Debate with Monckton

SMH Online plan to put up a live feed of the debate. I’ll put up a link to the page if this happens.

The format is now settled: Monckton opens the batting with a 15 minute presentation. Then I go for 15 minutes. Then we put two questions to each other (alternating). Then its questions from the audience. And finally we each get five minutes each to close things.

Friday February 12th, 12:30 – 2:30 Grand Ballroom, Hilton Hotel, 488 George St Sydney

$30 at the door, preregister by emailing cool@exemail.com.au

Comments

  1. #1 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    …is there an equivalence between the negative forcing from LW reflection from the tops of clouds and LW blocking from the bottom of clouds?

    Do you mean SW reflected from the tops of clouds, LW blocked from radiating away into space by the whole of clouds?

    Or did you actually mean LW is (say) reflected from the tops of clouds back downwards to the earth from whence it came (although in that case I’m not sure how to make sense of “LW blocking from the bottom of clouds”, which seems like a very similar action).

    And while we’re at it, what do you mean by “is there an equivalence…”? Equivalence in action? Necessary balance in forcing? Coincidental balance in forcing?

  2. #2 John Cross
    February 12, 2010

    ilajd: I was not there in person and had to watch it over the internet. On the internet, Tim came across extremely well. While I could not see the slides, I could hear Pinker very well and that sound clip was devastating for Monckton. I don’t know how Tim was able to arrange it but to the outsider it was a very strong point. Here is the actual author of the paper telling Monckton that he misunderstood the points in the paper.

    Monckton never recovered from that.

    Regards,
    John

  3. #3 Bernard J.
    February 12, 2010

    [Ilajd](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/debate_with_monckton.php#comment-2268128).

    [Other folk](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/debate_with_monckton.php#comment-2268168) had no difficulty hearing Tim Lambert’s audio. It would appear then that your inability to do so is more a reflection of your internal cognitive dissonance creating a block where any fact that threatens your ideology is rejected.

    There’s a treatment for your affliction.

    It’s called education.

    [Cohenite](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/debate_with_monckton.php#comment-2268228).

    You’d love to shift the questions from the other threads to your own at #269 here, wouldn’t you? That would then take the heat off the dozens of questions that you failed to answer on those other threads, and shift the focus from your discomfitted embarrassment there.

    You can try that lawyer distraction ‘trick’ (it’s in your Nature, after all…), but it’s not going to work. I’m happy just to keep reminding you about your unfinished homework.

    Of course, if you can satisfactorily address all the questions put to you on the other threads, I’ll then visit your dearly beloved #269, but I suspect by that stage it’ll have been well and truly plucked and roasted by others here.

    Why is it that just about every Denialist employs drive-by tactics? Can’t any of them actually ever stick by their claims and defend them with science (as opposed to mere mindless repetition of the same fact-free pseudoscientific mantras)?

    Oh, of course…

  4. #4 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Some useful commentary on the question Tim received about what the snow storms on the US East Coast mean about global warming theories.

    Most people should be able to understand this, if they follow along. On the other hand, people who follow Fox News would be nicely misinformed…and many likely congratulating themselves for the new and superior understanding.

  5. #5 Marred
    February 12, 2010

    It is hilarious. I listed greenpeace references not because i felt that they were wrong or invalid. Eventhough the source is dubious at best. It is because they are non-peer reviewed. As well as the WWF sources cited. But it just goes to show who the true deniers are. CO2 is not killing our planet, how about our GMO food, poisoned soil, sulled waters just to list a few. And the solutions to CO2 aren’t solutions at all. China is still going to be building their coal plants. They are manufacturing the green energy equipment with the very thing that we want to stop. Does it get any funnier and ironic than that! Do you think big oil is trying to stop this movement? Why do you think Monckton is against it? Big Corporations are destroying our planet in a myraid of ways and we are all caught up on one factor. Alarmism. Fear. Wake up. See the big picture. CO2 is your bin laden. The would isn’t so simple. You are being duped.Its Snowing due to global warming. There is a flood, its global warming. Learn how to think for yourself. Seems anything the media says is taken as truth. When will you learn.

  6. #6 Paul UK
    February 12, 2010

    Lotherason:

    >Some useful commentary on the question Tim received about what the snow storms on the US East Coast mean about global warming theories.

    I missed the debate.
    But I would have responded with a comment about the Winter Olympics suffering from a lack of snow, because of unusually warm weather!

  7. #7 Antechinus
    February 12, 2010

    Thanks for the transcript/notes and comments, Lotharsson – still can’t load the SMH video, presumably due to high demand.

  8. #8 Bernard J.
    February 12, 2010

    I reckon that it would be a hoot, and quite possibly of some real impact, to have Tim Lambert and [Peter Sinclair](http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610) collaborate on churning out a series of Denial Crocks of the Week based on the debate with Monckton. Perhaps even a full-length documentary-style deconstruction.

    Monckton will always be galloping around a la Typhoid Mary, spreading disinformation, but perhaps such a production might actually have enough teeth that broad-scale referral to it would actually bite the Viscantcount on the arse, and provide some immunisation to his viral misrepresentation of science.

    DCotW has popular recognition, and the format is one that is accessible to the same folk who swallow Monckton-style propaganda hook, line and sinker. Throw in a dash of [Skeptical Science](http://www.skepticalscience.com/) style, and they could have a hell-hound with enough legs to drench the peripatetic heels of ol’ Chris with slaver, wherever he tries to promulgate his brand of scientific malarky.

    With a bit of luck, they might even entice Mr Monckton to threaten suit…

  9. #9 Paul UK
    February 12, 2010

    Marred said:

    >And the solutions to CO2 aren’t solutions at all. China is still going to be building their coal plants. They are manufacturing the green energy equipment with the very thing that we want to stop. Does it get any funnier and ironic than that!

    ah, it’s nice when someone starts wandering into areas they don’t understand.

    Even if the energy to build the wind turbines in China were built using energy from coal. Their carbon footprints would still be tiny compared to any fossil fuel equivalents.

    There is an analysis of wind turbine production in Italy, which lists the materials used. Amusingly, the turbines constructed in Italy have a tiny radioactive input, in the materials stream. Puzzling at first, until you realise that Italy doesn’t (or didin’t) have a any nuclear power stations and inputs electricity from neighbouring countries that do!

    But Marred, I suggest you do your homework before making “empty vapid statements” (your words).

  10. #10 Paul UK
    February 12, 2010

    Marred said:

    >Its Snowing due to global warming.

    But not at the Winter Olympics it seems.
    Both are weather events.

    Is it snowing in Australia?

    Anyone see Jon Stewarts spoof this week about weather events?

  11. #11 s. lindsey
    February 12, 2010

    Until the Skeptics are allowed to “debate” without prejudice from the “Alarmist” crowd then you will never win that debate..

    You guys call yourself Scientist, but yet one person comes here to question the “Science” and what happens?

    Name calling? Is this the playground of some Ivy League Elementary school?

    Dismissal? If you cannot harbor descent then this is not Science it’s just politics.

    We little people can’t understand Science so we do not deserve the opportunity to debate..??
    I mean listen to you people.. Do you hear yourselves? Stupid, Moron, Idiot, Denier, Can’t understand Science.. Blah..Blah..Blah..

    I am an ENVIRONMENTALIST.. My DEGREES are in Environmental Sciences.. You see you don’t know me. I have been in this field for 20 years and am considered one of the experts in the field of Environmental Compliance. I am one of few who hold International Certifications and have taught for years on the subject. I work Superfund sites.. I assist Industry and Educational facilities clean up and stop polluting the Environment.. What do you do? Talk.. Theorize.. Talk some more…

    I do more in 1 year for the Environment then most of you do in a lifetime..

    Some of the worst polluters I deal with are Professors who have PHD’s who somehow think it is perfectly ok to pour Mercurial compounds, Heavy Metals and other Organics down the drain.. or simply toss them in the Garbage.

    Contrary to popular belief Dilution is not the solution to pollution..

    Yes I have doubts.. I came here to discuss those doubts and maybe learn something.. but what did I get..?

    Well you can go back and read them for yourselves..

    Until you put aside the insults and condescending arrogance you will not win this debate.
    All the theories and Computer models in the World will not change anything unless you can clearly and without the egos explain to the people of this Planet why we need to change.

    Skeptics should be welcomed with open arms not the middle finger.. Even if their minds have been “made up” you miss an opportunity to educate us if you fail to try.

  12. #12 mb
    February 12, 2010

    You wrote several paragraphs of text that contained nothing of value. No one cares about your martyrdom–it’s very much irrelevant. You come here, dismiss carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and proffer up sulfur dioxide in its stead and want to be taken seriously? No. No, I won’t take you seriously. You’re silly. Go take your imaginary degrees and insert them where the sun doesn’t shine.

  13. #13 Joseph
    February 12, 2010

    You guys call yourself Scientist, but yet one person comes here to question the “Science” and what happens?

    No, Lindsey, you did no such thing. You instead listed a bunch of transparent lies.

    So quit whining and address the rebuttals that have been made, if you can.

  14. #14 JasonW
    February 12, 2010

    s.lindsey, if you are who you claim you are, and do what you claim to do – then hats off to you. Very sorry you’re feeling hurt – but please tell me, why I or anyone should take an environmental scientist seriously who makes false claims and/or builds strawmen, uses CAPITALISATION to prove his/her point and generally displays a considerable level of hysteria in his/her posts:

    “[...]Correct climate changed without your effect.. It did so naturally..

    Climate changes occurs.. That’s a fact

    That Mankind is causing the rise in temps.. is debatable at best.

    CO2 is a contrived pollutant.. Methane and Sulfur dioxide are more in line with the generation of “Greenhouse Gas”.

    CO2 is beneficial to us.. We need it.. The Earth needs it.. Without it.. well we stop breathing and THAT’S NOT DEBATABLE..

    Let’s say we can affect the CO2 levels and we go too far.. What then?

    Massive plant life extinction?[...]”

    [Fran Barlow](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/debate_with_monckton.php#comment-2267841) has deconstructed most of these points above, and has done so in measured and reasonable language. No response to her yet from your side.

    As a scientist, can you tell me, supported by literature, why you think AGW is not a problem, or even non-existent, how most other scientists working in the field (meteorology, paleoclimatology, biology, ecology, oceanology etc. etc.) are wrong, and how you come to the conclusion that a CO2 level higher than the past 15 million years is going to be beneficial to current life on Earth?

  15. #15 Hasis
    February 12, 2010

    Yes I have doubts.. I came here to discuss those doubts and maybe learn something.. but what did I get..?

    Well you can go back and read them for yourselves..

    Posted by: s. lindsey | February 12, 2010 8:55 AM

    Okay, let’s…

    … All using the same computer models and the Greenhouse effect since the 70’s. The Mann Hockey Stick has been resoundingly disproved.. Data has been proven to be manipulated. Contravening data was intentionally forced out of the media and reports. Scientist [sic] who disagree with the AGW crowd has found themselves without funding and pushed to the fringe..

    Consensus my a$$.

    This has become a religion. Facts be damned..

    Posted by: s. lindsey | February 11, 2010 4:28 PM

    Hmmm…?

  16. #16 JasonW
    February 12, 2010

    Furthermore, s.lindsey, discussion of most of your claims has been ongoing for years now and have been addressed and debunked over and over. Try [Skeptical Science](http://www.skepticalscience.com/). John Cook has an extremely accessible and clear writing style, and addresses all the talking points with reference to the current scientific literature. There’s your education.

  17. #17 Eli Rabett
    February 12, 2010

    S. there is a very old saying among chemists that the dose makes the poison and if you read some old papers where they actually tasted the stuff they made it as true as CO2 being a pollutant when it gets above ~350 ppm. Oh yeah, before you tell me how wonderful CO2 is for the plants, remember that fainting Victorian ladies would dose themselves with arsenic to improve their appearance, the difference being that they were right, at least for a while.

  18. #18 bluegrue
    February 12, 2010

    Lotharsson, thanks for the coverage of the debate. I know Monckton is wrong on the facts, but it is impressive – and frightening – to see with just how much nonsense Monckton can get away with, because of his polished rhetorics and an audience that wants to believe him.

  19. #19 Hasis
    February 12, 2010

    But Eli, SL can’t even see the irony in his own stated position…

    Contrary to popular belief Dilution is not the solution to pollution.

  20. #20 Paul UK
    February 12, 2010

    s. linsey said:

    >”Until the Skeptics are allowed to “debate” without prejudice from the “Alarmist” crowd then you will never win that debate..”

    Debating is politics is it not?
    Not sure how you do science by debate alone. Not sure where Monckton fits in with science?

    s. linsey said:

    >You guys call yourself Scientist, but yet one person comes here to question the “Science” and what happens?

    In order to ‘question the science’ one has to understand it first, from first principles. Otherwise any ‘questioning’ has political motives. eg. either the discussion is on an equal basis (two scientists) or it is unequal (layman vs scientist). In order to educate a layman, they have to want to learn something new. If they come to the lesson refusing to believe anything said to them, because of their political views, then they aren’t going to accept what you tell them.

    And I actually call myself an engineer/lecturer most times.

    s. linsey said:

    >Dismissal? If you cannot harbor descent then this is not Science it’s just politics.

    Any descent should be based around science. But the likes of Marred refer mainly to what they read in the media.

    s. linsey said:

    > I am an ENVIRONMENTALIST.. My DEGREES are in Environmental Sciences.. You see you don’t know me. I have been in this field for 20 years and am considered one of the experts in the field of Environmental Compliance…Skeptics should be welcomed with open arms not the middle finger.. Even if their minds have been “made up” you miss an opportunity to educate us if you fail to try.

    Their minds are made up because they see it as a political battle and nothing to do with science. You are pretty naive if you think hardcore skeptics can be turned.

    You seem to think what is going on now with skeptics is has something to do with science. Many lie in the name of maintaining the current state of economics and commerce. You have to be shockingly naive to think otherwise.

  21. #21 Jeff Harvey
    February 12, 2010

    *I am an ENVIRONMENTALIST.. My DEGREES are in Environmental Sciences.. You see you don’t know me. I have been in this field for 20 years and am considered one of the experts in the field of Environmental Compliance. I am one of few who hold International Certifications and have taught for years on the subject. I work Superfund sites.. I assist Industry and Educational facilities clean up and stop polluting the Environment*

    Good for you. But, given the nature of your earlier posts, which reflected an exceedingly simple understanding of the workings of complex adaptgive systems and the effects of global change (including climate warming) on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, your qualifications appear to have provided you with little insight in critically important areas. These areas involve a whole gamut of ecological research exploring climate change effects on interaction network webs in natural communities and on a suite of other ecophysiological processes.

    You also should let others assess your ‘expertise’. For my part I am a senior scientist (population ecology) in The Netherlands; I did my PhD at Liverpool University in the U.K. (1995) and, amongst other positions before my current job, I was for a short time an Associate Editor for the journal *Nature*. I frequently interact with colleagues working in climate science as well as systems and population and evolutionary ecologists exploring the effects of recent regional warming on phenology of interacting species, changes in breeding cycles, distributions including plant invasions of thermophilc plants, etc. (Some of my research involves the latter area).

    I was critical of you because you waded in here like some kind of ecological expert when it was clear that you know a lot less than you think you do. This is common trait amongst the denialati, many of whom make outrageously superficial comments on the effects of warming on both the natural and material economy. If you want to discuss these issues I am more than willing to oblige. But you could have packaged your thoughts originally in a much more thoughtful way; as it is, your posts thus far on thios thread have been pretty thin empirically.

  22. #22 Dibble
    February 12, 2010

    The Mann Hockey Stick has been ‘resoundingly disproved?’

    Really? To say this with such conviction you’d not only have to reject the broad conclusions of the NAS report.

    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11676

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/06/national-academies-synthesis-report/

    You’d also have to examine, and reject, the other independent hockey sticks being produced by climate science.

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison_png

    Paying particular attention to the Oerlemans recontruction http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/oerlemans2005/oerlemans2005.html

    If you have really satisfied yourself that, this entire body of (peer reviewed) work has been ‘resoundingly disproved’, so be it.

  23. #23 Arthur Smith
    February 12, 2010

    ilajd – I thought Tim’s forgetting questions was delightful. To be a good liar, you need a great short-term memory to avoid too-blatantly contradicting yourself. Forgetful people (including many scientists) are forced to tell the truth to be self-consistent. Short-term forgetfulness is a wonderful sign of honesty, to anybody who’s lived in this world for long (claims of long-term forgetfulness, on the other hand, are often used for deliberate obfuscation, but that’s another matter).

    Andrew Barnham seems to have think he can trust what Monckton says – hah! He repeats “As Monckton pointed out in the debate, all economic analysis of the cost of switching to a carbon throttled world indicate that it will incur economic costs – with one notable exception – the Stern report.” This is simply false. In fact, the majority of economists agree that we need to enact government policies to reduce GHG emissions (in that survey, 94% of economists agreed that the United States should join climate agreements to limit global warming.)

  24. #24 Todd F
    February 12, 2010

    Further to Arthur’s point in 323, the Stern Review was a REVIEW of the economic literature. It’s kind of an odd claim to make that everyone disagrees with Stern, when all Stern did was merely compile the economic literature on the topic into a synthesis report. Even if one thinks Stern was being selective, that would still falsify Monckton’s claim.

    Also, does anyone have a link to Pinker’s 2005 study?

  25. #25 Richard Simons
    February 12, 2010

    Marred @69

    For example, Canada’s reporting stations dropped from 496 in 1989 to 44 in 1991, with the percentage of stations at lower elevations tripling while the numbers of those at higher elevations dropped to one. That’s right: As Smith wrote in his blog, they left “one thermometer for everything north of LAT 65.” And that one resides in a place called Eureka, which has been described as “The Garden Spot of the Arctic” due to its unusually moderate summers.

    I had to laugh at this. My brother-in-law was the senior government official at Eureka in the 70s (population about 8). He built a small greenhouse on the side of the building using some plastic sheets and grew a few tomato plants in it. He then designed a postmark for Eureka (he was also effectively the postmaster) which had ‘Eureka, Garden Spot of the Arctic’ around the circumference in reference to his half dozen tomato plants. I think we still have an envelope around the house with this on it. The design was also put on some tee-shirts. If you were to met him, you’d quickly realise that this is how his sense of humour works.

  26. #26 toby
    February 12, 2010

    Due to the lack of contrary evidence, I take it that Tim kicked some aristocratic ass.

    Up the Republic!

  27. #27 P. Lewis
    February 12, 2010

    I’m heartily encouraged by Arthur Smith’s

    I thought Tim’s forgetting questions was delightful. To be a good liar, you need a great short-term memory to avoid too-blatantly contradicting yourself. Forgetful people (including many scientists) are forced to tell the truth to be self-consistent. Short-term forgetfulness is a wonderful sign of honesty, …

    And there was me thinking I had early-onset Alzheimer’s.

    I’m heartily encouraged by Arthur Smith’s …

  28. #28 Juho
    February 12, 2010

    Monckton is right about climate sensitivity whe just uses the wrong arguments about it. Instead for referring to silly Lindzen he should use the arguments Roy Spencer uses:

    First of all, the warming isnt “unprecedented”:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/global-warming-background-articles/2000-years-of-global-temperatures/
    I wouldnt use any other proxy studies than Loehle since the Tilnjander series is still being used inverted and that there is no statistical method to add thermometer records in to proxy-records. Proxied have a “smoothed” average but the thermometer has a single year peak record 1998. Second, the scale cant be easily justified.

    Second, big part of the component in the warming we’ve seen has a natural component:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/01/evidence-for-natural-climate-cycles-in-the-ipcc-climate-models-20th-century-temperature-reconstructions/
    Anyone who beileves ocean currents do not release any extra water wapor to the atmosphere? You will have hard time try to give me evidence claiming that’s not the case. Anyone try to convice me extra water wapor means no extra clouds?
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/global-warming-as-a-natural-response/

    Now, to the key point, modellers think that the imbalance in earth radiation budget measured from space is being interpreted as a positive feedback parameter for extra CO2, when actually the clouds have negative feedback but the change in total radiation budget is due to natural changesin clouds:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/Spencer-and-Braswell-08.pdf
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/research-articles/satellite-and-climate-model-evidence/

    And on top of that, the sunspot index correlates very well with the PDO indexes, CLOUD-experiment will give us more information soon.

    This just can’t be ignored or be called some “denier bullshit”. You have been fooled with the context of the mighty “hockey stick” and missing of a natural component, which has not yet a physical model. The truth is we dont really know what is going on except it indicates the effect of CO2 is low.

  29. #29 Hank Roberts
    February 12, 2010

    Wow. Thanks to Richard Simons for
    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/debate_with_monckton.php#comment-2268660

    — if you have a little spare time, you might spend some chasing down this story, which appears quite popular with people who don’t know the explanation and want to use it to argue for their climate notions. It’s been growing legs:

    Google Results … about 4,770 for +Eureka +”garden spot”

  30. #30 Dave
    February 12, 2010

    Indeed, thank you Richard Simons for a wonderfully funny personal insight.

  31. #31 Bud
    February 12, 2010

    [Wikipedia on Freak Waves](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_wave#Causes).

    The phenomenon of rogue waves is still a matter of active research, so it is too early to say clearly what the most common causes are or whether they vary from place to place. The areas of highest predictable risk appear to be where a strong current runs counter to the primary direction of travel of the waves; the area near Cape Agulhas off the southern tip of Africa is one such area; the warm Agulhas current runs to the southwest, while the dominant winds are westerlies. However, since this thesis does not explain the existence of all waves that have been detected, several different mechanisms are likely, with localised variation. Suggested mechanisms for freak waves include the following:

    * Diffractive focusing — According to this hypothesis, coast shape or seabed shape directs several small waves to meet in phase. Their crest heights combine to create a freak wave.[6]. The Bay of Biscay is known for its extremely rough seas.
    * Focusing by currents — Storm forced waves are driven into an opposing current. This results in shortening of wavelength, causing shoaling (i.e., increase in wave height), and oncoming wave trains to compress together into a rogue wave.[6] This happens off the South African coast, where the Agulhas current is countered by westerlies.
    * Nonlinear effects — It seems possible to have a rogue wave occur by natural, nonlinear processes from a random background of smaller waves.[7] In such a case, it is hypothesised, an unusual, unstable wave type may form which ‘sucks’ energy from other waves, growing to a near-vertical monster itself, before becoming too unstable and collapsing shortly after. One simple model for this is a wave equation known as the nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLS), in which a normal and perfectly accountable (by the standard linear model) wave begins to ‘soak’ energy from the waves immediately fore and aft, reducing them to minor ripples compared to other waves. The NLS can be used in deep water conditions. In shallow water, waves are described by the Korteweg–de Vries equation or the Boussinesq equation. These equations also have non-linear contributions and show solitary-wave solutions.
    * Normal part of the wave spectrum — Rogue waves are not freaks at all but are part of normal wave generation process, albeit a rare extremity.[6]
    * Wind waves — While it is unlikely that wind alone can generate a rogue wave, its effect combined with other mechanisms may provide a fuller explanation of freak wave phenomena. As wind blows over the ocean, energy is transferred to the sea surface. Theories of instability mechanisms for the generation and growth of wind waves—although not on the causes of rogue waves—are provided by Phillips[8] and Miles.[9]

    The spatio-temporal focusing seen in the NLS equation can also occur when the nonlinearity is removed. In this case, focusing is primarily due to different waves coming into phase, rather than any energy transfer processes. Further analysis of rogue waves using a fully nonlinear model by R.H. Gibbs (2005) brings this mode into question, as it is shown that a typical wavegroup focuses in such a way as to produce a significant wall of water, at the cost of a reduced height.

  32. #32 Bud
    February 12, 2010

    Bad formatting above… that’s probably unreadable.

    The phenomenon of rogue waves is still a matter of active research, so it is too early to say clearly what the most common causes are or whether they vary from place to place. The areas of highest predictable risk appear to be where a strong current runs counter to the primary direction of travel of the waves; the area near Cape Agulhas off the southern tip of Africa is one such area; the warm Agulhas current runs to the southwest, while the dominant winds are westerlies. However, since this thesis does not explain the existence of all waves that have been detected, several different mechanisms are likely, with localised variation. Suggested mechanisms for freak waves include the following:

    Diffractive focusing — According to this hypothesis, coast shape or seabed shape directs several small waves to meet in phase. Their crest heights combine to create a freak wave.[6]. The Bay of Biscay is known for its extremely rough seas.

    Focusing by currents — Storm forced waves are driven into an opposing current. This results in shortening of wavelength, causing shoaling (i.e., increase in wave height), and oncoming wave trains to compress together into a rogue wave.[6] This happens off the South African coast, where the Agulhas current is countered by westerlies.

    Nonlinear effects — It seems possible to have a rogue wave occur by natural, nonlinear processes from a random background of smaller waves.[7] In such a case, it is hypothesised, an unusual, unstable wave type may form which ‘sucks’ energy from other waves, growing to a near-vertical monster itself, before becoming too unstable and collapsing shortly after. One simple model for this is a wave equation known as the nonlinear Schrödinger equation (NLS), in which a normal and perfectly accountable (by the standard linear model) wave begins to ‘soak’ energy from the waves immediately fore and aft, reducing them to minor ripples compared to other waves. The NLS can be used in deep water conditions. In shallow water, waves are described by the Korteweg–de Vries equation or the Boussinesq equation. These equations also have non-linear contributions and show solitary-wave solutions.

    Normal part of the wave spectrum — Rogue waves are not freaks at all but are part of normal wave generation process, albeit a rare extremity.[6]

    Wind waves — While it is unlikely that wind alone can generate a rogue wave, its effect combined with other mechanisms may provide a fuller explanation of freak wave phenomena. As wind blows over the ocean, energy is transferred to the sea surface. Theories of instability mechanisms for the generation and growth of wind waves—although not on the causes of rogue waves—are provided by Phillips[8] and Miles.[9]

    The spatio-temporal focusing seen in the NLS equation can also occur when the nonlinearity is removed. In this case, focusing is primarily due to different waves coming into phase, rather than any energy transfer processes. Further analysis of rogue waves using a fully nonlinear model by R.H. Gibbs (2005) brings this mode into question, as it is shown that a typical wavegroup focuses in such a way as to produce a significant wall of water, at the cost of a reduced height.

  33. #33 Bud
    February 12, 2010

    Oh, and in case any of you were wondering how Monckton was able to so easily answer a question that so threw Tim, [here's a pretty big clue](http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/05/the-1998-super-el-nino-possibly-a-rouge-wave/)

  34. #34 bluegrue
    February 12, 2010

    Hank, there’s a lot of “wrong” garden spots in that search. Google hits for +Euraka +”garden spot” +arctic: about 9,940, actually 188.
    Google hits for +Euraka +”garden spot of the arctic”: about 15,600, actually 55.
    The usual google inflated link estimate. A few of the links are of philatelistic interest, documenting the use of the phrase back to at least 1972. The info was added to the wikipedia entry [back in 2005](http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eureka,_Nunavut&oldid=20760035). Echoed by the usual suspects like WUWT, chiefio, icecap/d’Aleo, americanthinker …

  35. #35 Marco
    February 12, 2010

    HILARIOUS! When clicking on Bud’s link to WTFWT, I got this google ad:
    http://www.america.gov/climate_change.html

    I don’t know if others get the same ad, but one almost starts to believe Lawrence Solomon’s claim about google being firmyl in the AGW camp… evil bastards putting CAGW ads on WTFWT!

  36. #36 Craig Stone
    February 12, 2010

    OMG! 300 comments in less than a day! SOMEBODY SAID SOMETHING WRONG ON THE INTERNET, I BETTER RUSH ON OVER AND SET THEM STRAIGHT IMMEDIATELY! :)

    We’re nothing short of arrogant in assuming that we could possibly have a more significant energetic effect on this planet’s climate than our sun or our galactic neighbours. I still have not seen a single convincing rebuttal for the observed temperature increases on other planets in our solar system (including the argument that the sun is cooling. so what? the sun is not the only energetic influence on our solar system) Is someone driving Hummers on Mars, where it also appears to be SNOWING?

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html
    http://www.canada.com/topics/technology/story.html?id=b39346d8-294b-4d26-b072-2e1711d479f8

  37. #37 luminous beauty
    February 12, 2010

    >I still have not seen a single convincing rebuttal for the observed temperature increases on other planets in our solar system…

    You haven’t actually read the articles you link to, have you?

  38. #38 Dave
    February 12, 2010

    @Craig Stone

    That was pretty incoherent, please concentrate when typing. Also, you mentioned Mars, so [here is the rebuttal that climate on Mars has much to do with climate on Earth](http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-on-mars.htm). Please focus on finding fault with the rebuttal, rather than repeating already discredited claims.

  39. #39 Joseph
    February 12, 2010

    We’re nothing short of arrogant in assuming that we could possibly have a more significant energetic effect on this planet’s climate than our sun or our galactic neighbours.

    @Craig Stone: Don’t you think it’s more arrogant to believe that no one has considered your simple insight before?

    To put it in simple terms, it’s not us who warm the planet. It really is the sun, as you say. What we do is ‘help’ the sun, if you will. Without the sun, we couldn’t warm the planet one degree if we tried.

  40. #40 John
    February 12, 2010

    I attended the Lord Monckton Tim Lambert debate and I am accepting Tim’s invitation to record my views here. As a complete layperson here is my honest appraisal while it is still fresh in my mind:

    Firstly I would say that the audience was 80 – 90% pro Monckton and many were politically motivated with a very shallow understanding of the complexities of climate change. This was demonstrated with some of the loony questions that Tim Lambert could not understand because it was also apparent that the questioner did not either.

    This fell into the hands of LM who quickly grasped what the questioner was getting at and turned it into his advantage by proving his knowledge of every subject. He even gave us a convincing dissertation on rogue waves and was able to help out with answers for questions directed at TL that TL did not know.

    TL was no lightweight however and kept his argument simple and scientifically to the point. He has also greatly earned my respect by showing the courage to stand up to a world celebrity like Lord Monckton as the underdog and demonstrate to the weaklings of the AGW movement that if you passionately believe in something you should be prepared to stand up and fight for it. LM is a much more imposing figure in the flesh, much taller than I had previously imagined and it did look like David and Goliath at the start.

    TL’s main thrust and attempted first round knock-out was that the whole argument on AGW hinged on CO2 sensitivity and not only had LM ridiculed Prof R Pinker’s thesis on this (the recording of this TL cleverly played back), LM even thought that she was a man. On the other hand TL had spoken to Prof Rachel Pinker on the phone, illustrating on slide and repeating on recording what she had said which was that LM was absolutely wrong and had misinterpreted her hypothesis that the IPCC had exaggerated the effect of CO2 sensitivity by up to 8 times.

    LM was visibly shaken by this body blow but quickly staggered up from the canvas, firstly to apologise publically and courteously to Prof Pinker about the wrong gender assumption and later to try and address the issue of clouds and CO2 sensitivity with other evidence in his wrap up.

    I would have liked to have seen a completely independent adjudicator than right wing radio commentator Alan Jones who tried to be fair but couldn’t help himself throw in the odd political statement for LM’s corner. I felt somewhat for TL but then again LM has been in the same situation many, many times and TL handled it well. However, this will be no doubt be used by the AGW side to say that it was an unfair contest.

    For the rest of it, despite the looney questions, it was for me an informative debate. It was well conducted and enthusiastically received by the audience. TL only made one faux pas, which might have been deliberate, when questioned about the 1970’s predictions of a forthcoming ice age by summarising “never believe what you read in the newspapers” which was enthusiastically applauded. I was also a little surprised that he thought that the recent weather in Europe had been snowing alright which he said fits into the AGW regime but it had not been too cold – warm snow? But both speakers agreed that these sorts of events did not affect the bigger picture of long term climate.

    There was some discussion on what did, such as when and how a trend could be established. LM discredited the IPCC’s take on it and how a trend of cooling could be demonstrated from the IPCC’s own graphs. TL argued this point and showed the mathematical reliabilities of trends over different periods. There was also discussion on how CO2 could have been present in such large quantities in our long distant past when there were ice ages. TL argued that the ice quantities at that time were so vast that they outweighed the effect of the CO2 greenhouse effect.

    LM summarised that instead of wasting money on global warming we should be attacking the real problems of poverty and disease and population explosion in the third world by using fossil fuel, not denying it.

    There was no winner for me except the public. A proper debate has started, at least in this country. Why has it taken so long? But I would hate to think that people like Lord Monckton are the be all and end all of the case against AGW and people like Tim Lambert are the case for it. What we need now is specialist scientist v specialist scientist, geologist v geologist, climatologist v climatologist, economist v economist and last of all politician v politician. This would have been a much better debate with all politics barred, a different audience and better questions. The political flame needs to be turned down on AGW if not extinguished. Sure a political decision is required but this should be when the scientific argument for that moment in time is all over.

    Where do we go from here? I started off a few years ago as a believer in Al Gore but couldn’t find much discussion in the MSM except that Al was right until I found blogs with all views on the internet which I now read all the time and at times am game to make the occasional naïve comment.

    I do not agree however with Lord Monckton in that we should do nothing. There are too many intelligent people with well researched scientific papers to ignore. There are also many problems of pollution, soot deposits and how to replace fossil fuel etc that need to be addressed. But I do believe that the IPCC is dead and so is global carbon trading.

    What I think we need is an independent body where all legitimately researched theories and predictions are put forward for regional politicians of the day to consider and decide which ones are more convincing. There should be then open public debate on the appropriate action for their particular region, not the globe. To fit this scenario I believe a global Emissions Trading Scheme is inappropriate and perhaps Regional Direct Action is the go. How do we reconcile economic competition that may advantage countries like China and India with this? This is where I do agree with Lord Monckton in that these countries have a lot of catching up to reach our standard of living and maybe the playing field does not have to be level.

  41. #41 Alex
    February 12, 2010

    We’re nothing short of arrogant in assuming that we could possibly have a more significant energetic effect on this planet’s climate than our sun

    Good job no-one is that arrogant then, isn’t it.

    Where the damn fuck do you think the heat for global warming comes from?

  42. #42 Mattb
    February 12, 2010

    So – anyone know the most effective process to get Tim up for Australian of the Year next year! Bravo Tim Lambert!

    Spontaneous celebrations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDdPuCsOLaQ&feature=related

  43. #43 Anthony David
    February 12, 2010

    Still puzzled about LM’s claim about the link between submarine volcanic activity and El Nino.

    I found this Peruvian paper from 2005 [ http://is.gd/8gGtG ] “”El Niño” Phenomenon’s origin for energetic decompression the Earth” Diaz and Torres. Google translate does a half reasonable job of turning it into something like English (my Spanish is rudimentary). If this paper is what he is basing his claim on, then he himself would have a field day tearing it apart. It reads like something put together the day before publication, with sparse references, conjecture with no evidence and no alternative mechanisms discussed.

    Is there better evidence for LM’s claim than this?

  44. #44 P. Lewis
    February 12, 2010

    John, I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at with regard to Tim’s reply to the 1970s and the approaching ice age being a faux pas. This issue has been researched and a paper published by Peterson et al. with the take home message being basically “never believe what you read in the newspapers”.

  45. #45 Ian Forrester
    February 12, 2010

    John said:

    There was no winner for me except the public.

    I have to disagree with that statement. The public are not well served when known liars and distorters of scientific facts are allowed to distribute their nonsense.

    A panel of respected scientists should be sitting at the table with loud buzzers which should be activated when a participant tells a lie (Monckton’s would have been going all the time since he told so many lies). That is what is wrong with the deniers, they look for stages where the audience is lacking in scientific ability so they can say what they want and appear to be knowledgeable.

    How do you think Monckton would have fared if he had made that presentation at a meeting full of scientists? He would have been laughed off the stage. He picks his stages very carefully. I suspect that a large number of the questions were planted.

    How on earth could a non-scientist suddenly start on about the Schrodinger Equation being able to describe rogue waves? He was wrong, the equation he should have referred to was the “non linear Schrodinger Equation” a very different kettle of fish.

  46. #46 jakerman
    February 12, 2010

    Cohnite writes:

    >*To impugn LM’s estimate of reduced CS relies on an equivalence between the reduced forcing from cloud albedo and increased forcing from cloud LW blockage; this is not the case:*

    Cohnite links to this reference:

    < http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/243/4887/57>

    Cohnite your reference is no defense of Monckton. read [Pinker's correction](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/upload/2010/02/debate_australia_tim_lambert.pdf) to Monckton’s misuse of her SW surface record:

    >*[...] The numbers that we quote [Pinker et. al.] in our paper represent the change in surface SW due to changes in the atmosphere (clouds, water vapor, aerosols). These two numbers [change in surface SW; and Net cloud forcing] cannot be compared at their face value. [...]*

    Ramanathan (1989) take a snap shot of the radiative contribution of clouds for the period of April 1985. This coincides with a period that Pinker finds to have a [decreasing trend in surface SW](http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/243/4887/57), but which temperature records show global warming.

  47. #47 Joseph
    February 12, 2010

    I found this Peruvian paper from 2005 [ http://is.gd/8gGtG ] “”El Niño” Phenomenon’s origin for energetic decompression the Earth” Diaz and Torres.

    It’s a hypothesis paper. To support the hypothesis, they claim to have found a strong association between volcanic activity since 1600 and El Nino cycles. Further, they claim that the intensity of cycles can be correlated with the amount of atmospheric Sulfur and volcanic ash. This should not be difficult to verify.

    Additionally, they claim that the 1982-1983 “mega-Nino” was triggered by the Chichon eruption in Mexico.

  48. #48 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    I stopped reading Bud’s link after a couple of paragraphs. I’m sure someone will enlighten me if my reasoning is way off base.

    It looks like they’re arguing “hey, 1998 was a freak wave type phenomenon perhaps caused by a coincidental confluence of several factors peaking all at once. So let’s remove it from the data set to get a more reasonable trend.” At least at first glance this appears to be the point of showing the graph “Trends with and without Disconntinuity” (their spelling).

    If that’s a fair interpretation, they’re idiots. The underlying factors that combined to form the “freak wave” they think they saw are part of the whole system, so pretending for one particular year that those factors were not part of the system – that they were an abnormal “disconntinuity” – is just … well, self-bamboozling bulldust (“SBB”?!)

  49. #49 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    OMG! 300 comments in less than a day! SOMEBODY SAID SOMETHING WRONG ON THE INTERNET,

    OMG, SOMEBODY SAID SOMETHING WRONG ON THE INTERNET – that wrongness was that this thread was about something said on the Internet, when it was about a debate that took place in the real world.

    ;-)

  50. #50 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    I was also a little surprised that he thought that the recent weather in Europe had been snowing alright which he said fits into the AGW regime but it had not been too cold – warm snow?

    Tim’s explanation here could have been a bit … crisper … but he is right.

    Snow is precipitation, as is rain. To have snow you must have moisture in the air. To get that moisture in the air, the primary mechanism is evaporation from a body of water. The warmer the conditions at the body of water, the more evaporation you get. The key is that the weather may carry the moisture in the air from where it evaporated to some other place else entirely, with a very different local temperature. If that temperature is low enough, precipitation comes as snow, not rain.

  51. #51 Chris O'Neill
    February 12, 2010

    John:

    TL only made one faux pas, which might have been deliberate, when questioned about the 1970’s predictions of a forthcoming ice age by summarising “never believe what you read in the newspapers” which was enthusiastically applauded.

    John’s view reflect how successful denialism has been in making the public believe that scientists were predicting an imminent ice-age. Better informed people know that this is a myth but this hasn’t stopped the disinformation campaign from being quite successful, as John’s comment illustrates.

  52. #52 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    What I think we need is an independent body where all legitimately researched theories and predictions are put forward for regional politicians of the day to consider and decide which ones are more convincing.

    You’re so right! Because using scientists to figure out what’s what in science has been such a massive failure (look, the IPCC is a giant political conspiracy!), and politicians like Steve Fielding and Tony Abbott are so much better equipped to understand the science and would _never_ let their political ambitions and perspectives interfere with their unbiased assessment of the science!

    /end sarcasm.

    Seriously, that’s the problem in a nutshell. Politicians on the whole have no idea how to assess the science. And the reason you didn’t see much critique of Al Gore early on in the Main Stream Media was that he was largely reporting scientific consensus. It took some time for the anti-science propaganda machines to fire up and start undermining that view in the minds of people who weren’t personally equipped to assess the science.

    Or to put it succintly – if people think the IPCC is politicised, then removing scientists from the process to leave ONLY politicians can only make politicisation worse.

  53. #53 Bud
    February 12, 2010

    Lotharsson #348 – I make no pretence to expertise on the El Nino issue, but I’m actually prepared to be quite generous towards that particular WUWT post and assume that Watts was genuinely speculating about the cause of super El Ninos, and that the occasional sniping at Hansen or trendlines was just par for the course background-noise. Main thing I’d be asking is why he doesn’t pay any mind to the notion that sinusoidal waves are subject to influence from external physical factors and seems to be suggesting El Nino is just a collision of independent waves – but let that go and assume I misread.

    The point of the link was to show that Monckton’s ability to answer a seemingly irrelevent question about rogue waves was not as a result of his extensive knowledge of the subject – if it was his answer would most certainly have been more nuanced and hesitant – but because the topic had come up in a climate related discussion on WUWT and the explanation their focused entirely on the non-linear Schrodinger equation. Which was exactly Monckton’s own explanation. Monckton took great delight in answering that question, and looked very clever to the unsuspecting eye doing so, but it appears he was merely regurtitating the contents of an old WUWT blog post.

  54. #54 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    Bud, I’m with you on your second paragraph – I just wanted to make it clear my bulldust detectors went off fairly quickly.

    I also suspect the climate system is probably too complex for “El Nino to be just a collision of independent waves” – but that’s actually not a bad line of thinking to engage in as a starting point. If you get that concept down, you can start thinking of outcomes as an aggregation of behaviours from many different forces, and that may get you to understanding that adding CO2 won’t mean temperatures going up relentlessly every single year (for example).

  55. #55 David Valentine
    February 12, 2010

    Monckton will anhialate you with the facts pity your return will not be based on science but sheer smearing of character. When someone cannot return with the facts they simply attack the character. I’m not gonna pretend that I know how the climate ultimately works but the evidence of the data is pointing to a cooling trend. See if your answers are scientifically as substanced as his. I doubt it. I Bet the audience are all hand picked climate nuts from greenpeace or someother advocacy group like 350. The event hasn’t happened yet but based on previous events you’ll go for the two wolves and sheep deciding whats for dinner approach. With science the debate is never over because you can always improve on a theory

  56. #56 Lotharsson
    February 12, 2010

    David…er, you realise your first error is that the debate has already happened?

    And most of the rest of what you write has no basis in fact? Or is directly opposite to fact? As can be relatively easily verified?

    Please tell me your post was an attempt at performance art…

  57. #57 Bernard J.
    February 13, 2010

    [John had this to say](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/02/debate_with_monckton.php#comment-2269571):

    There was no winner for me except the public. A proper debate has started, at least in this country. Why has it taken so long?

    Thew answer is simple – there is no ‘debate’ to be had in the context of whether anthropgenic global warming is occuring or not. It is, and this is simple scientific fact. Any ‘debate’ that might validly be had in a scientific context would be over arcane subtleties that the average lay person would not understand, or be bothered to understand.

    Does evolution require a public debate to decide whether it holds scientific water? Does the HIV origin of AIDS require a public debate to decide whether it holds scientific water? No, and no. The “public” might want to spend years, decades, and even centuries trying to argue against the science for their own subjective reasons of ideology, but it doesn’t change the science by even one iota.

    In the case of evolution there was no obvious threat to comfortable Western society if the science was correct, so the jabbering from the fundamentalists was not immediately dangerous in that context. In the case of HIV/AIDS there is still, in the minds of the HIV/AIDS denialists, no major threat to comfortable Western society even if the science is correct (which it is), because in the minds of those who dispute the connection, the druggies, the poofters and the blackies who suffer from it are non-persons anyway. Of course, immunologists and virologists would beg to differ, but at least there are options for treatment and avoidance in this case.

    With the AGW case the denial of the science is just as misinformed, but this time the Denialists are taking the future security of modern civilised society, and of the integrity of planetary ecosystems, down with them in their ever-continuing requests for ‘debate’.

    Denialists might like to debate it as much as they are able to, but it won’t change the science, or the final consequences. Physics just doesn’t care for public opinion.

    The trouble is, the longer that AGW denialism holds sway, the worse it will be for the younger amongst us, and for future generations and for many non-human species. And all because a raucous minority of selfish ignorants want a few bucks per weeks less off their utility bills, or as many ’round-the-world holdays as they can squeeze out.

    Oh well, evolution will sort us out in the end…

  58. #58 MW
    February 13, 2010

    “I am so appalled by the way that the climate debate has turned in recent months in Australia.”

    Sorry to have to appall you a little more, but in cas you haven’t noticed, it’s turned around worldwide, not just here in Australia.

    Probably time for a proper debate and the “science” to be opened up to scrutiny?

  59. #59 Nick
    February 13, 2010

    MW, be off with your nonsense. The science IS A RESULT OF scrutiny. I’m sorry science didn’t wait until you woke up.

  60. #60 Chris O'Neill
    February 13, 2010

    David Valentine | February 12, 2010 10:28 PM:

    The event hasn’t happened yet

    The debate finished at February 11, 10:30 PM Scienceblogs server time (I think the Scienceblogs server is 16 hours behind Sydney time).

    And people like David Valentine probably wonder why they’re considered to be nutty.

  61. #61 Michael Ralston
    February 13, 2010

    What we need now is specialist scientist v specialist scientist, geologist v geologist, climatologist v climatologist, economist v economist and last of all politician v politician.

    The problem is that you’ll have trouble finding a geologist to take the “no warming” stance, and you can’t find a climatologist to do so. There just isn’t a legitimate debate about this. Politicians and economists, sure, but you can find politicians and economists to take either side of ANY debate.

    Now, there is legitimate room for debate in the “what should we do?” department – but that debate just isn’t happening because of the sheer volume of the people who claim we shouldn’t do anything because they don’t want AGW to be happening.

  62. #62 TrueSceptic
    February 13, 2010

    361 Michael,

    Bob Carter and Ian Plimer are 2 well known (infamous/) geologists who dispute (A)GW. I’m sure there are more.

  63. #63 Lotharsson
    February 14, 2010

    TrueSceptic – true, but I reckon Plimer will be a bit shy of debates after his inability to defend his shoddy workmanship against Monbiot…unless the debates are on very friendly turf.

  64. #64 John Ellerman
    February 14, 2010

    Although I think Monckton is probably right that CO2 is unlikely to be a major factor in the current warm trend he quotes the Uni of Illinois average global surface temperatures that show no real trend up or down. I checked his figures and he is correct for SURFACE temperatures but when I graphed the NEAR-SURFACE temperatures for the first day of each month for the last 11 years there was a clear upward trend in average global temperatures. The equation of the trendline is
    y = 0.0562x – 128.25 and the correlation coefficient,
    R² = 0.8432. Thus there is an average increase of 0.0562°C per annum with a reasonably good correlation (1.0 is perfect). Perhaps the surface temperatures that he quotes are stablised by melt-water from glaciers and don’t give the true picture. Just like him I don’t believe either side has been able to deliver the “killer blow” but I agree that we are like King Canute trying to reverse the tide if we think we can effect climate trends. The thing that intrigues me is that the climate has been warmer in the past when the CO2 levels were much lower. This suggests that much bigger forces than CO2 might be responsible for the current warming too and that it just happens to coincide with increasing CO2 levels. It was warmer in medieval times than it is now and humanity prospered because of it.

  65. #65 Lotharsson
    February 14, 2010

    This suggests that much bigger forces than CO2 might be responsible for the current warming too and that it just happens to coincide with increasing CO2 levels.

    Strangely enough this thought has occurred to the climate scientists, and they have done things like attribution studies to study the possibility. The IPCC summary and reports might be worth a read on that topic…

  66. #66 Marred
    February 14, 2010

    And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

    -Phil Jones

  67. #67 Ian Forrester
    February 14, 2010

    John Ellerman said:

    The thing that intrigues me is that the climate has been warmer in the past when the CO2 levels were much lower.

    Just when did this occur, what were the temperatures and what were the CO2 concentrations? Knowledgeable people, rather than people who just make things up, support their comments with a scientific cite to a paper which provides evidence for their comments.

  68. #68 Lotharsson
    February 14, 2010

    The thing that intrigues me is that the climate has been warmer in the past when the CO2 levels were much lower.

    I was driving my car today, and when I looked at my gauges the thing that intrigued me was that my speed has been much higher in the past at much lower levels of instantaneous fuel consumption.

    As I reached the top of the hill I wondered whether I would ever figure out why that is so.

  69. #69 s. lindsey
    February 16, 2010

    [stupidity filter applied - Tim]

  70. #70 Jeff Harvey
    February 16, 2010

    Methinks John Ellerman gives himself too much credit for knowing the “facts”.

    First of all, there is no evidence whatsoever that it was warmer in the medievel period than now, and in fact most proxies show that it was indeed significantly cooler at the global scale. If there was any warming, it was regional. The denialists constantly dredge up this dead turkey.

    Second, the argument that humans thrive in warmer climates is a no-brainer. Ellerman writes like a typical urban bound business professional, confident in the belief that humans are exempt from the laws of nature. In fact, many people with this mindset think that the natural economy is of little value to the material economy, except in terms of consumption, and leave it at that. But, as I have said before, and I am sick of saying it by now, natural systems generate a range of life-sustaining services that permit our species to exist and to persist. Thus, it is not the actual mean surface temperatures that matter, but the rate of change given that complex natural systems are largely deterministic and can only adaptively respond to changes within certain thresholds. Regional temperature shifts in the order of 7-10 C have occurred over the past 120 years, which is certainly likely to be well beyond the capacity of many natural systems and the species within them to adapt. In other words, the current global experiment humans are conducting is almost certain to reduce biodiversity, thus reducing systemic resilience and stability. This will have a deleterious knock-on effect on the ability of these systems to generate and maintain services that sustain civilization and which have few technological substitutes.

  71. #71 s. lindsey
    February 16, 2010

    That’s right Tim hide the obvious.. You can’t handle the truth..

    If you could you would respond instead of delete.. Feel free to delete this one also.

  72. #72 John Ellerman
    February 19, 2010

    Ian Forrester said
    Just when did this occur, what were the temperatures and what were the CO2 concentrations? Knowledgeable people, rather than people who just make things up, support their comments with a scientific cite to a paper which provides evidence for their comments.

    Sorry, Ian, I was just quoting the scientific literature without citing it. Here is a citation.
    Science 29 November 1996:
    Vol. 274. no. 5292, pp. 1503 – 1508
    DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5292.1503

    The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea

    Lloyd D. Keigwin

    Sea surface temperature (SST), salinity, and flux of terrigenous material oscillated on millennial time scales in the Pleistocene North Atlantic, but there are few records of Holocene variability. Because of high rates of sediment accumulation, Holocene oscillations are well documented in the northern Sargasso Sea. Results from a radiocarbon-dated box core show that SST was approx 1°C cooler than today approx 400 years ago (the Little Ice Age) and 1700 years ago, and approx 1°C warmer than today 1000 years ago (the Medieval Warm Period). Thus, at least some of the warming since the Little Ice Age appears to be part of a natural oscillation.

    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543 USA.

    If you want to go back further…
    Science (12 February 2010), Vol. 327, No. 5967, pp. 860-863; DOI: 10.1126/science.1181725

    Sea-level highstand 81,000 years ago in Mallorca
    Jeffrey A. Dorale,1,* Bogdan P. Onac,2,* Joan J. Fornós,3 Joaquin Ginés,3 Angel Ginés,3 Paola Tuccimei,4 and David W. Peate1

    Abstract
    Global sea level and Earth’s climate are closely linked. Using speleothem encrustations from coastal caves on the island of Mallorca, we determined that western Mediterranean relative sea level was ~1 meter above modern sea level ~81,000 years ago during marine isotope stage (MIS) 5a. Although our findings seemingly conflict with the eustatic sea-level curve of far-field sites, they corroborate an alternative view that MIS 5a was at least as ice-free as the present, and they challenge the prevailing view of MIS 5 sea-level history and certain facets of ice-age theory.

    1 Department of Geoscience, University of Iowa, 121 Trowbridge Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
    2 Department of Geology, University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, SCA 528, Tampa, FL 33620, USA; and Department of Geology, Babes-Bolyai University, Emil Racovita Institute of Speleology Cluj, Romania.
    3 Departament de Ciències de la Terra, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Carretera Valldemossa km 7.5, Palma de Mallorca, 07122, Spain.
    4 Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche, Università di Roma III, Largo St. Leonardo Murialdo, 1, 00146 Roma, Italy.

  73. #73 John Ellerman
    February 19, 2010

    Jeff Harvey makes a good point about the fact that rapid changes are more difficult to adapt to than slow ones. Very true (and its the same in economics)! I’m sure that mass extinctions have occurred in the past because of just such changes and we may well be seeing something like that occurring today. That too would be part of the normal pattern if fossil records are anything to go by. We are at the end of summer here in Sydney and when it’s hot we hang out for a southerly change. The temperature drops ten or fifteen degrees in as many minutes when it hits and I haven’t noticed any extinctions around here:-) (Don’t bother haranguing me for my levity – this topic needs some!)

  74. #74 Ian Forrester
    February 20, 2010

    John Ellerman commits the usual sin of AGW deniers. John, do you know what the “G” in AGW stands for? It stands for “global” meaning over the whole of the earth, not some isolated single point.

    Usign the Med for global sea levels is just plain stupid. You do know that the Med is as near an inland sea as you can get? I don’t know when the Straits of Gibraltar opened up but whether they were open or closed would make a tremendous difference in Med sea level as opposed to global sea level.

    I suggest that you do more reading in scientific texts and stop citing papers which you find on denier sites such as junkscience and whatsuphisbutt.

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