isn’t it. Spin. Spin. Spin.

    The issue of paleoclimatic reconstructions and the attempted minimisation of the probable problems with method and data is one of the main sources of scepticism of the “science”. It is blatantly unscientific behaviour, and the spinning, denial, and refusal to disclose data and methods only makes it worse.

    Science is interested in truth not spin. Hiding the decline was just one instance of many spins by the “team”. The recent Ice Hockey incident (Steig) is another.

  133. Curry has really descended into the swamp this time. The whole piece is (yet again) designed solely to impune the integrity of Mann and other scientists working on the production of TAR.

    If there was any real concern for the scientific evidence for the hockey stick, there would not be the attempt to imply that nothing had happened over the last decade in the field of paleo temperature reconstructions. If there was real concern for the science, then discussion would surely also turn to those more recent studies.

    But instead Curry herself says:

    Further, paleoproxies are outside the arena of my personal research expertise, and I find my eyes glaze over when I start reading about bristlecones, etc

    And then proceeds to pontificate on the validity of tree ring proxies! Really!

    In any case other proxies also broadly support tree rings, but do we hear a mention from Curry.


    Can you make a hockey stick without tree rings?

    I can full well see why Gavin Schmidt has had enough of the nonsense.

  134. “for the global warming forecast to be wrong, the climate needs to be insensitive to C02 and other greenhouse gases.”

    there’s nothing silly about this. It is neither dodge nor spin. It’s really the key question.

    And as for tree rings, my understanding is that the records do correlate with other proxy measures and the instrumental record up to 1960. So the divergence in one place does not entail the divergence everywhere.

    I’m impressed, N, that your pro truth not spin, but I think you’re spinning like a dervish. which is really neither here nor there.

  135. Gregory Meyerson wrote:
    “And as for tree rings, my understanding is that the records do correlate with other proxy measures and the instrumental record up to 1960. So the divergence in one place does not entail the divergence everywhere.”

    This misses the point
    .
    It would be unscientific to use tree rings as proxies for temperature in the early periods where temperature records do not exist, if the temperature record correlates with tree rings up to 1960 but not in the 50 years since then.

    I can’t think of any possible justification for that. One has to establish (not just claim, but scientifically establish) the cause of divergence. That has not been done, instead the “team” went ahead and “hid the decline”, ie they hid the fact that their entire method and the majority of their data was most likely invalid.

    Until the cause of divergence is scientifically established (not by one peer-reviewed paper from the team, but established by critical review) all the papers based on tree ring proxies are worthless.

    After all, it is known that other factors besides temperature affect tree growth. CO2 concentration, soil nitrogen and rainfall immediately spring to mind. It is most likely that one or more of these factors explains the divergence.

  136. Incidentally, this is not a little storm in a little teacup. This is a tsunami. On Judith’s page she has had to start a second thread on this topic – she closed the first after 3 days aand 1091 comments. the second thread, here, http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/23/hiding-the-decline-part-ii/ has already 268 comments after 1 day of operation.

    I took particular note of this post by Jim West, about 4th on the first thread:

    “I have no idea what Oliver’s level of confidence in climate science was prior to the “hide the decline” revelation, but I can say that I was a reasonably firm believer in “the consensus” up until I began paying attention (around 2006) to the ongoing battle McIntyre was having with the Realclimate group over the hockey stick. By 2007, having seen the unbelievable disingenuousness of these key defenders of the hockey stick, I was becoming truly sceptical. Sceptical not so much in the sense that I discounted the potential for GHGs to cause serious warming, but sceptical in that I felt I should place zero faith in anything a hockey stick defender had to say, regardless of their credentials. I know that the folk associated with Realclimate have probably done much worthwhile work, but I was also certain that they would spin and obfuscate shamelessly to defend shoddy work.

    By 2009, when the climate gate emails were leaked, with their “hide the decline” revelation being just one among many, for me it was just confirmation of behaviour long suspected from following the hockey stick wars. However, it should be remembered that climategate drew the attention of many people to the fact that there were serious sceptics for the first time, and that there was also some very dubious conduct on the part of mainstream, IPCC sanctioned climate scientists. I suspect that the pathetic excuses being put forward to explain the why “hide the decline” isn’t really as bad as it appears, are right now playing the same role in converting a new wave of neo-sceptics that the hockey stick wars played for me.

    So I wouldn’t be so dismissive of the power of the ongoing, absurd excuses being offered to explain away “hide the decline” to convert a new generation of unbelievers.”

  137. novandilcosid

    Incidentally, this is not a little storm in a little teacup.

    I’m afraid it is. There have been multiple inquiries into the “climategate emails” and also into Mann’s hockey stick and NONE have found ANY wrongdoing on the part of ANY scientist.

    Curry is just engaging in a cynical muck raking exercise. Why should we be interested in her opinion when she prefaces it by a disclaimer that she has no expertise in paleo temperature reconstructions and bristlecones make her “eyes glaze over”?

    As for testimonials from an anonymous poster about how it shattered his faith in climate science, you must really think the readers of this blog are idiots.

    As I said before, if this bunch were actually interested in paleo temperature, they would be discussing the science and in particular research published in the period after TAR. They are plainly not.

    As for Curry’s claim to be building bridges – what a laugh.

  138. There’s a piece by an editor of a scientific journal on more unscientific behaviour at http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2010/03/12/benny-peiser-climate-libel-chill.aspx this time on the fraud allegations against Jones and Wang (the infamous UHI paper)

    I particularly thought the pre-penultimate sentence said it well:
    “Comparable behaviour in the private sector would be subject to severe sanction.”

    The article then concluded:
    “The revelations exposed by the CRU emails require the full disclosure of all documents and correspondence in this alleged fraud case. Until the whole affair is fully and publicly investigated, the reputation and integrity of leading climate scientists will remain to appear tainted and discredited.”

    Sadly, and notoriously, the investigations didn’t go near this matter. Not because there is no substance, but for political reasons. The allegations by Keenan were very serious, but there was zero investigation of them.

  139. “There have been multiple inquiries into the “climategate emails” and also into Mann’s hockey stick and NONE have found ANY wrongdoing on the part of ANY scientist”

    Yes, as Sir John Beddington said, they “played a blinder”.

    Enough dazzling whitewash can send anyone blind.

    Particularly if you are of the warmist persuasion, you can be blind to the bleedin’ obvious wrong doing.

    As Judith Curry says:

    “The subject of climate change is complex and important topic; the public is counting on scientists to provide the best available information. When the public saw in climategate, with “hide the decline” being its slogan, there was a substantial loss of public trust. This is not a good thing for climate science, nor for policy deliberations.”

  140. @novandilcosid

    Your “editor of a scientific journal” is Benny Peiser, co-editor of Energy and Environment, a journal with so little standing that it is not even listed in the ISI database here: http://science.thomsonreuters.com/mjl/

    E&E is the last refuge for contrarians when their stuff is so poor that no reputable journal will publish it.

    The publisher has just sent a threatening letter to the good people at RealClimate:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/ee-threatens-a-libel-suit/

  141. “The publisher has just sent a threatening letter to the good people at RealClimate”

    @quokka,

    You need to open your mind and your horizons a little.

    That was not a threatening letter at all but like most CAGWers who only know how to play the man and not the ball [if the cap fits wear it], Gavin’s misrepresentations finally got E&E asking a reasonable question:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/22/realclimates-over-the-top-response/#more-34555

  142. spangled drongo, on 25 February 2011 at 11:08 AM — I am the only one referencing Pigliuccit and I am not a CAGWer [which a term used only by a certain self-selected group].

    As for your questions, read it and apply the lessons learned self-referentially.

  143. Over at Deltoid, Tim Lambert has a piece on the statement by the head of the Bureau of Meteorology to the Australian Senate’s Environment and Communications Legislation Committee. Dr Ayr’s statement is a refutation of the nonsense in a letter based upon Ian Plimer’s untruths, from Archbishop Pell to the Senate.

    Dr Ayr’s statement is well worth reading.

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/02/the_bureau_of_meteorology_figh.php#comments

    As pointed out in one of the comments, Pell’s behavior is in direct opposition to the position taken by the Vatican:

    “God created our world with wisdom and love and when he had finished his great work of creation, God saw that it was good.”

    “Today however the world is confronted with a serious ecological crisis. The earth is suffering from global warming as a result of our excessive consumption of energy.”

    “We cannot deny that human beings bear a heavy responsibility for environmental destruction. Their unbridled greed casts the shadow of death on the whole of creation.”

    “Together Christians must do their utmost to save creation. Before the immensity of this task, they must unite their efforts. It is only together that they can protect the work of the creator.”

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/weeks-prayer-doc/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20080630_week-prayer-2009_en.html

  144. Hate to tell you this, but Newton’s theories actually don’t conflict with Einstein’s. Newton’s are simply a subset of Einstein’s, which are valid only at low speeds/energies.

    In reality Einstein’s theories apply all the time; we only use Newton’s equations because it is simpler to do the math and the difference is negligible at slow speeds.

    On the other hand, Quantum Mechanics and Relativity definitely ARE at odds with each other.

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