Clearly, everyone wants to have a long discussion about GW etc etc, and maybe I haven’t provided a venue for this for a while. But I’ve now found an excuse, prompted by (or perhaps more accurately, simply ripping off) mt, who has looked at The Truth About Greenhouse Gases by William Happer.

mt says various wise things, and I too balk at the very first thing he says about climate, viz:

The argument starts something like this. CO2 levels have increased from about 270 ppm to 390 ppm over the past 150 years or so, and the earth has warmed by about 0.8 C during that time. Therefore the warming is due to CO2.

This is a common septic meme, but Happer should be aware that it is wrong; so either he is ignorant or lying; I can’t tell which.

There is a wiki page about this, [[Attribution of recent climate change]] and although it isn’t great, it is better than Happer, and at least points you to the correct sources. And it says:

Attribution of recent change to anthropogenic forcing is based on the following facts:

* The observed change is not consistent with natural variability.
* Known natural forcings would, if anything, be negative over this period [The page says, earlier, "particularly on the last 50 years"].
* Known anthropogenic forcings are consistent with the observed response.
* The pattern of the observed change is consistent with the anthropogenic forcing.

And so we head off for IPCC AR4 chapter 9. And read the Exec summary: It is extremely unlikely (<5%) that the global pattern of warming during the past half century can be explained without external forcing, and very unlikely that it is due to known natural external causes alone. The warming occurred in both the ocean and the atmosphere and took place at a time when natural external forcing factors would likely have produced cooling.

And so on; you can follow it to whatever level of detail you please. So the question is, how can Happer not be aware of this? He is not obliged to agree with the IPCC report, but he cannot but realise that it is the authoritative voice of the position he disagrees with; he is obliged to at least know what it says and (if he is being honest) he is obliged to report (and then, if he can, refute) its arguments. It is dishonest of him to substitute strawmen.

I could go on, but can’t quite see the point. The Happer text is just the std septic mish-mash. It doesn’t even know what the position it opposes is, so cannot say anything interesting about it.

[Update: this was a "s(k)eptic test" post. The question was: "is it possible to argue coherently against the IPCC position, but at the same time realise that Happer had misrepresented it"? The answer, on a sample of one s(k)eptic so far, is no: either because it is necessary to defend Happer from any charges of error, or perhaps because the attempt to compare what Happer said to what the IPCC said is too difficult; it would require reading and understanding what the IPCC said -W]

Refs

* John Mashey is a destructive force

Comments

  1. #1 Martin Vermeer
    2011/08/30

    > I can’t tell which

    I can’t either, legally. But I do know.

  2. #2 deconvoluter
    2011/08/30

    This is an an interesting way of restating a well known talking point about the MWP.

    This damnatia memoriae of inconvenient truths was simply expunged from the 2001 IPCC report, much as Trotsky and Yezhov were removed from Stalin’s photographs by accommodating dark-room specialists in the later years of the dictator’s reign.

    T’s fatal mistake was to confuse a regional revolution with a global one.

    But there is a closer analogy. Apart from being brutal, Stalin was also a politician who promoted an ignorant scientific charlatan, Lysenko, to run Soviet agriculture into the ground for ideological reasons. We have have our share of non brutal ones who are prepared to do something similar. What about the organisation that hosted this stuff?

  3. #3 Magnus W
    2011/08/30

    Take a look at the ACADEMIC ADVISORY COUNCIL, do they really sand behind this crap?

  4. #4 Magnus W
    2011/08/30

    Sorry missed this part.

    Views expressed in the
    publications of the Global
    Warming Policy Foundation
    are those of the authors,
    not those of the GWPF,
    its Trustees, its Academic
    Advisory Council members
    or its Directors.

    Still why publish such a crap report? why have anything to do with some one that does? This should be used as a reminder of what crap GWPF stands for.

    [It looks like trash to me. I assume the reason is just more FUD. I'm more interested, though, if any of our small band of resident sceptics find the report at all credible; in particular, the bit I focussed on -W]

  5. #5 Richard Simons
    2011/08/30

    Instead of starting with the observed changes, I prefer to explain climate change from the other direction: CO2 is a known greenhouse gas, if the amount in the atmosphere were to increase then Earth would warm, the amount of CO2 is increasing, therefore we should expect to find the average temperature is increasing. Surprise, surprise, it is!

    I like this better because this is the prediction that was actually made and because it does not give the impression that an observation was made (Earth is warming) then a search was made to find a likely cause.

  6. #6 deconvoluter
    2011/08/30

    Apparently Happer is quite a prominent lobbyist. He also used Channel 4′s Swindle trick of messing with the calendar (removing the differences between the past and the present) as described here:

    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/william-happer-wants-to-party-like-its-79999999-bc/

    which also reports that he was part of the pro-CFC campaign.

  7. #7 John Mashey
    2011/08/30

    Happer is a member of NAS (National Academy, not Peter Wood’s NAS), for his work in atomic physics at Princeton. He was one if the organizers of the 2009 petition to the APS to undo it’s normal statement on climate.

    Most importantly, he is Chairman of the George Marshall Institute, whose CEO was a 25-year veteran of the American Petroleum Institute. I’ve written a few times detailing Happer’s activities, but sadly he does not approve.
    Google John Mashey Happer destructive force

  8. #8 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/30

    1. “The observed change is not consistent with natural variability.”

    “Natural variability” is defined using inaccurate proxy data and inaccurate surface station data over a small time frame. In other words, we really have no idea what the “natural variability” really is.

    [No, this isn't true. We do have a reasonable, though not perfect idea. Throwing out just the data you don't like isn't honest; nor is re-admitting it just a moment later when convenient to you (see point 2) -W]

    2. “Known natural forcings would, if anything, be negative over this period [The page says, earlier, "particularly on the last 50 years"].”

    Wrong, the first 50 years (at least), of the observed increase in temperatures on the SST record precisely correlate with the increased solar activity that ended the Little Ice Age.

    [You need to read more carefully. "The last 50 years", which is "this period", refers to ~1960 onwards, not 1850.

    Notice how, earlier, the proxy record was so inaccurate that we had no idea what natural variability was. But now it becomes convenient to you, you're happy to accept the LIA -W]

    Even after the increase in solar activity ceased, there may very well be a delay before an equilibrium was reached regarding global temperatures. To use an example, if you turn the heat up on “high” to boil a pot of water, it doesn’t instantly boil – it takes time. That could easily add 2 to 3 decades (if not more), which puts the “anthropogenic” effect somewhere in the 70′s or 80′s

    [If you want to make up your own physics, you can get anything -W]

    And since CO2′s effect is logarithmic why would it suddenly jump up then instead of leveling off? It didn’t. This is an artifact of improper surface station measurements and misinterpreting the oceanic cycles as “heating.”

    3. “* Known anthropogenic forcings are consistent with the observed response.”

    The vast majority of the CO2 we released was post-WW2 – and in the 3-4 decades following WW2 global temperatures decreased.

    [Well, you could try reading the attribution article I pointed you to, and not assuming that everything is CO2. That was Happer, remember, not reality -W]

    Any talk of “sulfates” causing the cooling is simply wishful thinking to excuse away that the facts don’t line up with the AGW hypothesis.

    [Ah, you see, you do know some of the right answer. But since it doesn't fit your preconceptions you are obliged to reject it without thinking, which is sad -W]

    4. “* The pattern of the observed change is consistent with the anthropogenic forcing.”

    I can’t address this point without specifics as to what you mean.

    [You could try reading the IPCC report I pointed you at. Or is that too much trouble?

    In all of this you're just quibbling with stuff you don't really understand. You'll get nowhere interesting unless you're prepared to read the IPCC report.

    But notice how you've evaded what was my actual point: that Happer was dishonestly setting up a strawman. Do you accept that, or do you care to defend Happer? -W]

  9. #9 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/30

    [No, this isn't true. We do have a reasonable, though not perfect idea. Throwing out just the data you don't like isn't honest; nor is re-admitting it just a moment later when convenient to you (see point 2) -W]

    Well, in regards to the proxy data I threw it out (referring to the 2001 Hockey Stick graph) because:

    1) It doesn’t show the Medieval Warm Period
    2) It doesn’t show the Little Ice Ace
    3) It cuts off the last 50 years of proxy data and replaces it with surface station data due to the divergence problem.
    4) The admitted error bars are huge – covering the entire max/min range of the proxy record used.

    Regarding the instrument record – when do we start measuring the “natural variability?” Around the 1960′s when the sun stops its increase in output? That gives us, at the most, 50 years of SST data to understand natural variability – that doesn’t even cover a single full cycle of the AMO.

    If we go earlier than that and are somehow able to compensate for the change in solar activity then we must deal with urban heat bias, siting bias, recording bias (e.g. METAR transcription problems) and numerous other problems such as inadequate #’s of data points. Look at how GISS has altered the older temperatures, many decades after the fact, downward when they should’ve been adjusting the newer data down to compensate for UHI.

    [You need to read more carefully. "The last 50 years", which is "this period", refers to ~1960 onwards, not 1850.

    Notice how, earlier, the proxy record was so inaccurate that we had no idea what natural variability was. But now it becomes convenient to you, you're happy to accept the LIA -W]

    Ah yes I misread that. The last 50 years are the easiest to explain – the temperatures, for the satellite record anyway, remain flat and only jump up in 1978ish when the PDO goes warm and around 2000 when the AMO went into its warm phase.

    Since then the temperature has been flat.

    As for accepting the LIA – I do it mostly because of recorded historical accounts not proxy records. I do believe the proxies may have some general use, but they have too many issues to define things like natural variability. I believe I outlined my problems with the proxy record.

    [If you want to make up your own physics, you can get anything -W]

    I didn’t think I was making up anything. I thought it was relatively well accepted that it takes time for the energy absorbed by the ocean to make its way to the atmosphere and then into space.

    Prior to the ARGO project I don’t think we had a good way of measuring the heat content of the ocean.

    [Ah, you see, you do know some of the right answer. But since it doesn't fit your preconceptions you are obliged to reject it without thinking, which is sad -W]

    I could say the same of the AGW orthodoxy. It seems to me that the models didn’t line up with reality and so instead of re-examining the effects of CO2 they made up another number for sulfates to “correct” the observed data.

    How many sulfates are in the atmosphere from industry? I honestly don’t know, but I doubt it is a significant enough to have the claimed effects.

    [I don't feel any great need to amplify anything I've said. It is clear to me that you aren't really thinking, but are only recycling the septic talking points you've been fed. There is really very little point in discussing the science, if you won't -W]

    [But notice how you've evaded what was my actual point: that Happer was dishonestly setting up a strawman. Do you accept that, or do you care to defend Happer?]

    No, I don’t think he was. I read a portion of the paper you linked to and he seems pretty bright. I think he simplified your 3rd (?) point a bit, but that was it – perhaps I misread it though.

    [You are very generous to those you perceive to be your friends. Happer presents, as the full answer, something that could be described as a gross simplification of one part, by someone who was being kind to him. And yet you are unable to criticise him for this. This, even though you've just spent some time arguing against the very points that Happer ignores. Like I said: you don't have to agree with the arguments of the science, but you should at least report then fairly.

    If your critical facilities are so atrophied that you can't even read what Happer has written and compare it to the IPCC - what hope have you of ever understanding any of this? -W]

  10. #10 Robert Murphy
    2011/08/30

    “1) It doesn’t show the Medieval Warm Period
    2) It doesn’t show the Little Ice Ace”

    Sure it does. It was the first hemispheric temperature reconstruction; there were no prior reconstructions that had a bigger MWP or LIA. Both events, however, are evident in the graph, if a little smaller in magnitude than some other, later studies.

    #9:
    “3) It cuts off the last 50 years of proxy data and replaces it with surface station data due to the divergence problem.”

    It does no such thing. Mann’s graph includes both the proxy data and the full instrumental data, side by side as different lines. His proxy data ends in 1981, no where near the last “50 years” (also remember, the papers came out in the late 90′s). The divergence problem has nothing to do with Mann’s graph; you’re confusing him with Briffa.

    If you are going to attack someone’s work, at least have a passing familiarity with what that work says.

  11. #11 David B. Benson
    2011/08/30

    I’ll do my best to stay out of this one.

  12. #12 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/30

    @WMC I’m not reciting “septic talking points.” I came to many of those conclusions myself – esp. regarding oceanic cycles. I was quite happy to learn about other people talking about them after I’d already noticed the relationship.

    [No, not credible -W]

    I liken it to continental drift – it was so obvious that Africa and South America were connected that a grade schooler could see it – and yet until plate tectonics was discovered the theory was ridiculed.

    In any case, perhaps another time we can talk about positive and negative feedbacks. I think I even have a few novel ones in my noggin that haven’t been published anywhere.

    You and your friends will have to credit me on the paper though – if you are interested in negative feedbacks.

    @Robert I was referring to this relatively famous graph:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hockey_stick_chart_ipcc_large.jpg

    It largely shows no MWP or LIA – and others have taken out the error range to make it look even more authoritative.

    You are correct though on the time frames. I thought he took out the proxy data at the proxy/temp divergence since he does use dendro data as well.

  13. #13 Robert Murphy
    2011/08/30

    @12:

    I knew what graph it was. It shows a MWP and a LIA, if a little less pronounced than later reconstructions. The underlying science has held up. MBH ’98 and ’99 were the first hemispheric temperature reconstructions; there were none before that iirc. They did a pretty good job considering the difficulty of the task.

    “I thought he took out the proxy data at the proxy/temp divergence since he does use dendro data as well”

    Not only did he not, he showed both instrumental and proxy data together. Dendro was not his only proxy data (as the graph explicitly states), and not all dendro data was affected by the divergence problem. Nothing was spliced.

    Now, want to say something about Happer’s gross misrepresentation of the argument behind the connection between CO2 and climate change?

  14. #14 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/30

    @Robert

    1) A “little” less pronounced? Are we looking at the same graph? It shows .1-.2 degrees difference between the two – on a graph with an error range that exceeds a full degree.

    Such incredibly small differences do not match up with the historical records.

    2) Yes he did show the instrumental and proxy records together – until the PDO went into its warm phase and started heating up the planet with the AMO to follow in 2000.

    Quite simply, as shown by the admitted error bars (guesswork) the proxy records don’t have the resolution required to draw comparisons with the SST record. This isn’t just due to a lack of data points (which is a big problem), but due to fundamental problems with using biological organisms as thermometers centuries after the fact.

    The ice cores are a bit better, but they have problems of their own as well.

    3. I don’t agree that it was a “gross mischaracterization.” It was a simplification and he wasn’t even the one who simplified it. He was simply addressing AGW as it is commonly understood – and as it has commonly been communicated to the masses.

    I wouldn’t attribute any malice in that.

    The problem with AGW is that people can understand the simple concepts of, “Greenhouse gases mean more warming, we put more in the air and so it is getting too hot.” If it is fully explained, that the “danger” is based purely on computer models programmed with hypothetical positive feedbacks….well, that begins to smell like BS to a lot of people.

    ["programmed with hypothetical positive feedbacks" - see, you are pre-programmed with septic talking points; you're just not aware of it, and won't be made aware -W]

  15. #15 Robert Murphy
    2011/08/30

    “A “little” less pronounced? Are we looking at the same graph?”

    Yep.

    “It shows .1-.2 degrees difference between the two”

    I thought you said there was no MWP or LIA on the graph. At any rate, the other reconstructions mostly showed a few tenths of a degree difference in either direction. None of them showed temps warmer than the last 20 years or so.

    “Yes he did show the instrumental and proxy records together – until the PDO went into its warm phase and started heating up the planet with the AMO to follow in 2000.”

    ?? He used the proxy data he had, which ran out in 1981. The papers came out in the late 90′s. What does the PDO have to do with it?

    “by the admitted error bars (guesswork)”

    The error bars are not guesswork. Read up on a little before you embarrass yourself further.

    “but due to fundamental problems with using biological organisms as thermometers centuries after the fact.”

    Assertion without evidence.

    “I don’t agree that it was a “gross mischaracterization.” It was a simplification and he wasn’t even the one who simplified it. He was simply addressing AGW as it is commonly understood…”

    He got the argument ass-backwards – it wasn’t simplified, it was twisted. The argument has never been that because both temperatures have gone up and CO2 has gone up, CO2 must be causing temperatures to go up. A trained physicist like Happer *has* to know this. The argument has always been that because of the physics of greenhouse gases, an increase in them will cause temps to go up. This prediction was made well *before* there was any evidence of a temperature rise.

    “and as it has commonly been communicated to the masses.”

    Not by climate scientists. Maybe by “skeptics” like Happer who either have never investigated what actual climate scientists have said, or deliberately lie.

    “If it is fully explained, that the “danger” is based purely on computer models…”

    This is nonsense. You’ve already been explained that is false, yet you continue to repeat the same “mistakes”. I don’t have the time or the inclination to discover what your motivation is, but clearly there is no further need in discussing this with you until you make some kind of effort to understand the state of the science.

  16. #16 John Mashey
    2011/08/30

    More on Happer:
    1) http://www.desmogblog.com/another-silly-climate-petition-exposed

    2) http://www.desmogblog.com/crescendo-climategate-cacophony
    p.62 George Marshall Institute,
    p.97 activities, and
    p.125 Happer entry, do read the quote there, taken from:
    http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/01/12/22506/

    BTW: both the Daily Princetonian writer & Eli Kintisch of Science are *very* clever writers.

  17. #17 David B. Benson
    2011/08/30

    Robert Murphy | August 30, 2011 9:18 PM — Thank you for trying but I fear his mind is made up and he doesn’t want to be confused by the facts.

    [Alas yes. There is some nice bolder text here which provides the key -W]

  18. #18 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/30

    1) I did say the graph didn’t differentiate between the two and I’m correct. It is no statistically meaningful difference between them. A .1-.2 degree difference with such a large error range has them “statistically tied.”

    2) I mention the PDO because the proxies don’t have the resolution to accurately measure the magnitude of such cycles during the MWP.

    3) The bars are guesswork. Measuring temperatures from that long ago, with small sample sizes using tree rings and corals based on modern measurements is indeed guesswork – and that’s being generous.

    4) It isn’t an assertion without evidence at all – the evidence is in the graph itself via the error range.

    5) If you don’t think that was the argument that has been taught by Al Gore and repeated by teachers throughout the world then watch an Inconvenient Truth.

    6) It isn’t nonsense at all. Even the IPCC recognizes that CO2′s greenhouse effects are logarithmic – they have to add positive feedbacks to the models to get the scary scenarios required for more funding and more research.

    [Perhaps you have a citation for that? Its a common enough septic talking point; according to you, you've arrived at this information for yourself, not by reading septic trash; so you must have a reference. Yes? -W]

  19. #19 pough
    2011/08/30

    He was simply addressing AGW as it is commonly understood – and as it has commonly been communicated to the masses.

    Shades of Frank Luntz! If most people are wrong about something, reinforcing the wrong is “a more appropriate way to communicate”.

  20. #20 pough
    2011/08/30

    they have to add positive feedbacks to the models to get the scary scenarios required for more funding and more research.

    I’m still puzzling out how several thousand nerds worldwide, all in one field, came to the conclusion that – alone among the sciences – climatology needs a fraudulent global catastrophy to get grant money. You pretty obviously have proof that this assertion is true. That goes without saying. Anyone who denigrates others for making things up would never just make things up.

  21. #21 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/30

    @Pough Just because he is addressing the simplified version does not mean he is fundamentally wrong. At its core, it is essentially confusing correlation with causation and I think that was his point.

    @Pough2 When you form an organization dedicated to proving something, which would cease to exist without it, then you have created the bias to come to the conclusion that it does exist.

    Also, there is a lot of “fraud” in lots of scientific fields – stupid and worthless studies that don’t deserve funding or attention. They may get the former, but since their “science” isn’t used to justify economic seppuku it doesn’t get a lot of attention.

    Personally, I think the massive amount of money thrown at educational institutions by the government has corrupted the scientific process in many fields – if you can write a good sounding grant application (con) then you can get funding for the stupidest of things.

  22. #22 Dave
    2011/08/30

    Well, TheGoodLocust has shown what he’s really all about now, in his last two posts. An Al Gore reference, a claim that it’s all about getting research money by illicit means, and a claim that climate scientists are advocating economic suicide. None of these has anything to do with the science; all of them are expressions of a “conservative” (actually more of an anti-Enlightenment radical) ideology being permitted to trump common sense.

    [PA redacted - W]

  23. #23 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/30

    @Dave

    1) The Al Gore reference was pertinent since that’s how most people gained their understanding of the subject.

    2) I didn’t say it was about getting research money through “illicit” means. I said without the positive feedbacks programmed into the models there would be no scare scenario and the funding and prestige would dry up.

    This is obvious and so one would expect a confirmation bias (among other biases) for global warming – most likely this is subconscious.

    3) I didn’t say climate scientists are advocating economic suicide – I said their work was being used to justify it. I suppose I could make the case that Hansen is doing this, but he is an exception.

    Also, I prefer the term seppuku since it more accurately describes the sentiment – that we must commit economic suicide to regain our lost honor. It may make sense within the culture, but looking at it from the outside is is silly.

    Please be more careful with the strawman arguments in the future.

  24. #24 lenny
    2011/08/31

    “…until plate tectonics was discovered the theory was ridiculed.”

    I don’t even know what this means – plate tectonics is a theory.
    Regardless, you’ve obviously been hypnotized by the geological prophets of doom. The S. American and African coastlines are an obvious case of correlation without common causation. They have to make up scary scenarios about plate tectonics causing earthquakes for more funding and more research. We both know what would happen if they admitted that god’s footsteps cause earthquakes – without earthquakes the plate tectonic alarmists prestige and funding would dry up.
    I’m not saying that CPT geologists are advocating economic suicide, but their work is certainly being used to justify it – vast amounts spent on ridiculous building code requirements, retrofitting perfectly good old buildings etc., Not to mention they’re now using our schools to indoctrinate and scare the heck out of our kids with CPT.

  25. #25 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/31

    @Lenny

    You have confused yourself. The theory I was referring to was that of continental drift – and continental drift was widely ridiculed by geologists. The theoretical basis behind why the continents drift is known as plate tectonics.

    That being said, the evidence for continental drift goes well beyond the obvious – the fossil record confirms it as well.

    ["Continental drift" as originally formulated was wrong; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_drift and links. Ironically, for someone who doesn't like "correlation implies causation", it was essentially a correlation theory -W]

    As for your silly comparison with AGW. Earthquakes are an fact. They occur, for the most part, along fault lines.

    Catastrophe from AGW is not observed – it is predicted by some computer models using hypothetical mechanisms that amplify warming. Additionally, observed data has contradicted the various claims made about AGW. For example, cyclonic energy has decreased over the last few decades – no increases in hurricane activity yet observed.

    It has always been the observed data that has been a problem for the AGW hypothesis, which has required ever more excuses to keep the idea alive.

  26. #26 TheGoodLocust
    2011/08/31

    @WMC I said that “many” of my ideas did come from others. Of course, I am weighing them according to merit. Yes, things like the METAR transcription errors I wouldn’t have learned about if it were not for Climategate, which motivated me to start reading WUWT, but I’d already determined, in my opinion, the major problems and the likely truth behind the matter.

    Could I be wrong? It is possible. I have a good track record for being correct about the “big picture” (sometimes I err with the details).

  27. #27 guthrie
    2011/08/31

    Hey, locust, can you point us to the evidence for catastrophe caused by AGW?

  28. #28 Wow
    2011/08/31

    “Hey, locust, can you point us to the evidence for catastrophe caused by AGW?”

    Here you go:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/qld-floods/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/AP962205057fe744caadd4ebca7e4cdde5.html

    Or are you going to claim that hurricanes are independent of the temperature of the oceans and that the water content in the atmosphere insensitive to temperature, therefore these events unaffected by AGW?

  29. #29 Wow
    2011/08/31

    “”Natural variability” is defined using inaccurate proxy data and inaccurate surface station data over a small time frame.”

    Inaccurate to what degree? I’m pretty sure that you can measure the temperature to SOME level of accuracy.

    “Wrong, the first 50 years (at least), of the observed increase in temperatures on the SST record precisely correlate with the increased solar activity that ended the Little Ice Age.”

    The first 50 years cannot be explained WITHOUT human activities included. The 50 years after that had the effect of the first 50 years PLUS a greater effect from a larger human effect in the next 50 years.

    PS how can you know this if we’re: “using … inaccurate surface station data over a small time frame.” as you claim?

    “And since CO2′s effect is logarithmic why would it suddenly jump up then instead of leveling off?”

    If it hasn’t suddenly jumped, then your question is invalid and doesn’t need answering.

    It hasn’t suddenly jumped.

    “The vast majority of the CO2 we released was post-WW2 – and in the 3-4 decades following WW2 global temperatures decreased.”

    Because we also released lots of particulates which rain out but get renewed. It seems that you believe that the ONLY forcing of climate is CO2. This is incorrect.

    “That could easily add 2 to 3 decades (if not more), which puts the “anthropogenic” effect somewhere in the 70′s or 80′s”

    During the 70′s the Clean Air Acts were introduced.

    “Any talk of “sulfates” causing the cooling is simply wishful thinking”

    Really? That sounds like wishful thinking to me. It seems like you DEMAND that CO2 be the only effect on the climate.

    “I can’t address this point without specifics as to what you mean.”

    Poles (where the sun shines less) warming faster than the tropics

    Nighttime (where the sun shines not at all) warming faster than the daytime

    The Troposphere warming faster and the stratosphere cooling (which means that energy that the stratosphere USED to get is being reduced. The sun still shines, so the reduction must be in what’s leaving the earth. GHG effect)

  30. #30 Wow
    2011/08/31

    “Well, in regards to the proxy data I threw it out (referring to the 2001 Hockey Stick graph) because:

    1) It doesn’t show the Medieval Warm Period”

    The MWP wasn’t global.

    “2) It doesn’t show the Little Ice Ace”

    The LIA wasn’t global.

    And they both show SOME existence in the MBH98 paper, just not as much as the current warming which IS global.

    “3) It cuts off the last 50 years of proxy data and replaces it with surface station data due to the divergence problem.”

    What divergence problem? You’re just parroting what you’ve been told to say.

    The proxy data for a single species of tree (more than just trees were used as proxies) in the northern temperate latitudes (more than just the northern temperate latitudes were measured) no longer agrees with ACTUAL measurements nor the other proxies.

    Ever heard of Acid Rain?

    “4) The admitted error bars are huge – covering the entire max/min range of the proxy record used”

    Those error bars are huge but still do not support a WMP that is warmer.

    I thought you’d said they were “inaccurate”, mind? So your reason for knowing the WMP and LIA even existed is based on what YOU KNOW to be inaccurate data?

    Really?

    “Regarding the instrument record – when do we start measuring the “natural variability?””

    Never.

    We measure temperature.

    That’s what thermometers measure: temperature.

    “If we go earlier than that and are somehow able to compensate for the change in solar activity then we must deal with urban heat bias”

    UHI doesn’t change the temperature TREND at a station.

    “siting bias”

    surfacestations project proves that siting doesn’t change the data conclusions (if anything, it slightly biases the trend DOWN)

    ” recording bias”

    CRU (for example) spend all their effort doing this.

    And what happens when their QC is used? They’re proclaimed as “fiddling the numbers” to fake GW. If their data throws out data they can’t account for these biases, claims are made of “throwing away data that doesn’t agree with the AGW”.

    Then you claim you HAVE to have the “raw data”.

    “when they should’ve been adjusting the newer data down to compensate for UHI.”

    They have been. In fact, apparently over-correcting for UHI.

    Just because for your conspiracy theory to be right, they must be not doing this doesn’t make it so. It merely makes it wishful thinking.

    “the last 50 years are the easiest to explain – the temperatures, for the satellite record anyway”

    The satellite record gives between 0.13 and 0.17C per decade warming trend. This despite the fact that the satellite data includes some stratospheric (and therefor cooling) airmasses.

    “Since then the temperature has been flat.”

    Nope. The trend has been a little over 0.12C per decade. This is not flat.

    “As for accepting the LIA – I do it mostly because of recorded historical accounts not proxy records”

    How ACCURATE are those historical accounts?

    Did they tell you HOW cold it was over the globe? Or just that it was cold there where they were standing?

    “I thought it was relatively well accepted that it takes time for the energy absorbed by the ocean to make its way to the atmosphere and then into space.”

    And the energy NOT absorbed deep into the ocean? You know, all that SEA SURFACE and LAND on the earth?

    PS since the deeper oceans are cooler than the upper levels, how can the deeper ocean warm anything?

    “Prior to the ARGO project I don’t think we had a good way of measuring the heat content of the ocean.”

    You think.

    This is not proof.

    “I could say the same of the AGW orthodoxy.”

    You would be wrong, however.

    “It seems to me that the models didn’t line up with reality and so instead of re-examining the effects of CO2 they made up another number for sulfates to “correct” the observed data.”

    Or correct for reading biases, siting biases, and UHI biases.

    Do you want corrected data or not?

    “How many sulfates are in the atmosphere from industry? I honestly don’t know, but I doubt it is a significant enough to have the claimed effects.”

    Again, another argument from personal belief.

    This is not proof. You can read the chapter on aerosols in the IPCC WG1 reports for the first four meetings.

  31. #31 Wow
    2011/08/31

    “I liken it to continental drift – it was so obvious that Africa and South America were connected that a grade schooler could see it”

    Incorrect.

    The coastlines did NOT match.

    A much better match was made by taking the contours at 100m below sea level, but a grade schooler wouldn’t consider that.

    An even better match was made by taking the geology. Ditto to above.

    “In any case, perhaps another time we can talk about positive and negative feedbacks. I think I even have a few novel ones in my noggin that haven’t been published anywhere.”

    This could be because they’re rubbish. Remember they laughed at Bozo the Clown.

    “It largely shows no MWP or LIA – and others have taken out the error range to make it look even more authoritative.”

    This could be because the MWP and LIA were not global. The error range bars are somwhat redundant since the range of the data, not just the trend, is visible on the graph. You DID look at the graph, didn’t you?

    And this is from Wikipedia, if you’re unhappy about it, you can go to the IPCC report and use theirs.

    “1) A “little” less pronounced? Are we looking at the same graph? It shows .1-.2 degrees difference between the two – on a graph with an error range that exceeds a full degree.”

    Yes. Your point?

    If the MWP was not global and was, in fact, merely reapportioning the thermal energy in the atmosphere, then the AVERAGE won’t change. Take any 8 numbers are just re-arrange them. You will find the AVERAGE doesn’t change. Even if some positions in the list of numbers have seen their value go up.

    “Such incredibly small differences do not match up with the historical records.”

    Which said WHAT about the temperatures? Or did they not use actual degrees celsius/farenheit in their reports and just say “Brrrr. It’s a bit nippy”?

    “Quite simply, as shown by the admitted error bars (guesswork)”

    No, there’s quite a good statistical way of working out error bars on a fitted line to data. This is not called “guessing”, however. This DOES appear to be the way you do it, mind.

    “the proxy records don’t have the resolution required to draw comparisons with the SST record.”

    We don’t have ANY SST measurements for 1000 years ago.

    So how can you draw this conclusion? Sounds like wishful thinking to me!

    “If it is fully explained, that the “danger” is based purely on computer models programmed with hypothetical positive feedbacks….well, that begins to smell like BS to a lot of people.”

    Except fully explaining it that way would be LYING.

    Yes, yes, I know you like convenient lies like that, but it’s STILL lying. Even though you WANT to make it out as BS, this doesn’t mean you can make up a “full explanation” to that end.

    The danger is based on actual measurements. The only model needed was one that Arrhenius had: his mind and his pencil and paper.

  32. #32 Wow
    2011/08/31

    “1) I did say the graph didn’t differentiate between the two and I’m correct.”

    You are incorrect.

    You stated *it did not have* a MWP and LIA.

    It does.

    “It is no statistically meaningful difference between them.”

    This doesn’t mean they don’t exist: just that their global effect was minimal compared to the noise in the system.

    “2) I mention the PDO because the proxies don’t have the resolution to accurately measure the magnitude of such cycles during the MWP.”

    However, when you average over 30 years which the proxies DO manage to do, then you get no net effect from PDO.

    “3) The bars are guesswork. Measuring temperatures from that long ago, with small sample sizes using tree rings and corals based on modern measurements is indeed guesswork”

    Nope, the measurements are concrete. The variations are concrete. The error bars show how much confidence can be given to these proxies’ reconstruction of data and are not guesswork, they are the QUANTIFICATION of how much guesswork the record entertains.

    Or are you saying they didn’t count, they just guessed how many rings a tree borehole has?

    “4) It isn’t an assertion without evidence at all – the evidence is in the graph itself via the error range”

    It is an assertion made that is NOT evidenced by the graph itself.

    “5) If you don’t think that was the argument that has been taught by Al Gore and repeated by teachers throughout the world then watch an Inconvenient Truth.”

    I have.

    It wasn’t.

    This was a complete fabrication of your own twisted mind.

    “6) It isn’t nonsense at all.”

    It is nonsense.

    “Even the IPCC recognizes that CO2′s greenhouse effects are logarithmic”

    Indeed they do. However your statement wasn’t just that the effects of CO2 are logarithmic.

    These are the statements that are nonsense.

    “they have to add positive feedbacks to the models to get the scary scenarios required for more funding and more research.”

    Nope, they don’t get more funding the scarier AGW is.

    They add positive feedbacks because a warmer airmass holds more water vapour, and water vapour is a greenhouse gas. A warmer globe has less ice and ice is more visibly reflective than not-ice, so therefore more sunlight is absorbed, making for more warming.

    YOU have to assert that these feedbacks are purely for greed because

    1) YOU HAVE TO prove that your conspiracy theory is correct

    2) YOU have absolutely no problems in letting personal gain drive your life and actions

  33. #33 Wow
    2011/08/31

    “@Pough Just because he is addressing the simplified version does not mean he is fundamentally wrong. At its core, it is essentially confusing correlation with causation and I think that was his point.”

    At his core, he was ASSERTING a confusion.

    Such a confusion does not exist.

    Therefore he was wrong.

    “Catastrophe from AGW is not observed”

    No, we get catastrophe from warming. We observe that:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/specials/qld-floods/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/AP962205057fe744caadd4ebca7e4cdde5.html

  34. #34 Wow
    2011/08/31

    “2) I didn’t say it was about getting research money through “illicit” means. I said without the positive feedbacks programmed into the models there would be no scare scenario and the funding and prestige would dry up.”

    This would be “fraud”.

    It is an illicit way of getting money.

    “Please be more careful with the strawman arguments in the future. ”

    Yes, it would be terrible for you to run out, wouldn’t it…

  35. #35 Hank Roberts
    2011/08/31

    Guys, killfile works. Seriously.

    If you must read the nonsense,
    and if you must then reply,
    at least understand the science.

    Don’t repeat the misstatements.
    Don’t repost the misstatements.
    Don’t quote the misstatements.

    Not even to then say they’re wrong.

    That feeds the troll and the bystanders remember the falsehood.

    http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00296270

    _________excerpt follows_______

    Public information campaigns often warn people about false and unreliable medical claims by juxtaposing “myths” and “facts.” The effectiveness of such communications has rarely been assessed. We assessed whether people systematically misremember the “myths” (false information) ….

    In sum, people show a bias to think that incompletely remembered information is true, turning “myths” into “facts.” Hence public information campaigns should emphasize information that is true. Repeating false information, even as a warning, can create the unintended consequence of belief in the information.

    ——-end excerpt——–

    Got that?

    Again:
    _Repeating false information, even as a warning, can create the unintended consequence of belief in the information._

  36. #36 Jonathan Bagley
    2011/08/31

    You quote the following from the executive summary of IPCC AR4 ch9

    “It is extremely unlikely (<5%) that the global pattern of warming during the past half century can be explained without external forcing, and very unlikely that it is due to known natural external causes alone.”

    In order to make a probability statement, you must have a probability model. The model that is chosen determines the probability of an event.

    [The IPCC think they have a probability model. JA would disagree that theirs is good, but you'll certainly find "extremely unlikely" defined -W]

  37. #37 John Mashey
    2011/08/31

    re: #6 and 7, this got lost I try again

    [Apologies: mt ate it; stupid spam filter. I've published it retrospectively, so your wise words now appear twice -W]

    1) Austin, Happer, Singer + 3 others organized a petition to the American Physical Society to undo their standard statement on climate change. I analyzed the social network and demographics of the signers (0.5% of the APS members, skewed heavily towards older males), having looked up every signer I could find. See:
    http://www.desmogblog.com/another-silly-climate-petition-exposed
    Happer was unpleased with this.

    2) A bit later, I wrote:
    http://www.desmogblog.com/crescendo-climategate-cacophony
    See:
    p.62 George Marshall Institute
    p.125-126 Happer, including the quote from Daily Princetonian:
    ‘”Physics professor William Happer GS ’64 has some tough words for scientists who believe that carbon dioxide is causing global warming.

    “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”’
    But there is much more info there on Happer. One might think he would be pleased at this publicity. Alas, not.

  38. #38 Paul Kelly
    2011/08/31

    There’s a lot of politics in Happer’s article, which I’ve only skimmed. I gather he thinks one of the corruptions of climate science is it’s connection to government and partisan politics. I much preferred the Denning talk to Heartland. Denning calls for a new communication model for climate. He asks who will advocate and, by implication, what form should that advocacy take.

    The worn out information deficit model is exemplified in the public mind by Al Gore who exhorts all to win the conversation. For him, it is the number one priority. It does not go well. The climate concerned spin their wheels. Luckily, few will read Happer’s words. On the other hand, millions heard Bill McKibben’s foolish and self destructive statements in advance of hurricane Irene’s land fall.

  39. #39 adelady
    2011/08/31

    McKibben foolish about hurricane Irene?

    Not even in the same league as Michaels’ “only cough up 8 bodies” sensible, well-considered, empathetic remarks.

  40. #40 David B. Benson
    2011/08/31

    Pleased I was able to restrain myself..

  41. #41 Paul Kelly
    2011/08/31

    Right, not even in the same league. Google Michaels’ and McKibben’s statements. There’s 10,100 hits for Michaels’ including one to WUWT where he is roundly condemned and where Michaels has apologized for his insensitivity. McKibben’s statement yielded over 200,000 hits. Who’s statement do you think has more affect on public perception?

  42. #42 Paul Kelly
    2011/08/31

    David,

    Perhaps you could loosen your restraints enough to explain why you think McKibben’s form of advocacy, constant claims of impending doom and mass political action, is effective or even appropriate.

  43. #43 David B. Benson
    2011/08/31

    Paul Kelly | August 31, 2011 11:06 PM — I don’t know that I do, making no claims to any ability whatsoever to influence people’s opinions or actions.

    However, I can read Mark Lynas’s “Six Degrees”:
    http://www.marklynas.org/2007/4/23/six-steps-to-hell-summary-of-six-degrees-as-published-in-the-guardian
    and note than the world hasn’t warmed up to the 1 K mark yet and we are already seeing extensive extreme flooding and droughts. So it is easy to understand there will be even more and worse coming.

    As I often post on another blog “had enough yet?”

  44. #44 Steve Bloom
    2011/09/01

    PK, “impending doom” is wrong. Go see what’s right. As David says, effects seem to be notably out in front of the models.

  45. #45 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/01

    David,

    If you don’t know if you disagree that McKibben’s form of advocacy is ineffective and inappropriate, why do you have to restrain yourself when someone points out that it is? Certainly if the future is as dire as you believe it to be, you should be looking for the best form of advocacy and the best advocates to confront the problem.

  46. #46 David B. Benson
    2011/09/01

    Paul Kelly | September 1, 2011 1:07 AM — I was restraining myself from commenting on the posts by a certain ubquitous flying insect pest.

    Others will do much better than I in pointing to the increasing flooding and droughts. Hopefully, soone better than later, enough people will make the connection…

  47. #47 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/01

    David,

    That old deceiver juxtaposition kept me from seeing what was bugging you.

  48. #48 Wow
    2011/09/01

    “Certainly if the future is as dire as you believe it to be, you should be looking for the best form of advocacy and the best advocates to confront the problem.”

    And so he is.

    YOU just don’t like it, hence concern trolling.

  49. #49 J
    2011/09/01

    I’d be inclined to cut McKibben a little slack, considering what Irene just did to his home state. In many parts of Vermont this is the worst flooding in over a century. It’s difficult to convey how awful things are around here. My family is very fortunate in that our village was let off lightly, but only a few km from here there are scenes of utter devastation.

    If this is what the future looks like, we should all be worried.

  50. #50 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/01

    J,

    I’d cut McKibben slack if…

    [I don't really care much about McKibben, indeed I don't even know who he is (please don't tell me), and I don't want this thread to turn into an argument about him -W]

  51. #51 J
    2011/09/01

    I’d cut McKibben slack if [...] the flooding caused by Irene were unusually severe. The facts are otherwise.

    I sure hope that is the stupidest and most ill-informed thing I read today.

    The 2002 paper you cite discusses our previous two big floods (1927 and 1938). There are many towns here where the flooding this week was worse than anything in either of those years.

    You might have seen footage of the beautiful covered bridge at Bartonsville being swept away. That bridge was built in 1870, and had survived both the 1927 and 1938 floods.

    There are certainly towns in the northern part of the state that were harder hit in 1927 and did not experience as severe flooding this time. But describing the current conditions here as “not unusually severe” is just plain appalling.

    The paper you cited claims that the mean annual cost of flooding in Vermont averaged $17 million from 1955 to 1999. Well, my town — only one out of 242 inhabited towns — has already identified around $0.5 million in damage to roads and bridges alone, and we were probably the town least affected in our county. The statewide costs, just for damage to roads and bridges will certainly be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and I’ve already read one report predicting the total cost to reach $1 billion. That’s a huge bill for a state with only 600,000 people.

    Yes, this state has had disastrous flooding before. That doesn’t change the fact that what’s happening right now is absolutely horrible. As I said, if this is what the future looks like, we should all be worried.

  52. #52 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/01

    W,

    I’ll add the fact that you don’t know who McK is to my growing list of reasons why you are the best source of accurate information about climate science.

  53. #53 David B. Benson
    2011/09/01

    J — Read Lynas’s book. Actually the future looks much, much worse.

  54. #54 J
    2011/09/01

    David, believe me, I have. There’s a copy on the bookshelf behind me right now.

    But there’s a difference between reading about flooding in the abstract, and having the town next to yours under water.

  55. #55 David B. Benson
    2011/09/01

    J — Next escalation is your town.

  56. #56 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/02

    After rereading what was comment 50, I can see how J could take not unusually severe to mean not very severe. That was not my intent. Unusually is not the right word. It implies average. Irene’s Vermont floods are clearly very above average in severity, even if they are not the most severe of all time. The proper descriptive word is anomalously, implying laying outside observed parameters.

  57. #57 Wow
    2011/09/02

    “The 2002 paper you cite discusses our previous two big floods (1927 and 1938). There are many towns here where the flooding this week was worse than anything in either of those years.”

    Additionally, there have been many projects taken to reduce the effect, severity and occurrence of flooding in the Brisbane area.

    That means that if you had the same flood defenses and mitgation as in 1938 and 1927, the flooding would have been WORSE than observed.

    Or you have to assume that the flood defenses didn’t work and were a huge waste of time and money.

  58. #58 J
    2011/09/02

    Paul Kelly, you’re shifting the goalposts again. Should we be complacent about flooding or drought as long as it’s “not the most severe of all time” or “not laying outside observed parameters?”

    Your original derailment of this thread was to cast aspersions on He Who Shall Not Be Named, over a column that HWSNBN wrote several days before Hurricane Irene made landfall. In that column, HWSNBN draws a link between AGW and Irene.

    He begins by referring to the rarity of Category 3 storms hitting the northeastern US — as it turned out, Irene was Cat 1 at best when it reached land here.

    He then goes on to quote Jeff Masters discussing the anomalously high sea surface temperatures off New York and New England this year: “These warm ocean temperatures will also make Irene a much wetter hurricane than is typical, since much more water vapor can evaporate into the air from record-warm ocean surfaces. The latest precipitation forecast from NOAA’s Hydrological prediction center shows that Irene could dump over eight inches of rain over coastal New England.”

    This point was highlighted by the editors of HWSNBN’s column, who tagged it with the phrase Warm ocean temperatures will make Irene a much wetter hurricane than is typical.

    This is, in fact, exactly what we experienced. Looked at in terms of wind speeds, Irene was pretty weak by the time it got here. But the rainfall was anomalously high for such a “weak” storm. The 11.23″ (28.5 cm) of rain measured at Mendon was the greatest single day’s rainfall in Vermont’s history. The results, were of course disastrous.

    The rest of the August 25 column is just criticism of the Obama administration for taking no significant action on climate.

    So. He Who Shall Not Be Named’s point was not that Irene would be the worst storm in history and that this was proof of global warming. It was that global warming will make SSTs higher on average, enabling tropical storms to produce more rainfall (and thus flooding) than they would have in the absence of AGW.

    One can disagree with that argument, and insist that the jury’s still out on whether AGW will lead to increased precipitation from tropical storms. But there’s certainly support for his claims (e.g., from IPCC AR4 WG1: “Results … predict … a likely increase of peak wind intensities and notably, where analysed, increased near-storm precipitation in future tropical cyclones).

    The same cannot be said for Will Happer’s misleading “explanation” of attribution, which is just plain wrong.

  59. #59 J
    2011/09/02

    I have a rather lengthy reply to Paul Kelly that is apparently held up in moderation. (Too many links, I guess).

    [Oh yes, so you do. Published now -W]

    In the meantime, here is a photo of the only road leading to our friends’ house. Yes, that’s a road, and it goes on like that for miles.

    In order to get their children to school, they had to load what they could into backpacks, hike down the mountain a ways, borrow a friend’s car, and find their way through the flooded wreckage on the valley floor to our town, where they’re renting a house. It may be a long time before they can return to their home.

    Just one little impact from a rather ordinary Category-1 tropical storm that happened to drop more rainfall on this state than any single-day precipitation event in the state’s history.

  60. #60 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/02

    J,

    There are two questions here. Is there an AGW signal in Irene and what are the chances rising temperatures will bring stronger storms. We agree that Irene occurred under current climate conditions. What were the climate conditions that enabled Irene to become a category 3 storm (about the time she was given global warming as a middle name)and what climate conditions caused it to weaken to a category 1 storm at landfall? What were the SSTs along her path across the Atlantic and up the East Coast? What was the wind shear? Is wind shear predicted to be more or less in a warming world?

    On the second question, you seem to have near certainty that storms will be more severe. I say it is possible that warming will produce more severe storms, but not yet probable or likely. So the chances are under 50%. I wonder which of us is closer to the consensus.

  61. #61 David B. Benson
    2011/09/02

    Paul Kelly — All that fundamentally matters is the
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausius%E2%80%93Clapeyron_relation
    which means that more warming leads to more water vapor, which eventually rains out.

  62. #62 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/02

    The Clausius–Clapeyron relation explains why warming can bring increased precipitation, but doesn’t speak to storm intensity. And, since hurricanes draw their moisture mainly from the sea surface as they pass over the ocean rather than the surrounding air, it may not apply here.

    [That is an odd thing to say. SST warming is part of GW, obviously -W]

    On the chance that it does, what is the measured increase, if any, in airborne water vapor over the Atlantic?

  63. #63 David B. Benson
    2011/09/02

    Paul Kelly — CC is fundamental thermodynamics; unavoidable. The figure I’ve seen quoted is that the total atmosphere now holds about 4% more moisture than say, 130 years ago.

    On the other hand, when its colder it holds less and so precipitation declines. This LGM vegetation map:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/ray2001/ray_adams_2001.pdf
    certainly indicates dryer conditions ~16,000 years ago.

  64. #64 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/02

    David,

    For purposes of finding an AGW signal in Irene, the relevant figure is the increase in water vapor since the start of the current warming in 1975, or since the end of the early 20th Century warming in 1945. This is assuming that atmospheric water vapor has much of an effect on hurricane moisture, an assumption I’m not sure we can make. Is there an expert in the house?

  65. #65 J
    2011/09/02

    Paul Kelly writes: On the second question, you seem to have near certainty that storms will be more severe.

    Link, please.

    Jeff Masters pointed out that Hurricane Irene could produce much more rainfall than typical, due to abnormally high SSTs in its path. That turned out to be correct.

    He Who Shall Not Be Named quoted that remark from Jeff Masters, and suggested the obvious link: AGW -> higher SSTs -> more heavy rainfall from tropical cyclones.

    I pointed out that there’s some support for HWSNBN’s speculation, citing a passage from AR4 WG1 that reaches the same conclusion. I also said that this is an area where one could disagree, and that the jury’s still out.

    You tried to draw a silly false equivalency between HWSNBN (who actually knows whereof he speaks) and Will Happer (who I hope doesn’t know what he’s talking about, because the alternative doesn’t reflect well on his honesty). That’s just absurd.

    FWIW, I’ve attended one of He Who Shall Not Be Named’s talks, and read most of his books. He’s smart, generally well informed, is an excellent writer and an electrifying public speaker. Anyone reading this who’s into endurance sports should keep an eye out for his book “Long Distance” about the trials and tribulations of a year of training intensively for nordic ski racing.

  66. #66 David B. Benson
    2011/09/02

    Paul Kelly — Sine the majority of the 0.6–0.8 K warming over the ~130 year intstrumental period has been since the dates you named, either of those dates would work as well. One doesn’t actually have to study Ray Pierrehumbert’s “Principles of Planetary Climate”
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~rtp1/PrinciplesPlanetaryClimate/index.html
    [although I strongly recommend doing so] to understand that convection eventually lifts moisture laden parcels of air high enough so that precipitation then follows.

    What is generally understood from atmospheric physics [and GCMs confirm] is that both intense precipitation and drought are becoming more frequent, although not necessarily both in any one locality. Attempting to specialize to Atlantic hurricanes only seems a rather pointless exercise.

  67. #67 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/03

    J,

    I think we can use McK’s name as long as we don’t say who he is. I think he’s a fine fellow. In fact, I’ve promoted him on several blogs and on Facebook as a Democratic Presidential primary candidate to give voice to the climate concerned, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama and have pretty much gotten a stick in the eye for their efforts. I just think he stuck his foot in it here.

    According to the NCDC NOAA SST maps, the wave that became Irene started off from Africa in water with a 0..5 – 0.5 anomaly. From the longitude even with the east point of South America. Irene passed over 0.5 – 1.0 anomalies until reaching Puerto Rico on Aug. 22, where it encountered -0.5 – 0.5 stretching out from the Eastern seaboard. Of course, Irene was a very wide storm and large parts of it were still over the 0.5 – 1.0 anomaly.

    It looks like Irene didn’t pass over any SSTs of more than 1C over the base period average until reaching New Jersey or possibly New England. I checked the SST anomaly map for August 2010. Had Irene occurred last year, her entire path would have been over 0.5 – 1.5 anomalies. Calling anomalies at or below 1C abnormally high seems a bit of a stretch. That being said, SSTs are a climate condition that enabled Irene to reach category 3 at some point along her journey and contributed to her moisture content. If we ascribe the SST anomaly to AGW, we must also note AGW is less of an effect this year than last.

    What I do find unusual in Irene is the very low barometric pressure compared to wind speed. Wind speeds at landfall were at or near tropical storm levels despite barometric pressures that usually maintain category 2 and 3 hurricanes. What are the climate conditions that prevented them from from doing so?

  68. #68 Paul Kelly
    2011/09/03

    That is an odd thing to say. SST warming is part of GW, obviously -

    Yes, and increased water vapor is too. I was questioning whether the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere has a significant effect on moisture in a storm. I imagine it is highly variable over specific regions, but maybe less so over oceans.

  69. #69 David B. Benson
    2011/09/03

    Paul Kelly — Water vapor has to be lifted before condensing into clouds and thence precipitating. But you don’t seem to have contemplated the LGM situation; try again to think globally before contemplating the minutae of a single storm. Another useful paper is CalTechWater.pdf, available from Ray’s website.

  70. #70 Hank Roberts
    2011/09/04
  71. I pointed out that there’s some support for HWSNBN’s speculation, citing a passage from AR4 WG1 that reaches the same conclusion. I also said that this is an area where one could disagree, and that the jury’s still out.

  72. #72 ecorumors
    2011/10/18

    Thanks for the update. I really appreciate the efforts you have made for this blog.

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