And apsmith’s Mathematical analysis of Roy Spencer’s climate model has the story.

Poor Roy. He has backed himself so far into a corner that he no longer has anyone competent to discuss his ideas with, with the result that he publishes (in a book, because no-one would publish it in a journal) utter twaddle. It is really very difficult to do science all by yourself, and Spencer is certainly failing.

Refs

* Roy Spencer’s Great Blunder, Part 2
* The simplicity of the forced climate response from Isaac Held.

Comments

  1. #1 pough
    2011/03/05

    I wouldn’t worry about him; he has his incredible confidence to keep him company. Seriously, when it’s you against the rest of the science world and the only options you can think of are A) everyone else is stupid or B) everyone else is purposefully lying for the sake of (underpants + X = profit) …

    [I know I know. But the RS is like those relativity or QM nuts; the ones that have invented their own brilliant theory allowed FTL or taps zero-point energy or somesuch, who present their own equations but who clearly don't even understand what they are presenting -W]

  2. #2 David B. Benson
    2011/03/05

    Well, he has his Bible to keep him company.

  3. #3 Adam R.
    2011/03/05

    “Dr” Roy Spencer is sad and lonely and wrong

    And yet he is successful in his milieu. He is payed to speak; he is hailed as an authority by his particular choir; he keeps his rice bowl filled.

  4. #4 Mike Mangan
    2011/03/06

    But, my, aren’t you the successful ones. You must be so proud of all the “climate change” legislation you’ve passed. Oh, that’s right. There is none. Instead America’s distaste for your CAGW “theory” has led Congress to go after your funding with an axe. Next year you lose any chance for a generation to “save the world.”

    Alarmist goal: save the world from evil mankind

    Denier goal: prevent Alarmists from doing harm

    We’ve won our game. [Misc insults redacted - WMC]

    [I think you're wrong; there is Cl Ch legislation, and quite a lot of it. The US is not the world. I notice, though, that you have nothing to say to the science (I presume you're allowing "us" to have "won" that by default), but are talking only about the politics. And there I agree that "we" have "lost" for the present, in the sense that too many people believed that the motherhood-and-apple-pie stuff would win out, forgetting how easily people are swayed by their short term economic interests, and by the propaganda funded by other people's rather longer-term interests -W]

  5. #5 guthrie
    2011/03/06

    Meanwhile, Mike, it gets warmer…

  6. #6 J Bowers
    2011/03/06

    Mike Mangan — “You must be so proud of all the “climate change” legislation you’ve passed. Oh, that’s right. There is none.”

    The UK has climate change legislation. The British Parliament has decided to dump oil dependency like it was a Commodore 64, with all government departments and ministers now told to plan for cutting oil out of the energy loop as a matter of national priority and urgency (you can thank the Libyan revolutionaries and other Middle East insurrections for that). Europe has climate change legislation. Australian legislators ridiculed the likes of Plimer the other day during a fact finding panel inquiry. China is introducing a carbon tax on heavy polluters for its next five year plan. During Cancun the US neglected to attend a meeting of G20 members, one result of which was informal agreement amongst the rest of the member nations that if the US doesn’t get its act together (which they agreed the US won’t for a decade) then the US will simply be excluded from future relevant agreements.

    The US 112th Congress is the Roy Spencer of the world; sad, lonely and wrong.

  7. #7 afeman
    2011/03/06

    J Bowers:

    Do you have any links to analysis or intelligent reporting regarding the informal agreement you mention? I’ve been wondering if/when something like that would begin to happen.

  8. #8 Eli Rabett
    2011/03/06

    Hey, the Commodore 64 was a great little computer. Eli knows folk who were using it for running experiments and word processing into the 1990s.

  9. [Trolling deleted. Have I been linked to from some denialist site? -W]

  10. #10 J
    2011/03/06

    Heh. In a followup post to the one W. cites, Arthur Smith notes that Roy’s model apparently suggests that global temperature was -6 trillion degrees C in AD 993. That’s some pretty impressive global warming over the past millennium.

  11. #11 Robert Murphy
    2011/03/06

    “Arthur Smith notes that Roy’s model apparently suggests that global temperature was -6 trillion degrees C in AD 993″

    So he’s denying the MWP? :)

    [Not to mention physical reality and the existence of absolute zero. Perhaps he *does* believe in extracting zero point energy? -W]

  12. #12 Steve L
    2011/03/06

    Hmm, these guys even get their politics wrong. They think the fascists and communists are in on this together.

    Anyway, back to topic — R Spencer shows a remarkable number of failings here. I think the most disappointing one (if we assume he was after the truth in the first place) is a lack of curiosity. How could he not have tried to run his model on other PDO indices? How could he not have tried to go further back in time beyond 1900? It’s as though he was uninterested. I’m astounded. Is there another explanation?

  13. #13 J Bowers
    2011/03/06

    @ afeman. I’m pretty sure the source was Stephen Leahy. http://stephenleahy.net/

    @ Eli. Never had the pleasure. It was Amigas then SGI’s for me, I’m afraid.

    @ GWIAS. Was it Richard Lindzen who joshingly told Kerry Emanuel the latter was to the right of Attila the Hun? Isn’t one of these Spencer debunkers, Barry Bickmore, a registered Republican? Wasn’t the EPA created by the Nixon administration?

  14. #14 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/06

    > globalwarminglies

    That’s stuff from the ‘Cliff Harris’ fanboy universe of five or more years back. The guy with temperature chart stolen from the roller coaster industry.

    Long since debunked e.g.:
    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=92074

  15. #15 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/06

    By the way, William, that Rutgers debunking page links to the current (2011) version of the ‘Cliff Harris’ stuff. They claim to supply their, er, stuff to resellers like the Wall St. Journal. The page also has one or two tidbits you might want to collect, e.g.

    “As my friend, Robert Felix, points out in his book “Not By Fire, But By Ice,” ….”The next ice age could begin any day! Next week, next month, next year…it’s not the question of ‘IF,’ just ‘WHEN’ it will happen.”

    [Hmm, well anyone believing in the new ice age will certainly be prepared to bet on it :-) -W]

  16. [Trolling deleted Accurate observations censored, by order of Herr Führer Hansen. Have I been linked to from some denialist site? -W]

    Fixed that for ya, dude.

    “W”‘s definition of “denialist”:

    Anyone who does not fellate Herr Hansen on command.

  17. #17 David B. Benson
    2011/03/06

    An attack by someone so bad one can’t even say (s)he is a CRUD purveyor.

    Tch, tch.

  18. #18 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/06

    Wow, this second guy’s URL is — McIntyre’s audit blog.
    Ya think it’s really him?

  19. #19 Robert P.
    2011/03/06

    What’s the reason for the ‘scare quotes’ around “Dr.”?

  20. #20 Eli Rabett
    2011/03/06

    Robert, pls. don’t egg Wm. and Eli on, we are giving up snark for Lent this year.

  21. #21 Robert Parson
    2011/03/07

    I’m not trying to “egg any of you on”. I really do not know what is going on here. Why is William putting “scare quotes” around Roy Spencer’s title? It seems entirely gratuitous.

    Robert Parson , Ph. D., Chemistry, University of Michigan, 1984

    [I have no doubt that he is a real Dr. It is just the way he pushes it so blatantly as a "trust-me-I'm-a" - see his blog header -W]

  22. #22 Marco
    2011/03/07

    Can’t speak for William, but I’d put scare quotes around the “Dr” in front of Roy Spencer, too, when I see his conspiracy nuttery. With all due respect to the guy, but if Barry Bickmore, not exactly a climate scientist or known as a math genius, so easily can burst Spencer’s bubble…that isn’t exactly giving me any confidence in Spencer’s ability. Of course, we’ve all made mistakes, some more embarrassing than others, but I don’t know many who write them down in a book in which they claim to be either smarter than anyone else, or that others are willfully keeping their real analysis hidden…

  23. #23 P. Lewis
    2011/03/07

    (WIP definiton.)

    Perhaps “Dr” is shorthand for engineering or doctoring an analysis to reach a desired outcome to fit in with one’s own world view rather than an approximation to reality.

  24. #24 Adam
    2011/03/07

    “Have I been linked to from some denialist site?”

    It’s the semi-automated trolling bots. You saw the posts that revealed the glitch at MT’s site?

    [No. But I won't trouble myself too much about deleting them, then -W]

  25. #25 Adam
    2011/03/07
  26. #26 pough
    2011/03/07

    He may not be the only climate scientist who truly understands the science (or is honest about it), but I think he’s the only one who leads with his title like an overzealous codpiece; it’s the first thing that enters a room.

    [It is his Black Russian! -W]

  27. #27 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/07

    I recommend looking into the sock puppets evidenced in that link Adam gave to MT’s thread. Shorter form of a comment I made there:
    _____________________
    Francoise said…
    So if you warmists are right that the world …
    February 20, 2011 1:45 AM

    cagw_skeptic99 said…
    So if you warmists are right that the world …
    February 20, 2011 1:46 AM
    ——————
    Follow links and you get to what might be the tool used:
    http://www.aboutecho.com/
    “BUILD HIGHLY SOCIAL REAL-TIME APPS NOW” …

    [Ha. cagw_skeptic<nn> isn't exactly a cunning username -W]

  28. #28 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/07

    argh: http://mashable.com/2010/11/03/ai-science-twitter-bot/

    Time to predict the imminent death of the Internet; sorry, all tubes have been filled by rapidfire exchanges between bots arguing with twitbots.

  29. #29 David B. Benson
    2011/03/07

    Hank — A new artificial lifeform.

  30. #30 Neven
    2011/03/07

    Sorry for the off-topic, but coincidentally I was reading something from 2009 on In It (about Arctic sea ice and tipping points) and clicked on Dano’s name. He doesn’t post so often anymore, but I was curious if he had a blog or something.

    On his Blogger profile I saw that he followed two blogs: In It and JS-Kit. When you click on the latter you end up at that aboutecho.com highly social real-time apps-stuff. Weird.

  31. #31 GoRight
    2011/03/08

    [Wurble redacted -W]

    Your introduction of scare quotes around “Dr” in your title are obviously intended to denigrate the man’s status. That’s being rude, plain and simple. Please don’t do it.

    [Darling, you're so delicate. And so behind-the-times. Please read the existing comments and stop acting like the dull man at the party -W]

  32. #32 GoRight
    2011/03/08

    Delicate? How so? It seems you’re the delicate one here given what you redacted! :)

    I admit I didn’t read the other comments on this thread. They’re typically quite dull. (Feel free to pick whichever meaning of dull you like in this context.)

    I do find this comment on your part:

    [I have no doubt that he is a real Dr. It is just the way he pushes it so blatantly as a "trust-me-I'm-a" - see his blog header -W]

    to be particularly hilarious given your signature “trust-me-I’m-a” attitude on Wikipedia. Thanks for directing me back so I didn’t miss it!

    As I recall, “trust-me-I’m-a” seems to have been your own primary fall back argument on Wikipedia when backed into a corner on some point or another. Look in the mirror some time. :)

  33. #33 GoRight
    2011/03/08

    Here, I gave you a mention on my blog. Enjoy!

    [Thanks. Its probably best to put all the tedious accusations of censorship off on your pet blog rather than here -W]

  34. #34 David B. Benson
    2011/03/08
  35. #35 GoRight
    2011/03/08

    Perhaps, but we do know that he cares enough to have bothered to redact the previous message.

  36. #36 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/09

    > he cares enough

    He cleans his house too, but not because he cares for garbage.

    You fell into the “2-URL” spamtrap and got nasty at your blog, taking it personally. My reply to you there pointing out you had made that mistake is–in moderation. You blew it, kid.

  37. #37 GoRight
    2011/03/09

    Didn’t know about the 2 URL spam trap. I’ll keep that in mind.

    As for your comment being in moderation, this is correct. I have been forced to moderate all comments to avoid people posting things that would violate Wikipedia policies such as outing someone. Everyone is treated the same. Note, however, that I have approved your comment there unedited, whereas William has NOT approved mine here at all. :)

  38. #38 jcrabb
    2011/03/10

    RSpencer-blog seems to have hit the denier ‘event horizon’ of hatin’ Gore, next he will be on about the global government conspiracy, only to be spaghetified, never to be heard coherently again.

  39. #39 J Bowers
    2011/03/10

    George C Marshall Institute. Dr Roy’s on the board of directors, along with Happer. When I saw that it explained much about his book and his blogging.

    http://www.marshall.org/board.php
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-oreskes/emshadow-eliteem-merchant_b_615504.html

  40. #40 GoRight
    2011/03/10

    Heh. The Huffington Boast piece is funny. I mean really, the scary sounding “shadow elite”? A group bent of hiding the truth behind the science and fooling the everyone? Look at all these “dots” we can connect from Tobacco to Global Warming to Acid Rain.

    To me this all conjures up the image of someone wearing a tin foil hat surrounded by walls covered in science journal clippings complete with pins and bits of yarn to “connect the dots”.

    And the alarmists like to claim the deniers are conspiracy theorists? That’s rich. LOL.

    Face it. Sometimes a disagreement over how to interpret the raw data is just a disagreement. (Apologies to Freud.)

  41. #41 jcrabb
    2011/03/10

    The perfect example of a merchant of doubt would have to be Singer, blatantly pro-smoking and sponsored by Oil companies.

    It’s great when people reveal their intentions on blogs by their choice of pseudonym ie GoRight, saves any pretence of real discussion. Ironically the challenges posed by climate change makes ideas of left and right irrelevant as the threat of extinction overides such political constructs, not wanting to be alarmist but humanity is close to extinction due to 2 Geological mechanisms enhanced by Gloal warming, melting permafrost and isostatic rebound. The ongoing release of Methane from the Chutchki sea (due to melting permafrost) will see the eventual release of 30 Gt of Methane, leading to rapid increase of Global temp, leading to collapse of Antarctic ice shelves, most significantly, Rhonne and Ross, which leads to the rapid collapse of the entire WAIS, as demonstrated by the increased speed of the PIG, the rapid collapse of the WAIS releases isostatic rebound at such a rate that Volcanic activity on a scale of the Siberian traps ensues.

  42. #42 GoRight
    2011/03/10

    ROFL. (Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

    So that’s your “not being alarmist” view of the situation? Do tell, what is your “being alarmist” version?

    Now, if AGW is the huge threat that you describe above then why don’t we just reverse it? We certainly know how and have already demonstrated the capability to do so even during a period of economic growth and prosperity. Just look at the temperature record from around 1945 through 1970, or so. CO2 was continually increasing through this period and yet we managed to lower the global temperature by about 0.2 degrees C.

    At least that’s what I am told by the climate science experts. :)

  43. #43 Marco
    2011/03/11

    GoRight, if “the climate science experts” have told you that, we finally know why you are so confused: your sources are not experts, but obfuscators and distorters. You might benefit from reading stuff written by REAL climate scientists. You could start with the IPCC report.

  44. #44 Robert Murphy
    2011/03/11

    “Just look at the temperature record from around 1945 through 1970, or so. CO2 was continually increasing through this period and yet we managed to lower the global temperature by about 0.2 degrees C.”

    “We” didn’t do anything; natural forcings were larger than the forcing from CO2 then, leading to a small decrease in temps. For at least the last 30 years or so the forcing from rising CO2 has been dominant, leading to a marked trend upward in temps, despite natural forcings which overall would have led to a slight cooling. No climate scientist has ever claimed that CO2 is the only thing affecting temperature.

  45. #45 GoRight
    2011/03/11

    your sources are not experts, but obfuscators and distorters. You might benefit from reading stuff written by REAL climate scientists. You could start with the IPCC report.

    Hmmm, you could be right on that point but I was actually relying on information I thought was coming out of the REAL climate scientists as you call them. People like WMC, actually, but not only him I am sure.

    I seem to remember WMC doing a study or some such into the basis of the Global Cooling scare back in the 1970′s. One of his conclusions, as I remember but I could be wrong, was that part of the confusion back then was caused by the effects of atmospheric aerosols. These were supposedly cooling things more than the CO2 was warming them which led to the concerns over global cooling.

    So wasn’t the reversal of this cooling trend precipitated by the introduction of regulatory controls on the emission of various aerosols like sulfates (amongst probably others)? Or do I have that wrong? I assume it was the whole acid rain thing at the time which was driving these regulatory changes. Obviously the regulations serve to reduce the amount of sulphates being emitted and therefore curb the cooling effect that they would otherwise provide.

    Now since this was coming from WMC I had assumed that this was based on sound science and was related to the party line being used to explain away the obvious incongruity of the observed temperature levels from the 1940′s through the 1970′s with the CO2 hypothesis. I mean without a plausible explanation to account for the falling temperatures during that period in the face of increasing CO2 levels the CO2 hypothesis seems to be pretty weak (i.e. the correlation of actual temperature to CO2 levels is mostly a weak one rather than a dominant one).

    Since I may have this wrong and you all are much more familiar with how REAL climate scientists explain away confounding information such as this, what is the official explanation for the decreasing temperatures during this time and why that doesn’t weaken the CO2 hypothesis?

    “We” didn’t do anything; natural forcings were larger than the forcing from CO2 then, leading to a small decrease in temps. For at least the last 30 years or so the forcing from rising CO2 has been dominant, leading to a marked trend upward in temps, despite natural forcings which overall would have led to a slight cooling.

    Interesting. So your explanation is that during the period where the temperature trend was “inconvenient” for the CO2 hypothesis that the natural forcings where the dominant factor whereas after the trend reverses to actually support the CO2 hypothesis that only then did the CO2 forcing became dominant. Do I have that correct? To what do you attribute this sudden shift in the dominance of the CO2 over the natural forcings?

  46. #46 GoRight
    2011/03/11

    WMC has asked me to revise my original posting to be less snarky. Here is my attempt to do so.

    You might benefit from reading stuff written by REAL climate scientists. You could start with the IPCC report.

    Well my comment was based on some research (from memory of course) done by WMC into the Global Cooling scare back in the 1970′s and other scientific information related to atmospheric aerosols.

    One of WMC’s conclusions, as I remember but I could be wrong, was that part of the confusion related to the Global Cooling scare was caused by the effects of atmospheric aerosols. These were supposedly cooling things more than the CO2 was warming them which led to the concerns over global cooling.

    [Probably helpful to look stuff up rather than relying on memory. There is a helpful graph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attribution_of_recent_climate_change, for example. And for my paper, you could use this. If you read that, you'll find that there wasn't really a scare - it has been overblown in recent decades by the denialists, for their own reasons. Hopefully you neither read nor believed the Freakos -W]

    I thought that the reversal of this cooling trend was precipitated by the introduction of regulatory controls on the emissions of various aerosols like sulfates (amongst probably others)? I assume it was the whole acid rain thing at the time which was driving these regulatory changes. Since these regulations serve to reduce the amount of sulphates being emitted (and therefore curb the cooling effect that they would otherwise provide) this caused the CO2 to become the more dominant effect.

    My point simply is, that if these eco-regulations limiting the emissions of sulfates are, indirectly at least, the cause of our current predicament then why not just abandon them and start cooling the planet off again? Or use them like a regulatory thermostat and adjust the emissions levels to the point where the effects of the CO2 are canceled?

    [You don't seem to be pausing to think. Did the obvious answer "because acid rain is bad" not occur to you?

    All this falls under the heading of "geoengineering", which I'm astonished you haven't come across. As usual, RealClimate is a useful source -W]

    I am quite certain that you won’t run into any corporate resistance to reducing the levels of the controls. They will likely pay for the required government lobbying themselves. Sort of a win win. Somewhat ironically, to me at least, it looks as though China and India may end up solving this problem for us anyway.

    As I understand it the CO2 hypothesis states that as the concentration of CO2 rises the global temperature should likewise rise since CO2 acts a a GHG. I am also under the impression that the scientific view is that CO2 represents a dominant forcing and is therefore the dominant source of our current predicament vis a vis AGW.

    The temperature trend for the period between 1940 and 1970 would appear at first glance to be incongruous with with either or both of these positions. We know that CO2 was rising through the entire period (ignoring minor seasonal fluctuations) and yet the temperature was decreasing. So I assume that the scientific community must have some explanation to account for this.

    [Now you are simply reduced to trolling. You've been on wikipedia long enough to know the answer to this, you had ample opportunity to learn. See http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-4-1-2.html for example -W]

    Now I am always happy to learn

    [No, I dno't think that is true. You comments above demonstrate that you're wrong. But you can prove me wrong if you like: study the references -W]

    [Repetition cut -W]

  47. #47 P. Lewis
    2011/03/11

    Keeling curve.

  48. #48 GoRight
    2011/03/11

    OK, the Keeling Curve. What about it?

  49. #49 Robert Murphy
    2011/03/11

    “If so, to what do you (or the climate science community) attribute this sudden shift in the dominance of the CO2 over the natural forcings?”

    Maybe the steady increase of CO2 while the sum of other forcings combined remained mostly trendless, ya think? CO2 has gone up about 70ppm since the mid-60′s. The effect of GHG’s in 1960 or 1970 is simply not what it is today. There are other forcings as well; nobody has ever claimed there aren’t. Solar forcings are at best neutral over the last 30 years and perhaps slightly negative, for instance. No climate scientist has ever said that lower tropospheric temperatures would go up steadily from year to year. It’s the trend that counts, and CO2 is at a level now (and will continue to get stronger as levels increase) to overpower the natural forcings we can expect to see in the near future and keep the trend rising. It would take an awfully large change in solar irradiance or volcanic activity, say, to stop GHG’s increasing strength as a forcing.

  50. #50 David B. Benson
    2011/03/11

    GoRight | March 11, 2011 2:57 PM — Start by reading “The Discovery of Global Warming” by Spencer Weart:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html

  51. #51 GoRight
    2011/03/12

    No such hypothesis.
    Fail.
    Play again?

    Sure. Perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by:

    Maybe the steady increase of CO2 while the sum of other forcings combined remained mostly trendless, ya think?

    I took that comment to mean that you believed that below some level of concentration of CO2 that the natural forcings were dominating over the CO2 forcing (and hence global temperatures were falling), and above some concentration the CO2 forcing began to dominate over the natural forcings (and hence global temperatures began to rise). Is this not what you meant? If not, please clarify.

    If, however, that IS what you meant and you simply didn’t like my choice of concentration levels then by all means make your own selection but tell us why you selected what you did. At what concentration of CO2 did the transition from “not dominant” to “dominant” actually take place?

    I am not saying you are right or wrong either way. I just want to understand your point of view and the scientific basis for it. And please clarify whether this is your personal view or the scientific consensus view.

    (Clarification on terminology: in this context my use of the term “dominant” means the forcing with the highest level of direct impact on global temperature. In other words the one which plays the greatest role in determining the final outcome. In even other words, the one which has the greatest level of attribution to the final outcome.)

  52. #52 GoRight
    2011/03/12

    You don’t seem to be pausing to think. Did the obvious answer “because acid rain is bad” not occur to you?

    I’m surprised, WMC, that in the middle of a scientific discussion you would suddenly veer off into a discussion of Philosophy and Morality (i.e. good vs. bad) but if that is what you want I can accommodate you.

    As a scientist I am sure that you recognize that there are no moral absolutes. All moral decisions are arbitrary and relative in character. And as it turns out I did stop to think about the relative benefits and drawbacks of Acid Rain vs. AGW.

    jcrabb put forth the scientific assessment (I assume that’s what it was given the context and the fact that you didn’t correct them) of the potential risks posed by AGW when they wrote:

    … not wanting to be alarmist but humanity is close to extinction due to 2 Geological mechanisms enhanced by Gloal warming, melting permafrost and isostatic rebound. The ongoing release of Methane from the Chutchki sea (due to melting permafrost) will see the eventual release of 30 Gt of Methane, leading to rapid increase of Global temp, leading to collapse of Antarctic ice shelves, most significantly, Rhonne and Ross, which leads to the rapid collapse of the entire WAIS, as demonstrated by the increased speed of the PIG, the rapid collapse of the WAIS releases isostatic rebound at such a rate that Volcanic activity on a scale of the Siberian traps ensues.

    To use their words, “humanity is close to extinction” if AGW continues. The extinction of humanity is something I take very seriously, as should everyone.

    Now we have been living with Acid Rain for decades and I don’t believe that the extinction of the human race has ever been posited as a potential consequence thereof. Given that we have been living with it for this long I feel fairly confident that we have a good handle on the actual observed effects that we can expect if the amount of Acid Rain is increased slightly relative to current levels.

    So when I compare the potential effects of AGW as described above (the non-alarmist version, BTW) against the much milder and much better understood effects of Acid Rain then making such a trade-off seems obvious: live with the Acid Rain and avoid the AGW.

    So no, I disagree with your bald assertion that Acid Rain would be “bad” in this context. Quite the contrary. If enduring a little Acid Rain saves humanity from extinction wouldn’t that be a “good” thing?

  53. #53 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/12

    > transition from “not dominant” to “dominant”

    William, it’s clear he doesn’t pay attention to who he’s answering, nor have a cite for whatever he’s talking about. Is there anyplace he could be getting this notion of a tipping point in the CO2 increase? It must be some denier talking point but not one I’ve come across.

  54. #54 GoRight
    2011/03/12

    William, it’s clear he doesn’t pay attention to who he’s answering, nor have a cite for whatever he’s talking about.

    Quite right, I didn’t notice that you were not the original poster. My apologies.

    As for having a cite for what I am talking about, there is none because I am not citing anyone. I am asking my own questions. I assume I can make my inquiries based on the responses the folks here give, no? Or am I restricted to some predefined playbook that I don’t know about?

    In any event, the questions still stand and are directed at anyone who cares to offer their view of what the scientific consensus has to say on the subject of why the global temperature trend reversed around 1970. I assume that there is a consensus view to explain why this occurred, or no?

  55. #55 GoRight
    2011/03/12

    FYI, I have attempted to move my inquiry over to the March 2011 open thread at RealClimate since they may be in a better position to respond. My inquiry is awaiting moderation, however, so let us see what happens.

  56. #56 Hank Roberts
    2011/03/13

    > why

    Your first question should be “who says it happened, and why do I trust that source?” rather than assuming it’s true; same point I made about the other change you assume happened.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/20ctrend.htm

    “… Meanwhile in 1975, two New Zealand scientists reported that while the Northern Hemisphere had been cooling over the past thirty years, their own region, and probably other parts of the Southern Hemisphere, had been warming.(29) There were too few weather stations in the vast unvisited southern oceans to be certain, but other studies tended to confirm it. The cooling since around 1940 had been observed mainly in northern latitudes. Perhaps cooling from industrial haze counteracted the greenhouse warming there? After all, the Northern Hemisphere was home to most of the world’s industry. It was also home to most of the world’s population, and as usual, people had been most impressed by the weather where they lived.(30*)…”

  57. #57 Rattus Norvegicus
    2011/03/13

    Hank, that would be a big 10-4 good buddy on your response in #54. And has been suggested before, I recommend that GoRight go read “The Discovery of Global Warming”. BTW, it is available in a book (a format I still find easier to digest than web pages) which makes good reading.

    I think that part of the problem here is that Robert’s original description was open to misinterpretation. I cringed when I read it earlier today. To make things clear for our benighted interlocutor there is more than one forcing at work here. There is the positive (warming) forcing supplied by CO2 and there is also a negative (cooling) forcing from human emissions of aerosols, primarily sulphates (more traditionally referred to as “air pollution”). In the 1960′s the US and Europe began to regulate these pollutants. Since they are short lived in the atmosphere (a few years at most) these were quickly reduced in concentration and this action allowed to other anthropogenic forcing, CO2, to become dominant in the system. Up until this time the two forcings had been roughly in balance.

    I hope that GoRight can understand this, but I doubt that he will try very hard.

  58. #58 GoRight
    2011/03/13

    First of all, thanks to everyone for all the pointers to various sources.

    I hope that GoRight can understand this, but I doubt that he will try very hard.

    Well I have been digging through the RealClimate archives for pointers on this specific topic. So far they have confirmed my initial impression but I am still digging to find a more focused review of the official scientific position on this point. I have emailed WMC with some questions but his initial response was not too forthcoming. Perhaps he will reconsider.

    As to my understanding of things, can you please help me understand how your description here:

    To make things clear for our benighted interlocutor there is more than one forcing at work here. There is the positive (warming) forcing supplied by CO2 and there is also a negative (cooling) forcing from human emissions of aerosols, primarily sulphates (more traditionally referred to as “air pollution”). In the 1960′s the US and Europe began to regulate these pollutants. Since they are short lived in the atmosphere (a few years at most) these were quickly reduced in concentration and this action allowed to other anthropogenic forcing, CO2, to become dominant in the system. Up until this time the two forcings had been roughly in balance.

    is substantively different from what I said above in 42:

    I thought that the reversal of this cooling trend was precipitated by the introduction of regulatory controls on the emissions of various aerosols like sulfates (amongst probably others)? I assume it was the whole acid rain thing at the time which was driving these regulatory changes. Since these regulations serve to reduce the amount of sulphates being emitted (and therefore curb the cooling effect that they would otherwise provide) this caused the CO2 to become the more dominant effect.

    As far as I can see I think I had it correct from the start.

  59. #59 GoRight
    2011/03/13

    RE: Response #54 above:

    Yes, yes. This is all very interesting. I’ll read through the “The Discovery of Global Warming” in more detail at some point as this is all nice background information.

    However, I would assume that all of those points about the Northern Hemisphere cooling while the Southern Hemisphere was warming from 1940 through 1970 have already been properly accounted for in the chart labeled “Global temperature 1850-2008″ in your source which plots the HadCRUT3, NCDC and GISS data sets.

    So the bottom line on the global temperature trend from 1940 through 1970 would appear to be that there was, in fact, an overall global cooling during that period. Or are you suggesting that this is incorrect somehow?

  60. #60 Robert Murphy
    2011/03/13

    “I think that part of the problem here is that Robert’s original description was open to misinterpretation. I cringed when I read it earlier today.”

    Yeah my response was a bit imprecise. I forgot to mention aerosols (d’oh!). What I lacked in concision I made up for in confusion and rambling. :)

  61. #61 Rattus Norvegicus
    2011/03/13

    No, acid rain precipitated further regulation of aerosols beginning in the late 1980′s (US passed amendments to the CAA specifically addressed aimed at acid rain in 1990). The initial regulation was triggered by health concerns. The US clean air act was passed in 1970. Other countries passed similar laws around the same time. So in a sense what you wrote is correct, it is just that these paragraphs from the same comment:

    As I understand it the CO2 hypothesis states that as the concentration of CO2 rises the global temperature should likewise rise since CO2 acts a a GHG. I am also under the impression that the scientific view is that CO2 represents a dominant forcing and is therefore the dominant source of our current predicament vis a vis AGW.

    The temperature trend for the period between 1940 and 1970 would appear at first glance to be incongruous with with either or both of these positions. We know that CO2 was rising through the entire period (ignoring minor seasonal fluctuations) and yet the temperature was decreasing. So I assume that the scientific community must have some explanation to account for this.

    Show that you either do not understand this or do not accept it.

    William did provide you with some good pointers in his inline replies and for a description of the current scientific thinking on this subject (well current as of 2006 or so) the IPCC AR4 is a good place to start.

  62. #62 GoRight
    2011/03/13

    No, acid rain precipitated further regulation of aerosols beginning in the late 1980′s [...] So in a sense what you wrote is correct [...]

    OK, fair enough. The exact regulations may not have been specifically those related to acid rain, but instead other concerns. The bottom-line point however was correct: the scientific community believes that aerosols were the most likely source of the cooling between 1940 and 1970.

    I then posited the observation that regulation of these aerosols was likely a precipitating factor in the reversal of that cooling trend. I am unclear on whether the climate science community has ever made any such determination.

    This seems like an obvious consequence to me personally, but what do the actual climate scientists have to say on the subject? Would they agree with this proposition or seek to refute it or simply say that they don’t know if this was the determining factor in the shift or not?

    Show that you either do not understand this or do not accept it.

    Actually I don’t believe that either of these is correct but I can see how one might come to the conclusion based on what I wrote. Allow me to clarify my meaning on a point by point basis.

    As I understand it the CO2 hypothesis states that as the concentration of CO2 rises the global temperature should likewise rise since CO2 acts a a GHG.

    I still believe that this is a accurate statement of the climate science community’s position. If not, help me understand why this statement is incorrect.

    I am also under the impression that the scientific view is that CO2 represents a dominant forcing and is therefore the dominant source of our current predicament vis a vis AGW.

    Ditto above.

    The temperature trend for the period between 1940 and 1970 would appear at first glance to be incongruous with with either or both of these positions.

    The point here is that the temperature was decreasing during a time when the CO2 was increasing. On its face (i.e. at first glance) this would seem to imply that either (a) increasing CO2 does NOT actually cause increases in temperature or (b) that during this period CO2 was NOT the dominant (i.e. the first order) forcing, or (c) both of the above.

    In other words, at least one of (a) or (b) has to be true to account for the decreases in temperature during this period. Both of the above propositions cannot be simultaneously correct and still account for the actual observed temperatures in the face of rising CO2 throughout that period.

    Am I wrong on that?

    We know that CO2 was rising through the entire period (ignoring minor seasonal fluctuations) and yet the temperature was decreasing.

    I think the scientific position on both the concentration of CO2 and the actual global mean temperatures are consistent with this statement.

    So I assume that the scientific community must have some explanation to account for this.

    Here I am basically saying that the scientific community cannot be so stupid as not to have recognized the facts and their logical implications as I have laid them out above, and therefore I was assuming that they must have some explanation to account for the obvious incongruity.

    I then asked people to help enlighten me as to what that explanation actually is so that I can proceed from a position of definitive knowledge as opposed to supposition. I was clearly acknowledging that I might not have things completely correct and therefore I wanted to validate whether I had my facts vis a vis the scientific consensus position correct, or not.

    Does that make my meaning clearer?

  63. #63 Tom C
    2011/03/13

    Very late to the party here. WOuld David B. Benson care to explain what his mention of the Bible is about in comment #2.

  64. #64 Rattus Norvegicus
    2011/03/13

    GoRight,

    Am I wrong on that?

    You are right on your statements about CO2, it is the dominant forcing post 1970 or so. What you are ignoring is your previous statement in the earlier paragraph which provides the explanation. Read the attribution chapter of the IPCC report which WMC provided a pointer to in your comment #42. The answers you seek are there grasshopper.

    But to give you a short answer: the dominant hypothesis is that the reduction in pollution brought on by the early sets of clean air laws did result in the trend we see and D&A studies support this. There are large uncertainties because pollutant levels really were not closely monitored until the 1970′s (AFAIK). Because of this there is considerable uncertainty in the anthropogenic component of the aerosol forcing.

  65. #65 HR
    2011/03/14

    A nice throw away point attempting to simply discredit Spencer but badly timed. He published last month in a peer-review publication.

    http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/01431161.2010.517803

  66. #66 Robert Murphy
    2011/03/14

    HR, what is the connection between the paper Spencer (along with Christy and Norris) wrote about ‘The role of remote sensing in monitoring global bulk tropospheric temperatures’ and the claims Spencer made in his book “The Great Global Warming Blunder”? The paper’s abstract doesn’t mention anything about Spencer’s climate model as described in his book(the subject of this thread)and I don’t have access to the full paper; does the full paper deal with Spencer’s climate model? If not, the claim made in this thread that no journal would publish his ‘twaddle’ stands.

  67. #67 A silly person
    2011/03/19

    What is the optimal temperature of the planet?

    [It isn't clear that your question makes sense. Asking about rates of change is more sensible. See http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/07/what_i_think_about_global_warm.php -W]

  68. #68 Marco
    2011/03/19

    HR: that would be a publication in a journal with impact factor of 1.1…

    Robert Murphy: I think he could easily get it published in a peer review journal (even excluding E&E). Plenty of journals with very poor review standards to choose from.

    Heck, I just found myself a publication in a journal which is known for good standards (impact factor 3.3, which is about middle of the research field), but which managed to screw up with an equation that I believe even pharmacy students (and definately biochemistry students) already know does not work for the situation described in the paper.

  69. #69 J Bowers
    2011/03/19

    Re 65

    The planet’s an inanimate object. What’s the optimal temperature for the human species, grasses and phytoplankton?

  70. #70 IgnoramousKiller
    2011/04/18

    The effects of CO2 are scientifically and politically wildly exaggerated. Yes, there is global warming, but it is not unprecedented. The earth will not have runaway warming.
    Don’t confuse increasing CO2 with the other devastating effects of increased population, pollution, land mismanagement, over fishing of the oceans, or the effects of nuclear mishaps The CO2 nonsense is diverting the world away from solving the really pressing problems that should be addressed. By 2100, fossil fuels will be in great decline. The effect, if any, of CO2 on the climate will likewise dissipate. Show me one thing about the present climate that is happening now that has not occurred in the past.

  71. #71 HJ
    2011/06/12

    Will the effects of rising anthropogenic CO2 really cause a climatic catastrophy? Will this happen before the oil wells run dry? It seems to me that we will endure another ice age long before the effects of atmospheric CO2 becomes critical.

    [You really need to read some of the basics on climate change, because what you're saying here indicates you are getting your info from the mass media, in which case you're doomed. Perhaps reading http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/07/what_i_think_about_global_warm.php will help you -W]

    Should billions $$ be devoted to such studies in lieu of say balancing the budget? Getting our financial house in order seems much more important than stratospheric spending on climate studies. How about a big push for fusion energy. This would render fossil fuel a mute point.

    [You mean "moot". And if you want to save money: how about we stop wasting trillions in Afghanistan?

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2006/02/the_cost_of_climate_research.php

    -W]

  72. #72 Martin Vermeer
    2011/06/14

    Show me one thing about the present climate that is happening now that has not occurred in the past.

    The production of almost enough food for six billion people

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