The latest story doing the rounds of the global warming deniers (Drudge, Instapundit, Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair etc ), is this one Michael Asher:

Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out.

Yes, they have repeated, yet again, that same misrepresentation of Tapping’s views. I expect Drudge and co will do it yet again in a few more days.

Asher also claims:

All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

But if you look at a graph of GISS temperatures, you see that 2007 was warmer than 2006 and was tied for second place as the warmest year on record.

i-1b943873d017f8f464acd94b6e0e88aa-gisstemp.png

What Asher was basing his claim on was the average temperature for just one month. January 2008 was 0.65 degrees colder than January 2007, which was the warmest month on record. But it’s just silly to leap to conclusions about climate trends because of one month’s weather.

James Hansen explains further:

The maps are used to show that, even averaged over a month, local weather anomalies
(dynamical fluctuations, more-or-less independent of forced long-term climate change) are much larger
than the global mean temperature change of recent decades.1 Weather fluctuations or ânoiseâ have a
noticeable effect even on monthly-mean global-mean temperature, especially in Northern Hemisphere
winter. Weather has little effect on global-mean temperature averaged over several months or more. The
primary cause of variations on time scales from a few months to a few years is ocean dynamics,
especially the Southern Oscillation (El Nino â La Nina cycle), although an occasional large volcano can
have a cooling effect that lasts a few years. The 10-11 year cycle of solar irradiance has a just barely
detectable effect on global temperature, no more than about 0.1°C, much less noticeable than El Nino/La
Nina fluctuations.

The past year (2007) witnessed a transition from a weak El Nino to a strong La Nina (the latter is
perhaps beginning to moderate already, as the ocean waters near Peru are beginning to warm). January
2007 was the warmest January in the period of instrumental data in the GISS analysis, while, as shown in
Figure 1, October 2007 was # 5 warmest, November 2007 was #8 warmest, December 2007 was #8
warmest, and January 2008 was #40 warmest. Undoubtedly, the cooling trend through the year was due
to the strengthening La Nina, and the unusual coolness in January was aided by a winter weather
fluctuation.

The monthly fluctuations of global or near-global temperature, as well as the trend over recent
decades can be seen in Figure 2 for the GISS surface temperature analysis as well as the lower
tropospheric data of UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville)2 and RSS (Remote Sensing Systems).
The reason to show these is to expose the recent nonsense that has appeared in the blogosphere, to the
effect that recent cooling has wiped out global warming of the past century, and the Earth may be headed
into an ice age. On the contrary, these misleaders have foolishly (or devilishly) fixated on a natural
fluctuation that will soon disappear.

Of course, Drudge, Instapundit and co will ignore it when temperature sreturn to the trend and trumpet the next temporary decline.

Comments

  1. #1 ben
    March 5, 2008

    Hey guys, I’m curious why the plateau/cooling from 1940 to 1980 in that graph above, and then the strong rise in temp thereafter? Obviously carbon emissions were still increasing in that time. Is that a response to particulate emissions? Did all that particulate come from WWII and all the bombing? And industry sure picked up at the WWII era. What precipitated the strong increase in global temps after the late ’70s?

  2. #2 cce
    March 5, 2008

    The Northern Hemisphere cooling corresponds to increased sulfur dioxide emissions primarily from coal burning. The effect of aerosols is localized, immediate, and short lived if not maintained, whereas the warming from CO2 is widespread, gradual, and cumulative. Sulfur emissions began leveling off in the ’70s and peaked in the late ’80s, whereas CO2 continued unabated.

  3. #3 Barry
    March 5, 2008

    Note: ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’ is an invaluable book for anybody trying to understand this.

  4. #4 MRW
    March 5, 2008

    Ben,

    I’m sure someone who knows more about this than I do will chime in, but my understanding is that it was largely from sulfate aerosols and was mostly in the northern hemisphere, where there was more industrial activity. The resumption of heating is because the aerosols decreased (partly due to acid-rain related regulations – sulfur aerosols contribute to acid rain) and the CO2 continued to increase.

  5. #5 bi
    March 5, 2008

    The January 2007–January 2008 thingummy came from one Anthony Watts who happens to be a denialist (um, I mean “climate realist”). According to his blog, he has absolutely nothing to do with the claim that global warming stopped in 2007, but given the record of skeptics being honest, I’m a bit skeptical about that.

  6. #6 John P
    March 5, 2008

    The cold month of January 2008 logically disproves the global warming hypothesis just as a dark night in Kansas in the US proves the sun is not shining in India.

  7. #7 Brian D
    March 5, 2008

    Some of the morons I’ve been talking to have been trumpeting the dailytech story. I calmly busted out the RSS temperature record I had on hand (as it was the only monthly record I had a ready link for) and found out quickly that June 1998 to June 1999 saw a drop far greater than the January 2007 – January 2008 drop (-0.763C from June’98 – June’99, vs -0.61C from Jan’07-Jan’08). I haven’t tested it with the other records yet (just as I wouldn’t sail around the world to debate a flat-earther), though I’d wager they tell similar stories. There were similar drops around 1988 and 1991 (*coughPinatubocough*), but the 1998 one was the most numerically dramatic that I could see at a glance, so I used that.

    The silly part was, after I pointed out that this didn’t “wipe out the past warming”, they switched their tone to “Yes it did, it stopped in 1998!” — ignorant not only of the flaws in that statement, but that if it ‘stopped’ in 1998, it must have restarted since then for it to have ‘stopped’ again in 2008.

  8. #8 pough
    March 5, 2008

    Ben, look at the per-region graphs:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.B.lrg.gif

    You can see that 40-80 was mainly a northern hemisphere thing, although the south plateaus. From what I’ve read this was mostly due to aerosols, which were reduced post-70s and have a shorter shelf life than CO2. I would guess that if aerosols are bouncing the heat back before hitting the earth, it would mask the effects of the CO2 keeping that heat down.

    I’m not saying that you’re saying this, but “hey how come it wasn’t getting warmer while CO2 was increasing?” is a common denialist question. And obviously they don’t always listen to the answer (because there is more than just CO2 having an effect on climate) because they usually go on to say, “CO2 CO2 CO2! That’s all the warmers talk about! They never admit that other things have an effect on climate!”

  9. #9 Lance
    March 5, 2008

    Aerosols to the rescue eh boys? Nice ad hoc band-aid with little or no empirical evidence. Since China has been building something like one new, unscrubbed, coal fired electric plant every ten days for the last ten years why hasn’t that dropped temperatures?

    Oh, these sulfurous particles are different than the old 1970′s vintage ones right? The beauty of this fallacy is you can throw it into the mix whenever your hypothesis is flailing helplessly in inconvenient data. Anomaly trend not cooperating? No worries mate! Aerosols to the rescue!

    I have no doubt that it will be pulled out of moth balls if the “anomaly trend” continues to head south.

    Lovely job of building a nonfalsifiable hypothesis gentlemen. Whoopsie! That means it’s not really scientific but hey it’s really a moral issue right?

  10. #11 Alexandra
    March 5, 2008

    Since China has been building something like one new, unscrubbed, coal fired electric plant every ten days for the last ten years why hasn’t that dropped temperatures?

    The question you mean to ask is “why hasn’t that had a cooling effect on climate?” The answer to that question is, of course, that it has had a cooling effect, just not enough to compensate for the other factors involved. (Like that massive accumulation of gg mentioned above.)

    Why do you expect real-world climate to produce a nice smooth curve in which any aberration is perfectly clear and instantly attributable? (Naw, don’t bother answering, we all know exactly what your motivation here is. ;) )

  11. #12 Lance
    March 5, 2008

    Alexandra,

    The irony of you grabbing those Chinese aerosols to explain the last decade of statistically insignificant warming is almost sockpuppet like in its timing. The fact that you would throw in a snide ad hom is just fallacious icing on the cake.

    Thanks dearest.

  12. #13 Andrew W
    March 5, 2008

    From this site:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2180509/

    “While the world may be getting brighter overall, two rising economic superpowers are actually getting darker. Over the last half-century, the amount of sunlight hitting each square yard of Chinese soil has declined by 3.7 watts; India has experienced a similar decrease in solar radiation. This could be attributable to the two nations’ surge in aerosol-producing economic activity, which hasn’t yet been accompanied by meaningful regulations meant to control emissions. If China and India crack down on their soot output, however, the attendant brightening could result in even higher average temperatures.”

  13. #14 kent
    March 5, 2008

    These are the anomally temps from NOAA.The mean is for the last century.
    2007 1 0.8314
    2007 2 0.6254
    2007 3 0.6077
    2007 4 0.6728
    2007 5 0.5261
    2007 6 0.5078
    2007 7 0.4676
    2007 8 0.4685
    2007 9 0.5289
    2007 10 0.4991
    2007 11 0.4484
    2007 12 0.3975
    2008 1 0.1779
    What it shows is that worldwide the temp is closing in on the mean for the last century. ( As do many other temperature record) When the numbers for February come in we will see if the current trend continues.
    Water vapour contrubutes 90-95% of the greenhouse effect but this inconvenient truth seems to be ignored.
    As for those who say it is only one year I would say this… does it matter what the average temperature was over the last ten years when it is minus fifty C outside? Weather is important because it is what effects us on a daily basis. Ten year averages have little effect on food production but current weather sure does.
    While CO2 has been rising, the area of sea ice in the antarctic has been rising for the last five years, and last winter was the highest ever recorded. The area of Antarctic sea ice has started to increase all while the level of CO2 has increased. Something is not fitting in here and it sure looks like it is the assumptions around the effects of CO2.
    La Nina is being given credit for the current shift in temperatures Just as El Nino was credited with the 1998 temp, but what is it that drives these? Most models did not predict the shift from El to La. The experts in general missed it because their models just don’t work. Cooling was taking place before signs of La Nina showed up so what was causing it? Which climate driver was going into it’s cooling phase? There are so many drivers of the climate it makes no sense to focus on just one of teh smaller ones.

  14. #15 James
    March 5, 2008

    Dunno why I’m bothering, Lance, but:
    Aerosol induced dimming is not evidence free or ad hoc. The [Wikipedia article on the subject](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_dimming)
    has a list of references as long as your arm. Possibly longer if you have some kind of iodine-deficiency-induced dwarf cretinism.
    For further reference, the IPCC 2001 report has a [whole chapter on the effects of aerosols](http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/160.htm)

    If you’d care to take a look at the picture [here](http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig5-2.htm)
    you can see the effects of China’s emissions of Sulphur and black carbon. You can also see that the amount produced by America and Western Europe, still much larger economies, is quite small by comparison.

    Perhaps next time you could do some research like this before engaging in pointless snarking.

    As for ad hominems, you started it by claiming that “we” were ignoring the evidence in favour of what we perceived as morality. Compounding that by using condescending and sexist language doesn’t help your case.

  15. #16 Alexandra
    March 5, 2008

    The irony of you grabbing those Chinese aerosols to explain the last decade of statistically insignificant warming is almost sockpuppet like in its timing.

    Apparently you read something other than what I wrote. No problem, I’ll try again. To put it simply, your suggestion that the aerosols from Chinese coal plants would cause global cooling is unjustified. I was merely pointing out that just because something has a cooling effect does not mean it’s presence therefore requires global cooling. Chinese aerosols don’t somehow magically negate decades of greenhouse gases, land use changes, etc.

    The fact that you would throw in a snide ad hom is just fallacious icing on the cake.

    It’s a common mistake, so I’ll explain. It would be an ad hominem attack if I said that you are an asshole and therefore your argument is incorrect. I didn’t do that. The explanation as to why your suggestion is incorrect would still apply even if you weren’t an asshole.

    Thanks dearest.

    Anytime.

  16. #17 Lance
    March 5, 2008

    James,

    That there are papers on the topic of particulates and aerosols does not a cohesive argument make. If you can subjectively invoke two disparate causes to fit the direction of the trend line without having to quantitatively justify your assertion you don’t have a testable hypothesis.

    Alexandra,

    Asshole huh? My what thin skins you climate alarmists have. Not an ad hom hmmm.

    …we all know exactly what your motivation here is ;)

    So this remark is somehow not an insult to my character? How exactly is it a logical criticism of my argument?

    Oh and the emoticon at the end really adds to you scientific gravitas. I bet you dot your “i”s with little hearts too.

  17. #18 QrazyQat
    March 5, 2008

    Face it Lance, you’ve been lanced once again. Just ooze in peace. :) :) :)

  18. #19 jre
    March 5, 2008

    Lance, Alexandra may not have been able to conclude with certainty that you are an asshole from the observation that you consistently behave like an asshole, but she does appear to be playing the odds correctly.

    As you have noted, whether or not you are an asshole is not directly relevant to the issue at hand. Whether or not you know what you are talking about, however, is.

    As many commenters have tried to explain to you with varying degrees of patience, the reflectivity of sulfate aerosols is well characterized, their concentrations have been measured in many locations for many years, their effects are easily predicted, and observations conform to those predictions. Whether or not you knew this to begin with, you have clung tenaciously to your wrongness in the face of all attempts to educate you. Keep it up long enough, and people are going to start speculating about your motives. That’s just the way it is.

    Trivia tidbit of the day: Sulfate aerosol was named by the journal Science as one of nine runners-up for Molecule of the Year in 1995.

    Runner-up, huh? Always a bridesmaid …

  19. #20 pough
    March 5, 2008

    Smells like troll-feeding time! I’m sorry, but this made me laugh:

    So this remark is somehow not an insult to my character? How exactly is it a logical criticism of my argument?

    It is entirely an insult to your character with no excuses. It is not a logical criticism of your argument, but it wasn’t meant to be. These things should be obvious, even to people who only know how to spell ad hominem!

    BTW, Lance, I like your style. Bluster in with stupid things to say; get the usual refutation plus gratuitous insult; pretend you only got insulted and cry ad hominem; [insert something brilliant here]; profit!

  20. #21 dhogaza
    March 5, 2008

    Kent:

    Water vapour contrubutes 90-95% of the greenhouse effect but this inconvenient truth seems to be ignored.

    After I read that laughably false statement I quit reading your post.

    Lance: that PhD in physics must seem further and further away every time you post.

  21. #22 pough
    March 5, 2008

    water vapour contrubutes 90-95% of the greenhouse effect

    Not true. It’s 90-95% by volume, but as anyone with a touch of flatus can tell you, percentage by volume is not percentage of effect. (You smell nothing! There is way too little ass-gas for you to even notice!)

    but this inconvenient truth seems to be ignored

    Also not true. Water vapour is mentioned in all the major documents that discuss greenhouse gases. Hell, even Wikipedia knows you’re full of hot, unsmellable, air!

    The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes about 36-70% of the greenhouse effect on Earth (not including clouds); carbon dioxide, which causes 9-26%; methane, which causes 4-9%, and ozone, which causes 3-7%. It is not possible to state that a certain gas causes a certain percentage of the greenhouse effect, because the influences of the various gases are not additive.

    Note that CO2, even though it’s at least less than 10% (anyone know the amount?) by volume, has an effect of 10-30%. When Wikipedia is more accurate than you, it’s time for you to resign yourself to Conservapedia.

  22. #23 Boris
    March 5, 2008

    “Lovely job of building a nonfalsifiable hypothesis gentlemen. Whoopsie! That means it’s not really scientific but hey it’s really a moral issue right?”

    Hmmm, Lance accuses climate scientists of being dishonest and unscientific, then complains about ad hominems. The logical way to refute the argument, Lance, would be to look at the forcings for CO2 and sulphate aerosols, and, what the hell, you might actually learn something in the process.

    Now, quit being a whiny hypocrite, grab your sack and hit the books.

  23. #24 jemima
    March 5, 2008

    Totally pwned, Lance.
    Please keep it up, I enjoyed it so much I’m hoping Alexandra will take a further interest in you (‘though you could always just thank her for the instruction and promise to try harder in future).

  24. #25 bi
    March 5, 2008
  25. #26 kent
    March 5, 2008

    dhogza laugh all you want, it is the mark of a fool.If you think you know something I do not, then show me where your knowlege comes from.

    Pough…. 95% by volume? you are embarassing those on this site that actually know something about greenhouse gas numbers.If the warmists on this site wish to be respected they should bring you up to speed.
    You think that CO2 is 10% of the atmosphere but ask for the real number??? It is currently about 380 parts per million. It contributes between 4 and 8% of the 33 C of greenhouse warming. H2O contributes most of the rest. Wickipedia is not high on my list. PHDs universities, NASA, real science is what does it for me. We are in a cooling phase right now. The interesting question though is how long will it last. Do we get warmer again this summer, or will we have a cool summer and another cold winter. We dont know for sure but we will be finding out soon. If La Nina continues for a few more months, if the sunspot cycle stretches out longer. If the Antarctic sea ice sets another new maximum record we might just be in for a few cold years, or maybe not.

  26. #27 pough
    March 6, 2008

    Sigh. On the off-chance that someone with the same questions and a brain drops by, I’m going to respond.

    Pough…. 95% by volume?

    About that. Where’d you get your numbers from and how were they expressed?

    You think that CO2 is 10% of the atmosphere but ask for the real number???

    Maybe I didn’t express myself clearly enough. What I meant to say was, “CO2, even though it’s at least less than 10% (anyone know the amount?) by volume” … Oh wait. That’s what I did say. Since H20 is in the range of 90% and there are more than just the two greenhouse gases, we can guess that CO2 is no more than 10% and probably less. Since I can’t find that number and only the percentage of effect (9-26) and ppm (380) I asked. It’s nice that you can, in the same paragraph, mock me for needing better sources and mock me for asking for better sources.

    It is currently about 380 parts per million.

    Ah. And that would make it what percentage, by volume, of the greenhouse gases? Looks like you don’t have that number, either.

    It contributes between 4 and 8% of the 33 C of greenhouse warming. H2O contributes most of the rest.

    Care to share your sources, since mine are apparently no good?

  27. #28 John Mashey
    March 6, 2008

    Deniers:
    From titangreens via DeSMogBLog, i recommend the delightful 2-minute interview with Singer, Monckton, etc:

    I especially love Monckton’s comment:

    “Most scientists here are retired. That means we are free to say what we think is true.”

  28. #29 dhogaza
    March 6, 2008

    So this remark is somehow not an insult to my character?

    On the off chance that the remark was NOT meant as an insult to your character, let me make clear my feelings.

    Lance is a pathological liar who continuously parrots whacked-out denialist propaganda.

    We know he’s a liar because of two facts:

    1. He claims to have have been accepted into a PhD program in physics.

    2. He’s incapable of truthfully posting about basic physical facts that are well-established in the published literature.

    3. He has admitted that his skepticism is driven by his political beliefs, not scientific doubts.

    #2 makes #1 unbelievable. If #1 is true, #2 is indefensible. #3 is indefensible under any circumstance…

    dhogza laugh all you want, it is the mark of a fool.If you think you know something I do not, then show me where your knowlege comes from.

    Just visit this site and come back when you’ve educated yourself.

    It’s rather funny given that you say water vapor feedbacks are ignored, while one of the current denialist memes is that CO2-induced warming might not lead to increased water vapor feedbacks which are included in the models …

    One of the indicators of crankdom is that you folks can’t get your stories straight.

  29. #30 cce
    March 6, 2008

    Based on calculations from NASA GISS ModelE, removing all GHG but CO2 would retain 26% of the greenhouse effect. In contrast, removing CO2 would reduce the greenhouse effect 9%. Thus, CO2 is 9-26% of the greenhouse effect. The same comparison for water vapor gives 36-66%, and water vapor and clouds together accounts for 66-85%. These figures are consistent with other studies.
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/

    The source for the “CO2 is 5% of the greenhouse effect” claim seems to be the paper, “Solar Radiation Absorption by CO2, Overlap with H2O, and a Parameterization for General Circulation Models,” (www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1993/92JD02887.shtml) but as is clear from the title they were talking about absorption of incoming solar radiation, not outgoing infrared radiation.

  30. #31 John Mashey
    March 6, 2008

    Look, these guys don’t believe in First & Second Laws of Thermodynamics.

    See [Hansen, Nazarenko, et al, "Earth's Energy Imblance: Confimration and Implications", Science, 2005](http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2005/2005_Hansen_etal_1.pdf)

    When incoming energy is larger than outgoing energy, the energy / temperature rises, i.e., First Law of Thermodynamics.

    Due to increasing Greenhouse gasses like water vapor, CO2, CH4, etc, the temperature of the Earth *as a whole* is rising.

    So, why do we see such jiggles in the Earth’s surface temperature, which is what NASA GISS, Hadley, etc report? Why doesn’t the energy difference just show up as a smooth rise in temperature?

    A: most of the energy goes into the oceans, which have 1000X [IPCC AR4] the heat capacity of the atmosphere. The ocean-atmosphere system has all sorts of jiggles that *move heat around, massively*, but do not create or destroy energy.

    We care about surface temperature because we live here, and we have the longest temperature series, but the surface is a miniscule slice of the whole thing, and surface temperatures in any one place jiggle daily (day and night, far more than any long-term trend), yearly, and from decadal-scale oscillations. Likewise, the surface temperature as whole jiggles, from things like El Ninos that move energy from ocean to atmosphere, and La Ninas that do the reverse.

    Analogy:
    A bathtub is being filled [sun], slightly faster than it is being drained [heat radiation]. The fill rate oscillates slightly [sunspots] and occasionally takes modestly stronger excursions [Maunder Minima]. The drain is slowly getting clogged by GHGs.

    You have a few floats, measuring the depth of the water. The depth would go up smoothly, except there’s a kid splashing around in the bath, always making waves so that floats go up and down independently.

    Sometimes the kid lies back in the water, in which case the overall water level goes up [El Nino]. Sometimes the kid sits up, in which case the overall water level temporarily goes down [La Nina]. The total volume of water [heat energy] changes very little in the time the kid moves. In either case, the resulting waves are bigger and last longer than the usual splashing.

    [Various other effects not in analogy.]

    At any point in time, there is a specific amount of water, but the average depth as measured by only 1% of the floats is subject to lots of jiggles.

    Still, the water *is* going up, as long as more as coming in than draining out, and the physics of GHGs say that we’re slowly plugging the drain, and as the drain gets plugged, feedback effects make it get plugged faster [ice-albedo, CO2 amplification of water vapor, and heaven help us, warm water absorbing less CO2.] Some effects may help clear the drain a little [sulfates, cloud uncertainties.]

    The Earth as a whole is gaining energy, and all that some cold spell means is that some oscillation transfers energy from atmosphere/sea surface deeper into the ocean … but that energy doesn’t magically disappear somewhere, it’s conserved.

    I take it back, it’s no kid, it’s a shark in the tub, we’re poking it with a stick, and it’s starting to show signs of getting peeved…

    The Hansen, Nazarenko article is prett dense, but well worth studying.

  31. #32 Ian Gould
    March 6, 2008

    “BTW, Lance, I like your style. Bluster in with stupid things to say; get the usual refutation plus gratuitous insult; pretend you only got insulted and cry ad hominem; [insert something brilliant here]; profit!”

    You forget the multiple insults he tossed into his very first comment on this thread in the hopes of provoking a response that he he could then whine about.

  32. #33 Ian Gould
    March 6, 2008

    “I especially love Monckton’s comment:

    “Most scientists here are retired. That means we are free to say what we think is true.” ” – John Mashey

    Yes, none of that tedious “proof” is required any more.

  33. #34 Neil
    March 6, 2008

    I propose a test: Change the y-axis of the graph to Price and ask the question “Would you invest?”.

  34. #35 Chris O'Neill
    March 6, 2008

    The primary cause of variations on time scales from a few months to a few years is ocean dynamics, especially the Southern Oscillation (El Nino â La Nina cycle),

    No doubt when the next El Nino anywhere near the strength of the one in 1998 happens, the denialist trolls will become instant experts on El Nino and endlessly remind us that it is the cause of the rapid warming.

  35. #36 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 6, 2008

    John P posts:

    [[The cold month of January 2008 logically disproves the global warming hypothesis just as a dark night in Kansas in the US proves the sun is not shining in India.]]

    To which I reply:

    Huh? What? Come again?

  36. #37 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 6, 2008

    kent posts:

    [[ Water vapour contrubutes 90-95% of the greenhouse effect but this inconvenient truth seems to be ignored.]]

    It’s probably ignored because it isn’t true. Water vapor contributes about 60% of the clear-sky greenhouse effect and carbon dioxide about 26%. And water cycles very quickly — about nine days — so it is difficult to change the level of water vapor in the atmosphere. CO2, on the other hand, stays up for an average of around 200 years. Thus the problem is CO2, not water vapor.

  37. #38 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 6, 2008

    Lance posts:

    [[That there are papers on the topic of particulates and aerosols does not a cohesive argument make. If you can subjectively invoke two disparate causes to fit the direction of the trend line without having to quantitatively justify your assertion you don't have a testable hypothesis.]]

    Lance, the effects of aerosols are quantifiable and they can either cool or warm depending on the nature and location of the particles. Aerosols high up and bright (e.g. in the stratosphere, like after a big volcanic eruption) tend to cool the surface. Aerosols low down and dark (like Martian dust storms) tend to warm the surface. There is a whole branch of radiative transfer theory which attempts to deal with the radiative effects of aerosols. Have you made any attemp to learn about it?

  38. #39 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 6, 2008

    kent posts:

    [[It [CO2]] contributes between 4 and 8% of the 33 C of greenhouse warming.]]

    Try 26%. See Kiehl and Trenbert 1997:

    http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/spring04/atmo451b/pdf/RadiationBudget.pdf

  39. #40 P. Lewis
    March 6, 2008

    BPL

    Read John P’s post again and factor in a 12 hour time difference. If it’s night-time in Kansas, then it’s …

    … which all goes to prove that the cold month of January 2008 logically disproves the global warming hypothesis just as a dark night in Kansas in the US disproves the sun is shining in India, to put it slightly differently. Doesn’t it?

  40. #41 Lance
    March 6, 2008

    Where to begin.

    Ian Gould,

    You claim I came in and tossed “multiple insults” in my first post. I made reference to logical fallacies in the line of reasoning that applied a post-hoc “aerosols” band-aid to the negative correlation between temperature and CO2 levels after WWII. While the post was sarcastic in tone nowhere did I use a personal insult (unless the term “boys” qualifies as an affront to any females that might have previously commented).

    In response to my post came the words, “pathological liar” “asshole” “whiny hypocrite” along with the usual “denialist” and “troll”.

    To imply that had I come in and made the same points in a respectful, deferential tone that I would have received a different response is demonstrably false. My tone is the result of having dealt with the “regulars” on this site many times before.

    Hey, I like a good sarcastic reply so long as there is some constructive kernel of intelligent discourse underneath.

    Boris,

    I understand the simplistic argument that CO2 makes the earth warmer and aerosols make it cooler. I had already read the references tossed at me by the Google brigade. These explanations are completely ad hoc as I pointed out. Do you really want to go into a lengthy discussion of the underlying theory, methodology, data validity and error estimation of these studies? If so I would be more than glad to do so.

    My point remains intact that having a CO2/aerosol thermostat at the ready to explain any possible result is convenient and not quantifiable, not to mention unfalsifiable.

    As I said it is a completely ad hoc explanation to explain the failure of high CO2 sensitivity based climate models to reflect reality. Indeed the first reference in the Wikipedia (that bastion of irrefutable truth) link that was presented as counter evidence to my post is a group called the “International Ad Hoc Detection and Attribution Group”.

    Perhaps you should call them a bunch of hypocriticial denialist assholes until they change the name of their group.

  41. #42 Lance
    March 6, 2008

    Hi BPL,

    Hey, thanks for at least not including any direct insults in your post. I have read several of the studies commonly used to pin the failure of past climate models on aerosols. Can you recommend any that present solid theory backed by verifiable data that give accurate values for radiative energy transfer?

    The ones I have seen use values that are guestimates based on historical guesses of aerosol production that are cranked through climate models. I am not very sanguine on using new computer models to prove what was wrong with old computer models.

  42. #43 Laser Potato
    March 6, 2008

    Shorter Lance:
    “You threw in a side insult, therefore I’ll ignore your real arguments and verifiable data!”

  43. #44 luminous beauty
    March 6, 2008

    Lance,

    You’re an idiot. You have proven it time and again. This is not an ad hominem attack. It is a statement of fact.

  44. #45 luminous beauty
    March 6, 2008

    Something that I’ve been wondering is; how much of the Jan’08 temperature drop may be due to the massive break-up of the Arctic ice cap last summer?

    Not merely the ice flows that migrated into the Atlantic and Pacific, but the effect on the Polar Vortex of all that open water as it gradually re-froze.

  45. #46 luminous beauty
    March 6, 2008

    Lance,

    I really don’t mean to be unkind.

    However, in English, ‘ad hoc’ means, ‘for a reason’.

    It’s the cumulative and over-whelming evidence of this and many previous quixotically tilted reasons and reasonings, that leads any reasonable person to conclude that you might be an idiot.

    Such is only an ad hoc hypothesis, I admit. Nonetheless, you seem, to all apparent purpose, doggedly persistent in your desire to prove it’s underlying truth.

    Ergo, any reasonable person should conclude, that you, indeed, are an idiot.

    Sorry.

  46. #47 John Mashey
    March 6, 2008

    Don’t feed the trolls.

    In this thread, which when I started had 45 posts:

    By rough counts, and I don’t care if I’m off a couple:
    5 were by lance, who I have long before killfiled via greasemonkey.
    2 were by others I’ve killfiled.
    14 were by people arguing with lance.

    Hence, about 50% of this thread is a waste of time, from my view, and it has a TER (troll exchange ratio) of 14:5, or 2.8X, i.e., troll managed to waste 2.8X more responses.

    If I were a troll and wanted to fill up a thread with junk, this is exactly what I’d do, although I’ve seen higher ratios achieved. [This is sort of like Over time, somewhat analogous behvior has destroyed once-valuable USENET newsgroups, even with better thread-kill features.

    Given the lack of better thread-kill facilities, please think:

    - people who care about their time will either stop reading it,

    - OR will have to say: “person XYZ usually has good stuff to say, but they just *cannot* resist responding to trolls who they’ve seen many a time” and on balance, I’ll have to KILLFILE them also, albeit regretfully.”

    Either one is a victory for the trolls.

    Suggestion:
    1) use greasemonkey+killfile when you can.

    2) when you can’t, keep a “virtual killfile” on paper or in your head. Simply say to yourself, “no matter what they post, I will not respond, EVER again, NOT EVER.”

  47. #48 Lance
    March 6, 2008

    luminous beauty,

    “Lance, Your’e an idiot.”

    At least your consistently obnoxious LB. I appreciate that.

    Something that I’ve been wondering is; how much of the Jan’08 temperature drop may be due to the massive break-up of the Arctic ice cap last summer?

    Not merely the ice flows that migrated into the Atlantic and Pacific, but the effect on the Polar Vortex of all that open water as it gradually re-froze.

    The enthalpy of fusion is an exothermic process not an endothermic one and hense freezing water does not lower the temperature of its surroundings but delay any further cooling because the energy of the heat of fusion must be withdrawn (the liquid must turn to solid) before the temperature can continue to fall.

    Thus freezing water would lead to just the opposite of what you are trying to explain.

    Idiot. (hehe)

  48. #49 Lance
    March 6, 2008

    I’ll assume John Mashey is truthful when he says he has censored my comments from his view so I won’t address any remarks directly to him. I always thought that I had the restraint to view remarks I thought were irrelevant and not respond if I felt it was a waste of my time.

    Thus I had the option to read them or not, reply to them or not.

    I find the whole “killfile” idea a bit histrionic and self-important. That he felt the need to tell me and others that I had been killfiled shows the pomposity of this maneuver.

  49. #50 jre
    March 6, 2008

    John Mashey has earned the right to credibility through a lengthy record of high-value comments.

    Lance, in contrast, has demonstrated a consistent ability to provoke and annoy, but never to enlighten.

    So far, I have only used killfile on one commenter at this blog.

    Let’s see if adding another will improve the noise level.
    [plonk]

    There; that’s better. Thanks, John.

  50. #51 luminous beauty
    March 6, 2008

    Lance,

    You understand enthalpy, sort of. I’m underwhelmed.

    Now consider what effect the gradient of warmer air over the open sea compared to over the ice will have on the Polar Vortex.

  51. #52 kent
    March 6, 2008

    Luminous Beauty

    We have butted heads before but cyber butts don’t really hurt.

    Your question about the Arctic melt was one that has had my interest for some time.

    While the story most spoken of is how open water absorbs more energy than multi year ice, the story that interests me is how open water radiates more energy than that pesky multiyear ice.
    As you may or may not know sea water does not freeze the same as fresh water. Sea water does not expand as it nears 0 C it just gets denser. This indicates to me that While multi year ice insulates the water below, the open water allows the cooling of the sea water to a depth of over 100 meters. With an air temperature of less that minus 30 C the open water would lose a lot of energy. It seems that this winter the Arctic has formed more new ice than ever recorded. The new ice is 10-20 cm thicker than normal new ice.
    While we are at it, the Antarctic sea ice level is the highest ever recorded and it has been increasing for the last 5 years, and today, at the cryosphere today site the global sea ice level past the mean for the period from 1979 2000.
    Has the dramatic freeze up of the Arctic caused the cool down? Hard to say because La Nina started before the big chill but after the drop in solar activity in 2005.

  52. #53 Lee
    March 6, 2008

    kent,

    uhh what?

    According to Cryosphere Today, as of right now, arctic sea ice extent is still .5 million km2 below 1978-2000 mean, and still less than maximum ice for any year before 2003. More new ice formed in a season, because there was more open water to freeze over after last summer’s huge melt off.

    The antarctic anomaly is about a half million km2 above the reference period, but is well within the normal ‘noise’ for ice anomaly. There is no significant movement up or down in Antarctic sea ice anywhere in the Cryosphere Today record – its a flat trend with noise.

    There are other issues in your statement, too, but these are big enough. I’ll leave the others to others.

  53. #54 kent
    March 6, 2008

    Lee; Cryosphere today shows NH anomaly to be -577,000 square Kilometers the SH anomally is +600,000. What you call noise works out to 8% increase over the 5 years. Regardless, this last max was the highest ever recorded, and the refreeze was the most ever. Explain it away any way you like but it happened.
    Interesting that most of the NH anomaly is in the barents sea and the sea of Okhotsk.

  54. #55 James
    March 7, 2008

    While I find trolls like Lance very irritating, I wonder what we’d do for fun here without them. Anyway, it would be unfair to say that the right-wing commentariat has contributed nothing to science. For example, it used to be a shibboleth of the Left that the genus Rhinogradentia was wiped out by American nuclear testing in the Pacific. However, a biologist in the US Navy found other surviving species of Rhinogradentia, and the news was broken by Instapundit.

  55. #56 Lance
    March 7, 2008

    LB,

    All barbs aside you do raise an interesting question that has a variety of influences with effects with both positive and negative signs. As you say the air mass over ice is insulated from the exchange of heat by direct thermal radiation from the water. However, the ice also blocks water from evaporating which would, by the enthalpy of vaporization which is an endothermic process, tend to remove heat from the air above.

    Of course the water under the ice is not a static pool, ocean currents carry the water and its thermal energy to areas that are not covered with ice. Then there are a variety of time dependent variables involving rates of thermal exchange based on the heat capacities of the various gases and liquids.

    So be careful when proposing ad hoc explanations based on one parameter of the system. Simplistic heuristic arguments are often wrong even when they feel intuitively correct.

    Complicated stuff this climate science.

  56. #57 Skeptic Quiz
    March 7, 2008

    Circle one:

    The hockey stick is Broken /Fraudulent /On fire/ Communist Propaganda

    The recent cooling disproves /Global Warming /Gorebaloney Warming /Statistics /Climate.

    My favorite scientific journal is E&E/ Nexus /Climate Audit /Anything on Heartland Institute Letterhead.

    Climate sensitivity is /low /very low/ Mars is warming! /caused by the sun or something else.

    The largest driver of climate is /the sun /the ocean currents /Martian temperatures /My investment structure.

    Score:
    0-3 circled: You have bought into the lies of the establishment.
    4 circled: You have a skeptical mind and can follow brief sets of directions.
    5-8 circled: You are quite skeptical and think you might be adopted because of the way your father talked to you on the phone last evening.
    9 or more circled: Time to buy a new monitor.

  57. #58 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 8, 2008

    Lance writes:

    [[ Can you recommend any that present solid theory backed by verifiable data that give accurate values for radiative energy transfer?]]

    See if you can get ahold of a copy of Goody and Yung’s “Atmospheric Radiation” (1989), which discusses it extensively. Or just google “optical depth” + “aerosols.” It’s a hot field and there is a huge amount of both theory and data available.

  58. #59 luminous beauty
    March 8, 2008

    Lance,

    Ice is, actually, about 3 times better a conductor of thermal energy than liquid water. It’s insulating properties are as a radiant barrier.

    What do you expect atmospheric water vapor pressure to be at temperatures below 0C?

  59. #60 Lance
    March 8, 2008

    Thanks BPL.

    I’ll try to check it out. It is frustrating that you have to pay to access so many of these articles. Often the abstracts are available for free but the abstract can overstate the results and give little insight into the methodogy and data analysis, which of course is the real science.

  60. #61 Lance
    March 8, 2008

    “What do you expect atmospheric water vapor pressure to be at temperatures below 0C?”

    OK I’ll bite LB. Although 0 C is the freezing point there will still be a nonzero vapor pressure due to sublimation.

  61. #62 James
    March 11, 2008

    Any comments on this Miskolczi thing? My physics is no longer up to the standard required to check his paper. And to be frank I’m not sure I believe his “I resigned in disgust because NASA SUPRESSED ME!” story, but I don’t know anyone at NASA to ask.

  62. #63 P. Lewis
    March 12, 2008

    Arthur has started an e-mail conversation with him and given some initial thoughts at the Rabbet Run in the “A formal reply to Gerlich and Tscheuner” piece.

    My initial thoughts (and they mean diddly squat at this point) are why present this at the Heartland bash? But I suppose it’s got it noticed.

    Melanie Philips at The Spectator (she who railed very publicly in the UK against the MMR jab, who has defended the teaching of creationism in schools and who may or may not be a closet IDiot — a renowned scientific philistine, at least over my breakfast table) has taken her “usual” line on such things and already has The Royal Society in front of the firing squad over this.

  63. #64 David
    March 13, 2008

    Just followed the link to the Melanie Philips piece, only to realise she’s the idiot who wrote “Londonistan” – I wasn’t aware she also supported the teaching of creationism. Why do these people _always_ have the same set of beliefs? It must be something to do with the inflexibility and resistance to facts of the conservative mind.

  64. #65 P. Lewis
    March 13, 2008

    Yes. And I spelled her name slightly wrong, too. Two “ells”.

    It is she, who in a piece about the Da Vinci code, said:

    For many, the claim that evolution enabled life to cross the species barrier so that humans are merely the last link in the evolutionary chain remains a step too far — not least because, by the standards science itself sets, it fails the test of evidence. It is merely a theory.

    To go even further, as some scientists do, and make the leap from evolutionary theory to the claim that this somehow explains the origin of life itself clearly fails the test of logic. The assertion by some scientists that the world probably began without any beginning sounds to many as preposterous as the belief that the world was created in six days sounds to an atheist.

    She started out quite left in her early career and has galloped to not quite the far right.

    Ben Goldacre (Bad Science at The Guardian) has previously described her as “The MMR sceptic who just doesn’t understand science”.

    Still, back to Miskolczi … I await the outcome of Arthur’s communication exercise with him.

  65. #66 kent
    March 13, 2008

    LB wrote that ice is actually 3 times better at conducting thermal energy than water. I thought that odd so I checked it out. Sea ice radiates about 10 watts per square meter while open sea water ( in the arctic) radiates between 100 and 1000 watts per square meter. http://www.esr.org/outreach/glossary/insulation.html
    So much of what we read about the arctic sea ice and open sea water just does not fit with the reality. Sea ice reflects between 40 and 70% of solar energy while sea water reflects between 15 and 40%.
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_wadhams.html That means that on average sea water absorbs about twice the solar energy ( when the sun is shining) When the sun is not shining, ( or it is just above the horizon) the radiation factor comes into play. This would indicate,given the ability of open sea water to radiate about 50 times the energy of sea ice per sq. meter, that despite the double absorption rate of solar energy, open sea water loses more energy than it absorbs.(on an yearly basis.

  66. #67 P. Lewis
    March 13, 2008

    kent says

    LB wrote that ice is actually 3 times better at conducting thermal energy than water. I thought that odd so I checked it out. Sea ice radiates about 10 watts per square meter while open sea water ( in the arctic) radiates between 100 and 1000 watts per square meter.

    Now kent, I’m not saying anything you’ve said is wrong about radiating, but LB said conducting.

    FYI the thermal conductivities of ice and water are about 2.2 to 2.5 W/mK (at 0°C to typical polar minima) and about 0.6 W/mK respectively. So what LB said is not odd at all.

  67. #68 kent
    March 13, 2008

    P. Lewis;
    thanks for the clarification. The numbers still seem odd given the differing properties of ice and water. Will look into it a bit more. Still, when we are dealing with net energy in the arctic on an yearly basis, radiation from teh surface would seem to be more relevant than thermal conduction ratios of sea water and sea ice. Sea water conduction would be from a dept of mm while that of sea ice would be measured in meters. Anyways, thanks again.

  68. #69 z
    March 13, 2008

    Not sure why the sea ice thing is relevant; didn’t this all start out with the canard about the thickness of the ice, as some sort of indication of the warming or lack of same? As for the conduction/radiation of the ice, that’s not as important as it sounds, the single variable being the radiation of the outer layer of the atmosphere; all lower functions are subsumed into that figure. doesn’t matter if the heat gets to the upper atmosphere by dint of large airplanes hauling buckts full of hot air, if the heat doesn’t get up that far, it’s not going to radiate. if it is radiated by the sea or ice and absorbed by carbon dioxide en route, it isn’t going to radiate. etc.

    i guess it makes sense that the radiation from the ice will be less, because of albedo; “black body” radiation of course applies ideally to black bodies; white bodies radiate as poorly as they absorb.

  69. #70 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 14, 2008

    kent,

    A good radiator is a good absorber, by Kirchhoff’s Law. Open sea has an albedo around 4%, old ice has an albedo around 50%. Given noontime illumination of, say, 500 watts per square meter, Open sea will absorb 480 and old ice will only absorb 250.

  70. #71 kent
    March 14, 2008

    Barton;
    The problem as I see it with so much of the “global warming” data is that they deal with selective periods of time. While it is interesting to have data regarding noontime illumination it is more important to see what happens during a 365 day period. Even a 24 hour period’s total illumination would have more value than what happens at noon. I am sure you understand why.
    My whole point about open water/sea ice arose because the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) said that open water in the Arctic absorbed more solar energy than sea ice, which was contributing to global warming. I wondered about this and have been trying to figure out the overall energy balance of a sq. unit of multiyear ice and a similar unit of initially open sea water. (over a year of course) any suggestions anyone?

  71. #72 Barton Paul Levenson
    March 15, 2008

    kent,

    The point is how albedo controls the surface temperature.

    The Earth’s effective or emissions temperature (Te) is about 254 K, while the surface temperature (Ts), thanks to the greenhouse effect, is more like 288 K. In other words, the greenhouse effect raises the surface temperature by about 13%.

    The effective temperature is set by only two things: the Solar constant at Earth’s orbit, and the Earth’s bolometric Bond albedo. The latter is the ratio of sunlight reflected away to incoming sunlight.

    The flux absorbed by the climate system is:

    F = (S / 4) (1 – A)

    where S is the solar constant and A the albedo. The factor of 1/4 comes about because the Earth absorbs sunlight on its two-dimensional cross-sectional area (π R2), but radiates on its three-dimensional surface area (4 π R2). For Earth now, S is about 1366.1 watts per square meter and A is about 0.306. This gives F = 237 watts per square meter.

    Te relates to F through the Stefan-Boltzmann law:

    Te = (F / σ) ^ 0.25

    where σ is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant, about 5.6704 x 10-8 in the SI. That’s where the figure of 254 K comes from.

    Where I’m going with all this: The lower the Earth’s albedo, the higher the effective temperature, and thus (through the greenhouse effect), the higher the surface temperature. Without the math, “dark stuff heats up more in sunlight.”

    So if the area around the poles goes from an albedo of 0.50 to 0.04, the Earth’s albedo goes down slightly, and the Earth gets a little hotter.

  72. #73 kent
    March 15, 2008

    Barton; Thanks;
    I agree with what you wrote. The thing is though Albedo relates to when the sun is shining on the earth. Where my interest lies is when the sun is not shining. Blackbody radiation by “greenhouse gases” is I believe temperature dependant. In the Arctic/Antarctic winter, H2O absorbs very little IR radiation.Even CO2 absorbs less. Therefore more heat escapes into space.(correct me if I am wrong.)most of what the media spews forth ignores this side of the equation. Anyways got to go to work. Internet access is limited. Thaks again. Kent

  73. #74 z
    March 15, 2008

    “In the Arctic/Antarctic winter, H2O absorbs very little IR radiation.Even CO2 absorbs less. Therefore more heat escapes into space.(correct me if I am wrong)”

    ?? only because there is less being radiated fom the surface because it’s cold. this does not lead to it therefore radiating more.

  74. #75 kent
    March 15, 2008

    Z; more energy escapes because there is little H2O to absorb it. Also CO2 is less able to absorb at very cold temps, so again less is absorbed, at least that is my understanding.

  75. #76 Chris O'Neill
    March 16, 2008

    In the Arctic/Antarctic winter, H2O absorbs very little IR radiation.Even CO2 absorbs less. Therefore more heat escapes into space.(correct me if I am wrong.)

    Why don’t you educate yourself and check out what David Archer’s program actually gives on this issue (referred to in My model, used for deception) rather than indulging in ignorant speculation.

  76. #77 z
    March 16, 2008

    “more energy escapes because there is little H2O to absorb it.”

    Oh, OK, that works.

    “Also CO2 is less able to absorb at very cold temps, so again less is absorbed”

    Not sure about that; i have a vague recollection about IR absorbance going down as temp went up but I don’t remember if that’s general, or just whatever gas we were measuring in class. Hopefully an expert will chime in. hint.

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