On top of the 21 climate scientists correcting the numerous errors in Christopher Monckton testimony to Congress, we also have Rachel Pinker and Ellsworth Dutton correcting Monckton’s misunderstanding of Pinker, Zhang and Dutton (2005):

1 Viscount Monckton attempts to directly link the change in surface solar radiation to a change in temperature. He states:

“What, then, caused the third period of warming? Most of that third and most
recent period of rapid warming fell within the satellite era, and the satellites
confirmed measurements from ground stations showing a considerable, and
naturally-occurring, global brightening from 1983-2001 (Pinker et al., 2005).”

This statement in effect equates temperature change with surface solar radiation change which, as noted in points 2 and 3 above, is only one input into a complex climate process. Also, it is not necessarily the case that global brightening is naturally-occurring; it can be caused by anthropogenic aerosols or changes in the atmospheric moisture content as well as clouds, possibly affected by increasing CO2 levels.

2 Viscount Monckton states the following about the data used in our study:

Allowing for the fact that Dr. Pinker’s result depended in part on the datasets of outgoing radiative flux from the ERBE satellite that had not been corrected at that time for orbital decay, it is possible to infer a net increase in surface radiative flux amounting to 0.106 W m-2 year-1 over the period, compared with the 0.16 W
m-2 year-1 found by Dr. Pinker.”

In the Pinker et al. (2005) study, no use is made of outgoing radiative flux from ERBE observations; observations from ERBE are not used at all. The observations used are from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP).

3 Viscount Monckton continues:

“Elementary radiative-transfer calculations demonstrate that a natural surface
global brightening amounting to ~1.9 W m-2 over the 18-year period of study
would be expected – using the IPCC’s own methodology – to have caused a
transient warming of 1 K (1.8 F°). To put this naturally-occurring global
brightening into perspective, the IPCC’s estimated total of all the anthropogenic
influences on climate combined in the 256 years 1750-2005 is only 1.6 W m-2.”

It is difficult to comment on the above statement since the elementary radiative transfer
calculations are not presented. Possibly, the following was meant: the 1.9 W m-2 is
obtained by multiplying 0.106 W m-2 (obtained by modifying the 0.16 W m-2 value
quoted in Pinker et al. (2005)) by 18 and further by some climate sensitivity factor λ (not
specified) and using the relationship (from the IPCC report), namely:

ΔTs = λRF

The RF used here is not in line with the IPCC convention.

I made the same points back in May.


  1. #1 Stu
    September 28, 2010

    I want to continue Lars, if not for the benefit of my discussion with Wow, at least for my understanding of the topic at hand.

    MFS, TrueSceptic and Lotharsson are, for example, knowledgable enough to tell me whether what I posted is correct or whether I’ve missed something blindingly obvious. I’d certainly appreciate that.

    And I’ll thank TS especially for defending me, it’s nice to be vindicated even if all you do is provoke further ire from Wow.

  2. #2 Wow
    September 28, 2010

    > But there is a base level of greenhouse effect, caused by the other non-condensible gases plus whatever water vapour is left if you took out all the CO2, which CO2 has no hand in.


    If I exclude the 33C warming, THERE IS NO GREENHOUSE GAS.

    Not H2O, not CO2, not NH4, not O3, NOTHING.

    Pointless to go “but there are other gasses left there!” when the calculation has taken them ALL out.

    They don’t exist.

    They are no more.

    They have gone to the Choir Eternal.

    If you hadn’t nailed them to the perch, they’d be out of here.

    The ONLY way you can have other greenhouse gasses still there when you’ve taken out the 33C warming they contributed to is by removing the Greenhouse Effect.

    This is a very G&T proposition: the greenhouse effect doesn’t exist!

    I don’t agree to that. It does exist, therefore removing the 33C warming these gasses contribute to them means they don’t exist in the atmosphere any more.

  3. #3 Wow
    September 28, 2010

    > MFS, TrueSceptic and Lotharsson are, for example, knowledgable enough to tell me whether what I posted is correct or whether I’ve missed something blindingly obvious. I’d certainly appreciate that.

    So is Wow:


    Which you forgot being told before [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/09/rachel_pinker_on_moncktons_tes.php#comment-2822420).

    It’s not just Spots who runs the goldfish bowl, eternally surprised.

    But please, if we’re going to continue, let’s take it to the Open Thread.

  4. #4 Stu
    September 28, 2010

    >The ONLY way you can have other greenhouse gasses still there when you’ve taken out the 33C warming they contributed to is by removing the Greenhouse Effect.

    Well that’s where you have misunderstood me. I have mentioned neither removing the whole greenhouse effect, nor the magic 33C figure. In fact, in a couple of my posts I have asked what the greenhouse effect would be if you removed just the CO2 (or all GHGs except WV), which is a completely different but relevant proposition, and is what I consider to be the pertinent point here.

    The point is that if you remove all the CO2, you don’t remove all the greenhouse effect (after allowing the system to equilibriate to the new CO2-free conditions). This indicates to me that the total greenhouse effect is not tied to CO2 in exactly the manner you describe.

    Is this not a relevant consideration when using your method to estimate climate sensitivity?

  5. #5 MFS
    September 28, 2010


    It seems a little pointless to me to be speculating what would happen to the temperature and water vapour if we removed all the CO2. For starters it serves no useful purpose, and for seconds, it’s unlikely to happen in the sort of timescale that could concievably affect us, or for the sort of reasons we’re likely to have control over it.

    As to being knowledgeable enough to tell you weather what you posted is correct, I don’t know enough about feedbacks to be confident of my opinion, so I think you’re overestimating me.

  6. #6 Stu
    September 28, 2010

    Well it’s just a hypothetical MFS – never mind.

    I may have overestimated you, or maybe you’re modest. Or both!

  7. #7 adelady
    September 28, 2010

    Hypothetical? I’ve just reread these last few posts.

    If you want to know about how an atmosphere would behave if it were not Earth’s atmosphere, your only option is to look up the stuff on other planet’s atmospheres and see if there’s anything relevant there. I certainly don’t know this stuff.

    My simple answer to your question would be, if things were completely different, then other things would be completely different. And it doesn’t matter anyway. We’re not interested in a rock that sails through the solar system unable to sustain mammalian life. We’re people and the climate that’s sustained us for the last tens of thousands of years looks to be the one that suits us best. If we need to evolve in response to changing climate, we’d want that to be on the geological timescales needed for that evolution, not half a dozen generations.

  8. #8 LogicallySpeaking
    September 28, 2010

    The temperature of Venus and the fact that its atmospheric composition is 97% CO2 seems somewhat relevant to the discussion here. Just saying..

  9. #9 Bernard J.
    September 28, 2010


    Ah, Venus…

    We all know that it’s the gravity engine wot heats up the planet. Anthony Cox, Jo Codling and her team of experts, Watts and Steve Goddard, and a host of other eminent Internet Physicalists have already explained this.

  10. #10 Byron Smith
    September 29, 2010
  11. #11 CS
    October 4, 2010

    Lord Monckton is still citing this study. He was at a debate on climate change here in University College Cork tonight, and he cited Pinker et al. 2005, to back up his argument.