A Few Things Ill Considered

The Models Don’t Have Clouds

This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


Objection:

Clouds are a very large negative feedback that will stop any drastic warming. The climate models don’t even take cloud effects into account.

Answer:

All of the Atmospheric Global Climate Models used for the kind of climate projections reported on by the IPCC take the effects of clouds into account. You can read a discussion about cloud processes and feedbacks in the IPCC TAR.

It is true however that clouds are one of the largest sources of uncertainty in the GCM’s. They are very complicated to model because they have both positive feedbacks, preventing surface heat from escaping back into space and negative feedbacks, reflecting incoming sun light before it can even reach the surface. The precise balance of these opposing effects depends on the time of day, the time of year, the cloud’s altitude, the size of the water droplets and/or ice particles forming the clouds, the latitude, the current air temperature and the cloud’s size and shape. On top of that, different types of clouds will interact, amplifying or mitigating each other’s effect as they co-exist in different layers of the atmosphere. There are also latent heat considerations as water vapour condenses during cloud formation and precipitation events and as water droplets evaporate when clouds dissipate.

The ultimate contribution to global temperature trends is very uncertain, but according to the best estimates is likely to be positive over the coming century. There is no indication anywhere that any kind of cloud processes will stop greenhouse gas driven warming, and this includes observations of the past as well as modelling experiments.


This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


“The Models Don’t Have Clouds” was first published here, where you can still find the original comment thread. This updated version is also posted on the Grist website, where additional comments can be found, though the author, Coby Beck, does not monitor or respond there.

Comments

  1. #1 paul
    November 21, 2008

    This explanation is incoherent. You say,

    “The ultimate contribution to global temperature trends is very uncertain, but according to the best estimates is likely to be positive over the coming century.”

    So is their effect ovet the next century “very uncertain” or is it “likely” to increase temperatures? It can’t be both.

    [coby: while it is not the precise use of language you will find in the IPCC documents, I think "incoherent" is just a litle harsh! It is uncertain but more likely positive.]

    You also say “There is no indication anywhere that any kind of cloud processes will stop greenhouse gas driven warming”.

    I would point you to your previous paragraph. You say quite clearly that modelling clouds is very difficult and there are potential positive and negative feedbacks, and exactly what will happen is not clear – “The precise balance of these opposing effects depends on…[a number of things]“.

    So which is it, is it possible that some “cloud processes” could decrease temperature or is it not.

    [coby: It is possible clouds could mitigate warming, but there is no evidence anywhere that suggests cloud effects can actually stop temperature rise or that they can cause a net cooling

  2. #2 coby
    November 21, 2008

    paul, see my replies inline.

  3. #3 paul
    November 22, 2008

    This is not a topic I know much about, I would like to know more. But I am completely underwhelmed by your answers. You are phrasing it so as to put a positive spin on the unalterable fact no’one really understands clouds or how they will change or be changed by the temperatures and/or climate.

    That’s ok for me and my stance on AGW, as I just think the debate needs to continue and am happy to accept this. However, for those who wish to claim that the debate is over, not understanding a major player in climate dynamics poses a problem, and trying to brush this away with “likely” is not going to convince anyone.

  4. #4 Greg
    January 25, 2009

    You know, reading over what you wrote and paul’s response to it, I wonder if part of the problem is that you’ve been using a lot of “science-speak” that means one thing to scientists and another to non-scientists.

    I think that what you were trying to say, in brief, was, “Yes, there is a whole lot that we don’t know about clouds, but we understand them well enough to be able to say that even taking into account the things that we don’t know, we are pretty certain that they are not going to cancel out the effect of CO2.” As a researcher in a different field, this is certainly what I got from what you wrote.

    However, to people who are not used to the practice of quantifying and understanding uncertainties, all that they see is a lot of discussion about how uncertain things are, and then remarkably how nonetheless you think that you understand something well enough to draw a conclusion from it!

    Anyway, just my two cents, for what it’s worth. :-)

  5. #5 coby
    January 25, 2009

    Hi Greg,

    You’re probably right it could be worded a bit better. Maybe I’ll revisit this one in the future, perhaps with a focus on Richard Lindzen’s failed “iris” hypothesis.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  6. #6 SemiChemE
    June 19, 2009

    The main article’s argument is pretty weak. You state that cloud effects are complex and are likely to be one of the largest sources of uncertainty in the models, but then state that the “best” estimates indicate they are likely to be a positive feedback to global warming. What are those best estimates and what evidence indicates that the effects of clouds are likely to contribute to warming?

    The fact of the matter is that clouds have an enormous effect on weather and thus on climate. Through the precipitation cycle, they control the distribution of the most important greenhouse gas (water vapor) in the atmosphere. Furthermore, they have a very large effect on the Earth’s albedo and thus on the amount of solar radiation arriving at the earth’s surface. If GCMs cannot properly model cloud behavior, they cannot be expected to provide accurate results.

    Finally, you state that “There is no indication anywhere that any kind of cloud processes will stop greenhouse gas driven warming”. However, in another post you indicate that aerosols contributed to a significant degree to the cooling in the mid-twentieth century. In fact aerosols are known to enhance cloud formation through seeding of water droplets. It is very likely that the global cooling caused by aerosol pollution was largely due to enhanced cloud formation. Therefore, clouds certainly have the potential to counter-act any CO2-induced global warming. Thus, unless we understand how global warming impacts cloud formation, we cannot expect to be able to make long-range predictions of global warming effects.

  7. #7 coby
    June 19, 2009

    “What are those best estimates and what evidence indicates that the effects of clouds are likely to contribute to warming?”

    The evidence comes from observations of past climate changes, both modern and glacial-interglacial climate. It is hard to get ~10oC warming from GHG, orbital changes and albedo if clouds are a significant negative feedback. I recommend the IPCC report for summaries and citation of the primary literature on this topic.

    “The fact of the matter is that clouds have an enormous effect on weather and thus on climate. Through the precipitation cycle, they control the distribution of the most important greenhouse gas (water vapor) in the atmosphere.”

    I think you have this backwards. The amount of vapour in the atmosphere (partly) controls cloud formation. Regardless, I have no objection to saying clouds are a very important part of weather and climate.

    “Furthermore, they have a very large effect on the Earth’s albedo and thus on the amount of solar radiation arriving at the earth’s surface.”

    …and the amount of IR escaping.

    “It is very likely that the global cooling caused by aerosol pollution was largely due to enhanced cloud formation.”

    Can you provide some evidence for this?

    “Therefore, clouds certainly have the potential to counter-act any CO2-induced global warming.”

    And yet they aren’t now, and didn’t seem to in the interclacial climates.

    “Thus, unless we understand how global warming impacts cloud formation, we cannot expect to be able to make long-range predictions of global warming effects.”

    I can’t argue with this depending on the precision you are looking for. However arguments about uncertainty cut both ways. The models could well be drastically underestimating future warming as easily as they could be drastically overestimating. For example, sea ice and ice sheet modeling is very incomplete and thus far nature is responding much more dramatically than the models said we should expect.

  8. #8 Steve
    June 20, 2009

    I would like to ask a question, probably against my better judgement. Nothing is ever solved or resolved on these blogs. But here goes.

    The key to the entire global warming debate is how much affect Co2 has on global temperatures. Correct? All the historical data and climate models are just used to support ones view, whatever that may be.

    To me, all of that is a distraction from the real issue. Exactly how does Co2 influence the climate. I have read articles about the greenhouse effect. It sounds like a pretty simple and reasonable answer. But I have also read quite a few articles completely debunking this view.

    Without just trying to discredit those that disagree with the greenhouse effect view, I would love to see a real discussion from people with much more expertise than me, from both sides of the issue, without it denigrating into a bash fest.

  9. #9 coby
    June 20, 2009

    Hi Steve,

    The greenhouse effect of planetary atmospheres and the radiative physics that it is based on is such basic textbook science that you simply will not find a real discussion between two people with real expertise on whether or not it exists. The best you can do is hear a lecture about it.

    If you have a specific “debunking” of the GHE in mind, perhaps I can help show you where it is wrong.

    I am very serious though, and not just trying to belittle anyone, this is well established and uncontroversial science for over 100 years. If it were wrong, NASA’s probes to other planets would fail because they would be designed for inappropriate temperatures; astronomers would be all wrong about the composition of stars and galaxies and the sizes and temperatures of extra solar bodies and many other things in many fields of science would be complete garbage.

  10. #10 Steve
    June 20, 2009

    Hi Coby,

    Do you think there is a distinction between atmospheric composition and atmospheric density in terms of their affect on global temps? Which is more important?

  11. #11 Richard Simons
    June 20, 2009

    I am very serious though, and not just trying to belittle anyone, this is well established and uncontroversial science for over 100 years. If it were wrong, . . .

    I wonder how many non-scientists realize that the usual method for determining the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere relies on the absorption of infrared radiation, the same effect that is also responsible for the greenhouse effect?

  12. #12 Steve
    June 20, 2009

    Richard,

    Well, I’m a non-scientist. What do you mean? Can you answer my question above (#10)regarding composition and density? Sorry if these are somewhat rudimentary questions.

    Thanks.

  13. #13 Richard Simons
    June 20, 2009

    Steve: the concentration of CO2 (and various other gases) is usually measured by measuring the amount of absorption of infrared radiation at specific wavelengths. The greenhouse gases are effective because they absorb infrared radiation (the energy being turned into heat).

    The relative amounts of N2, O2, CO2, water vapour and the other gases have a negligible effect on atmospheric density (as I understand it – I am not an atmospheric scientist). Atmospheric density depends mainly on temperature (hotter = less dense) and air pressure so if anything the relationship is the other way round.

  14. #14 m2moyer
    July 5, 2009

    To get back to clouds, in trying to model out cloud effect you have to set the variable of how much the temperature will rise. Greater temperature generally leads to greater atmospheric instability, greater instability leads to greater cloud coverage, and greater cloud coverage has a net cooling effect.

    But for use weather forecasters that simply do forecasting and not global climate or modeling we are quite familiar with the effects of local, meso, synoptic, and hemispheric. and that you go from large scale to small scale not the other way around, when trying to write a forecast, if you try and say the local scale will effect the synoptic, you’ll get the forecast wrong every time.

    Remember, too, to distinguish what is “local weather” from what is “global climate”. It’s the difference between being able to predict that a tea kettle will blow a “whistle” when certain thermodynamic conditions are met, and NOT being able to predict the space-time-phase diagram of individual water molecules, and yet still being able to predict the overall shape and form of the stream of vapor/steam that emerges from the kettle’s mouth.

  15. #15 coby
    July 5, 2009

    Hi m2moyer,

    As I understand it, the net effect of cloud coverage depends on time of day, type of cloud and altitude, as well as the interaction of various layers of cloud cover. For a simple example, cloudy nights are warmer than clear ones (time of day effect).

    I like your boiling kettle analogy! Thanks for the visit.

  16. #16 crakar14
    July 14, 2009

    Here is a very good explanation of computer models.

    h.t.t.p://climaterealists.com/index.php?id=3711

  17. #17 dhogaza
    July 14, 2009

    The basic explanation of how models work isn’t bad. However his conclusion that CO2 doesn’t cause warming but rather changes in cloud cover do is based on one statement he makes:

    “I believe”

    Doesn’t get you far in science.

  18. #18 crakar14
    July 14, 2009

    Yes agreed the basic explanation is good (for the layman like me anyway). The point he makes is that a small change in cloud cover could account for what is believed to be CO2 induced warming. Cloud cover is poorly understood or catered for in the models so he “believes” this maybe the source of the temp changes and not CO2.

    Mind you dhogaza the statements “very likely” or “very unlikely” dont get you too far in science either.

    To put it another way, the accuracy of a model is determined by the accuracy with which it simulates each climatic factor and climatic process rather than the closeness of the match between its output and historical data. If the internal processing is correct then so too will be the output, but accurate output does not confer accuracy on the internal process.

    For example;

    The combination of a number of inaccuracies can produce acceptable outputs if calculations that are too high counterbalance those that are too low.

    It all gets back to that statement “if you cant explain it you cant model it”.

  19. #19 dhogaza
    July 14, 2009

    Since crakar14 is making a rare attempt to be reasonable and thoughtful, I’ll answer.

    Cloud cover is poorly understood or catered for in the models so he “believes” this maybe the source of the temp changes and not CO2.

    “poorly understood” does not mean “no knowledge”. In other words, it doesn’t mean that the possible physics is unknown and unbounded, and that you can just plug in any value you want that happens to give results that match your political beliefs. Which is essentially what he’s claiming.

    The other problem he and spencer etc face is that if changes in cloud cover are driving climate change, then everything known by physicists about the interaction of CO2 and LW IR in the atmosphere is wrong. It is up to your side to *prove* that known physics is bollocks. You have to be able to reproduce the success of models using known physics in paleoclimate, etc as well. You can’t just say “I believe that the underlying physics is wrong” just because you do, and expect anyone in the world of science to pay attention.

    Which … is why people don’t.

  20. #20 dhogaza
    July 14, 2009

    The combination of a number of inaccuracies can produce acceptable outputs if calculations that are too high counterbalance those that are too low.

    While true, if you’re going to claim this is true in regard to current GCMs, YOUR SIDE NEEDS TO SHOW IT. Spreading FUD isn’t doing science. Saying “I believe” isn’t doing science.

  21. #21 crakar14
    July 14, 2009

    dhogaza,

    First post,

    poorly understood means poorly understood

    Which is what you have just shown on this topic, they are not saying that clouds drive the climate they are saying that clouds act as both heat trapping and sunlight reflecting objects which can either add to or reduce the temps. As we have a poor understanding of cloud formation and very little data on cloud increase or decrease over the years the models cannot simulate this very important part of the climate.

    This has nothing to do with the physics of atmospheric CO2 or political beliefs, i hope you understand this now.

    Second post,

    I am not claiming anything just stating fact, the internal processes of a computer model need to be correct for the output to be correct, this can be applied to any model not just ones used for climate.

    As you agree my statement was true then you must also agree that, cloud formation and precipitation are poorly understood as this is part of the internal process of a model the output should not be viewed as the be all and end all of climate science. This is not about proving the GCM’s wrong and winning some petty debate on a website it is about using their results as another tool available in attempting to predict furture climate. As our understanding of the climate process improves so will the models results.

    Until then models will assist us in our ever growing understand of Earths climate.

    By the way I did not know there were sides in science, differing of opinion yes but sides? It is a shame that only one of us is attempting to be reasonable and thoughtful whilst the other just continues with same old diatribe.

  22. #22 Ian Forrester
    July 14, 2009

    Crakar, your “side” is not doing science.

  23. #23 crakar14
    July 14, 2009

    And what side might that be Ian?

  24. #24 Ian Forrester
    July 14, 2009

    Your “side” consists of a bunch of whackos who are misinformed, dishonest and don’t know squat about science or how it works. They are only posting to confuse those people who are not up on the science of climate change.

    They have differing motives for this obfuscation but one thing they never do is read or quote a real paper let alone write one.

  25. #25 crakar14
    July 14, 2009

    What are their differing motives Ian?

  26. #26 dhogaza
    July 15, 2009

    As we have a poor understanding of cloud formation and very little data on cloud increase or decrease over the years the models cannot simulate this very important part of the climate.

    However, as I tried to explain above, despite it being poorly understood, as much as it *is* understood, points to the net effect being positive, not negative. There’s plenty of research that makes that almost certain.

    In fact, there’s building evidence that the positive feedback from clouds and other sources will be higher than even the highest current model result.

    For a good time, go to WUWT and watch those who would overturn climate science – including the host, Watts – totally misunderstand another paper, thinking it means that current model results are too high rather than possibly 30% too low.

  27. #27 ThomasC
    July 15, 2009

    Crakar14 is right that clouds are not only poorly understood, they are even worse modeled. The GCM’s treat clouds as an “average tunable cloudiness parameter” based on radiative heat transfer. The best example I can give is with structural statics: if you have a supporting structure to whatever you’re analyzing, it is fair to represent it as a spring, with an equivalent spring stiffness of the actual supporting structure. Notice that the spring stiffness of sup. structure can be measured/calculated, so this is just a simplification and can be called “parametrization” (as done with radiation in some models according to RC). “Tunable parameter”, would be if we didn’t know (or couldn’t measure) the spring stiffness, and attempted to calculate it back (hindcasting) to an observed force-displacement (historical reconstructed records). As far as I see it, this is where the clouds fall in. And clouds being much smaller than the spatial scale of the most state-of-the-art models, they must be averaged to at least one grid size (which is still a couple of orders of magnitude larger), hence the “tunable average cloudiness parameter”. The danger in this, is that you’re already assuming some kind of a response mechanism, and are working back to get a parameter to fit a potentially flawed assumption (like convective heat transport /w water, which is not radiation based at all!)

    That’s why a statement like “All of the Atmospheric Global Climate Models (…) take the effects of clouds into account” should not be comforting to anyone. They are essentially reduced to radiative shields or traps. I haven’t seen any discussions on how convective heat transport with water is accounted for in clouds, perhaps someone might point me in the right direction

  28. #28 Ian Forrester
    July 15, 2009

    Crakar, here is a link to a list of the reasons people like you are anti-science, especially anti-AGW.

    Please read it and tell us where you think you fit in, or would you rather we did it for you?

    ht-tp://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/12/the_australians_war_on_science_28.php#comment-1272743
    (remove the hyphen)

  29. #29 dhogaza
    July 15, 2009

    The danger in this, is that you’re already assuming some kind of a response mechanism, and are working back to get a parameter to fit a potentially flawed assumption (like convective heat transport /w water, which is not radiation based at all!)

    So you’re saying that convective heat transport in the troposphere is just a “flawed assumption”, with no physics underlying it?

    Are you sure you want to hang your hat on that hook?

  30. #30 ThomasC
    July 15, 2009

    No, dhogaza, I’m saying that assigning an average radiative parameter to clouds is a flawed assumption, because there are a lot of interactions which are not radiation based

    I never said that convective heat transport (with water) has no underlying physics, only that it should not be modeled with radiation heat-transfer equations.

    This is akin to me modeling a resistor with an inductor.

  31. #31 dhogaza
    July 15, 2009

    No, dhogaza, I’m saying that assigning an average radiative parameter to clouds is a flawed assumption, because there are a lot of interactions which are not radiation based

    If I had to guess, they don’t just assign one average radiative parameter to model the effects of clouds.

  32. #32 dhogaza
    July 15, 2009

    More on the “flawed assumption” that leads to the “assigning an average radiative parameter to clouds” in GISS Model E:

    Cloud processes

    CONDSE is a driver that sets up the vertical arrays for the column models for moist convection and large scale condensation, and accumulates diagnostics and output for the radiation and other modules.

    Moist convection

    The moist convection routine is a plume based model (Yao and Del Genio, 1995) that incorporates entraining and non-entraining plumes, downdrafts (which can also entrain environmental air), subsidence (using the quadratic upstream scheme).

    Large scale condensation

    The main cloud generating routine LSCOND is based on Del Genio et al 1996, with some modifications to improve the simulation of the nucleation of super-cooled precipitation and the estimate of near-surface cloud formation in very shallow pbl conditions.

    Oh, wait, looks like they do much, much more than “assign an average radiative parameter to clouds”

  33. #33 dhogaza
    July 15, 2009

    ThomasC, before pontificating more on “how GCMs work”, you might want to spend some time studying how they actually do work rather than rely on third-hand descriptions.

    Here’s the main documentation for GISS Model E

    You can browse the model source online. A good place to start looking to understand how clouds are actully modeled would appear to be in these modules:

    CLOUDS.f, CLOUDS_COM.f, CLOUDS_DRV.f: Column model, common variables and driver routines for moist convection and large scale condensation

    I suspect the model’s not as primitive as you’ve been led to believe …

  34. #34 Adam
    July 15, 2009

    dhogaza –

    pshhht. We know that entire document is a lie written by the lying liars at GISS who COOK THE BOOKS and hand-wave away any VERY SERIOUS problems with models the anyway. That’s only the fake documentation they put on their website to trick fanatical environmentalists into believing the models aren’t just guys sitting around an etch-a-sketch drawing increasing temperature lines on a graph.

    What’s next, are you going to quote the IPCC report as some sort of scientific consensus instead of the personal opinion of Al Gore who just wants other people to use less energy so there’s more for him to use?????

  35. #35 ThomasC
    July 16, 2009

    First off, I never said that they assign “one average radiative parameter” for the whole global finite element model, let’s not build a strawman here. Averaged out over an element size, yes (which is still very large).

    From the HadCM3:
    “The large-scale precipitation and cloud scheme is
    formulated in terms of an explicit cloud water variable following Smith (1990).” I couldn’t dig up the paper, but the abstract follows “the cloud amount and water content are generated by a scheme which assumes a distribution of thermodynamic and water content variables about their grid-box-mean values.” That’s where the average parameter comes in, average, because the equatorial grid size in that finite-volume grid is 417 km x 278 km (orders upon orders of magnitude larger than clouds).

    Thanks for the link to GISS ModelE. I’m glad they have some kind of a moist convection scheme. I take back the radiation part, it seems they are handling the moist heat transport in the energy balance which may be ok. Still, the ModelE has an even greater element size, and when you’ve got energy or inertia transport from element to element, you’re averaging. A way to capture this behavior across boundaries is to use mesh refinement, higher-degree shape function or use adaptive meshing, none of which are mentioned in ModelE (though some do show promise)

    Adam gets an A+ for sarcasm, we all know that GCM’s are serious business

  36. #36 dhogaza
    July 16, 2009

    First off, I never said that they assign “one average radiative parameter” for the whole global finite element model

    No, I didn’t think you did. I assumed you meant PER GRID CELL, which is a false statement.

    The large-scale precipitation and cloud scheme is
    formulated in terms of an explicit cloud water variable following Smith (1990).”

    In software, a parameter and variable are very different. So when you said “parameter” I understood you to mean something very different than is implied by the quote above.

    My guess is that Model E does something similar but as a result of the somewhat detailed convection-based cloud model, which chases plumes up multiple layers until it stabilizes, appears to have different parameterization for anvil clouds. Hmm actually IIRC from my quick read of the comments in the code they do some horizontal transfer stuff when modeling plumes so maybe it’s not as simple as the quote implies is true for HadCM3 (there’s already a HadCM4 BTW).

    I take back the radiation part, it seems they are handling the moist heat transport in the energy balance which may be ok.

    Thank you. I almost posted Adam to say that his sarcastic response was undeserved, because you do seem to be trying to understand and learn, as opposed to certain other people who post here.

    Nothing wrong with honest skepticism.

    Still, the ModelE has an even greater element size, and when you’ve got energy or inertia transport from element to element, you’re averaging.

    They’re working on a new version in preparation for doing new runs for the next round of IPCC stuff (as I understand it).

    I have no idea whether the growth in computing power that I assume they can tap into vs. the runs done a few years ago for the last TAR is going to be invested in a smaller grid size or better physics modeling per cell (which implies more computation per cell).

    A way to capture this behavior across boundaries is to use mesh refinement, higher-degree shape function or use adaptive meshing, none of which are mentioned in ModelE (though some do show promise)

    As I’m sure you know, the computational requirements for modeling on this scale are immense, so I’m sure they’re constantly weighing trade-offs between better physics modeling with cells, better ways of computing the behavior across cell boundaries, and grid size (which as you mentioned a couple of posts ago limits the size of features that can be resolved directly by the model).

    And, of course, how long you’re willing to watch the lights blink and the computer center lights go dim while it’s running. :) Oh yes, and how many runs you need for averaging to give you reasonable results.

    So I’d be surprised if they were unaware of such techniques…

  37. #37 dhogaza
    July 16, 2009

    No, I didn’t think you did. I assumed you meant PER GRID CELL, which is a false statement.

    Let me clarify a bit, I assumed you meant they picked one parameter per grid cell from a set of global parameters, based say on temp, rel humidity, etc etc.

    I hope you’ll look at the videos coby has posted, they’re interesting.

  38. #38 Michael
    July 16, 2009

    Well hello! I’m back again.
    I realise that I am out of my depth scientifically in this forum.
    I will no longer pose any questions on various posters opinions on any other aspect of the subject of AGW.
    I realise, Coby that you’ve closed the thread on Prof. Ian Plimer, but I’d just like to ask one more question of all readers: Can I get a show of hands as to who has read his book and who hasn’t?
    Isn’t it healthy to read both sides of an argument and form an opinion based on all the information available?
    Rather than base your opinion on the “reviews” why not read it for yourself?
    I’m sure the book is available on Amazon.
    Here is a link to an interview with the man himself.
    I understand that he has ties to Capitalism, but honestly, his explanation of Climate Science makes sense to me.
    I have absolutely no ties to big business, science, mining, media, politics or anything that would cause my opinion to be biased. I just want to do the right thing for our earth.
    I hope that you, dear reader, will read his book, watch this interview, and then form/keep/change your opinion.
    Cheers,
    Michael
    http://abnnewswire.net/multimedia/en/60659/AUDIO-Professor-Ian-Plimer

  39. #39 dhogaza
    July 16, 2009

    I realise that I am out of my depth scientifically in this forum.

    You’ll be out of your depth on Watts Up With That.

    Isn’t it healthy to read both sides of an argument and form an opinion based on all the information available?

    False premise: Plimer’s book includes objective information (well, it does accidently include the meta-information that he’s a damned liar).

    I see no reason to read books by those who claim the earth is only 6,000 years, either, because there’s no information there, other than the obvious bit of information that the author’s a liar.

    Why should I waste my time on lying sacks of nightsoil?

  40. #40 dhogaza
    July 16, 2009

    I understand that he has ties to Capitalism, but honestly, his explanation of Climate Science makes sense to me.

    Also, the fact that you’re scientifically illiterate (which is the only way his explanation could make sense to you) is not our problem.

    The problem is that you’re allowed to vote.

    I’m glad you are, but in the US, at least, our founding fathers recognized that the right to vote leads to the state having an obligation to make sure that all who can, can become as educated as they want (never implemented perfectly, but the Land Grant system of financing education in the 1860s came close to it – and Europe became closer to it yet, by far, after WW II).

    Now, with the web, there’s really no excuse for you to be an IGNORANT voter.

    If you want to vote based on science – LEARN THE SCIENCE. The climate science stuff’s not that hard. The denialist case is, for the most part, so trivially false that real scientists largely ignored it until a few years ago (when it became clear that politically-motivated people like you were being propagandized by RWnight lying assholes).

  41. #41 Michael
    July 16, 2009

    Gee whiz dhogaza, you really are quite nasty.
    Are you nasty like that to people in real life?
    Are you a college professor? A Lecturer? Teacher?
    You must be quite knowledgable to be justified in speaking to people like that. I’ll bet all your students and colleagues are afraid of you, and resent you for your intellect. I imagine you as a tall, fit, handsome man, a bit like the Indiana Jones of climate science.

    What are you talking about with the books that claim the earth is only 6000 years old?
    What type of book is that? Are you saying that about Prof. Plimer’s book? (sorry, it’s my utter stupidity again)

    What does “voting” have to do with what I wrote?

    What did you think of the video interview? Did the link work ok?
    You did of course WATCH at least SOME of it. Because you are a fair minded, free thinking person.
    I look forward to your kind words of reply.

  42. #42 Snowman
    July 16, 2009

    On the subject of clouds, I would like to raise the phenomenon of noctilucent clouds, which I don’t believe has been discussed here (although it is possible I missed it).

    For those who have not been following this story, noctilucent clouds are rather mysterious formations that glow after nightfall (hence the name) about which surprisingly little seems to be known, or at any rate agreed. About the only common ground, as far as I can determine, is the following:

    Noctilucent clouds form at extremely high altitudes, typically about 70 to 80 km above the earth. They are thought by some to consist of vast number of tiny ice crystals.

    Normally, they form at higher and lower latitudes – between 50 and 70 degrees north (and south). However, over the last year or so they have been spreading well beyond these confines. For example, they have been recently been observed for the first time ever over the southern US states.

    There is some speculation that they are linked to volcanic activity, or even (in the case of the most recent ones) to launches of the space shuttle. But whatever the cause, they seem to be relatively new: there is no recorded mention of them before the late 19th century.

    Some writers have suggested they may be linked to climate change, although no one seems to know quite why or how.

    That’s about as much as I have been able to discover. Any thoughts?

  43. #43 dhogaza
    July 17, 2009

    Snowman – don’t take this the wrong way but … thanks for posting something interesting!

    All I know about them is what I just read after googling for them, thanks to your comment.

    The NASA source I’ve linked to describes them – apparently they’re even higher than you suggest, 80-100km above the surface of the earth. That high, of course, they’re made of ice particles, as you say.

    The connection with global warming is a simple one: GHGs warm the atmosphere by reducing the amount of heat that escapes the troposphere, causing it to warm while causing everything above the tropopause to cool. This is why stratospheric cooling is considered a fingerprint of GHG-forced warming (because if tropospheric warming is caused by more heat entering the atmosphere due to increased solar output, etc, all layers should warm). Anyway, the mesosphere in which these noctilucent clouds, should be cooling as well, making conditions better for forming these clouds.

    If you’ve not read the NASA summary before, you’ll find it interesting, though you might not see anything new there because obviously you’ve read some informed source(s).

  44. #44 Snowman
    July 17, 2009

    No offence taken, dhogaza. I am glad I managed to come up with a contribution you found interesting. Thank you, too, for drawing my attention to the NASA source. It contained new information (new to me, anyway).

    I guess time will tell whether or not these clouds are important, or just a passing curiosity. The thing that strikes me as odd is that apparently no one saw them, or at any rate thought they were worth mentioning, before 1885.

  45. #45 coby
    July 17, 2009

    Noctilucent clouds may have not existed before because WV is not supposed to be up that high in the atmosphere. I have heard suggested links to air traffic contrails, those being a source of H2O above the tropopause.

    Just to clarify, they do not glow per se, they are just so high that they still catch sunlight after everything else has gone dark.

  46. #46 dhogaza
    July 17, 2009

    I have heard suggested links to air traffic contrails, those being a source of H2O above the tropopause.

    I’d imagine that this is where the possible connection to the space shuttle comes in, too, since the liquid fuel engine, at least, pours out large amounts of water vapor.

  47. #47 John O'Sullivan
    October 7, 2009

    Hi Coby,
    Above in your reply to the imponderables regarding the effects of clouds on climate models, you stated:

    “The models could well be drastically underestimating future warming as easily as they could be drastically overestimating. For example, sea ice and ice sheet modeling is very incomplete and thus far nature is responding much more dramatically than the models said we should expect.”

    According to my own research on the apparent consequences of ice sheet melt I would welcome your comments on the findings of Professor Holgate of UK’s Proudman’s Oceanographic Lab
    http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Holgate/sealevel_change_poster_holgate.pdf

    Proudman, accords with the datasets from Univ of Colorado in finding that tidal guages don’t seem to be indicating ANY additional sea level rises beyond what we would expect naturally from the ongoing warming during an Inter-glacial ( ie. the data shows an average rise of 1.74 ± 0.16mm/yr (about 0.07 in/yr, or 7 inches per century).

    Holgate states that the observed sea level rises were higher in the first half of the 20th century compared to the second half. Dare I say then that the models are clearly over-estimating the expected warming if there is no apparent divergence (even slow down) from the historical records if we assume a warming climate causes glacial ice melt and thus rising sea levels.

  48. #48 dhogaza
    October 7, 2009

    John, I’ll take NASA:

    http://climate.nasa.gov/keyIndicators/

    Satellite data shows sea level increase over the last 15 or so years has accelerated to about 3.3 mm/yr.

  49. #49 PaulinMI
    May 13, 2010

    Seems Dr. Spencer believes the clouds are misunderstood.
    ________________________________________________________
    And we may be singing:

    I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down, and still somehow
    It’s cloud illusions I recall
    I really don’t know clouds at all
    ___________________________________________

    And he’s posted a challenge question –
    Trivia Question to Illustrate the Point:
    Assume continually increasing CO2 in the atmosphere is the only source of climate variability, and we experience continuous slow warming as a result. Will the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR, or infrared) being emitted by the Earth increase…or decrease…during this process?
    (Dr Roy will post the answer tomorrow.)

  50. #50 mandas
    March 31, 2011

    I saw a study on aircraft contrails being reported in the news a couple of days ago, so I thought I would have a read. The full study is here:

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v1/n1/full/nclimate1068.html

    Of course, the media completely misrepresented it, such as this moronic article:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/29/us-climate-contrails-idUSTRE72S47O20110329

    …and it wasn’t long before the deniersphere were all over it. Wattsupmybutt was up to his usual standard, by relying on the news report rather than taking the effort to actually read the study. His conclusion includes such breathtaking ignorance as this gem:

    “….The human effect on the climate system is not dominated by CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases….”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/31/the-planes-the-planes/

    I suggest everyone have a read of the paper, and see if you can come to the same conclusion as the news report and watts. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t even come close.

  51. #51 adelady
    April 1, 2011

    Very stalwart and brave of you, mandas. Me? Why would I bother?

    There are some things worth doing again and again for the same outcome, baking cakes, pickling pears, knitting rugs. This – not so much. I’ve had enough practice.

  52. #52 skip
    April 1, 2011

    I once told Coby he should have a link entitled “WhatsupwithWatts?”.

    I now think even better would be one entitled “WhatsNOTupatWatts”–a repository of items that AW “snips” from his forum whenever anyone catches him in an inconsistency or blunder, as was my recent experience.

    And no, Mandas, sorry; I have not read the article yet . . .

  53. #53 Michael of Brisbane
    April 2, 2011

    Hi everyone,
    Please watch this video?
    It’s 30mins long, but he speaks so well, it doesn’t matter.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IG_7zK8ODGA
    I’d like to know your thoughts.

    (Hey Paul, that Joni Mitchell song is one of my favourites of all time!)

  54. #54 Chris S.
    April 3, 2011

    Hey Michael, Why don’t you summarise his main points for us, the evidence that supports them and where the IPCC and climate science since the last report have failed to account for them?

    Otherwise what is there to say it’s not just another mindless link you’re providing without thinking it through yourself first?

  55. #55 Michael of Brisbane
    April 3, 2011

    erm, Chris.
    I notice you didn’t comment on the content of the video.
    You only attacked me, kinda sorta.
    I object to the “mindless” comment.
    Please comment on the actual content. (summarise his main points, if you like)

    (I’m willing to bet you are thinking of writing words to the effect of “why should I bother?” or “I don’t wanna waste my time”)

  56. #56 Marco
    April 3, 2011

    Seriously, MoB, Vincent Courtillot?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/les-chevaliers-de-l’ordre-de-la-terre-plate-part-ii-courtillots-geomagnetic-excursion/#more-504

    I’d say, Prof Courtillot has been caught with his pants down.

    Interestingly, this has happened again:
    http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/6/767/2010/cpd-6-767-2010-discussion.html
    (The two criticised papers have Courtillot as co-author)

    In most other countries, Courtillot and his co-authors would have been the object of a formal investigation by their university.

  57. #57 Chris S.
    April 3, 2011

    “I notice you didn’t comment on the content of the video.
    You only attacked me, kinda sorta.
    I object to the “mindless” comment.
    Please comment on the actual content. (summarise his main points, if you like)

    (I’m willing to bet you are thinking of writing words to the effect of “why should I bother?” or “I don’t wanna waste my time”)”

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/09/greenhouse-violates-thermodynamics.php

    Comment #124

    I notice you haven’t commented on the video either…

  58. #58 Chris S.
    April 3, 2011

    Oh, and Michael. I’d like to know your thoughts on the following:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9.html

    Please comment on the actual content. (summarise their main points, if you like)

  59. #59 Michael of Brisbane
    April 3, 2011

    Thanks for those links Marco.
    I read through the RealClimate article and I must say it seems pretty “closed-minded” to me.
    Is it really the case that human released CO2 is the only forcing/driver/cause of the current warming?

    I kind of envy you, and other AGW believers. (correct me if I’m wrong here) In your mind the catastrophic effect that we humans are having on the climate now can all be fixed up by reducing or stopping completely our emissions of CO2.
    (I’m referring, of course, to the awful effect we’re having on the extreme weather events around the world. Floods, droughts, cyclones, fires, blizzards, heatwaves; you know, all those disasters we’ve never had before)
    Here in Australia, like in some other countries, we are about to get a Carbon Tax. (strangely, it’s never referred to as a Carbon Dioxide Tax)
    Phew! That’ll fix it!
    But, hang on….
    The main man of the Department of Climate Change, Tim Flannery (not a climate scientist) said last week “Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow, the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years – perhaps as much as 1000 years – because the system is overburdened with CO2 that has to be absorbed … ”
    Of course, he also invokes “Gaia” regularly, and really has no more “climate credibility” than any other activist.

    My point is, that as a non-scientist, concerned about this whole thing, how am I supposed to know what to believe when people who seem credible (like Courtillot) are ridiculed in favour of people like Flannery and Gore?
    (look, I realise I’m bangin’ my head against a brick wall by saying all this to you. Nothing I say can change your mind. I think science has always been an “open-minded” field of study. But the warmist side says “the science is settled”)
    I read as much as I can from both sides of the argument and I value the opinions of true believers like you guys here.

  60. #60 Michael of Brisbane
    April 3, 2011

    But I did comment Chris. See #133 and 135.
    Thanks for the link to the IPCC WG.
    I am sorry, but to me, the IPCC is a corrupt political organisation that cannot be trusted.
    I am afraid the peer-review process has become corrupted.
    ….
    Sorry….

    The really ironic thing about this whole thing, is that the Socialist Environmentalists are playing right into the hands of the truly big financial operators of the world. Australia’s Carbon Tax will morph into an Emissions Trading Scheme and it will become the most corrupt industry ever devised.
    I’ll bet that a total of ZERO dollars will go where the money is supposed to go.

  61. #61 Ian Forrester
    April 3, 2011

    Michael of Brisbane, there is a very simple cure for people like you suffering from Dunning Kruger Syndrome. Get a proper education.

    Go to science classes, in your case you may have to start at Junior High School level, and find out how science works and what it tells us about natural processes. Read proper science texts, stay away from rubbish sites such as climatefraudit, wattsuphisbutt and other places where science has been abandoned for industry shilling.

    Once you have got yourself a proper science education you will be able to determine the difference between information based on facts and is empirically derived from the lies and misinformation put out by anti-science AGW deniers.

    However, by the tone of your posts I suspect that you are not really interested in doing actual science but want to propagate anti-science nonsense. Luckily, people like you are easily identified and can be ignored.

  62. #62 Michael of Brisbane
    April 3, 2011

    Oh good. Ian’s here.
    You managed to fill your whole post there with ad homs Ian.
    Nice to see you haven’t lost your old form.
    Ian, what do you think of what I said about the corruptability of the new ETS industry?
    Do you believe the money raised will go into R&D of sustainable energy sources?
    Will it go where it is really needed?
    Most importantly, will it bring the temerature of the earth down a bit?
    (I realise you are likely to reply with “this is a science blog”, but I think it’s important. The science has lead to Carbon Taxes and ETSs)

  63. #63 adelady
    April 3, 2011

    MoB. We don’t really need much education, scientific or otherwise, to apply a bit of logic.

    One year of combustion of fossils at the current rate uses up 3 million years worth of deposition of carbon rich fossils.

    Logic, with or without science, leads us to ask a question. Are we also doing something every year geologically equivalent to absorbing 3 million years worth of this stuff we’re releasing?

    If we’re not managing the other side of this cycle, should we be surprised if there are signs of imbalance in the lands, oceans, ice and atmosphere of this system?

  64. #64 mandas
    April 3, 2011

    Michael

    I would like to be polite, but it becomes really difficult when you make hypocritical, disingeuous statements all the time.

    First up, you link to decredited people like Vincent Courtillot who is – not to put too fine a point on it – a nutjob. Amongst his favourite theories are that the major extinction events of the past were caused by vulcanism (never mind the lack of evidence and that all the evidence points somewhere else) and that the main driver of climate changes is changes in the magnetic field (never mind the lack of evidence). But at least he speaks well huh? And you ask us to comment on the science and to not make ad-hominen remarks, as per this:

    “…..Please comment on the actual content. (summarise his main points, if you like)….”

    Then when Chris very properly points you to the IPCC reports, you respond with this:

    “….I am sorry, but to me, the IPCC is a corrupt political organisation that cannot be trusted….I am afraid the peer-review process has become corrupted….”

    How about you provide some evidence for these claims? Or is evidence just too hard for you and you would prefer to listen to well spoken morons rather than read science or listen to poorly spoken scientists who actually know what they are talking about?

    And what happened to commenting on the content and not attacking the person / organisation? Or is that only to be the case for the loonies that you continually link to? And we all remember the last lunatic you linked to – Harry Huffman and his ‘built earth’ ideas that solved all the ancient mysteries of the world!!!

    If you want to have a rational discussion and learn a bit more about climate science (or science in general for that matter), you should read REAL science and read REAL science blogs – not morons like Jo Nova, which I know is exactly where you got that link to Courtillot from. Is that going to be your job from now on – to trawl around the deniersphere and post links that you don’t understand regarding subjects for which you are uneducated by people who don’t know what they are talking about?

    Michael, you are a bloody hypocrite and we might take you slightly more seriously if you stopped linking to lunatics and followed your own advice and discussed science rather than attacking people and organisations that don’t happen to agree with your ideologically driven (and non-evidence based) worldview.

  65. #65 Ian Forrester
    April 3, 2011

    Michael of Brisbane may I suggest you actually read up on what an ad hominem is? I did not include one in my post. A truthful description of your character and obvious hatred for science and scientists is not an ad hominem attack.

    You say:

    My point is, that as a non-scientist, concerned about this whole thing, how am I supposed to know what to believe when people who seem credible

    When someone gives you an honest answer to your question you attack them.

    You are, as mandas correctly describes you, a nasty and ignorant hypocrite.

  66. #66 mandas
    April 3, 2011

    Michael

    But I will be polite with this comment.

    You asked a very reasonable question at post #59, as per:

    “…..My point is, that as a non-scientist, concerned about this whole thing, how am I supposed to know what to believe when people who seem credible (like Courtillot) are ridiculed in favour of people like Flannery and Gore?….”

    If you really want an answer to that, I will tell you as plainly, simply, and politely as I can.

    I may be a scientist (sort of, in the opinion of most people), but I am not a climate scientist – far from it. So if I want to find out about climate science or any other science for that matter, I do the most obvious and simple thing imaginable. I ask climate scientists and I read papers by climate scientists. I don’t listen to Flannery or Gore, and I certainly don’t listen to Jo Nova or Andrew Bolt. It really is that simple.

    And you know what? Every single climate organisation in the whole world, and every single scientific organisation in the whole world says that the climate is changing and that humans are responsible. And given that I am not an expert, is there any reason why I should doubt them?

    The BOM, CSIRO, Australian Academy of Science, NASA, NOAA, Royal Society, American Academy of Sciences, etc, etc, etc, ALL say – without any equivocation – that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are causing the temperature of the earth to warm and the climate to change. There is not one single similar organisation that has any doubts about that matter. It is a theory that is internally consistent, is consistent with every other theory we know, and is consistent with the laws of physics.

    The only people who say it isn’t are a few geologists, tv weathermen, bug-eyed walter mitty’s with no science training, conservative politicians, right-wing talkback radio hosts and fossil fuel industry lobbyists. And their ideas are contrary to known laws of physics, and contain so many internal contradictions that they fall apart under the weight of their own fallacies. I have been reading and contributing to this site for about 2 years or so, and there has never been an instance of a denier providing anything that could not be quickly discredited by even the most cursory analysis.

    Now can you tell me a single valid reason why I would – with my limited scientific knowledge on the matter – forego the opinions and evidence of the experts, and side with the second group? Can you tell me why you do?

    It really is very very simple. You need to read and listen to experts, and stop reading the opinions of people who simply do not know what they are talking about.

    Do you want to be a sceptic? Fine – start being sceptical about the opinions of the people that you appear to be relying on. Stop taking their views at face value and question what they are saying. When you read something at Jo Nova (et al), have a look at what REAL scientists say about the same issue. Read the actual paper, not just the opinions of people who almost NEVER read the paper they are commenting on. MOST of the dross at wattsupmybutt is based on – at best – a reading of the abstract, or more likely it is based on reading a press release.

    Do you really want to know what you – as a non-scientist – should do to understand this issue? Or are you just being disingenuous? If the former – its easy, listen to REAL climate scientists. If the latter, you can simply piss off.

  67. #67 mndas
    April 3, 2011

    skip

    I have the best ever entry for the “Anthony Watts is a Lying Asshole” thread.

    As we all know, a team from Berkely (the BEST project) headed by Dr Richard Muller has been examining the climate change data to check the findings of people like NASA and NOAA. The denier community has had great hopes for this, because Muller is a well known sceptic and it was predicted by many that he would be critical of the findings. But of course, he wasn’t. In fact, he said that NASA and NOAA had got it right – unfortunately for Mr Watts and co. Back on 11 February, he said this:

    “…I can tell you that this project is partly a reaction and result of what we’ve learned in the surfacesations project, but mostly, this project is a reaction to many of the things we have been saying time and again, only to have NOAA and NASA ignore our concerns, or create responses designed to protect their ideas, rather than consider if their ideas were valid in the first place….”

    He raised the ante on 11 March, and even put his own credibility on the line with regard to the findings:

    “…And, I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong. I’m taking this bold step because the method has promise. So let’s not pay attention to the little yippers who want to tear it down before they even see the results. I haven’t seen the global result, nobody has, not even the home team, but the method isn’t the madness that we’ve seen from NOAA, NCDC, GISS, and CRU, and, there aren’t any monetary strings attached to the result that I can tell. If the project was terminated tomorrow, nobody loses jobs, no large government programs get shut down, and no dependent programs crash either. That lack of strings attached to funding, plus the broad mix of people involved especially those who have previous experience in handling large data sets gives me greater confidence in the result being closer to a bona fide ground truth than anything we’ve seen yet. Dr. Fred Singer also gives a tentative endorsement of the methods….”

    However, as per usual, when the results went against him, on 1 April Watts found all sorts of things to complain about:

    “…It is our contention that many fully unaccounted for biases remain in the surface temperature record, that the resultant uncertainty is large, and systemic biases remain. This uncertainty and the systematic biases needs to be addressed not only nationally, but worldwide. Dr. Richard Muller has not yet examined these issues….”

    One might say that it was April Fools Day for Anthony Watts. He categorically demonstrated that he has no credibility, and even less integrity. Science blog of the year indeed!!

    Why would ANYONE follow arseholes like that?

  68. #68 Marco
    April 3, 2011

    Michael, do you think I cannot see the snark in your response to me? Of course, nothing I tell you will make an impact; regardless of your claims about me, it is clear it is YOU who is the close-minded person. An open-minded person would note that the only explanation that is currently a *functional* explanation for the observed warming over the last 50 years or so is the increase in greenhouse gases. And that’s where the scientist in me comes forward: if you come with an alternative explanation, it will have to be a BETTER explanation. If I find you have cooked the data, you’re not going to get much attention from me. I also have no doubt that anyone who ever wrote two lines for the IPCC doing what Courtillot did, would be used as the prime example that the whole IPCC is corrupt.

    Which brings us to your own close-minded response by calling the IPCC a corrupt organisation…

  69. #69 Chris S.
    April 3, 2011

    A. Mazing.

    Directly after I post a link to the IPCC chapter on Understanding and Attributing Climate Change we see this evidence of a complete lack of understanding from MoB:

    “Is it really the case that human released CO2 is the only forcing/driver/cause of the current warming?”

    But what do we see when MoB comments on the IPCC link? No summary of the points, not even any evidence he’s bothered to read it, just:

    “to me, the IPCC is a corrupt political organisation that cannot be trusted.”

    Pure ad hom. Which is pretty classy for someone who later berates Ian for “fill[ing] your whole post there with ad homs” nicely demonstrating that MoB doesn’t even understand what ad hominem actually means (no doubt I’ll now be accused of ad hom for pointing this out).

    And yet still no comment from MoB on the content of the Courtillot video that he’s so desperate for us to watch.

    At least crakar used to provide some sort of argument for his case, whether credible or not. MoB just posts a link & then gets all uppity when people don’t take it seriously, all we’ve had so far is evidence that MoB used this as a launch point for his drivel about ETS, again with no evidence he has read, or understood the evidence for or against his claims.

    We do get this gem though:

    “Australia’s Carbon Tax will morph into an Emissions Trading Scheme and it will become the most corrupt industry ever devised.”

    And these people accuse the scientists of alarmism?

  70. #70 skip
    April 4, 2011

    Hey Mandas,

    Why don’t you try to link your post to Watts? Most likely you’ll get one of these:

    “[Snip]”

    I’m still going to hit WUWT from time to time for hit and run raids, but I already pissed off AW and his henchwoman/moderator.

    I even *owned up* to and apologized for a conceptual mistake I made on his site–trying to role model intellectual honesty, yada yada–but still insisting there was a glaring error in his analysis.

    When I asked him directly, “Had you considered this? What is your straight answer to my question?”, what was his clever response?

    “[snip]”

    Coby bore Crakar and Richard Wakefield for post after asinine post. At WUWT you either praise Lord Anthony or watch as your posts are routinely circumcised.

    But try it anyway.

  71. #71 Michael of Brisbane
    April 4, 2011

    the venom from you guys is amazing.
    I haven’t posted or read this blog for quite a while. (I admit, I stuffed up badly with Huffman and I am sorry)
    I’ve been reading “Principles of Planetary Climate” which was recommended to me from here.
    I’ve also been reading “Climate of Extremes”. (which, of course, you will all dismiss as heresy)
    I have said repeatedly that I try to read as much as I can from both sides of this argument. Sure, I read Jo Nova, and WUWT, but I also read RealClimate and Skeptical Science too.

    I won’t bother you again. I guess only time will tell now. (It’ll only take a thousand years if Tim Flannery is right.)

    You really are true believers.

  72. #72 Chris S.
    April 4, 2011

    Shorter MoB:

    I have nothing to refute your arguments so I will just comment on the tone of them & scarper.

    “We need better septics” (Hank Roberts)

  73. #73 Marco
    April 4, 2011

    Michael, reading is one thing, understanding is something completely different. And I’m afraid your problem is in the latter part. Just see how you uncritically follow the Andrew Bolt-explanation of what Tim Flannery said…

  74. #74 mandas
    April 4, 2011

    Michael (if you are still around)

    “….I have said repeatedly that I try to read as much as I can from both sides of this argument. Sure, I read Jo Nova, and WUWT, but I also read RealClimate and Skeptical Science too…..”

    How about you stop reading books and start reading some science? Books, however well intentioned, do not have to be correct. They are not fact checked. They are not peer reviewed. And there is no way to know if they are valid or not. Read science!!

    And there is NOT “both sides of this argument” as I very clearly explained to you in post #66, unless you count uneducated opinion as a ‘side’. Every single scientific organisation in the world says that the climate is changing and we are the cause. The opinion of Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, James Inholfe, Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova and Christopher Monckton does not constitute a counter argument against facts. Never has. Never will.

    Why don’t you have a go answering the question I asked at post #66? Why do you side with these people against every single scientific organisation in the world?

  75. #75 mandas
    April 4, 2011

    skip

    I did post something at wattsupmybutt about his promise to accept the results. It’s still there, so maybe he is mellowing (or just hasn’t got around to reading it yet).

    But I think I have found another entry for the watts thread. There is a thread – I kid you not about this – about harp seals which have developed a psychic ability to predict future changes in climate, and they predict it will cool. The link is here (and no, it wasn’t posted on 1 April):

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/21/canadian-harp-seals-in-new-england-prediction-of-cooling/

    “….Canadian Harp Seals may have “read” the predictions of the coming decades of stabilization of global temperatures and perhaps some cooling. Animals like the Harp Seal have experienced many millions of years of climatic change and, through the complex processes of evolution and natural selection, may have developed an ability to sense coming changes…..”

  76. #76 adelady
    April 4, 2011

    I just love that harp seal thing. Find the 100 seals out of 9 million that have finished up in the wrong spot and create a Von Daniken / Velikovsky style proposition out of it.

    Don’t bother to mention:-
    That harp seals are having trouble with hunting/feeding as well as raising pups because of the lack of sea ice in the north.
    That every single year, a few migratory animals of all kinds go in the wrong direction at seasonal change.
    That a theory about the circumstances or abilities of harp seals might look a bit better if you concentrated on the behaviour of the 899,900 majority. Having all of *them* turn up on your favourite beach might give everyone cause to pause!

  77. #77 adelady
    April 4, 2011

    oh wonderful innumeracy.

    Left off a zero – that would be 8,999,900 seals jostling for space outside your beachside holiday home.

  78. #78 mandas
    April 4, 2011

    Adelady

    What I love even more is the cherry picking of information, then extrapolating even the most benign comment to come up with the most twisted conclusion possibly imaginable.

    The story has this quote from a local seal expert:

    “…..For now, there is no clear explanation for why more seals are showing up in U.S. waters, said Gordon Waring, who heads the seal program at NOAA’s fisheries science center in Woods Hole, Mass. They could be making their way south because of climatic conditions or perhaps in search of food, Waring said. “These animals are known to wander a lot,” Waring said. “Whether they’re following food down or whatever, we don’t really have a good understanding of it….”

    Seems nothing much to that, right? On no!!! Over at wattsupmybutt he has highlighted – in bold text – this particularly part of the quote:

    “….They could be making their way south because of climatic conditions….”

    Then extrapolated that to conclude:

    “….Canadian Harp Seals may have “read” the predictions of the coming decades of stabilization of global temperatures and perhaps some cooling….”

    I don’t know about you, but if a high school student (let alone a first year university student) had drawn that conclusion from the data and submitted it in a report I would fail him/her.

    But I guess if you own the most popular science blog in the world, then valid science is not a necessity.

  79. #79 Chris S.
    April 5, 2011

    Speaking of Watts, this quote is interesting (from his recent letter to congress):

    “There seems a bit of a rush here, as BEST hasn’t completed all of their promised data techniques that would be able to remove the different kinds of data biases we’ve noted. That was the promise, that is why I signed on (to share my data and collaborate with them).”

    So Watts only provided his data on the proviso that BEST promised to use certain data techniques. Surely this goes against the grain of the septic cry to “share the data, share the code” and have everything in climate science completely out in the open? Or am I reading this incorrectly?

  80. #80 Vernon
    April 5, 2011

    Chris,

    If you actually read what is going on, Watt’s does not have the data up because it is going to be in a paper coming out this year. Once the paper is published, he states that the data will be published on his site released.

    How does “BEST hasn’t completed all of their promised data techniques… .” equate to only provided his data on the proviso that BEST promised to use certain data techniques?

  81. #81 mandas
    April 5, 2011

    Vernon

    In regard to this issue, Watts has conclusively demonstrated that he has absolutely no integrity. He is a liar and a hypocrite, and should never again be given even the least scintilla of credibility. Of course, you know that Watts has been banging on for years about supposed poor siting of meteorological stations, and the possibility of UHI effect. Indeed, it is the ONLY potentially scientific claim he can make; and this despite the fact that issue has been studied to death on numerous occasions, with no evidence ever being found to support his claims.

    This is why he had such high hopes for the BEST project. He thought that – by supplying his information – the bias from UHI would be exposed and the global surface temperature date would be found to be flawed with a bias towards heating. Unfortunately for Watts, no such bias has ever been found, and this has been confirmed, once again, by the BEST project.

    Watts staked his reputation on this project, and promised to accept the findings even if they went against him. Of course, he proved he is a lying arsehole by going back on his word. Also of course, we always knew he would. What did anyone expect? He is a lying arsehole. But now he has been exposed very clearly for what he is.

    Unfortunately, just like anti-vaccination campaigned Andrew Wakefield, being exposed as a fraudulent lying arsehole does not mean the deniers who hang on the every word of such people will abandon them. Evidence has never been a requirement for deniers to provide their support to idiots like Wakefield and Watts.

    More the issue, is what are YOU going to do Vernon? Are you going to go with the evidence – which is so overwhelming that even sceptics like Muller and Curry have had to agree that the temperature record is robust. Or are you going to continue to give your support to the denialist camp, even though its leaders have been shown – once again – to be fraudulent liars?

    Do you have enough integrity and honesty to finally admit that you have got it wrong, and the people who you have trusted to give you your opinion have let you down?

  82. #82 Chris S.
    April 6, 2011

    Vernon, thanks for the answer.

    The answer to your question “How does “BEST hasn’t completed all of their promised data techniques… .” equate to only provided his data on the proviso that BEST promised to use certain data techniques?” is found in the next sentence I quoted:

    “That was the promise, that is why I signed on”

  83. #83 Chris S.
    April 6, 2011

    It strikes me that this would be a great way to make claims about data you own without ever having to provide it:

    “Our findings state x”

    “Really, most other research finds y, can we see your data?”

    “No, we do not have the data up because they are going to be in a paper coming out soon”

    How long has Watts had these data? I recall John V. doing something with the data in 2008 I think?

  84. #84 Mlax
    April 6, 2011

    “Is that going to be your job from now on – to trawl around . . . and post links that you don’t understand regarding subjects for which you are uneducated . . .”

    Too right Mandas. How dare MoB try that – that’s what we’ve got you for!

    Hey, MoB, why don’t you take yourself off and try to take over some other site. We’ve got the mighty Mandas on this one to reply to absolutely EVERY comment someone posts, and pontificate with such authority, even though as he paradoxically says, “I am not a climate scientist – far from it”. Well I never. I had actually mistaken this glorified goat herder for the next Phil Jones. One thing I’d love to know is when does he do any actual work? With so MANY posts so CONSTANTLY, I’m betting he will not be up for Employee of The Year anytime soon. Must work for a government department. I’d almost feel more comfortable that he was wasting tax dollars by posting during work time than thinking he might actually spend so many hours of his after-work time filling up the ether with his white noise. What a life, eh? Still, this particular site deserves him.

  85. #85 skip
    April 6, 2011

    What a life, eh? Still, this particular site deserves him.

    hehe. Oh for godsakes here we go . . .

    Out of curiosity, Mlax:

    When you’re not berating the preening faux-intellectuals who post on this site, where are *you* going for your climate information/discussion?

    Have you ever posted on Wattsup and given AW and the Wattslings a piece of your contemptuous mind? How about ClimateAudit?

    I didn’t think so.

    When Mandas stipulates being a non-expert, that suddenly means he has no basis for commentary on what the real experts are saying? If that’s the case, then hustle your ass over to Wattsup this second and take your evangel of indignant condemnation to the people who really need to hear it.

    Alternately, you could identify a *single* error in Mandas’s, Coby’s, Chris’s, (or whoever’s) critiques of climate skeptics and show us what a post from the species *intellectus veritas* looks like. As I indicated to you months back, I really want to see that.

    If Coby’s blog and its participants are so beneath your station, why do you spend any of your obviously precious and momentous time posting here at all?

  86. #86 mandas
    April 6, 2011

    “….Must work for a government department….”

    Absolutely!!!! Never denied it. In fact, I made it plain many months ago.

    “….With so MANY posts so CONSTANTLY, I’m betting he will not be up for Employee of The Year anytime soon…”

    Well, I just got promoted. Does that mean anything?

    “….What a life, eh?…”

    Yep – sweet!

  87. #87 skip
    April 7, 2011

    Well, I just got promoted. Does that mean anything?

    Only that Ayn Rand is rolling in her grave, I guess. Although as an exemplar of the follies of public service, I might have you topped. I don’t just collect a paycheck; I *breed*. The long suffering taxpayers of Nevada don’t just feed me, but my bulbous twins as well.

    From one sycophantic public employee to another: Hat’s off, Mandas.

    Useless eaters of the world unite.

  88. #88 eugene
    April 7, 2011

    This seems to some extent like a straw man argument. Sure the models “have” clouds. What they don’t have is physical simulation of cloud formation. The reason is that cloud formation takes place at scales much finer than what they can model now. So any simulation of clouds in existing models is necessarily “artificial” and therefore unreliable. How would you argue to a skeptic who makes that argument?

  89. #89 mandas
    April 7, 2011

    Eugene

    “….So any simulation of clouds in existing models is necessarily “artificial” and therefore unreliable. How would you argue to a skeptic who makes that argument?…”

    Easy. All models are artificial – that is the definition of a model so that isn’t an argument for anything. And on what basis do you claim that they are unreliable because of it? How about you provide some evidence for a model giving unreliable results because of incorrect cloud modelling.

    Make the denier provide evidence for to back up their claims. Don’t always be on the defensive. They claim to be a sceptic – demand they be sceptical of the argument they trawled from the denier site and not just bein sceptical of scientists who know a hell of a lot more about the subject than they do.

  90. #90 Chris S.
    April 8, 2011

    eugene: I think William Connolly said it best recently in a response to a comment on his Stoat blog:

    “That clouds might mitigate GW is possible; but relying on it is stupid: they might just as easily make it worse. And that is before worrying about what is probably more important, local/regional changes in precipitation/drought/floods.”

  91. #91 Snowman
    April 8, 2011

    Not the most convincing of answers, Mandas. What it amounts to is that, yes, the models may be crap, but so are all the others. As for your comments, Chris, this is effectively acknowledging that climate science has no idea how to deal with clouds.

  92. #92 Chris S.
    April 8, 2011

    Snowman, it’s a long way from “there are uncertainties” to “have no idea” as you should know.

    Of course, when you have no interest in the science but lots of interest in wordplay and twisting statements to promulgate a world view that is divorced from reality the words “effectively” and “amounts to” are very powerful tools.

  93. #93 skip
    April 8, 2011

    Its a longer way still from “there are uncertainties” to “there is certainly nothing to worry about.”

    But nonetheless it is a jerk tactic that climate change “skeptics” employ constantly: Claim to be “skeptical” about climate change/its impacts and then show no skepticism whatsoever in assuming that some “uncertain” factor in the science can be relied on to save our ass.

    Of course, this line of argumentation is no surprise from someone whose agenda is set by Anthony Watts and who reads the posts of a clown like Richard Wakefield and declares him “Mike Tyson”.

  94. #94 Wow
    April 8, 2011

    “So any simulation of clouds in existing models is necessarily “artificial” and therefore unreliable.”

    Yes, it’s necessarily artificial. Why, though, is it necessarily unreliable?

    “How would you argue to a skeptic who makes that argument?”

    Like that.

  95. #95 Wow
    April 8, 2011

    It’s also interesting that Mickey of Brisbane complains incessantly that people need to talk about the substance, not attack people, but then when asked to look at some data says:

    “I read through the RealClimate article and I must say it seems pretty “closed-minded” to me.”

    He says of the IPCC:

    “to me, the IPCC is a corrupt political organisation that cannot be trusted.”

    But no evidence of anything actually read. Especially when this:

    “Is it really the case that human released CO2 is the only forcing/driver/cause of the current warming?”

    comes out of his pie-hole.

    There’s an entire chapter on attribution of change in the IPCC WG1 report.

    Oddly enough, MoB has done exactly what he complains everyone here of doing and says that he (being a proper skeptic) doesn’t do.

    He’s gone and ignored the substance, not even read it and instead ranted out huge personal insults instead to justify not listening.

    Which is nice.

  96. #96 Snowman
    April 8, 2011

    Hang on Chris. The passage you quote indicates more than uncertainties. On the one hand, he says, clouds may mitigate warming, but on the other they may make it worse. That sounds like a pretty big No Idea to me.

  97. #97 Wow
    April 8, 2011

    Not really.

    You could be 5′ 8″ tall.

    Of course, if you’ve been up all day, your spine will have shrunk and that could make you shorter, or if you’ve been laying down, it could have expanded and made you taller.

    So your spine opening and closing could make you taller or shorter than your nominal height.

    To you, I suppose you now consider your height unknown and will put “N/A” in that section in your next passport application…

    You see if you have a large number with a small uncertainty on it and have another factor that has a large uncertainty and small magnitude acting on it, then you still can’t say that you don’t have a large number left over when adding that factor in.

    Even if you so very much wish to believe so.

    PS you seem pretty clear that you don’t know but will insist that clouds will make everything all right. How do you reconcile these two irreconcilable concepts in your mind?

  98. #98 Snowman
    April 8, 2011

    You know Wow, I was about to ask, in genuine disbelief, if that was truly the best you could come up with. But then it suddenly struck me. Of course! Wow is actually a deep cover agent for the deniers, dedicated to undermining the warmist cause by posting comments of stupendous fatuousness. How wonderfully cunning. Well done agent Wow!

  99. #99 skip
    April 8, 2011

    Welcome to Snowmantalk, Wow.

    He has already previously conceded that this is not a factual debate for him and that rhetorical bombast is his weapon of choice. And yes, it very much is the best *he* can do.

  100. #100 Snowman
    April 8, 2011

    It is a bit rich being accused of bombast by the preening one, the man who put the faux in intellectual and who, in 5,000 posts and half a million words of leaden prose, has said nothing but ‘You’re an idiot Richard.’

  101. #101 jerryg
    April 8, 2011

    “said nothing but ‘You’re an idiot Richard.'”

    Guilty of stating the obvious?

  102. #102 skip
    April 8, 2011

    Another lie from Snowman.

    So, Snow. Which of my critiques of Mike Tyson was wrong?

    Exactly.

  103. #103 mandas
    April 10, 2011

    Looks like the snowman is on one of his irregular drive through visits, during which he proclaims that everyone is wrong – apart from deniers like Dick who he proclaims as brave and correct – and that we are all preening intellectuals – particularly skip!. No evidence or rational argument is ever presented – just proclamations of his ideologically driven worldview.

    Good contribution to the debate there snowman. I await your next visit with eager anticipation. (spoiler alert – his next visit will be pretty much like this one)

  104. #104 Snowman
    April 10, 2011

    You’ve got that wrong, Mandas. Skip is a preening FAUX intellectual. I wouldn’t call you an intellectual of any type.

    Incidentally, I don’t know how much they pay you for herding those goats of yours, but shouldn’t you spend more time doing it and less time here posting nonsense such as that at 89?

  105. #105 mandas
    April 10, 2011

    I guess that’s the difference between you and me snowman.

    I am good at my job – very efficient. I do the same amount of work in far less time than people such as yourself. Just because you need to spend vast amounts of time trying to work out the basics does not mean we are all do.

  106. #106 Chris S.
    April 10, 2011

    Poor Snowman, working sooo hard he can’t even afford the time to get an education. Pity the poor soul.

  107. #107 skip
    April 11, 2011

    I wouldn’t call [mandas] an intellectual of any type. –Snowman

    This from the guy whose agenda is set by Anthony Watts. Hehe.

    And thus does one who regards a statistically incompetent retired fireman as an intellectual “Mike Tyson” convince himself that one of the two or three strongest posters on this forum can be dismissed with a schoolboy insult. Hehe.

    Now I always love doing this because it delights me and tortures Snowman (I am not above petty, sadistic indulgences):

    So, Snowman, please quote mandas’s most fallacious post and explain how it shows him to be less than an even “FAUX intellectual.”

    Sorry for hogging bandwidth with this, but of course the liar will not answer and his reticence/evasion always titillates me.

    I have to make this fun for myself somehow . . .

  108. #108 Wow
    April 11, 2011

    “You know Wow, I was about to ask, in genuine disbelief”

    Yes, you do seem to have great disbelief in everything except your own intelligence.

    Pity it doesn’t exist.

    I note that you didn’t actually manage to answer the point or, indeed, make any coherent statement at all except to show your idiocy.

    So, I take it you have worked out that the clouds make a small correction either up or down in the temperature gradient and, since this tends more to the side of increasing global warming, have to jump over to the insane idea that just because we don’t know whether a small correction is positive or negative, that this must necessarily mean we don’t know that the trend is going to be one of warming.

    Don’t tar everyone with the lack of intelligence you have.

  109. #109 Mlax
    April 27, 2011

    RE: Post 86 and 105:
    Promoted??? Well, I have to take back what I said earlier then when I called you a goat herder. I obviously should have addressed you as Chief Goat Herder. My apologies. Well done, I can imagine the competition for that position was immense.
    Would it were we could all do 4 hours a week as a government employee and pass it off as “being efficient”. I guess it doesn’t take too many minutes of your day to tell a friendless graduate student to spend 10 weeks out in the bush to check if all the wild camels are still beneath the shade of the same tree you found them in last time. “Struth Bruce, there’s unly neunty neun of de critters; I could sweir der was a hindred the list toime we cunted. Facker most’ve fackn evapiratid!!!”
    You report to a Minister??????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Jesus wept, Australia!!! Tell me this ministry is nothing more substantial than the Ministry of Funny Walks? Or the Ministry of Vacuous Talks? [You could be promoted to the latter anytime.]

    RE: Post 85
    Skip, I wouldn’t go to any website for information on anything to do with the climate issue. I only come here to poke fun at deluded dickheads like yourself and Mandas who think that your opinions count for jack. But at least the number of visitors to this site is so close to zero that no one is likely to be harmed by your endless pontifications on matters you know nothing of substance about. Just the same sad handful of self-congratulatory bores saying the same things to each other over, and over, and over . . .

  110. #110 skip
    April 27, 2011

    deluded dickheads like yourself and Mandas

    Ew! Got a rise out of the guy who now shows a peculiar fixation on goats. Hmm.

    So, I’ll ask you again, Mlax: Give an example of Mandas . . . or Coby . . . or myself, if you wish . . . giving an opinion that does not “count for jack” on a matter where it is obvious we “know nothing of substance”.

    Please feel free to use appellations such as “preening faux-intellectual” and “dickhead” as frequently as you wish, but also please quote directly when citing the not-counting-for-jack material. Otherwise it is your own bizarre need to berate this particular cite and its particular contributors that doesn’t count for jack.

    By the way, what “of substance” *do* you claim to know about climate science? Where *do* you get this substantive understanding? There has never been a clear answer to this question.

  111. #111 mandas
    April 27, 2011

    Oh dear – it looks as though Mlax is here on one of his irregular drive-byes. You know, the ones where he contributes nothing of substance to the debate, and just uses his marginal intellectual capacity in an attempt to insult people.

    Good job Mlax, I bet you mummy must be very proud of how you have grown. If we are so beneath your contempt, and if our opinions don’t count for jack, why are you even wasting your time commenting? Surely you have something better to do, such as to pat yourself on the back for your brilliantly thought-out critique of skip and myself. ‘Delude Dickheads’! ‘Self-congratulatory bores’! I’ve got to hand it to you – your intellectual prowess and rapier-like repartee sure showed us! I think I need to seek counselling because my ego just can’t take the damage you have inflicted. Oscar Wilde has nothing on you Mlax.

    Oh – and my official title is now “Grand Imperial Goat Herder – First Class”. You should get it right in future.

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