Open Thread 61

Time for a new open thread.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris S.
    April 14, 2011

    Copied from the end of open thread 60:

    Anyone come across [this graph](http://www.sciencemag.org/content/290/5490/291/F2.expansion.html)? Strikes me as a great illustration of the anthropogenic effect and I’m surprised I’ve not seen it before now. (From Falkowski et al. (2000) The Global Carbon Cycle: A Test of Our Knowledge of Earth as a System. Science 290, 291-296. DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5490.291)

  2. #2 Lionel A
    April 14, 2011

    I see that Curtin has got himself into another fine pickle over at Tamino’s place:

    Jerk

    And Jerk does not mean what you think it might before reading the article.

  3. #3 Lotharsson
    April 14, 2011

    I was going to post that Curtin has zero embarrassment, but I think it’s worse than that. He appears to possess a kind of negative embarrassment that seeks to maximise the amount of behaviour that regular people would find embarrassing.

  4. #4 MapleLeaf
    April 14, 2011

    Tim et al.,

    You have to listen to this 2GB interview with Lindzen on 6 April 2011.

    Apparently they also interviewed Christy recently….wonder if he touted his DDT fallacies?

  5. #5 duckster
    April 14, 2011

    Anyone read anything useful on the Steve McIntyre’s current fettish? The Yamal conspiracy and assorted goings on over at Climate Audit?

  6. #6 C. Mather
    April 14, 2011

    Chris S.

    Falkowski et al. (2000) The Global Carbon Cycle: A Test of Our Knowledge of Earth as a System. Science 290, 291-296. DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5490.291) seems to be behind the Science Magazine paywall.

  7. #7 barry
    April 14, 2011

    C. Mather, here you go.

    http://ibl.colorado.edu/falkowski.globalccycle.pdf

    You can find a great many full version papers by going to google scholar and pasting in the title of the paper.

  8. #8 Betula
    April 14, 2011

    Chris,
    You do realize that the paper you linked to is chalk full of admitted uncertainties…don’t you?

    And you do realize that all the authors are either co-chairs or members of the International Geosphere-Biosphere
    Programme…don’t you?

    And you must aware that the IGBP’s purpose is to implement their vision of global “societal tranformation”, part of which is to “eradicate poverty”…correct?

    So how do they do this? Well, they need find a way to start changing government policies at all levels ie, “local, national,regional and global”…..but how?

    Hey, how about AGW! Sure, AGW is a problem that is full of uncertainties and speculations in regard to it’s current and future impacts, yet, one which we must act on immediately and on a global scale!
    All we need is the backing of scientific results, no matter how uncertain, to begin painting our vision!

    Chris, as the paper you linked to states: “This uncertainty should not be confused with lack of knowledge nor should it be used as an excuse to postpone prudent policy decisions based on the best information available
    at the time.”

    NEVER LET UNCERTAINTY GET IN THE WAY OF A PRUDENT POLICY!

    So the conclusion is always predetermined, regardless of how uncertain the results are, in order to create policies that will help to implement the “vision”. How convenient and how scientificky is that!

    Remember, it’s all about the “vision”, and without the proper scientific conclusion, the “vision” is lost…

    http://www.igbp.net/documents/IGBPDraftvision27September.pdf

  9. #9 Riman Butterbur
    April 14, 2011

    I often see deniers going on about CO2 increases in the past coming after periods of warming. I don’t think that means what they think it means….

    Does anyone know of a natural increase in CO2 that preceded — i. e., was not caused by — a climate change?

  10. #10 Betula
    April 14, 2011

    That would be “chock full”…unless I was using a blackboard to make my point.

  11. #11 chek
    April 14, 2011

    Duckster said: “Anyone read anything useful on the Steve McIntyre’s current fetish? The Yamal conspiracy and assorted goings on over at Climate Audit”?

    I don’t think anyone cares anymore.
    McIntyre doesn’t have the chops to even know what he’s talking about, so he throws up some ludicrous [numberwang](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_6RbP3CNUg) chart to the best of his limited abilities, yelps “team” and “Climategate!” for the nth time, then lets the resident horde of conspiracy nutters take it from there.

    After the DC/Mashey exposure of the Wegman/GMU fiasco, he’s yesterday’s dead duck whose 15 minutes expired some time ago.

  12. #12 dhogaza
    April 14, 2011

    McI is still yammering on about Yamal? And the “hide the decline” graph from 10 years ago?

    Sheesh.

    Meanwhile, Senator Inhofe is a world-class ass

  13. #13 Dave R
    April 14, 2011

    >Does anyone know of a natural increase in CO2 that preceded — i. e., was not caused by — a climate change?

    [The Permian/Triassic extinction event](http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-01/uoc-rfs012111.php).

  14. #14 Dave H
    April 14, 2011

    Damn, new PC and killfile needs repopulating, so I’m subjected to…

    @Betula

    You do realize your what an Ad Hominem fallacy is…don’t you?

  15. #15 FrankD
    April 14, 2011

    @Riman Butterbur

    The “Snowball Earth” conditions that prevailed in the late Precambrian were most likely ended by the build up of GHG’s in the atmosphere. With rocks covered by icecaps, weathering slowed and CO2 built up, reaching very high levels before the resultant climate forcing finally caused those icecaps to melt.

    Beloved of skeptics (*coff*) because it proves you can have high CO2 and widespread glaciation (allowing the false conclusion that CO2 and temperatures are not related). The point that is missed is the fact it was a *process*. It’s a bit like saying a photo of a man falling off a building proves that humans can fly.

  16. #16 WotWot
    April 14, 2011

    [@12](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/04/open_thread_61.php#comment-3640701)

    Wow. And I mean, WTF?!?!?! WOW.

    That is seriously reckless arrogance. There are NO excuses for that sort of thing, unless you are in an genuine emergency situation and have to land immediately. He should have permanently lost his licence on the spot.

    Gives a good insight into the kind of deranged obnoxious mentality we are dealing with – somebody who really thinks he is special and excused from all normal restraints and obligations to both reality and other humans.

    It is also the sort of behaviour that can lose you support among your own political base, some of whom will work in the aviation industry, or other industries where safety is a critical issue, or know somebody who does.

  17. #17 Lotharsson
    April 14, 2011

    Betula@8 relies on fallacious conflation of the scientific use of the term uncertainty – as in “uncertainty bounds” or “confidence intervals” – and the popular use of the word as in “don’t know” and “could be completely wrong”.

    Accordingly Betula’s hysterical conclusions are not justified by Betula’s references…

  18. #18 SteveC
    April 14, 2011

    So are the likes of Betula “denialists” or “rejectionists”?

    Eli teases out the distinction.

    Truth is that the Watt’s Up With That, Climate Audit, Judith Curry crowd are not denialists, they are rejectionists, and this extends, as Ethon will show, to the Roger P Jr. and Sr., Shellenberger, Tol and Lucia bunch with able assistance from the Heartland, GMI, Fred Singers and beyond. Frequently, actually most often, the rejection of climate science emerges from political views.

    (emphasis mine)

  19. #19 peterd
    April 14, 2011

    duckster (#5): I seldom look at CA, unless directed there, as from your link. I glanced at this one, and left feeling rather sickened. The usual smug, pompous stuff from McI, complete with quotation marks around “inquiries”, the tart chiding of one poster who is told to confine his remarks to Yamal, while the snide comments of Loehle, Watts and others, having nothing to do with Yamal, are allowed to pass without comment. Nauseating stuff. And what does this guy have to show for all this huffing and puffing over all these years?

  20. #20 peterd
    April 14, 2011

    C.Mather (#6): you can gain free access to research articles in Science more than 2 years old simply by registering at their website, and logging in each time you want to search for content. I can’t remember the conditions, but it’s probably a “fair use” policy (i.e., use articles only for private research, no distribution, etc.) The free access does not, however, extend to all content. Cheers

  21. #21 peterd
    April 15, 2011

    Riman Butterbur, #9: Indeed, I don’t think these episodes from the geological past have the significance that the contrarian crowd thinks they have. It is accepted that during the most recent deglaciations (the ones that have been characterised through ice-core measurements), the global temperature increased by about 6C, and that 4C of this was purely the warming associated with the orbital changes, while the other 1/3, or about 2C was due to the feedback associated with increasing CO2. Thus, at Termination III (240,000 yrs BP), CO2 was involved in the last ~4200 yr of a deglaciation lasting ~5000 yr. See Caillon et al., Science, v.299, p.1728. It is an aspect of this paper, little remarked by the contrarians (though they like to cite this paper, as they seem to think it provides them a “knock-out blow”), that the following words can be found in the Abstract: “The sequence of events during Termination III suggests that the CO2 increase lagged Antarctic deglacial warming by 800+/-200 years and preceded the Northern Hemisphere deglaciation.” So, according to these authors, the NH deglaciation occurred AFTER the CO2 increase. Should a contrarian hound you with this argument again, asserting that “the ice cores show that CO2 lags the temperature by 800 years”, or some such, point him or her back to this paper and then ask him or her: which is cause, which is effect? Part of the problem here is that Antarctic ice cores measure Antarctic temperatures, and not necessarily global temperatures. Always remind the contrarian that the two should not be confused.
    The contrarians, as is so often the case, read all this selectively, to arrive at the answers they are predisposed to accept.

  22. #22 Marion Delgado
    April 15, 2011

    AGW denialism is climate creationism, but ClimateAudit in particular are the Birthers of the Tea Party Science movement. “Release the data!” when you actually HAD the data for 3 years and just didn’t tell anyone is actually worse than Birtherism. Plus, given that his having the data all along from the actual source means he knew very well he was lying – it’s more like demanding Obama’s birth certificate from the Maine Bureau of Vital Statistics. What are you hiding, Maine!?

  23. #23 MikeH
    April 15, 2011

    Nice interactive graphic on Pew Environment Group’s report on [Clean Energy Investment](http://www.pewenvironment.org/news-room/other-resources/investing-in-clean-power-329295).

    A few facts that surprised me.
    * Italy has 6520 MW of solar compared with Spain at 4710 MW.
    * worldwide investment grew 30% in 2010 to $243 billion. Imagine the spend if we got a international climate change agreement.
    * USA got 75% of all venture capital investment but has fallen to third in overall investment because of lack of support for deployment. Thank you flat earthers.

    Read [Green China? You'd better believe it](http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/56670.html) for a review of the report.

    I have invested a few $ in a [community wind farm](http://hepburnwind.com.au) at Hepburn Springs. Best money I ever spent and amazingly our economy did not come crashing down.

  24. #24 Chris S.
    April 15, 2011

    Chris S.: “I’ll be travelling down to see you tomorrow, I’ll get there between one and two o’clock depending on the traffic & whether I need to stop for fuel – sorry I can’t be more certain”

    Betula: “UNCERTAINTY! You ain’t coming at all! I know this because you said you weren’t sure*”

    I’m glad my link has provoked some discussion, I’m sorry it dragged that speil of ad hom rubbish from Betula. For those who can only access a full paper the figure I was referring to is fig. 2.

    *N.B. As Lotharsson points out, this isn’t the uncertainty talked about in the paper, the above hypothetical conversation is just an illustration of the absurdity of the rejectionist argument against scientific uncertainty.

  25. #25 barry
    April 15, 2011

    Mulling over the abstract to Fall et al 2011 (A. Watts’ yet to be published paper on USHCN classification and trend analysis), I was drawn to the diurnal range trends, which are out of line with global trends anticipated by mainstream climate science. That is, there was no significant diurnal range trend for the US, when the expectation is that the (global) diurnal range will narrow over time (minima will rise faster than maxima). We are told that ‘nights have warmed faster than days, winters faster than summers’.

    Of mean temps, we can say that warming is almost uniform around the globe on continental scales, and for regions as large as the USA and Australia, particularly WRT to the last 30 years or so. This lends confidence to the notion that the globe has warmed.

    But the same cannot be said for diurnal range trends. For Australia, the diurnal range trend is positive (maxima rising faster than minima) since 1976 (Aus Bureau of Meteorology data). No trend for the US according to A Watts.

    I would have expected that the same parameters giving us confidence on mean trends would apply to diurnal range trends. But even such a large area as Australia, and even with a 35 year time period, we get results at odds with global expectations (unlike mean trends).

    Can someone explain, or is there any material out there, that explains why what holds for mean temps doesn’t work so neatly for diurnal range trends?

    ‘Course, the reason I’m asking is because I’m talking to a skeptic, and they are saying that the anomalous diurnal range trends *prove* that warming isn’t from GHGs!

    Yeah, yeah, I know that Australia and the US don’t represent the globe, but when we point to mean warming in the US and Australia for last 35 years we do it to buttress our case (“See, every continent, all the large countries are warming”). I’d like to be able to explain why that time period, and these scales don’t work equally well for expected diurnal range trends.

  26. #26 David Horton
    April 15, 2011

    #19 “what does this guy have to show for all this huffing and puffing over all these years?” – no action on climate change by governments around the world over all these years.

  27. #28 Chris S.
    April 15, 2011

    On reflection, Betula’s post #8 deserves a fuller response:

    1)Betula says “You do realize that the paper you linked to is chalk full of admitted uncertainties…don’t you?”

    The paper has precisely four (4) uses of the word uncertainty, that’s less than one per page, hardly either chalk or chock full no? The first (“considerable uncertainty about the ability of terrestrial ecosystems to mitigate against rising CO2″) is self explanatory, the other three are in the paragraph that Betula qoutes part of (see below).

    2) Betula says “And you do realize that all the authors are either co-chairs or members of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme…don’t you?”

    No, I didn’t, should this matter? Also, were these authors menbers when they wrote this paper? Does Betula know this? Can he prove it?

    3) Betula says “And you must aware that the IGBP’s purpose is to implement their vision of global “societal tranformation”, part of which is to “eradicate poverty” …correct?”

    Ah, now we see why their affiliation should matter – Betula doesn’t want to eradicate poverty.

    4) Betula says “So how do they do this? Well, they need find a way to start changing government policies at all levels ie, “local, national,regional and global”…..but how? Hey, how about AGW! Sure, AGW is a problem that is full of uncertainties and speculations in regard to it’s [sic] current and future impacts, yet, one which we must act on immediately and on a global scale! All we need is the backing of scientific results, no matter how uncertain, to begin painting our vision!”

    Here’s the crux – according to Betula the IGBP are using AGW to promote societal change, however a quick perusal of [their website](http://www.igbp.net/page.php?pid=100) reveals that they’ve been around since 1987 and only updated their vision in 2010 (to quote: “At the beginning of 2010, IGBP began a process to update its vision to take account of the new vision for global sustainability research developed by the International Council for Science.” why did they update the vision? The old vision was as follows:

    “The vision of IGBP is to provide scientific knowledge to improve the sustainability of the living Earth. IGBP studies the interactions between biological, chemical and physical processes and interactions with human systems and collaborates with other programmes to develop and impart the understanding necessary to respond to global change.”

    How has this changed? The new (draft) vision states:

    “IGBP’s vision is to provide essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society onto a sustainable pathway during rapid global change.”

    So, Betula’s assertion is completely backward – the IGBP are not using AGW to promote societal change, they’ve studied AGW & now see the need for societal change to adapt to global change and that scientific leadership is needed, after all there is “considerable uncertainty about the ability of terrestrial ecosystems to mitigate against rising CO2″. Whether you agree that adaptation is needed or not is beside the point – Betula has put the cart before the horse.

    5) Betula says “Chris, as the paper you linked to states: “This uncertainty should not be confused with lack of knowledge nor should it be used as an excuse to postpone prudent policy decisions based on the best information available at the time.” (followed by some shouting)

    Here we get to those other three uses of uncertainty mentioned under 1) above. Betula provided one use but let’s look at the paragraph as a whole:

    “As we rapidly enter a new Earth system domain, the “Anthropocene” Era (64), the debate about distinguishing human effects from natural variability will inevitably abate in the face of increased understanding of
    climate and biogeochemical cycles. Our present state of uncertainty arises largely from lack of integration of information. Nevertheless, scientists’ abilities to predict the future will always have a component of uncertainty.
    This uncertainty should not be confused with lack of knowledge nor should it be used as an excuse to postpone prudent policy decisions based on the best information available at the time.”

    The authors (and Lotharsson in #17) point out – uncertainty does not mean “don’t know”. As Betula stated in his part of the quote “This uncertainty should not be confused with lack of knowledge” but Betula went ahead and confused it anyway :-) The authors also point out that there is always uncertainty in predicting the future – we can never account for every possible event as we all know. Betula of course won’t cross the road as there is uncertainty that a car won’t come screaming around a blind corner at top speed…

    6) Betula says “So the conclusion is always predetermined, regardless of how uncertain the results are, in order to create policies that will help to implement the “vision”. How convenient and how scientificky is that!”

    It’s really scientifiky – so much so that they can go back in time and publish papers to help implement the “vision” 10 years before they publish the “vision” – these pesky scientists and their secret time machines! Of course that’s ignoring the fact that Betula has decided that a conclusion based on the available knowledge is “predetermined”. Betula of course has “predetermined” this is wrong because of his cock-eyed view of the scientists in question, how convenient.

    In answer to SteveC at #18, I think this is classic rejectionism. You can see that, apart from the stock claim of uncertainty (chock full with four mentions, three in one paragraph!) there is nothing in Betula’s comment about the science of the paper or it’s findings. Just lots about the perceived political agenda of some organisation that the authors may, or may not be members of. The paper is therefore rejected because of this perceived agenda, never mind it was published 10 years before the updated vision that Betula objects to!

    I still think it’s an interesting graph.

  28. #29 Wow
    April 15, 2011

    “Does anyone know of a natural increase in CO2 that preceded — i. e., was not caused by — a climate change?”

    Yup:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paleocene%E2%80%93Eocene_Thermal_Maximum

    But why is one needed? Do the photons emitted by the earth “know” how the CO2 got to be there and act differently if it is the result of warming or the result of supervolcanic action?

    Seems highly unlikely, doesn’t it.

  29. #30 Wow
    April 15, 2011

    > the global temperature increased by about 6C, and that 4C of this was purely the warming associated with the orbital changes, while the other 1/3, or about 2C was due to the feedback associated with increasing CO2.

    I believe you have it approximately the other way around.

    Of the 6C (nominal) warming, 2C is from orbital changes and 4C from greenhouse gasses. Of that 4C, probably a bit less than 1C is from CO2 alone, but this is part of the evidence (as in “that which is seen” for you denialists) for a climate sensitivity of around 3C per doubling of CO2 where CO2 doubling “only” produces 1C warming in and of itself.

  30. #31 jakerman
    April 15, 2011

    >For Australia, the diurnal range trend is positive (maxima rising faster than minima) since 1976 (Aus Bureau of Meteorology data)

    Barry what source?

    [This](http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V95-3YRS4V8-G&_user=10&_coverDate=07%2F31%2F1995&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=a392f3af9a2659026fcf89538ba4120b&searchtype=a) don’t agree with the claim you cite:

    The 5 year mean on [these charts](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/amtemp.shtml) show greater anomalies in for Tmin (compared to Tmax) for the 20 years prior to the last decade.

    Have you got a link to data with a contrary story?

    And considering **global** warming involve **global** climate change also consider the global picture to allow for changes in circulation patterns that can result from climate change:

    >Observed DTR over land shows a large negative trend of 0.4 C over the last 50 years that is very unlikely to have occurred due to internal variability. This trend is due to larger increases in minimum temperatures ( 0.9 C) than maximum temperatures ( 0.6 C) over the same period

    http://www.cawcr.gov.au/staff/jma/2004GL019998.pdf

    Finally, it is Watts you are talking about, wait and see what fun is found with Watts’ claims.

  31. #32 Lotharsson
    April 15, 2011

    > As Betula stated in his part of the quote “This uncertainty should not be confused with lack of knowledge” but Betula went ahead and confused it anyway :-)

    Yes, I thought that was somewhat amusing ;-)

  32. #33 jakerman
    April 15, 2011

    Barry,

    I just calculated a linear slope for [this data](http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/meant03.txt), from from year you cited 1976.

    The linear equation is y = 0.0013x – 0.0071

    Where y = is Tmax (depature from mean) – Tmin (deparuture from the mean) for each year in the period, and x is the year.

    Plotting the DTR shows that the more recent years have more erratic deviations from the mean. There were 2 years (1994 and 2002 with are large spike in DTR despite the overall slight downward ward trend.

  33. #34 peterd
    April 15, 2011

    Wow@30: I disagree. I got the figures of 4C (orbital) and 2C (Co2 feedback) from one of the authors of the paper I cited (private corresp.). I doubt that there was a mix-up. I will try to find additional sources for these numbers.

  34. #35 peterd
    April 15, 2011

    #26: Point taken, David. I guess I should have written: what has he achieved *scientifically*?

  35. #36 Wow
    April 15, 2011

    It seems like the wrong way around, but a lot depends on whether the “CO2 alone” bit really IS “CO2 alone”, in which case there’s not a lot of difference between what I thought I knew and what the paper authors know.

  36. #37 Dave R
    April 15, 2011

    @ peterd / Wow:

    [RC says](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/the-lag-between-temp-and-co2/) 1/3 of the forcing was from CO2 and 2/3 from albedo.

    2K from CO2 would give 3.6 for sensitivity: 2 / ((280 – 180) / 180).

  37. #38 jerryg
    April 15, 2011

    How much of an effect would this have on warming?
    [Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations](http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/howarth/Howarth%20et%20al%20%202011.pdf)

  38. #39 peterd
    April 15, 2011

    Dave R (#37): that seems about right. :-)
    I guess another finding from this work that is lost on the denial crowd is that the increase in CO2 by ~100 ppmv at deglaciation took place over a period of ~4200years. Humankind has added caused a comparable increase over a very much shorter period.

  39. #40 barry
    April 15, 2011

    Marco@27 – Thanks! I’ve used that site before but didn’t think of it this time. Exactly the resource required.

    jakerman@30 – Different time period. I used BOM data (see below) and rinky dink Excel to plot a linear regression.

    And considering global warming involve global climate change also consider the global picture to allow for changes in circulation patterns that can result from climate change:

    I was wondering why dirunal range trends are not as uniform as mean temp trends over the similar time periods/area. Eg, for the same period, the US and Australia have been warming, as expected for such large land area and the time period, but diurnal range trends are opposite (global) expectations- at least with the data I used (see below). Wondering if diurnal range trends are more influenced by factors that mean temps aren’t.

    jakerman@33 – I used data from 1976 to 2010 from this page:

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/timeseries.cgi?graph=dtr&area=aus&season=0112&ave_yr=0

    (click on ‘raw data’ if you want to verify)

  40. #41 jakerman
    April 15, 2011

    Barry that checks out for me. My comment would be that plotting the data shows the whole data set has a more consistent trend down, and the small subset of data (1976 to 2010) its sensitive to a 7 year period from 2002-2009 where there was variation from the longer term trend.

    I’d look for circulation changes or cloud change or ENSO factors to see if they are associated with the 7 year anomaly.

    I.e. IIRC Trendberth predicted warming feedback from less cloud allowing [more solar insolation](http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Staff/Fasullo/refs/Trenberth2009FasulloGRL.pdf).

  41. #42 barry
    April 16, 2011

    Thanks for your comments, jakerman. I’ll follow your advice as well as Marco’s link.

  42. #43 Betula
    April 16, 2011

    Chris…

    You state…”The paper has precisely four (4) uses of the word uncertainty, that’s less than one per page”

    Heh Heh. So how many “uncertainties” does a chock-full make?

    How convenient that you ignore all the other “uncertainies” in the paper. Here are a few of the better ones that apparently don’t exist:

    1. “There are significant gaps in our knowledge”

    2. “Our present knowledge of the factors
    that determine the abundance and distribution
    of key groups of marine organisms is so
    limited that it is unlikely we will be able to
    predict such changes within the next decade with reasonable certainty”

    3. “Humans have affected virtually every
    major biogeochemical cycle (Table 2), but
    the effects of these impacts on the interactions
    between these elemental cycles are
    poorly understood”

    4. “we have considerable information
    about specific aspects of the carbon cycle,
    but many of the couplings and feedbacks
    are poorly understood.”

    5. “we severely test the limits of our understanding of how the Earth system will respond.”

    6. “A look at the current understanding of
    glacial-interglacial CO2 changes illustrates
    the problem. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no
    consensus on the causes of these changes.”

    I declare that the less we understand, the stronger our policies should be…based on that lack of understanding!

    Chris, with that logic, we should have a policy just for you.

  43. #44 Betula
    April 16, 2011

    Lotharrson @32 states…

    “As Betula stated in his part of the quote “This uncertainty should not be confused with lack of knowledge” but Betula went ahead and confused it anyway”

    The paper also states…”Knowledge of these feedbacks does not give us predictive capability for the coming decades or centuries”

    So…never let our uncertainty or lack of predictive capability be used as an excuse to postpone prudent policy decisions based on the best lack of understanding we have at the time.”

    Nothing confusing to see here. Move along now…

  44. #45 Lionel A
    April 16, 2011

    dhogaza
    Loved that story about Inhofe’s total disregard for aviation rules, what a prat to do that.

    I can understand the situation of those workers on the runway having been in similar position in the mid 1960s when sorting out a Sea Venom stopped off centre of the duty runway at a FAA (Fleet Air Arm) airstation with a burst nose tyre which we were changing and then we all rolling for the grass as a Sea Vixen landed on and screamed past nearly clashing wing-tips with the Sea Venom. By the time we heard it and acted it was almost on us!

  45. #46 luminous beauty
    April 16, 2011

    Since it is impossible to predict exactly which individual wasp will sting any precisely defined point on Betula’s skin, Betula concludes it is a good idea to poke a wasp’s nest with a stick.

  46. #47 Betula
    April 16, 2011

    LB,

    I was responding to Chris and Lotharsson, both of whom you just declared to be equivalent to a species of predators, parasites and scavengers. That’s not nice.

    The queen protecting the nest?

  47. #48 Jeremy C
    April 16, 2011

    In see Chrisopher Monckton is coming to Australia for a speaking tour in the middle of the year. Ross McKittrick will be accompanying him.

    What would be the best way to organise to counter Monckton’s falsehoods and turn his gift-of-the-gab against him. One of the few bright spots of Monckton’s last tour was Tim instructing him in Dr Pinker’s gender. I doubt even Monckton will make that mistake again.

  48. #49 Lotharsson
    April 16, 2011

    > I was responding to Chris and Lotharsson, both of whom you just declared to be equivalent to a species of predators, parasites and scavengers.

    LOL!

    No wonder you are confused by the science if your comprehension of straightforward English is that bad.

  49. #50 Billy Bob Hall
    April 16, 2011

    Good to see the same old ‘open-mindedness’ here at Deltoid – ie like SLotharsson #49. What is is with you people.

    P.S. Tim I hear Monkton is coming again. Dare for another ‘debate’ ?

  50. #51 Mike
    April 17, 2011

    @12. Being a front seat driver for a large aussie icon myself, I can say with a degree of authority (as if you needed any) that Inhofe’s behaviour is not only grossly unprofessional, but also quite bizarre and extraordinarily dangerous. I’d be tempted to relate this lack of thought process to his poor grasp of science, except that many of my colleagues exhibit the latter (poor grasp of science) too!

    @43. Speaking of logic Betula, you should apply some to your own arguments.

    There are many uncertainties in the theory of gravity, yet still things fall and we have a rough idea that walking off a 15th floor balcony will be severely detrimental to your health. There are many uncertainties in our knowledge of the immune system, yet vaccinations still prevent disease, and we can even develop new ones. There are many uncertainties in our knowledge of evolution, yet it is clear that we have been around a long, long time, more primitive creatures were around long before us, and the planet has been around far longer still.

    If you want to dismiss AGW as a viable proposition, then you should perhaps be equally dismissive of all of the above topics, and more, given that you apparently believe that a particular number of uncertainties automatically invalidates any scientific topic.

  51. #52 Lotharsson
    April 17, 2011

    Not sure if anyone’s covered this at Deltoid, but John McLean is apparently [making rather interesting predictions](http://www.skepticalscience.com/mclean-exaggerating-natural-cycles.html), although it should be noted that elements are quite specific and other aspects are vague with no apparent credible interpretation at hand.

  52. #53 Lotharsson
    April 17, 2011

    And this may also have been noted, but Watts apparently thinks [a few harp seals are predictive of cooling](http://climateprogress.org/2011/04/01/wattsupwiththat-psychic-seals-have-evolved-ability-to-predict-the-future-climate-and-they-know-its-cooling/#comment-334958).

    That’s the same Watts who’s apparently happy to accept the results of scientific work … [only as long as it agrees with his preconceptions](http://www.salon.com/news/global_warming/index.html?story=/tech/htww/2011/04/01/climate_skeptics_betrayal).

  53. #54 Betula
    April 17, 2011

    @50 “Speaking of logic Betula, you should apply some to your own arguments.”

    Mike, you seem to be upset with the authors of the paper. I simply used their own words as facts…no argument.

    Just to be certain you understand, I have posted some of these quotes again. Pay attention now:

    “There are significant gaps in our knowledge”

    “Our present knowledge of the factors that determine the abundance and distribution of key groups of marine organisms is so limited that it is unlikely we will be able to predict such changes within the next decade with reasonable certainty”

    “Humans have affected virtually every major biogeochemical cycle (Table 2), but the effects of these impacts on the interactions between these elemental cycles are poorly understood”

    “we have considerable information about specific aspects of the carbon cycle, but many of the couplings and feedbacks are poorly understood.”

    “we severely test the limits of our understanding of how the Earth system will respond.”

    “A look at the current understanding of glacial-interglacial CO2 changes illustrates the problem. Perhaps surprisingly, there is no consensus on the causes of these changes.”

    “Knowledge of these feedbacks does not give us predictive capability for the coming decades or centuries”

    I intentionally left out 4 phrases that contain the word “uncertainty” so as not to upset Chris. Chris, who apparently was upset enough to go through and count the number of times “uncertainty” was used as way to validate the certainty of it’s usage.

    The only thing the authors appear to be certain about, is the need for prudent policies that will somehow counter act
    their non existing predictive capabilities in order to achieve a vision.

    Mike, your vision, as well as others on this site, is the same vision as the authors of this paper. It’s called tunnel vision.

  54. #55 luminous beauty
    April 17, 2011

    Betula,

    The problem for you is to explain how the consequences of what are known to be destructive, yet unpredictable, effects must necessarily be benign.

  55. #56 luminous beauty
    April 17, 2011

    >I was responding to Chris and Lotharsson, both of whom you just declared to be equivalent to a species of predators, parasites and scavengers. That’s not nice.

    You flatter us, sir, with the implication that our wit and reason hath found its mark and stung thee so grievously.

    I admire your humility and self-abnegation, insofar as concerning parasitoid wasps, you would compare yourself to a horned caterpillar, a pernicious agricultural pest.

  56. #57 Sou
    April 17, 2011

    I was directed to an article by Bob Carter and co in online Quadrant a little while ago, and couldn’t resist summarising the main points.

    Hope you don’t mind this plug:
    http://bundanga.blogspot.com/2011/04/quadrant-article-by-bob-carter-david.html

  57. #58 Betula
    April 17, 2011

    @54…”The problem for you is to explain how the consequences of what are known to be destructive, yet unpredictable, effects must necessarily be benign.”

    No bright light,the problem with the authors of the paper is to explain how prudent policies will correct the unknown causes and the unpredictable consequences.

  58. #59 Betula
    April 17, 2011

    Mike @50
    “There are many uncertainties in the theory of gravity, yet still things fall and we have a rough idea that walking off a 15th floor balcony will be severely detrimental to your health.”

    Mike, good comparison and I understand what you’re saying….uncertainties in the theory of gravity should not be confused with lack of knowledge nor should they be used as an excuse to postpone prudent policy decisions to reduce global gravity.

    “There are many uncertainties in our knowledge of the immune system, yet vaccinations still prevent disease, and we can even develop new ones”

    Excellent point and right on subject as usual. So it would be prudent policy to create a vaccination program for a disease we are uncertain of with a vaccine that is poorly understood, all the while knowing we have no predictive capabiliy. You can be the guinea pig.

    “There are many uncertainties in our knowledge of evolution”

    Once again, relevance is your forte. Maybe we can reach our vision of eliminating poverty throughout the world with prudent policies designed to reduce global evolution.

  59. #60 Sean
    April 17, 2011

    Pardon my French, but Betula’s argument seems to be like this: “We don’t know what we’re fucking with, so let’s just keep fucking with it.”

    Uncertainty cuts both ways. Scientists can predict fairly confidently what large effects we will see from continued warming. What *is* uncertain is when those effects will occur and how serious they will be. Now there are also, I’m sure, numerous smaller effects that are much harder to predict.

    Climate science estimates tend arguably to be on the conservative side. Time and time again we see effects happening faster than predicted. Time and again we also see unexpected negative consequences of warming. The uncertainties you highlight really shouldn’t make you that confident in delaying “prudent policies”, but apparently they do.

  60. #61 Alan
    April 18, 2011

    Thanks Betula

    I always find a quick, smart riposte far more convincing than data. All you need now is for Koch brothers to fund a good graphic designer to work for yhou and you could become as famous Joanne Codling.

    Speaking of Ms. Codling, I wonder why she doesn’t take up the suggestion to aggregate the huge mass of amateur weather observations available from farmers all over the world in a project like [Old Weather](http://www.oldweather.org/). Whoever pays for her site could easily afford to do so and it would undoubtedly reveal that the trend line has a gradient of zero.

  61. #62 Lotharsson
    April 18, 2011

    > ..good comparison and I understand what you’re saying….

    Er, saying it does not make it so. For example, you continue:

    > …uncertainties in the theory of gravity should not be confused with lack of knowledge nor should they be used as an excuse to postpone prudent policy decisions to reduce global gravity.

    Cogitate for a moment on why that analogy does not correspond to what Mike was saying.

    If you can’t understand why…perhaps you should cogitate on the fact that the conclusions that you draw may not be on as firm an intellectual footing as you seem to think they are.

    > So it would be prudent policy to create a vaccination program for a disease we are uncertain of with a vaccine that is poorly understood, all the while knowing we have no predictive capabiliy.

    Interesting. Isn’t this is roughly what happens reasonably commonly in the medical field? There are many diseases that we are “uncertain of” – in the more precise senses that we don’t know precisely how they work, and/or even precisely how to detect them with 100% reliability, and/or let alone precisely how to predict how any given patient will respond to any given treatment or vaccine – and yet we still develop and test and prescribe new treatments and vaccines for them.

    You’re trying to hang your argument on uncertainties expressed in one paper and desperately hoping that everyone ignores the bounds placed on climate response with reasonable confidence by a mass of other evidence. That’s scientifically naive – or deliberately disingenuous.

    The interesting thing is your current argument seems to depend on an assertion that this paper is absolutely correct (AND that your interpretation of its results are correct, but we’ll leave that aside for now.) One wonders how you determined that this paper means what you say it does and that it outweighs all the other scientific evidence that suggests your interpretation is not justified.

    Well, I say “one wonders” but of course it’s a rhetorical question…

  62. #63 Lotharsson
    April 18, 2011

    > Betula’s argument seems to be like this: “We don’t know what we’re fucking with, so let’s just keep fucking with it.”

    Pardon my edit, but I think it goes more like this:

    “We don’t know what we’re fucking with, but we’re pretty certain that fucking with it won’t cause any significant problems”.

    In other words Betula’s argument is self-refuting: there’s an implicit assumption of low uncertainty about outcomes under one set of climate forcing scenarios that contradicts the assertion of high uncertainty from outcomes under different climate forcing scenarios. Betula can’t argue that low uncertainty for business-as-usual scenarios derives from the science, because Betula has already asserted that it’s too uncertain to be useful for deriving policy.

    At this point the goalposts are usually shifted or the argument becomes “climate has always changed” – which ironically also depends on the science – or one of the other unsupported denialist talking points.

  63. #64 Mike
    April 18, 2011

    Betula @58

    OK, now you are showing yourself up to be a complete dill-pickle (excuse the insult, but if you want to play that game, I’ll bite back).

    The entire point of my argument, which apparently flew at 50,000 ft over your head, was that there are substantial uncertainties in many well established scientific endeavours yet those uncertainties do not preclude making certain realistic predictions, conclusions, actions, and so on.

    I don’t know how hard this is to understand. Maybe I’m just weird, because I don’t have a problem with the context of the argument. You, on the contrary, seem to be prone to listing particular uncertainties, or even particularly vague statements about uncertainties, and leaping to the conclusion of “….and therefore we can see the entire proposition is all a load of crap”.

    You can be a sarcastic fuckwit (sorry Tim, it’s the most accurate word I could think of) all you like, but I’m quite clearly not alluding to “reducing global gravity” or “reducing global evolution”. Only a completely brainless tosser would so grossly misinterpret what I said in that way. I was stating in very simple terms for you Betula, that uncertainties in a field of knowledge do not invalidate the founding principles, or the predictive ability, or the consequences of that field of knowledge.

    Now I can sit down here in front of my computer and try to explain this in terms I might use with a 5 year old, but even then I’m not sure you’ll get my point. But let’s just put it this way:

    It is abundantly clear and perfectly well understood that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, we are producing very large amounts of this in addition to what comes with the normal carbon cycle, the world is quite clearly warming, there is a paucity of evidence for explanations other than greenhouse warming, this warming has consequences, some of which may be good, but many of which are most likely not, and that it might be an idea to consider how we’ll deal with the consequences of our actions.

    It’s not really that hard, conceptually.

  64. #65 zoot
    April 18, 2011

    Life is too short to waste time feeding trolls.

  65. #66 Wow
    April 18, 2011

    To paraphrase Betula (and many other idiots) argument:

    We don’t know what powers the great spot on Neptune, therefore we don’t know the moon exists.

  66. #67 Chris S.
    April 18, 2011

    “Chris, who apparently was upset enough to go through and count the number of times “uncertainty” was used”

    Betula has evidently never used the ‘find’ function in documents.

    I used said function to find the quotes Betula presents, here are the first couple with context added:

    “There are significant gaps in our knowledge that limit our ability to predict the magnitude of changes in oceanic uptake, but the likely changes in the biological pump are too small to counteract the projected CO2 emissions in
    the coming century.

    “Our present knowledge … marine organisms … with reasonable certainty. These uncertainties affect our ability to predict specific responses, but not the sign of the changes in atmospheric CO2 or the impact of this change
    on upper ocean pH.

    I could go on, but it is obvious that Betula’s point only stands if these quotes are presented out of context. It is also important to note that none of these quotes has anything to do with the graph I posted first up. From the first Betula has studiously avoided referring to this figure, instead choosing to attack the paper for:

    1) Rightly stating the uncertainties (it’s perhaps cogent to note here that nearly every scientific paper published will talk about uncertainty at some point – if we knew the answer why study the question?)

    2) The affiliations of the authors and their organisation’s stated aims based on a document published ten years after the paper was published.

    As stated early on in post #17: “Betula@8 relies on fallacious conflation of the scientific use of the term uncertainty – as in “uncertainty bounds” or “confidence intervals” – and the popular use of the word as in “don’t know” and “could be completely wrong”.

    Accordingly Betula’s hysterical conclusions are not justified by Betula’s references…”

    And this still hold true throughout the rest of Betula’s contributions on this thread…

  67. #68 Chris S.
    April 18, 2011

    Sorry, after posting the above I went & had a look at some more of Betula’s quotes & found that these two posted seperately:

    “we have considerable information about specific aspects of the carbon cycle, but many of the couplings and feedbacks are poorly understood.”

    “we severely test the limits of our understanding of how the Earth system will respond.”

    are actually from the same paragraph!

    Let us look at the paragraph in full and wonder why Betula chose to elide certain parts of it…

    “The global carbon cycle is affected by human activities and is coupled to other climatological and biogeochemical processes. As discussed above, we have considerable information about specific aspects of the carbon cycle, but many of the couplings and feedbacks are poorly understood. As we drift further away from the domain that characterized the preindustrial Earth system, we severely test the limits of our understanding of how the Earth system will respond.”

    (Betula’s next quote is the start of the next paragraph.)

    Betula states “I intentionally left out…” which is possibly the truest thing in any of Betula’s posts.

  68. #69 peterd
    April 18, 2011

    And further to Chris S.(#66), why all this fuss about an ELEVEN-year-old paper? Has Betula shown that the “uncertainties” mentioned there are still reflected in current knowledge? I suspect not.

  69. #70 Lotharsson
    April 18, 2011

    > “As we drift further away from the domain that characterized the preindustrial Earth system, we severely test the limits of our understanding of how the Earth system will respond.”

    …which, apart from the quote-mining that is evidence of spectacular dishonesty or misunderstanding, reinforces my earlier point: Betula is arguing low uncertainty if we continue with business as usual, but the science is calling bullshit on that proposition, even in the very paper that Betula cites as support for Betula’s proposition.

    I think this troll has had enough from me. It’s clear Betula is deeply misguided and does not care to be disabused of erroneous notions.

  70. #71 Chris S.
    April 18, 2011

    #68 peterd: That would involve Betula trawling through the 289 papers that cited this one in the past 11 years, rather than trolling through deltoid – I don’t think we can expect that much of Betula.

  71. #72 luminous beauty
    April 18, 2011

    Birch brain,

    >No bright light,the problem with the authors of the paper is to explain how prudent policies will correct the unknown causes and the unpredictable consequences.

    Right.

    Since the particular cause of any given house fire is unknowable in advance, and it is impossible to predict which houses in a community may suffer fires, nor the extent of how widely those fires may spread; then there is no self-evidently prudent reason to have a community fire department, nor to establish building codes designed to prevent or reduce house fires.

    Have I got it right?

  72. #73 adelady
    April 18, 2011

    luminous, I think you’re right. And now I realise all our advice to parents is misguided.

    We have no way of knowing in advance which particular litre of water in the uncountable number of litres of water in the world might drown a toddler. So there is no point in supervising infants in the bath. And it would be a waste of scarce resources to spend money on swimming lessons because we can’t even tell whether it would be seawater or freshwater that might drown any given child.

    Time and effort is thereby released to deal with more constructive activities than fruitless hand wringing over a child’s inability to swim.

  73. #74 Vince whirlwind
    April 18, 2011

    I’d just like to go on record to say that I quite like dill pickles. Usually accompanied by slices of nice salami.

    Anyway, do you think the person posting at Jo Nova’s as “BobC” is *the* BobC?

    If so, then I am astounded at the low intellectual calibre of somebody who has managed to pursue a long and otherwise apparently successful academic career. He’s a blithering idiot with no research or analysis skills and given to making easily demonstrated false assertions.
    And this is the guy (if it *is* the guy) that the Liberals wanted included on the government climate change panel.

  74. #75 peterd
    April 18, 2011

    #70, ChrisS, yes, I doubt Betula would bother reading them. In Google Scholar, when I checked yesterday, there were 400+ citations listed to this paper. I followed up a few and I will try to post separately on just one of those, which I found in a most interesting place.

  75. #76 Billy Bob Hall
    April 18, 2011

    Don’t feed them zoot. (#64) Listen to them ! They may know a thing of two that you don’t ! Especially about CO2 nonsense :-)

  76. #77 Betula
    April 18, 2011

    Dim Lit @71…
    I don’t recall the authors of the paper referring to house fires, but considering your inability to stay focused, I’m not surprised you would go that way.

    You may not believe this, but the results of a house fire, left unchecked, are not unknown or unpredictable…there is no upside.

    According to your logic, fire departments and fire codes are formed with a poor understanding of foreseeable causes and a complete lack of predictive capability. I need to run this by my neighbor who is a Captain in the fire department:

    “Hey Doug, is that wiring code for the new library based on uncertainties and a poor understanding of electrical fires along with a complete lack of predictive capabilities from the fire marshal?”

    “Funny you should ask! We had a panel of experts made up of politicians, union representatives, economists and a few electricians (hand selected and paid by the unions), plug some data into our Global Electrical Fire Model and come up with a variety of numbers. We then used the average to create hypothetical scenarios from which the code was based on. This way we can complete the building as we visioned it and also end poverty!”

    Dimmy, based on your brilliant comparison, I can only imagine the fire policy you must have implemented in your own home…

    I can see it now, someone has turned up the thermostat 1 degree in Dim Lit’s house. Feeling the rise in temperature, Dimmy sets off the sprinkler system and runs pell mell into the night screaming for the fire department…

  77. #78 Betula
    April 18, 2011

    @72

    Adelady, as a child, were you ever held underwater for a considerable length of time?

  78. #79 Gaz
    April 18, 2011

    Betula, to help you understand some of the comments you seem to have misinterpreted, try reading [this](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony).

    Also, look upwards from time to time, as most of the commentary here seems to be going way over your head.

  79. #80 peterd
    April 18, 2011

    OK. The story goes as follows. Following up, through Google Scholar, on papers that cite Falkowski et al (2000), I was led to a pdf of Siegenthaler at al (“Stable Carbon Cycle-Climate Relationship during the late Pleistocene”, Science, v,310, p1313 (2005)). I already had the pdf on my hard drive, but the link to the free pdf from Google Scholar caught my eye:
    http://tcrepublicans.com/source/science/Siegenthaler_2005_SCI310_p1313.pdf
    Closer investigation indicates that this is the website of the Tuolumne County Republican Party.
    Now, I haven’t checked my map to see to see where in CA Tuolumne County is located, but somehow the thought of Republicans gathering (over a Tea Party?) to talk about ice cores rather amuses me.

  80. #81 peterd
    April 18, 2011

    Betula: how is the reading going?
    If you don’t have time for the full papers, how about trying the abstracts? From the Abstract of Falkowski et al:
    “Our knowledge of the carbon cycle within the oceans, terrestrial ecosystems, and the atmosphere is sufficiently extensive to permit us to conclude that although natural
    processes can potentially slow the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2, there is no natural savior waiting to assimilate all the anthropogenically produced CO2 in the
    coming century.”

  81. #82 Lotharsson
    April 19, 2011

    > Adelady, as a child, were you ever held underwater for a considerable length of time?

    Desperate troll sounds desperate.

    > You may not believe this, but the results of a house fire, left unchecked, are not unknown or unpredictable…there is no upside.

    Unintelligent troll does not grok analogy.

    (Again.)

    And berates analogy provider for being dumb, to wit.

    The Poe index is increasing with every comment. Keep digging!

  82. #83 adelady
    April 19, 2011

    betula “… as a child, were you ever held underwater..”

    As it happens, my family made sure that we kids were never left alone in the bath. And I did the same for my kids.

    And I had swimming lessons – and so did my kids.

    These are sensible things that parents do for children. Not because they’re fearful or unrealistic, but because they understand that children and water mix well only when the dangers of that mix are avoided.

  83. #84 jakerman
    April 19, 2011

    Adelady,

    You spend money giving your kids swimming lessons? Surely you should wait until there is more certainly that you kids would drown? While any uncertainty exists you should argue resist all precaution.

    Socialist plot by the swimming instructors!

  84. #85 jakerman
    April 19, 2011

    LB likens Betula’s denial of the need for CO2 mitigation, based on on the argument that some uncertainty eixists, to denial of the need for for fire departments based on the arugment that there are uncertainties surounding development of future fires:

    >Since the particular cause of any given house fire is unknowable in advance, and it is impossible to predict which houses in a community may suffer fires, nor the extent of how widely those fires may spread; then there is no self-evidently prudent reason to have a community fire department, nor to establish building codes designed to prevent or reduce house fires.

    Betual restorts to fooling himself like a child playing peekaboo:

    >*According to your logic, fire departments and fire codes are formed with a poor understanding of foreseeable causes and a complete lack of predictive capability.*

    Betula’s need to misrepresent LB’s argument indicates the weakness of his own.

    Betual has it in reverse. LB want’s a fire department. Her analogy relates to both having sound evidence and justification despite uncertainties.

    If Betula’s argument is simply an apeal to uncertainty then its a looser. The [uncertaintly is skewed](http://cdn.greenoptions.com/e/e1/1000x800px-e12af180_sensitivity-big.gif). There is [far greter downside possibilites to AGW](http://www.skepticalscience.com/detailed-look-at-climate-sensitivity.html) than anything elese.

  85. #86 Chris S.
    April 19, 2011

    #74 peterd: I was looking at the ISI citations rather than Google Scholar, both metrics have their advantages & disadvantages.

    Two citations that caught my eye:

    The oceanic fixed nitrogen and nitrous oxide budgets: Moving targets as we enter the anthropocene? Codispoti et al (2001) Scientia Marina 65 pp 85-105

    Abstract: “New data force us to raise previous estimates of oceanic denitrification. Our revised estimate of similar to 450 Tg N yr(-1) (Tg = 10(12) g) produces an oceanic fixed N budget with a large, deficit (similar to 200 Tg N yr(-1)) that can be explained only by positing an ocean that has deviated far from a steady-state, the need for a major upwards revision of fixed N inputs, particularly nitrogen fixation, or both…”

    Plumbing the global carbon cycle: Integrating inland waters into the terrestrial carbon budget Cole et al (2007) Ecosystems 10 pp 171-184
    Abstract: “… By taking published estimates of gas exchange, sediment accumulation, and carbon transport for a variety of aquatic systems, we have constructed a budget for the role of inland water ecosystems in the global carbon cycle. Our analysis conservatively estimates that inland waters annually receive, from a combination of background and anthropogenically altered sources, on the order of 1.9 Pg C y(-1) from the terrestrial landscape, of which about 0.2 is buried in aquatic sediments, at least 0.8 (possibly much more) is returned to the atmosphere as gas exchange while the remaining 0.9 Pg y(-1) is delivered to the oceans, roughly equally as inorganic and organic carbon. Thus, roughly twice as much C enters inland aquatic systems from land as is exported from land to the sea …”

    Unknowns become uncertainties become estimates become (sometimes) known. This is how science works.

  86. #87 Wow
    April 19, 2011

    > Also, look upwards from time to time, as most of the commentary here seems to be going way over your head.

    Either because the brow is too low and the thoughts glance off, or the troll keeps ducking and complaining about how it’s all so difficult.

    Betula, we don’t understand how gravity works, so I guess we’d better stop spending money on airplanes since we might learn how to fly! Worse, those “proofs” of how fixed winged flight works is based on COMPUTER MODELS! GIGO!!!

  87. #88 luminous beauty
    April 19, 2011

    Betula,

    >You may not believe this, but the results of a house fire, left unchecked, are not unknown or unpredictable…there is no upside.

    You may not believe this, but ecosystems and civilizations have been known to collapse. The results are predictably a downer.

    It may well not be possible for ecologists nor historians to reconstruct the precise causality of the unraveling of species interactions in the former nor the fragmenting of supporting social institutions in the latter, nor exactly which failures in particular were most critical, nor the timing and sequence of their consequent loss of viability. This uncertain knowledge makes it difficult to predict how other existing systems, which are, in addition, structurally different in many ways, may suffer similar catastrophic changes. We are nonetheless certain beyond a reasonable doubt, sudden climate change, many times linked to imprudent land and resource use policies, has often been a precipitating factor for both.

    If imprudent policies continue to be followed, it would be small comfort were the precise details of the timing and sequence of our downfall perfectly predictable.

  88. #89 Betula
    April 19, 2011

    Peterd @79…

    The statement you posted says nothing. In fact, it’s very similar to this one, which also says nothing:

    “Again, as in the case of marine ecosystems,
    we can predict that the negative feedback
    afforded by terrestrial ecosystems in
    removing anthropogenic CO2 from atmosphere
    will continue; however, the sink
    strength will almost certainly weaken. The
    exact magnitude of the change in sink
    strength remains unclear.”

    Yes, the sink strength will “almost” certainly weaken. We’re not certain when, we’re unclear about how much, but we’re almost certain it will weaken!”

    (So our almost certainty is confirmed by our uncertainty)

    Now, if each of you could grab a few of our brochures titled “Our Vision To Eliminate Poverty” on the way out, we would appreciate it. And be sure to distribute them to your friends! Thank you.

  89. #90 Betula
    April 19, 2011

    And by the way, anticipating another trenchant comment like this from Chris @28….”Betula doesn’t want to eradicate poverty”, I will simply say that I don’t believe enacting fire codes and giving swimming lessons is the way to go about it.

  90. #91 Chris S.
    April 19, 2011

    Ask a scientist whether the sun will rise in the morning & she’ll say “almost certainly”.

    Betula – do you have any proof of the existence of these “eliminate poverty” brochures? Aside of course from a draft document produced last year. Any evidence ofany brochures or similar in existence at the time the paper was published?

    No, didn’t think so…

  91. #92 Stephe Baines
    April 19, 2011

    87 Betula.

    That statement actually says a lot, but you need context. There was a hope in some corners that the earth might be able to absorb more atmopsheric CO2 as CO2 concentrations increased. Basically, that statement says that was a false hope. That means ~50 of the CO2 we emit will continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, as it has in the past. In fact, the likelihood is that it will be more that 50% as CO2 rises.

  92. #93 MIke
    April 19, 2011

    @76

    @72 Adelady, as a child, were you ever held underwater for a considerable length of time?

    Betula, there are ways and means of convincing readers here that you have the maturity to listen to and understand reasoned argument and technical facts.

    That is not one of them.

    @75 Betula

    I can see it now, someone has turned up the thermostat 1 degree in Dim Lit’s house. Feeling the rise in temperature, Dimmy sets off the sprinkler system and runs pell mell into the night screaming for the fire department..

    I’ll be glad if I have totally misinterpreted this as an attempt to compare the consequences of a 1 degree increase in a house heating thermostat with a 1 degree increase in an average planetary temperature.

    For if not, it would truly be one of the most ridiculous “apples versus oranges” comparisons I have ever heard.

  93. #94 chek
    April 19, 2011

    Ol’ Betula is doing a fine job in reminding us that denialism is still a strong force. Mainly in the intellectually challenged, but that’s budget cuts for ya.

    But nevertheless so too should we drench ourselves in tears, along with Betula, weeping at all the lost opportunities that horrid AGW believers have erected to obstruct Betula and his corporate allies from relieving the burden on the world’s poor, if only they could.

    Whoa, whoa and thrice whoa. Diddums.

    Of course some malcontents may maliciously suggest that Betula Inc. were quite happily engineering, and seemingly entirely unphased by world poverty until another, larger threat to the wallet materialised.

    But then, in the face of such breathtaking hypocrisy and worse naivete they would, wouldn’t they?

  94. #95 peterd
    April 19, 2011

    Betula: I think you’re missing the point, yet again.
    You have tried to quote- rather selectively in my view- from an ELEVEN-year-old paper that summarised aspects of the carbon cycle, emphasising the word “uncertainty” to suit your point of view. The gist of the paper is given in the Abstract, as I wrote [I paraphrase]: we already know enough about the carbon cycle to know that there is no “natural saviour” that is suddenly going to take up the CO2 that we are adding to the atmosphere. Therefore, it can be expected that CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise. They also suggest that we do not know enough about the cycle to know what the effects on the cycle itself, and its feedbacks, through efforts to offset the rising CO2 (as by carbon sequestration) are going to be. This is where uncertainty becomes more relevant. You continue to play on the word “uncertainty” as if you have made some Great Discovery that undermines the entire argument about AGW. You have not.

    I asked whether you had made any effort even to determine whether the “uncertainty” or “lack of consensus” about some aspects of the science mentioned in this 2000 paper is reflected in the current (today’s) accepted knowledge. Your lack of a response indicates that you have done no independent reading, to verify how the accepted knowledge in the various aspects of the C cycle covered in this paper has developed since 2000. According to you, then, scientific knowledge, and specifically climate-science knowledge, is static? Consider just one example: the “lack of consensus” (p.294, para. 4) concerning the causes of the processes occurring at glacial terminations. Is there really a lack of consensus *now*? Recall that it was not so long ago that the denialosphere was all abuzz with talk of the paper by Stott et al., “Southern Hemisphere and Deep-Sea Warming Led Deglacial Atmospheric CO2 Rise and Tropical Warming” (Science Express, Sept. 27, 2007). This paper was cited by some know-alls as “proof” that CO2 always lags temperature (so let’s not do anything about CO2, right?). But this paper clarifies the sequence of events at the last termination: as the Royal Society explained it (I use and adapt their wording), the end of the last ice age began in the higher latitudes of the southern hemisphere before sweeping into the tropics, and this study confirms previous data that elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lagged behind the initial warming event – by about 1000 years – and that the principal driver of climate change is the sun, with carbon dioxide ( CO2 ) amplifying the effects. It acted to reinforce what was previously only suspected, and therefore helped solidify scientific understanding.

    I suspect that you- like many others who post their nonsense on climate blogs- have a very limited comprehension of how science works, Bet. As Chris S noted, science involves, in part, a move from the completely unknown, through stages of decreased uncertainty, to accepted knowledge about how nature works. But “accepted knowledge” is probably a term that’s completely foreign to your vocabulary. Like the fools who cavil at conditional terms like “might” or “could” or “suggest” or “indicates” in scientific papers, you want absolute certainty on everything. Unfortunately, neither science nor life are about absolute certainty, Bet.

  95. #96 MFS
    April 20, 2011

    Anybody else feel like betula has hijacked the thread with his/her bullcrap?

    I think killfile is indicated…

  96. #97 Mike
    April 20, 2011

    Yeah. You know, I don’t have a problem debating with genuine sceptics or even ignorant ones.

    But when their entire argument rests on the interpretation of a few vague and imprecise terms listed in a decade-old paper, and is completely devoid of any actual A+B=C science, it gets very tiring, very quickly.

    If Betula walks off a very tall ocean cliff it is probable that he will die (but heck, there may be a convenient rock ledge just 6 feet below).

    However “probable” in Betula’s own native tongue means “so much uncertainty that the premise can’t be trusted at all and you needn’t worry yourself too much about it”, therefore I trust that Betula will have no problem in finding said tall ocean cliff and proving to us all how smart he is.

  97. #98 Geoff Beacon
    April 20, 2011

    I have asked this elsewhere but not had any good references yet…

    I would like comments on what I have been told:

    The world has about one person per two hectares of land.

    Before the famine in Ireland, potatoes and a cow could feed 20 to 30 people per hectare.

    Chinese families could feed themselves on 1/16th of a hectare. That is about 50 people per hectare.

    Permaculturists can grow food almost anywhere (e.g. Sepp Holzer in the Austrian Alps, Geoff Lawton in the Jordanian desert)

    What’s the biological barrier to feeding only one person for every two hectares of land, when 50 per hectare may be possible?

    THE IMPORTANT BIT

    There appears to be no “scientific” work in the UK on this but plenty aiming to feed the world on internationally traded monoculture produce. Anyone know of good research anwhere? Peer reviewed if possible.

  98. #99 Lotharsson
    April 20, 2011

    > But when their entire argument rests on the interpretation of a few vague and imprecise terms listed in a decade-old paper,…

    Oh, it’s much worse than that!

    Betula’s argument relies on arguing that scientific uncertainty is a good reason to avoid using the science as input to public policy…

    …whilst simultaneously acting as if the very same science and any associated uncertainty do not apply to the “keep emitting as much as you like” public policy that Betula appears to advocate. And those actions are taking the climate system and ecosystem firmly out of the (geologically and ecologically) recent normal.

    The valid argument is not “do we or do we not know enough to decide whether to do something about climate change”. That’s a false frame. The valid argument is, “given what we know about climate change along with our confidence in the various pieces of knowledge, what should we do”? “Keep emitting what you like” is merely one possible policy, and arguing that its outcomes are somehow more certain (let alone prudent) than those of other policies is somewhere between deeply naive and a flat-out con.

    If Betula understands this, then Betula is simply hoping to deceive less sophisticated readers.

    If Betula does not understand this, then evidence suggests Betula is not competent enough in this arena to even understand why Betula is wrong – let alone to determine what prudent policies might actually be.

  99. #100 FrankD
    April 20, 2011

    Geoff,

    I don’t know about the rest of your question, but the statement “before the famine in Ireland, potatoes and a cow could feed 20 to 30 people per hectare” is utter tosh. Even it if were remotely true (it isn’t) it would reflect a diet we would consider totally inadequate, so as a basis for comparison its useless.

    Firstly, its just wrong – lets do the maths.
    While yields of up to 100 tons per hectare have been achieved with modern practices, before the famine in Ireland, crops of ~6 tons per acre (15 tons per hectare) were normal.

    Many estimates point to consumption by labourers of 10 – 16 pounds (4.5 – 7 kilograms) of potatoes per day – that sounds a lot, but this was pretty much the only food they ate. So 15 tons per hectare would feed 6 – 7 labourers for a year – women and children consume between 30% and 80% of that depending on age. Discount the 18 – 24% lost to wastage, need for seed potatoes for next year etc. Given the “statistical” family unit from the 1841 census, (3.49 people – source below gives breakdown of age profile) I would estimate you could maintain 8 people of all ages per hectare, eating nothing but spuds.

    Although the idea that such a smallholder could afford to keep a cow is rather laughable, lets consider animal consumption. For meat, the conversion rate for beef and pork works out about about 35 kg of spuds to 1 kg of meat on a cow or pig (it depends a lot on their “housing” though). Meat consumption per capita varies between the richest (100+kg/capita/year) and poorest (3 kg/capita/year), but the global average is ~50 kg per head. Raising that much meat would take 1.75 tons of potatoes – so again, 1 hectare could support enough livestock to raise enough meat for about 7 people per year to consume the global average amount (that’s just the meat for them, not their whole diet). I don’t have data for milk production, but just to keep a cow alive takes a minimum of 3.5 tons of potatoes per year (10 kg/day).

    Secondly, it kind of implies that eating nothing but potatoes would be okay with people today, which is silly. Smashing the above together, adjusting for a more modern diet (since these numbers are supposed to prove something about today), and allowing for leaving enough potatoes and livestock to produce next years food, 1 hectare would produce enough meat and potatoes (and very little else) to feed the statistically average family from the 1841 census – 3.5 people. That’s broken down between about 4 tons of spuds (half the just-potato diet amounts above) and about 11 tons split between fattening animals for slaughter and maintaining animals to make more animals for food (and some milk, probably). And that does not come within cooee of a modern western diet.

    Most of the stats come from here: http://www.tara.tcd.ie/jspui/bitstream/2262/7818/1/jssisiVolXXIPartVI_7296.pdf