Open Thread 51

A new open thread for those off-topic discussions.


  1. #1 Tim Lambert
    July 12, 2010

    The mistake in co2isnotevil’s argument about climate sensitivity is explained [here](

  2. #2 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    [George writes](

    >*Jakerman, This is surface temperature, not atmospheric temperature. As I told you before, you need to pay more attention.*

    That is my point. Your plot relying on surface temperature alone misses situation where the surface temperature will be continually influence by the changes in the atmosphere.

    Don’t forget George climate sensitivity is an equilibrium concept.

    And George among many failings you failed to deal with this [glitch]( in your model. How do you propose temperatures where higher in the past when the solar insolation was lower?

  3. #3 truth machine
    July 13, 2010

    George at JoNova:

    I posted the same question over at Deltoid which seems to have hijacked the thread about biased news coverage at the Australian. Now I have a whole buch of people flailing around trying to avoid answering the question.

    Typical lying denialist scum.

  4. #4 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    Let me address George’s bubble another way, george writes:

    >*The relationship between water vapor and temperature is inconsistent with the requirements for a climate driven by water vapor driven positive feedback.*

    His evidence for this is [a curve]( of surface temperature vs water cloumn. And claims that:

    >*From this picture it’s very clear that increasing atmospheric water content has no effect above about 300K.*

    However this curve shows that until now temperature is limited to about 300K. It says nothing about the relationship above 300K.

    It basically plots the relationship between current and previous temperatures and the water column, it says nothing about the impact of further warming. It provides zero evidence that the curve will not simply be shifted up the tempearature axis with rising temperature.

    This also fails to acccount for a rich paleo record which including warmer temperatures and lower solar insolation.

  5. #5 James Haughton
    July 13, 2010

    It might have got buried before; Monckton has gone for the Gish Gallop tactic to try to rebut Abraham. He’s also demanding Abraham make a large donation to charity as a way of apologising. Talk about chutzpah.

  6. #6 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010

    OK. I see an actual science issue here which I will address.

    First, while Gavin is correct that the Earth system, including the atmosphere, is not an ideal black body, the Earth’s surface is close. Even clouds are relatively close when you model them with the correct emissivity. The way the cloudless atmosphere between the surface and space is best modeled is as a perfect black body surface whose output passes through a multi-stage filter defined by atmospheric absorption. The atmosphere is modeled as several layers, corresponding to successive filter stages, each with it’s own absorption characteristics. If you’ve ever seen the spectrum of Earth’s emitted energy, it looks like a BB distribution with spectral holes caused by atmospheric absorption. What I described is the physical process that makes it look like that.

    The reason Gavin is confused is because of the error I pointed out in the Schlessinger feedback model. A proper model would have an open loop gain of about 1.3 and the Go function becomes the inverse of Stefan-Boltzmann. What Schlessinger tried to do was roll the non unit gain into the inverse of SB to give the appearance that SB (but not really SB) was responsible for the open loop gain. Of course SB will not work as Go, which is in effect what Gavin is saying. The reason is because what does work is SB scaled by 1.3. He completely misses the boat by failing to acknowledge that SB is almost exact as you get closer to the surface, relative to emitted energy and it’s temperature.

    He is also correct about equilibrium being a dynamic steady state, rather than a static equilibrium. But he is wrong about the effect this has on small incremental changes superimposed on top of very large seasonal changes in flux. The seasonal flux varies by up to 100’s of W/m^2 across the 4 seasons. If this changes by a small percent from year to year, it’s noticed almost immediately as a change in the average temperature. There’s no reason to believe that an extra few milliwatts of CO2 forcing per year will not be apparent in the steady state response just as quickly.

    To quote Gavin,
    “Because all of the above tricks work for solar forcings as well as greenhouse gas forcings.”

    Doesn’t this tell you that the forcing power from the Sun and the forcing power from GHG’s should be treated the same? It’s funny to see him say this, since the rest of his post assumes that CO2 forcing is 4-8 times more powerful than solar forcing.


  7. #7 James Haughton
    July 13, 2010

    Shorter George:
    1+1 is treated by the same mathematical methods as 10+10. Therefore, 1+1 = 10+10.

  8. #8 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    >*I see an actual science issue here which I will address.*


    Look forward to reading George’s publication when he can get passed is google galileo complex and publish his paper.

    peer reivew hey George? An insufficient but necessary step. Are you planning on putting these notions together to try and meet this requirement?

  9. #9 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    The data is measured and already accounts for all effects, feedback and otherwise, known and unknown. Any influence the atmosphere has on the surface is already in the data.

    Gain certainly is an equilibrium concept and varies in a periodic, predictable manner over the year. Climate sensitivity, at least the IPCC definition, is a meaningless metric. To see how silly it is, consider that between perihelion and aphelion, the solar constant varies by about 80 W/m^2, for an average of about 20 W/m^2. According to the IPCC sensitivity definition (and Gavin’s assurance that solar power and GHG forcing power are the same), why isn’t there a 15C+/-5C swing in the global average temperature?
    What we actually see is that the planet is about 3-4C colder at perihelion! The reason is that perihelion happens to coincide with maximum N hemisphere reflectivity due to a rapidly growing seasonal snow pack.

    The Earth responds slowly, but not that slow. The slew rate is indicative of how quickly the climate can respond to a change in forcing. For the N hemisphere, the slew rate is about 2C per month. The S hemisphere is a little over 1C per month. The differences are a consequence of topographical variability.


  10. #10 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    Haven’t you figured out by now that your infantile taunts don’t bother me. They only make you look foolish. You should remember that everything you say gets burned into cyberspace for all eternity. It was comments like that on other open threads that led me to the conclusion that the S/N was low. Are you trying to prove me right?


  11. #11 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    Re, your claim of higher temps with lower insolation. Which specific period are you referring to? One of the biggest effects is the asymmetry between hemispheres and the seasonal alignment of perihelion. If perihelion occurred in July or August, rather than January, more N hemisphere ice would be melted and the global average temperature would be warmer. This occurred during the peak of the last interglacial, which is why the peak temperature was about 3C warmer than this one (with far lower CO2 levels). The consensus is that we are approaching the end of the warmest part of the current interglacial.

    It’s really too bad that CO2 doesn’t have the effects you want it to have. Otherwise, we might have a chance at mitigating the next, inevitable ice age.


  12. #12 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    George writes

    >*The data is measured and already accounts for all effects, feedback and otherwise, known and unknown. Any influence the atmosphere has on the surface is already in the data.*

    No it dosen’t its just a snapshot of the relationship during a 25 year period. As I said there is no evidence that the curve will not shift upward with temperature over the long term. It also ignores the delay to equilibrium.

  13. #13 Dibble
    July 13, 2010

    James @ 5. “Monckton has gone for the Gish Gallop tactic to try to rebut Abraham.”

    It’s like fishing for eels.

  14. #14 BobC
    July 13, 2010


    George has published (on the web) an analysis of climate sensitivity. All of his data sources are easily found and his calculations easily checked. If you must wait for someone to tell you whether to believe it (Re: Peer Review), then you are admitting you can’t follow it and are out of your depth.

    You should accept your limitations and refrain from commenting on it, lest you simply look foolish.

  15. #15 James Haughton
    July 13, 2010

    George: “Climate sensitivity, at least the IPCC definition, is a meaningless metric.”…”most warmists are the ones feeling insecure, especially after they’ve talked to me for a while. Are you feeling lucky?”

    40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is.

    George: “It clearly illustrates just how biased and one sided the peer review process is with regard to climate science papers.”…”It sounds to me like this debate is degrading into censorship, which certainly can not be tolerated.”

    40 points for claiming that the “scientific establishment” is engaged in a “conspiracy” to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.

    George: “it’s not surprising that the error hasn’t been formally discovered yet, although I know for sure that Schlessinger is now aware of it. Oddly enough, he stopped communicating with me once he realized how serious the error was.”

    20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.

    That’s 95 points so far (including the -5 credit). Impressive.

  16. #16 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    Bob C, thanks for giving an insight into your methods.

    I judge from his claims (being based on a snap of 25 years of a relationship) George will not be passing the necessary but in insuffienct step of peer review publication in a credible journal.

    BTW BobC can you not see why basing this (George’s) claim on this snapshot is nonsense? If not you might consider following your own advice. I’ll give you a clue it’s a little like the McLean et al debarcle in the way it removes the key factor from the analysis. I think a BobC looked foolish over that one.

    Then again teh McLean debarcle got published, which is why that step is insufficient if necessary.

  17. #17 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    BobC, Did you notice George keeps avoiding addresssing [this contradtion]( to his claims of low feedback?

    You did notice didn’t you?

  18. #18 JamesA
    July 13, 2010

    Pity poor George. Yet another misunderstood soul, bravely battling to overturn the mainstream in a quixotic quest to prove that once in a while, the Dunning-Kruger effect doesn’t apply and ignorance can prevail over decades of established science.

  19. #19 lord_sidcup
    July 13, 2010

    As mentioned in #5, Monckton’s ‘rebuttal’ of Prof Abraham has to be read to be believed:

    Will you, therefore, now be good enough to take down your talk from whatever public places it has reached; to pay $10,000 to the United States Association of the Order of Malta for its charitable work in Haiti; to ensure that your University, which failed upon my request to have your talk taken off its servers at once, pays $100,000 to the same charity for the same purpose; and publicly to disseminate a written apology and retraction substantially in the following terms:

    ‘We, St. Thomas University, Minnesota, and John Abraham of that University, retract, apologize to Lord Monckton for, and undertake never again to repeat all or any part of, the 83-minute talk with 115 slides entitled “But Chris Monckton Said…”, that we prepared without notification to him and then widely disseminated via the University’s servers and other media.

    ‘We have agreed that, in token of our good faith, by 30 June 2010 without fail we shall have paid between us US$110,000 to the United States Association of the
    Sovereign Military Order of Malta for its charitable work in the reconstruction and relief of Haiti.’

    As the 30 June has passed I assume no apology or money was forthcoming. You can get to Monckton’s 85 page PDF via WUWT.

  20. #20 TrueSceptic
    July 13, 2010

    3 TM,

    I wish you’d stop beating about the bush and being so mealy-mouthed. Just come out with it and say what you really think!

  21. #21 Jeremy C
    July 13, 2010

    C02isnotevil or George,

    You have been complaining about people hurling insults at you instead of responding to the points of science you make (as well arguing over who is using the term ‘CAGW’). I think you must realise that for years climate change deniers have barstardised discourse both scientific and societal about AGW. For instance you have characters like Monckton, Jo Nova and lesser lights like Cohenite cherrypicking bits of science with the result that people have had to waste lots of time showing these arguments to be wrong only to have such characters ignore the results and move on to a new talking points. People here are just expecting that you are following the same dishonest tactic. As an engineer I would have to sit down with you and go carefully through everything so as to understand it and from that come to a conclusion on what you have been putting forth. But given how much time this will take if at the end I find you have just been like all the other deniers and torturing science then I will only want to give you a sharp slap across the chops for wasting part of the only life I have.

    Be honest, can you blame people for disbelieving you when people like Marc Morano receive an award for courage in science after he encourages violence against scientists working on climate science?

    And C02isnotevil or George consider these two points: people who accept the science on AGW, from whatever background, don’t want it to be true and secondly if you have shown that the science of AGW is wrong then yoiu will receive great, great acclaim, really you will.

    George, tell you what, if you have discovered that AGW isn’t happening then I will go to Tony Abbott and ask him to autograph a lifesize photo of him in his budgy smugglers and I will carry it up and down Swanson Street in Melbourne kissing it and proclaiming my love for Tony over that of “9 to 9” Julia.

  22. #22 TrueSceptic
    July 13, 2010

    19 LS,

    The pernicious, pompous, pontificating, posturing, patronising, preposterous, pretentious, potty peer has really excelled himself this time.

    This could be very entertaining.

    I see that at [CFACT]( he is once again described as “science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher”. Such irony in a piece accusing Abraham of a

    shoddy little piece of lavishly-funded venom contains serious, serial, material errors, exaggerations, or downright lies.

  23. #23 Jeremy C
    July 13, 2010

    Yup, Monckton is the best propaganda weapon for AGW, long may he continue hurling.

  24. #24 Phil Clarke
    July 13, 2010

    material errors, exaggerations, or downright lies.


  25. #25 TrueSceptic
    July 13, 2010

    Just realised that Tim missed an opportunity with this thread. Given that we so often discuss the fantasy world of the science denier and conspiracy theorist, it should have been called … wait for it …

    Area 51.

  26. #26 TrueSceptic
    July 13, 2010

    24 Phil,

    I see you made a comment at [WUWT](, sadly one of very few sane ones there. That thread once again makes me re-evaluate my opinion of the Wattards. They really are too far gone in their crazy world, beyond help, aren’t they?

  27. #27 MapleLeaf
    July 13, 2010

    From another thread at Deltoid (The Muchkin one):

    “And not to be outdone, Watts starts making veiled threats against someone [Phil] challenging Munchkin whilst also trotting out another of his pet peeves, anonymous “warmers”:

    “REPLY:And I find it rich that somebody who’s at a university but doesn’t bring their name to the discussion can criticize a man who has the courage to put his name to his words. What’s your title at your university Phil? Careful, or I’ll put you back in the troll box. 😉 -A”

    Nice work A….not. And Anthony, why don’t anonymous deniers posting from work get threatened or snipped?

    I hope that people who have made the effort to expose more of Monckton’s lies are also emailing the good Dr. Abraham with the relevant information.”

  28. #28 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010

    I wake up to a pile of posts and am having a hard time finding any useful comments. As I suspected, the signal to noise ratio here is pretty low.

    As for publishing and peer review, I prefer the open format of the Internet, rather than the closed and often anonymous peer review process usually applied to climate papers. As was pointed out in the earlier thread, the peer review process, as it’s applied to climate research, is broken beyond repair.

    The closest thing to a science comment was jackermans concern about an anomaly 60 million years ago. Around that time is the KT boundary and associated impact and the Deccan traps. The carbon pulse could well be the effects of a global firestorm, including the burning of coal seams. The idea that it’s from methane hydrates is at least as speculative, if not more so. If the planet did warm, we would expect CO2 levels to rise, as the evidence is very clear that higher temperatures lead to higher CO2 levels. If this is the best the IPCC can offer to support it’s case, how can you be so gullible to accept it?

    Speaking of avoiding questions, you still haven’t answered mine. Tim made a valiant effort, but alas, it’s always a mistake to believe anything Gavin says. Did you follow the argument about Gavin’s assertion that SB doesn’t apply is wrong? For some reason he’s mixing up the behavior at the surface and the behavior at the boundary between the atmosphere and space.

    For more on Gavin’s inconsistencies, look here,
    where he claims that a 2% increase in solar forcing is equal to a 2xCO2 increase. 2% of 341.5 W/m^2 is 6.8 W/m^2, which is more than 2X the 3.7 W/m^2 (4X the actual 1.85 W/m^2) pedantically attributed to doubling CO2. Do you see how this contradicts the post Tim referred to where Gavin asserts that GHG forcing and solar forcing obey the same rules? Moreover, 6.8 W/m^2 of incremental solar forcing results in a post feedback surface temperature increase of only 1.4C, which itself is below the lower limit claimed by the IPCC.

    Tim, do you have a better argument? Your first attempt was too easy to deconstruct. Let me restate the big question as a sequence of smaller questions which will be easier to answer.

    The Earth’s SURFACE at 287K emits 385 W/m^2. At 290K, it emits 401 W/m^2. Do you agree that this represents the energy emitted by the SURFACE at the boundary between the SURFACE and the atmosphere, given the prescribed SURFACE temperature?

    Do you agree that the increase in SURFACE emitted power is about 16 W/m^2 as the result of a 3C increase in SURFACE temperature?

    Do you agree that the solar constant is about 1366 W/m^2 corresponding to an average incident solar forcing power of 1366/4 = 341.5 W/m^2?

    Do you agree that the solar energy forcing surface temperature is approximately equal to the incident solar energy times (1-albedo) which is about 239 W/m^2?

    Do you agree that doubling CO2 increases atmospheric absorption by about 3.7 W/m^2 and that this results in about 1.9 W/m^2 of incremental surface forcing? If you don’t accept this, will you agree that it’s 3.7 W/m^2 of incremental forcing? (It really doesn’t matter for the purpose of this analysis).

    Do you agree that the sensitivity of the Earth’s
    SURFACE emitted power (temperature) to changes in the solar energy arriving at the surface is about equal to 385/239 = 1.61?

    Do you agree that this measured sensitivity includes the consequences of all feedbacks, known and unknown? If not, why haven’t feedback effects manifested themselves after billions of years of incident solar energy?

    Do you agree that solar forcing power and GHG forcing power must obey the same physics?

    Do you agree that 1.61 times 1.95 is 3.1 W/m^2?

    Do you agree that 3.1 W/m^2 is less than 16 W/m^2?

    Do you agree that an increase in SURFACE emitted power of 3.1 W/m^2 corresponds to a SURFACE temperature increase of only 0.6C and not the 3C +/- 1.5C claimed by the IPCC?

    If you still think that the net surface forcing is 3.7 W/m^2, do you agree that 3.7 times 1.61 is equal to about 6 W/m^2 and that this corresponds to a SURFACE temperature increase of only 1.1C and not the 3C +/- 1.5C claimed by the IPCC?

    Do you agree that both of these measured sensitivities are less than the lower limit of 1.5C claimed by the IPCC?


  29. #29 chek
    July 13, 2010

    [co2isnoteveilaloadednymifevertherewasone said:]( As was pointed out As I baselessly claimed in the earlier thread, the peer review process, as it’s applied to climate research, is broken beyond repair usually weeds out denialist claptrap pronto.

    Fixed that for you einstein, no charge.

  30. #30 MapleLeaf
    July 13, 2010


    Roy Spencer would disagree with you:

    The bottom line is that my analysis supports a best-estimate 2XCO2 climate sensitivity of 1.7 deg. C, which is little more than half of that obtained by Tung & Camp (3.0 deg. C), and approaches the lower limit of what the IPCC claims is likely (1.5 deg. C).”

    Now there Spencer fails to point out that he has calc. the transient climate response, not the equilibrium sensitivity, when one corrects for that, the equivalent equilibrium sensitivity is +2.55 C for doubling CO2. Very close to that reported in the literature.

    Now, IF you are right, you will have refuted almost all of the 60+ publications on the matter of climate sensitivity going back to 1896, summarised here (and it is not even a complete list):

    One can add Chylek (2007; +1.3C to +2.3 C), Tung (2007; +2.3C to 4.1 C), Bender (2010; 1.7 C to 4.1 C), Schwartz (2008; +1.9 C) and Ballantyne (2010).

    Spencer has since made another effort to fudge a lower sensitivity using satellite data collected following Pinatubo eruption, but mangled that attempt because he forgot to take into account “the flux of heat from the deep ocean into the mixed layer” (as pointed out by an informed poster there).

    As for your outrageous claim that “rather than the closed and often anonymous peer review process usually applied to climate papers. As was pointed out in the earlier thread, the peer review process, as it’s applied to climate research, is broken beyond repair.”

    Aah, so you ARE a conspiracy theorist George. What utter BS. Schwartz, G&T, Lindzen and Spencer etc. publish in those very journals which you dismiss. There is nothing stopping you from publishing except perhaps your paranoia and/or scientific failings.

  31. #31 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    Yes, the 60+ publications on climate sensitivity have many errors. Most papers published after the mid 80’s and virtually all of the climate models, embody Schlessingers flawed feedback model in one way or another. Even Spencer and Lindzen often refer to this model, but that’s likely to change.

    I don’t believe that there’s this big, active conspiracy going on. I believe that the appearance of a conspiracy is the result of flawed group think and peer pressure to achieve expected results, rather than even look for results that are contrary to expectations. I have yet to find a warmist who can offer a falsification test for CAGW, while skeptics constantly present such tests, along with results. There’s also the funding gap, where funding for projects producing pro CAGW results exceeds funding for skeptical climate science by orders of magnitude. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to obtain climate science related funding, but unless you toe the party line, such funding is virtually impossible to secure.

    Once you realize that many of the 60+ publications about climate sensitivity are mostly wrong, then you will have no choice but to agree that the peer review process that let those publications through, is seriously flawed.

    My point is not about climate sensitivity anyway, but about the inconsistencies with how forcing power from GHG absorption is treated, relative to forcing power from the Sun. Again, I will ask you to answer my question. If you are still having problems look at my previous post where I broke it up into many smaller questions which should be easier for you to wrap your head around.


  32. #32 MapleLeaf
    July 13, 2010


    “Once you realize that many of the 60+ publications about climate sensitivity are mostly wrong”

    Please tell us which of the papers on ECS are correct and why.

    When you keep harping on about “Schlessinger’s flawed feedback model” I assume that you are referring to this paper (please not the correct spelling)?:

    “Schlesinger, M. E., and J. F. B. Mitchell (1987), Climate model simulations of the equilibrium climatic response to increased carbon dioxide, Rev. Geophys., 25(4), 760-798.”

    As for you other unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about funding…more nonsense. And please, the proper acronym is AGW or ACC, CAGW is used by alarmist denialists.

    Not that this is what is going on here, but George, when you submit a paper for review, the reviewer’s get to ask the questions, not you 🙂

  33. #33 Jeremy C
    July 13, 2010

    C02isnotevil or George

    From the intertwining of brow beating and condescending manner you display in post no 28 I’m beginning to suspect I won’t be needing to dance down Swanson St anytime soon with a life size picture of Tony Abbot.

  34. #34 MapleLeaf
    July 13, 2010


    Against my better judgement I’m feeding you. I thought you were sincere in your quest, then I perused your web page. It took only a minute to find this:

    “The first prediction of AGW to fail, is that a 20% increase in CO2 is expected to cause an increase in the average global temperature of about 0.8°C.”

    Well, what you say is clearly wrong. Ramanathan and Coakley (1978, for example) demonstrated that doubling (100% increase) in CO2 (without feedbacks) would theoretically increase global mean temperatures by about 1.2 C. So I’m not sure where you get 0.8 C warming for a 20% increase in CO2– please demonstrate for us how you arrived at that number. I could get it but not using a 20% increase. Anyhow, it is a moot point because CO2 levels have increased by about 15% over the satellite record (387 ppmv in 2009 up from about 337 ppm circa 1979, source NOAA) over the period of the satellite record. So the expected warming (at equilibrium) from the associated radiative forcing from CO2 alone over the satellite record (1979-2009) should be about +0.555 C. (delT ~ 0.75*[5.35*ln(387/337)].

    RSS lower trop temps have warmed about +0.463 C since 1979 (trend +0.1543 decade)
    GISS temps have warmed by +0.483 C since 1979 (trend +0.161 per decade).

    Not bad considering that the negative forcings such as aerosol loading have not been considered, and noise arising from internal climate modes and an oddly quiet sun; not to mention the fact that the projected warming is for equilibrium and it is known that there is a lag because of heat uptake by the oceans.

    Anyhow, I am a humble idiot, so I’m sure that I have this all horribly wrong. Please do forgive me for my ignorance.

  35. #35 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010

    The noise is getting louder. Please stop denying the physics and answer my question.

    Jeremey, you better get your tutu ready.

    jackerman, yes this is the paper. You should also look at the Hansen paper in 1984 that Schlesinger’s paper is a derivative of. Hansen mixes up gain and feedback, but did get one thing correct, which was quantifying gain and feedback as the dimensionless quantities that they are. Schlesinger introduced the idea to specify gain in units if degrees per W/m^2, which obscured Hansen’s original mistake of assuming unit open loop gain.

    The error is certainly hidden well. I don’t believe that Hansen and Schlesinger conspired to hide the physics. I’m more willing to believe that this is all the result of a stupid math error and/or misunderstanding of basic control theory. The fact that there’s no explanation in either paper as to why this assumption was made, or even that it was made, does seem to limit the possibilities for how it happened.

    Regarding the feedback model error, do you really believe that the open loop climate gain is only 1? Do you even know what this means? Can you follow the arithmetic to see how the model assumes that the open loop gain is only 1? If you can’t follow this simple arithmetic, it will be difficult to explain to you why the open loop gain can’t be one. I will repeat it again for you.

    This is the picture Schlesinger uses to describe his mapping of the climate system onto a feedback network. The output is equal to J times Go. F is defined by stating, without explanation, that f = Go * F. If you solve for F and plug into the equation for delta J (the feedback term), we get delta J = f * J.

    The factor f is defined as the fraction of the output fed back to the input (at least per Bode) and in the paper, is just referred to as a number between -1 and 1 quantifying the feedback, where -1 -> 100% negative feedback and +1 -> 100% positive feedback.

    If the feedback term, delta J, is equal to J times f, then the open loop gain, that is, the gain block between the summation node and the output where the feedback is tapped off from, is 1. Moreover, the F term has no reason to exist as all if does is undo Go.

    Even if you can somehow convince yourself that the open loop gain is only 1, this isn’t even the biggest problem. This is that the controlled variable of the model (the surface temperature) is a consequence of a physical feedback system that is fundamentally different from the model attempting to represent it. The real physical system is the feedback system which maintains the Earth’s energy balance and is not some hypothetical feedback system controlling the surface temperature.


  36. #36 MapleLeaf
    July 13, 2010

    Hmm, Lorius et al. (1990) state that delTe ~0.3*delQ. Above I used 0.75 K/W/m2, but that includes feedbacks. So using Lorius et al’s equation for increase in equilibrium temperature from radiative forcing from CO2 alone (i.e, with no feedbacks) one gets an expected delTe of +0.222 C over the satellite record.

    Now to be fair, other GHGs have gone up, so delQ should be higher (one should use an equivalent CO2). Anyhow, that estimate provided by Mr. White is still questionable.

    Now I really do have to spend some time doing something, something far more important.

  37. #37 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2010

    The closest thing to a science comment was jackermans

    What were you saying about “infantile”, troll?

    concern about an anomaly 60 million years ago. Around that time is the KT boundary and associated impact and the Deccan traps. The carbon pulse could well be the effects of a global firestorm, including the burning of coal seams.

    Uh, no, crackpot, the Paleocene–Eocene boundary is not the same as the K-T boundary. That would be one heck of a firestorm that lasted for 10 million years. Denialist shits like you truck in absurd “could well” fantasies to shore up your ideology when the evidence goes against it. From <>

    In order to balance the mass of carbon and produce the observed δ13C value, at least 1,500 gigatons of carbon would have to have been degassed from the mantle via volcanoes over the course of the two 1,000 year steps. To put this in perspective, this is about 200 times the background rate of degassing for the rest of the Paleogene. There is no indication that such a burst of volcanic activity has occurred at any point in Earth’s history. However, substantial volcanism had been active in East Greenland for around the preceding million years or so, but this struggles to explain the rapidity of the PETM. Even if the bulk of the 1,500 gigatons of carbon was released in a single pulse, further feedbacks would be necessary to produce the observed isotopic excursion.

    and from <>

    A briefly popular theory held that a 12C-rich comet struck the earth and initiated the warming event. A cometary impact coincident with the P/E boundary can also help explain some enigmatic features associated with this event, such as the iridium anomaly at Zumaya, the abrupt appearance of kaolinitic clays with abundant magnetic nanoparticles on the coastal shelf of NJ, and especially the nearly simultaneous onset of the CIE and the thermal maximum. Indeed, a key feature and testable prediction of a comet impact is that it should produce virtually instantaneous environmental effects in the atmosphere and surface ocean with later repercussions in the deeper ocean.[34] Even allowing for feedback processes, this would require at least 100 gigatons of extraterrestrial carbon.[34] Such a catastrophic impact should have left its mark on the globe. Unfortunately, the evidence put forwards does not stand up to scrutiny. An unusual 9-meter-thick clay layer supposedly formed soon after the impact, containing unusual amounts of magnetism, but it formed too slowly for these magnetic particles to have been a result of the comet’s impact -[13] it turns out they were created by bacteria.[35] Further, an iridium anomaly – often an indicator of extraterrestrial impact – observed in Spain is far too small to denote a comet impact.

    and from <>

    The Deccan Traps formed between 60 and 68 million years ago,[2] at the end of the Cretaceous period. The bulk of the volcanic eruption occurred at the Western Ghats (near Mumbai) some 66 million years ago. This series of eruptions may have lasted less than 30,000 years in total.[3]….

    The release of volcanic gases, particularly sulfur dioxide, during the formation of the traps contributed to contemporary climate change. Data point to an average fall in temperature of 2 °C in this period[4]….

    Because of its magnitude, scientists formerly speculated that the gases released during the formation of the Deccan Traps played a role in the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event, which included the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. The current consensus among the scientific community is that the extinction was triggered by the Chicxulub impact event in Central America[7].

    I wish you’d stop beating about the bush and being so mealy-mouthed. Just come out with it and say what you really think!

    I think George is intellectually dishonest garbage and should personally be held accountable (along with the rest of his ilk) for damages resulting from CC.

  38. #38 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    For a climate sensitivty of 0.8 and the IPCC claimed relationship that forcing from CO2 levels above 280 ppm is equal to 5.3 ln(C/280), where C is the new concentration. 0.8 * 5.3 * ln(1.2) = 0.77C. OK, I rounded up to 0.8, but the tradition in climate science is to always round numbers up (like 3.6 rounded up to 3.7, etc.).

    My point is that no linear trend is evident. The global average temperature has been varying over a 2C range over the same interval, with year to year changes in global average of as much as 0.5C within 1 year. (This is from the ISCCP D2 data available from GISS). A 0.46C trend over the same period is absolutely meaningless and can be wiped out in a single year. In fact, since recent years are showing lower temperatures, and most of your trend plots stop several years ago, I suspect that the current trend is negative during the time we have been collecting satellite data.

    The first problem with the Ramanathan and Coakley paper is the assumption that there is only 45% cloud cover while modern measurements put it at about 65%. Furthermore, there is no rational description of cloud related feedback. The model also appears to be more of an open loop model than a closed loop one. This is evident from the observation that it seems to correlate with other models of the day, at least for small temperature perturbations, but for larger perturbations of a couple of degrees C or more, it doesn’t match well at all and the presumption was that the other models (GCM’s) were better. This just tells me that the predictive capabilities of this model are not particularly good.


  39. #39 TrueSceptic
    July 13, 2010

    37 TM,

    You realise I was being ironic, of course. 😉

    I think someone needs to explain to GeorgeisnotCO2 what the problem is. I really don’t think he gets it.

    Just for now, as it’s getting late, I’ll ask George: are you an electronics or control engineer (I haven’t followed any of your links yet)?

  40. #40 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    George opts out of the peer review process, nuff said really but [check’s comments]( address that point succinctly.

    George is then forced to resort to conspiracy inference to bail out of relating his poor model to past temperature where solar isolation was lower. A white flag George?

  41. #41 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010

    TrueSceptic (apparently not),

    My degrees are in physics and EE. I’m an expert in modeling (physical, logical and virtual systems) which frequently contain a variety of control systems (analog, digital and ucode), which tend to be nested many levels deep. I’m also an expert in mapping physical systems into computer models and an expert in mapping computer models into silicon systems.

    I understand the problem precisely. Catastrophic warming from anthropogenic causes has been predicted based on the unproven and speculative hypothesis that increasing CO2 levels will push temperatures dramatically higher. As a skeptic of this hypothesis, it’s my obligation to present data and physics which contradicts this. As a believer in this hypothesis, it’s your duty to prove that this hypothesis is true. Nobody here has come close to achieving that and nobody has even been able to adequately debunk any of my evidence. BTW, ad hominem attacks and arguments from authority do not pass as debunking but only serve to illustrate how weak your case really is.


  42. #42 MartinM
    July 13, 2010

    If the feedback term, delta J, is equal to J times f, then the open loop gain, that is, the gain block between the summation node and the output where the feedback is tapped off from, is 1

    Bollocks. Were that the case, deltaJ would equal JF, not Jf.

  43. #43 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2010

    You realise I was being ironic, of course. 😉

    Yes, duh.

  44. #44 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2010

    TrueSceptic (apparently not)

    Oh the irony.

    As a skeptic of this hypothesis, it’s my obligation to present data and physics which contradicts this

    That’s not skepticism, it’s apologetics.

  45. #45 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    >*nobody has even been able to adequately debunk any of my evidence.*

    If only to claim such a thing [made it so]( George.

  46. #46 truth machine, OM
    July 13, 2010

    ad hominem attacks and arguments from authority do not pass as debunking but only serve to illustrate how weak your case really is

    That is truly an ad hominem argument: “you called me a name so your claim is wrong!”

  47. #47 Arthur Smith
    July 13, 2010

    George, since you “understand the problem precisely” you surely know what the largest response to warming is? I’d like to hear your view on it. Here’s a hint: it’s a negative feedback.

  48. #48 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    No. The paper states that f = Go*F, so F = f/Go. The output is Go*J and the output of the F block is f*J since the Go terms cancel.

    Another way to see this is to consider the basic gain equation of a feedback loop. This is,

    1/go = 1/gc + f

    where go is the openloop gain, gc is the closed loop gain and f is the feedback fraction. All of the values are dimensionless ratios.

    If the open loop gain is assumed to be 1, then we get,

    1 = 1/gc + f

    Rearranging, we get,

    gc = 1/(1-f)

    If you replace f with g and gc with f, you get the equation Hansen presented in his 1984 paper (like I said he mixed up gain and feedback). This error was forward propagated into the Schlesinger model, although oddly enough, Schlesinger noticed the gain and feedback mix up as well.


  49. #49 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    The largest effect from warming depends on the temperature. Warming around 0C is dominated by positive feedback from snow and ice melting. Once the snow and ice is gone, other water related effects start to dominate. The largest being increased evaporation, which increases the latent heat transfered from the surface to the clouds. Most of this latent heat is given up to the clouds, which radiate it to space and back to the surface and contributes to the power driving weather. When the water condenses as rain, the rain is also colder than the surface and further adds to cooling. This is a double impact negative feedback effect and is what’s responsible for the saturation of surface temperature, relative to atmospheric water content that I showed in a previous graph.

    Why this is confusing to many is due to the inflection point at 0C where the feedback switches over from positive to negative.


  50. #50 Arthur Smith
    July 13, 2010

    I don’t think anybody properly responded to George’s comments in #28 above – several of his numbers are wrong. So I thought I’d point out where all of us presumably disagree with him:

    George asked:
    “Do you agree that the solar constant is about 1366 W/m^2 corresponding to an average incident solar forcing power of 1366/4 = 341.5 W/m^2?”

    George, what do you mean by this term “average incident solar forcing power”? The term “radiative forcing” is defined by the IPCC (TAR and AR4 – see sec 2.2) as

    “the change in net (down minus up) irradiance (solar
    plus longwave; in W m–2) at the tropopause after allowing for stratospheric temperatures to readjust to radiative equilibrium, but with surface and tropospheric temperatures and state held fixed at the unperturbed values”

    So first off, a total (such as that for all incoming solar radiation) is different from a *change*. Second, since a good fraction of incoming solar energy is reflected, a change in incoming solar of, say, 2%, would have a radiative forcing associated with the *net* change, i.e. the reflected (under unchanged troposphere conditions) short-wave radiation must be subtracted before evaluating the forcing. You do get the right number in your next question:

    “Do you agree that the solar energy forcing surface temperature is approximately equal to the incident solar energy times (1-albedo) which is about 239 W/m^2?”

    but again using a strange term “solar energy forcing surface temperature”, and talking about the whole rather than changes, which is what radiative forcing is all about.

    So when you earlier criticized Gavin for saying “2% increase in solar forcing is equal to a 2xCO2 increase. 2% of 341.5 W/m^2 is 6.8 W/m^2,” you got the numbers wrong – a 2% increase in solar irradiation gives a forcing of 2% of 239 W/m^2, or about 4.8 W/m^2. Also Gavin didn’t say the two were “equal”, but that’s another matter. It does show that you are being quite careless in the accusations you throw around.

    When you ask:
    “Do you agree that doubling CO2 increases atmospheric absorption by about 3.7 W/m^2 and that this results in about 1.9 W/m^2 of incremental surface forcing? If you don’t accept this, will you agree that it’s 3.7 W/m^2 of incremental forcing? (It really doesn’t matter for the purpose of this analysis).”

    you introduce yet another undefined term, “incremental surface forcing” (and mis-identify CO2’s radiative forcing as “atmospheric absorption”). What is that supposed to mean? The definition of radiative forcing is clear and specific, as I quoted above. To return to balance from a radiative forcing change of X W/m^2, there must be changes in the surface and the troposphere to result in an outgoing additional X W/m^2 through the tropopause. All radiative forcing changes, whether from a change in incoming solar radiation, GHG changes, aerosols, clouds, etc. have that same forcing-response balance and will in large measure show the same averaged behavior at the surface and throughout the troposphere, although regional and local-in-time detailed responses may differ somewhat.

    In particular, when you earlier say:
    “Do you agree that the increase in SURFACE emitted power is about 16 W/m^2 as the result of a 3C increase in SURFACE temperature?”

    you seem to be neglecting that the back-radiation from the atmosphere to the surface increases almost as much, simultaneously (the lower tropopshere actually warms slightly more than the surface, at least in the tropics). From the standard Kiehl-Trenberth-Fasullo picture there is 396 W/m^2 emitted by Earth’s surface, and 333 W/m^2 received in back-radiation. So an increase of 16 W/m^2 in surface radiative flux would be met by a roughly 13 W/m^2 increase in back-radiation. That leaves a net 3 W/m^2 increase – so not quite enough to balance the 3.7 W/m^2 radiative forcing from doubled CO2. But there will also be some increase in convective and latent heat flow – getting all those numbers right of course is why modeling is a little hard.

    I find it hard to make any sense of the rest of your questions. You seem to be asserting some sort of bogus linearization of total surface radiative flux to total solar flux absorbed by the planet whether at the surface or not – the real system is far more complex than your caricature.

  51. #51 Ken Fabos
    July 13, 2010

    Has anyone else read the latest Scientific American article by Jeffrey D. Sachs on Millennium Development Goals? It refers to Ban Ki-moon’s leadership on malaria control, having urged the UN and member states to coalesce around a specific strategy – .. “The key is free access to long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to reduce malaria transmission coupled with community based drug treatments when episodes of malaria occur. With nearly 200 million bed nets distributed, malaria deaths are plummeting throughout Africa.” and “… Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, reports that comprehensive bed-net coverage is within reach by the end of 2010, as targeted.”
    With malaria deaths plummeting, will the myth of excess malaria deaths due to banned DDT plummet in synchrony? I think that’s unlikely myself, since it’s always been about attacking Environmentalism, not malaria. Truth was an early casualty at the hands of those prosecuting this little war.

  52. #52 Arthur Smith
    July 13, 2010

    George (#49) – water effects are not actually the largest response (though you somehow completely neglected the impact of increasing H2O vapor as a GHG).

    You seem to focus on various early papers on the control-theory questions; I haven’t looked at them in detail, but the discussion does sound a little confused. But the discussion in the latest IPCC report (section 8.6) is pretty precise, and based on for example the review by Bony et al, Journal of Climate 19:3445 (2006) – in particular Appendix A, “How are Feedbacks defined?”. Here input is a radiative forcing at the tropopause (some number of W/m^2) and the response is evaluated similarly as a radiative change at the tropopause. Balance is restored when the total radiative change at the tropopause (forcing + response) is equal to zero.

    So the strongest response has to be a negative response that comes close to matching the forcing – then other feedbacks modify that strong response. That first strong response can be identified as the “Planck response”, simply assuming a uniform temperature increase through the troposphere. It is that response which stabilizes things, and other feedbacks are generally measured in terms of their relationship to that one. But the Planck response can be considered a very large negative feedback on the forcing in the first place – the one that does most of the work to restore balance.

    Calculating the Planck response is not a trivial matter of finding the black-body change in emission by the surface though, because the response has to be calculated *at the tropopause*, where forcings are determined, and where balance must be restored.

  53. #53 MapleLeaf
    July 13, 2010


    Sigh. Your web page is misleading. You state:

    “The 25+ years of accumulated satellite data, during which time CO2 levels have increased by more than 20%, is now suitable for testing the AGW hypothesis. The first prediction of AGW to fail, is that a 20% increase in CO2 is expected to cause an increase in the average global temperature of about 0.8°C.”

    First, according to NOAA, CO2 levels increased just under 15% between 1979 and 2009 (the date on your web page), not more than 20% as you state. The increase in radiative forcing from increasing CO2 by 15% (with feedbacks) is expected to lead to an expected warming of +0.555 C at equilibrium, not +0.8 C as you state.

    Second, I demonstrated that the observed warming in the global surface data and RSS lower troposphere data between 1979 and 2009 is consistent with the warming predicted from radiative forcing from higher CO2 concentrations with a feedback of 0.75 K/Wm-2 (even without allowing for lags, quieter sun etc.), and that the observed warming is much more than that expected from the increased radiative forcing of CO2 alone.

    Now you seem very willing to deceive, but that is not surprising when you claim on your web-page that:

    “In fact, it’s so small, that it’s certain that the trillions of dollars we are poised to spend on CO2 mitigation will have no effect, other than to drag down the worlds economy and impede the goal of energy independence.”

    That shows that your motivation for fabricating/fudging low climate sensitivity is not about science, but apparently libertarian ideology.

    Goodnight and goodbye.

  54. #54 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    As far as I’m concerned, a joule is a joule and a watt is a watt and I don’t care what you call it. Are you trying to say that the power coming from the Sun isn’t forcing the climate? The IPCC definition is specific to GHG forcing and this is part of the problem. Why even make this distinction unless you are trying to avoid comparing solar forcing to GHG absorption related forcing?

    While there are differences between the absolute gain and the incremental gain, the differences are quite small. Examine this plot of solar power vs surface power and you should notice that the absolute and incremental gain are close to the same. If the system was linear, they would be exactly the same, but the system is somewhat nonlinear so there are small differences, although these differences get much larger at the high and low end of the temperature scale as the system becomes more and more nonlinear.

    This is a plot of the actual system gain characteristics If you click on ‘co2isnotevil’, the URL I point to shows how the surface power gain relative to post albedo incident power behaves.

    I’m glad you noticed that the more appropriate representation of gain, relative to GHG forcing, is emitted surface power divided by the post albedo incident power. I made this slightly ambiguous to see if anyone was paying attention. Notice how 4.3 is still significantly larger than 3.7? But this isn’t the main problem anyway. The main problem is that 4.3 watts/m^2 of incremental power arriving at the surface has a net effect on the surface temperature of only about 1.3C (assuming the same 1.6 gain). Even if it was this much, it’s not catastrophic and nothing to worry about. It’s actually less since doubling CO2 is only 1.85 W/m^2 of equivalent post albedo incident solar power.

    Clearly, 4.3 watts/m^2 of solar forcing doesn’t result in a 3.4C temperature increase. If it did, the 20 W/m^2 of difference between perihelion and aphelion would cause 16C of variability, which is not evident in any data set.

    The effects of back radiation are embodied in the average gain of 1.6. This is why the gain is greater than 1.

    I agree that I’ve had to simplify this somewhat, but how can you complain about this when oversimplifications with far more detrimental effects are all over the place in pro CAGW science.
    The Schlesinger feedback model for one.

    You also seem to think that I’m trying to model something here. I’m not. All I’m doing is presenting data and a few top level constraints dictated by COE. I have models, but I don’t need to use them to recursively justify themselves. I know you’re used to this kind of circular justification, but I’m not.

    What I’ve done is apply the kinds of techniques I would use to reverse engineer a black box system. I don’t care how it’s implemented inside, all I care about is replicating the behavior at the ports (observables). It doesn’t matter where the individual feedbacks are coming from, the net result of all the effects can be measured.


  55. #55 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    Water vapor GHG absorption is less important than you think, at least relative to the energy balance. There’s little water vapor between cloud tops and space and most of the high water vapor content in the atmosphere is in the space between the surface and clouds. GHG absorption (even CO2) between the surface and clouds has little effect on the energy balance as most of the surface energy is absorbed by clouds anyway (on average > 80%). It’s the energy balance that’s under control of the physical feedback system, not surface temperatures.

    If you look at the water related feedback that’s most important around the operating point of the climate (287K), it’s evaporation. This brings up another important point that many on your side fail to understand. Feedback, as quantified by the Schlesinger model, is not constant and varies over a relatively wide range.

    The biggest effect you are talking about is the strong negative feedback coming from the system controlling the Earth’s energy balance. This can not be adequately represented within the framework of the hypothetical system of the Schlesinger feedback model.

    The Bony definition if feedback is the usual partial derivative based analysis. It’s still based on the usual model, from which the Schlesinger model evolved. It still suffers from the fault where the modeled feedback system has no relation to the actual underlying physical system. Any quantification of feedback or gain which uses units like degrees per W/m^2 most likely has this same error and is most likely faulty.


  56. #56 jakerman
    July 13, 2010

    Still no explanation from George as to how his claim of low climate sensitivity can be reconciled with past warming during lower solar insolation such as the PETM.

    And still no justifiction for using a 25 year snapshot relationship of water vapor and temperature as a basis for claiming “saturation” feedback as temperatures continue to be forced higher.

    Also thanks to Arthur for a good read.

  57. #57 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    You do realize that the global average temperature changes by as much as 0.5C from year to year? Your 0.43C trend since 1979 can be completely wiped out in just 1 year and in fact already has been mostly, if not entirely, wiped out with the recent cooling trend. The natural p-p variability in the global average temperature is over 2C based on the satellite record which makes your 0.43 trend meaningless relative to natural variability.

    And to confirm your worst fears, my politics are certainly more libertarian than socialist, but the bottom line is that no amount of political spin or legislative action can change the physics.


  58. #58 co2isnotevil
    July 13, 2010


    I did a partial explanation post 11 and asked you to be more specific about your claim. Frankly, there’s nothing useful you can determine relative to the climate and CO2 based on 60 million year old data and a bunch of assumption, including the assumption that CO2 drives the climate.


  59. #59 jakerman
    July 14, 2010

    >*I did a partial explanation post 11*

    Which was:

    >*One of the biggest effects is the asymmetry between hemispheres and the seasonal alignment of perihelion. If perihelion occurred in July or August, rather than January, more N hemisphere ice would be melted and the global average temperature would be warmer.*

    You are not claiming that the saying the seasonal alignment of perihelion caused the PETM warming spike I assume. So what is your explanation for instances where the temperature was warmer duing periods with lower solar insolation?

    Or do you not have an explanation that is consistant with low climate sensitivity?

  60. #60 jakerman
    July 14, 2010

    George writes:

    >*but the bottom line is that no amount of political spin or legislative action can change the physics.*

    But George will give it his best shot regardless.

    Hilariously juxtaposed in the same post as George’s claim that the warming trend is meaningless.

  61. #61 MapleLeaf
    July 14, 2010


    George says “You do realize that the global average temperature changes by as much as 0.5C from year to year?”

    Really? OMG, I had no bloody idea (sarc). Interesting, to avoid inconvenient truths you make a strawman argument about the alleged invalidity of a 3-yr trend (which is actually very robust). And it is not my trend, it is an OLS trend derived from data provided by NASA. And it seems you need to learn a thing or two about calculating trends, statistical significance (and confidence intervals) and internal climate modes et cetera.

    You have not conceded that, on your website you exaggerate the increase in CO2 levels between 1979 and 2009, as well as the expected warming.

    You also still have not told us which of the 60 plus publications on CS (which I alluded to earlier) are correct and why.

    You say “no amount of political spin or legislative action can change the physics”

    Well, you are sure doing your damndest to butcher the physics to suite your own ideology.

    Now I have to do some more work. Bye.

  62. #62 MapleLeaf
    July 14, 2010


    Thanks for some very interesting and insightful posts….one learns something every day, and today I learnt something new from you 🙂

  63. #63 co2isnotevil
    July 14, 2010


    Do you realize that multi-year trends and anomaly analysis removes detail from the data which is important to understand. OK, a 3 year .43C trend can be wiped out in less than 3 years. BFD. It doesn’t change my point.

    The 20 percent came from a 54 ppm rise, relative to the 280 ppm baseline. which I rounded up from 19.3 to 20.0. OK you got me! The equation is not 5.3*ln(Ce/Cs), where Ce and Cs are the start and end concentrations, it’s 5.3*ln(Ce/280).

    As for which papers are correct and which are not, I can’t say as I’ve not read them all. But I can say with 100% certainty, anything that predicts an effect of more than 1.2C has an error in it and anything over 2C is so wrong it’s not even worth my time to look.


  64. #64 Area Man
    July 14, 2010

    Your 0.43C trend since 1979 can be completely wiped out in just 1 year and in fact already has been mostly, if not entirely, wiped out with the recent cooling trend.

    LOL, there went your credibility.

  65. #65 co2isnotevil
    July 14, 2010


    The precession of perihelion effect can swing the average temperature by many degrees given constant average yearly insolation and I offered it as a possible explanation that’s just as viable as any other.

    We see a clear example of this today. Perihelion occurs in early January when the solar constant is 80 W/m^2 larger than in early June. The -20 W/m^2 of average, incremental solar forcing should produce a decrease in the global average temperature of about 4C from February to July (the delay is intrinsic to the response of the system). Instead, the global average July temp is 3-4C warmer than February. The 8C offset is a consequence of the asymmetric hemispheric response to the seasonal alignment of perihelion.

    If perihelion occurred in early June, instead of early January, we would be at the opposite extent of the seasonal alignment of perihelion. We would expect to see a temperature increase of 4C from January to July due to increased solar power, instead, we would see an increase closer to 12C while the absolute January global average temperature would be about 4C colder than today.

    The net is as much as a 3-4C difference in the global average temperature caused by nothing more than the precession of perihelion. This 22Ky signal is highly evident in the ice cores and can become far larger when the Earth’s orbit is most the eccentric and virtually disappears when the orbit is most circular.


  66. #66 MFS
    July 14, 2010


    In all your calculations you appear to assume that the effect of a 54 ppm rise over the time frame under consideration would have come to equilibrium.

    However I do not see how you include the effect of the thermal mass of the ocean, and the energy distribution (both spatial and temporal) of oceanic currents into your system. Recent papers point out that the ocean is still accumulating heat and will continue to do so until equilibrium is reached, the timeframe for which is very much under debate.

    You go to length about feedbacks, but you seem to work under an underlying assumption that the effects of all feedbacks act in a rapid enough time frame to be completely evident within this time frame (be it 20 or 100 years). This is far from proven.

  67. #67 jakerman
    July 14, 2010

    So George let me guess this straight, are you are claiming that warm events such as the PETM are due in your mind to the seasonal alignment of the Perihelion?

    Or do have no explanation such periods that is consistant with low climate sensitivity?

  68. #68 MapleLeaf
    July 14, 2010


    Last, absolutely last post. Oh for goodness’ sakes, it seems that you do not understand what you wrote on your own web page–now you are taking about your 20% increase referring to increases in CO2 levels above the 280 baseline. Please read the text in quotation marks (cut and pasted from your page) in my post at #53 very slowly and carefully.

    On your web page, the parts that I quoted twice now, you are specifically talking about the increase in CO2 over the last 25+years (i.e., the MSU satellite record). That period is 1979-current. The date of your web page is 2009. The increase in CO2 (according to NOAA) between 1979 to 2009 was 50 ppm (337 in 1979 to 387 in 2009). That represents a 14.8% increase in CO2 between 1979 and 2009 (1.1483*337 = 387). Now, 14.8% is not over 20%. Do you now see the problem with what you wrote on your web page now? [By 1979, CO2 levels had increased by about 20% (or about 57 ppm) from their pre-industrial levels, and by 2009 about 38% (or 107 ppm)].
    Predicted warming (assuming feedbacks and at equilibrium) by 1979 (from 1750) ~0.73 C
    Predicted warming (assuming feedbacks and at equilibrium) by 2009 (from 1750) ~ 1.29 C

    Therefore, suggested warming between 1979 and 2009 (from CO2 alone) is about +0.56 C– that is pretty much what has happened as I showed above. I’m sure that had the long-term trend in global temperatures been steady or down between 1979 and 2009, then you would have been citing that as evidence that CO2 is an insignificant climate driver. So I understand that the observed warming is very inconvenient and that you need to convince yourself that it is meaningless.

    And sorry, your answer about the 60 odd papers is not in the least satisfactory; simply dismissing papers which don’t fit your idea only goes to highlight your confirmation bias and intolerance of inconvenient scientific findings.

  69. #69 truth machine, OM
    July 14, 2010

    it’s certain that the trillions of dollars we are poised to spend on CO2 mitigation will have no effect, other than to drag down the worlds economy

    Yet another idelogical crackpot who has no understanding of economics. Spending would drag down the world’s economy? WAHAHAHAHA! Where does this idiot think the money spent goes, Mars?

  70. #70 co2isnotevil
    July 14, 2010


    The effect of the thermal mass of the ocean is accounted for. We can think of the top level constraint on the system as Pi = Po + dE/dt, where Pi is the instantaneous solar power entering the system, Po is the instantaneous power leaving the planet (including reflection) and E is the energy stored in the Earth’s thermal mass.

    If more power is arriving than leaving, dE/dt is positive, E increases and temperatures rise. If more power is leaving than arriving, dE/dt is negative, E decreases and temperatures fall.

    We can determine Pi and Po quite easily from multiple satellite data sets. dE/dt is then the difference between them. This is also the sensible heat, whose average across a year is close to zero.

    We can close the loop by considering that the thermal mass of the planet is primarily water and knowing that it takes 1 cal to raise the temp of 1 cc of water 1C, there are enough measurements and relationships between state variables that we can determine exactly how much water is participating in the thermal mass of the system.

    It turns out that it’s only a small fraction of the total ocean volume. What this means is that thermal mass buffering the climate is much smaller than many believe. The fact that the average global temp changes by 4C during the year and that most of the thermal mass and surface of the planet is water supports this.


    I didn’t say it was the cause, I said it was at least as plausible as any other hypothesis.


    Why don’t you focus on substance rather than trivia. Read the whole thing.

    Good night,


  71. #71 jakerman
    July 14, 2010

    George writes:

    >*Jackerman,I didn’t say it was the cause, I said it was at least as plausible as any other hypothesis.*

    What an empty claim. It is completely implausible. Put it this way, how many seasons in a row of Perihelion alignment with NH summer would be required to sustain an event such as the PETM for 100,000 years?

    Other than this implausible notion (that you are not even willing to back) you have no explanation such periods that is consistant with low climate sensitivity.

    Combine that will no justification for using a 25 years snapshot relationship of temp and water vapour as a feedback “saturation” limit in a dynamic warming world.

    Leaves your low sensitivty claims pretty empty.

  72. #72 Jeff Harvey
    July 14, 2010

    George writes, “But I can say with 100% certainty”

    According to who? You?

    Reading this, I could not help but break into fits of laughter. I am glad that science does not advance in this way, based on an individual’s gut feelings that have not been scrutinized by his or her peers.

    As Chek has said, put up or shut up. Submit your allegedly ground breaking arguments to a rigidly peer-reviewed journal, and then come back here and share the reviews with us. I can say with “99% certainty” that your arguments will be shot down in flames and consigned to the rubbish bin where they belong.

    The good news is that, as long as you rely on your web site to promote your (mis)information, then do not expect to make any waves in the scientific community. You will be ignored, with the exception of a few denialists who want to believe your gibberish.

    Lastly, your moniker (C02isnotevil) is ridiculous. Any biogeochemical in excess amounts in nature can exhibit deleterious effects on communities and ecosystems. By pumping great qunatities of C02 into the atmsophere, humans are conducting an experiment on systems of immense complexity whose functioning we barely understand but which sustain us in a myriad of ways through supporting services that emerge from them. In previous threads I have already alluded to the ecophysiologiucal effects of excees carbon on plant traits including C:N:P ratios as well as on the allocation of C and N to secondary metabolities and how this might affect consumers up the food chain. Climate change will certainly exacerbate these effects. Given the non-linear relationship between cause and effect over differing scales across the biosphere, there is little doubt that humans have little control over the outcome of the massive experiment now being conducted. No university or research institute would allow such an experiment to be conducted if the potential repercussions were to be laid out beforehand. Therefore I consider those peddling denial to be wholly irresponsible.

  73. #73 Bernard J.
    July 14, 2010

    [co2isnotevil]( [sic]:

    Clearly, 4.3 watts/m^2 of solar forcing doesn’t result in a 3.4C temperature increase. If it did, the 20 W/m^2 of difference between perihelion and aphelion would cause 16C of variability, which is not evident in any data set.

    This paragraph is interesting – where in the IPCC material, or in the other sensitivity references that you disparage, is the claim made that a 4.3 w/m2 increase in solar forcing alone “result[s] in a 3.4C temperature increase”? I say “alone” because it is directly implied by your comment about the perihelion/aphelion difference in irradiance leading to a 16 C temperature difference – in such a case there are few feedings back that could operate within the span of time involved…

    I’ve never encountered this 4.3 w/m2/3.4 C correlation before, so I am very interested to know where from where you source this.

  74. #74 Paul UK
    July 14, 2010

    ‘George’ said

    >As for publishing and peer review, I prefer the open format of the Internet, rather than the closed and often anonymous peer review process usually applied to climate papers. As was pointed out in the earlier thread, the peer review process, as it’s applied to climate research, is broken beyond repair.

    The internet is far more anonymous than formal peer review.
    You complain about the comments here, which suggests you are not open to an open format.

    eg. you have double standards.

    You also seem to place yourself in a certain position in relation to others by the language you use. There seems to be a ego issue involved when you address people here and in the way you refer to Gavin Schmidt.

  75. #75 Vince Whirlwind
    July 14, 2010

    Surely “co2isnotevil” is the same science-illiterate “engineer” who had to have the difference between power and energy explained to him in:
    and was banned for sending Tim a threatening email in which he complained about Tim’s contributors impugning George’s proud ignorance?

  76. #76 Stu
    July 14, 2010

    There’s little water vapor between cloud tops and space and most of the high water vapor content in the atmosphere is in the space between the surface and clouds. GHG absorption (even CO2) between the surface and clouds has little effect on the energy balance as most of the surface energy is absorbed by clouds anyway (on average > 80%).

    Great, but what about when it’s not cloudy?

  77. #77 Stu
    July 14, 2010

    Whoops, the above big paragraph is quoting George… but that should be obvious.

  78. #78 Paul UK
    July 14, 2010

    I’m always amazed how the skeptic community swing between:

    1) The system is to complex and chaotic.


    2) You can treat water on the planet as a big thermal store which is so simple it can be represented in a simple equation.

  79. #79 JasonW
    July 14, 2010

    I am also mistified by the persistent claims regarding the destruction of the world economy. Maybe there is a weird perception of the term ‘investement’? What do the economic alarmists think will happen when you instigate the idea-finding and development of mitigation solutions, the engineering and construction of a renewable energy grid, design and engineering of eletric car solutions, the greening of cities and so on and so forth? That’s major capitalism at work! __*People*__ will be doing this.

  80. #80 Paul UK
    July 14, 2010

    On the issue of the oceans being a simple heat store:

  81. #81 adelady
    July 14, 2010

    Jason W. That’s major capitalism at work! People will be doing this.

    Exactly. I’m constantly bemused or downright flummoxed that people who are focused on economic issues can’t see the investment, innovation and overflowing bags of money involved in major change.

    Why aren’t they elbowing everyone else out of the way to get first dibs?

  82. #82 Anonymous
    July 14, 2010

    >*Why aren’t they elbowing everyone else out of the way to get first dibs?*

    Because concentration of power means that those protecting self interest have already very concentrated power to block disruptive technology and disruptive innovation.

  83. #83 Wow
    July 14, 2010

    re 83: this is why capitalism doesn’t work. Money is power and power is money and concentration of money concentrates power.

    Just look at the Hilton Heiresses. How do they manage to make enough money? They already have it.

    Communism doesn’t work because the concentration of power is in a few people in government and government corruption happens.

    Capitalism doesn’t work because concentration of power is in a few rich heads of industry and corporate corruption happens.

    Utopia is when people have tried both and realised the problem isn’t with people but with power being handed out to others. Concentration of power is the problem, whether government force or capitalist money. The Utopia has no power to consolidate because the people have realised the real problem.

  84. #84 Arthur Smith
    July 14, 2010

    I wonder if George will return again? Any votes on whether he’s actually learned anything here?

    One thing we’ve learned – he’s habitually careless with his numbers. Where did ‘4.3’ come from? Did he mean my 4.8? I see signs of habitual carelessness in logic as well.

    The IPCC definition of radiative forcing (net change in radiative flux at the tropopause with the state of the surface and lower atmosphere unchanged) is a useful simplification that avoids the complexity of convective and latent heat flow, since convective and latent heat flow through the tropopause is essentially zero. It is certainly not, as George claims “trying to avoid comparing solar forcing to GHG absorption related forcing” – those comparisons are in fact easily made with the IPCC definition, and modelers make them all the time, as we’ve already discussed. Gavin’s example of a 2% solar change compared to doubling CO2 actually dates back to one of Hansen’s early papers that did the same comparison; Hansen overestimated the forcing for doubling CO2, so the two were a closer match at that time. Yes, a 2% solar increase is about 30% more than doubling CO2; they’re not equal and Gavin Schmitt never said they were (he used the term “comparable”). They indeed are close enough to make comparisons of those two canonical changes reasonable.

    But George remains confused about this “tropopause” vs “surface” issue, he seems to be saying the 2% increase in solar forcing causes:

    “4.3 watts/m^2 of incremental power arriving at the surface”

    but in fact that’s not the definition, the definition is at the tropopause. If you look at Kiehl-Trenberth-Fasullo, there’s a lot of loss of incoming solar energy on the way through the atmosphere, so the quantity of increased *solar* radiation at the surface would be somewhat less. More importantly, as surface and lower atmosphere temperatures increase, there’s a big increase in back-radiation to the surface, which George completely neglects. So the effect of an increase in solar input, or the increase in net flux due to GHG’s, is greatly enhanced at the surface once things start to warm up.

    Which is why George’s claim that the “modeled feedback system has no relation to the actual underlying physical system”, by which he appears to mean the use of temperature as the key to the degree of an energy flux response, is so specious. It is the increase in surface temperature, and the correlated increase in tropospheric temperatures, that produces the large negative Planck feedback. Those are thermal radiative response components that explicitly are determined by the temperature of the surface and atmosphere. The W/m^2 of the stabilizing Planck response requires a change in temperature. All other feedbacks are then measured relative to that, which is where the natural sensitivity measure of K/(W/m^2) is relevant.

    If surface temperature does not increase, the Planck response is not initiated and the net radiative forcing simply cannot be balanced – Earth will continue absorbing energy until its temperature eventually does rise to balance. Temperature increase is key, not some after-thought.

    As to the yearly cycle – as with any such periodic forcing you will always see a phase shift in the response due to the time dependence of the response components; the fact that the two are out of phase in this case should indicate there are large response components that take more than 6 months to come into effect, and the actual magnitude of the response is going to be considerably less than a longer-term flux change would impose. Response to the flux change associated with volcanic eruptions like Pinatubo is a better measure, and those largely agree with climate models that produce the standard sensitivity values.

    George, have you actually looked at the assessments of our understanding of sensitivity from many different lines of argument? In particular Knutti and Hegerl, Nature Geoscience 1, 735 (2008). For some reason they neglect your and Monckton’s surface flux argument. Ever wondered why?

  85. #85 Adrian
    July 14, 2010

    Adrian said…

    So this is an open thread, but I still fell I need to apologise for being off topic as this has turned into a George (CO2isnotevil) debunking session.

    Anyhoo, I was over at Joe Romm’s place earlier and noticed an admirable peculiarity that I thought the AGW-convinced might want to try.

    There was a comment, half way down a page of sensible comments, that was made by an obvious troll (or at least someone who couldn’t be bothered to check the validity of his own facts). Being number 37 of 59 comments I was looking for the easy and speedy refutation, but there was none.

    Step back about 40 years and I remember my dad telling me to ignore the bullies at school as they would eventually get bored and just go away.

    Is this a possible tactic to stop the noisier ‘deniers’? Allow them to comment freely, but use some self-control and just refuse to engage them. After all, I have little doubt that a large number of them comment and argue the same old bullcrap just for shits and giggles. It is clear even to me (a biologist with a cursory understanding of mathematics) that George is, in fact, a moron with an ego who PRETENDS to believe that real scientists who devote their lives to understanding the climate must have missed some glaringly obvious fundamental that he (an engineer expert in some sort of black box system) is brilliant enough to have discovered (but won’t actually publish – ever – because its bollocks). The guy is obviously also very clever with numbers so I find it hard to believe that he really believes the tripe-and-onions he serves. It’s just a game – like Dungeons and Dragons (surely????).

    Ignore people like this. Stop feeding their ego. Stop responding when it becomes clear who and what they are, and they might just get bored and go away, leaving the science blogosphere, and, ultimately, the MSM and even politicians to get on with the serious task at hand. They can hardly then complain about being ‘censored’ from ‘warmist blogs’, and the alternative “nobody seems to care about my rants” sounds so much more pathetic.

    Any chance?

  86. #86 adelady
    July 14, 2010

    Sorry Adrian, it’s not the people who write the rubbish we have to worry about.

    It’s all the readers who don’t contribute, for whatever reason. People who *do* know the right stuff have to clear up and sweep away any misconceptions because you never know who might read it and find it superficially attractive. They themselves may lack the training or the knowledge to judge its relevance or accuracy and they rely on the responders to set things straight.

  87. #87 MapleLeaf
    July 14, 2010

    Not that my critique of George’s work was not sophisticated (certainly not as sophisticated as that made by Arthur and others), but I would hardly classify George’s misrepresentation of the facts on his web page that I highlighted as ‘trivia’, as he uses the statements as the entry point for his hypothesis. Nor would I dismiss the body of scientific evidence that has been amassed since 1896 on this subject as ‘trivial’.

    Ironic how someone who accuses the IPCC and scientists of allegedly rounding up numbers (i.e., George) is guilty of not being particularly careful with the numbers. In my experience, doing that tends to piss off reviewers.

  88. #88 MapleLeaf
    July 14, 2010

    Adrian @86,

    Good points and I share that sentiment– damn my conscience for keep getting in the way though! Seriously though, I think one has to choose your battles and weigh the situation (are there possibly lay people who are being misinformed by said poster?). That said, I have yet to encounter a AGW ‘skeptic’ who has changed their mind, leaning, or opinion about AGW after coming here or RC or any of the other places. Sometimes it seems like they just want to stir and get a reaction or feed their ego. And we all know that trying to reason with or point out errors to a D-K is neigh impossible.

    I see that people, so far at least, have ignored the very obvious bait post at #70– it is clear from the outset that they will not be swayed by no amount of evidence or science.

  89. #89 chek
    July 14, 2010

    [MapleLeaf said:]( “And we all know that trying to reason with or point out errors to a D-K is neigh impossible”.

    Well, you know what they say about leading horses to water, ML 🙂

  90. #90 luminous beauty
    July 14, 2010

    Poor George,

    It looks like George is using the ISCCP’s Clear Sky Surface Brightness Temperature (as seen from space) as a substitute for locally measured SATs & SSTs. If so, it’s no wonder his calculations are so skewed.

    Bad George.

  91. #91 co2isnotevil
    July 14, 2010

    The S/N ratio is certainly getting low. Owing to the volume of comments, I will need to be more selective with replies. If you rant and rave, I will probably not reply.


    The IPCC goes out of it’s way to avoid making comparisons between the response of the climate to solar forcing and the response to GHG forcing. So much so, that they even define forcing in a silly way that precludes it’s applicability to solar forcing, as Arthur keeps pointing out. If it was easy to notice the equivalence of solar power entering the surface and GHG forcing power entering the surface, it would undermine their case, so all of the obfuscation seems to have a purpose. I suggest that you deprecate the absolute ‘authority’ of the IPCC. The IPCC is not a scientific organization, but a political one, so it’s extra important to be diligently objective when considering anything they claim about science.

    Look at this plot to see what you’re missing. The slope of this relationship is the sensitivity of the surface to incremental incident solar power. It’s about 1.1 for temperatures between about 273K and 290K. Above 290K it drops to 1, even falling below 1 for a short time. Below 273K, the gain is significantly higher.
    Note that the definition of gain I use is a ratio of power to power, which is a dimensionless value and is consistent with the definition of gain used for analyzing feedback systems.

    It’s important to recognize that the response illustrated by this plot is the post feedback response extracted from measured data. No models are in the way of the analysis and all feedback like mechanisms, positive and negative, known and unknown, are embodied by the measured response. The seasonal response dependencies even includes snow and ice albedo effects. While we aren’t entering and leaving ice ages, the hemispheres swing between winter and summer, where the winter snow pack emulates the effects of a glacial ice pack, although it’s certainly far less persistent.

    4.3 W/m^2 of incremental solar forcing will be amplified by 1.1 to become 4.7 W/m^2 emitted by surface. The average surface temperature is about 287K, corresponding to an emitted surface power of 384.7 W/m^2. If we add 4.7 W/m^2 to this and convert back to temperature, we get, 287.9K, which is a 0.9C rise. Don’t be confused by claims that SB doesn’t work on the surface. The surface itself is close to an ideal BB. The Earth + atmosphere is not, but it’s deviation from ideal is readily quantified.

    4.3 W/m^2 becomes about 3 W/m^2 at the surface after the effects of albedo are accounted for. The corresponding surface power gain, relative to incremental incident surface power is 4.7/3, or about 1.6. This is a physical measurement of the climates sensitivity to forcing power of any kind, including solar. The 3.7 W/m^2 from doubling CO2 should result in about 5.9 W/m^2 at the surface, which corresponds to a 1.1C rise in surface temperature. Remember, that this MEASURED sensitivity includes all influences of feedback like effects, relative to a perturbation from the current operating point. Note that the 3.7 is really only 1.85 at the surface, so the actual rise for doubling CO2 is only about 0.6C. This minor effect is far from catastrophic and becomes buried in noise of natural variability.
    Even with the bogus factor of 2, it’s still too small to be obsessing about.


    I’m tiring of the denseness of your rants. Within a sentence or 2 of the one you so strenuously objected to, you would have read,

    “Because of the difficulty in detecting trends, few accept this failing test as a counter argument to AGW, and simply claim that the data is inconclusive. It’s hard to argue that the absence of a predicted trend in the satellite record is conclusive, but the satellite data reveals a lot more than just temperatures.”

    And then I discuss the many other ways that the satellite data tells us that CAGW can’t happen. It seems that you are among those who reject the first test as counter argument, so what new information are you bringing to the table?

    But then again, CAGW supporters do not pay proper attention to conditional qualifications. Words like could, should, might and inconclusive are turned into ‘most likely true’ when the result of the qualified statement supports your case, and ‘most likely false’ when it doesn’t.

  92. #92 Jeremy C
    July 14, 2010

    CO2isnotevil or George,

    Its not that the signal to noise ratio is getting low, instead you are being pummelled by spread spectrum techniques.

  93. #93 Adrian
    July 14, 2010

    Thanks to adelady and MapleLeaf for their responses.

    I do understand the issue and have been drawn in to such arguments before, both in blogs and on Facebook (of all places).

    Sadly, over at Joe Romm’s place, it only took another 4 comments before someone took the bait and began the intellectual destruction of the aforementioned troll.

    I have to say, I am impressed (still) by George’s command of mathematics (and even language), but anyone who lamely throws in the intellectual towel by claiming that ‘peer review is broken beyond repair’ and that he prefers ‘the open format of the internet’ (in which case I have a cure for cancer I’d like to sell him) is demonstrably no better than Glenn Beck and should be, beyond those declarations, summarily dismissed a tosser, albeit a potentially dangerous tosser. Quite a shame when you consider that all of those talents are undoubtedly going to masturbatory waste.

    Just my opinion.

  94. #94 Arthur Smith
    July 14, 2010

    That George has chosen not to respond to my comments (#85) is, I think, rather telling 🙂

  95. #95 Steve Brown
    July 14, 2010

    I’ve just got back from the Guardian “ClimateGate” debate in London and here are some of the notes I made of the event.

    On the panel chaired by George Monbiot was Fred Pearce, Prof Trevor Davies (Vice-chancellor at UAE and former Director of CRU), Steven McIntyre, Prof Bob Watson (UK Gov scientific advisor and former IPCC chair) and Doug Keenan.

    In the audience were various luminaries: Benny Peiser, Piers Corbyn, Roger Harribin and……Jonathan Leake!!

    The format was 5 mins for each panelist, 15 mins of open discussion, then audience questions for 45 mins.

    Prof. Davies: Said CRU will be exploring initiatives later in the year to open up public space for engaging in the scientific discussion. Also said that lessons have been learned.

    Steve McIntyre: Gave an overview of his main criticisms aired on ClimateAudit in recent weeks – nothing really new. Monbiot tried to challenge him about the Muir Russell finding that any competent individual could reproduce a temperature series from publicly accessible data, which McIntyre deftly sidestepped.

    Bob Watson: Thinks reviews had high integrity and gave a robust rebuttal of criticisms. He accused the printed media of being guilty of getting carried away with the “skeptic” allegations” (and made a specific dig at the Guardian), though thought the TV media were much fairer in general. Says we need more balanced reporting and that he estimates that 95% of scientists accept the mainstream consensus on AGW.

    Doug Keenan: Says he will not retract fraud allegations made against Phil Jones over Chinese station data. Says bogus fraudulent research is rife throughout science. Seemed to say that because Phil Jones is not as good at statistics as him, AGW is a fraud.

    Fred Pearce: Said reviews didn’t go far enough and that he is still disturbed by some of the e-mails. The enquiries were not a “whitewash” and this saga is more a tragedy than a conspiracy. He though the 3 CRU inquiries were better conducted than the Penn State Uni one, which he described as “kafkaesque”.

    Over to the audience….Bob Watson says that CRU had nothing to hide – all data is available if you approach the national weather agencies who own the data. Made a good point about the Saudi Govt hiring “some very good” people to find problems in the last IPCC assessment, so they could have an excuse to drill for more oil. They found nothing.

    Keenan said that peer-review is rubbish on the basis that he’s submitted a paper 35 times to journals for it to be rejected each time.

    McIntyre is asked to explain the source of energy that has warmed the planet since 1980. Deftly sidestepped by claiming he’s more interested in ancient proxies and hockysticks and not CRUtem. When pressed further he said he agrees with what Lindzen says.

    Monbiot is asked if he thought he was a bit quick and rash to fall for the serious allegations when the “scandal” broke. He replied “The Guardian chose me to chair as I’ve alienated everyone in the debate”. He also admitted his judgments were hasty.

    Keenen then claims that none of the evidence for AGW stands up to scrutiny and Piers Corbyn starts heckling.

    Piers Corbyn gets the chance to ask a question, but ends up making a speech on how AGW is a fraud and it’s really the Sun and the Moon that cause climate to change. They move to a different questioner. Corbyn continues to heckle and interrupt. Monbiot tells Corbin he’ll have him ejected if he doesn’t shut up.

    Jonathan Leake asks McIntyre about the “explosive” allegation that Muir Russel didn’t interview Phil Jones. Prof Davies said Muir Russell did meet Phil Jones and the detailed interviews were conducted by the expert members of the inquiry.

    Expect an expose in the Times tomorrow about how AGW is a scam because Phil and Muir didn’t do a round of golf together.

    Monbiot finishes off by saying “An interesting and fiery debate and as usual we’ve got absolutely nowhere”.

    All in all, it was a fascinating experience to attend and to see the main players in the flesh. I thought Fred Pearce and Bob Watson came across well. Pearce has gotten a bit of stick over this, but he’s certainly in the premier league of science journo’s. Doug Keenan is a fascinating character – very sinister looking and would make a great Dr Who baddy. McIntyre was quiet spoken and reserved – didn’t really set the ground on fire. There was about 300 in the audience – judging by applause, I’d guess a third were “skeptic” faithful and the rest were normal people and journalists.

  96. #96 TtueSceptic
    July 14, 2010

    96 Steve,

    Many thanks. I’ll try and find a recording/podcast tomorrow.

  97. #97 co2isnotevil
    July 14, 2010


    I wasn’t ignoring you, I didn’t have time this morning to get to you. Although if you keep up the ad hominem attacks, I will start ignoring you, not because it bothers me, but because it’s indicative of a propensity for irrational logic, in which case my time would be better spent discussing this with others. You should also keep in mind that the whole world isn’t in your time zone.

    I will start with a little background. Most of the energy stored in the atmosphere is associated with clouds. As I said before, GHG absorption between clouds and the surface matters very little since clouds will be absorbing most of the energy anyway, and on average, the Earth is about 65% covered by clouds. Clouds are the repository for most of the energy transported from the surface by evaporation, the solar energy they don’t reflect and are the store of potential energy from water lifted against the force of gravity, as the potential difference across the capacitance formed between the cloud and the surface and as a temperature difference between the top and bottom of the cloud.

    The energy stored in the clear sky atmosphere is mostly in the form of the kinetic energy of N2 and O2 molecules, which is negligible, relative to cloud energy and even smaller relative to surface energy. This kinetic energy is transient and has a very short lifetime. This energy is at a point along a path from when a photon was absorbed by a GHG molecule to when the energy is ultimately radiated out into space or received by the surface. The common mistake is considering that this minor effect causes the surface to be forced by the atmosphere, when in fact, the atmosphere is being forced by the surface.

    Can you see how the effects of GHG delay the release of surface energy into space and do not trap or otherwise hide it? There’s a temporal component too, which is that the energy of the original photon gets spread out over time as it either gets back to the surface and/or is radiated into space. Kind of like spread spectrum in the time domain. Do you know what a SAWDL is?

    The relationship between surface temperature and Plank feedback in no way supports the Schlesinger feedback model. The problem has to do with the fact that the controlled variable of the Schlesinger feedback model (surface temperature) is under control of something else, namely, the feedback system controlling the Earth’s energy balance, whose complex interdependencies influence the feedback fraction and closed loop gain in ways that are unaccounted for by the model and in fact, not even guaranteed to be consistent with the model, given the assumption of unit open loop gain. The physical feedback system maintaining the Earth’s energy balance does influence the surface temperature, but it also influences cloud temperatures, cloud and surface reflectivity, cloud percentage, weather and more, all of which have mutual interdependencies and affect the equivalent open and closed loop gain and feedback terms of the Schlesinger model.

    As to why Knutti and Hegerl ignore the physics, it’s because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t get the answer they and their financiers were looking for and their funding would dry up. The first line in the abstract pretty much confirms this. It’s not as bad as the first line in many other papers, which generally goes something like, “CO2 is a danger to mankind and our models which assume it to be true predict it to be true”.

    You need to be less picky about little things you think might be wrong. The bottom line here is that the W/m^2 from radiative forcing are treated at being at least 4 times more effective at heating the surface than W/m^2 arriving from the Sun. If the IPCC metric of radiative forcing is not the same as solar forcing, then it’s meaningless and needs to be redefined because it’s units can not properly be called degrees K per W/m^2. After all, a degree K is a degree K, a watt is a watt, a meter is a meter and forcing is forcing, independent of it’s source.

    And yes, a few percent of the incident solar energy is captured by the atmosphere, but accounting for this will not make up for the factor of 4 or more overestimation of the effects forcing power has on surface temperatures.

    I know from my own atmospheric simulations (3-d based on HITRAN 2008 absorption spectra) that doubling CO2 from 280ppm to 560ppm increases the amount of power absorbed by GHG molecules by about 3.6 W/m^2 at nominal water vapor concentrations. Whatever you think the IPCC definition is, the 3.7 W/m^2 of radiative forcing associated with doubling CO2 is the same as the incremental power absorbed by the atmosphere. Half of this ends up going into space and half back to the surface (after some delay), so the net forcing acting on the surface is half of the IPCC defined radiative forcing, which actually makes the sensitivity 8 times larger than reality, not 4.

    Another concept that needs to be explained is the physical origin of climate system gain. First, the energy entering the surface is decoupled from that leaving the surface, as the incident power heats the surface while it’s radiated power cools it. In addition, recirculated power is provided from GHG which reduces the amount of energy that can leave the planet at a given surface temperature, requiring the temperature to rise until the power leaving the planet is equal to the power arriving. The open loop gain can be approximated as 1/(1-t/2), where t is the fraction of surface power absorbed by GHG in the absence of clouds and the 1/2 is the fraction of this which is recirculated to the surface. For an average t of about 55%, the open gain is 1.4. A better estimate of the open loop gain is based on nominal absorption at 0C, which is a little over 1.3. Above 0C, the closed loop gain is about 1.1 and falling indicating net negative feedback, while below 0C the gain is about 1.5 and rising indicating net positive feedback.

    Hansen kind of has it right, in that the effects of GHG are more properly considered gain than feedback, except he mixed up the terms in the equations by calling gain feedback and visa versa. Schlesinger came along thought he fixed Hansen’s errors, but really just make it worse. Unfortunately, nobody with a strong enough control theory background was around to catch this in peer review (Mike MacCracken and Fred Luther did most of this). The errors provided the answer everyone deperately wanted, and a multi-billion dollar industry was born …

    Speaking of unanswered questions, nobody has answered my initial question yet. What’s so special about GHG absorption that a watt of GHG forcing is 4-8 times more effective at heating the surface than a watt of solar forcing?


  98. #98 co2isnotevil
    July 14, 2010

    Sorry, a line got deleted and I know you will complain.

    If the IPCC metric of radiative forcing is not the same as solar forcing, then it’s meaningless and needs to be redefined because it’s units can not properly be called degrees K per W/m^2.

    should be

    If the IPCC metric of radiative forcing is not the same as solar forcing, then it’s meaningless and needs to be redefined because it’s units can not properly be called W/m^2 and the associated sensitivities can not be in units of degrees K per W/m^2.


  99. #99 Vince Whirlwind
    July 14, 2010

    George: “…and a multi-billion dollar industry was born …”

    Cool, so the Deniers can stop worrying that responding to AGW has a negative economic impact?

    I’ll look forward to George having his theories validated by the academic world via peer-reviewed publication so the IPCC can update its understanding of climate change. Or perhaps the IPCC can trust George and use him as a “grey reference”?

    Meanwhile, Arctic Ice is BACK TO NORMAL AGAIN:

  100. #100 Arthur Smith
    July 14, 2010

    George, I don’t know why you obsess over the “Schlesinger feedback model”, when the definitions in Bony et al make the mathematics of the energy balance problem perfectly clear and completely independent of any control-theory concepts, whether or not they are relevant – the result is simple mathematics. Let me re-cap the argument just so everybody here can see how simple it is:

    (1) Radiative balance R is defined as incoming minus outgoing radiation at the tropopause (since there should be negligible convective or other heat transport effects across the tropopause, radiation balance means full balance). R = 0 in balanced steady state

    (2) Radiative forcing Q is change in R due to some system change (solar, GHG, clouds, etc) with surface and lower atmosphere otherwise held constant (no response).

    (3) The largest (and quickest) response to radiative imbalance, Q != 0, is the Planck response, associated with a uniform change in surface and troposphere temperatures delta T = delta T_s (surface).

    (4) The Planck response (like other responses) isn’t entirely linear (Stefan-Boltzmann is T^4!) but linearization isn’t far off for small forcings Q, so the resulting value of R can be written as

    R = Q + lambda delta T_s

    where lambda is the ratio between the change in radiative balance at the tropopause and the surface temperature change.

    (5) Balance is then restored when R = 0, i.e.

    delta T_s = – Q/ lambda

    (note the minus sign). -1/lambda is then a measure of the sensitivity of the climate system to radiative forcings Q.

    (6) The largest response term, again, the Planck response, has a negative value of lambda. If lambda were zero or positive, the temperature response would be infinite – so it’s a good thing that the Planck response dominates. All analyses find the Planck value to be very close to -3.2 W/m^2/K.

    (7) Other feedbacks are represented by their ratio to the Planck feedback g_x = – lambda_x/lambda_P, with sign reversed so that positive g_x means an increase in sensitivity. If the sum of the g_x’s ever gets as large as 1, you have overwhelmed the basic Planck response and can get runaway (at least for a time). Very few people believe that’s actually possible for our planet right now.

    And that’s it – forcings and feedbacks, with surface temperature as the central reference term because it characterizes the dominant Planck response so well. If you have some other measure based on energy fluxes that captures the physics, feel free to try introducing it, but the temperature-based analysis makes physical and logical sense in the climate system, which is why it’s so widely used.

    George, you claim “the IPCC metric of radiative forcing is not the same as solar forcing,” but I see no evidence you have shown that this is true. The IPCC metric is consistent across all forcings, and is logically provided by the change in that value Q or R specified above (and Q and R are heat fluxes, so naturally measured in W/m^2). What is your problem with that definition, exactly?

    Whatever you have calculated, if you believe “Half of this ends up going into space and half back to the surface (after some delay), so the net forcing acting on the surface is half of the IPCC defined radiative forcing” then you have clearly calculated the wrong thing. The forcing, Q, is precisely defined and measurable from modeling, and it completely accounts for changes in what “ends up going into space” vs what goes “back to the surface”.

    As to your discussion of gain – you seem to have some misconceptions about radiative transfer. It is not a simple “surface -> atmosphere -> surface/space” two-step process. You might want to read up on it a bit more before pontificating about how it works. In practice, the radiative effects of greenhouse gases act very much like adding resistors to a constant-voltage circuit: current goes down, but the radiative “resistor” is in parallel to some others (convection and latent heat). Thinking of it as a loop is probably not useful.

    You ask yet again “What’s so special about GHG absorption that a watt of GHG forcing is 4-8 times more effective at heating the surface than a watt of solar forcing” but *nobody* other than you claims such a thing. Radiative forcing is defined at the tropopause, and a watt of GHG forcing there is essentially identical to a watt of solar forcing. As many detailed models and comparisons have shown. I don’t believe you have any evidence that shows anything else – you certainly haven’t provided it in the discussion here.

1 2 3 6

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.