Several climate scientists have now examined the alleged errors in An Inconvenient Truth. At RealClimate Gavin Schmidt (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies) and Michael Mann (director Penn State Earth System Science Center) write:

First of all, “An Inconvenient Truth” was a movie and people expecting the same depth from a movie as from a scientific paper are setting an impossible standard. Secondly, the judge’s characterisation of the 9 points is substantially flawed. He appears to have put words in Gore’s mouth that would indeed have been wrong had they been said (but they weren’t). Finally, the judge was really ruling on how “Guidance Notes” for teachers should be provided to allow for more in depth discussion of these points in the classroom. This is something we wholehearted support – AIT is probably best used as a jumping off point for informed discussion, but it is not the final word. …

Overall, our verdict is that the 9 points are not “errors” at all (with possibly one unwise choice of tense on the island evacuation point).

William Connolley (British Antarctic Survey) responds to Schmidt and Mann:

I think its too kind; e.g. on SLR and Katrina Gore is misleading; on evacuation he is simply wrong. But the lake Chad bit was interesting.

Michael Tobis (University of Texas Institute for Physics) writes:

I’ve watched the relevant scenes, and though I find the polar bear sequence a bit silly, I can find nothing whatsoever wrong with what Gore says in substance or in emphasis in eight of the nine cases.

The troublesome case is where Gore says:

“that’s why the citizens of these Pacific nations have all had to evacuate to New Zealand”

There is certainly no case where all the inhabitants of a nation have evacuated, to date, although the prospect does not seem remote. This astonishing fact does not seem to faze the critics of the movie in the least. …

Arguably, there is some subset of Pacific Islanders who have ‘all evacuated’ in the loose, emphatic sense of ‘all’. I can certainly imagine a context in which the statement, with a little slack for Gore’s vernacular, would be reasonable. …

Other than that out-of-context evacuation comment, I can see nothing wrong with what Mr. Gore said or how the film presented it.

John Shepherd (UK National Oceanography Centre)and Chris Rapley (former director British Antarctic Survey)

In fact the judgement systematically refers to “errors” (using
inverted commas, which the media have generally ignored), and has some
wise words to say on the distinction between presenting and promoting
partisan views, and the balanced presentation of controversial issues
(which he decides does not require equal “air-time” for views which
are held only by small minorities). However, in his analysis of the
“errors”the judge has also expressed unwarranted confidence on
several issues which are still the subject of considerable uncertainty
among the scientific community. It would be fair to say that Al Gore
presents the more extreme (concerned) end of the range of scientific
opinion on several issues, and implies stronger evidence than is fair
on several others. However, overall the film still achieves an
exceptionally high standard of scientific accuracy, and it is
regrettable that the judge has triggered a media storm by the
injudicious use of the term “errors”. Lawyers know not to rely on
ordinary commas to make their meaning clear; now judges must learn not
to rely on inverted commas either. …

Overall evaluation from John Shepherd: In only three cases [lake
Chad, Katrina, drowning polar bears] can it realistically be argued
that the film presents an overstated or unreasonable argument, and in
only one case (hurricanes) is that in relation to a major issue. In no
case is there a scientific “error” as such. In three cases [sea level
rise, thermohaline circulation, Kilimanjaro] Gore presents a view
which represents the more extreme end of the range of scientific
uncertainty. In the remaining three cases the Gore presentation is
essentially correct. To refer to “nine scientific errors” is therefore
itself a very considerable misrepresentation of the facts.

Endorsement by Chris Rapley: The view of climate scientists with whom
I have spoken (and my view also) is that Al Gore’s grasp of the
climate change issue is remarkable, and his ability to communicate it
quite exceptional. Having said this, there are some points Al makes in
Inconvenient Truth which a scientist would generally hedge with
caveats or avoid, because they are scientifically controversial,
uncertain, or too complicated to explain accurately and
succinctly. The snows of Kilimanjaro are a good example. As is the
case for almost all localised or regional climatic changes, the loss
of the ice cap has not formally be attributed to human actions. That
does not mean that it is not – simply that convincing evidence for the
link has not been presented. Even so, expert scientists working on the
issue have their views, and it seems that in this case Al’s comments
may have been influenced by these. The other issues raised in the
court case are to a greater or lesser degree of the same nature. The
bottom line, as the judge noted, is that the message delivered by Al,
that climate change is real, now, and driven mainly by humans, is
“broadly correct”. John Shepherd’s excellent detailed analysis of the
issues addressed by the judgement comes to the same conclusion. I am
pleased to endorse and recommend John’s evaluation.

Stung by the criticism he received for not doing any fact checking on the judge’s decision, Michael Dobbs did what he should have done in the first place and checked with a climate scientist, Martin Parry (Co-Chair IPCC, Working Group II). Parry felt that the judge was right about Kilimanjaro, lake Chad and thermohaline circulation, and “technically correct” on Katrina and coral bleaching. Dobbs also had a comment from a NOAA coral reef scientist who backed Gore on coral bleaching.

While there is some disagreement amongst the scientists, if you look at the details, much of the disagreement is not about the science, but about what Gore said, and what counts as an error. This was not helped by the media misreporting the judge’s findings as “AIT has nine errors”, when the judge actually found that there were nine points which were either errors or departures from the mainstream. (The judge doesn’t say which were which, but a little reading between the lines suggest that he thought that sea level rise and evacuation were errors and the other seven were departures from the mainstream.)

So let’s look at the score on each of the nine points:

Sea-level rise: Four votes for Gore. Shepherd and Rapley say he has scientific support but at the extreme end of uncertainty, while Connolley thinks that Gore is misleading on this point. The difference of opinion here seems to be about what Gore said or implied. The judge and Connolley think that although Gore doesn’t say it, he implies it will happen in the immediate future. While I would have preferred that Gore had said something like: “We don’t know how long the ice sheets will take to melt, maybe it will be 100 years, maybe it it will be a 1000″, I don’t think that it would have made much difference to the impressions gained by viewers of the movie. In any case, all the scientists agree that this is not an scientific error.

Island evacuation: Five votes for Gore. Tobis says it’s an editing error, while Connolley thinks that Gore is simply wrong. The differences here aren’t about the science but about how to interpret what Gore said. Connolley takes the strictest interpretation, while the others are more generous.

Thermohaline circulation: Three votes for Gore. Shepherd and Rapley say he has scientific support but at the extreme end of uncertainty, Connolley thinks that Gore is misleading on this point, while Parry says the judge is correct. Again, the difference is not about the science, but how to judge what Gore said. The people voting for Gore say that he is correct to say that it’s a possibility, while the ones saying that he is extreme/misleading think that his presentation makes it appear more likely than it is. I would have preferred that he had said that this was a possibility and not something that is likely, but I suspect that this would have made little difference to viewers. In any case, this certainly is not an scientific error.

Graph of CO2 vs temperature: Unanimous agreement that Gore is right and the judge is wrong.

Snows of Kilimanjaro: Three votes for Gore. Shepherd and Rapley say he has scientific support but at the extreme end of uncertainty, Connolley thinks that it is uncertain that the receding glacier is because of global warming, while Parry says the judge is correct. Once again the differences aren’t about the science, but how strictly you judge what Gore said. They all agree that mountain glaciers are receding worldwide because of global warming, and that there is scientific evidence that Kilimanjaro is also receding because of global warming. I think that there were better examples he could have chosen, but it makes no difference to his main point. In any case, this certainly is not a scientific error.

Drying lake Chad: Four votes for Gore. Shepherd and Rapley and Parry say that the judge is correct. Again, everyone agrees that there is scientific evidence that global warming is partially responsible for the drying — the differences seem to be about whether the evidence is strong enough fir Gore to use it as an example. In any case, this certainly is not a scientific error.

Katrina: Three votes for Gore. The other four agree with the judge. This one is also about how you interpret Gore. He never says that warming caused Katrina. Katrina is used as an example of the damage that stronger hurricanes could do and of the consequences of ignoring warnings from scientists. The scientists voting for the judge think he implies it. In any case, this certainly is not a scientific error.

Drowning polar bears: Five votes for Gore. Shepherd and Rapley agree with the judge, but they don’t seem to be aware of the study that supports Gore here. In any case, this certainly is not a scientific error.

Coral bleaching: Six votes for Gore. Parry says that the judge might be technically correct. I think that this one goes for Gore.

Overall, there were only three points where a majority felt that the judge was right: thermohaline, Katrina and Kilimanjaro, and none of these were scientific errors, but rather cases where Gore should have said a little more about what was going on.

Comments

  1. #1 dhogaza
    October 18, 2007

    But … but … I’m sure all seven voted “yes” when asked:

    Is Al Gore fat?

  2. #2 Mark Gray
    October 18, 2007

    If this is the same Dr. Mann who constructed the “Hockey Stick” graph that was subsequently broken by Canadian’s Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, then who the hell cares what he says. His fraudulent work disqualifies his opinions.

    The “warmers” have to stop the lies and obfuscation.

  3. #3 meatbrain
    October 18, 2007

    “Mark Gray” illustrates a cardinal principle of the deniers: When you cannot construct an argument based on facts, just smear, smear, smear.

  4. #4 cce
    October 18, 2007

    The “skeptics” need to “stop the lies and obfuscation.” For example, “the Hockey Stick was broken by McIntyre and McKitrick.”

  5. #5 elspi
    October 18, 2007

    Mark
    Do you often walk around in public with the word moron tattooed across your forehead?(cause that is the equivalent of bring up the “broken hockey stick” on a ScienceBlog)

  6. #6 stefan
    October 18, 2007

    There’s now a response in the WaPo from Gore’s spokesperson that perhaps clarifies their side of things a little.

  7. #7 z
    October 18, 2007

    “His fraudulent work disqualifies his opinions.”

    I believe that applies more to a person from outside an area of expertise who paints an error by an expert as immoral behavior negating all the rest of the individual’s work.

  8. #8 z
    October 18, 2007

    Now can we get back to the important business of discussing the policy implications to follow from “State of Fear”?

  9. #9 Glen Raphael
    October 18, 2007

    I thought the movie did a decent job of maintaining plausible deniability. The worst propagandistic excesses were cases where a literal reading of the script doesn’t really show a problem – it’s what you see *combined* with what is said that creates a predictable false impression in the mind of the viewer.

    Take sea level rise. To illustrate the effect of a 20-foot sea level rise we are presented with graphics showing water rising by 20 feet in New York. Somebody has created a static model of the *existing* New York skyline and we get to see that how that static model looks against rising waters.

    The fact that the New York skyline doesn’t change at all – for instance, no new skyscapers show up – implies not much time is passing. Nobody can guess what New York will look like in a thousand years, but it’s certain it won’t look exactly like it does now. Nobody explicitly claims “this process will take less than thousands of years” but the visual context implies it. We think we’ve seen waters rise over the *current* skyline.

    Another director might have chosen to put a timeline on that animation or changed it to more strongly indicate the passage of time. For instance, show the wobbling of the tides and the movement of the sun, slow at first and then speeding up faster and faster until you’ve reached the nessessary million-to-one speedup. The editorial choice to leave off that sort of indication creates a false impression in the viewer.

  10. #10 Nick Barnes
    October 18, 2007

    I am disappointed by the direction that the sane end of the blogosphere is taking on this. I read the judgement and I thought it was very sound and level-headed. In some parts it may not have been entirely in accord with the science, but I suspect that is the fault of the evidence presented by the Government. The judge is clearly a very intelligent man, a layman in climate science doing his best with the specialist evidence presented to him.

    Above all, I think it is a mistake to concede to the deniers that the judge opposed AIT. That’s almost the opposite if what happened. Focusing on points of disagreement with the judge plays into the hands of the deniers. Rather, our focus should be “Court says AGW is real, AIT supported by judge, to be shown in secondary schools, deniers lose case”. That should be our headline here, the correct response to deniers who say “AIT rubbished by judge”.

    The upshot of the case is that teachers will get a printed guidance note with the DVD, rather than a link to a website, and the guidance note will have more detail on these particular points. There’s basically no way this outcome can be viewed as a bad thing. So the reality-based community should be welcoming it.

    The guidance notes are good, too. I’ve lost the link to them; can someone please repost it?

  11. #11 Peter Bickle
    October 18, 2007

    Hi all

    Elspi, this site is not about science.
    And yes the HS is well and truely shattered.
    You warmers are as gulible as Jews at a concentration camp, ‘off for a nice warm shower yid.’

    All the shit about the pacific islanders coming to New Zealand is bull.

    Regards for New Zealand
    Peter Bickle

  12. #12 ben
    October 18, 2007

    Warning: Thread Hijack in Progress:

    I just got a flier from the Sierra Club today, in which they state that GW is occurring much faster than anyone predicted. Correct me if I’m wrong, and I know you will, but this does seem like a crock of shit.

    /hijack

  13. #13 dhogaza
    October 18, 2007

    I just got a flier from the Sierra Club today, in which they state that GW is occurring much faster than anyone predicted. Correct me if I’m wrong, and I know you will, but this does seem like a crock of shit.

    Well, certainly the artic ice melt this summer has raised a few eyebrows.

    What exactly did the flyer say, and who was it from, the national organization or your state chapter?

    On the sierra club’s national site their lead for global warming is:

    There’s no more denying it: global warming is here. The good news is that we can slow and eventually stop it, but we must act now.

    Which is in accord with mainstream scientific thought AFAIK.

  14. #14 dhogaza
    October 18, 2007

    And yes the HS is well and truely shattered.

    You must know something that the [US] National Academy of Science does not know, then. I do hope you’ll contact them with your exciting news soon!

  15. #15 frankis
    October 18, 2007

    I’m with Tim and Nick barnes.
    Scoring it as the Judge 9, Monckton and twits nil

  16. #16 Lee A. Arnold
    October 18, 2007

    I’m sure we can’t connect a single storm to global warming. But I haven’t heard a reasonable hypothesis as to why global warming would not increase cyclone intensity. Is there a physics speed limit?

  17. #17 Jon H
    October 18, 2007

    “Nobody can guess what New York will look like in a thousand years, but it’s certain it won’t look exactly like it does now.”

    Of all the stupid complaints…

    The reason to use the current skyline is that people have some idea of the scale involved.

    A bunch of unknown, unfamiliar buildings of unknown size would be of little use.

    It’s the same as diagrams that show a dinosaur next to a human and a bus, in order to help the reader visualize the relative sizes. Dinosaurs, humans, and buses never existed at the same time, but we have a good idea how big a person or a bus is.

  18. #18 Davis
    October 18, 2007

    The reason to use the current skyline is that people have some idea of the scale involved.

    But if they had shown a future skyline, they could have had people with jetpacks! And who can argue against the notion that jetpacks would have made the movie better?

  19. #19 James
    October 19, 2007

    The claim about evacuations from Tuvalu is not supportable. In fact, it’s nonsense.

    Tasmanian scientist John Hunter (in a study sponsored by Greenpeace) estimated a sea level rise at Tuvalu of 0.8 ± 1.9 mm/year relative to the land (i.e. a rise smaller than the uncertainty).

    A more recent estimate from the SEAFRAME project indicates a rise of 5.7 (95% CI ± 5.0) mm/year. (Again the estimate is close to the uncertainty).

    Even taken at face values, such purported sea level rises are not going to cause anyone to “evacutate”.

  20. #20 Glen Raphael
    October 19, 2007

    Using the current skyline as a point of reference is fine if you make it clear that’s what you’re doing, but the movie didn’t make that as clear as it could have. There was nothing in the visual to suggest “we expect this to take a thousand years” and it looked kind of real, so vast throngs of moviegoers left with the impression they’d seen something that was actually going to happen soon.

    Anyway, if you think *that* was a stupid complaint, you haven’t heard the one that irked me the most, which was: the frog.

    That a frog won’t jump out of slowly heated water is an urban myth. AIT reinforces this myth with cute cartoony graphics of a frog that gets “rescued”. Strangely, that one didn’t make the top 9 points of contention… :-)

  21. #21 IanP
    October 19, 2007

    Mr. Gore recons the debate is over and those who disagree with his ideas on global warming have been ‘purchased’ in order to create ‘the illusion’ of a debate.
    Nonsense – it’s as if the Vice President and his allies in the environmental movement plan to win the debate through intimidation.

    Interesting comment from James (#19) “sea level rise….relative to the land”. I just wonder how much subsidence occurs on some small island atolls which are often made entirely of broken coral and have had many decades of quarrying, building roads, houses, traffic etc etc. Can we assume that these are all rolled into the sea level equation – I doubt it!

  22. #22 John Mashey
    October 19, 2007

    Nick:
    [Link](http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/sustainableschools/news/news_detail.cfm?id=172)
    follow a link or two deep to get to the actual material sent out.
    I thought it was pretty good material, and I wonder how the US equivalents compare, given the larger variability over here.

  23. #23 Jeff Harvey
    October 19, 2007

    This piece by Davids Edwards and Cromwell from ‘Media Lens’ accurately explains the underlying motives behind the attempt to discredit Gore’s film in the UK:

    http://www.zmag.org/content/print_article.cfm?itemID=14066&sectionID=56

  24. #24 Nick Barnes
    October 19, 2007

    Thanks, John. The PDF of the guidance pack is here.

  25. #25 Tim Curtin
    October 19, 2007

    THERE ARE MORE THAN NINE ERRORS IN AL GORE’S OSCAR-NOBEL BOOK AKA CONVENIENT LIES

    #1 (p.25). “Carbon dioxide is the most important of the so-called greenhouse gases”

    Water vapor (H2O) is larger by volume, and methane (CH4) is larger in forcing per ppmv.

    #2 (p.27) “The problem we now face is that this thin layer of atmosphere is being thickened by huge quantities of human-caused carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases”.

    The quantities are not “huge”: the gross emissions of carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels in 2006 (7.6 GtC) were less than one per cent of total atmospheric carbon dioxide (760 GtC in the 1990s); the net emissions were less than 0.5 per cent of the total (Source: IPCC, TAR, Land Use etc, CUP, 2000:30). If half of one per cent is “huge”, what would count as small?

    #3 (p.27). “As a result, the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere (sic) – and oceans – is (sic) getting dangerously warmer”.

    It seems likely that Gore Blimey meant to say “surface” rather than “atmosphere”, as the atmosphere includes the troposphere (getting a bit warmer) and the stratosphere (a bit cooler). But when you win an Oscar and a Nobel, what’s in a sphere, as Shakespeare might have said. A year has passed since the publication of AIT, but Gore Blimey would not be able to cite any place in the world that “is” now “dangerously warmer” than it was last year (not a single Australian state or territorial capital city has had any day this year that was the warmest ever. Source: daily weather reports in The Australian).

    #4 (p.28) “… water vapor is a natural (sic) greenhouse gas that increases in volume with warmer temperatures, thereby magnifying the impact of all artificial (sic) greenhouse gases”.

    It is not clear why Blimey considers water as “natural” and CO2 as “artificial”. But it is good news for swimming pool owners worldwide that global warming means that they will now need to spend less on topping up from the mains water supply in the summer. Blimey also swims in his pool(s) blissfully unaware that if implemented Kyoto would mean less atmospheric water vapor – and so less not more rainfall. Thanks to his AIT, English schoolchildren will never learn that burning of fossil fuels results in (in the case of jet fuel) 3.15 kg CO2 per kg fuel burned and 1.26kg H2O per kg fuel, IPCC, TAR, Aviation & the Global atmosphere, CUP 1999:33). Even the Nobel IPCC admits (TAR) that the residence in the atmosphere of water vapor generated by fossil fuels is at most 10 days, meaning that it descends to earth as rain (aka precipitation). That is why global rainfall is more now, not less, than it was in 1900, as Australian and South African data show clearly.

    Enough for now, I will continue my excursion through AIT, but trust me, the above four incontestable gross errors in just the first four pages of the main text are par for his course. Thus when we reach his pages on coral reefs, Blimey shows total ignorance that without CO2 in the past there would now be no coral, and that without any in the future, as he proposes, there will be none ever again. Corals are living organisms for which CO2 is their lifeblood. Not only that, Blimey is unaware that although as he admits CO2 is not merely the safeguard against the excess freezing of Mars or the big heat of Venus, without CO2 we would all be dead from lack of food. Everything we eat derives from the photosynthesis (a word that is not in his book’s vocab) that derives from atmospheric CO2, and the abolition Blimey proposes condemns us all to death. Targets for emission reduction of 60% of the 2000 level by 2050 ineluctably imply mass starvation and an incipient new Little Ice Age by c.2050, as shown by the basic math in Hansen (yes he of NASA-GISS) with Sato (2004). Atmospheric CO2 of less than the 1750 level by c.2050 as advocated by the Oscar and Nobel committees guarantees widespread extermination of most of the human race.

  26. #26 jodyaberdein
    October 19, 2007

    Just a quick one, but is there any reason why you did not mention atmospheric half life in your first point Tim?

  27. #27 Dano
    October 19, 2007

    Tim,

    Can you expend your considerable audit energy on actual science papers, rather than a movie?

    See, the world has moved on, declared AGW real (so has Lomborg), and is debating action. So, Tim, please save the world from itself. Audit the science Tim and stop wasting your time on non-science. The decision-makers have been briefed on the science, see, and thus are deluded into action.

    Save the world, Tim. Audit the science. Audit the science Tim. Auuuuudit the sciiiiiience…auuuuuuudit the sciennnnnnnnnnnce…auuuuu….

    Best,

    D

  28. #28 Chris O'Neill
    October 19, 2007

    “this site is not about science.”

    That certainly applies to comments like: “CO2 forcing is decreasing is it not as every new molecule added adds less warming the the previous”. Since each molecule of CO2 emitted now has 73% (to the nearest per cent)of the warming power of a CO2 molecule emitted in 1750, perhaps the person who made that comment thinks that 73% is practically the same as zero.

    “And yes the HS is well and truely shattered”

    Yes, trees suddenly changed their behaviour in 1428.

  29. #29 Tim Curtin
    October 19, 2007

    Hi jodyaberdein.

    Climatologists are not aware of the economists’ word “fungible”. While I love to think that the CO2 breathed out by my ancestors since say 1200 is still up there (according to Houghton of the IPCC, in his 2004 book), I fear I cannot place their names on each of their molecules. Probably recently released CO2 jumps the queue to get absorbed in the photosynthesis process that the IPCC largely ignores or downplays (becuse it is lower in the troposphere), but in general atmos. CO2 is deemed to be “well mixed” so who knows whether it is your gran’s or mine that is currently fertilising your/my tomatoes? So your question is really irrelevant. At least half of current CO2 emissions equal annual uptake by the earth’s biome and/or ocean (the jury is still out on which is the more significant).

    Going beyond that, to anticipate my page by page dissection of the Gore Blimey twaddle, why is it that AGW has caused Lake Chad to shrink, but not any of Lakes Nyasa, Tanganyika, Victoria, Michigan, Superior, Geneva, or even Lakes Eyre and George here in Australia, both wetter now than for about the last 4 years? Likewise if AGW has caused the glacier on Kilimanjaro to shrink (as it has since 1900, ie before AGW), why is there now double the ice on Mont Blanc than there was just 10 years ago?

  30. #30 Boris
    October 19, 2007

    Is 25 a joke? Please tell me somebody is spoofing.

  31. #31 sod
    October 19, 2007

    A year has passed since the publication of AIT, but Gore Blimey would not be able to cite any place in the world that “is” now “dangerously warmer” than it was last year (not a single Australian state or territorial capital city has had any day this year that was the warmest ever. Source: daily weather reports in The Australian).

    Dear Tim Burton,

    let me advice you to NOT speak about the topic of “CLIMATE CHANGE” as long as you have not managed to understand the major difference between CLIMATE and WEATHER.

    thanks,

    sod

  32. #32 sod
    October 19, 2007

    Atmospheric CO2 of less than the 1750 level by c.2050 as advocated by the Oscar and Nobel committees guarantees widespread extermination of most of the human race.

    every now and then, i am convinced that a more stupid comment is impossible. this one brought me one of those moments.

    dear Tim Curtin,

    how exactly are all those evil Gores an climate scientists trying to filter all the CO2 out of the atmosphere?
    exterminating the human race as it happened before in 1750???

    yours,

    sod

    ps: sorry for misspelling your name before.

  33. #33 Sir Oolius
    October 19, 2007
  34. #34 Ian Gould
    October 19, 2007

    “Is 25 a joke? Please tell me somebody is spoofing.”

    While it is tempting to think that Tim C.’s contributions to this blog are a joke, if they are they’re an extremely long-running joke with no punchline in sight.

  35. #35 saurabh
    October 19, 2007

    Just briefly replying to #25, so we can stop discussing it:
    1. As we all know, radiative forcing is the important quantity, here. And the latest IPCC FAR tells us that CO2 is responsible for 1.66 W/m2, while CH4 is responsible for 0.48 W/m2. While the FAR does call water vapor “the most abundant and important greenhouse gas”, it’s also careful to point out that water vapor is reactive, and its effects are included in the forcings for other gases.

    2. The 20th century contribution changed CO2 concentrations from 275 ppm to 375 ppm – is 36% huge enough for you? CO2 produced by fossil fuels accumulates, obviously.

    3. This seems a linguistic quibble at best. Since we don’t live in the stratosphere, it’s fair to say that the atmosphere is warming. And most of it is, except for the stratosphere, so what’s your problem?

    4. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here, exactly. More linguistic quibbling? If there’s a scientific point here, I’m not sure what it is. Maybe that “more rainfall = better”? Or that Kyoto would produce dangerous droughts? Anyway, your attribution of more rainfall to the H2O contributed by *burning fossil fuels* seems like it must be a joke. Was it?

  36. #36 Steve Bloom
    October 19, 2007

    Double the amount of ice on Mont Blanc? Some things are arguable, but that one isn’t. Thus we discover that Tim C. believes everything he reads in the right-wing blogosphere. Apparently he’s beyond embarassment about that sort of thing.

  37. #37 AS
    October 19, 2007

    What exactly are ‘inverted commas’?

  38. #38 Boris
    October 19, 2007

    Peter Bickle,

    You comment was extremely distasteful.

  39. #39 Maurizio Morabito
    October 19, 2007

    Presuming nobody thinks justice Burton is dishonest, if his judgement has been so wrong as depicted it must have been the fault of the experts convened at the UK High Court. Evidently those experts were not knowledgeable enough to “show” to a climate-layman Judge what the science of climate change is at the moment.

    If that is the case, instead of wasting time in blogging and interviews about it, people and especially scientists convinced that justice Burton’s conclusions are wrong should contact the UK Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families offering their expertise to fight an appeal against the “9 Errors” judgement.

  40. #40 Nick Barnes
    October 19, 2007

    #39: why should we want to fight an appeal against the judgement? The upshot of the judgement was that the Government could send out AIT to schools.

  41. #41 Edward
    October 19, 2007

    Can anyone in this blog full of geniuses explain why the southern hemisphere had the most terrible cold winter in almost 90 years? (and a cooler fall and summer too).

    Yes, I know. Global warming makes things hot and cold, faster and slower, longer and shorter, etc, all at the same time. Try to cool your beer in your oven.

  42. #42 Edward
    October 19, 2007

    No saurahb: the IPCC said. Absolutely burning so called fossil fuels does inject H2O in the atmosphere. Look:


    … (in the case of jet fuel) 3.15 kg CO2 per kg fuel burned and 1.26kg H2O per kg fuel, IPCC, TAR, Aviation & the Global atmosphere, CUP 1999:33).

    Now, relatively it doesn’t mean much, as it doesn’t mean much the 0.048% increase in CO2 levels in Earth atmosphere since 1760.

  43. #43 Tim Curtin
    October 19, 2007

    35:
    “1.The 20th century contribution changed CO2 concentrations from 275 ppm to 375 ppm – is 36% huge enough for you? CO2 produced by fossil fuels accumulates, obviously”.

    YET THE COMPOSITION OF THE ATMOSPHERE CHANGED BY JUST 0.01%. IS THAT “HUGE”?

    “2. This seems a linguistic quibble at best. Since we don’t live in the stratosphere, it’s fair to say that the atmosphere is warming. And most of it is, except for the stratosphere, so what’s your problem?”

    I PREFER SCIENTIFIC PRECISION TO LINGUISTIC SLOPPINESS. THE TOTAL RECORDED INCREASE NOW IN TEMPERATURE OF THE TROPOSPHERE SINCE SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS BEGAN JUST 28 YEAR AGO IS 0.4oC NH AND LESS THAN 0.2oC SH. WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM?

    “3. ….If there’s a scientific point here, I’m not sure what it is. Maybe that “more rainfall = better”? Or that Kyoto would produce dangerous droughts? Anyway, your attribution of more rainfall to the H2O contributed by burning fossil fuels seems like it must be a joke. Was it?”

    NO. JUST A STATEMENT OF FACT. FOSSIL FUELS FORMED FROM COMBINING H2O AND CO2, AND THAT IS WHY THEIR MAIN EMISSIONS ARE H20 AND CO2. THEY ARE NEITHER POISONS NOR POLLUTANTS. USING SOLAR AND WIND POWER ETC WILL REDUCE BOTH H2O AND CO2. WITH NET TERRESTRIAL UPTAKE OF CO2 OF 3.6 GtC IN 2005 (AND GROWING AT 3.4% PA SINCE 1994), REDUCING EMISSIONS TO 90% OF THE 2000 LEVEL, i.e. 0.6 GtC(AS DEMANDED BY AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION AND PROD HOEG GULDBERG, UQ), WILL RAPIDLY REDUCE ATMOSPHERIC CO2 BY OVER 3 GtC P.A. NOW AND RISING FAST, TO PRODUCE AN ICE AGE LEVEL OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AS SOON AS 2046. LUCKILY THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN, AS THE CHINESE AND INDIANS ARE NOT AS STUPID AS THE ACF AND PROF. GULDBERG & CO.

    MEANTIME I AWAIT YOUR EXPLANATION OF WHY LAKES GENEVA AND SUPERIOR ETC ARE NOT DRYING UP AS PREDICTED BY AL GORE? BTW, THE RETREATING GLACIERS ON KILI(WHICH I HAVE CLIMBED) ARE NOT, REPEAT NOT, pace BLIMEY, DUE TO NON-FREEZING TEMPERATURES, IT IS ALWAYS ALWAYS BELOW ZERO AT THE GLACIAL SUMMIT. FOR THE LIKELY EXPLANATION OF THE RETREAT TRY THE RECENT PAPER IN AMERICAN SCIENTIST.

  44. #44 Michael Tobis
    October 19, 2007

    I think people voting against Gore on Kilimanjaro are neglecting to actually consider the context. I watched the movie again before coming to any conclusions. Gore showed several retreating glaciers. The focus on Kilimanjaro as if it were presented alone is not Gore’s.

    I think the film can leave certain misapprehensions in the viewer. The Katrina and sea level portions may make a stronger impression than is warranted, but this is not due to any incorrect statements on Gore’s part, so much as a decision to leave out describing the controversies in these matters.

    On the whole, though, I would say that Gore is far more scrupulous in acknowledging uncertainties and complexities than his opponents usually are. This is always a judgment call. The important matter is to leave an impression that honestly represents to the general public the extent of the risk and the seriousness of the measures needed to address it.

    This is a very difficult endeavor, and we are far better off that someone has made the attempt.

  45. #45 dopey
    October 19, 2007

    There should be a Darwin Award for “Blog comments so stupid they remove at a stroke the chance that sentient creatures will ever again see the poster’s name without involuntarily thinking “fool” and starting to laugh”.

    How many stupidities are perpetrated by Tim Curtin in his one comment at #25 above? Here are just a few:
    1. (As SOD or somebody said) thinks weather is climate
    2. Thinks more water vapour in the atmosphere ipso facto means more rainfall (and goes without saying of course that rain should fall just where it’s wanted).
    3. Seems also to think that more water vapour in warmer air means less evaporation. (Should show working on this one).
    4. Thinks that implementing Kyoto would reduce water vapour concentration (rather than slow the rate of increase).
    5. Really does appear to think that it’s the water created along with CO2 by burning fossil fuels, not the water evaporated by warmer temperatures, that is the issue to climate science.
    5. Beyond stupid, but thinks that if we quit burning fossil fuels altogether then atmospheric levels of CO2 would drop toward zero. Truly has there been stupid of this level seen in Scienceblogs since, well, the last time Tim Curtin was here?

    Enough already. Noboby should need more Darwin Blog Award credit points than this.

  46. #46 dopey
    October 19, 2007

    OK one more then:
    6. Has taken to lecturing his huddled masses in All Caps.

  47. #47 Joel Shore
    October 19, 2007

    Tim Curtin: Your parody of a AGW denier in Post #43 is hilarious but a little bit over the top! I’ve seen very few who are really ignorant enough to argue something like that if we don’t keep pumping out the CO2 we will drop to something like that ice age CO2 levels in 40 years.

    But still, your posts do provide considerable entertainment value! Keep up the satire!

  48. #48 sod
    October 20, 2007

    Tim Curtin,

    you do notice that this sentence

    YET THE COMPOSITION OF THE ATMOSPHERE CHANGED BY JUST 0.01%. IS THAT “HUGE”?

    is contradicting this one:

    WITH NET TERRESTRIAL UPTAKE OF CO2 OF 3.6 GtC IN 2005 (AND GROWING AT 3.4% PA SINCE 1994), REDUCING EMISSIONS TO 90% OF THE 2000 LEVEL, i.e. 0.6 GtC(AS DEMANDED BY AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION FOUNDATION AND PROD HOEG GULDBERG, UQ), WILL RAPIDLY REDUCE ATMOSPHERIC CO2 BY OVER 3 GtC P.A. NOW AND RISING FAST, TO PRODUCE AN ICE AGE LEVEL OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 AS SOON AS 2046.

    in one case you argue that the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere was minimal. in the other you claim that even a reduction to 90% of the emission will lead to an iceage!

    let me repeat again: the combined CO2 emissions by humans so far has been TOTALLY irrelevant. but if we reduce or emission by 10%, we cause an ICE AGE!

    at this moment in time, i m actually more worried about some editors allowing Tim Curtin to publish in their papers, than about global warming.

  49. #49 Tim Curtin
    October 20, 2007

    Joel Shore: try this arithmetic:

    Terrestrial uptake in 2005 at 3.6 GtC growing at 3.4% p.a.(consistent with actual rates in 90s IPCC TAR and 2000s in AR4 and Hansen & Sato 2004) reaches 14.4 GtC by 2046, and with emissions down to 0.8 GtC by then (if there is universal adoption from 2008 of the ACF target of reduction to 10% of the 2000 level by 2050 (= 650 GtC), implying progressive annual emission reductions from 2006 level of 7.85 GtC at 5.75% p.a.), atmospheric CO2 is dropping by 13.6 ppm p.a. by 2046 and will have reached 280 ppmv, the level during the closing stages of the Little Ice Age in 1750. After all, it only requires a drop of 101 ppmv to get from today’s 381 to reach 280. Other respondents here seem unaware that with world food production having increased by 60% since 1980 (FAO) there is a growing demand for CO2 for photosynthesis. Hansen & Sato recognized this and therefore called in 2004 for emission reductions only to the level of terrestrial uptake, i.e. 3.6 GtC in 2006, rather than Don Henry’s 0.6 GtC. Or do all the abusive epithets hurled at me here also apply to dear old Jim Hansen?

  50. #50 Maurizio Morabito
    October 20, 2007

    40. “why should we want to fight an appeal against the judgement?

    If one really believes something wrong has been done in a court of Law, one should at least try to put it right. What kind of poor world we would live in if everybody caved in when confronted by an injustice?

    But my feeling is that talk is too easy and too cheap and neither Tim Lambert nor any of the critics of justice Burton’s decision really believe they can put together a case for an appeal.

    The upshot of the judgement was that the Government could send out AIT to schools

    This makes no sense as an “upshot”. The Government had already decided to send AIT to schools.

    The real upshot of the judgement is that pupils will be told by Teachers to think and not just take Gore’s words for granted.

    Hopefully they’ll learn to apply a critical eye to the rest of their world too

  51. #51 Maurizio Morabito
    October 20, 2007

    Apologies. my comment 50 was an answer to comment 40 by Nick Barnes but something went wrong in the formatting.

    Kudos to Tim Lambert for allowing an open discussion here, unlike some “real” climate blogs elsewhere…

  52. #52 Nick Barnes
    October 20, 2007

    #50: I don’t believe that something wrong was done in a court of law. Parts of the judgement may have been poorly phrased, but the order made by the judge is to purely positive effect (i.e.: the deniers lost, the right of the Government to use AIT in schools was confirmed, and the materials provided to schools were improved). I think that the majority of the reality-based community would agree with this.

    Something has been done wrong, repeatedly, by the media in reporting the case. The funders of the case, who appear to include leading deniers such as Monckton, have got their money’s worth in this regard, have been provided with fuel for their toxic attacks on the truth.

    Some of the wording of the judgement didn’t help in this. For instance, use of quotation marks to set off the word “errors”, rather than (say) an equivalent phrase such as “alleged errors”. More care would have made it harder for deniers to make such a noise. But one can hardly appeal against the phraseology of a judgement! And, frankly, deniers appear to be prepared to go to any lengths in their attacks, whether given additional fuel or not.

  53. #53 sod
    October 20, 2007

    Terrestrial uptake in 2005 at 3.6 GtC growing at 3.4% p.a.(consistent with actual rates in 90s IPCC TAR and 2000s in AR4 and Hansen & Sato 2004) reaches 14.4 GtC by 2046

    where exactly are those extra 10+ GtC going?

    you are NOT seriously claiming, that the increase of CO2absorption will continue, when the concentration in the atmosphere is DECLINING?!?

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/images/NewFlowFig2.gif

    http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange1/current/lectures/kling/carbon_cycle/carbon_cycle.jpg

    Other respondents here seem unaware that with world food production having increased by 60% since 1980 (FAO) there is a growing demand for CO2 for photosynthesis.

    are you trying to tell us, that e could NOT feed ourselves, if we hadn t been adding all that CO2 to the atmosphere?

    the CO 2 – food production thing looks like a myth, btw…

    http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptic_arguments/CO2-fertilization.html

    and again:

    the burning of all those fossile fuels did NOT change the balance of CO2, but growing tomatoes will?

    insane?

    Hansen & Sato recognized this and therefore called in 2004 for emission reductions only to the level of terrestrial uptake, i.e. 3.6 GtC in 2006, rather than Don Henry’s 0.6 GtC.

    i am pretty sure that ALL emission reduction plans are trying to establish a pre-industrialisation CO2 balance.

    your claim is, that people would continue to reduce CO2, while mankind was exterminating via an ice age?

  54. #54 Eli Rabett
    October 20, 2007

    You cannot just walk into a court, you have to have standing which in this case looks like the plaintiff and the defendant only. At best someone could file a friend of the court brief. An amusing possibility might be for Gore to bring a separate libel suit against the plaintiffs depending on what was said, but neither thee or me could do so on his behalf.

  55. #55 David Marjanović
    October 20, 2007

    Other respondents here seem unaware that with world food production having increased by 60% since 1980 (FAO) there is a growing demand for CO2 for photosynthesis.

    Yeah, but, dude, we are producing precisely that amount of CO2. In real time. By breathing.

    It’s a cycle, dude.

    Except for the fact that we are adding CO2 into the cycle by burning fossil fuels.

  56. #56 John Cross
    October 20, 2007

    Maurizio: The initial purpose of the court action was to stop the showing of AIT in the school system. This was rejected by the court. While I do not know the details, I suspect that at the heart of this action was some doubt of the science that the film shows. Again, the judge accepted that science as sound and strongly supported. So on the two most important points, the judge sided with AIT.

    The only problem the judge had was that several examples that Mr. Gore used were apparently not supported by the IPCC. When it comes to these details, I tend to agree with you, presenting tham as an exercise in critical thinking would be good. To that end, I have sent an e-mail to the Board of Education stating that an excellent starting point for critical review of the “errors” can be found here.

    Regards,
    John

  57. #57 Larry Siegel
    October 20, 2007

    From the Royal Society:

    Carbon dioxide only makes up a small part of the atmosphere and so cannot be responsible for global warming.

    What does the science say?

    **Carbon dioxide only makes up a small amount of the atmosphere, but even in tiny concentrations it has a large influence on our climate.**

    The properties of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide mean that they strongly absorb heat a fact that can be easily demonstrated in a simple laboratory experiment. While there are larger concentrations of other gases in the atmosphere, such as nitrogen, because they do not have these heat trapping qualities they have no effect on warming the climate whatsoever.

    Water vapour is the most significant greenhouse gas. It occurs naturally, although global warming caused by human activities will indirectly affect how much is in the atmosphere through, for example, increased evaporation from oceans and rivers. This will, in turn, cause either cooling or warming depending on what form such as different types of clouds the water vapour occurs in.

    Humans have been adding to the effect of water vapour and other naturally occurring greenhouse gases by pumping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through, for example, the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. Before industrialization carbon dioxide made up about 0.03 per cent of the atmosphere or 280ppm (parts per million). Today, due to human influence it is about 380ppm. **Even these tiny quantities have resulted in an increase in global temperatures of 0.75ºC.**

  58. #58 jodyaberdein
    October 20, 2007

    Dear Tim,

    I’m still confused as to why the half life of CO2 in the atmosphere is irrelevent. If it were extremely short surely that would be of relevence? Why not if it is much longer than the other gases you mentioned? I didn’t quite follow your argument about particular molecules and names. Perhaps you could summarise the relevence of half life possibly with respect to radioisotope studies and the like. Keep it simple as I’m a lay reader and by no means a climatologist.

  59. #59 Larry Siegel
    October 20, 2007

    **Well-Connected Skeptics Behind UK Attack on Global Warming Film**

    Source: The Observer (UK), October 14, 2007

    “The school governor who challenged the screening of Al Gore’s climate change documentary in secondary schools was funded by a Scottish quarrying magnate who established a controversial lobbying group to attack environmentalists’ claims about global warming,” reports The Observer. Stewart Dimmock sought to ban “An Inconvenient Truth” from British schools, with help from Scotland’s New Party. Nearly all of the small party’s funds come from a quarry company owned by Robert Durward. Durward, along with a former advisor to Tony Blair, set up the group Scientific Alliance to “challenge many of the claims about global warming.” In 2004, the group “co-authored a report with the George C Marshall Institute, a US body funded by Exxon Mobil, that attacked climate change claims.” A UK High Court judge rejected Dimmock’s request to ban the film, but did require schools showing the film to provide “Guidance Notes” to teachers, since the film touches on political issues. (The judge explained that his ruling “did not relate to an analysis of the scientific questions,” though many news reports have confused the ruling, according to Tim Lambert.)

  60. #60 Sortition
    October 20, 2007

    > [T]he world has moved on, declared AGW real [...] and is debating action.

    Where is that debate happening? I want to take part, or at least become informed.

    I have repeatedly tried to raise these issues here but got no answers. Deltoid, at least, seems to still be stuck in the “is it real” phase of the conversation.

  61. #61 Edward
    October 20, 2007

    I am still waiting for an answer to my post in 41:

    “Can anyone in this blog full of geniuses explain why the southern hemisphere had the most terrible cold winter in almost 90 years? (and a cooler fall and summer too).

    Yes, I know. Global warming makes things hot and cold, faster and slower, longer and shorter, etc, all at the same time. Try to cool your beer in your oven.”

    I must note that spring in South America is also cooler than the previous 30 years -during the cooling scare of the 79s. Can anyone explain why are they cooling in the SH?

    No takes?

  62. #62 elspi
    October 20, 2007

    Edward
    Could you provide a cite for:
    “…the southern hemisphere had the most terrible cold winter in almost 90 years”.

    Almost all of the southern hemisphere is called the pacific ocean, and unless you are a dolphin, I don’t think you personally know what the weather is like in almost all of the southern hemisphere.

  63. #63 Tim Cutin
    October 20, 2007

    To Sod and others: It is a question of stocks and flows. Think of the atmosphere as a warehouse; some activities add to the stok of CO2, others reduce it. If there is a net outflow as a result of extreme emission reduction targets being implemented, the stock must fall. Unless I am much mistaken humans do other things with the carbon they absorb than just exhale it in equal amounts. World crop and other primary food production in 1750 was rather less than now; so I doubt 280 ppm up there will be enough to sustain our present levels.
    To Jody: CO2 is fungible (not a word known to any of the 3000 IPCC Blimeys who share Al’s award, and least of all to Sir John Houghton (see his 2004 book Global Warming) – he is no longer one of them but he thinks that even if no CO2 were emitted, what is up there will stay there for 800 years, implying that there is no photosynthesis if there are no emissions, in which case we are still doomed).

  64. #64 Edward
    October 20, 2007

    Dear Elspi: (#62)

    Had you the ability to obtain trustable temperature records from the southern hemisphere, a corresponding ability to make Excel graphs out of the data, you could see this clearly.

    Reports from extreme and anomalous low temperatures in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and most part of South America (up to Peru), give an account of the current cooling trend observed in the SH. It is well known that SH temperature trend has remained stable since late 1890s, and graphs showing that are available all over the web. One in Spanish is available in: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-17/Arch-1.gif where you can see the current trend for the SH is cooling -you like it or not.

    In the special case of Argentina and other parts in South America, the snowfall in Buenos Aires on July 9th, 2007 was the first one since 1918. In the plains on the central part of the country, the latest snowfall was 1971. It had snowed also in the north (subtropical) part of the country, as Tucumán.

    Some graphs of Pilar rural station in the central part of Argentina, considered as an example of the entire region, shows that mean temperatures have been consistently from 2 tow 4ºC below the 1961-1990 average.

    Pilar January 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarEnero2007.gif
    Both high and low temps are way under the “normal mean”

    Pilar: February 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarFEB2007.gif (mean temperature is 23ºC, against 21º.5C recorded

    Pilar: March 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarMAR2007.gif
    Steady, at 1.5ºC below normal.

    Pilar: April 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarABRIL2007.gif
    Cooling, at 1.4ºC below normal.

    Pilar: May 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarMAYO2007.gif
    Going down at 2ºC below normal.

    Pilar: June 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarJUNIO2007.gif
    Going down, at 2.1ºC below normal.

    Pilar: July 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarJULIO2007.gif
    Going up, but still 3.3ºC below normal.

    Pilar: August 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarAGO2007.gif
    Though it looks “slightly increasing” the mean is 4.2ºC below normal.

    Pilar: September 2007: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-19/PilarSEP2007.gif
    Spring temps should be going up… not down. 2.1ºC below normal

    The anomalous polar wave (or Mobile Polar Highs, as by Leroux) reached as far (on the east) to north of Paraguay, way above the Tropic of Capricorn, and in the west, where the cold Humboldt current helps to keep temperatures cold, caused in Perú snowfalls that killed more than 60 persons in the Andes and took a toll of 300.000 llamas, vicunas, alpacas, guanacos –in spite of those animals being used to cold temps.

    We have heard the possible explanations of these extremes cold polar waves coming from Antarctica (in an abnormal frequency and intensity -one very 7-10 days) suggesting CO2 cools the stratosphere and makes cold air get trapped by the Antarctic Polar Vortex, and the weight of the cold mass pushes cold polar fronts towards south America, Australia, etc. The problem is: the Polar Vortex forms about mid august, causing the known “ozone hole”. But the polar cold fronts have been going on since early January! And the lowest temperatures have been recorded in May and June, two months before the vortex forms.

    Another “inconvenient truth” is that once the vortex is formed, nothing goes out of it, nothing enters it. The most plausible explanation seems to be that the Southern Hemisphere is cooling because, as happened in previous climatic changes in the past, it follows sun’s magnetic field activity (not the slightly reduced irradiation) and begins to cool before the Northern hemisphere does.

    I am not postulating any theory or denying anything. I am showing observed evidence and asking an explanation for those anomalies. I think that a 9 month severe cooling trend observed in the Southern Hemisphere is “anomalous” and should be taken into account in present climatic analyses.

  65. #65 Tim Lambert
    October 20, 2007

    The [MSU UAH satellite record](http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt) doesn’t show cooling or an unusually cold winter. For Jun-Aug this year, the anomalies were all positive (0.03 0.13 0.26).

  66. #66 Robert
    October 20, 2007

    Edward claimed:

    It is well known that SH temperature trend has remained stable since late 1890s, and graphs showing that are available all over the web.[...]Some graphs of Pilar rural station in the central part of Argentina, considered as an example of the entire region,

    Hmmm. OTOH, rather than look at one rural station, you could download and look at the data for the entire Southern Hemisphere. [Doesn't look to me like Southern Hemisphere temperatures have been stable since the late 1890's nor that in 2007 the Southern Hemisphere had the most terrible cold winter in almost 90 years.](http://anonymous.coward.free.fr/temp/hadcrut3vsh.png)

  67. #67 elspi
    October 20, 2007

    Edward,

    I tried to warn you. I said “NO NO, DON”T OPEN THAT DOOR”, but did you listen. No, and now the zombies have eaten your brains (can you say “still hungry”?)

    When I said “Almost all of the southern hemisphere is called the pacific ocean”, I was warning you to stay away from some “but it was cold in headupmybutticstan(Pilar)” gibberish.

    Oh and that “graph” you linked to (Where did the “data” come from? Was the first draft in crayon?). It is on http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/, which has as its links

    
21st Century Science & Technology:
    Still Waiting for the Greenhouse
    JUNK SCIENCE:
    The Heartland Institute:
    Virtual Climate Reports:

    Not one legitimate link on the site. There is real science on the web, but none of it is in the same connected component as that web site.

  68. #68 Edward
    October 20, 2007

    The graph I showed are not “anomalies”, but real temperatures. Besides, YOUR graph from HADCRUT3 shows a reMarkable similarity to my graph (if you move up the zero line), including THE COOLING TREND SINCE 2000.

    Tim Lambert: if you make a graph of the data in .txt mode you linked me to, it will show the graph I linked to SH temperatures. So, what’s new?

  69. #69 z
    October 20, 2007

    “scientists convinced that justice Burton’s conclusions”

    It stands to reason that if the evidence brings someone to this interpretation, then they are just as likely to decide that the evidence has demonstrated anthropogenic climate change to be a shaky proposition, and all the additional evidence in the world won’t help. It’s not the evidence, it’s the ability to look at the evidence and say “Gore got trashed” when everyone else looks at the evidence and says “despite a few errors of detail, Gore was vindicated”. How to bridge that gulf, I wouldn’t begin to hazard a guess.

  70. #70 Edward
    October 20, 2007

    elspie: data from the graphs comes directly from the National Weather Service in Argentina ( http://www.smn.gov.ar/ ) data I get as daily reports. They contain raw data, not data doctored at GISS for correcting for UHIE, resulting in rural stations showing wamer tempratures than urban ones.

    Then, we see the “guilty by association” falacy in you post? Or killing the messenger? Simply discuss facts and keep politics out of science. I thought people here knew better than childish arguments.

  71. #71 z
    October 20, 2007

    “On the whole, though, I would say that Gore is far more scrupulous in acknowledging uncertainties and complexities than his opponents usually are. This is always a judgment call. The important matter is to leave an impression that honestly represents to the general public the extent of the risk and the seriousness of the measures needed to address it.”

    Which is exactly the niche pried open by the adverse side. They’re 100% written in the sky in letters of fire certain. “We” are only 99% certain. To a particular personality, seeking authoritative figures in a world too complex, that makes the final score one hundred to ninety nine.

    And if “we” dumb the message down, “look, there really isn’t any doubt”, then it’s “you’re lying, overstating the evidence”

  72. #72 elspi
    October 20, 2007

    I am sorry I didn’t realize you were a CON ARTIST.

    When you write
    “It is well known that SH temperature trend has remained stable since late 1890s, and graphs showing that are available all over the web. One in Spanish is available in: http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/images-17/Arch-1.gif where you can see the current trend for the SH is cooling -you like it or not.”

    silly me, I assume that the graph covers 1890 to the present (SINCE YOU SAID IT DID), but it actually covers 1980 to the present.

    Life lesson number one: Never trust a troll

  73. #73 z
    October 21, 2007

    “There were nine points where Burton decided that AIT differed from the IPCC and that this should be addressed in the Guidance Notes for teachers to be sent out with the movie.
    Unfortunately a gaggle of useless journalists have misreported this decision as one that AIT contained nine scientific errors

    the usual suspects will, of course, ignore the fact that the judge found that Gore was “broadly accurate” and try to make it look as if there are serious problems with AIT and climate science.” – TL

    “What kind of poor world we would live in if everybody caved in when confronted by an injustice?
    But my feeling is that talk is too easy and too cheap and neither Tim Lambert nor any of the critics of justice Burton’s decision really believe they can put together a case for an appeal.”

    Wha’?

  74. #74 Robert
    October 21, 2007

    Edward:
    You think a graph from 1980 to 2007 covers 90 years? Hmmm. Who taught you how to count — Tim Ball?

  75. #75 Robert
    October 21, 2007

    Edward wrote:

    Had you the ability to obtain trustable temperature records from the southern hemisphere, a corresponding ability to make Excel graphs out of the data, you could see this clearly.

    Hey, Edward? I know you’re a little busy using Excel for graphing but maybe you might want to consider using it for some other difficult problems, like calculating the difference between 1980 and 2007? Just a suggestion.

  76. #76 Sortition
    October 21, 2007

    Here is the graph for the Southern Hemisphere since 2000 (note that you cherry-picked both time and place). Dots are monthly observations, the line is the 12 month moving average. Do you see a cooling trend?

  77. #77 guthrie
    October 21, 2007

    Mitosyfraudes?
    Isn’t Eduardo Ferreyra a bit past it? I argued with him a few years ago online, but before i knew much about the science of climate change. Now, every time he pops up on science blogs or elsewhere its for a hit and run posting, so I don’t get a chance to show where he is a liar and a fraud.

  78. #78 guthrie
    October 21, 2007

    Ah ha! It is Eduardo. You old fraud, you.
    So can you explain using your magic hand waving machine, why the Southern hemisphere ocean temperatures, even at night time, show warming:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadisst/HadISST_paper.pdf

    You do know the difference between weather and climate don’t you?

  79. #79 jodyaberdein
    October 21, 2007

    Dear Tim,

    Indeed, fungible does not appear in Houghton’s index, or in the paragraphs where he deals with the carbon cycle. Thanks for providing the definition. I’m still not clear why the interchangability of one CO2 molecule for another is particularly relevent if you wish to discount the importance of half lives of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere in terms of their redistribution across the cycle. I’m sure that even if climatolgists don’t use economic jargon they are more than familiar with the concept of dynamic equilbrium. Are you suggesting that a new equilibrium state would not take such a long time to develop as Houghton? What is your take on the timespan of atmospheric CO2 perturbations then?

  80. #80 Tim Curtin
    October 22, 2007

    Hi Jody, thanks for your useful comments – and tough questions! The IPCC & co usually refer to atmospheric CO2 as being “well mixed” – otherwise one would expect to find only “old” CO2 higher up as new emissions got taken up by the oceans and land biomass first. However Berrien Moore and B.H. Braswell (Global Biochem. Cycles, 8.1, 23-28, March 1994) conclude (p.36) that the half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere with biospheric fertilization flux is 27 years. They also suggest that “terrestrial ecosystems are responding to the rapid increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration by producing more biomass and/or storing more soil carbon, thereby balancing the global carbon budget” – and my post-1994 data confirm this. I think Houghton is all too often less than honest especially as he offers no evidence for his claim that in the absence of CO2 emissions, the present atmospheric level (whether expressed as 380 ppm or 750 Gtc) would not reach the pre-industrial level for “several hundred years” (2004:39), implying as I said minimal future photosynthesis. In fact my model shows that zero emissions from 2008 and the latter at the present level and rate of growth would bring us to 280 ppmv by 2037 (compare the Moore-Braswell half-life estimate noted above). Ironically, given the enthusiasm of the ALP, ACF, and Tim Lambert & co for world wide adoption of the Houghton program, that would kill Australia’s wheat industry stone dead; as a C3 crop it is dependent on CO2 being well above 280. Elsewhere maize (a C4 crop which is much less dependent on CO2) could replace wheat, cet. par (e.g. soils and rain)- but this country is notably unsuited to maize or most other C4 crops (unless there is massive irrigation availability, and there ain’t) – Australia grew only 200,000 tonnes of maize p.a. in the 90s, and has grown over 25 millions tonnes of wheat (eg 2003, cf 315,000 t maize that year). In fact wheat thrives the higher the CO2 level, up to at least 1000 ppm, and even C4s like maize do well with more CO2 if not to the same extent. Another irony is that lowering CO2 to 280 ppmv will hugely REDUCE the C3 tropical forest and savannah land cover, in favor of C4 grassland and desert expansion (See Harrison & Prentice in Global Change Biology 2003 and their Fig.10.7 in James Ehleringer, A History of Atmospheric CO2, 2005).

  81. #81 Blue Devil Knight
    October 22, 2007

    Interesting discussion, and great summary in the original post.

    The argument that they should have included a different NY skyline is silly.

  82. #82 Marion Delgado
    October 22, 2007

    I think the author of “Wicked” is still too celebrity-driven – for a more common touch, perhaps the narrative of Christopher Monkey, 3rd Winged Monkey of Winkie Country who attempts to prove to his mistress that neither little girls nor water actually exist, only to find that his natural skepticism was mistaken in this case.

    Oh wait, i’m confusing reviewing with science. Never mind.

  83. #83 Dano
    October 22, 2007

    TimC, your recycled arguments were refuted about 3 recycling cycles ago. Not sure exactly when, but eas ach denialist recycling cycle is, according to my post-1994 data, about 4.28 months (R=.71, t=.68, SD 3.2 months), this means your recycled arguments were utterly refuted about, oh, November 2005.

    Now, I know what you’re going to quibble about (you’re a denialist after all): the SD in my figgers means that your recycled arguments could have been utterly refuted as early as January 2005 or as late as June 2006, and with a wide range of dates, the analysis is questionable, therefore (insert standard denialist dodge here). Well, your denialist buddy, Hapless Benny Peiser, Googled the same data and found that your arguments couldn’t have been utterly refuted as (insert some ridiculous quibble here that isn’t germane to the argument).

    Anyway, we all know the denialists are full of cr*p. The IDCC’s (International Denialist Convention on Cr*p) FAR is the consensus document on you and your cabal’s cr*pitude.

    HTH.

    Best,

    D

  84. #84 Eli Rabett
    October 22, 2007

    Jody, Dano is right about Tim Curtin’s argument. However, you did ask the right question. The basic answer is that there is no single lifetime because the carbon is sloshing between the atmosphere, the biosphere and the upper and lower oceans. On geological time scales you have to include carbon in carbonate rocks such as limestone. The three upper reservoirs equilibrate in relatively short times, maybe a couple of decades, and each starts with a relatively equal amount of carbon (since the CO2 changes form in various parts of the cycle it is easier to follow the carbon atoms)

    A pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere, will spread to these other reservoirs quickly, a constant or increasing source term will also be distributed. The result it that about a third of the pulse remains in the atmosphere for a long time. The gorilla is the much larger reservoir in the lower ocean. It takes up to a millenium after the atmospheric pulse to equilibrate the increased concentrations in the upper three reservoirs with the lower ocean. Here is a link with links to other material including working models that you can play with. I think someone wrote on CO2 lifetimes in Real Climate recently too.

    OTOH, Curtin’s behavior is despicable. His claims are pure prevarication.

  85. #85 Jc
    October 22, 2007

    Eli

    Is ClimateAudit’s Steve McIntyre lying about the heat island anomalies he presented at his blog? Is that thread dspicable too?
    This feels reamrkably like the Sov show trials for some reason.
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1859

  86. #86 jodyaberdein
    October 22, 2007

    Thanks all for the clarifications above. Sorry if I seem to be banging on about something that is off topic by the way.

    To Tim in particular: The original question was as to why you neglected to comment on the ‘half life’ (now relegated to inverted commas due to the rather more complex dynamics required) of atmospheric CO2 in your initial point about the relative importance of greenhouse gases. It is indeed the case that both methane and water vapour are fungible, and therefore surely we should discount this as a specific CO2 issue? It is also the case that the ‘biospheric fertilization flux’ is only one part of the cycle and certainly not a ‘deep’ sink for the liberated fossil fuel CO2. Perhaps then you could comment specifically as to why you discount the likelihood of true equilibration taking a period of time as long as that suggested by Houghton?

  87. #87 Tim Curtin
    October 23, 2007

    Hi Jody

    Thanks again. LIke Eli I try to keep it simple, and I am not sure that the “half-life” (if any) of CO2 is meaningful, but if it is, it only strengthens my fears about the consequences that will flow from reducing CO2 emissions by 90% of the 2000 level, as now proposed by many.

    Ironically, given Eli’s abuse (but I am delighted to find he is even more abusive of Freeman Dyson whom many competent judges consider to be the finest mind of the last half century), my own model is very similar to Eli’s own albeit much simpler. Here it is:

    xC = aE – bM
    where x, a, and b are year on year rates of growth from previous year-end values of C, E, and M, E is emissions from burning of all fossil fuels, which grew from 1980 to 2003 at 2.2% p.a. but since 2003 at a rate of a=5% p.a., M is the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide which now stands at 382 ppm, and increasing currently at a rate of b=0.51% p.a., and C is the inferred uptake of carbon by oceanic and terrestrial sinks through solution and photosynthesis respectively, growing at the combined rate x yielded by the equation.

    Reducing a to minus 3.5% p.a. (for 60% reduction from 2000 level by 2050) or to minus 5.75% p.a. (for 90%)results in rapid depletion of atmospheric CO2 if current terrestrial takeup continues at its rate of 3.44% p.a. from 1994 to 2005 (faster since 2002). That will result, if atmospheric CO2 falls as low as 280 ppmv in a collapse of all C3 plant yields, especially wheat, and if it continues to fall (thanks to Eli’s half life) to 200 ppmv, the tropical forest and savannah will shrink to 40% of their present area (according to Harrison & Prentice cited by me above). As for “equilibrium”, there never is one, the globe is always in a state of flux.

  88. #88 Ian Gould
    October 23, 2007

    So Tim

    1. How did we avoid an ice age before industrialisation?

    2. I assume you are predicting catastrophic freezing once we exhaust fossil fuel reserves?

  89. #89 Tim Curtin
    October 23, 2007

    Ian:
    1. We did not – we had a Little Ice Age until about 1750 or so, and the Thames froze over most years.
    2. We won’t exhaust such so-called fossil fuels. Do read Freeman Dyson and his endorsement of Thomas Gold’s book The Deep Biosphere: the myth of fossil fuels (Copernicus-Springer, 2001). Some casual empiricism: despite John Squiggle’s belief in peak oil being last year, sadly my tonics for my gins (being mostly H2O plus CO2) still cost me more per litre than the petrol for my Berlina (despite the huge carbon tax already embodied in the price of my petrol, while the only tax in my H2O+CO2 tonics is GST).

  90. #90 Chris O'Neill
    October 23, 2007

    “xC = aE – bM”

    or, dimensionally speaking,

    mass/time/time = mass/time/time – mass/time

    First year University students of Physics or Applied Mathematics may think there is a problem with this but it is actually an application of Curtin’s time non-dimensionality law, i.e. the law discovered by Curtin that time is a dimensionless quantity. This is clearly an even greater discovery than Curtin’s First Law of atmospheric physics (the mass of the atmosphere is conserved) but we should also not forget Curtin’s Law of Polynomials (that polynomials are a type of exponential).

    What a wonderful career in Physics and Mathematics Dr. Curtin has had. How many people have come up with such profound insights, over and over again?

  91. #91 Dano
    October 23, 2007

    His claims are pure prevarication.

    then

    As for “equilibrium”, there never is one, the globe is always in a state of flux.

    Perfect! TimC responds right away with prevarication and mendacitization. Thank you for the buffoonization of the denialist arguments.

    TimC and Hans should update the Abbott and Costello ‘Who’s on First’ skit, maybe something like a ‘Who’s got consensus’, or ‘Who’s on second’ using 1934 as your prevarication point to comedically obfuscate the sfc temp record.

    Best,

    D

  92. #92 sod
    October 23, 2007

    Reducing a to minus 3.5% p.a. (for 60% reduction from 2000 level by 2050) or to minus 5.75% p.a. (for 90%)results in rapid depletion of atmospheric CO2 if current terrestrial takeup continues at its rate of 3.44% p.a. from 1994 to 2005 (faster since 2002). That will result, if atmospheric CO2 falls as low as 280 ppmv in a collapse of all C3 plant yields, especially wheat, and if it continues to fall (thanks to Eli’s half life) to 200 ppmv, the tropical forest and savannah will shrink to 40% of their present area (according to Harrison & Prentice cited by me above). As for “equilibrium”, there never is one, the globe is always in a state of flux.

    every point that Tim Curtin makes in this statement is FALSE:

    1. he does assume a GROWING uptake of CO2 (water and earth), while air concentration is sinking. that is MORONIC.

    2. he expects a massive CO2 reduction, the most unlikely outcome of the current situation.

    3. he completely ignores all time lines involved. he assumes that the world would continue to reduce CO2, AFTER we notice negative side effects (which do NOT exist in this form, btw) of the reduction.

    4. he is worried about wheat production, which has existed for ages.

    5. he is worried about “rich” australian farmers, who are much more likely to be able to overcome any trouble than their poor third world counterparts.

    6. he ignores all positive effects of a CO2 reduction.

    7. his talk about “C3 plants” is basically an attempt to confuse people with science speak.

    8. he is selectively using sources, mostly out of context and without giving links or exact citations.

    9. his claim that tropical forests (beyond deforestation by landuse…)would shrink very fast is extremely hard to believe. i didn t even look at the source, but i am sure that he s quoting out of context.

    10. of course there is a natural CO2 equilibrium. it is often disturbed by singular natural events (Volcanoes, solar activity, …) and now by a MASSIVE release of CO2 by humans.

    11. his theory is not backed up by any peer reviewed science.

  93. #93 sod
    October 23, 2007

    oh i forgot,

    12. it is MUCH cheaper to add CO2 to the atmosphere, than to reduce it. forest fires jump to mind. how exactly would those 40% rain forest dissapear?

    for extra fun, look at this graph:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/images/maunaloa.jpg

    notice the pretty massive increase in CO2 concentration since 1958.

    now based on what Tim Curtin told you about C3 wheat, form a hypotheses:

    given this increase in CO2, what would we expect of wheat production, which is EXTREMELY dependent on high CO2 levels?

    then look at at wheat production, worldwide and in australia.

    http://www.gramene.org/species/triticum/images/wheatharvest.JPG

    then savely deposit that hypothesis and Tim Curtin in the next litterbox you pass.

  94. #94 Ian Gould
    October 23, 2007

    “This is clearly an even greater discovery than Curtin’s First Law of atmospheric physics (the mass of the atmosphere is conserved) but we should also not forget Curtin’s Law of Polynomials (that polynomials are a type of exponential).”

    Let us not forget Tim’s sterling contributions to economics such as his Noncompounding Theory of Economic Growth.

  95. #95 guthrie
    October 23, 2007

    The simple fact is that plant growth is affected by far more than just CO2 concentration. Some of the increased CO2 has indeed been taken up by plants. The problem however for the Tim Curtins of this world is that they ignore the fact that uptake of CO2 is limited by local conditions of precipitation, temperature, and a variety of other things. Thus, the CO2 uptake never reaches the kind of optimum level that he and his ilk suggest it will, because of all the other constraints on plant growth.

    Therefore, the view that wheat production is doign better now due to increased CO2 has no science to back it up. The science they claim does back it up refers only to field trials under controlled conditions, i.e. nothing like what happens in real life.

  96. #96 Dano
    October 23, 2007

    The science they claim does back it up refers only to field trials under controlled conditions, i.e. nothing like what happens in real life.

    Yes, as we know many important crops are less nutritious and stressed under elevated CO2 regimes.

    But of course we knew this years ago, but the denialist recycling must continue, as they have nothing but recycling refuted arguments.

    Best,

    D

  97. #97 D. Schoon
    October 23, 2007

    Al Gore is a liar and a buffoon. He’s a politician so he’s always been a liar and as far as I can tell he’s been a buffoon for even longer than he’s been a lying politician.

    He’s no brainiac, that’s clear. It still remains to be seen whether his errors are due to his lack of brain power or just that he’s been completely duped by unscrupulous environmentalists who don’t bother to recognize or tell the truth. Either way, time will tell that he and his alarmist friends have intentionally ignored the weight of the scientific evidence and twisted what little data supports their views into a contorted knot called “the global warming catastrophe that never was”.

    When will the so-called “environmentalist” get it? You can’t control the people with pap and paranoid rantings or by attempting to enforce single-minded views through regulations. As people become more educated, those who twist the truth will find an ever shrinking audience for this type of nonsense. What’s gonna happen in 15 years when the oceans haven’t risen even a 1/2 inch? Lying enivornmentalist, like Gore, will claim victory. That’s the “Disgusting Truth”.

  98. #98 guthrie
    October 23, 2007

    Hmm, anyone want to offer a bet with D Schoon regarding warming? They seem to be looking for one.

  99. #99 Woof
    October 23, 2007

    AS #37:

    What exactly are ‘inverted commas’?

    “Scare quotes”, I think.

  100. #100 Ian Gould
    October 23, 2007

    “…twisted what little data supports their views …”

    Hilarious coming from someone who provides not a single fact or reasoned argument in their post.

    Still name-calling and shouting over people obviously worked back in kindergarten, so why change?

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.