McIntyre tries moving the goalposts

What did Steve McItyre when he discovered that his post claiming that Bob Ward's complaint was discredited was completely wrong? He originally wrote:

My main point here is that the RMS [actually by Bob Ward - TL] letter, publicly endorsed by the 37 profs, all supposedly experts in climate science, contains a statement about the course of sulphate emissions that is trivially seen to be inconsistent with the recently expressed IPCC AR4 view on the matter.

After I pointed out that it was trivially seen to agree with the IPCC AR4 view, McIntyre comes up with:

I had specifically referred to the IPCC Second Draft in all but one instance above. In one instance I left off the qualified Second Draft. This was used to criticize this posting at another blog. To clarify the point, I've added the qualifier [Second Draft] in square brackets for this one usage. The IPCC Second Draft has been online since the SPM was released and I've added hyperlinks.

Don't you like the way he won't mention my name or the name of my blog? So now his point is that Ward is discredited because his complaint isn't consistent with the AR4 draft? Even though it agrees with the real AR4 report? Doesn't make sense does it? So McIntyre moves the goal posts:

As noted, the final AR4 language (April 2007) differs from the Second Draft (April 2006). The uncertainty over whether sulphate emissions have gone up or down seems to have been resolved in favor of a view that they've gone down. I wonder whether this is "likely" or "very likely". I don't know what has happened since April 2006 to change the authors' minds.

Let us recall that Swindle didn't mention sulphate and this is what they are being criticized for. So if scientists didn't know in 2006 whether emissions were going up or down, I can't see that a complaint based on omitting a discussion of this issue will have great legal weight. If Durkin wanted to, I'm sure that he could have mentioned the sulphate theory in passing, then quoted Tim Ball or Lindzen or someone else as saying that no one knows whether sulphate emissions have been going up or down recently - and obviously at least some IPCC scientists thought this in 2006 - and proceeded on with the program.

So much wrong in such a small space. It is wrong to cite the draft as evidence of what scientists believed in 2006. Because. It. Is. A. Draft. AR4 cites a 2005 paper by Stern that found that sulphate emissions had gone down. 2005 is before 2006, so when Durkin made his Swindle scientists believed that emissions had gone down.

In any case, Durkin claimed that the mid-century cooling could not be explained by the consensus theory. This is wrong, as the cooling is explained by sulphates. To argue that this theory is wrong, it is not enough to have uncertainty about whether sulphate emissions have increased or not, you have to show that they have increased. Which is why Durkin claims that they have

During the post-war economic boom, while industrial emissions of CO2 went up, the temperature went down (hence the great global-cooling scare in the 1970s). Why? They say maybe the cooling was caused by SO2 (sulphur dioxide) produced by industry. But they say it mumbling under their breath, because they know it makes no sense. Thanks to China and the rest, SO2 levels are far, far higher now than they were back then. Why isn't it perishing cold?

Durkin, of course, has no evidence for claim that SO2 levels are far, far higher. McIntyre said that Ward was discredited because he made a correct claim about SO2. What do you think that chances are that he will say that Durkin is discredited because he made a wildly incorrect claim about S02?

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Steve McIntyre attempts to defend Martin Durkin against Bob Ward's criticism: In a legal complaint about inaccuracies in Swindle, one would expect meticulous accuracy, but once again in their statements about sulphates, RMS and the 37 profs [actually Bob Ward -TL] make claims in their complaint…
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I love this comment in the latest post by Steve McIntyre on Climate Audit:

"I think that most of the Swindle battles are a waste of time"

...which, of course, is why he is spending so much time and bandwidth on them.

See, what we have here is a tale of two different dogs.

The mostly blue and red dog just won't let go of the pull toy and growls at the same time. And comes back again and again until the toy is shredded.

The red and white dog tugs two or three times, halfheartedly, then drops it and walks away with that look as if it's the pull-toy holder's fault for tugging too hard.

Oh, then a few yippy dogs rush up and scurry about the red and white dog, yapping furiously, licking, sniffing his...er...uh...

Ahem.

Best,

D

Durkin: They say maybe the cooling was caused by SO2 (sulphur dioxide) produced by industry. But they say it mumbling under their breath, because they know it makes no sense.

Hey! Is he making fun of scientists with speech impediments?

mumble, mumble, mumble

People are ripping Roger Pielke Jr. about his latest post over at the new Nature blog. Roger is not responding to questions and now my comments are not getting through.

Here's what I tried to post. Twice

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dr. Pielke, you seem to have difficulty addressing pertinent and obvious questions. Your dodge of Eli--whose question was plainly relevant--is yet another troubling example. (You should probably take another quick run at Eli's question.)

But allow me to refocus you.

The CENTRAL citation in your article on hurricane damages is your own prior study that was not peer-reviewed. Further, you published this prior study in a skeptic journal called Energy and Environment. Any reading of your latest article will conclude that this prior piece of grey literature formed the foundation of your latest paper. (Please reread your own paper, including text and citations.)

If you feel so confident about the conclusions in your latest paper, then why build your argument on something you published years ago in a discredited journal?

Peilke's response to Eli Rabett:
"my paper is about hurricane losses, not sea level rise losses."

Of course, anyone who knows anything about hurricanes is aware that the storm surges that accompany hurricanes often cause the greatest amount of damage.

And higher sea level means higher storm surges, even if global warming has no impact on hurricane intensity.

But if MIT's Kerry Emanuel is right (and increased temperatures do lead to increased storm intensity) global warming may be a double whammy: increased hurricane intensity combined with higher sea level, which means even higher storm surges.

From the Durkin emails linked above, Durkin's response to the first email is this:

"You're a big daft cock"

Clearly, Mr. Durkin is a paragon of scientific reasoning and a wholly reliable source for information on anthropogenic global warming. That many dissidents put their stock in him and his film is only evidence that they are the real scientists while mainstream researchers (who overwhelmingly support this "consensus" on global warming) are all either dupes or active conspirators.

I'm curious about higher sea level and storm surges. According to the SPM, the rate of sea level rise has *increased* by 1.3mm/yr. Since 1993, that gives us an extra 4.2mm of sea level.

According to wikipedia (among others), the storm surge is caused by wind and pressure differences from large storms and affects places that have shallow coastlines. So, is the contention that the extra 4mm of sea level is going to cause storm surges that are 4mm higher and this is something we need to worry about? I just want to understand.

By oconnellc (not verified) on 09 May 2007 #permalink

"So, is the contention that the extra 4mm of sea level is going to cause storm surges that are 4mm higher and this is something we need to worry about? I just want to understand."

It's hardly the contention of scientists that sea level rise started in 1993, and has now stopped...

and in any case you're talking about an increase in 'rate' - the underlying trend is clear enough. If you were standing at the bottom of a hill and a boulder starts slowly rolling towards you, the fact that it starts by moving slowly shouldn't be a comfort to you.

By Dean Morrison (not verified) on 09 May 2007 #permalink

Dean, I think you misunderstood. I never said that the sea level rise started in 1993. But from what I read in the SPM, the long term rise had been 1.8mm/year. Starting in 1993, it was 3.1mm/year. The sea level has been rising for a long, long time. Long before humans started putting significant CO2 into the atmosphere. The amount attributable to AGW at this point seems to be 4mm. And, while AGW has contributed 4mm, the naturally occuring rise has contributed 7.2mm. I'm not sure what the long term naturally occuring amount is... We would have to take the long term rise and multiply it by a LOT of years.

Now, I re-read the original post, and I see that I made a mistake. The original post never said anything about AGW, it just referred to GW. The assumption that it was AGW the poster was referring to was mine.

And, I now see that I have completely forgotten how to do math. For some reason I was multiplying those rates by 4, instead of 14 years. So, since the SPM attributes increases in the rates of sea level rise to AGW, the "A" part seems to have contributed an extra 18.2mm. The naturally occuring rise seems to have contributed an extra 25.2mm. Mea Culpa. And, as I said, I have no idea how much higher the sea is now than it was, say, 1000 years ago, due to the naturally occuring sea rise we have had during that time.

Of course, I'm sure we are all aware that in the published minutes of the proceedings, they discussed if they should cite the recent 10 year trend that shows an increase over the long term trend, or the recent 20 year trend, which shows no increase over the long term trend. The only stated reason for showing the 10 year trend, not the 20 was because the 10 year trend showed this difference. I wonder if there is some mathematical or physical reason for examining the data one way or the other, unrelated to showing a particular trend. They did however state that it was not clear if this *increase* in the rate was just due to natural variability or an actual increase in the long term trend.

To use your analogy, no, the fact that a boulder started rolling slowly would be little comfort to me. But, if someone sprinkled a handful of sand on it as it started to roll, I would hardly start to assume I was now in for a "double whammy".

By oconnellc (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

"The naturally occuring rise seems to have contributed an extra 25.2mm. Mea Culpa. And, as I said, I have no idea how much higher the sea is now than it was, say, 1000 years ago, due to the naturally occuring sea rise we have had during that time."

Where is your evidence that this sea level rise is 'natural' oconnellc? If you simply 'don't know' what is the basis for your assumption that sea level rise is the 'default' condition??

On the other had we know that global sea level is related to global temperature, due to expansion of the oceans and melting of ice sheets. We know that most of the recent warming is due to human addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.
We also know that sea level rise lags temperature rise - and can be expected to accelerate as global temperature rise gradually permeates to lower levels in the oceans.

What we are seeing is only a small foretaste of what we have to come. The latest science regarding the unexpectedly rapid break up of the ice sheets is especially alarming, and not included in the latest IPCC projections, which is built conservative estimates the most certain science.

http://tinyurl.com/3ahk37

By Dean Morrison (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

Dean, you can start by looking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise for information about sea level rises. The first graph at the top of the page seems to show a fairly steady rise since 1880. The second graph at the top shows that sea level is considerably higher than it was at the last glacial maximum. About 10,000 years ago, sea level looks like it was about 50meters lower than it is now. Granted, you can't tell a lot about perturbations in the last few thousand years because of the scale. But it hardly seems unreasonable to refer to a long term rate of sea level rise. And, it hardly seems unreasonable to refer to it as natural.

I'm curious, before you posted wanting to know what my evidence was, did you even bother to go to google and type "long term sea level rise" to see what evidence there was? I hope I am wrong, but you seem very eager to make the assumption that I "don't know". That certainly doesn't seem very open minded. There are lots of posts in this blog in general (not to single you out, Dean) about people keeping their eyes closed. I would propose that that happens on both sides of the discussion about AGW. And I would also propose that the post about storm surges increasing because of the extra 25mm of sea level we have was alarmist and not based in the idea of having a reasonable conversation, but rather some odd sort of piling on, hoping to celebrate in the fact the Pielke made a mistake. Odd that you took such a combatative tone in your response to me, but you didn't bother to question the original poster. I won't assume any reason for this, but perhaps you would care to share your motivations with us? You don't have to, of course, but I think it would make for an interesting conversation.

By oconnellc (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

Dean, you can start by looking here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level_rise for information about sea level rises. The first graph at the top of the page seems to show a fairly steady rise since 1880. The second graph at the top shows that sea level is considerably higher than it was at the last glacial maximum. About 10,000 years ago, sea level looks like it was about 50meters lower than it is now. Granted, you can't tell a lot about perturbations in the last few thousand years because of the scale. But it hardly seems unreasonable to refer to a long term rate of sea level rise. And, it hardly seems unreasonable to refer to it as natural.

I'm curious, before you posted wanting to know what my evidence was, did you even bother to go to google and type "long term sea level rise" to see what evidence there was? I hope I am wrong, but you seem very eager to make the assumption that I "don't know". That certainly doesn't seem very open minded. There are lots of posts in this blog in general (not to single you out, Dean) about people keeping their eyes closed. I would propose that that happens on both sides of the discussion about AGW. And I would also propose that the post about storm surges increasing because of the extra 25mm of sea level we have was alarmist and not based in the idea of having a reasonable conversation, but rather some odd sort of piling on, hoping to celebrate in the fact the Pielke made a mistake. Odd that you took such a combatative tone in your response to me, but you didn't bother to question the original poster. I won't assume any reason for this, but perhaps you would care to share your motivations with us? You don't have to, of course, but I think it would make for an interesting conversation.

By oconnellc (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

Actually, sea level is now rising faster than 3.1mm/year and the rise is accelerating, due to the increased rate at which ice sheets are melting/breaking up.

A presentation by NASA scientist Waleed Abdalati says sea level rise over the past 14 years averaged about 3.4mm/year, well above the average for the preceding half century.

You can also see a ramping up in the yearly rise from about 2.7mm/year over the years 1993-2000 to about 4.0mm/year over the last 7 years.

According to NASA's James Hansen:
"
Under BAU forcing in the 21st century, sea level rise undoubtedly will be dominated by a third term (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year[due to ice sheet breakup, which is added to the other rises], based on gravity satellite measurements"

Hansen believes that we could be seeing the very beginnings of the non-linear (ie, exponential) breakup of the Greenland and West Antarctic icesheets, which could lead to multimeter rise in sea level.

But whether sea level rises 40cm or 1 meter, the potential for a double whammy associated with hurricane damage is still there.

If you want to understand the origin of the possible "double whammy" related to hurricanes, look at a case like New Orleans (or Holland) with dikes of a given height. If a rise in the base sea level occurs, that means a storm surge of a lesser magnitude will be able to top the dikes. But if hurricane intensities increase with increasing temperature, the increased wind speeds will produce higher surges, making it that much more likely that the dikes will be topped.

But even without dikes, the same goes, because there is always a land level that the storm surge has to top before causing damage and if the sea level starts closer to that level, it will be more likely to top it.

Okay oconnellc, since youy seem to accept Wiki as an acceptable source, perhaps you'd like to read the text as well as looking at the graph since 1880 and making an assumption:

"From 3,000 years ago to the start of the 19th century sea level was almost constant,,., rising at 0.1 to 0.2 mm/yr.[1] Since 1900 the level has risen at 1 to 2 mm/yr; since 1992 satellite altimetry from TOPEX/Poseidon indicates a rate of rise about 3 mm/yr."

In other words sea level is now rising at about 30 times the rate it had been doing for the last couple of thousand years, when it was stable....

I don't need to 'google' for such information since I'm familiar with the science oconnellc. I took a combative tone with you because I think you are pretending to be a 'Mr Reasonable' as a cover for straightforward denialism.

As for problems with storm surges, perhaps you've heard of a place called 'New Orleans'? An extra meter or so of sea level, coupled with increasingly frequent and extreme weather events is going to lead to increasing frequent and damaging storm surges.

While you may be sceptical about the science, the insurance industry aren't, and if you live in an affected area, there are already places where you can't buy insurance...

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-10-13-insurance-warming_x.htm

By Dean Morrison (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

I notice you stop quoting wikipedia where you do. The very next sentence says this: The IPCC notes, however, "No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected."

Some of the text in wikipedia might be out of date. But your selective quoting and your statement "I took a combative tone with you because I think you are pretending to be a 'Mr Reasonable' as a cover for straightforward denialism." shows you aren't all that interested in an intelligent debate. You seem to be interested in cheerleading with people who agree with you and arguing with people who don't. Do you have any reason for suspecting my reasonableness as a cover for anything other than reasonableness? Or does that just make this all the more fun? This is a bit old, http://www.agu.org/revgeophys/dougla01/node3.html but for discussion of long term sea level rise, it doesn't seem unreasonable to go to a site that is a few years old, does it?

About New Orleans, I confess to not having tons of information, but my understanding is that the disaster would never have happened if there hadn't been breaches in leeves in the Industrial Canal. There were also breaches in the 17th Street Canal and a few other places. I could be wrong, but I remember seeing pictures taken after the storm had abated, but before the breeches that showed the city surviving the storm. Lots of noise has been made about what a mammoth Katrina was (and it was, when it was over Florida), but it was only a Category 3 hurricane when it hit NO (oddly enough, I have heard of the place). In addition to rising seawater, NO also happens to be sinking, so they have a fair number of problems I don't think I can help them with.

Think about that alone... A Category 3 hurricane hits NO and causes levees to break, and now you are talking about increased storm surges related to AGW. That was a tragedy, but I don't think that one follows the other and I don't think that should be considered a front for "denialism" (what exactly does that mean, anyway?).

As far as what insurers do, I'm not surprised nor impressed. The insurance industry is heavily regulated and is driven only by the goal of making money. I don't think anything they do to make money is proof of anything. It may be a response to changing regulations or pre-emptively attempting to stop future changes in regulation. Or it might be because AGW is causing the planet to warm out of control! Does the fact that their stance this week agrees with yours have anything to do with how much confidence you have in them?

Finally, lets get back to the original question... Does it seem likely that the extra millimeters of sea level that we have (how much is arguable. You could also argue that we don't have any, but I won't do that now) now are making a significant contribution to storm surges?

By oconnellc (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

"Finally, lets get back to the original question... Does it seem likely that the extra millimeters of sea level that we have (how much is arguable. You could also argue that we don't have any, but I won't do that now) now are making a significant contribution to storm surges?"

When the tide comes in oconnellc, you'll find that having your head buried in the sand is the very worst place for it...

By Dean Morrison (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

Dean, I'm not really sure what argument you think I'm making. Maybe you could at least clarify what you think I'm saying? We appear to be the only ones talking here, so maybe it will be more fun for you to go fight on a different thread. I hear they are still attacking Pielke on a different topic, so we'll likely hear from you there...

By oconnellc (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

I hear they are still attacking Pielke on a different topic, so we'll likely hear from you there...

Ah, a disciple, I see.

Explains a lot ...

dhogaza, thanks. Disciple of who, I wonder? What is explained, please? From what I can tell, the maximum sea level rise we have now that could be explained by humans is around 25mm. Of course, the SPM states that there is a good chance that this is due to decaded variability, so there is a good chance that it is less than this. I was trying to understand how that could correspond to higher storm surges, since storm surges appear to be dependent on coastline shape and wind and pressure. I certainly understand that the surge is some "delta" above the non-surge sea level. Does that mean that the surge height will be 25mm higher because of human caused global warming?

Also, could someone please explain what it is that I have done wrong to deserve responses like this? I have been told that I have my head in the sand and that my comment about Pielke explains a lot. The original post seems very eager to believe that increased temperatures means increased hurricane activity. That is very, very much in doubt at the current time. And the double whammy which was a shot at Pielke's expense (look, Pielke's mom might be concerned about that, but I'm not. But it is hardly a sign of someone looking to make an intelligent conversation) doesn't seem to draw even the slightest eyebrow. I guess this must be more of my evil plot to appear reasonable. Thats how it always starts...

By oconnellc (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

Here is an interesting discussion of historical sea level rises. http://sealevel.colorado.edu/tidegauges.php

I don't get the impression that anyone here is really interested though. It seems much more fun to call me names than actually address anything I say. After I showed that I actually had a reason for assuming that some sea level rise was natural, we moved on to something else. After I continued the citation of additional sentences from wikipedia, we moved on to something else. After I stated that I thought that the damage to NO wasn't due to increased hurricane winds or storm surges, we appear to have moved on again. Now I'm someone's disciple. I wonder what is next?

By oconnellc (not verified) on 10 May 2007 #permalink

oconnellc, i'm not going to spend much time to bring you up to speed, so just look around with the hints i'm sending. yes, the science is not settled on whether there ARE more powerful hurricanes right now because of global warming. there is little controversy that it will happen in the future.

and you're getting ribbed about pielke because he is not considered very credible. just to let you know, his buddy chris landsea is continuously in the press stating no link between hurricanes and climate change. it was reported in salon that landsea had been chosen by a bush political operative to speak often to the the press.

Thom, I hadn't read about us being so sure that there will be more powerful hurricanes in the future. Where could I go to read about that?

Also, what the hell does Landsea have to do with this? Other than the fact that he was once considered expert enough to once be selected a chapter author by the IPCC... I wonder if his credibility started to slip at the same time the insurance industry started to get theirs?

By oconnellc (not verified) on 11 May 2007 #permalink

oconnelic,

It is one thing to imagine natural causes, it is quite another to demonstrate a naturally occuring mechanism to explain measured empirical evidence.

What do you propose?

While it is easy to speculate, it is much more difficult to arrive at reasonable and quantified extrapolation. Concerning increased size and power of hurricanes:

http://tinyurl.com/38h99e

Hi oconnellc
This is just a hit and run I'm afraid but I was a little intrigued by your use the "next line" that Dean didn't include from Wiki.
If one goes to the AR4 one can see exactly why Wiki shouldn't be cited as the font of all ...

This is taken from the 'frequently asked questions' section 5.1 of the AR4 WG1 report ... pretty clear I would say!

Is sea level rising? "Yes, there is strong evidence that global sea level gradually rose in the 20th century and is currently rising at an increased rate, after a period of little change between AD 0 and AD 1900. Sea level is projected to rise at an even greater rate in this century. The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion of the oceans (water expands as it warms) and the loss of land-based ice due to increased melting.
Global sea level rose by about 120 m during the several millennia that followed the end of the last ice age (approximately 21,000 years ago), and stabilised between 3,000 and 2,000 years ago. Sea level indicators suggest that global sea level did not change significantly from then until the late 19th century. The instrumental record of modern sea level change shows evidence for onset of sea level rise during the 19th century. Estimates for the 20th century show that global average sea level rose at a rate of about 1.7 mm yr-1.
Satellite observations available since the early 1990s provide more accurate sea level data with nearly global coverage. This decade-long satellite altimetry data set shows that since 1993, sea level has been rising at a rate of around 3 mm yr-1, significantly higher than the average during the previous half century. Coastal tide gauge measurements confirm this observation, and indicate that similar rates have occurred in some earlier decades".
[my emphasis]

You seem to me to be determined to stick with the concept of 'the past is a mirror of the future. Millimeters of sea level rise soon accumulate once you start passing through a few decades and coastal defences are both expensive and inherently vulnerable to extreme weather events anyway. Are you honestly suggesting that a mean sea level rise of up to ~59cm (plus 20cm(?)) would have no deliterious affects on some national economies in 90 years time or are you simply saying that these effects can easily be adapted to as we go along??

Hi oconnellc
This is just a hit and run I'm afraid but I was a little intrigued by your use the "next line" that Dean didn't include from Wiki.
If one goes to the AR4 one can see exactly why Wiki shouldn't be cited as the font of all ...

This is taken from the 'frequently asked questions' section 5.1 of the AR4 WG1 report ... pretty clear I would say!

Is sea level rising? "Yes, there is strong evidence that global sea level gradually rose in the 20th century and is currently rising at an increased rate, after a period of little change between AD 0 and AD 1900. Sea level is projected to rise at an even greater rate in this century. The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion of the oceans (water expands as it warms) and the loss of land-based ice due to increased melting.
Global sea level rose by about 120 m during the several millennia that followed the end of the last ice age (approximately 21,000 years ago), and stabilised between 3,000 and 2,000 years ago. Sea level indicators suggest that global sea level did not change significantly from then until the late 19th century. The instrumental record of modern sea level change shows evidence for onset of sea level rise during the 19th century. Estimates for the 20th century show that global average sea level rose at a rate of about 1.7 mm yr-1.
Satellite observations available since the early 1990s provide more accurate sea level data with nearly global coverage. This decade-long satellite altimetry data set shows that since 1993, sea level has been rising at a rate of around 3 mm yr-1, significantly higher than the average during the previous half century. Coastal tide gauge measurements confirm this observation, and indicate that similar rates have occurred in some earlier decades".
[my emphasis]

You seem to me to be determined to stick with the concept of 'the past is a mirror of the future. Millimeters of sea level rise soon accumulate once you start passing through a few decades and coastal defences are both expensive and inherently vulnerable to extreme weather events anyway. Are you honestly suggesting that a mean sea level rise of up to ~59cm (plus 20cm(?)) would have no deliterious affects on some national economies in 90 years time or are you simply saying that these effects can easily be adapted to as we go along??

Ooops

Sorry Tim there seems to be a 500 error posting problem!

"lets get back to the original question ...Does it seem likely that the extra millimeters of sea level that we have (how much is arguable. You could also argue that we don't have any, but I won't do that now) now are making a significant contribution to storm surges?'"

I don't know about anyone else, but my above comments about hurricane storm surges were about the future.

Clearly, over any significant time span (half a century or century) we are not talking about a rise measured in millimeters.

The yearly increase is now a little over 4 mm. If it continued at that rate over the next century, the rise would be 40cm.

But as I and others indicated above, the rise has actually been accelerating over the past decade, as you can see in this NASA presentation, largely because of a growing contribution from the ice sheets in antarctica and greenland (which have both suffered net ice mass loss over the past decade)

Most projections (from IPCC and other scientists) you look at for sea level rise over the next century is on the order of half a meter or more.

It might possibly be much more if the West antarctic and/or greenland ice sheets continue to lose ice mass as they have been doing of late -- and at a higher rate.

The IPCC left ice sheet dynamics out of their latest estimate entirely because at the time they went to press, they did not feel they knew enough to project the possible effect on sea level rise.

Note to all ---

If you get an error message, database error, after trying to post, ignore it.

It seems the posting DOES appear despite the error. I and others have double posted because we thought the error message meant there had actually been an error.

(You can "go back" and copy out your text to save just in case, but don't try to post it a second time --- walk away quietly, reopen the browser with a fresh view, and you'll see your posting made it after all.)

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 11 May 2007 #permalink

Hank and JB, I want to spend some time reading some of the references you posted. But a couple quick things first... I agree that the wikipedia may not be the font of all knowledge. But once Dean decided to refer to them as well, I would say it became fair game. I would have been happy to site other references about sea level rise, and in fact I did without anyone asking me to. I assume you saw that. However, don't you think it a bit odd that Dean chose to stop quoting where he did? That has been my point here, more than anything. If you feel the need to reply to anything I say, please also answer what you think that says about his interest in a reasonable discussion?

JB, I will take a look at the presentation. Also, I will forward this on to you, as you may think it is interesting. I sent an email to Eric Leuliette, lead author of the paper describing the calibration procedures for the Jason satellite. In his response, he mentioned something that I was surprised to hear. He wrote: In fact, data from individual tide gauges are much more accurate than satellite altimetry measurements. Tide gauges routinely measure sea level changes hourly to a precision of a few millimeters, while the altimeters have errors of a few centimeters for a single location and can return to the same position after several days.

He said that the benefit of the satellite data is that it takes thousands of measurements worldwide, whereas there are only a few hundred of the tide gauges. Anyway, he pointed me to a reference comparing the tide gauges and satellite data: Cazenave, A., and R. S. Nerem (2004), Present-day sea level change: Observations and causes, Rev. Geophys., 42, RG3001, doi:10.1029/2003RG000139. (http://www.agu.org/journals/rg/rg0403/2003RG000139/)

In the meantime, consider that I have explicitly stated that I have been talking about "extra" sea level rise. I thought you would understand that I was talking about the part due to AGW, since that would presumably be the only part we could do anything about. Any other part is just nature doing its regular old stuff. From the posts that have been written, I get the impression that people think I have claimed the planet isn't warming or that the sea isn't rising. Is that really what dhogaza meant when he called me a disciple? Really, that isn't true! I'm just a disciple of love...

By oconnellc (not verified) on 11 May 2007 #permalink

My apologies. I didn't realize that that reference from Dr. Leuliette is not free. If you aren't a member of the AGU, it looks like it will cost you $9.

By oconnellc (not verified) on 11 May 2007 #permalink

G'day everybody, the UN has itself delivered the death blow to the UN's IPCC by today electing to the chair of the UN's Sustainable Development Commmission (sic) none other than the twerp who represents Zimbabwe. That says it all, ave et atque vale Dano, Hank, Lee, Ian Gould, Tim L, et al et al.

G'day everybody, the UN has itself delivered the death blow to the UN's IPCC by today electing to the chair of the UN's Sustainable Development Commmission (sic) none other than the twerp who represents Zimbabwe. That says it all, ave et atque vale Dano, Hank, Lee, Ian Gould, Tim L, et al et al.

Oh, yeah, that undermines the work of an entire scientific discipline.

Uh-huh. Ya betcha.

Tim C.'s absolutely right.

After all look how everyone lost interest in human rights after China, Saudi Arabia and Sudan (and Zimbabwe) were elected to the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Tell me Tim C., if I ask whether you know the difference between the UNEP and the Commission on Sustainable Development, will you threaten to sue me?

Here's a hint - one is responsible for overseeing the IPCC process, the other is an annual Ministerial level talkfest on the Millennium Development goals.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 May 2007 #permalink

Tim C,

Honestly, why do you even bother? Are you on a mission to entertain us all? Make our jaws hit the ground in stunned disbelief at the absurdity of your comments? Or are you some kind of blogging masochist, deriving pleasure from making a complete prat out of yourself in cyberspace?

By Meyrick Kirby (not verified) on 12 May 2007 #permalink

Hi fans: I meant to have added that Zimbabwe should also be appointed to take charge of UNEP and the IPCC, with its stellar record of reducing CO2 emissions way below the wildest dreams of all you possums. Truly an example for us all.

Hi fans: I meant to have added that Zimbabwe should also be appointed to take charge of UNEP and the IPCC, with its stellar record of reducing CO2 emissions way below the wildest dreams of all you possums. Truly an example for us all.

In other words, after being called stupid, you've decided to post something even more stupid.

You can't even comment on your own posts correctly.

You said this:

the UN has itself delivered the death blow to the UN's IPCC

And now apparently you're saying the the UN should've taken further steps, which would maybe deliver a death blow to the IPCC.

Umm, sorry, you contradict yourself. Your quote above is in the past, not future, tense. Not that I expect you know the difference.

Oh brave dhogaza! what are you scared of by the way, with your anonymity? Stand up and be counted like a man, not the mouse you must be.
I had meant to add that Zimbabwe's performance in terms of halving life expectancy there in just 6 years of this century also qualifies it for the Ehrlich-Lambert Save the Planet by Reducing Population Award, and thereby for leadership of WHO and UNFPA. Perhaps dhogaza could help to get Africa's bloc in the UN to take this up?

Tim C.

According to the 2001 HDR, life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe was 42.7 years.

http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2001/en/pdf/back.pdf

In 2004, Zimbabwe's life expectancy at birth was 36.6 years.

http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/countries/country_fact_sheets/ct…

This is an execrable performance and yet another example of the the Mugabe government's criminal incompetence and sheer malignancy but it falls fall short of your claim that of "halving life expectancy there in just 6 years of this century".

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 May 2007 #permalink

Ian - apologies, I was too hasty re base date, but according to US Bureau of Census (cited by a 1999 CNN report), in 1980 the year Comrade Mugabe came to power, life expectancy in Zim was 65; your 2004 data pre-date the 2005 "clean out the filth" program, which observers like Pius Ncube whom I heard at ANU last week consider has produced further drastic reductions, so it is plausible that the Comrades have indeed halved life expectancy and deserve to take over management of UNFPA - and I think their expertise in agriculture also needs recognition by appropriate replacement of all whites at FAO in Rome by equal numbers of themselves, plus chairmanship of respective UN committees etc.

Would this be the 1999 CNN report in question?

http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/9903/18/aids.africa.02/

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- AIDS has cut the average life expectancy in Zimbabwe by a quarter-century, besides significantly reducing life spans in other African nations, the U.S. Census Bureau reports."

The report also attributes to AIDS similar falls in average life expectancy of in other Africa countries - including those models of free enterprise Uganda (from 54 t 43); Botswana (62 to 42) and Swaziland (58 to 39).

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 12 May 2007 #permalink

Hi Ian. I was not aware that AIDS distinguishes between the political complexion of its host countries, but if it does, it seems to prefer Cmde Mugabe's Zim, on your data (none of which emulate Zim's "quarter century" by 1999). Nor was I aware that Uganda of all places is a haven of free enterprise. But Uganda has improved its epidemiology since 1999, whereas our Comrades have excelled themselves in boosting AIDS, malaria, and all other death rates (as I type most doctors and nurses are on strike yet again). Nothing will improve there until Cmrd Zimbers seize control of WHO and close down all health facilities, to the applause of The Lancet and Tim Lambert.

"Nor was I aware that Uganda of all places is a haven of free enterprise."

I find that a remarkable statement coming from someone who worked in Africa and who has a background in economics.

Since Musuveni took power in 1986, Uganda has been a virtual model of free market economics at least by African standards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Uganda

"Since assuming power in early 1986, Museveni's government has taken important steps toward economic rehabilitation. The country's infrastructure--notably its transport and communications systems which were destroyed by war and neglect--is being rebuilt. Recognizing the need for increased external support, Uganda negotiated a policy framework paper with the IMF and the World Bank in 1987. It subsequently began implementing economic policies designed to restore price stability and sustainable balance of payments, improve capacity utilization, rehabilitate infrastructure, restore producer incentives through proper price policies, and improve resource mobilization and allocation in the public sector. These policies produced positive results. Inflation, which ran at 240% in 1987 and 42% in June 1992, was 5.4% for fiscal year 1995-96 and 7.3% in 2003."

Mugabe has undoubtedly exacerbated the AIDS crisis in Zimbabwe but to pretend that he's solely or primarily responsiblity for it is profoundly misleading.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 13 May 2007 #permalink

Ian Gould

Although undoubtedly Uganda is (by African standards) free market, it has also been the beneficiary of a lot of Western aid.

Uganda shows both the strengths of the free market approach, and the limitations. In light of its past difficulties, 5% growth is certainly impressive, but it's barely enough to increase the average per capita GDP of an African nation (most of which have population growth rates of 2-3% pa).

The glow has kind of gone off Musaveni as the 'poster child' of 1990s African development. Just as Julius Nyere of Tanzania attracted a lot of foreign aid for his progressive, left leaning ideas in the 1960s and 70s, so Musaveni was seen as the poster child of the more market-oriented 1990s approach to development, the 'Washington Consensus'. However, recent problems with corruption and political repression have removed something of the shine of the man.

China, undoubtedly the all time success story of development, does not have a 'free market' economy as we understand it in the West. They don't even have private property (yet) in a legal sense.

There's obviously a huge debate about this, but what the Chinese experience seems to show is that:

- you need capitalistic mechanisms of labour and product markets (read competition, and competitive hiring)

- you need a well educated population, with a decent minimum standard of public health (read socialistic practices)

- you need enforcement of laws, even if the corruption is high

- you need political stability and a strong state, and it helps if your trade union sector is politically suppressed (see China v. India-- India has some of the most restrictive trade union practices in the world)

- you need infrastructure, of the kind governments tend to build: power& light, telephony, ports, roads, airports. China excels in this (way ahead of India)

- you need access to world markets

- you need mechanisms for domestic creation and recycling of capital

- open access to and by world financial markets is not necessarily a good thing because the capital flows can be destabilising. Most nations in their early stages of economic takeoff, don't have it. China still doesn't. Latin America did, and the results have not been pretty.

- (debated) you need trade protection of your infant industries until they reach competitive scale (that statement alone is worth 100,000 pages or so of academic articles on each side)

If you look at the takeoff countries (Singapore had the same GDP per capita as Kenya in 1968): Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China. They all had pretty much the combination of the above. (they were also all oriental countries with Confucian traditions-- another hotly debated point).

If you look at countries that have done OK, but not as well, like Chile, Latin America's success story, they were all missing some parts of that.

A wholly socialistic economy will fail because of lack of competitive pressures (think Cuba). A wholly capitalistic economy, unless there is a well trained labour force and good infrastructure, won't take off into self-sustained growth.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 13 May 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker, thanks for an interesting post. I don't know much about the subject (not even it's name - would it be macroeconomics?), so I look forward to seeing how the argument develops. However, I do know a little bit about Cuba (well, I've visited).

Cuba is certainly no economic success story, and you might be right to say that lack of competitive pressure has contributed to this. But in my view a far bigger factor is the US trade embargo: the largest economy in the world is only 90 miles away, and a natural trading partner for Cuba, but refuses to open its borders for trade.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_embargo_against_Cuba

The embargo has undoubtedly limited competition, but its main impact (in terms of your categories) has been to limit access to world markets.

I'm not questioning the merits of the embargo - that again is well outside my ken. And it's fair to say that access to US markets has had mixed benefits for other countries in the region.

However, I strongly suspect that Cuba will show rapid economic expansion if and when the US opens its borders; not least because it scores highly in several of your categories, including a well educated population, a decent standard of public health and - assuming they survive the transition - political stability and a strong state. But access to trade, rather than increased competition, will be the main driver.

"Uganda shows both the strengths of the free market approach, and the limitations."

I agree entirely. Just using it as a counterexample to Tim Blair's claim that the economic policies of the Mugabe government were primarily responsible fro the declining life expectancy there.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 14 May 2007 #permalink

I think this has a lot of truth to it, although I'm sure there's plenty of weak spots in it, at least how it'll get laid into here.

Global Warming, Global Stifling by Gary Jason http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2007_05/jason-warming.html

Also, speaking to the Cuban embargo -- What exactly is it accomplishing? What possible reason could there be (rather than spite, inertia, etc) for isolating them any more, at least in this modern world where failed political and social ideas almost certainly wouldn't have any hold?

By Robert S. (not verified) on 14 May 2007 #permalink

Munin

Call it development economics. It was an area from the 1960s to the 90s when little progress was made, and there has been an explosion of theoretical and empirical work in light of the successes and failures of the post-Soviet period, and the Chinese transformation. Stiglitz's book about his time at the World Bank is pretty good, so are some of Jeffrey Sach's books (taking almost the opposite view).

You may well be right re Cuba. However to benefit from its proximity to the US, post embargo Cuba will have to embrace 'capitalistic' institutions like China has done: the ability to reward (and fire) people for effort, the ability of enterprises to retain and reinvest their surpluses, the location of foreign owned manufacturing facilities on Cuban soil, run by foreign businesspeople.

Periodically Cuba experiments with freer markets internally. Then Castro and co. notice this is creating winners and losers, and putting the State under pressure, so they crack down again. It is your classic socialist economy-- governed by shortages and rationing (it's also a pretty nasty police state, but that's another matter).

Vis a vis the opening of US markets to Cuba, the performance of the whole Carribean Basin in this regard is not promising. These are still very poor countries, with narco-corruption rife, despite access to US markets. Puerto Rico perhaps the case in point.

I could see a lot developing though. For example, Americans would readily go to Cuba for 'health care tourism'-- Cuban healthcare is good, excellent and cheap (if you can afford to pay in US dollars). It would be easy to outsource a lot of activities to such a highly educated workforce. Look at how well Cuban Americans do in America: heading Coke and Dow Chemical, amongst other companies.

Syria or North Korea (or Iran) might be better examples of the limitations of economies with mostly state control of industry and banking. They all have (relatively) good human development factors, but the economies are stuck completely in neutral, barely growing.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 14 May 2007 #permalink

Ian Gould

In the recent past, there is little doubt Mugabe is responsible for the collapse of human society there. People are starving to death, healthcare and nutrition has collapsed, basic sanitation and sanitary products are unobtainable.

Samantha Powers (Barak Obama's foreign policy advisor, professor of human rights at Harvard, author of 'A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide') had a good piece in The Atlantic about Zimbabwe a year or so ago: basically it was 'how to kill a country in 10 easy steps'.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200312u/int2003-12-03

AIDS is of course an endemic problem to Africa, even relatively well run countries.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 14 May 2007 #permalink

Nobody is defending a regional tyrant and thug like Mugabe, but Edward Herman has a nice take on the 'worthy genocide' establishment which includes Samantha Power. It seems that, from her literature, Ms. Power considers a 'worthy genocide' to be any form of killing of civilians that is carried out by officially designated enemies. Genocide or mass killing by the United States military by proxies and client states is unworthy and is thus ignored. For instance, mass murder in Latin America, committed by brutal military regimes linked to Washington during the 1980's is hardly mentioned in Power's books, nor is the carnage inflicted by Indonesia's Suharto, one of the world's biggest torturers and mass murderers, who was armed and supported by Britain and the United States for more then twenty years.

The link: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=12404

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 15 May 2007 #permalink

oconnellc said:
"data from individual tide gauges are much more accurate than satellite altimetry measurements. Tide gauges routinely measure sea level changes hourly to a precision of a few millimeters, while the altimeters have errors of a few centimeters for a single location and can return to the same position after several days....the benefit of the satellite data is that it takes thousands of measurements worldwide, whereas there are only a few hundred of the tide gauges. "

The last part is key.

You can see from what is given
here
that the rate of sea level rise from satellite data is arrived at by fitting a least squares line to data taken over several years -- effectively including thousands of data points.

When one does this, the error in the yearly rise turns out to be only about 0.4mm (out of about 3mm) over the period from 1993 - 2006.

Jeff Harvey

Like any Empire (or more correctly, 'hegemon' as in hegemonic dominant power) the US has its hypocrisy.

I thought Power was more focusing on contemporary massacres than historic ones. Joan Didion did a pretty good commentary on El Salvador in the 1980s, in her book of the same name.

Certainly the US has a lot to answer for. But selective memory doesn't mean we don't have to worry about the ongoing genocides and massacres in the current world.

We can't defend Mugabe by reference to our own past misdeeds (in fact, it was Britain allowing Ian Smith to declare UDI and pull Rhodesia out of what became Zambia, that allowed this all to happen in the first place-- so it was our post colonial eff-up rather than a US one).

I think it is fair to say that the recent collapse in human conditions in Zimbabwe is the responsibility of Robert Mugabe, aided (or at least abetted) by the likes of Mbeki. Most of the rest of Africa is actually doing relatively well at the moment: real signs of economic growth and improving conditions (pace Darfur).

Like Idi Amin in Uganda before him, Mugabe has become an African nightmare, and an African shame. There is no Julius Nyere to order an invasion, and no Musaveni to provide strong leadership after he goes.

The next chapter in this nightmare is not yet written, but it's unlikely to be a happy one.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 15 May 2007 #permalink

Valuethinker,

I am not necessarily disagreeing with you completely, but my point is that Power is a hypocrite, like other apologists for western sponsored mass murder (e.g. Sewell, Ignatieff etc.) that Edward Herman discusses in the ZNet piece. Moreover, many of these indiscretions and crimes are not in the past but are ongoing. History has taught us nothing.

As for Mugabe, I never denied that the guy was a thug, a regional tyrant. By why is the media so focused on him? Its simple, really. If Mugabe was a client of 'ours', his crimes would be downplayed, ignored, marginalized. But Mugabe is a rogue because Zimbabwe is not a client state of Britain or the US, and therefore his crimes can be given maximal coverage. Moreover, by supporting the dispossession of huge tracts of land that had been owned by the white elite minority for years, he has played right into the hands of the western corporate and political establishment. But what about other African heads of state who were and are armed, aided and abetted by the west? Former Nigerian leader Obasanjo was ruthless, and the Nigerian military has had a history of brutality towards the Ogoni and other tribes who protested the squalid conditions they lived in while the wealth of this oil-rich country was siphoned off to bank accounts in the west (and local elites in Nigeria). How much coverage was Mbutu Sesu Seku given in the western state-corporae media during his barbaric rule? Or Hissan Habre? Both were client regimes of the US and thus their brutality was again largely ignored in western media circles.

Economist Patrick Bond has written a powerful critique of western neoliberal policies towards Africa in his book, "Looting Africa". As Bond explains, rapaciously predatory western free market policies are plundering the resource wealth of many African nations (South Africa included). Historian Mark Curtis also made this point very clear in his outstanding critique of British foreign policy, "Web of Deceit". Curtis stated that the media rarely, if ever, talk about the role of western corporations in driving poverty and wealth disparity in Africa. He states that ignoring this prime reason for African poverty is 'like discussing malaria while ignoring the role of the mosquito'.

As Bond explains, Tony Blair's Commission for Africa March 2005 report clearly distilled the misconceptions of conventional wisdom regarding Africa's underdevelopment. The report states, "Africa is poor, because it's economy has not grown. The public and private sectors need to work together to create a climate which unleashes the entrepeneurship of the peoples of Africa, generates employment and encourages individuals and firms, domestic and foreign, to invest. Changes in governance are needed to make the investment climate stronger. The developed world must support the African Union's New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programme to build public/private partnerships in order to create a stronger climate for growt, investment and jobs".

Bond says this is typical western rhetoric designed to tear open the economies of African nation states to western corporate control, leading to the inexorable flow of capital to the west. He recontructed the Blair Commission for Africa statement thusly: "Africa is poor, ultimately, because its economy and society have been ravaged by international capital as well as by local elites who are often propped up by foreign powers. The public and private sectors have worked together to drain the continent of resources which otherwise - if harnessed and shared fairly - should meet the needs of the peoples of Africa. Changes in 'governence' - revolutions, for example - are desperately needed for social progress, and these entail not only the empowerment of 'civil society' but also the strengthening of those agencies within African states which can deliver welfare and basic infrastructure. The rich world must decide whether to support the African Union's NEPAD programme, which will worsen the resource drain because of its pro-corporate orientation, or instead give Africa space for societies to build public/people partnerships in order to satisfy unmet basic needs".

Note that Bond virtually reverses everything said in Tony Blair's 2005 CFA report. But he nails the crux of the matter, as far as I am concerned.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 16 May 2007 #permalink

"If Mugabe was a client of 'ours', his crimes would be downplayed, ignored, marginalized. But Mugabe is a rogue because Zimbabwe is not a client state of Britain or the US, and therefore his crimes can be given maximal coverage."

"If"?

Mugabe WAS a western client for the first decade or so he was in power.

During that time he effectively destroyed all political opposition and his North-Korean trained secret police killed thousands of Shona.

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 16 May 2007 #permalink

Ian,

Thanks for the clarification. But it supports what I said - how much media coverage in the US and UK was there when Mugabe was doing this? The corporate-state media only shakes off its collective amnesia when brutal regimes that were once client states turn on the 'grand imperial master' and fail to follow orders (ie. Iraq, Panama under Manuel Noriega). Suddenly these regimes are transferred in the blink of an eye from clients to rogues in western media circles and the crimes committed when the were on 'our payroll' are remembered - minus, of course western complicity.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 16 May 2007 #permalink

Jeff Harvey

On the human rights of client states, you may well be correct: thinking Uzbekistan (mild rebuke) v. Zimbabwe. I find it strong to call Samantha Power a 'hypocrite' though.

One of the reasons Zimbabwe gets more press is there (was) a large, British-born or connected minority there and there was ready media access. I can tell you Zimbabwe gets more press in the UK than a country like Canada (maybe we should burn some British-owned farms ;-).

On the West and its role in Africa's problems. Yes, certainly.

But Africa's experience with socialism in the 60s and 70s wasn't happy either. Ghana and Tanzania, for example, certainly did not develop. It's unlikely Africa can develop as a series of small autarkys.

And arguing that the West causes *exports* of capital from Africa seems perverse, to say the least. Africa's biggest export is migrant workers, who send back money. There isn't that much financial resource in Africa to export. Or are you referring to the policies of the politicians in resource-rich African countries shifting money out into Swiss bank accounts?

It's arguable that that is a 'push' phenomenon (like the Russian mafiosi) rather than a pull phenomenon.

Much western resource investment is harmful because of the lack of transparency, and hence the ability of those rulers to divert that money into their own pockets. Now of course we are competing with China to make those investments, and China has no qualms, whatsoever, about the governance of African regimes.

The other western policy which I think truly harms Africa is our agricultural policies, which have made it difficult for Africans to export, particularly to Europe.

Some western investment has been helpful. The mobile phone industry, for example. One of the most truly optimistic things that has happened in Africa in the last 10 years, to go from 2 million or so mobile users, to 100 million.

By Valuethinker (not verified) on 17 May 2007 #permalink