A Few Things Ill Considered

The shortsightedness of using short term trends

The good thing for those interested in reality, is that arguments about short tem trends only last for…um short terms. The bad thing for the denialism movement’s argument recycling machine is that they can’t rely on copy/paste, or at least shouldn’t!

Check out Things Break for a rather amusing example of this. Morano recylces a moronic argument about how sea levels are falling, which was true on the uninformative timescale of 2006 to mid 2009. But he amusingly links to current data[PDF] which shows that temporary lull is over and 2006 has been surpassed.

Also in that article is the resurection of Pielke Sr. claiming that arctic sea ice is increasing. Given the fact that Pielke is a trained climatologist, is there any interpretation of his statement that leaves him any integrity?

I prefer to respect the arguments of people with relevant degrees, but can anyone defend this?

Comments

  1. #1 dhogaza
    February 12, 2010

    Given the fact that Pielke is a trained climatologist, is there any interpretation of his statement that leaves him any integrity?

    Why don’t you ask him on his blog?

    Oh, yeah, comments are closed, so he can pontificate falsely without being challenged.

  2. #2 Robert Grumbine
    February 12, 2010

    Hmm. There’s one thing in Pielke’s favor, but not enough.

    The thing is, the link is to Pielke’s claim from last summer (June 30, 2009) about the sea ice. At that time, perhaps the claim was marginally true. The additional thing being, that it means that Pielke has to be utterly disregarding the fact that you can’t draw meaningful climate conclusions from a few days/months/years of data.

    Frosting on this particular cake is that I had previously chided (chid?) Pielke for drawing climate conclusions from insufficient data, back in 2008 — Pielke’s Poor Summary of Sea Ice. He defended it (see comments) back then on the ground that on the day he made his comments, the anomalies were as he said. Just that when his interview was published, a few months later, the anomalies were different than he’d claimed.

    In other words, he has at least two different times now engaged in cherry picking the day he was making a claim about climate, and a few months later, when the claims are re-examined, they’re found to be false. And the second time was after it was clearly brought to his attention that he had already made the error once.

    It isn’t an error that should have been made even once. As I illustrated in a different way in What cooling trend?, when we’re trying to make comments about climate, one thing we do is put in the work to ensure that they won’t be reversed by a few months (or years) more data. This is not some exotic consideration that only I have invented. It’s bedrock climatology. You’ll also arrive at the same conclusion from strictly statistical considerations, as Tamino has done (somewhat more recently than my note).

    So where are we?

    Well, the re-release of his comment was not done by Pielke, so he can’t be dinged for on that account. Morano, we already know has neither scientific knowledge nor interest, so no surprise that he’s recycling a post that reaches a conclusion he likes — without regard for whether it’s still true.

    Pielke, on the other hand, did repeat the mistake that was definitely brought to his attention (not merely that I posted about it, which would be easy to miss, but that he responded to my post). He knew he was doing something unrepresentative of climate in 2008, and repeated the same error in 2009. The one mitigation that existed — that he’s a meteorologist rather than climatologist, so might not really be aware of the need for 20-30 years data — is erased by the prior experience and correspondence with, among others, me. Repetition is not accident or not being familiar with details of a different area of science than he normally works in, or the like. It is intentional disregard for accurate description of what is going on in this part of the climate system.

    So you can then ask just how many other parts of the climate system he’s intentionally not representing correctly.

  3. #3 FriscoAl
    February 13, 2010

    Since you did not have the courtesy to link to Pielke I had to track it down. And what did I find? His discussion of short term trends was in response to claims made at RealClimate about … short term trends. RealClimate said that in the sort term things were worse than predicted, Pielke said that according to some data like sea level rise, not necessarily so.

    You go and twist Pielke’s words into a suggestion that he does not make. How cool is that? Not very.

  4. #4 Peter of Sydney
    February 13, 2010

    On the subject of short term trends and their significance, Phil Jones (the disgraced former Director of the CRU of email fame) has given this response to a similar question on global temperatures:

    Question: Do you agree that according to the global temperature record used by the IPCC, the rates of global warming from 1860-1880, 1910-1940 and 1975-1998 were identical?

    Answer: An initial point to make is that in the responses to these questions I’ve assumed that when you talk about the global temperature record, you mean the record that combines the estimates from land regions with those from the marine regions of the world. CRU produces the land component, with the Met Office Hadley Centre producing the marine component.

    Temperature data for the period 1860-1880 are more uncertain, because of sparser coverage, than for later periods in the 20th Century. The 1860-1880 period is also only 21 years in length. As for the two periods 1910-40 and 1975-1998 the warming rates are not statistically significantly different (see numbers below).

    I have also included the trend over the period 1975 to 2009, which has a very similar trend to the period 1975-1998.

    So, in answer to the question, the warming rates for all 4 periods are similar and not statistically significantly different from each other.

    So even according to Phil Jones there is nothing unusual about the recent warming. It is not statistically different from two earlier periods of warming. Since the earlier warming periods were before the modern rise in CO2, greenhouse gases cannot have been responsible for those rises. So, the question is what empirical evidence is there to prove this time it is any different?

  5. #5 coby
    February 14, 2010

    Peter, if I may ask, what evidence would you accept as convincing that GHG’s have caused the majority of recent warming?

  6. #6 coby
    February 14, 2010

    FriscoAl, sorry I did not include all the relevent links, they are all in ThingsBreak’s post which I linked to twice. Hope you did not spend too much time “tracking it down.”

    I think you are mistaken about RealClimate’s claims, they are not talking about recent short term trends, they are talking about recent research on climate trends. Perhaps you can check their article and have a closer read:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/06/a-warning-from-copenhagen/

    However, if this had in fact been their claim, Pielke should have criticized them for that, inferring too much from too short a time frame. Instead he just used an even shorted timeframe.

  7. #7 Peter of Sydney
    February 14, 2010

    Funny how obviously biased some are in the AGW debate. Richard Lindzen was severely criticised for claiming there was no significant rise in temperature since 1995. Now Phil Jones is saying the same thing.

    [coby here: He said this: "Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.". So the trend is .12oC per decade, the time period is too short to be significant. Sorry Peter, it does not mean what you want it to mean.]

    I don’t hear the Lindzen critics complaing!

    Jones also said “There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.”
    [ coby here: Hmmm, why stop there? "...For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions." Very deceitful of you to snip it where you did.]
    Hmmm. All those critics screaming out that the MWP is not real now have to redo their homework. Finally we may get to the truth. It’s about time.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html?ITO=1490

  8. #8 Peter of Sydney
    February 14, 2010

    Coby it’s not up to me to prove the AGW thesis. Please show me the evidence and the scientific community will look at it. At the moment there is no such conclusive evidence. If there was, we and the rest of the world wouldn’t be having this debate.

  9. #9 coby
    February 14, 2010

    I didn’t ask you to prove anything, I did not ask you to provide evidence, I asked you what evidence would you find convincing.

    So? What would it take to convince you? What is the “empirical evidence” you are seeking?

  10. #10 Marco
    February 14, 2010

    @Peter of Sydney:
    You are quite the naive person, aren’t you?
    Scientific evidence for the holocaust is abundant, and yet a large group of people don’t need much encouragement to still deny it. The scientific evidence for HIV causing AIDS is enormous, and yet loads of people still deny it. The scientific case for second-hand smoke causing lung cancer is significant, and still plenty of people deny it. The role of CFC’s in breaking down the ozone layer is well known, and still many people deny it. With one exception (HIV/AIDS), ‘vested interests’ have been involved in creating as much doubt as possible. There ‘thus’ is no conclusive evidence for any of the examples I mentioned above.

  11. #11 Ian Forrester
    February 14, 2010

    POS, are you truly ignorant of statistics or do you understand it and twist it to deceive statistically ignorant people? When Jones said “no ‘statistically significant’ warming” (quoted from the Daily Mail piece you cited) he did not mean “no warming” as you, and the other deniers, are trying to tell us. There has been lots of warming since 1995, it is just too short a time to get “statistically significant” data, you know the 95% confidence level.

    I just don’t understand why, if people like POS are truly interested in understanding climate change, they don’t crack open a text book or at least go to scientifically valid web sites (there are lots of them) to try and learn a little bit about what the scientists are saying rather than believing what they want to hear.

    In science, terms usually have very precise and well defined meanings. General usage of words is much more haphazard. If one is dealing with science and scientists then the scientifically defined terms must only be used as they are defined and not given arbitrary meaning to suit the person using or reading them. That is why I urge non-scientifically aware people to consult with real science texts, papers or web sites.

  12. #12 PaulinMI
    February 14, 2010

    He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.
    ==================================

    If you need to argue with lay people over the meaning of this, your cause is lost.
    (Depending, of course, on the meaning of “is”.)

    good grief

  13. #13 Marco
    February 14, 2010

    @PaulinMI:
    Of course, in reality he did not argue “this was a blip rather than the long-term trend”. It was a really, really poor ‘translation’ of what Phil Jones actually said. Remember, this is the Daily Mail.

    Here you can see what Phil Jones *really* said:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

    “B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.”

    Now, where do you see the word “blip” ?

  14. #14 skip
    February 14, 2010

    @Coby and Peter:

    I was just thinking about this the other day. What is the answer you get when you ask a denier the Million Dollar Question:

    “What hypothetical state of affairs would constitute conclusive evidence to you that AGW is both real and threatening?”

    Peter, your answer is a pure evasion. Unadulterated, blatant, grade-AAA evasion.

    “Show me the evidence”, you say.

    Ok, Peter lets rephrase the question: *What* would constitute “evidence”?

    Peter: You never read *anything* unless it already agrees with you that AGW false, so if there is–just hypothetically speaking now–evidence confirming its reality and its menace, *how would you ever know*? You will always be able to correctly insist that you don’t “see any evidence”, because you never give yourself a *chance* to.

    And it is not even clear that you read *your own* sources. Peter, please consider this the *fourth* time I am asking you, did you ever think about answers to my three questions earlier about your link to McIntyre. (If it was buried in the volume of other posts and I missed it then I apologize; but please direct me to your response.)

    You again and again post your newspaper clips here and the regulars on this forum patiently wade through, read them, and expose how they have time and again either (a) not even supported you claim or (b) completely distorted the statements of prominent scientists.

    So yes you are correct, Peter, it really is

    Funny how obviously biased some are in the AGW debate.

  15. #15 Nippy
    February 14, 2010

    The arctic sea is melting. So what? It will re-freeze again one day. it is aprt of a natural cycle. man made global warming a hoax. Everyone talking about this hoax stands to make enormous profits from it. Guess what? The polar ice caps on mars is melting too. I suppose all thos eMartians are just going to have to pass a cap and trade bill, change thier light bulbs, and stop driving SUVs.

    [coby says:
    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/02/this-is-just-natural-cycle.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/02/global-warming-is-just-hoax.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2006/02/theres-global-warming-on-mars-too.php

    Very original stuff, Nippy.]

  16. #16 crakar24
    February 14, 2010

    Pete,

    Skip mentioned that apparently you have avoided Coby’s stupid question and i nearly choked on my weaties.

    The facts are that CO2 levels have not been high enough to effect the climate since 1940 (even the IPCC agree on this)

    So what can we observe so far:

    1860 to 1880 a warming rate of about 1C per century
    1910 to 1940 a warming rate of about 1.5C per century
    1970 to 2000 a warming rate of about 1.5C per century

    In between then we had a cooling period whilst CO2 levels have gone up, and now we have had no warming for a decade once again whilst CO2 has gone up.

    If anything Pete you should be asking Coby about why he still beleives in the theory.

    In answer to your question Skip “What hypothetical state of affairs would constitute conclusive evidence to you that AGW is both real and threatening?”

    Empirical evidence Skip, empirical evidence.

    Now you must answer my million dollar question. Explain how CO2 can cause the above facts (empirical evidence). You could start with explaining why natural variation can cause the same warming rate as CO2 did 30 years apart.

  17. #17 Ian Forrester
    February 14, 2010

    WOW, crakar is getting even worse with these rantings of a simpleton, who has read nothing about the science behind climate change.

    Time to look out the straitjackets, you never know when these types will completely flip.

  18. #18 crakar24
    February 14, 2010

    Thats the Ian we all know and love.

    I like the way you dont even try to hide the fact that you cannot answer the simple question i asked you just get straight to the point of casting insults.

    I like a person who does not beat around the bush, keep up the good work Ian.

  19. #19 mandas
    February 14, 2010

    crakar

    To answer your question at #16 re the warming periods followed by flat trends/cooling periods, you might read some of the other discussions on different threads and actually try and put two and two together and come up with something other than three.

    You may recall that in the real world of complex systems that trend lines and correlations are never perfectly linear, and that there will be other factors which cause temporary periods of reduced or even negative warming, while the overall trend is up. And I can’t see how anyone – who is not a complete moron – could possibly disagree with that; the facts speak for themselves.

    And you may also recall some of the spirited discussion we had regarding the recent work of Dr Susan Solomon regarding cyclical changes in stratospheric water vapour which may provide the evidence for the forcing mechanism which explains the approximately 30 year cycle you appear to be talking about. I take it you read the paper, because we did provide you with the links to both the paper and some discussions on the subject, or did you do your usual and just ignore the evidence presented?

    So thank you for the compliment. I take it you were referring to me when you said you like people who don’t beat around the bush (although I have been doing that in a literal, rather than figurative, sense for the past week).

  20. #20 crakar24
    February 14, 2010

    Jeez those goats really did give you a hard time didnt they.

    Did you shoot any of the buggars? As in some kind of pest control?

    I was actually refering to Ian but if it makes you feel better then i was talking about you, beating bushes i mean.

    So to cut a long story short we know that the 1910 to 1940 warming period was caused solely by natural variations.

    Then CO2 began to rise and the corresponding cooling was caused by what? aerosols? which means that at this point CO2 can be seen as a very weak forcing because aerosols not only off set the warming by CO2 but actually dropped the temps.

    Then from 70 to 2000 the aerosols went away and CO2 was left to reap wreckless carnage and if it wasnt for a couple of volcanic eruptions here and there CO2 warming would have been even higher a fact which once again highlights how easy it is to overpower CO2 forcing.

    Then we have the period 00 to 09 with no warming what so ever, but how can this be? We have had no volcanoes to speak of and as we all know the TSI changes if any do buggar all and yet CO2 is still increasing with gay abandon so what in the blazes is going on.

    O’knowledgable one please tell me what is it now that is masking the very powerful forcing of CO2, and you dare say “aw gee shucks, its only weather”

  21. #21 dhogaza
    February 14, 2010

    So to cut a long story short we know that the 1910 to 1940 warming period was caused solely by natural variations.

    Not in earth’s climate, no. In solar output and in large volcanic eruptions, yes. The second is unimpeachable, the first not as well established but the people who do solar output reconstructions aren’t climate scientists and have no horse in this race.

    Then CO2 began to rise

    CO2 began rising at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Do you really imagine there wasn’t industrial output from 1910-1940?

    and the corresponding cooling was caused by what? aerosols? which means that at this point CO2 can be seen as a very weak forcing because aerosols not only off set the warming by CO2 but actually dropped the temps.

    Yes, this is standard climate science.

    Then from 70 to 2000 the aerosols went away and CO2 was left to reap wreckless carnage

    Wreckless carnage? Nice strawman, there.

    and if it wasnt for a couple of volcanic eruptions here and there CO2 warming would have been even higher a fact which once again highlights how easy it is to overpower CO2 forcing.

    Over short periods of time, yes, and at current concentrations. Please keep in mind that concentrations are growing exponentially (trend) so CO2 forcing increases.

    Thank you for strengthening the case that if we limit CO2 emissions so that concentrations don’t grow too large, the increase in CO2 forcing will not lead to “wreckless carnage” (actually, I’d think that carnage would lead to a fair amount of wreckage).

    Then we have the period 00 to 09 with no warming what so ever, but how can this be? We have had no volcanoes to speak of and as we all know the TSI changes if any do buggar all and yet CO2 is still increasing with gay abandon so what in the blazes is going on.

    Uh, no, we don’t know that TSI changes “if any do buggar”. What we know is that the trend has been flat the last 50 years. Please quit lying. The sun has actually been in a state of decreased output for years and is now waking up. That state of decreased output would tend to lessen warming due to CO2, the next decade is going to be just a bit different than the last.

    O’knowledgable one please tell me what is it now that is masking the very powerful forcing of CO2, and you dare say “aw gee shucks, its only weather”

    You get exactly the same flat or even short term declining periods when you take a known trend, and impose random variation on it of magnitude we see in climate over many decades. Totally artificial data with a *known*, programmed-in trend, and yes, you see exactly this kind of phenomena.

    You’re the kind of person who believes that flipping a coin must always result in a sequence heads-tail-heads-tail-heads-tail, and that you can never get heads-heads, aren’t you?

    Because random variation isn’t allowed in your little head, is it?

  22. #22 mandas
    February 14, 2010

    crakar

    Yeah, we shot a few goats, but purely for research this time (sort of – it wasn’t for dedicated pest control reasons). We wanted to know what they had been eating, so it’s open the stomach and scoop it out. I’m not an advocate of just using scats in these cases – since they are pests I don’t mind shooting them. Although, given how bad a goat’s insides smells, I might just change my mind!

    Regards your last comments, I take it you didn’t actually read my post, otherwise you would have seen the information about Dr Susan Solomon’s work on stratospheric water vapour. Suggest you go back and read it again.

  23. #23 crakar24
    February 14, 2010

    Thanks for the detailed post two dogs.

    In response,

    1910 to 40 the earths climate was absolutely stable just like in the scriptures says(AR4) but the sun got hotter which made the planet warm. Like turning my 3 bar heater from one bar to two.

    The last time i checked CO2 levels were 275 in 1750 and in 1940 they would have been high 200’s so i think my point still stands two dogs.

    So inspite of rapid CO2 rise from 1940 to 70 the temps fell due to aerosols which as you now agree means CO2 is a weak bit part player and is easily overpowered…yes? If not why not two dogs.

    No straw man just a bad choice of words for someone like you who has a small vocabulary, i like the way that you can turn on a penny with your “defend CO2 at all costs”. CO2 is a piss poor forcing completely over exaggerated by the IPCC to manipulate the simpletons of this world. Two dogs you are a simpleton. You have just agreed that one warming period was caused by the sun, then a cooling period was caused by aerosols and know you say a second warming was caused by CO2.

    So we have 3 choices here as to what is the major climate driver of the earth so how do we decide which one is correct.

    Well thats easy lets look at 00 to 09, you say in an inexplicable complete about face that now all of a sudden the sun has an effect, sorry two dogs but this were you have stood in your turds of disinformation. The IPCC claims the only thing that matters from the sun is TSI and TSI has barely changed previously and during the SC23 minimum so sorry Bzzzzzzzt try again.

    So no sun changes no volcanic changes no aerosol changes but a steep steady increase in CO2 and yet temps are stagnant. Well i guess that negates CO2 from having any effect of measurable quantities on the climate, so much for your stupid theory.

    You might as well shut the place down Coby me and two dogs have discovered CO2 has sweet FA to do GW, can the last one turn off the lights.

    thanks.

  24. #24 crakar24
    February 14, 2010

    I read your post mandas, dont be paranoid. I dont recall all that was discussed about soloman why dont you and lib for or re post the soloman stuff, your choice.

    What were you using .222? I used to use 303 on pigs.

  25. #25 mandas
    February 14, 2010

    I use a 7mm Remington Magnum. It’s more suited to bigger stuff, but it works.

    And how about you do your own research for a change. Go to Google (its http://www.google.com) and type in Susan Solomon stratosphere H2O or similar. It’s not all that hard you know.

  26. #26 crakar24
    February 14, 2010

    If i have to Mandas……found it it was a lot easier than i thought.

    Hang on i cant look at the one i want because big brother is watching, do you have a big brother were you work?

    I will have to use the RC link (wow wont that be fun), just read the abstract and yes i do recall this. Water vapour being the most powerful GHG has reduced in the atmosphere which maybe why temps have refused to budge.

    I then read Gav’s spiel and to some up he/anyone does not seem to have a clue as to why this has happened or what will happen next i may have misread it so please by all means correct me.

    It does lead to an interesting thought one which Gav himself failed to speculate on. The AGW theory states that an increase in CO2 will raise the temps therefore raising the amount of WV in the atmosphere. Apparently from 1980 to 2000 this happened (soloman) but now we find this trend has reversed whilst CO2 levels have continued to increase.

    Is this a significant finding that is counter intuitive of the theory or is there another theory to explain this?

  27. #27 SkepticalbyNature
    February 14, 2010

    @16. Crakar, you said:
    “The facts are that CO2 levels have not been high enough to effect the climate since 1940 (even the IPCC agree on this)”
    Just out of interest, what specifically are you referring to in the parenthesized part of your statement?

    I also posted a comment to you on the ‘Action on Global Warming Would be Suicide” thread. Just a couple of queries, looking for your persepctive on some Australian news topics.

    Regards,

  28. #28 Dappledwater
    February 15, 2010

    “It does lead to an interesting thought one which Gav himself failed to speculate on. The AGW theory states that an increase in CO2 will raise the temps therefore raising the amount of WV in the atmosphere. Apparently from 1980 to 2000 this happened (soloman) but now we find this trend has reversed whilst CO2 levels have continued to increase.” – Crakar.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/role-of-stratospheric-water-vapor-in-global-warming.html

    Note Figure 3. The overall effect of stratospheric water vapor seems to be positive, despite the dip after 2001.

  29. #29 skip
    February 15, 2010

    Hi Crakar:

    (btw, ********, I’m going to email you privately soon about some other stuff–Winter Olympics; not sheep–just hang tough, mate).

    I wish you could see how you took Peter’s evasion and ran with it (if that is metaphorically possible).

    You first regurgitated what is obviously your Silver Bullet argument against AGW–the non-linearity of warming trends.

    In between then we had a cooling period whilst CO2 levels have gone up, and now we have had no warming for a decade once again whilst CO2 has gone up.

    Now you must answer my million dollar question. Explain how CO2 can cause the above facts [non-linear trends in warming and cooling] (empirical evidence).

    Already a straw man. *No one* says C02 is the exclusive “cause” of anything. It–along with many other factors–affects climate. I know you understand this. I have no idea why you continue to play this game.

    (Please note, Crakar. I am quoting you and answering you directly. Please attempt to reciprocate in your response.)

    You could start with explaining why natural variation can cause the same warming rate as CO2 did 30 years apart.

    The same general way that “natural variation” causes the average winter temperature at night in Reno to be 30 degrees lower than during the day.

    Lo and behold, Crakar, there are other mechanisms besides CO2 that affect temperature and no one denies it.

    Let me repeat that last point if you would allow me: No one denies that other mechanisms besides CO2 affect temperature.

    I’m sorry, did you follow my point that other things besides CO2 affect temperature?

    There was just one last thing I wanted to mention: Were you aware that climate scientists–even the ones who believe CO2 is a temperature forcer, understand that mechanisms beside C02 affect temperature?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that everyone understands that things besides CO2 affect temperature.

    “What hypothetical state of affairs would constitute conclusive evidence to you that AGW is both real and threatening?”

    Empirical evidence Skip, empirical evidence.

    You’re dodging. Blatantly.

    What–and this is the *exact* same question I asked Peter–would constitute “empirical evidence”?

    What is the *specific* evidence you would need to see?

    Don’t try to dodge me now. What would be the “evidence” you would need to see? What would it take to convince you? Don’t try for an evasion like you did on Hockeystick Open thread. Don’t switch the subject to hot spots, Anarctic ice sheets, or sheep shagging–however dear the topic might be to one or both of us).

    Please answer the bloody question, mate. (This goes for you too, Peter). What, *hypothetical* (without anyone claiming it exists) evidence *would* convince you–that AGW is both real and threatening?

    I predict that you and Peter will both simply refuse to answer this question. There will be some sort of evasion, insult, or simple dismissal of this post. Peter will rant about AGW “religion”. You, Crakar, will dismiss my “babbling”, or what have you. But you will *not* answer.

    Why?

    Because, Crakar, whatever your other charms (and I can testify to the forum having interacted with the man through personal correspondence that he is indeed charming)

    *you cannot answer this question and you know it*. Anyone who observes this forum knows it. Because Crakar, *you have no answer*.

    Your position on this is *ideological*, not empirical. Somehow you became this Aussie neo-con and your position on AGW was picked for you by the likes of McIntyre et al.

    So, one more time, Crakar–and this is @ Peter, as well:

    What *hypothetical* “evidence” (without assuming it exists) would convince you that AGW is both real and menacing?

    Don’t dodge. Don’t make vague references to “proof/evidence/science/facts/”. That is just avoiding the question again. *What* proof? *What* facts? *What* science? What *evidence*?

    What *would have to be clearly “true” for either of you to believe that AGW is true?*

    If either of you actually take the time to do what I call “a fearless and searching intellectual inventory” (yeah I ripped that off from AA–anyone like it?) you will discover that you cannot identify for yourself any such hypothetical evidence. Do *not* twist this into “there is no evidence” because you *know* what I’m talking about.

    What you will perhaps see, Crakar and Peter, is that your positions are unfalsifiable religious assertions. You have insulated yourselves from any possibility of refutation. No matter what is said, no matter who says it, you will always have your anti-AGW dogma to fall back on.

    Now, go ahead and ask me the reciprocal question, if you dare. Because unlike you, I *do* have an answer to the the converse question, *What would it take to convince [Skip] that AGw is false and/or non-threatening?” I *can* provide an answer to the question, Crakar and Pete.

    Care to hear it?

    Oh, PS: Things other than CO2 affect temperature.

  30. #30 pough
    February 15, 2010

    So we have 3 choices here as to what is the major climate driver of the earth so how do we decide which one is correct.

    Just like in Highlander, there can only be one?

  31. #31 Gingerbaker
    February 15, 2010

    crakar:

    “The AGW theory states that an increase in CO2 will raise the temps therefore raising the amount of WV in the atmosphere…”

    Wrong! And in a way that says a lot, I believe, about why you don’t understand the issue.

    Full disclosure – I have only a Bachelors degree in biology, about a million years ago. If my explanations here, which will be of a basic, abstract nature, are wrong, please – anyone – correct me.

    OK, crakar. Global warming theory does not say that increased CO2 raises temperatures! It says that increasing CO2 levels cause a greenhouse effect – which raises the amount of – heat not temperature retained in the atmosphere and Earth’s surface. This is, as far as I can tell, a matter of physical chemistry. It is NOT up to debate. It is determined by the laws of nature, and in a simple abstract model, the amount of heat can be calculated easily.

    But the Earth is not a simple,abstract model – it is a complicated system with multiple feedback loops which all work to help preserve ecological stasis. I have found the best way to think of it is to think of these feedback loops as if they were a buffered solution in a biology class lab.

    Are you familiar with these? It is a solution of water plus a complex salt which resists the variation in the change of the pH of the solution caused by the addition of an acid or a base. Plain water will change its pH rapidly if you add, say, an amount of hydrocloric acid to it. But a buffered system will stay at about the same pH for a long time despite the addition of quite a lot of acid, until its buffering capacity runs out. Then, a small additional amount of acid will cause a huge change in the pH value all at once.

    Well, this is how the Earth works. As CO2 levels increase, so does the amount of heat trapped. This is, as I said, a law of the universe. But, it doesn’t necessarily raise the temperature quickly, because of all the buffering systems (feedback loops) that exist in the Earth. But do not be misled – that heat does not and cannot just disappear – the Laws of Thermodynamics guarantees that that energy can not be destroyed. This heat is added to the system, whose temperature change is mitigated just like the pH change of a buffered solution. But eventually, the buffering systems will get overwhelmed, and the PH (global temperatures) will rise faster and faster until a tipping point occurs, everything being equal.

    Remember also, that the Earth is spinning, has huge oceans, huge weather systems – a trillion different factors all interacting to mitigate the building heat. => This means that the observable changes in temperature will not be linear, as you seem to believe – they will be somewhat chaotic, ie non uniform and will have a lot of short-term and localized noise. Hence, the repeated mantra of long-term measurements.

    But there IS a smoking gun here, which must never be discounted. And that is that rising CO2 levels increase trapped heat, which MUST eventually raise the actual global temperature.

  32. #32 crakar24
    February 15, 2010

    Skip,

    I have a six shooter so i still have 5 silver bullets left.

    I understand that you understand that i understand CO2 is not the only driver. What everyone also understands is that these all work in unison therefore we cannot simply pick and choose which ones fit our theory. This seems to be commonplace here but we can delve more into that aspect in another post.

    It looks like most of your post from here on is asking 1 question. Now before i do answer this question i would like to make a statement, which you may call avoidance/babbling/dodging etc but fear not i will answer you in good time.

    First of all the onus of proof is on you to prove your theory correct, the onus of proof is not and never should be on me to prove you wrong. What you are asking me to do is prove a negative.

    But that said i will answer, now i mentioned empirical evidence before, this is something that you do not have which is why we have to endure morons like Gore running around in ever decreasing circles claiming the Arctic is gonna melt in 2009, then 2011 now 2013 or whatever.

    There will be less snow causing more warming. We now find snowfall records are being broken in the US and low and behold this is caused by AGW.

    We had the PM of the UK claiming we have 50 days to save the planet, his 50 days ran out 50 days ago.

    We have idiots claiming the GBR in Queensland is going to die due to warming oceans etc etc. We now find reefs and fish/turtles in Florida are dying because the oceans are too cold AGW once again gets the blame. By the way the GBR is doing fine.

    We are told here in SA that AGW is/will cause farming production to reduce and yet this year was the second highest tonnage on record, the record was broken in 2001.

    Hurricanes (we call them cyclones) are supposed to get worse and more of them but history shows the opposite is happening. You know the rest by now.

    We are constantly bombarded by booga booga stories because there is no empirical evidence available.

    We all agree in a test tube CO2 will cause some warming but how does it effect the climate. This question is difficult to answer or should i say measure in the real world so due to a lack of empirical evidence we have created computer models. These models tell us life as we know it is over unless we stop producing CO2, therefore models have replaced empirical evidence.

    Do we have a complete 100% understanding of how the climate works? Of course not so therefore how can our models give us a complete 100% correct answer? In short they cant Skip.

    The important question Skip is how accurate are the models? 50%, 60% who knows.

    What i would like to see is empirical evidence that shows what effects CO2 has in the atmosphere as you see Skip anything outside of this question is irrelevant.

    This empirical evidence would include

    1, Ice cores show Temp rises before CO2 not the other way around, what is the explanation for the sudden reversal. (yes i know, if you have your darts at the ready stand in line and throw them one at a time not all at once please)

    2, The models predicted the atmosphere should warm first as this is not happening one can only assume the models are not correct (hot spot)(and yes once again with the darts)

    3, The world has not warmed for the past ten years Skip why is this so? Its your theory not mine so this where you come in. Basically what has happened here is that the models have got it wrong, something else is controlling the climate and not CO2, something the models are not aware of.

    4, How much effect does CO2 have on climate? we have the log effects of CO2 (where are we on the curve), sensitivty, +ve feedback from WV etc. Most of these are assumptions either inputs or outputs of models.

    Well thats about it Skip, thats 4 more silver bullets gone i still have one left i will save that for later. By the way Skip this stuff has been debated in the past. So the response will be “not this stuff again” (remember what i said about fundamental differences) and the sun will be blocked out by all the darts flying in my direction.

  33. #33 crakar24
    February 15, 2010

    Gingerbaker,

    Can i call you GB for short?

    Thanks for the anology and information you have provided. Your explanation of the theory is as i have understood it however you did leave out the fact that CO2 by itself cannot raise the temps as much as the IPCC predict whether it be linear or not which is why the IPCC claim that the small amount of heat induced by CO2 rise will lead to more evaporation and thus water vapour will cause global warming as we have come to know it.

    I would be interested in hearing your explanation of a few things that i admit i do not understand.

    Firstly can you explain a tipping point, when has it occurred in the past and when will one occurr in the future.

    Also you say that CO2 will rise and cause more heat to be trapped (well actually it does not trap it, it inhibits the travel of IR) can you expand on the amount of CO2 as it increases has less and less effect? And in your opinion if we double CO2 now from 385 to 770 what increase in temps would there be (non feed back of course) and then a doubling to 1540, 3080, 6160?

    Cheers GB

  34. #34 Dappledwater
    February 15, 2010

    “1, Ice cores show Temp rises before CO2 not the other way around, what is the explanation for the sudden reversal”. – Crakar

    The Industrial Revolution.

    “2, The models predicted the atmosphere should warm first as this is not happening one can only assume the models are not correct (hot spot)(and yes once again with the darts)” – Crakar

    Looks like warming, doesn’t it?:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7e/Satellite_Temperatures.png

    “3, The world has not warmed for the past ten years Skip why is this so? Its your theory not mine so this where you come in. Basically what has happened here is that the models have got it wrong, something else is controlling the climate and not CO2, something the models are not aware of.” – Crakar

    Yes, Kevin Trenberth wanted a better monitoring system, to establish where exactly the heat was being distributed. The recent Solomon paper may perhaps go some way towards understanding some of the natural variability, however the long term trend is still one of warming (see #2). Note 15 years is weather, not climate.

    “4, How much effect does CO2 have on climate? we have the log effects of CO2 (where are we on the curve), sensitivty, +ve feedback from WV etc. Most of these are assumptions either inputs or outputs of models.”

    Climate sensitivity = “refers to the equilibrium change in global mean near-surface air temperature that would result from a sustained doubling of the atmospheric (equivalent) CO2 concentration (ΔTx2). This value is estimated, by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) as likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C”

    Climate sensitivity is not an input to the GCM’s, which are representations of actual physical processes in the climate system, whereas climate sensitivity is not. At least that’s what climate modelers say:

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1857/1957.full

    ” In EBMs, for example, it is usual to specify the climate sensitivity (the global mean temperature change for a doubling of atmospheric CO2—a beloved measure of climate researchers), whereas for a GCM, the climate sensitivity is a function of the interaction between resolved and parameterized physical processes and cannot be specified a priori.”

  35. #35 skip
    February 16, 2010

    Hi all.

    I find Crakar’s response so remarkable that it will merit a separate discussion back in Narratives when I get the chance.

  36. #36 crakar24
    February 16, 2010

    Dw,

    1, I see you need to be educated in logic and common sense.

    In the appropriate thread OK

    2, Wiki link? peer reviewed to the IPCC standard i assume, no need to say anymore here i feel.

    3, So a global warming alarmist sits and watches another prediction bite the dust, obviously we are not measuring things properly so we need to fudge the data again to fit our 100% correct models.

    Soloman MAY perhaps GO SOME WAY to UNDERSTANDING some of the NATURAL VARIABILITY of something we obviously poorly UNDERSTAND.

    Dang nabbit foiled again by the “aw gee shucks thats just weather not climate” routine. So to put it bluntly our latest prediction has turned out not to be true because the weather which we cant predict did something we had no way of predicting. But fear not our next prediction will come true unless of course the weather which we cannot predict will do something that we have no way of predicting in the first place. Therefore if we get 30 years of weather which as i said is unpredictable does something that we cannot predict then any or all of our predictions may not come true. It should be said that none of the above can be used to cast doubt on our ability to predict the future climate because thats what we can predict even though 30 years of weather constitues climate and we cannot actually predict the weather.

    Clear enough for you DW?

    4, Yes we were all present in the input/output of models discussion, i dont recall claiming sensitivity was an output.

    Yes i have a pocket calculator that can do that math, dont forget my response was to Skip in regards to EMPIRICAL evidence not the IPCC’s estimates or best estimates and like ranges.

  37. #37 crakar24
    February 16, 2010

    Sorry SBN i missed your post, did you want me to expand on this

    “The facts are that CO2 levels have not been high enough to effect the climate since 1940 (even the IPCC agree on this)”

    If you look at the historical measurements of CO2 you will see that they have only been accurately measured since about 1955, beyond that they are not that accurate but accurate enough for the purpose for what they are used.

    Here is one of many sites that shows the historical levels of CO2

    http://www.google.com.au/search?q=co2+levels+history&hl=en&tbs=tl:1&tbo=u&ei=Mj17S8WoLZCgkQXHraj6Cg&sa=X&oi=timeline_result&ct=title&resnum=11&ved=0CCYQ5wIwCg

    You can see clearly that CO2 levels did not rise much if any from 1750 until after 1940 hence my statement.

  38. #38 crakar24
    February 16, 2010

    Skip is this going to be an updated version?

    Dont forget to mention that i dont simply accept authoritive figures like the IPCC on their word. I would rather seek the true for myself, you know stuff like that.

    For example the IPCC drew a pretty little graph to show how scandinavia has warmed marketly since 1900. Alas the real data (non IPCC’d) shows a different picture.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/02/scandinavia-gate/

    On the other hand maybe i should stop searching for the truth like most here and just accept the lies, fabrications and falsehoods which seem to be the hallmarks of the IPCC.

  39. #39 coby
    February 16, 2010

    crakar, from a link at your google search link:
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type_png

    I see 1000 million tonnes of carbon per year by around 1910-1920, 10 million tonnes / year by 1870ish

  40. #40 crakar24
    February 16, 2010

    Yes thats right Coby, can you all tell us what levels there were after 1940 and beyond.

    By the way there is no point doing half a job, why not comment on the temps claimed by the IPCC and reality in post 38? Or do i take it your silence to mean that you agree the IPCC got it wrong once again?

  41. #41 mandas
    February 16, 2010

    crakar

    Wow – using google as a source for scientific data now. I still prefer actual papers and credible sources like the one below, but I guess whatever you can find to agree with your preconceived views obviously works.

    Anyway, here is an interesting link on CO2 levels over the last millenium:
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/lawdome.html

    Given your interest in things MWP/LIA, I would appreciate your views on the slightly elevated levels of CO2 around 1100 AD, the slightly lower levels of CO2 around 1600 AD, and the flat trend/decrease in CO2 levels around 1940. Care to comment? What do you think this might mean for climate, if anything?

  42. #42 Dappledwater
    February 17, 2010

    “1, I see you need to be educated in logic and common sense.” – Crakar.

    No that would be you, or do you know of any previous Industrial Revolutions?.

    ” 2, Wiki link? peer reviewed to the IPCC standard i assume, no need to say anymore here i feel.” – Crakar

    What standard would you have?, crackpot like you?. Anyway, graph sourced from here, based on the surface temperature and MSU satellite data:

    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/Global_Warming_Art:About

    “3. So a global warming alarmist sits and watches another prediction bite the dust, obviously we are not measuring things properly so we need to fudge the data again to fit our 100% correct models.”

    Natural variability won’t magically go away, because it’s warming. One only has to look at the temperature record to see that:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.lrg.gif

    Notice all the uppy-downy bits?.

  43. #43 Joseph
    February 21, 2010

    The last time i checked CO2 levels were 275 in 1750 and in 1940 they would have been high 200’s so i think my point still stands two dogs.

    @crankar24: You don’t really know what you’re talking about, do you? In 1940, the CO2 concentration was about 310 ppmv. If you consider that the effect of CO2 is approximately logarithmic, the increase prior to 1940 and the increase after 1940 are not too far apart. I talk about this data here:

    http://residualanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/01/smoothing-splines-and-law-dome-co2-data.html

    Yes, there was some solar forcing prior to 1950, but the effect of this is probably in the order of 0.1C.

    It’s quite possible that anthropogenic warming started right after the industrial revolution, as I argue in that same post.

  44. #44 crakar24
    February 21, 2010

    “crankar” thats a good one Joseph you get extra points for originality.

    A couple of points

    I question your depth of knowledge Joseph, it was about 310ppm in 1958, was the level of co2 suspended for 18 years? I think not.

    Can you tell me the lag between CO2 rise and temp? By your statement i assume you think the temp rises instantaneously as the CO2 rises. Care to back that up with facts or are you just rambling here?

  45. #45 Tilo Reber
    February 22, 2010

    “Given the fact that Pielke is a trained climatologist, is there any interpretation of his statement that leaves him any integrity?”

    Well, I would say that he has at least as much integrity as the warmers that looked and the 2007 current induced Arctic melt off and started making statements about how the effects of AGW were comming even faster than they had anticipated. Oops, I guess that would include all of the warmers.

  46. #46 Tilo Reber
    February 22, 2010

    “By your statement i assume you think the temp rises instantaneously as the CO2 rises.”

    Are you saying that CO2 takes a radiative forcing vacation when it first enters the atmosphere? While the final balanced temperature may not happen instantaneously, the start of the effect should happen almost as soon as the CO2 is added.

  47. #47 Joseph
    February 22, 2010

    I question your depth of knowledge Joseph, it was about 310ppm in 1958, was the level of co2 suspended for 18 years? I think not.

    As a matter of fact, the level of CO2 was stable for about 20 years between 1933 and 1952. This is not a well known fact. I know it because I calculated a natural spline interpolation of the raw data from the Law Dome reconstruction provided by Etheridge et al. (1998). You can see a graph that compares the 20-year smooth series (what everyone uses) and the natural spline interpolation here.

    The CO2 concentration in 1958 was actually about 315 ppmv (NOAA). There’s an offset of about 1 ppmv between Mauna Loa and the Etheridge et al. reconstruction, though.

    A word of advise, crakar24: Be careful when questioning the depth of knowledge of someone whose hobby is to analyze raw data.

  48. #48 Marco
    February 22, 2010

    Wrong, Tilo. There are other forcings at play, too. When you add extra CO2 during a decreasing solar output, the balance can go either way (cooling or warming). Add other forcings, and the picture gets even more complex. Most problematic is the aerosols that come with most of the CO2-emitting activities: they are mostly coolants.

    Oh, and the arctic is still melting faster than anticipated:
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard/
    Do read the whole report.

  49. #49 Joseph
    February 22, 2010

    Can you tell me the lag between CO2 rise and temp? By your statement i assume you think the temp rises instantaneously as the CO2 rises. Care to back that up with facts or are you just rambling here?

    I missed this earlier. (My other response is awaiting moderation – that’s what happens when you use two hyperlinks at SB.)

    The lag between CO2 and temperatures is not a fixed lag. I know this because I’ve run simulations that assume Newtonian cooling behavior. For a hypothetical sinusoid that represents equilibrium temperature, the lag of actual temperature depends on the period of the sinusoid, but not the amplitude.

    Nevertheless, if you detrend the CO2 and temp series (for the last 150 years) using a 3rd order polynomial, you’ll find that the best lag between the detrended series is in the order of 10 or 15 years, depending on the data set. The Newtonian cooling coefficient that corresponds to this lag and these characteristics is 0.05 or 0.08 year-1. (This by means of code that uses numeric optimization to estimate it.)

    Tilo is probably right, however. CO2 starts to absorb radiation as soon as it’s in the atmosphere. It just takes a while for the temperature to reach the equilibrium temperature.

  50. #50 David Collins
    February 22, 2010

    In the 10th century CE, the intellectually elite confidently predicted Armageddon by the end of the millennium. Long term observable and measurable trends, comets, eclipses, ominous patterns in the epicycles of Jupiter, crop failures, two headed snakes, a statistically significant spate of barren milk cows, newly perceived extremes of heat in the summer, cold in winter, thunderstorms, floods, avalanches, mal winds, and droughts were collated and analyzed by the learned and cited by the more enlightened lay as incontrovertible evidence of looming catastrophe.

    Everyone was talking about it. The sensitive and theatrically inclined were tormented by technicolor visions of fire and ice and nay even unto great sea waves swallowing millions. Gypsies prophets (in particular one who was said to have invented the town crier) who long before had discerned the danger, drove from village to village in covered wagons painted with graphic murals of whole continents being boiled to porridge, and through the necromancy of reading tree rings foretelling insufferable calamities. Manor lords and mayors alike demanded fees and taxes to hire workmen and material to fortify the public good against the crisis. Learned mathematicians were called to service, and dutifully (for temporary renown and only a slight fee) adduced, according to the laws of Euclid, geometrical proofs.

    A consensus emerged, the approaching end was taken as incontrovertible, peer reviewed if you will. Men who had only yesterday been respected scholars were denounced and justly scourged. The smell of burning denier flesh reminded all of the folly in expressing wrong thought. “Prove it won’t happen” became the common cry, “and if you can’t, well then just shut up and spare us in these, most certainly our last days, your insufferable and obtuse boorishness.”

    Doom it was, and nothing left to do. What use then a learned elite who offered naught but dire calculations. Burn the messenger became a distinct possibility. God had foreseen all, and issued onto his chosen a commandment – do not ye thrive by thy brains alone, but also by thy wits, and so speak unto the untouchables thusly ‘Sadly, tis true, your uninitiated mortal coils be toast, but since you lesser beings will need neither money nor property after the incineration, rather render it unto us, the very eyes and ears of Creation, and perhaps with His grace, we just may, by ongoing (and costly) communion with the Laws of Heaven and earth and, buy you some good will with the higher forces.”

    And they did, only to awake in the 11th century with temples of learning adorned, and the mayor’s house ornamented, and king’s table more bountifully set, et cetera, et cetera. And unto this day, the untouchables plow the earth and grub in the mud, and serve and bleed for their betters and and live and die like the unlettered lice the blessed cognoscenti think them, repeatedly and reliably whipped unto hysteria by rumors of apocalypse tweeted in from Mount Natural Philosophy, and, ever astonished that the world remains yet extant. Amen.

  51. #51 Joseph
    February 22, 2010

    In the 10th century CE, the intellectually elite confidently predicted Armageddon by the end of the millennium.

    So? They also thought they could treat pneumonia with bloodletting.

    You see, there’s a difference between that and modern science.

    Finally, no one is predicting Armageddon, much less with an exact date of the event.

  52. #52 GFW
    February 22, 2010

    … except for those twits who made that “2012” movie :-)

    Yes, I’m joking. Joseph’s answer to David’s tale of Christian Millenarianism is 100% correct. If there’s *any* lesson for the modern world to be learned from that, it’s “Don’t listen to people who claim to have messages from God”.

  53. #53 skip
    February 23, 2010

    Oh my God.

    What the *hell* was that?