Jeremy Jacquot has written a three part debunking of the claims in Joane Nova’s “Skeptic’s Handbook”: Part 1: increasing CO2 won’t make much difference, Part 2: warming has stopped and ice cores show that CO2 increases do not cause warming, and Part 3: the hot spot is missing. If all this seems familiar, it’s because Nova’s handbook is just a rehash of David Evans’ wrong-headed column in the Australian. (Nova is Evan’s partner and shares the same beliefs about global warming.)

The constant repetition of such discredited arguments has James Hrynyshyn wondering if there is any point:

For the last four years, I’ve spent a fair bit of time trying to do my bit to undermine the pseudoskeptical claptrap that passes for criticism of the idea that humans are responsible for global warming. And I’m getting tired. It doesn’t seem to matter how many bloggers and journalists who understand the science of climate change point out the facts as climate science understands them, pernicious long-debunked ideas (it’s all the sun’s fault, the hockey stick is a fraud, water vapor is a forcing, etc.) refuse to die. Is there any point?

For example, over the holidays, Jeremy Jacquot at deSmogBlog felt compelled to write a few thousand words dismantling the nonsense issued by one of the more annoyingly popular pseudoskeptics, Joanne Nova. I applaud Jeremy’s patience, and I hope I can find the time and energy to continue doing the same in 2009, but I am beginning to wonder if perhaps all this banging of heads against walls is a waste of effort.

The comments section of this blog, among others, has been overrun by those with nothing intelligent to say, no studies to cite, no science to explore, just moronic epithets.

You’ll have to click through to find out if he thinks there is still a point to it.

Me, I am remain fascinated by the capacity of folks like Nova for self-delusion. You see, she read my post where I explained that the greenhouse signature is not the hot spot but is in fact tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling. What was her response?


Tim Lambert has a go at asserting that the hot spot has been found. But he confused himself with nice graphs and faulty reasoning. He shows a graph of the fingerprint of warming induced by CO2 next to the fingerprint of warming induced by solar irradiance. Both show a warm spot above the tropics. And what do you know? There’s no evidence that either fingerprint is occurring. (Tim, how is this supposed to prove the hot spot has been found?)

It doesn’t prove the hot spot has been found and I never said it did. By “fingerprint” must people would refer to a distinguishing characteristic, not one that is the same. Since the hot spot occurs with both sources of warming, it is not a fingerprint of greenhouse warming.

Then he points to the cold bar at the top of the CO2 graph, keeps a straight face and suggests that because the weather balloons found some cooling here, that means that the hot spot is not missing.

I made no such suggestion. Stratospheric cooling is the fingerprint because it’s the thing that is the distinguishing difference between the patterns.

Hmm. So if you are a warmist, half a fingerprint counts as proof, even if it’s the cold half, and you’re trying to prove a warming event.

This is very confused. Nova admits that the surface has warmed. We’re not trying to show that the surface has warmed — we’re looking for evidence that greenhouse gases were a major cause. And stratospheric cooling is evidence (not proof) here.

How are greenhouse gases supposed to heat the planet if they don’t warm some air somewhere? Cooling the upper atmosphere makes for a lousy heat pump.

Oh dear. Nova doesn’t even know what the hot spot is. The hot spot is not just a region where it has warmed, but a region where it has warmed more than the surface. She makes the same error in her Handbook:

Weather balloons have searched for years and can’t find any sign that
this patch of air, called the “hot spot” is getting warmer. (Note that
it’s actually freezing cold air up that high, but it should be less
cold than it was. It’s not.)

Have a look at the graph below (figure 3.18b from chapter 3 of AR4 WG1). The hot spot region corresponds to T2 (mid to upper tropic troposphere). Most sources show warming, just not more than the surface.

i-9fad308d8a692733f0e0238332431f12-ipccar4wg1fig3.18b.png

And she also doesn’t understand how greenhouse gases warm the surface. They don’t pump heat from the upper atmosphere to the surface. They trap heat in the lower atmosphere and hence cool the stratosphere. Correction: That’s only part of the reason. Increasing greenhouse gases increases radiation as well as absorption of energy. In the stratosphere there’s more radiation than absorption, hence cooling. Explained better here.

Comments

  1. #1 llewelly
    December 30, 2008

    They trap heat in the lower atmosphere and hence cool the troposphere.

    Don’t you mean: “They trap heat in the lower atmosphere and hence cool the stratosphere.” ?

    *[Yes. Fixed. Thanks. Tim]*

  2. #2 bi -- IJI
    December 30, 2008

    > pernicious long-debunked ideas (it’s all the sun’s fault, the hockey stick is a fraud, water vapor is a forcing, etc.) refuse to die.

    That’s because the ideas are being artificially kept ‘alive’ by necromancers. The way to kill them is to destroy the magical receptacles that hold the souls of these ideas.

  3. #3 Barry Brook
    December 30, 2008

    The comments section of this blog, among others, has been overrun by those with nothing intelligent to say, no studies to cite, no science to explore, just moronic epithets.

    That’s why, after a grace period, I’m happy to ban such folks from posting on my blog (they’re free to keep reading). If they wish to indulge in their fantasy world, they can do so in their alternative universe blogosphere. Otherwise, as WordPress (my blog host) recently noted, learn to love moderation (I assume Scienceblogs.com make it similarly easy, and I approve of Tim’s method of disemvowelling).

  4. #4 Barry Brook
    December 30, 2008
  5. #5 Alan
    December 30, 2008

    You are not wasting your time on skeptics, but like Andrew Bolt this woman is a psuedo-skeptic and wasting time is their sole purpose in all this. It’s not that they don’t understand, they knowingly make false assertions hoping the assertion will be repeated in order to waste more time.

    My only advice would be a terse “form letter” dissmissal of them using the term psudeo-skeptic or something similar. Spend the rest of the time answering readers questions and encouraging them to be genuine skeptics. Show them how to do some basic fact checking of their own with independent sources such as NASA, UK-MET, WMO, CSIRO, ect, all of which are easily found on the net. Explain your own rational for accepting their conclusions rather than those of some random psuedo-skeptic.

    As a fellow Aussie I can attest that our secondary school system teaches science as a pile of factiods, matter of fact it was not taught as part of my BSc either. It’s simply assumed people know the philosophy behind science even though the existential mass ignorance demonstrates they don’t.

    In other words: Teach your readers to fish for themselves. James Randi’s small book debunking Uri Geller did that for me ~30yrs ago and I will be forever gratefull.

  6. #6 cce
    December 30, 2008

    “They trap heat in the lower atmosphere and hence cool the stratosphere.”

    Re: cooling stratosphere. That’s what I thought at one point, too, but that actual explanation is more complicated than that. I don’t understand all the details, but it has to do with the lower pressures making it easier for CO2 to emit and harder to absorb, so more CO2 in the stratosphere cools it.

  7. #7 Barton Paul Levenson
    December 30, 2008

    The radiation balance in the stratosphere is between heating when ozone absorbs solar ultraviolet radiation and cooling when carbon dioxide emits thermal infrared radiation. More CO2 => a cooler stratosphere.

  8. #8 Hank Roberts
    December 30, 2008

    > lower pressures making it easier for CO2 to emit
    > and harder to absorb

    Lemme try: lower pressure, lower density, more time in between collisions. At the bottom of the atmosphere molecules whack into one another frequently and ‘average out’ their energy that way mostly. Near the top, there’s more space between molecules, so more time goes by on average in between collisions. In that longer span of time it’s more likely a molecule that has accumulated energy, if it’s a greenhouse gas molecule (CO2 mostly), will lose energy instead by emitting a photon, before it loses the energy in a collision.

    That’s not what happens, but I don’t have the math needed to try to describe what happens so I’m throwing words at it, amateur understanding. Trying for the ‘explain this to a fifth grader’ level.

    Eli?

  9. #9 Rich Puchalsky
    December 30, 2008

    There are still people who believe that evolution doesn’t happen. There are still people who believe that the Earth has to be flat. Answering “skeptics” isn’t ever something that is fully done; you just have to do it until they don’t have any political power any more. The important political actors at this point are the large organizations that still fund and support the denialists, and no amount of better evidence will ever convince them — they are blatantly lying in order to pursue their short-term economic goals. It’s going to take more political intervention.

  10. #10 Dano
    December 30, 2008

    Me, I am remain fascinated by the capacity of folks like Nova for self-delusion.

    Yup. This is part of my task at my day job: figgerin’ out how to overcome ideological (not rational, Enlightenment Principles) objections. Usually it has something to do with money or embarrassment.

    Best,

    D

  11. #11 Boris
    December 30, 2008

    By “fingerprint” must people would refer to a distinguishing characteristic, not one that is the same. Since the hot spot occurs with both sources of warming, it is not a fingerprint of greenhouse warming.

    Be nice to me, Tim, or I’ll have Lucia and her friends come over and bloat this thread with definitions for fingerprint (and distinguishing, and characteristic, and on and on.).

  12. #12 John Mashey
    December 30, 2008

    This is a bit sad, as Nova (Codling) spent years explaining science to kids, a Good Thing.
    It does give another reason for becoming an active anti-scientist: being the partner of one.

    But it also leads to another interesting question:

    How many ardent,vocal climate anti-science people are female?

    Here’s a start: there must be more, but I suspect they are few and far between.

    Australia:
    Jennifer Marohasy
    Jo Nova

    UK
    Sonja Boehmer-Christensen

  13. #13 Dano
    December 30, 2008

    Good point, Mr Mashey.

    Sallie Baliunas.

    Best,

    D

  14. #14 Jason (Reasic)
    December 30, 2008

    From “JoNova”:

    The gap between real world data and thermometers is a make-or-break issue for the AGW theory.

    From note D, page 2, in RealClimate’s Santer et. al. fact sheet:

    This prediction of larger warming aloft than at the surface holds for all factors that tend to warm the surface of the earth — it is not unique to human-caused changes in GHGs.

    Does that not render her entire argument about a hot spot moot?

  15. #15 Jason Leggett (Reasic)
    December 30, 2008
  16. #16 Bruce Sharp
    December 30, 2008

    I think this is the link Jason was trying for:
    http://www.realclimate.org/docs/santer\_etal\_IJoC\_08\_fact\_sheet.pdf

    Seems like alot of us forget that underscores in links cause problems. Tim, maybe you could put one additional line above the “Comments” box, indicating that underscores need to be preceded by the “\\” escape character?

  17. #17 John Mashey
    December 30, 2008

    re: #13 Dano
    Thanks, of course. That’s what I get for doing a quick post from an iPhone at the coffeeshop :-)

    I quickly scanned the handyHeartland’s list of global warming experts(sic?), noting of course that it is always possible that not everyone there knows they are there :-)

    I counted ~131 total, of which the 4 women are:

    1) Sallie Baliunas

    2) Sonja Boehmer-Christensen

    3) Ann McElhinnery, a movie producer, I think.

    4) Margot Thorning (Sr VP &chief economist@ American Council for Capital Formation.

  18. #18 Hot & Bothered
    December 30, 2008

    The “vocal” sceptics I’ve seen tend to fall into 3 broad categories.

    The industry shill – often they believe their material – I’m guessing because that’s how you most easily sleep at night.

    The scientists from another field who stumbles into climate change, and seems to enjoy the exposure being a sceptic gives them. They don’t have the insight to know the basics of climate change, or don’t really care to know. Very often they mix up magnitudes – eg the 5C warming over 10,000 years around 15,000BC is the same as a 5C warming over 100 years due to AGW.

    The conservative, middle to late age men who are drawn to climate change as it gives them meaning. Many of these men are creationists, who see AGW as a front for liberal views, or who see crazy weather as a sign from god, rather than of climate change. These people are fodder for the astroturfers.

    Setting the science right is important but won’t have an impact on any of these groups. Further, the general population is typically unable to differentiate science from junk science (or too busy to really care), so a science debate won’t set things right. The only option I see is to discredit these people – that is point to their failure to publish (how can it be science if you are not party to the scientific process) and point out none of the climate change risks lie with them – they are asking us all to gamble against the science but without any gaurantee (a tactic is to ask them to offer to underwrite the risks for the smallest of island countries). Utlimately, the public will accept climate change when their experiences tell them which “side” is correct (ie it will be decided by heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods etc – an example is 2006 when the drought drove an escalation in public acceptance of AGW – some attribute this to Gore and Stern, but I think it much more likely that the drought made the public receptive to the message).

  19. #19 Hot & Bothered
    December 30, 2008

    The “vocal” sceptics I’ve seen tend to fall into 3 broad categories.

    The industry shill – often they believe their material – I’m guessing because that’s how you most easily sleep at night.

    The scientists from another field who stumbles into climate change, and seems to enjoy the exposure being a sceptic gives them. They don’t have the insight to know the basics of climate change, or don’t really care to know. Very often they mix up magnitudes – eg the 5C warming over 10,000 years around 15,000BC is the same as a 5C warming over 100 years due to AGW.

    The conservative, middle to late age men who are drawn to climate change as it gives them meaning. Many of these men are creationists, who see AGW as a front for liberal views, or who see crazy weather as a sign from god, rather than of climate change. These people are fodder for the astroturfers.

    Setting the science right is important but won’t have an impact on any of these groups. Further, the general population is typically unable to differentiate science from junk science (or too busy to really care), so a science debate won’t set things right. The only option I see is to discredit these people – that is point to their failure to publish (how can it be science if you are not party to the scientific process) and point out none of the climate change risks lie with them – they are asking us all to gamble against the science but without any gaurantee (a tactic is to ask them to offer to underwrite the risks for the smallest of island countries). Utlimately, the public will accept climate change when their experiences tell them which “side” is correct (ie it will be decided by heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods etc – an example is 2006 when the drought drove an escalation in public acceptance of AGW – some attribute this to Gore and Stern, but I think it much more likely that the drought made the public receptive to the message).

  20. #20 Hot & Bothered
    December 30, 2008

    The “vocal” sceptics I’ve seen tend to fall into 3 broad categories.

    The industry shill – often they believe their material – I’m guessing because that’s how you most easily sleep at night.

    The scientists from another field who stumbles into climate change, and seems to enjoy the exposure being a sceptic gives them. They don’t have the insight to know the basics of climate change, or don’t really care to know. Very often they mix up magnitudes – eg the 5C warming over 10,000 years around 15,000BC is the same as a 5C warming over 100 years due to AGW.

    The conservative, middle to late age men who are drawn to climate change as it gives them meaning. Many of these men are creationists, who see AGW as a front for liberal views, or who see crazy weather as a sign from god, rather than of climate change. These people are fodder for the astroturfers.

    Setting the science right is important but won’t have an impact on any of these groups. Further, the general population is typically unable to differentiate science from junk science (or too busy to really care), so a science debate won’t set things right. The only option I see is to discredit these people – that is point to their failure to publish (how can it be science if you are not party to the scientific process) and point out none of the climate change risks lie with them – they are asking us all to gamble against the science but without any gaurantee (a tactic is to ask them to offer to underwrite the risks for the smallest of island countries). Utlimately, the public will accept climate change when their experiences tell them which “side” is correct (ie it will be decided by heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods etc – an example is 2006 when the drought drove an escalation in public acceptance of AGW – some attribute this to Gore and Stern, but I think it much more likely that the drought made the public receptive to the message).

  21. #21 Hot & Bothered
    December 30, 2008

    The “vocal” sceptics I’ve seen tend to fall into 3 broad categories.

    The industry shill – often they believe their material – I’m guessing because that’s how you most easily sleep at night.

    The scientists from another field who stumbles into climate change, and seems to enjoy the exposure being a sceptic gives them. They don’t have the insight to know the basics of climate change, or don’t really care to know. Very often they mix up magnitudes – eg the 5C warming over 10,000 years around 15,000BC is the same as a 5C warming over 100 years due to AGW.

    The conservative, middle to late age men who are drawn to climate change as it gives them meaning. Many of these men are creationists, who see AGW as a front for liberal views, or who see crazy weather as a sign from god, rather than of climate change. These people are fodder for the astroturfers.

    Setting the science right is important but won’t have an impact on any of these groups. Further, the general population is typically unable to differentiate science from junk science (or too busy to really care), so a science debate won’t set things right. The only option I see is to discredit these people – that is point to their failure to publish (how can it be science if you are not party to the scientific process) and point out none of the climate change risks lie with them – they are asking us all to gamble against the science but without any gaurantee (a tactic is to ask them to offer to underwrite the risks for the smallest of island countries). Utlimately, the public will accept climate change when their experiences tell them which “side” is correct (ie it will be decided by heatwaves, droughts, fires, floods etc – an example is 2006 when the drought drove an escalation in public acceptance of AGW – some attribute this to Gore and Stern, but I think it much more likely that the drought made the public receptive to the message).

  22. #22 david
    December 30, 2008

    I should add that you also need to keep in mind what you are trying to achieve. The “sceptics” are really important as they erode the will for policy change at two levels – they instill doubt in the minds of policy makers and they erode public willingess to take a problem seriously and support policy action. The policy levels is usually informed by science – hence that’s where the debate is.

  23. #23 Dano
    December 30, 2008

    Setting the science right is important but won’t have an impact on any of these groups. Further, the general population is typically unable to differentiate science from junk science (or too busy to really care), so a science debate won’t set things right. The only option I see is to discredit these people – that is point to their failure to publish (how can it be science if you are not party to the scientific process) and point out none of the climate change risks lie with them – they are asking us all to gamble against the science but without any gaurantee (a tactic is to ask them to offer to underwrite the risks for the smallest of island countries).

    I’m on a new program to be bubbly and cheery, and you’ve set me back three weeks. I’m back to snarky motive-questioning…

    Now, where’s that Beam Black? Guess I’m off that too…

    ;o)

    Best,

    D

  24. #24 John Cross
    December 30, 2008

    Dano: Think what would happen to your fan base if you were bubbly and cheery!!!

    Best,
    John

  25. #25 Deech56
    December 30, 2008

    RE: H&B (#18)

    But don’t you know that the failure to publish is because of a conspiracy to suppress the truth? Or is it groupthink? Getting my denialist arguments mixed up. But it is a powerful argument to point out how science is done, and where scientific disagreements take place. The scientific literature is a powerful ally.

  26. #26 Gareth
    December 31, 2008

    Bruce at #16: Or Tim could persuade the Scienceblog technical people to dig up a MovableType equivalent of the Chunk URLs for WordPress plugin that solves that sort of problem automagically. Works well on my WP sites.

  27. #27 Tim Lambert
    December 31, 2008

    Thanks for your comments on stratospheric cooling. I’ve added a correction to my post.

  28. #28 Bernard J.
    December 31, 2008

    That ‘then’ post’s url looks sus, what with having prn and gambling elements.

    Spam?

  29. #29 caerbannog
    December 31, 2008

    The conservative, middle to late age men who are drawn to climate change as it gives them meaning.

    And gawd, are some of them flaming idiots. Check out this discussion thread over at the San Diego Union Tribune forum for some spectacular examples of over-the-top idiocy:
    http://forums.signonsandiego.com/showthread.php?t=91320

    Inland San Diego County, unfortunately, is infested with these clowns.

    And if you do decide to check out that discussion thread, don’t forget about the usual precautions involving hot beverages, nasal passages and keyboards.

  30. #30 Lazar
    December 31, 2008

    Sites like Deltoid make it trivially easy for the public to find out who is lying.
    This encourages media outlets to reform, e.g. Fox News recently.
    Does any one really enter a debate with a denialist in the expectation they will learn anything?
    Thanks for your huge efforts.

  31. #31 Deech56
    December 31, 2008

    caerbannog, it looks like your opponents throw in a lot of peripheral nonsense. Who cares what Ehrlich or anyone else may have said in the past? Have temperatures been higher in the past? Sure, but so were sea levels, and extinctions were a part of the past as well. In fact, the past gives us a good idea of what the future holds for us. BTW, I also commented (briefly) on the new scientific appointments, and got the same denialism in response: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/fusetalk/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=15&threadid=6122&enterthread=y Good luck to you.

  32. #32 Ender
    December 31, 2008

    “And I’m getting tired. It doesn’t seem to matter how many bloggers and journalists who understand the science of climate change point out the facts as climate science understands them, pernicious long-debunked ideas (it’s all the sun’s fault, the hockey stick is a fraud, water vapor is a forcing, etc.) refuse to die. Is there any point?”

    I am much the same. After endless hours arguing on blogs like Jennifer Morohasy did I change one person’s ideas? Did one denier accept the actual science – no.

    Basically I have stopped for a while except the odd post like this. I do not read Bolt or Morohasy anymore – again what is the point. I used to argue to learn however I stopped learning from skeptics years ago and the latest round of arguing was sheer bloody mindness. When Louis started on denying black holes etc that was enough for me.

  33. #33 John Mashey
    December 31, 2008

    These arguments are like politics – they are not to convince people who have strong confidence (or know, with 100% unshakeable certainty) in their positions, they are for the uncommitted in the middle, who may well lurk for a long time.

  34. #34 Chris O'Neill
    January 1, 2009

    The constant repetition of such discredited arguments has James Hrynyshyn wondering if there is any point…

    Even though we may have governments at the moment who understand scientific opinion, they can easily be replaced by governments that are infiltrated by denialists that bring progress on dealing with the issue to a halt. There is still a lot of influential and potentially influential denialism out there. Dealing with it is not easy but important.

  35. #35 Bernard J.
    January 1, 2009

    Ender.

    John and Chris have put forward very good points, and it is the fact of such that keeps me contributing my 2 cents worths too, even when I am fed up with the endless imbecility of the pseudoscientists.

    I have appreciated your efforts on the other blogs, and I for one hope that you keep with the Good Fight.

    The future of our planet, and of our decendants, depends upon it.

  36. #36 bi -- IJI
    January 1, 2009

    > The Santer paper was published by the International Journal of Climatology, even though the main thrust of the paper has nothing to do with climatology, as it is almost entirely concerned with the methodology for testing model predictions against observations.

    Tim Curtin thinks that model validation isn’t part of climate science.

    Next he’ll be telling us that anything to do with running programs on computers — including (horrors!) climate models — should only be published in one of the ACM Transactions or something.

  37. #37 Lazar
    January 1, 2009

    bi,

    Tim Curtin thinks that

    I thought it was parody. E.g.

    IPCC AR4 WG1 which asserted again and again that there is no “internal climate variability”

    surely must be parody.
    Right?

  38. #38 Tim Lambert
    January 1, 2009

    Tim Curtin is banned, so please don’t respond to his comments.

  39. #39 Lazar
    January 1, 2009

    Tim,

    Thanks.

  40. #40 Robert
    January 1, 2009

    Tim wrote:

    Tim Curtin is banned

    I can’t quite remember when that happened. Was that around the time of his Himmler/Goebbels meltdown?

  41. #41 bi -- IJI
    January 1, 2009

    WAAAAH!!!!!!!!! THEY COMPARED ME TO NAZIS!!!!!!!!!!!!! BOO-HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oops, I forgot that only cranks are allowed to cry that.

  42. #42 Eli Rabett
    January 1, 2009

    John Mashey said

    These arguments are like politics – they are not to convince people who have strong confidence (or know, with 100% unshakeable certainty) in their positions, they are for the uncommitted in the middle, who may well lurk for a long time.

    But the question is how do they identify the 100% committed denialists. For them we have the Electric Cooling Aid Denialist Test

    You never kill all the weeds but you can stop them from spreading

  43. #43 Eli Rabett
    January 1, 2009

    Wadda ya mean,

    Tim Curtin is banned, so please don’t respond to his comments.

    Is there ever a better time?

    a. No insane replies
    b. You accuse him of any sort of nutiness and who will rise to his defense. Great fun.
    c. Readers don’t have to take mental health pills before reading the thread

  44. #44 Ender
    January 1, 2009

    Bernard J “I have appreciated your efforts on the other blogs, and I for one hope that you keep with the Good Fight.

    The future of our planet, and of our decendants, depends upon it.”

    Thank you for your kind words. I do agree that the future depends on addressing climate change however I do not really think anything will be done even if we talk until we are blue in the face.

    Two things bring me to this conclusion.

    First I am absolutely gutted by the pathetic 5% target that the Rudd Government has set. It seems that the Greenhouse Mafia is completely bi-partisan and rules both sides of politics.

    Secondly look at the response to the financial meltdown and think what is really important on this planet. Global hunger can be ignored, AIDS epidemics can be overlooked despite depopulating some African countries and climate change can be sidelined into pathetic token efforts that only make politicians look good. However when the world financial system is in trouble the entire rich world suddenly finds trillions of dollars and the will to swiftly mobilise to save the really important thing for people on this planet – MONEY!!!!!

    Unless climate change starts costing the real rulers of the planet serious money, nothing will be done except window dressing to appease the people that think they rule.

    PS: I think I do need a rest of this for a while to reflect and regain my optimism.

  45. #45 Ken Miles
    January 1, 2009

    I am much the same. After endless hours arguing on blogs like Jennifer Morohasy did I change one person’s ideas? Did one denier accept the actual science – no.

    There has been an honourable exception.

    Ken Parish from Club Troppo used to be a sceptic (I used to battle it out with him on a regular basis) but changed his mind once some of the sceptics predictions turned out to be incorrect.

    More generally, I’ve grown tired as well. I enjoy debating intelligent people who are willing to listen and debate the evidence, but with time it is harder to be a GW-sceptic while being both opening minded and knowledgeable. So instead we get waves of idiots.

    In a sense it’s a tribute to how far the acceptance of the science has sunk into society. The sceptics have been left picking from the real bottom of the nut jar.

  46. #46 Ken
    January 2, 2009

    Ender, sorry to ruin your attempt to regain your optimism, but what 5% reduction? A wholly inadequate 22Mt reduction of CO2e onshore is countered by a 673Mt per annum increase via increased coal exports offshore! That makes it a big increase in Australia’s contribution to the problem. BTW, our tax dollars are helping to fund this significant increase in global GHG emissions as we speak.

    For optimism, look to good news on the renewable energy front, with analysis showing that a First Solar installation has reached price parity with regular grid supplied power.

  47. #47 BDH
    January 4, 2009

    Ender: “Did one denier accept the actual science – no.”

    You will never convince a denier to accept AGW. The vocal ones have staked out their position and will hold it to the end.

    Your intended audience should not be the deniers – it should be the undecideds and the ‘lukewarmers’, especially the latter, the non-scientist laypeople who accept AGW but are fuzzy on the science and can therefore be swayed by knowledgeable sceptics who present apparent scientific refutations of AGW.

    Websites such as this one can give laypeople the scientific ammunition they need if they want to venture onto sceptic websites or simply to keep themselves well informed.

    I think it also pays to keep in mind that all the action on a publicly accessible website is taking place ‘on stage’ as it were, for the whole world to potentially see.

    It’s also important for the interested layperson that ‘new’ sceptical arguments are met with rebuttals from the AGW side. For example, I haven’t seen much comment from AGW blogs on Anthony Watts’ ongoing series pointing out apparently shonky ground measurements of temperature in the US.

    Other subjects that don’t seem to get much attention are the ‘missing’ heat when global temperatures stall, the relationship between temperature and heat, and the physics of heat energy as it applies to AGW.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work. It can be disheartening to see sceptic websites salivating over the imminent demise of AGW, but in my view the best way to counter this is to focus on the science. If the science is mostly right, everything else will fall into place.

  48. #48 bi -- IJI
    January 4, 2009

    > I haven’t seen much comment from AGW blogs on Anthony Watts’ ongoing series pointing out apparently shonky ground measurements of temperature in the US.

    Well, Tamino and “Horatio Algeranon” have already written about how the whole initial premise of Watts’s effort — that “Urban Heat Islands” create a warming bias — is false in the first place.

    I also have a few posts on my blog discussing this premise.

  49. #49 John Mashey
    January 4, 2009

    EDH: at least some of your questions are covered at RealCliamte on Ocean Heat Content June 2008.

    Actually, at one level it’s relatively simple:

    1) Variable Earth heat content is mostly in the ocean (OHC).

    2) Change (OHC) = input-from-sun – radiation-to-space
    [Energy is conserved, First Law of Thermodynamics]

    There are fairly modest changes in input (sunspot cycles, Milankovitch over longer-term, changes in irradiance).

    3) Locally, sea surface temperature and surface air temperature can’t get and stay too far apart for very long.
    [Second Law of Thermodynamics]

    4) But there are all sorts of oscillations that can move the ocean heat content around, like EL Nino/La Nina [months], Pacific Decadal Oscillation [years], etc. Think of these as minor state changes [compared to Dansgaard-Oscher events, which are big ones!]

    5) Since most of the variable heat content is in the oceans, oscillations there jiggle the atmosphere noticably, both locally and in global averages, even if the total OHC is about the same. There’s no *missing* heat, it’s still somewhere (in the ocean).

    6) Hence, one ends up with a long-term trend overlaid by a variety of oscillations that don’t make immediate changes in OHC, but do change the average surface temperature. However, as long as there’s an energy imbalance in 2), OHC goes up (with jiggles for various reasons), and surface temperatures do too (but with more jiggles).

    Focussing on OHC rather than surface temperature is like what they teach American football defensive players: watch the belt-buckle, not the head-fakes.

  50. #50 BDH
    January 5, 2009

    Bi-Ji: “Well, Tamino and “Horatio Algeranon” have already written about how the whole initial premise of Watts’s effort — that “Urban Heat Islands” create a warming bias — is false in the first place.
    I also have a few posts on my blog discussing this premise.”

    Thanks for the links. Some good reading there. The way the Watts Up people talk, you’d think that the agencies had no clue and couldn’t care less about the quality of the data.

  51. #51 BDH
    January 5, 2009

    “EDH: at least some of your questions are covered at RealCliamte on Ocean Heat Content June 2008.”

    Thanks for that. I’ll follow up the RealClimate link. A couple of comments.

    “3) Locally, sea surface temperature and surface air temperature can’t get and stay too far apart for very long. [Second Law of Thermodynamics]”

    So there’s an interplay between the sea surface temperature and the surface air temperature. Therefore, if the surface air temperature increases due, say, to the action of CO2, and this additional heat takes it out of balance with the sea surface temperature, some of the additional heat will transfer to the sea surface in order to achieve equilibrium. And vice versa.

    Are there any measurements of these transfers, or is appeal to the Second Law of Thermodynamics sufficient to establish this point?

    “4) But there are all sorts of oscillations that can move the ocean heat content around, like EL Nino/La Nina [months], Pacific Decadal Oscillation [years], etc.”

    So these phenomena shift the heat around, but do not necessarily increase or decrease the total amount of heat within the system.

    I remember that point (3) was a subject of discussion on Watts Up a while back, and one person used the analogy of a hair dryer heating a bathtub to show the impossibility of the atmosphere ‘heating’ the ocean, but that analogy is clearly mistaken.

    The Watts Up people also use the ENSO, PDO etc to predict global cooling, but have little to say about how these phenomena function in terms of how they might create or disperse the heat within the system.

    Do you have any views on the Watts Up contributors? I have formed some opinions, but I would be interested in how others view their competence, knowledge etc.

  52. #52 Tim Lambert
    January 5, 2009

    I wrote something about Watts’ efforts [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2007/09/cherry_picking_confirmed.php).

  53. #53 BDH
    January 6, 2009

    Tim: “I wrote something about Watts’ efforts here.”

    So Watts knows that site location makes no difference to the data, and yet persists with his continuing series. Interesting. Public service or political agenda?

  54. #54 MattB
    January 6, 2009

    The bit that really concerns me is when she says in her AGW is a religion thread:

    [Ben, actually I'm hoping to do a print run of millions to help kids learn to use logic and reason... JoNova]

    staggering

  55. #55 bi -- IJI
    January 6, 2009

    > Public service or political agenda?

    In the light of this… well, who knows.

  56. #56 MarkG
    January 7, 2009

    I’ve also been looking at Jo Nova’s site a bit recently. I was particularly enthralled (ie: aghast) at the insinuation that CO2 spectroscopy is essentially not relevant/useful/trustworthy because it’s such an old measurement.
    I’ve contemplated writing a note over there, but I just don’t want to encourage her with attention.

  57. #57 Dano
    January 7, 2009

    Followed Frank’s link in 52.

    Roy Spencer has a blog, everyone.

    All I needed to see was Roy’s entry on January 1st, 2009.

    Why? He’s claiming the ol’ argument about CO2 as a fraction of the atmosphere, and proving it’s power by graphing it. No, seriously.

    Check it out. This is one of the most prominent denialists – equivalent, maybe to Charlton Heston being preznit of the NRA – and this is the best they can do. Think about it for a minute. This is the best they can do.

    Anybody want to see who’s hosting/footing the bill for the IP address (per Frank’s diagram)?

    Best,

    D

  58. #58 bi -- IJI
    January 7, 2009

    > Anybody want to see who’s hosting/footing the bill for the IP address (per Frank’s diagram)?

    No luck. The contact information in the domain name’s (drroyspencer.com) whois record is behind a PO box and a mangled email address.

    And the IP address (208.100.21.182) apparently belongs to some ISP which has been outsourced to Jakarta. Or something.

  59. #59 Dano
    January 7, 2009

    Another corporate-outsourced American job lost offshore. What is wrong with Murrica’s uber-patriotic server farms?!?!?

    Best,

    D

  60. #60 Barton Paul Levenson
    January 8, 2009

    Dano posts:

    Roy Spencer has a blog, everyone.

    All I needed to see was Roy’s entry on January 1st, 2009.

    Why? He’s claiming the ol’ argument about CO2 as a fraction of the atmosphere, and proving it’s power by graphing it. No, seriously.

    I went to his site and looked at it. Dear God, this is a man with a degree in a physical science doing this. Is he insane, or just spectacularly dishonest?

    So an additional 100 ppmv of carbon dioxide doesn’t matter, does it? I guess a bullet can’t kill a man, then — after all, a man can weigh 100 kilograms, whereas a bullet only weighs a gram — that’s only 10 ppm! For that matter, fluorine must be safe to breathe in in small quantities. Sure, the lethal dose is 0.1 ppmv, but that’s 1,000 times less than the fraction of carbon dioxide, and we all know carbon dioxide is harmless. So, Roy, inhale some 0.1 ppmv fluorine, okay? Show us all how harmless small quantities of things are!

  61. #61 Harald Korneliussen
    February 11, 2009

    typo: “The hot spot is just a region were it has warmed, but a region where it has warmed more than the surface. ”

    Left out a “not”, I think.

  62. #62 Tim Lambert
    February 11, 2009

    Thanks. Fixed.

  63. #63 Carl
    July 14, 2009

    Just found this site – and whoah! Great! The sceptics are running berzerk in Sweden, getting loads of articles published in mainstream media at the moment in which they debunk this “climate scam” thingie, a great big conspiracy withing the scientific community incited by the “green upperclass” and “environmental lobby” in order to suppress ordinary people from understanding the “truth”.

    While our national (and European) policy is set on reducing co2 emissions, these sceptics do really pose a problem here as they undermine the public support for such policies and, through their science-by-surfing approach, scientific work in general. Blogs like these are indeed important!

  64. #64 bluegrue
    July 14, 2009

    @Carl
    Helpful links, in case you have not come across them already:
    * [Skeptical Science](http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php)
    * [The Discovery of Global Warming](http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html)
    * [A few things illconsidered: How to talk to a skeptic](http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php)

  65. #65 Robert Godwin
    November 18, 2009

    While I remain open to the possibility of AGW, it undermines the AGW argument to place up data sets of 25 years of temperature as if that establishes a bullet proof trend line. Global temperatures run in trends that are 10,000 years and possibly 100,000.

    The only credible empirical data I’ve reviewed are the ice core samples, which are inconclusive. It appears at time there is correlation between CO2 and at other times there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature, therefore it is likely there are other factors at work that may work to warm or cool independently of CO2.

  66. #66 dhogaza
    November 18, 2009

    therefore it is likely there are other factors at work that may work to warm or cool independently of CO2.

    Well, gosh, imagine all of climate science missing such a basic thing. How could they? They must be commies, right?

    Look, bozo, of course there are other factors that may work to warm or cool independent of CO2. The fact that you apparently think that

    1. This is a novel thought

    2. Is somehow relevant to whether or not CO2 can contribute to warming

    shows that you have roughly a nursery-school level of knowledge of the topic.

  67. #67 dhogaza
    November 18, 2009

    You have to admire Godwin’s chutzpah though … he’s come up with what he thinks is a novel idea, totally unaware of milankovich cycles, solar variation, etc, apparently, has looked at a subset of the empirical evidence (must be a subset since he’s unaware, apparently, of the existence of whole piles of empirical evidence), and …

    In his own mind …

    Thinks he’s competent to pass judgement on the life’s work of a very large number of highly-trained, highly-intelligent scientists.

    What’s next for this dude? Performing open-heart surgery with a can opener and a wine screw?