My previous post refers. OK, so I went round to a friends to watch the thing. It was fun. My friends weren’t scientists (one of them was a teacher just finishing preparing his classwork on witches, how appropriate), which meant that one of the Big Points (cosmic rays cause weather) elicited laughter rather than belief, because to them Cosmic Rays sounded funny like in Flash Gordon or Star Wars. I hadn’t realised that… anyway, onwards…

[Updates: this is now up at RC; and Wunsch repudiates the prog]

Surprise appearence in the film: Carl Wunsch. Though what he said was not particularly problematic, the context it was put into was. But given the history the producers have of misleading their interviewees, its possible that Wunsch wasn’t made aware of what he would be put into.

Surprise non-appearence: Svensmark. In fact the solar stuff was a bit thin. Apart from the odd talking head and a few graphs, there wasn’t much. Philip Stott got to say “just look at that massive thing the sun. We’re minute relative to that”. Shaviv was there for the solar-ists.

Other surprise non-appearence: the Hockey stick. And M&M.

To take apart their main points:

First point was that CO2 doesn’t match the temperature record over the 20th C. This is true. They presented this as a major flaw in the theory, which is deeply deceptive, because as they and their interviewees must know, the 40-70 cooling type period is readily explained, in the GCMs are quite happy to reproduce it, as largely caused by sulphate aerosols. See this for a wiki-pic, for example; or (all together now) the IPCC TAR SPM fig 4. So… they are lying to us by omission. Incidentally their 20th C T pic looked odd – definitely smoothed; I wonder where from.

Second point was troposphere should warm faster than the sfc, say the models. They were on slightly shaky ground here because they were clearly going to have a hard time explaining the very ideas to their audience and didn’t really try. Christy gets to speak; so does Lindzen. No graphs in this section; no mention of alternative MSU records (or the two nice RC posts on this, naturally). And Christy oddly seemed to have forgotten the NRC report he was an author on…

Third was that T leads CO2 by 800 years in the ice cores. The way they said this you would have thought that T and CO2 are anti-correlated; of course if you overlay the full 400/800 kyr of ice core record, you can’t even see the lag because its so small. The answer to this is well known, of course: that there is a T-CO2 feedback: see RC again for more.

Then we come on to the solar bit. Curiously no Svensmark (well clearly he had too much sense to appear) but they do have Piers Corbyn instead, oh lucky them, prompoting his solar weather forecasting technique, and we’ll just quietly forget the difference between weather and climate shall we. So, a bit of overlaying of graphs and showing a nice match (using, I think, the solar-cycle length graph – it was hard to tell): so you need to read Laut for that.

And most of the other nonsense you would expect got a brief play at some point, even down to volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans.

Then some politics stuff: how its all down to Thatcher who wanted to promote nukes after the miners strike (ah, good to know we’re such an influential nation). Ends up with a bizarre segment apparently blaming the lack of African development on the environmental movement, which somehow seems to have aquired enormous power over this section of the world. No mention that Kyoto exempts developing nations, of course.

[Thanks for various comments on this. See for the pic they (probably) used for the last 1kyr. See here (thanks BJ) for the 20th C plot they used… can anyone find the source of this? -W]


  1. #1 Brian

    With regards to my comment on the last post, our notes seem to agree very well overall.

    They did mention the “Little Ice Age” and “Medieval Ice Age”, the latter of which was apparently “a golden age,” when all of the cathedrals were built. That’s despite all of the stuff which took place during the LIA (Scientific, Agrarian and Industrial Revolutions for example). Nothing directly attacking Mann or his Hockey Stick, though.

    Also, did you notice something very odd about their 20th century temperature graph? It seemed to drop quite a lot in the 40s to 70s. I DVD’d it, so maybe I’ll take another look to see if I can identify where it comes from.

  2. #2 Brian

    OK, I found the 20th Century Temperature graph on the DVD. Sorry, I now see you mentioned it in your post, but I missed it.

    The graph is sourced to “NASA” and titled “World Temp – 120 Years”, but it looks nothing like the graphs at NASA GISS. It starts at T=0 at 1880, and increases to 0.5 C at 1940. It then decreases to 0.35C at 1975, then increases again to 0.7C at the present day. There’s also a couple of arrows on the right hand side, showing a larger increase to 1940 than over the whole 120 years.

    It’s heavily smoothed, but still, it looks nothing any of the graphs at NASA GISS. Or any of the other groups, for that matter.

  3. #3 Brian

    Here is a screen capture of the temperature graph.

  4. #4 oku

    Brian, I am not really sure, but I think the graph just shows the temperature record for the northern hemisphere. I cannot find it quickly, but I think the cooling between 1940-80 was much more pronounced in the northern hemisphere.

  5. #5 Brian

    oku, it also crossed my mind that it might be NH, but then you would also expect a much larger warming after 1980. The programme’s graph didn’t show this.

  6. #6 Paul H


    Could you post a screen capture of the temperature solar activity correlation graph?

    I’m interested to see when it ends. I’ve seen Nigel Calder graphs before which show this correlation but they very conveniently stop in 1980.

  7. #7 Kipper

    “The answer to this is well known, of course: that there is a T-CO2 feedback: see RC again for more.”

    I’ve just read that RC article and it’s one of the flimsiest pieces of “science” I have ever seen.

    Some “unknown” mechanism warms the world for 800 years, then the next 4,200 years of warming is down to CO2.

    That’s just insane. If the mechanism is unkown how can you possible conclilude that it is not responsible for all 5,000 years of warming?

    Don’t get me wrong – in my eyes the jury is still out on whether humans are responsible for global warming. However, you mock last night’s documentary as being blind to inconvenient facts, but if this is one of the facts that you happily take as read then I fear the documentary maker is not the only blind man.

    [As far as is known, the mechanism for initiating the warming at the end of glacial cycles is orbital variations – this is because of the coincidence of timings. However the calculated forcings are then too weak (and you can’t blame it on solar variations). The only known mechanism to explain this is then CO2 feedbacks. But the details are not known.

    Of course you can invoke unknown mechanisms if you want, but then that is rather uncertain.

    It is *not* a case of 800y of T then CO2 doing the rest. It is (believed to be) a feedback process throughout the 5kyr.

    Note, BTW, that the obs on this are not as cut and dried as this suggests: there are problems getting CO2 and T onto the same age scale, for example -W]

  8. #8 guthrie

    A bit of googling found this interesting exchange:
    I would have to watch the program to see if Shaviv is a denialist or a sceptic.

  9. #9 Joel Shore

    Since the source along the bottom of that screen-captured temp record says “NASA”, here is the NASA GISS page with various temperature graphs:

    It certainly isn’t the global record. It looks a little more similar to the “northern latitudes” graph but seems to have important differences with that one too (e.g., in regards to the height of the 1940 peak above 1880 relative to the current temp above 1880).

  10. #10 Paul H


    Isn’t the initial warming due to changes in insolation? Where the RC article says “Some (currently unknown) process causes Antarctica and the surrounding ocean to warm.” Are they not referring to uncertainty with regard to the changes in ocean current that may or may not help to warm the oceans in the southern hemisphere?

    My understanding was that changes in insolation are the culprit for initiating or ending an ice age. Can anyone clarify this point because I’d like to know?

  11. #11 nc

    I agree it is a swindle in the sense of being hyped up.

    But the basic physics of high altitude phenomena are still interesting. In cold low pressure supersaturated air, it could well be that cosmic rays cause clouds just as they do in the Wilson Cloud Chamber.

    Related to this is high altitude lightning. Again, we have a situation produced naturally in the atmosphere which mimicks a nuclear physics instrument: in this case the Geiger counter.

    There is a large electric potential between Earth’s surface (relatively conductive compared to air; mostly sea water) and the ionosphere (ionised air at high altitude, again conductive).

    This is just like the situation in a geiger counter. Added to that, you have low pressure gas at high altitude. The exact composition of the gas doesn’t matter, all that matters is that it is ionised by the Compton effect or whatever by radiation. This happens to all gases, regardless of composition. (Special gas combinations are used in geiger counters merely to quench the current flow quickly once a current pulse is initiated, so that the tube is soon ready for the next particle to be detected.) So high altitude lightning effects are probably set off by cosmic radiation.

    Thus, it could be that there is some quantitative relationship between some cloud formation and lightning phenomena, and cosmic radiation. It might only be a weak correlation because the cosmic radiation is just initiating something else, not fuelling it. (E.g., by analogy the predicted size of an arson fire doesn’t strongly depend on how many matches initiate the fire, unless the number is very small and each match only has a small probability of causing the fire. If the number of matches is above a particular threshold needed to set the fire going well, then the size of the resultant fire loses dependence on the number of matches and is just determined by the amount of flammable fuel available.)

    However, the data available make it obvious that CO2, CH4, and H2O vapour are the main source of global warming.

    The problem I have with global warming “science” is due to the assumptions they make politically about future CO2 emissions depending solely on political action. I think that’s a plain lie, because we don’t have an endless source of fossil fuels and predicting that emissions will continue growing at present rates for the next 50 years is just silly (+politically expedient for disaster prophets).

  12. #12 nc

    Paul H:

    Regards ice ages, we could make one tomorrow with half a tanker of iron. See:

    [Unlikely. But the concept exist -W]

    Simulating Fertilization of the Ocean as a Carbon Sequestration Strategy: Effectiveness and Unintended Consequences,

    “John Martin suggested that iron availability limited phytoplankton growth in the Southern Ocean, and that this could play a role in glacial-interglacial changes in atmospheric CO, (Martin and Fitzwater, 1987). In 1988, John Gribbin proposed that fertilization of the ocean could be used “to alleviate the anthropogenic greenhouse effect” (Gribbin, 1988). John Martin began to promote the idea vigorously (Andrew J. Watson, pers. comm., 2002). Most famously, at a lecture at Woods Hole in 1993, Martin made his remark “Give me half a tanker of iron and I’ll give you an Ice Age,” reportedly in a mock-Strangelove voice.”

    Adding iron to the oceans to fertilizes them, causing plankton blooming and sucking in CO2, for more about this and experimental proof see and later comments

  13. #13 Hank Roberts

    Consider the total amount of iron added to the oceans during, say, 1940-1945 — shipping sunk is a matter of record. How much of that has become available iron? Any effect noted?

  14. #14 Adam

    From RC comments, here’s a refutation of the programme:

    (I’ve only skim-read it, all errors to the author).

  15. #15 Brian

    Paul H: Here are the temperature/solar activity graphs for the past 100 and past 400 years. You’re right that the graphs cut off early, with the solar finishing at 1980.

  16. #16 guthrie

    NC- yes, the cosmic ray stuff looks interesting, but so far the proponents have tended to shoot their mouth off rather than get the work published and look at other sources of evidence. For example see this:

    I understand that it suggests that the changes in cloud formation might just be artefacts from the changes in satellites and their observations over the years.

  17. #17 Eli Rabett

    nc, above ~ 10km, the CO2 content of the air exceeds that of H2O because of condensation. It’s not for nothing that the tropopause is called a cold trap. The stratosphere and above is bone dry with the main source of water vapor being from photolysis of CH4. Also, you have to dump vitamin B with the iron. (was an eos article on this about a month ago.)

  18. #18 tony hellyer

    for 800 years some mysterious force causes the earths temperature to rise, then C02 “feedback” causes the rise to continue. I am not a climatologist but as an electrical engineer,I know about feedback. Too low and output will decay. Too high and the circuit runs away out of control.
    Real Climates explanation of this process is not credible.
    How about we call the mysterious force the variablity of the sun’s output, when it falls again the C02 level falls
    see: http://www.occam‘s razor/it stops you talking rubbish

  19. #19 Steve Bloom

    Tony, Jeff Severinghaus was being a bit conservative in his use of language, probably because until the details of the process are completely nailed down there’s always a possibility that something unknown could be at least partially responsible. Occam’s Razor certainly does pin glaciation timing to orbital variations (Milankovitch cycles), and the same is true for the connection between the CO2 lag and the turnover of deep ocean water, but scientists want more than that (“correlation is not causation”).

    As it happens, there’s been a great deal of theoretical and modeling work done in the last few years that leaves very little doubt that the trigger for the process is indeed the aforementioned Milankovitch cycles and that CO2 is the key feedback. You could try reading up on some of this stuff.

  20. #20 llewelly

    Beyond that, noting that there apparently were positive feedbacks in the carbon cycle active during the warming following each glacial maximum, it would be nice to understand them well enough to explain why they are not active today, and forecast the probability of positive feedbacks in the carbon cycle to ‘reactivate’ in various emissions scenarios.

  21. #21 nc

    Robert Hanks:

    You’re wrong, all that insoluble iron is totally unavailable to plankton. There is hardly any iron dissolved in sea water, because most of the iron that enters oxidises to form dense insoluble particles that sink to the bottom. The plankton need iron, it is a limiting factor for its growth in the ocean. So it is possible to massively reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere by fertilizing the top layers of the oceans with soluble iron compounds, and you don’t need to add much to get a massive blooming. Fish eat it, the CO2 is then converted to CaCO3 when it enters fish bones, and when the fish die the CaCO3 sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

    Eventually the CaCO3 on the ocean floor will be subducted into the earth’s mantle and the CaCO3 will then be reduced by the heat, with some CO2 possibly being released from volcanoes. But that will be spread out over many thousands or millions of years, and isn’t a real problem. The burning of forests started by lightning is likely to be more of a risk of releasing trapped CO2 on land.

    The example of spreading soluble compounds of iron on the ocean is experimentally verified. In the warm oceans where it would be used, there is a thermocline depth of 100-150 metres below the surface. In the 100-150 m layer from the surface down to the thermocline, the water is warmer and hence of slightly lower density than the deeper water, so it forms a stable pool “floating” on the colder water, and it traps soluble stuff in it.

    (This was first well proved after nuclear tests in 1954-6 in the Pacific, where all the soluble fallout was uniformly mixed in the top warm mixed layer above the thermocline.)

    FeCl2 and FeSO4 (which has been field tested for this CO2 reduction role with good results, see below) are both water soluble. The small amount of dissolved iron normally present is a hydroxide, Fe(OH)2+. See, which gives more info.

    Another option is to use a complex chelating agent to hold iron until it enters the biosystem:

    “While several essential metals may be involved in the limitation of growth in HNLC areas, iron has been shown to be the major micronutrient. Generally, 100,000 moles of carbon biomass require 16,000 moles of fixed nitrogen, 1,000 moles of soluble phosphorous and one mole of available iron. The main difficulty is the iron. Since surface ocean waters are highly oxygenated, any soluble iron is converted to Fe+++ with a half-life of about one hour and precipitates as Fe(OH)3. A shovel full of earth is about 5.6% iron on the average. The ocean, on the other hand, has 0.0000000001 or less moles per liter of iron, too little to sustain plant growth. The first problem, then, is how to add iron to the ocean so that it will be available to the phytoplankton (plants). The phytoplankton themselves exude organic chelating compounds into the ocean that protect some of the iron that is there from precipitation. Adding iron in the form of a chelate so that it does not precipitate but remains available for plant fertilization can mimic this natural process.” (p3 on document page numbering, p4 as per PDF reader pagination).

    “… ocean voyages were started in 1993 to determine the response. The first voyage in the equatorial Pacific, IronEx I, spread 880 lbs. of Fe as FeSO4 on a 25 square mile patch resulting in an increase in phytoplankton, but no measurable decrease in the CO2 content of the water. This was due to the sinking of the patch under an intrusion of barren warmer water. A second voyage in the same area of the equatorial Pacific, IronEx II, spread 990 lbs. of Fe as FeSO4 on 28 square miles of the ocean surface.11 In order to mitigate the effect of iron precipitation, the iron was added in three infusions, half on day zero, one-fourth on day three and one-fourth on day seven. This resulted in a bloom of diatoms. The chlorophyll increased by a factor of 27 times, while the CO2 partial pressure was reduced by 90 μatm in the patch.”

    - p4 on document, p5 as per PDF reader.

  22. #22 nc


    I’m aware that the air is generally dry at altitudes where you don’t normally get any clouds, but you do get layers of moist air up to 10 km where the pressure is well below that at sea level, so maybe cirrus clouds are partly initiated by the Wilson cloud chamber effect.

  23. #23 Chris O'Neill

    “I am not a climatologist but as an electrical engineer,I know about feedback. Too low and output will decay. Too high and the circuit runs away out of control.”

    Try “bistable multivibrator” with an input signal period of about 100,000 years.

  24. #24 Hank Roberts

    NC, you’re reading too fast; I asked a question, you assumed someone with a name sort of like mine, except inverted, was attacking your statement. If there was no increase in dissolved iron after the WWII period, then I have no argument.

    Seeing that you’re a quantum physicist, you’ll understand that I’d rather see actual field study done than claims based solely on theory, even about solubility and p-chem facts.

    Looking a bit further trying to answer my own question, I find there are two major sources besides vulcanism — airborne dust containing iron, and shipwrecks. I’d assume the airborne dust tonnage far exceeds shipwreck iron, but I have no numbers.

    On the chemistry, I found this description relevant, and am reminded there’s almost always an organism that can attack anything. The chemistry described here would work, I believe, even in the absence of a wooden ship. I’ll look for more.

    As I recall, there are other limiting factors being paid attention to; I have read the websites of the people proposing to do large scale iron fertilization, but I’ve also read some of the critiques, and am not yet convinced this is a serious proposal that would have much effect greater than that of airborne iron-containing dust off of China, for instance, which is already increasing. Pointers welcome to more research, please.

    Begin quote______

    In seawater, bacteria feeding on organic matter, e.g. carbohydrates, (CH2O)n, reduce sulphate ions, SO42-, to hydrogen sulphide, H2S.

    (CH2O)n + n/2SO42- → n/2H2S(aq) + nHCO3-

    Dissolved hydrogen sulphide, H2S(aq), then …. transformed into … iron(II) sulphides when iron ions are available. ….

    In the presence of iron ions …. The wooden structure of the Mary Rose, like that of many other wrecked ships, contains iron from corroded iron bolts, nails and other objects on the ship. On the seabed, dissolved iron(II) ions have combined with the hydrogen sulphide to form iron sulphides, for example pyrite, FeS2, which is unstable when the moist wood is exposed to oxygen:
    FeS2(s) + 7/2O2 + (n+1)H2O → FeSO4·n(H2O)(s) + H2SO4(aq)

    The hydrated iron(II) sulphates melanterite, FeSO4·7(H2O)(s), and rozenite, FeSO4·4(H2O)(s), are commonly found as precipitates on sulphur-infested marine-archaeological wood. ….

  25. #25 Hank Roberts

    Here’s a far narrower Google search — one hit!
    Searched: English pages for
    dissolved iron “World War II” ship “sunken ship” +sulfate +dissolution

    Great result page; this nails down the processes as understood from actual work:

  26. #26 Hank Roberts

    Found some numbers from a respectable source; all I have is the abstract, here:

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L09703, doi:10.1029/2005GL022449, 2005

    Feasibility of ocean fertilization and its impact on future atmospheric CO2 levels
    R. E. Zeebe and D. Archer

    “… The first carbon export measurements in the Southern Ocean (SO) during the recent SO-Iron Experiment (SOFeX) yielded ∼900 t C exported per 1.26 t Fe added. This allows the first realistic, data-based feasibility assessment of large-scale iron fertilization and corresponding future atmospheric CO2 prognosis. Using various carbon cycle models, we find that if 20% of the world’s surface ocean were fertilized 15 times per year until year 2100, it would reduce atmospheric CO2 by ≲15 ppmv at an expected level of ∼700 ppmv for business-as-usual scenarios. Thus, based on the SOFeX results and currently available technology, large-scale oceanic iron fertilization appears not a feasible strategy to sequester anthropogenic CO2.”

  27. #27 Dean Morrison

    I’d noticed that the graph in the programme doesn’t accurately reflect the Nasa data.

    The easiest way to check is to superimpose the two:

    basically what they’ve done is to greatly exaggerate pre-1940 warming to make the post industrial ‘dip’ look a lot bigger than it is.

    I’ve commented in more detail on this on Ben Goldacre’s ‘Bad Science’ forum:

  28. #28 Brian

    Dean, I saw your post on badscience, and it inspired me to make a similar image with the axes matched. I also use the surface+ocean data instead. Please feel free to use it as you wish.

  29. #29 Eli Rabett

    Look to #101 on the Real Climate discussion. It says that this is unadjusted data (which really does make it a swindle). Where Ch4 got it from is the interesting question. Anyone see it elsewhere?

  30. #30 Tomas

    “No mention that Kyoto exempts developing nations, of course.”
    It’s harmful for developing nations anyway, since the money spent on Kyoto could be spent on their produced goods, or different kinds of aiding projects. Of course it’s not a given that it would be. But it probably would.

  31. #31 Eli Rabett

    Sea level rise will drive China and India to come on board with mitigation sooner rather than later. We saw this denialist trophe before with the Montreal Protocols (CFC ban) and it was a load of codswallop then and a double load now.

  32. #32 george stiles

    Dear god,
    You people are the most egregious example of apriori reasoning I have witnessed since realizing that religion was the most dangerous thing to the continued existence of mankind.

    This documentary may have biased faults, but to condemn it for simply adopting an opposing view falls into the fanatic realm of those whose beliefs require a check-up-from-the-neck-up.

    Wallow in your depressive fatalism, it will gladly follow you into the rest a sad life.

    With no sense of balance or humor, I am sure this will not be posted.

    [Ha ha, well you were wrong. I point out the total lack of any substance in your comment: would you care to address any of the objections I made to the film? Even one? -W]

  33. #33 Joe Rosenfels

    As Global Climate change has been stated as a unproven ‘hypothesis’ and that the increasing c02 would heat the earth up on its own ie Global warming, I would appreciate the reasoning to limit c02 but as all the arguments relate the two: How can anyone relate the two when the main one is not understood?

  34. #34 Doug Clover

    Mr Stiles said

    This documentary may have biased faults, but to condemn it for simply adopting an opposing view falls into the fanatic realm of those whose beliefs require a check-up-from-the-neck-up.

    Dr Connelly and others (e.g. those at Realclimate) have not condemned the programme for adopting an opposing view. They have condemned it for being scientifically incorrect and thereby an attempt to deliberately mislead the public. This is not a philosophical or even political debate we are focusing on science and the accurate communication of science. The programme has repeated discredited views. Evidence has been misrepresented (specifically by taking out of context) and in some cases changed without justification. In other cases hypothesises unsupported by any evidence have been given credence they do not yet and may never deserve.
    That is what concerns Dr Connelly and other scientists. It also concerns those of us trying to develop effective policies to respond to risks arising from climate change.
    P.S. I have a sense of humour – I am laughing at you.

  35. #35 Adam

    “With no sense of balance or humor, I am sure this will not be posted.”

    Looks like you shouldn’t doubt yourself so much.

  36. #36 Jim Berg

    I would like to see a documentary where the scientists from both sides discuss the issue and challenge each other’s facts and conclusion. I saw an interesting program about what killed the dinosaurs. One thing I noticed in that program and what I’m seeing here is that scientists are offended when someone disagrees with their conclusions.

    [I too would like to see such a thing -W]

    I’m curious. How does the GCM look when compared to the Little Ie Age and Medieval Warm Period?

    [*The* GCM? There are many. The problem is that the forcing then is poorly know – solar in particular. So they produce different results depending on what you stuff in. And of course the *initial conditions* for the ocean aren’t known -W]

    William, the 800 yr lag explanation you provided the link for is nothing more than an explanation and not fact.

    [Dunno quite what you mean by that. But try or for two more goes at the same idea -W]

    Accepting that it is a fact, however, who’s to say that the feedback this time around isn’t more pronounced than in the past? It could be greater since heating caused by orbital wobble and increased solar activity are occurring at the same time. What about the Earth’s magnetic field? It’s in the process of weakening. How does that factor into the models?

    [As far as anyone knows, the mag weakening has no effect on the timescales of the next century (there was a weakening 40kyr ago that had no discernable climate effect). Nor is there much orbital effect now. And solar forcing isn’t increasing. But the main point is that the glacial-interglacial changes aren’t used much in predicting future T changes (you’d get the opposite *impression* from TGGWS but of course they don’t actually say it) -W]

  37. #37 Ryan Bowling

    If the 800 year lag between temperature increase and CO2 increase is well documented and accepted, doesn’t the CO2 increase of the past century correspond nicely with the early Medieval Warm Period?

    [First, the lag isn’t as well doc as you imply. Second, it would rather depend on when you think the MWP appeared and how big it was. Try this for some curves: it looks like 1000 years in the past. And the shapes don’t match. And… Third, we know very well that the current CO2 increase is anthropogenic: you should have no trouble finding the proof -W]

  38. #38 Luboš Motl

    It’s kind of amazing that this posting, #2 at Yahoo for the name of the documentary, doesn’t contain the links to the video:

    [I prefer google -W]

  39. #39 Jim Berg

    What is the responsiveness of the atmosphere’s temp to CO2? Let’s say that we figured out a way to freeze CO2 levels at the current level. Will the temp continue to rise (how high?) or will it stop immediately? We’ve raised our CO2 level by 100ppm which apparently led to a 1.6 deg C rise in temp. Will another 100ppm be another 1.6 deg C or more? What factor does water vapor play? Do we have any way of determing water vapor levels in the past 400k years to compare against the ice core data?

    We supposedly produce 4% of the CO2 and the other 96% comes from natural sources. How stable are these numbers? Assuming we could reduce our CO2 output by 25% and bring it down to 3%, a simple 1% variance in the natural contribution could easily erase that. You seem to agree that rising temps lead to CO2 level rise and a feedback loop. How do we know that this go around isn’t just more pronounced since there’s more of something else (other than CO2) in the loop.

    Also, we simply don’t have a complete record of temps and CO2 levels back 400k years. There are gaps that are many millenia wide between the older samples. Comparing data that is gathered on an hourly basis to data that is gathered on a 2000-6000 year basis seems hardly legitimate. How many hockey sticks were lost in those missing samples? My guess is that it’s probably comparable to the number of socks I’ve lost in my clothes drier. ;)

  40. #40 Jim Berg

    Oh, and another thought on Wunsch’s response to the documentary. There’s nothing he said was not true, nor did they state that he was a skeptic. His reaction, however, implies that he is concerned more about his reputation than simply stating facts. This reenforces the claim of the documentary that Global Warming Science is more about peer pressure than peer revue. If the overwhelming consensus (which should be irrelavent to science) is that humanity is the cause of global warming, how good could the peer review be? I can’t imagine that papers are truly challenged.

    [This is an incredibly naive comment. Do you really think its not possible by cutting and pasting peoples words you can’t mislead people as to what they were saying? Wunsch says he was there to talk about the implausibility of THC shutdown; but he was so hacked about that nothing of that came out -W]

  41. #41 Lubos Motl

    Dear William, you may prefer google but none of the first 5-10 hits listed on the search page you linked contains a working video. Best, Lubos

  42. #42 Lubos Motl

    Dear Jim, I completely agree with your “incredibly naive” – very revealing and insightful – comment. ;-) He hasn’t denounced any facts or sentences he said on the TV or their interpretation. Such big pieces of monologue really couldn’t have been misinterpreted.

    He was just obviously threatened by some eco-activists which he doesn’t like, so he protests. But he should really protest against the eco-activists, not against the movie.

    Concerning your speed question: the distance from the quasi-equilibrium is shrinking exponentially with time, in all these systems, and the typical half-time is comparable to 10-20 years. How can I make such estimates?

    Well, the total forcing – imbalance that you would create in 1800 if you suddenly added all *present* greenhouse gases – would be about 4 Watts per meter squared (IPCC number). The actual imbalance that exists today is 0.8 W/m^2 (Hansen number). That’s five time less which means that about 4/5 of the warming from the gases that are already in the atmosphere has already occurred. Saying that these 4/5 took 80 years or so, the next 20 years or so will include the bulk of the remaining warming by 0.2 C or so.

    If you stopped adding CO2 and assumed that there are no other effects, the temperatures would rise by something like 0.2 C which would happen mostly in the next 10-20 years.

    I think it is virtually pointless to try to make these numbers more accurate because there are huge uncertainties about various numbers that enter this kind of calculation.

  43. #43 Jim Berg

    I’m not saying that it’s impossible to take someone’s words out of context, but in the case of the documentary in question, this wasn’t the case. Were any of his comments incomplete thoughts? Did any of his comments misrepresent what he really believes? As Lubos points out, why no clarifications of what he said instead of just being upset that the documentary wasn’t about what he thought it would be about?

    [What else is there to say? He though he was talking about THC; they mangled it so badly you couldn’t tell -W]

  44. #44 Adam

    Nothing especially added in this exchange, but I post it here for completeness. George Monbiot takes umbrage at his Dispatches programme (which I missed so can’t comment on) being lumped with Durkin’s mockumentary:

  45. #45 Alberto Dietz

    A pseudo-scientific swindle it is. Tax (theft) subsidized. With fiat dollars, that is, created out of thin air. Read some Rothbard and Hoppe, then go get a job on the market place like everybody else.

  46. #46 guthrie

    Ye whit? Ha’ we anither puddin heidit numpty?

  47. #47 Hank Roberts


    “They laughed at Galileo. They also laughed at Bozo the Clown.” — Michael Shermer

  48. #48 guthrie

    Got a full card yet, Hank?

  49. #49 Jeff Pellone

    Mr. Connolly I am very disappointed in your disregard of the fact that the CO2 level data in the ice lagged the temperature by hundreds of years. You have tried using the same logic that Al Gore used in his movie. ie “If you cram enough data on the chart or make it cover 400-800,000 years then the people won’t be able to see the lag.” But you have to admit that there is a lag in the CO2 levels. This is typical of someone trying to make the data fit their theory rather than using the facts to support a theory.
    Also, why is everyone hung up on the fact that the graph doesn’t quite look like the NASA graph? It is clear to me and it states it right on the graph that it is using a 5 year mean rather than showing all of the ups and downs. The way it is shown, it shows averages. You know as well as I that it is easier to look at a graph over a long period by plotting less points to show the trend. They did that with the temperature so why would they not do the same with CO2 levels.

  50. #50 Chris O'Neill

    “I am very disappointed in your disregard of …”

    Please make sure your opinion is correct before you decide to become disappointed. It will save you a lot of unnecessary disappointment.

  51. I don’t know…here we are 4.5 years after your post, and the verdict is still out, isn’t it?

    One the hand, global temperatures continue to inch up. On the other, how can the cause be pinpointed?

    Claudius Jaeger
    Jaeger Aeration

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