Murry Salby and conservation of mass

A talk by Macquarie University's Murry Salby where he opines that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is natural is gaining some attention. (See, for example, Gavin Schmidt, Judith Curry, and Things Break). Unfortunately, we just have the audio and Salby has not responded to my request to provide the slides from his talk, so I've used a graph from Open Mind to illustrate this post.

A graph like the one below is Salby's key argument. It compares the annual change of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (black line) with anthropogenic emissions (the red line is 55% of emissions). Salby observes that the black line goes up and down while the red line is steady and concludes (at 15:45):

"Net global emission of CO2 changes independently of CO2 [emissions by humans]".

i-2c58701a28f92004bd14a33444018143-taminodco21.jpg

Salby goes on to calculate the correlation between temperature and annual net emissions of CO2 and concludes that it is temperature causing the increase in CO2 rather than the other way around. The trouble with his argument is that by looking at the annual emissions he is looking at the first difference of the concentration and has removed any long term trend. Yes, since human emissions vary little from year to year they don't cause short-term variations in net emissions. But what matters is the long-term trend and Salby's analysis tells us nothing about that. If all this seems familiar, that's because it's the same mistake John McLean made. If anything, Salby's error is worse, since he also ignores the conservation of mass: The increase is atmospheric CO2 mass is less than the mass of anthropogenic emissions, so what does Salby think happened to all that CO2?

Nor is Salby's argument novel: you can see it debunked at Skeptical Science last year after someone at Watt's blog advanced it.

Update John Nielsen-Gammon comments:

I was lucky enough to attend Murry Salby's talk at the IUGG conference in Melbourne. The thesis is not quite so simple as a correlation between CO2 rise and short-term temperature variations, because he found corroborating evidence in the change of CO2 slope over time. This made the argument not so easy to dismiss out of hand, although Salby was extremely careful not to draw any conclusions in his public presentation.

It was quite good sport to play "spot the flaw" in real time. Fortunately, the talk was the last of the session, and both Alan Plumb and myself chatted with him right afterwards. Aside from whether a statistical argument makes physical sense, it also must hold water statistically by being applicable beyond the time frame of model development. In discussing what his model would mean for past variations of temperature and CO2, it eventually became clear that he believed all paleoclimate data that supported his statistical analysis and disregarded all paleoclimate data that countered his statistical analysis, even though the latter collection was much larger than the former.

Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppm CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative.

That was enough for me.

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Good grief, this is an issue that Curry thinks is up for real debate? Thingsbreak says much of what I was going to put in this comment, so just go there and read that. Below are my other thoughts.

Big surprise that the annual rate of increase of CO2 varies considerably. Was it supposed to be a secret that natural fluxes are much bigger than the anthrophenic flux, and that these natural fluxes are influenced heavily by short term things like volcanic eruptions and ENSO?

It's also no secret that during the last 600,000 years there have been many glacials and interglacials, with some periods warmer than today, but nowhere near as much CO2 as we have now. So we can't (or maybe shouldn't) use the 'CO2 rise is caused by warming' canard, the best example of which I've seen is that the current rise is due to the lagged effect of the MWP - lol.

Perhaps the only merit in the whole thing is that carbon ratios maybe aren't quite as cut and dried a method of fingerprinting anthro CO2 as we thought. But due to all the other lines of evidence we can still state that the observed rise in CO2 is human caused.

Oh, and I also meant to paste in this comment from Curry's blog. D'you think it's a Poe? If not the place is as bad as WUWT...

"It will start decreasing soon, when the cooling gets going. I have been waiting for that since ~10 years. It will be priceless." - Edim

#1: "It's also no secret that during the last 600,000 years there have been many glacials and interglacials, with some periods warmer than today, but nowhere near as much CO2 as we have now."

Ah, but Stu, Salby conveniently doesn't accept the ice core record. He only really accepts the the last 50 years or so of CO2 direct measurements. Of course, his argument still breaks down because he claims that:

"... CO2 after the turn of the century continued to increase, in fact if anything, slightly faster, but global temperature didnât. If anything, it decreased in the first decade of the 21st century."

Uh, why did CO2 keep going up and temps are alleged to have gone down for a decade, if it's temps that are driving CO2? Yeah, I know that temps didn't actually go down and Salby is just regurgitating another denialist talking point, but his own claim is contradictory. Which is probably why so many people at Curry's blog loved it, for its Zen-like properties.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

They never give up on this, do they? If warming is causing increased CO2, where is it coming from and where is "our" CO2 going?

BTW Tim, in the last sentence of the penultimate para, shouldn't it be "The increase in atmospheric CO2 mass ..."? *[Yes, thanks]*

By TrueSceptic (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

> He said he had an âinvoluntary gag reflexâ whenever someone said the âscience was settledâ.

> âAnyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled is in Fantasia.â

Repeat morning and night, after you brush your teeth.

By Rick Bradford (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

âAnyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled is in Fantasia.â

Yeh, Rick, and we'll be saying the same thing until the planet's life support systems are toast before we do anything about it. And what of the infinitely greater number of scientists who get 'involuntary gag reflexes' when one of a few scientific contrarians like Salby hash the science like they are doing?

The question is not about the science being settled; its about it being settled *beyond a reasonable doubt*, and for the potentially serious consequences of inaction to be weighed against the denial call of 'waiting until all the data are in'. As I said, by then its usually far too late. With no disrespect, IMHO atmospheric scientists like Salby appear to have little understanding of the consequences of unchecked warming on complex adaptive systems, instead appearing to suggest that things can go on like they are far into the future, and, if we ultimately pass an intellectual tipping point and almost all then agree that humans ARE the main forcing agent behind the current warming, then we still have plenty of time to do something about it.

As I said above, Salby of all people should understand this and the concept of 'reasonable doubt'. His statement above suggests that he doesn't.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

Rob Murphy @ 4 - yeah I like it how he estimates CO2 at 275ppm in 1880 with an uncertainty of 220-330ppm! And all based on the strawman argument that annual CO2 fluctuations should follow human CO2 emissions!

By Dappledwater (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

Curry is nuts.

Saying "JC: I am striving for something different, sort of an e-salon where we discuss interesting topics at the knowledge frontier."

appears to mean "The more wacky the idea, the more I like it."

If you are a collector of wacky ideas, then by all means do so. There are plenty of them out there. But that's got nothing to do with climate science.

Wouldn't it be fun if Salby just fooled the whole skeptic community?

You know, a Sokal-kind of hoax?

I don't think it is, but sounds like fun to try...

Curry got slimed for not towing the line, now it's Salby's turn. The way things are going, with ANY form of dissenting voice immediately attacked, there'll be no-one left to shoot down except the bloggers!

Who's next? Trenberth? Hansen?

"Curry got slimed for not towing the line saying really stupid things..."

There, fixed it for you.

"... now it's Salby's turn"

His argument is ridiculous. It deserves mocking. He says temps are what drive CO2 levels, yet he also claims CO2 went up (accelerated even) in the last ten or so years, and he also says (erroneously) that temps have at best declined. How can temps be driving CO2 at the speeds he claims while both are going in what he also claims are opposite directions?

He is off by orders of magnitude; temps do have an effect on global CO2 levels, but it takes a lot of time for the feedback to occur- many years. That's why past rises and dips in temperature (during the Holocene for instance) had a very modest effect on CO2 levels - take the MWP; it was not quite as warm as present but still close enough that CO2 levels should have risen to similar heights to present values yet they were nothing like present values. That's because the CO2 feedback is, again, a very slow process.

People claiming that the rise in CO2 is mostly natural are scraping the bottom of the barrel of climate denialism, and pandering to the dumbest of the dumb - hence the enthusiastic acceptance at blogs like Curry's.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

TimDot: if "towing the line" refers to factual arguments based on reality and data, then yes, Curry got slimed for not towing the line.

That's what we scientists do: we 'slime' those who are being unscientific.

I fear Judith is heading for a mental breakdown. She has spent the last 18 months (or so) trying to salvage her reputation. Truth is hard as f**king nails. And it keeps pounding her in the face. Hard.

By ThePowerofX (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

Anyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled

The science is settled enough. Fine detail is a luxury.

BTW omniscient Rick, when was that Arctic Ocean ice supposed to have disappeared by?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

You don't think that, just perhaps, you should wait until you have read the paper before condemning it so enthusiastically?

By Westerner (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

That should be "toeing" the line. http://grammartips.homestead.com/toetheline.html

"The increase is atmospheric CO2 mass is less than the mass of anthropogenic emissions, so what does Salby think happened to all that CO2?"

As I did at realclimate, I will point out that as a stand-alone argument this is not a slam-dunk*: my counterexample was mining and boiling the Ogallala aquifer. The increase in H2O in the atmosphere is less than the mass of water boiled, and the increase in atmospheric H2O would still be more likely due to an increase in atmospheric temperature than to the anthropogenic emissions.

Now, CO2 isn't like H2O in that it doesn't have a 9 day lifetime. In addition, because of the Revelle factor, even on timescales long enough for CO2 equilibrium (eg, hundreds of years), the additional emissions _still_ make a difference because we can actually change the equilibrium significantly. (also, the fact that it dissolves and doesn't precipitate may make a difference: I can keep adding water to the ocean without appreciably changing the equilibrium partial pressure of water vapor, but I can't keep adding CO2 to the ocean without changing the CO2 equilibrium partial pressure)

*There are other, slam dunk arguments for the anthropogenic CO2 rise, but they aren't as simple to state. Well, except for the unprecedented rise in concentrations coincident with the industrial revolution, but sometimes your opponent doesn't believe ice core data (as Salby doesn't).

"You don't think that, just perhaps, you should wait until you have read the paper before condemning it so enthusiastically?"

No. Listening to the podcast shows that Salby has no clue about the carbon cycle and our understanding thereof. He doesn't know that carbon cycle models already incorporate all the 12C/13C natural phenomena and replicate the annual cycle, northern/southern hemisphere differential, Suess effect, etc. just fine. The cutting edge of carbon cycle science is so far beyond where Salby is fumbling about that he probably couldn't find it with the Hubble space telescope. He doesn't even believe in ice core data. His mistakes aren't even new - dozens of contrarians have been spouting this *)(*$ for two decades. See, eg, Starr (1993) (Atmospheric CO2 residence time and the carbon cycle) or Roy Spencer's stupid blog posts on the carbon cycle in the past couple years - the arguments were wrong then, and they are wrong now.

I like the idea that CO2 isn't fungible. It's a revolutionary idea.

By Jeffrey Davis (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

You don't think that, just perhaps, you should wait until you have read the paper before condemning it so enthusiastically?

This paper should be a nobel prize-winning blockbuster. Let's all hold our breath until it arrives.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

This is looking more and more like a hoax by Salby

his book at Cambridge University press does not appear to be the the stuff of a denier,it is due out nov 2011 with a review by Darin Toohey,

Salby, surely cannot be considering destroying his reputation by this insanity.

By john byatt (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

"The increase is atmospheric CO2 mass is less than the mass of anthropogenic emissions, so what does Salby think happened to all that CO2?"

Joanne Nova (or whatever) writes about ever present flows of carbon in the system (the "carbon cycle") which apparently have the potential to swamp anything man throws at it.

"Humans emits 5Gt or so per annum, but the oceans emit about 90Gt and the land-plants about 60Gt, for a total of maybe 150Gt. Many scientists have assumed that the net flows of carbon to and from natural sinks and sources of CO2 cancel each other out, but there is no real data to confirm this and itâs just a convenient assumption. The problem is that even small fractional changes in natural emissions or sequestrations swamp the human emissions."

"Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand", oh the ironing.

Yes,David @24,Joanne Goldfish-Memory will not get you far. Her "there is no real data" is very real handwaving,as ever. Nice to see Ferdinand Engelbeen patrolling her thread,but the stupid is tenacious there.

jakerman your link just further proves that much is not known i.e. "...the result of a conspiracy of multiple actors", "But we donât know for sure where all this carbon has gone".

Though under Tim's rule of "conservation of mass must be accounted for" this means we simply write off the source don't we?

**Update** [John Nielsen-Gammon](http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/author/johnnielsengammon/) [comments](http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/08/unforced-variatio…):

>I was lucky enough to attend Murry Salbyâs talk at the IUGG conference in Melbourne. The thesis is not quite so simple as a correlation between CO2 rise and short-term temperature variations, because he found corroborating evidence in the change of CO2 slope over time. This made the argument not so easy to dismiss out of hand, although Salby was extremely careful not to draw any conclusions in his public presentation.

>It was quite good sport to play âspot the flawâ in real time. Fortunately, the talk was the last of the session, and both Alan Plumb and myself chatted with him right afterwards. Aside from whether a statistical argument makes physical sense, it also must hold water statistically by being applicable beyond the time frame of model development. In discussing what his model would mean for past variations of temperature and CO2, it eventually became clear that he believed all paleoclimate data that supported his statistical analysis and disregarded all paleoclimate data that countered his statistical analysis, even though the latter collection was much larger than the former.

>Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppm CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative.

>That was enough for me.

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

Hi Kids,

I was at a different Salby talk a few weeks ago at IUGG in Melbourne. The whole thing was just bizarre (particularly given he gave it in a session on Stratospheric dynamics), and left many of us in the audience scratching our heads, and certainly not because of his brilliance. I'll try to condense his arguments here.

  1. The gist of Salby's talk is that the natural flux of CO2 into and out of the oceans and biosphere overwhelms the emission of anthroprogenic sources. A small change in either the rate at which the Earth sucks up CO2, or the rate at which it expels it, has the potential drown out human contributions. This is not, in and of itself, particularly controversial;
  2. The weirdness started here: Salby took a time series of CO2 concentration, removed frequencies lower than (imr) 2 years-1 (ie. took out the trend to leave the wiggles) and regressed it against i) global average temperature; and ii) soil moisture (stating that the results weren't changed significantly leaving soil moisture out). He gave this result the grandiose title "General Circulation induced CO2 change". He found very good correlation: when temperatures were higher, so was the (high pass filtered) CO 2. To me, this was completely unsurprising. Vegetation responds to temperature, so does oceanic dissolution of CO2.
  3. Salby repeated the analysis using C13 / C14 ratios and found similar (anti) correlation. The "miracle", was that he claimed then, that the various wiggles in the CO2 (high pass filtered) time series accumulated to produce the trend, which, due to it's high correlation with temperature, must (MUST!) be completely natural.

There is a hell of alot wrong with this picture. The most glaring, in my view, is that it muddles causation: changes in global average temperature are, in part, linked to changes in the concentration of CO2 (particularly the slow increase, not the wiggles analyzed by Salby).

Additionally, Salby did not present further analysis on how any trend in the high frequency CO2 (if indeed one was there at all, Salby didn't say) contributed to the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. It's possible it did contribute, but exactly how and how much, Salby didn't say.

Anyhoo, this was my view of his talk, and I hope it put things on a little firmer ground. Discuss.

>[Discuss](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/murray_salby_and_conservation.p…).

I can only concur with [John Byatt](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/murray_salby_and_conservation.p…), who suspects a hoax.

Surely Salby is not so inept that he actually believes what he's been saying? Perhaps he's had a small stroke, or maybe one of his family members is being held hostage? Or perhaps - and please let it be so - he is setting up the Denialati for the biggest mass-pwnning ever.

Whether Salby is soon to reveal that he was cunningly fishing for Stupid, or whether he's simply had a reputation-destroying brain-fart, when the material errors in his jolly jape are generally demonstrated there are going to be quite a few denialist commentators with egg on their faces.

There are a few true 'warming sceptics' though who have distinguished themselves, and I echo [Nick's comment about Ferdinand Englebeen](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/murray_salby_and_conservation.p…), who has been stoutly trying to mop up the spilt brains at Codling's cesspit, in the face of the most obstinant displays of ignorance one could image encountering.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

It doesn't smell like a hoax to me. You wouldn't present a hoax on a conference in front of colleagues you depend upon to take you seriously in the future. You'd send it to E&E or something like that so that only your real audience picks it up, and even then you'd be stupid to do it since the deniers don't care about corrections. They would spread the word how yet another scientist had stopped believe in AGW, and no amount of retraction could stop the story.

It is more likely that he had one of those moments where you think you've come up with something so brilliant that you just refuse to stop and think or listen to what others have to say. It happens to scientists in all areas, it's just unfortunate that climate science is so politicized that events like this can have a serious impact.

[Thomas](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/murray_salby_and_conservation.p…).

Iprobably wasn't apparent, but my comment about Salby perpetrating a hoax was ironic - and this is not a Marohasy defence! In particular, I was reflecting John Byatt's last sentence:

>Salby, surely cannot be considering destroying his reputation by this insanity.

I agree with you completely, and this is why I am sadly forced to conclude that Salby has in fact suffered a major brain-fart.

In another example of irony though, this intellectual disintegration might not herald the withering end of Salby's career - he will very likely now have the red plush of vested-interest denialism rolled before him, and I suspect that one of his first gigs will be with Michael Duffy and Paul C-T to herald his post-modern pseudoscientific wares.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

>*jakerman your link just further proves that much is not known i.e. "...the result of a conspiracy of multiple actors"*

David, the link shows we know a lot. We don't need to know everything to know a lot.

>*"But we donât know for sure where all this carbon has gone".*

And? "We don't know for sure"* most things in science. Science is determined by the preponderance of evidence. You're reduced to trying to set an impossible fairy tail standard.

>*Though under Tim's rule of "conservation of mass must be accounted for" this means we simply write off the source don't we?*

Your obtuse comment make no sense, and where did the claimed quote come from?

It probably...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 05 Aug 2011 #permalink

Slightly off topic:
Cutting Edge - Science Under Attack
(8.30pm - 9.30pm, SBS Tuesday 9 Aug)

Nobel Prize winner Sir Paul Nurse examines why science appears to be under attack and why public trust in key scientific theories has been eroded - from the theory that man-made climate change is warming our planet to the safety of GM food or that HIV causes AIDS. He interviews scientists and campaigners from both sides of the climate change debate and travels to New York to meet Tony, who has HIV but doesn't believe that that the virus is responsible for AIDS

Oi Bernard, I proposed the hoax idea first! (#11).

Anyway, I don't understand that some seemingly intelligent and mathematically unchallenged people, like Salby is, don't take their idea that one important step further:
If the trend in CO2 over the last, say, 100 years is due mainly due to natural sources, there must be a humongous CO2 sink somewhere.

I did the calculation once with about 80% natural increase per year (a number from Roy Spencer), and while I can't remember the details, we're talking about a sink that currently has to absorb something like 30 Gt C/year, and a source that has to release 25 or so.

Per year. Times 100, divide it by two to correct somewhat for increases in emissions, and we need a source that has lost well over a THOUSAND gigatons of C, and a sink that has adsorbed even more.

Simple question to Murry Salby: what are the source and the sink?

If the oceans are the source, the biosphere must be the sink. I'd think people would have noticed the biosphere increasing with >1000 Gt C over the last 100 years....
(leaving aside the problem of explaining the decreasing ocean pH)

If the biosphere is the source, I'd think people would have noticed the biosphere losing that much mass (I think the total biosphere mass is estimated at 2500 Gt C or so, IIRC).

Of course, the issue gets even worse with the apparent claim of Salby that just about the WHOLE increase is natural (say 95%). You'll get to doubling (when a sink) of the biosphere mass, or complete disappearance (when a source).

John N-G's comment also captures it nicely: go back a little bit further in time, and the CO2 concentration becomes zero.

Scribe,

I saw the Paul Nurse program on the BBC a few months back. Its very good and Nurse makes a reasoned and calm interviewer allowing people to have their say. The wonderful thing about this program is when interviewing Dellingpole Nurse is unruffled and with a just a few logical questions we watch as Dellingpole manages to make a complete and utter fool of himself by impaling his mouth on Nurse's logic and reason. If I can remember correctly this is the program where Dellingpole came up with priceless lines such as "peer-to-peer review". The interview starts off with Dellingpole being nice to Nurse but because Nurse is one of those people who is not distracted by the verbal antics of deniers by the end Dellingpole is clearly losing his temper with Nurse who remains completely unruffled and for anyone watching it is clear that Dellingpole is losing his temper because of Nurse's line of questions (simple and direct - a lesson to any person speaking for AGW science in Australian media) and we can watch Dellingpole realiseing he can't get round them and worse he has made a fool of himself. Since then in his Telegraph columns Dellingpole has only mentioned Nurse in the most vitrolitic of terms.

Wonderful television. On the Monckton-I'm-gonna-sue-you scale of 1 to 10 I'd give it an 11 (yes, my dial goes up to 11 doesn't yours....)

"Peer-to-peer review" â aw, that's just priceless! Thanks Jeremy, now it's a must-watch.

Some have suggested that Salby wouldn't possibly risk destroying his scientific reputation. I disagree. To some, scientific reputation is overrated. What fun is it to maintain the respect of the great majority of your peers, when you can say something provocative, and gain great respect among a much larger lay audience? It happened with Curry, did it not? It doesn't matter if that provocative argument is completely hollow. The wider audience doesn't know that. Being contrarian has its advantages. To some, they vastly exceed those of maintaining scientific integrity. Salby is now Galileo, facing persecution from the "warmists" for his beliefs.

If I can remember correctly this is the program where Dellingpole came up with priceless lines such as "peer-to-peer review".

It's also where Delingpole's claim to be an 'interpreter of interpretations' originates, IIRC, along with his admission that he doesn't actually read scientific papers.

Oh, and this would be the interview he later described as having been 'intellectually raped' by Nurse. Charming fellow.

Ugh. I've wasted most of the last two days trying to inject some sense about this into the thread at Judy Curry's site. Mostly, it's been hopeless.

I have enjoyed reading Ferdinand Engelbeen's comments over there, as well as those from ThingsBreak, RustNeverSleeps, etc.

But if I'm going to keep my sanity, I'm going to have to take a break and leave Judy's munchkins to their own foolishness for a while. There's not time enough to respond to them all.

Tim Lambert writes: Nor is Salby's argument novel: you can see it debunked at Skeptical Science last year after someone at Watt's blog advanced it.

That thread was hilarious! I loved it when the WUWT guy showed up and taunted John Cook, basically saying "If you think you can do as well, let's see you match my model!" ... and John proceeds to do that. Beautifully. It was one of the most devastating smackdowns I've seen of any WUWT post outside of Tamino's place.

Bernard, no ill will from my side!

You misunderstand Salby. His main contribution is the undoing of the isotope argument used by RealClimate and appearing in IPCC reports. If I understand him correctly, he has demonstrated that natural processes mimic the changes in isotope ratios formerly thought to be a fingerprint of burning of fossil fuels.

The points where you try to attack him are not actually his viewpoint. Salby never said 0.8c of warming caused an increase of 120 ppm. Building a straw man and tearing it down is easy. Far better to actually deal with the data and the data analysis he provides. No one has done that yet.

So you're not sure if you understand him correctly, but you are sure that everyone else misunderstood him? Kay. :/

Selby's hypothesis requires the increase in CO2 coming since the industial revolution to be just pure co-incidence.

Are you guys sure that burning fossil fuels even releases CO2? I mean...does CO2 even exist really? How can we know for sure?

"If I understand him correctly, he has demonstrated that natural processes mimic the changes in isotope ratios formerly thought to be a fingerprint of burning of fossil fuels."

Existing models, incorporating what the experts know about the system (oceanic diffusion, plant uptake, leaf litter, soil respiration, etc.), do quite a reasonable job of matching isotope ratio changes. That includes 13C, 14C, annual cycles, interannual variability, measured isotopes in oceans and trees and corals - including going back >100 years.

Salby, as far as I can tell, has done little except some regression analysis using global level atmospheric data, and a total lack of including physical principles (the aforementioned oceanic diffusion and so forth).

He apparently used to be good in his own field, but based on listening to his podcast, he clearly has no clue about the carbon cycle field - and honesty, I wouldn't be surprised if he has "gone emeritus" in general...

Salby appears to be running into IP problems in the deniersphere.
Comments at Codling's site

Hobby scientists have been pointing this out for ages now⦠If official science is that slow to pick it up, we would be better off without it

and

re âhobby scientistsâ. ... I showed this temperature/CO2 relationship back in April

Hard to parody.

1 Salby's book comes out in a month or so
2 How many sceptics would have purchased it?
3 How many sceptics will now purchase it due to the tantalising lecture?

Would someone risk there credibility to sell a real science book to the sceptics ?

Well Salman Rushdie risked his life to sell a hoax, it was called "The Satanic Verses" billed as an attack on Islam it was purchased by fundamentalist christians in their thousands,

The Satanic verses does not attack Islam, all the parts surrounding the prophet occur in gibreel's dreams, Gibreel represents fundamentalist Christianity, The book hurls constant ridicule and insult at the fundies, some of the insults regard all manner of sexual deviance, not to mention the XXXXX, which I wont. the book now sits proudly on the bookshelf of many fundies,

I think that they bought salman off with a knighthood to stay quiet.

By john byatt (not verified) on 06 Aug 2011 #permalink

Ron Cram, are you being deliberately dishonest, or just closing your ears to anything even YOU consider silly?

Salby DOES claim the whole 120 ppm is due to temperature rise. John Nielsen-Gammon, who was present at one of Salby's presentations AND talked to him afterwards, clearly took that away as Salby's message.

Based on what I've heard and read so far, Salby has done a "correlation is causation, f*ck the confounding factors" analysis. For his claim to work, he'll have to find a sink that has adsorbed >1000 Gt C over the last 100 years, as well as a sink that has released even more.

If the oceans are the sink, the biosphere (as source) must have more than halved. If the oceans are the source, the biosphere (as sink) must have almost doubled.

You'd think someone would have noticed that...

Ron Cram @ 47

I was at Salby's talk at IUGG. If he did make the argument you suggest, it was very, very subtle indeed, because he certainly didn't say that in his talk. The only argument he made regarding isotope ratios was that, on short time scales (ie. less than 2 years), they are correlated with global atmospheric temperature. In my reading, this suggests that the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 by natural sinks is also affected by temperature. This is hardly a revolutionary though.

In my opinion, you misunderstand Salby.

Ron Cram has succintly put what Salby said in his address to the Sydney institute....Listen to the podcast if you doubt... Salby puts it clearly.

So to reitterate Mr Cram said... "he has demonstrated that natural processes mimic the changes in isotope ratios formerly thought to be a fingerprint of burning of fossil fuels."

The podcast is as plain as day. There is no missing his points.

When his paper comes out, you all be able to discuss it in more detail and with less supposition. I heard him say it had passed peer review. Does anyone know when it'll be available?

Ron Cram has succintly put what Salby said in his address to the Sydney institute....Listen to the podcast if you doubt... Salby puts it clearly.

So to reitterate Mr Cram said... "he has demonstrated that natural processes mimic the changes in isotope ratios formerly thought to be a fingerprint of burning of fossil fuels."

The podcast is as plain as day. There is no missing his points.

When his paper comes out, you all be able to discuss it in more detail and with less supposition. I heard him say it had passed peer review. Does anyone know when it'll be available?

Oops... didn't seem to work.

>Oops... didn't seem to work.

Heh, J.H., that's exactly what Salby will be saying as soon as he attempts to publish his claims.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Aug 2011 #permalink

I expect the next denier sensation that overturns AGW theory to be tweeted in less that 140 characters.

Whilst we're on the subject of hoaxes, [Slioch mentioned the Klein et al paper "Carbon dioxide production by benthic bacteria: the death of manmade global warming theory?"](http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/bag-of-hammers-ii/#comment-52973) over at Open Mind.

I said there, and I can't help but repeat it here, that I think that it is worth linking to the actual 'paper' itself. After all, there may be readers here who weren't around the traps in '07 when that delicious parody hooked more than a few denialists, and I myself chuckled anew over it again today.

As I have previously said when linking to this, it warrants reading carefully right to the references; one of my favourite children's television programs garners an honourable mention, even if it is slightly camouflaged. And there's another reference just after that should come with a beverage warning for the unwary.

I have to admit, I'd be interested to see if someone could troll a denialist site with a link to the pdf, to see if any newbie Denialati can be suckered before the scam is blown. If the less-unintelligent among the body of denialists were not quick off the mark to alert their more ignorant brethren, I reckon that quite a few could be netted again...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Aug 2011 #permalink

Following on from my previous comment, pay attention to (amongst other things) the magnitudes and signs of the y-axis values in the graphs. Someone had a lot of fun writing this paper...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 07 Aug 2011 #permalink

So to reitterate Mr Cram said... "he has demonstrated that natural processes mimic the changes in isotope ratios formerly thought to be a fingerprint of burning of fossil fuels."

Seasonal vegetation dieback in the Northern Hemisphere certainly produces a C13/C12 signature identical to that of fossil-fuel combustion. But one must consider limitations on the size/capacity of the "vegetation dieback" source. It won't scale. At most, you will have on the order of one year's worth of vegetation-sequestered CO2 released into the atmosphere -- after that, the "vegetation dieback" source is spent.

With fossil fuels, you have millions of years of "vegetation-sequestered" carbon available for release into the atmosphere. *That* source *will* scale.

So if the seasonal "vegetation dieback source" is one of the natural sources to which Salby is referring, it appears that he's overlooking something embarrassingly simple and obvious.

By caerbannog (not verified) on 07 Aug 2011 #permalink

I'm getting very frustrated in a discussion I'm having elsewhere.

I asked:

>We know the annual rise in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is only about half of what humans put in. So if we stopped putting CO2 into the atmosphere, would the CO2 concentration

>a) Keep going up

>b) Stay the same

>c) Start falling?

>What does your answer imply for the source of the observed rise in CO2?

His answer:

>The answer depends on what the natural sinks and sources are doing at the same time as humans stopped emitting CO2. All three options are possible.

>Apparently they are so large that they overwhelm the human contribution.

My eventual response?

>How the heck are you not getting this? If humans stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would start to decrease, because at present the sinks are efficient enough to remove more CO2 than natural sources can emit.

I mean, how do you deal with this impenetrable wall of misguided self-confidence? Should I just give up?

I'd like to know in what journal 'groundbreaking' paper by Salby et al. is going to be published. Does anyone here know or is it a well-kept secret? That will tell us a lot about the strength of the peer-review process. Journals with low impact factors are a lot less rigid in their acceptance of papers than journals with higher impact factors. I was formerly an Associate Editor at Nature and I am currently on the PLoS One board of Associate Editors, and I can assure those unfamiliar with the process of peer-review that this is how it works.

The denialists are very often guilty of parading crappy articles in weak journals with few or no citations to downplay the huge volumes of empirical evidence in support of AGW. In fact, they are masters of the art of inflating poor science into something special, while simultaneously denouncing articles in Nature, Science, PNAS etc. that support AGW. I would therefore be very interested to know where exactly Salby's paper is going. Any news on that?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 07 Aug 2011 #permalink

Posted by: Rick Bradford | August 5, 2011 7:05 AM:

>He said he had an âinvoluntary gag reflexâ whenever someone said the âscience was settledâ.

>âAnyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled is in Fantasia.â

Repeat morning and night, after you brush your teeth.

===================================================

Come on now, anything less than 100% certitude is "not settled." You know like gravity and such (that's why we keep sending satellites and money into space to study it).

The contrarians are only asking us to ignore the problem for another fifty, or a hundred years, until "real" data we can all trust comes in. Is that so unreasonable? ;-(

Posted by: Chris O'Neill | August 5, 2011 12:58

PMRatemyprofessors is funny.
~ ~ ~

yup, but I'm pretty sure it's the wrong prof. Murry Salby, that guys from Colorado.

citizenschallenge, it is the right Murry Salby. He's been @ Colorado in the past.

"Listening to Salby's lecture I'd of thought he at least make an interesting professor".(sic)

Yeah well, given (amongst other things) your inability to differentiate between useage of the preposition 'of' in place of the conditional perfect verb 'would have' (or 'I'd have), your theoretical estimations of academic integrity either way really don't amount to much.

I hate to seem a grammar nazi, especially with the number of typos I've made, but some things are indicative.

Comment at RC

As mentioned above by Geoff Wexler (104) Salbyâs statements concerning anthropogenic CO2 contributions on page 23 of the â96 edition of Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics are very âconventionalâ and are at odds with his recent talk.

(Hankâs link):
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0126151601/ref=sib_dp_ptu#reader-link

Maybe Byant (91) and Metzler (97) are on to something with the hoax/experiment thing?

By john byatt (not verified) on 07 Aug 2011 #permalink

@chek

"...between useage of the preposition..."

Pfft! And that wasn't a typo ("use"). Goose.

Stu N

I mean, how do you deal with this impenetrable wall of misguided self-confidence? Should I just give up?

Far from it. Judith Curry (almost) makes a virtue out of it.

Jeff Harvey,

If you truely are on the editorial boards of those journals you mention then you have a very worrying way of talking about scientists. You seem to have completely bought into the 'them and us' mentality, good versus evil. It makes me wonder just how impartial you could be when accessing science.

John N-G I'm curious why you think the relationship identified by Salby should be extrapolated back in time in a linear fashion? Thinking about the different boxes it seems very possible during an extreme climate excursion like the LGM that the role of these boxes as sinks or sources will change in a non linear way. It seems easy to imagine how both the biosphere and oceans would be affected by the presence of large amounts of ice.

More generally I'm curious to read what people think about the changing isotope ratios associated with the interannual variability that Salby has identified. As other have said the work of Salby cannot be encapsulated by the graph presented in this post as seems to be suggested.

HR:

You seem to have completely bought into the 'them and us' mentality, good versus evil. It makes me wonder just how impartial you could be when accessing science.

Hello?!?!?!? It's not "good" versus "evil", it's "evidence-based science" versus "bullshit".

I do expect the editor of a prestigious journal to be able -- and willing -- to separate good science from bullshit.

Are you saying that the only way to be "impartial" is to treat truth and bullshit as equals?

-- frank

HR,
'More generally I'm curious to read what people think about the changing isotope ratios associated with the interannual variability that Salby has identified.'

He didn't identify anything new in terms of interannual variability. This is from IPCC AR4 chapter 2.3:

Note that changes in the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 are also caused by other sources and sinks, but the changing isotopic signal due to CO2 from fossil fuel combustion can be resolved from the other components (Francey et al., 1995).

Bernard J@30:
I echo your and Nick's comments about Ferdinand Engelbeen. I might not agree with all of Ferdinand's views, but I admire him for his patience, courtesy and tenacity in the face of so much.....wanton ignorance. I am afraid I do not have the patience to do what he is doing.

I am not sure about the argument from John N-G at 28. There are several reasons for thinking feedbacks in glacial interglacial cycles are outside the lines.
However (take deep breath) I think Andrew Bolt is right (now, i've actually said it). Salby's podcast description sounds a lot like what Roy Spencer was doing in 2008 (see WUWT).

Now, [* Preliminary idea]I think you can produce a carbon budget along the Spencer lines while you consider only CO2
and you patch in a few other "coolist" memes:
* temperature-mediated net flux
* low air-borne fraction (short CO2 lifetime - a favourite
- may get you into trouble fitting C14, but you need this for conservation of mass (unless you are Ian Plimer))
* very low climate sensitivity (otherwise the feedback loop
goes unstable).
This is actually a beautiful theory, (and is what statisticians would call a parsimoneous fit) slain by the ugly fact (TH Huxley) that:
* If you assign the temperature-mediated flux to the ocean (original Spencer version) you disagree with C13 changes
* if you assign the temperature-mediated flux to the land
which is what Salby seems to be doing by using C13 (and his
podcast talked about the amazon), you run into trouble with the data on changes in oxygen.

HOWEVER, this is just a preliminary idea -- I am going to do what Salby should have done -- go down to CSIRO and talk to other people who have worked on this stuff.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 08 Aug 2011 #permalink

As I doubt that many people here are regular readers of "centre right" climate change denying site Catallaxy, I think many may not have noticed that Roy Spencer dropped in there (on a thread about Salby) to say this:

"we already knew that year-to-year changes in atmospheric CO2 can temporarily either double (during a strong El Nino) or cancel out (during a strong La Nina) human CO2 emissions.

But it is unlikely, from what Iâve seen, that the *long term increase* has more than a 15-20% natural source.

I would love to be wrong, but I just donât see it based upon the evidence.

Besides, Iâm not convinced more CO2 wonât be a good thing for life on Earth."

Link: http://catallaxyfiles.com/2011/08/03/stop-press-climate-talk-on-cable-t…

"More generally I'm curious to read what people think about the changing isotope ratios associated with the interannual variability that Salby has identified."

These have been known about for a long time (e.g. [1]). That interannual variability correlates with ENSO has been known about since the 70's[2]. Salby hasn't "identified" them at all.

That the 13C ratios respond significantly to the terrestrial component of the carbon flux according to ENSO-related variability has been known about for a long time. It's pretty easy to understand. During the El Nino phase of ENSO with higher temperatures and lower moisture (and enhanced wild fires) in the tropics there is reduction/reversal in net primary production and more carbon is released into the atmosphere. Since a large component is biogenic (trees/soil bacterial-derived sources) this is 13C-depleted and so its release into the atmosphere changes the delta 13C parameter. The reverse happens during/following the cooler moist tropical La Nina when there is a greater than average. see e.g. [3/4]

Not only is Selby basing his puerile and nasty rubbish on logical and scientific fallacies, he is forced to dis the general scientific community since his "thesis" has zero merit in the light of wider knowledge, and to present the deceit that he is addressing a subject that no one has had the wit to think about before. He needs to be able to sell a deceit (he has a book to sell), and ideally he'd like a good few chumps to swallow his junk. One wonders whether Mcquarie University are comfortable with the deceits of their new Chair of Climate Science.

...of course one could be doing Selby a disservice...perhaps he's simply astonishingly ignorant of the subject he's broadcasting and writing a book on, unable to make a logical scientific argument in a subject outside his specialist field, and incapable of the sort of academic scholarship that one normally takes for granted in proper scientists.

[1]Francey, R. J.et al. (1995) Changes in oceanic and terrestrial carbon uptake since 1982, Nature, 373, 326â 330, 1995.

[2] Bacastow, R. B. (1976), Modulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the Southern Oscillation, Nature, 261, 116â118.

[3] Zeng N et al (2005) Terrestrial mechanisms of interannual CO2 variability Global Biogeochemical Cycles 19, art # GB1016

[4] van der Werf, G. R. (2003) Carbon emissions from fires in tropical and subtropical ecosystems, Global Change Biol., 9, 547â562.

(there a many dozens of articles on this subject)

*I echo your and Nick's comments about Ferdinand Engelbeen*

Depends on what the topic is. His defense of chlorine is, in my opinion, seriously misguided. And we've had a lot of other disagreements as well. After Lomborg's appalling tome was published, Engelbeen and I had a lot of disagreements over the content of the book. That fiuzzled out with time but I don't forget so easily.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Aug 2011 #permalink

A couple of little things in Salby's talk (answering audience questions) were revealing, especially in his gushing about how others are so impressed with him:

Two of these were "the reviewer" of his paper ("a top person in the field" - "he characterised the results as amazing"), and a colleague at MIT ("when he saw my results he said "someone should have done some serious checking"")

If his paper had a single reviewer then it has likely gone somewhere poor (E&E perhaps..or one of the new open access "vanity press"-style journals...will be interesting to see).

...colleague at MIT...hmmm, I wonder who that might be!

Jo Nova's blog [tiny url](http://tinyurl.com/4x6bjhs) has a detailed description, and explicitly says it is similar to Roy Spencer's analysis and also discussion by Tom Quirk (in Energy and Environment), and that Salby's paper has passes peer review and will be "released" in about 6 weeks.

So looking at Quirk and Spencer is a start for more detailed
analysis. But for a start, let's think about some very approximate numbers for decadal-scale averages:

Human emissions : 8.5 GtC/yr
Increase: 4 GtC/yr
Temperature-modulated flux 4 GtC/yr (since claimed to be
equal to residual)
Total emissions 12.5 GtC/yr
Implied sink 8.5 GtC/yr
airborne fraction 4/12.5 : 32%
So even if this long-term temperature-modulated flux
exists (and data from isotopes and oxygen change
suggest that it doesn't) it is also only 32% of the
emissions and the claim that it "controls" all (or most
of) the atmospehric Co2 increase doesn't stand up.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 09 Aug 2011 #permalink

Chris #84

Thanks for the answer but I don't understand. His work is based on well known and previous documented observations while at the same time being "puerile and nasty rubbish [based] on logical and scientific fallacies"

Frank #77

I have no problem with the fact that all scientific disciplines have a range of journals of differing qualities and that junk science tends to gravitate to the worst of these journals. Evaluating good and bad science is fundamental. Jeff Harvey in his language suggests he has a bias against what he labels 'deniers'. I'm fine with that sort of labeling in the political arena but as you say in the scientific arena there should just be good and bad science. It just seems to be even worse when it's from somebody who says he's one of the gatemasters in the peer review process.

Some examples. Was Mark Serreze's rush to find death spirals in the arctic good or bad science. Was the recent paper in Science that seems to have laid that idea to rest 'denier' science. Roy Spencer publishes in JRL as well as lesser journals does that mean he's only sometimes a denier or that JRL is a junk journal. The reality is the junk journals a mainly filled by ordinary scientists doing rather uninspiring research, does that make all those gals deniers. Labels don't really fit in this context.

HR, it is clear Chris' label refers to the conclusions drawn. As Chris indicates, the observation is not new, and very credible explanations have been given. In comes Salby, finds the same, and concludes that if temperature variations can explain the short term variations, it can also explain the long term variations. That's McLeanian bunk.

That's pretty silly HR

to spell it out for the "hard-of-understanding":

ONE: The fluctuational variability of delta 13C in response to ENSO is "previously known and well documented" and quite well understood.

TWO: Salby's presentation is puerile and nasty rubbish since it tries to kid us with a logical and scientific fallacy that the short term fluctuational variability in [CO2] (and delta 13C) caused (largely) by ENSO, indicates that the persistent large positive trend in [CO2] that matches anthropogenic CO2 emissions is also caused by surface temperature variation. He pretends that if one removes the long term trend altogether and just focusses on the year on year variability, that we might be fooled into thinking that there isn't a relationship between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and the long term rise in absolute [CO2].

"ONE:" and "TWO:" ain't incompatible HR

And you have to admit Selby's attempt to treat us as chumps is pretty puerile, illogical, scientifically pathetic, and since he's using this junk to drum up publicity for a book, pretty nasty.

Unless you like that sort of thing, of course...

> ..."he characterised the results as amazing" ...and [speaking of someone else]... "when he saw my results he said "someone should have done some serious checking"")

One wonders whether both were being ironic - or will claim that if their names get out.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 09 Aug 2011 #permalink

"Evaluating good and bad science is fundamental. Jeff Harvey in his language suggests he has a bias against what he labels 'deniers'. I'm fine with that sort of labeling in the political arena but as you say in the scientific arena there should just be good and bad science."

Ah...again you're playing a "mutually exclusive" game HR. You're suggesting that the following facts shouldn't be simultaneously considered (by someone involved in the scientific publisihing editorial process, perhaps):

ONE: there are misrepresenters of science (call them "deniers") who sometimes publish junk science.

TWO: there is good science and bad science and generally the latter gravitates to low ranking journals.

But addressing the reality indicates that ONE: and TWO: are not mutually exclusive, and that it's worth being aware that both of these are true. Apart from anything else it helps us to understand the motives behind science misrepresentation, and aids us in being on our guard against those that are deliberately trying to deceive us.

In fact if we put ONE: and TWO: together, we realize that when "deniers" are involved the distinction isn't always between "good" science and "bad" science, so much as between "good" science and "mendacious" science.

we could discuss specific examples...

...the distinction isn't always between "good" science and "bad" science, so much as between "good" science and "mendacious" science.

we could discuss specific examples...

I thought that's what we are doing here....

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 09 Aug 2011 #permalink

Jeff Harvey@83: I am not familiar with Engelbeen's views on chlorine, and from the small amount of material I've found after a quick search, I see nothing to object to in his comments on chlorine. (I'm a chemist myself.) But I am prepared to be moved by good, reasoned argument. However, I was specifically referring to his efforts- conducted in a cordial and non-abusive way- to clear up some of the misconceptions surrounding the rise in atmospheric CO2. Specifically, the unwarranted attacks on C.D. Keeling's work by the Beck acolytes was what I had in mind. Engelbeen has been dismissive of the notion, propounded by Beck, Plimer and others, that early chemical measurements of CO2 show that [CO2] was higher in the recent past (i.e., early in the 20th century and in the 19th century) than what the "modern" data of Keeling and others shows for the present day.

Chris@82: Also worth a read is C.D. Keeling's autobiography: "Rewards and Penalties of Monitoring the Earth", Annu. Rev. Energy Environ., 1998, 23:25â82.
This ties together much of the early work on CO2 measurement and on C isotopic work. It is written in a nice, clear and informal manner.

HR,

As a scientist myself, I have no qualms whatsoever in arguing the case for sound versus shoddy science. And, as Peter Nurse explained in his Horizon program on the BBC, some scientists tend to put their beliefs before the science: in other words they have developed and defend, for whatever reason (it may be based on prestige, egotism or on the financial benefits of taking up a certain position) a stance on a subject that runs in the face of accumulating empirical evidence to the contrary. And to be fair, not only climate change deniers do it; it happens in other fields of science as well that have little or nothing to do with public policy. This practice should rightfully be criticized; it is not 'sound science' - it is instead an aberration. Science is neither good nor evil; those words suggest that your views on various fields of scientific endeavor are exceedingly simple.

However, it appears that climate science is littered with the latter variety for the simple reason that there are policy-related issues, profit margins and an entire political ethos partially at stake. A number of scientists with little expertise in the field or very modest publication records have waded into the area of climate science and related fields, including its effects on ecological communities and systems, and if I may say some of these people have generated views which go well beyond their own competence in these fields. There are allegedly 'scientific' web sites run by well-known contrarians who take existing studies and twist their findings to bolster a pre-determined view on climate change and its effects. These sites often downplay the amount of warming, or the human component in it, and also argue that increasing atmospheric C02 concentrations will benefit nature, or else that warming is a 'good thing'. To support their arguments, these sites cherry-pick existing studies (they do not do primary research on their own) or else distort studies that did not intend to comment on AGW and its effects in the first place. I have colleagues at the Institution where I work who had one of their Nature articles abused in this way, and I am sure that it is a common phenomenon. The climate change denial lobby is well-funded an d organized, and aims not to reach the scientific community with its distortions but the general public, hence the plethora of astroturf organizations and web sites that have sprung up over the past 10-15 years for this purpose. These organizations are fully aware that the general public generally does not consult the primary literature nor do they understand the many intricate and subtle nuances that are found in peer-reviewed articles. Instead, like many in the corporate MSM, they tend to act as 'interpreters of interpretations', as well known Telegraph columnist and climate change denier James Delingpole described himself in the Horizon program.

PeterD: My only view is that you are giving Ferdinand Engelbeen more prominence in environmental debates than he deserves. As far as I know he was (is?) a member of a pro-chlorine group called 'Chlorophiles', is not a climate scientist and has no peer-reviewed literature in any related field (does he have any publications at all? (You ought to ask him). This is not to say that his comments on AGW are not welcome if they support the accumulating evidence of a human fingerprint, but my only point is that he is one of millions of pundits on the internet who have waded into the field. Many scientists, including myself, strongly defend earlier contributions made by Keeling in understanding the current situation, so Engelbeen's views are not so different in this regard.

As for chlorine, it is a trace element in terrestrial ecosystems, and its deleterious effects in bio-accumulative pesticides on food webs and especially at their terminal end of food chains is well documented. But I digress.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 09 Aug 2011 #permalink

HR.

Puffin' stuff?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 09 Aug 2011 #permalink

peterd @ 94

Thanks for highlighting Keeling's review. I've been reading it this morning. For those who might also be interested, it's a personal account of the career in atmospheric CO2 measurements of Charles Keeling. It's a fascinating account of the way that chance (or maybe not so chance) events can define the course of our careers, and illustrates to me the rather carefree manner in which science seems to have been done in the period after the war and maybe up through the 1970's (though it certainly wasn't plain-sailing for Keeling).

What stands out 'though is the contrast with the subject of this thread. It's difficult (for me) to comprehend the mentality of a supposed scientist who wouldn't be charmed and fascinated by the desire and opportunity to find something real and valuable about the natural world. There's something fundamentally wonderful about reality and its truths (on however small a scale our discovery of "truths" might be). Doing science with a dedication to properly finding out stuff has benefits of insight that can go far beyond the immediate discovery. I think there's something essentially heroic about dedication to finding out about the realities that we encounter (and I mean everyone, not just scientists); it's an essential part of what makes us human - Keeling's account reminds me of all that.

On the other hand there's something a little sad about those few individuals who (one imagines) embarked on their scientific careers with some sort of intellectual spark to find stuff out, but seem to have come to the conclusion that none of that matters to them at all; that personal and pseudo-political agendas trump any striving for truths; that if grasping after these agendas means misrepresenting entire scientific fields, and insinuating incompetence or worse in other scientists then that's all grist to the mill.

I have been pulling stuff together at

http://www.ms.unimelb.edu.au/~enting/echo.pdf

that gives my thoughts with a bit of context and references,
with the aim of doing a few plots.

So far I am mainly looking at the Spencer version (Jo Nova indicates that Salby is similar). I don't see the evidence
for "puerile" or "deceitful" - wrong, self-deluded, ill-informed (to the point of recklessness) is what I am seeing. Spencer does have a comparable long-term relation - in my view irrelevant, but nevertheless true. In my book, deceitful is McLean et al who DON'T have the claimed long term relation, but conceal this by using two different data records with the changeover at the panel break in their plots. (also, for deceitful see the "misrepresents cited sources" entire in the index of my Plimer analysis.

So thanks Chris for the Zeng reference (I'd missed it), and maybe you know more about Salby than I do, but for the present I am not going to buy your description.

Fair enough Ian. You consider Salby is "wrong, self-deluded, ill-informed (to the point of recklessness)â¦". I think heâs being deceitful and his analysis is puerile. Since weâre using subjective descriptors, perhaps our views aren't that far apart!

I think you're being a little over-analytical and giving the presentations by these people (Salby, Spencer, McLean) rather too much consideration, although I respect your efforts in highlighting and analyzing scientific misrepresentation and denialism.

Let me point out where I consider your "wrong" and "self-deluded" and "ill-informed" are actually examples of "deceit". Inspection of Salby's publication record on Web of Science (WOS) indicates a long career in the general areas of planetary circulation, equatorial wind oscillations, properties of the stratosphere and tropopause included analysis of ozone, Hadley circulation, planetary waves.

In all this time (since 1978) there's nothing on WOS to indicate expertise on atmospheric CO2 and variability, the carbon cycle, atmospheric carbon isotopic ratios or CO2 temperature relationships on long and short timescales. All of a sudden he's making highly-publicised presentations on these subjects and claiming to have uncovered both a novel analysis (it isn't) and an interpretation that overturns all our understanding of the relationships between anthropogenic CO2 emissions and atmospheric [CO2] and the nature of the carbon cycle on short (interannual) and longer (decadal, centennial) timescales.

It turns out his analysis is wrong (we agree on that I think). It's based on a logical fallacy that is scientifically puerile (IMHO). He asserts that since the year-on-year variability in [CO2] (and delta 13C) relates to temperature (something that has been well understood since the 1970's), that long term trends in atmospheric [CO2] are uncoupled from human emissions. He draws the conclusion that variations of [CO2] on the timescale of human emissions are due to surface temperature variations, and that it is futile to predict future [CO2] ranges based on expected human emission projections since the atmospheric [CO2] is dominated by natural variability. This analysis is not only "wrong"; it is "wrong" in a "puerile" sense, not just because of the illogic, but because we know the amount of our human emissions and we know that these are far greater (by over 2-fold) than the increase in atmospheric [CO2]. Thus the large industrial-age enhancement of atmospheric [CO2] cannot have a dominant natural source. In fact (as is very well known) the natural environment must have been a net sink for CO2 during this period.

In other words his analysis is puerile junkâ¦and did we mention he has a book to sell?

To me that goes way beyond "wrong" and "misguided". His presentation to the Sydney Institute is full of falsehoods and insinuations of incompetence on the part of the IPCC and other climate scientists. I donât believe Salby has any right to be "wrong" on these issues. If he was an honest scientist he would have ensured that he understood the relevant issues before assuming that his fallacies were examples of the privileged insight he claims for himself.

You ask whether I might know more about Salby than you do. Nope, I never heard of the guy before last weekend. I expect that's the whole pointâ¦we've all heard of him nowâ¦.oh, and did we mention he has a book to sell?

Jeff Harvey,

There's no doubt climate science is a politicised issue. I'm curious whether you consider there are others on the other side of the debate, let's call them alarmists for want of a better word, who play all the same games you suggest but with different motivations.

I'll give you a concrete example to work on. Mark Serreze's arctic death spiral seems to have been put to bed for the moment, was the initial pronouncement.

1) Junk science
2) politically motivated.
3) Naively rushed conclusions.
4) Intended to mislead
5) Part of a left wing conspiracy
6) Has his once search for knowledge been overtaken by ideology
7) and on and on and on

By the way I don't believe any of these except I think it was a rather rushed conclusion too quickly adopted by the wider debate.

Presumably before this pronouncement Salby wasn't a denier suffering from all the mental, moral or ethical failings that only deniers suffer from. This whole line of argument is only for the true believers (on both sides of the debate).

By Peter Williamson (not verified) on 10 Aug 2011 #permalink

Chris,

I'm not sure anybody gets rich or famous from writing academic books even one's that appeal to old, rich, white guys.

The list of personal failings of the nasty deniers just grows and grows.

Really HR? I suspect it's not going to be an "academic book", but we'll see. As for Salby not "getting famous", I suspect he would beg to differ. He seems to be piling on the fame!

Anyway, I'm interested to see you describing him as a "denier". I wouldn't go that far yet. I think we probably agree he's attempting to "sell" misrepresentations of the relevant science, that he's rather disgracefully insinuating incompetence (at best) on other scientists, engaging in puerile and illogical analyses that are so dull as to make us wonder how he supposes he can get away with them, and rather sadly treating his audience as chumps.

But I suspect he's doing this to drum up interest in his book. Perhaps he has some political agendas that feed into his presentations. So far we've only listened to his podcast, and we should wait and see how he responds to proper criticism before we use your "d" word!

HR: August 9, 2011 11:35 AM

"...Mark Serreze's rush to find death spirals in the arctic.."

Peter Williamson: August 10, 2011 3:11 PM

"...Mark Serreze's arctic death spiral..."

Singing from the same hymn sheet? ...and perhaps looking for a little bit of something like moral equivalence?! (do I sound a little like Stuey there?)

I think Mark Serreze was commenting on the fact that the Arctic sea ice is melting, and is projected to melt to the extent that summer sea ice may disappear sometime this century. He said something like:

"There are claims coming from some communities that the Arctic sea ice is recovering, is getting thicker again," Mark Serreze, director of the American center, told Postmedia News. "That's simply not the case. It's continuing down in a death spiral."

It's a bit of a sound bite to be sure, in response likely to a reporter cold call, but we don't really need to play at contrived indignation! We could read a little more detailed analysis from one of his commentaries (e.g. M. C. Serreze & J. C. Stroeve
Nature reports Climate Change doi:10.1038/climate.2008.108):

"With sharply rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the change to a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean seems inevitable. The only question is how fast we get there. The emerging view is that if we're still waiting for the rapid slide towards this ice-free state, we won't be waiting much longer."

And if we're still raising ourselves to dizzy heights of indignation, we could read the abundant science that informs his point of view, including lots of his own papers listed on his website (http://nsidc.org/research/bios/serreze.html).

I guess it depends whether you really want to know about this stuff...or whether you've other fish to fry...

Murry Salby is at the same institution (different department) as Colin Prentice. Prenticeâs bio lists him as the âchief author of the chapter "Carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide" in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)â. I wonder what Prentice thinks of Salbyâs work?

By Mike Pollard (not verified) on 10 Aug 2011 #permalink

Peter Williamson:

I'll give you a concrete example to work on. Mark Serreze's arctic death spiral seems to have been put to bed for the moment, was the initial pronouncement.
1) Junk science 2) politically motivated. 3) Naively rushed conclusions. 4) Intended to mislead 5) Part of a left wing conspiracy 6) Has his once search for knowledge been overtaken by ideology 7) and on and on and on

How about the initial pronouncement was right on, and there's been nothing in the data in the intervening years that would suggest he should back off from it?

I vote for its being an accurate statement.

If you don't like volume, extent loss seems to be accelerating, too.

If asked to choose between "sea ice is recovering", or "death spiral", which would you choose as being most accurate, Peter?

Jeff Harvey@95: we may have to agree to disagree about Engelbeen. I know that he is a âscepticâ, in the sense that he does not accept the âIPCC consensusâ about the amount of warming to be expected from the anthropogenic CO2 loadings. However, he appears not to be a full-blown âdenialistâ, as I might use the term, in that he accepts much of what I would call the bedrock of climate measurement: the validity of the modern CO2 data and methods, as perfected by Keeling Sr and others, ice-core data, and the implications of the isotopic measurements. For that reason, I am very happy to see him patrolling Novaâs site and trying to set the know-nothings (of whom there appears to be no shortage there) straight. I think thereâs more value in someone of his ilk doing that than there would be in (say) me doing it. And, frankly, I donât have the time. He does. Enough said.

Jeff Harvey@95: we may have to agree to disagree about Engelbeen. I know that he is a âscepticâ, in the sense that he does not accept the âIPCC consensusâ about the amount of warming to be expected from the anthropogenic CO2 loadings. However, he appears not to be a full-blown âdenialistâ

He did point out, over at Curry's, that Salby's full of doo-doo, and didn't pull punches.

The full-blown denier category has gone downhill, so even F.E., a previous member, can't abide by some of the current ultra-stupidity.

Tells you something about the decreasing quality of denialist arguments, IMO.

PeterD,

To reiterate, I had a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with Engelbeen over Bjorn Lomborg's lousy book, TSE, almost 10 years ago, and frankly he was making observations in fields that were well beyond his competence. He has little or no expertise in most of the fields covered superficially in the book, and yet was a real Lomborg supporter at the time. Perhaps he's changed; you will have to ask him. But try googling 'Lomborg and Engelbeen' and you will get my drift. I co-reviewed Lomborg's book for Nature with Stuart Pimm and before I knew it I had every pseudo- or non-scientific 'authority' racing to Lomborg's defense, including Engelbeen. I am quite content for him to wade into other areas where he also has little apprarent expertise (e.g. publications in the scientific literature), such as climate science, but take a lot of it with a huge grain of salt. If you check his web site he still tries to muddy the waters when deciding if there is a link between atmospheric C02 concetrations and climate warming. And two of his four web-links on the subject are to WUWT and Climate Audit, as if these sites have some sort of merit.

So my views on him are still very 'guarded'. Besides, why not refer to the scientific community by-and-large, instead of relying on web pundits like Engelbeen, for your information? I say this irrespective as to their leanings on the subject. I am not a climate scientist (although I look at the effects of warming on ecological communities and plant invasions in some of my research) and so I defer to the views of the vast majority of climate scientists who are doing the actual research. They broadly agree that there is an indelible human fingerprint on both atmospheric C02 concentrations *and* recent trends in global (and regional) temperature patterns, irrespective as to what outliers like Salby are saying. That says enough for me; I don't need pundits like Engelbeen to influence my views on the topic one way or another.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 10 Aug 2011 #permalink

I'm not sure anybody gets rich or famous from writing academic books even one's that appeal to old, rich, white guys.

Perhaps a decent sustenance is enough. Willie Soon earned a million from Exxon, American Petroleum Insitute and Koch Industries in a decade, and yes, actually has gained some name-recognition in the process. Are you sure this example doesn't appeal to some of the guys who "write academic books"?

You do however earn a place on the lecture circuit where rich old white guys will pay hugely to hear how they're A-OK.

Ask Monckton.

> in that he accepts much of what I would call the bedrock of climate measurement

And someone could accept that photographs are a record of what was visible and that you can date them with some accuracy. However, if they still deny that the photos of the holocaust show that Nazis were killing humans, then they're still holocaust deniers.

E.g. does he agree that the observed warming so far indicates that anything below the 2C per doubling of CO2 has been shown to be excluded?

I have a graduate degree in a field in the physical sciences and I currently engage in funded, published research unrelated to climate.

I find it interesting that in this field there is so much emotional name-calling and that you can't wait for a paper to be published, read it and find the points of agreement and disagreement and engage in proper scientific discourse. There is a real problem when someone who formerly was looked upon as a solid scientist (when they agreed with everything you did) but then can overnight become the subject of such disdain based on a few web posts. I think this really says something about your objectivity. Maybe you watched a few too many episodes of Captain Planet. Think about it and grow up and act like a real scientist, instead of a political activist.

By Integrity (not verified) on 11 Aug 2011 #permalink

Integrity, that sounds like a bit of concern trolling. I really doubt that climate science is all alone in the gossip before the release of a new paper, especially one such as this one that's being touted by less than trustworthy sources.

And seriously, if someone in your field of research said they would be publishing a paper that questioned and changed one of the fundamentals of your line of work, wouldn't you be pretty suspicious and leery?

As far as being activists, climate scientists are pretty much damned if they do, damned if they don't. If they aren't shown taking actions in their lives to help stop/slow global warming, then they're labeled hypocrites. If they do, then they're smeered as "activists" and not real scientists. Real classy with the Captain Planet reference there too.

Integrity, that sounds like a bit of concern trolling. I really doubt that climate science is all alone in the gossip before the release of a new paper, especially one such as this one that's being touted by less than trustworthy sources.

And seriously, if someone in your field of research said they would be publishing a paper that questioned and changed one of the fundamentals of your line of work, wouldn't you be pretty suspicious and leery?

As far as being activists, climate scientists are pretty much damned if they do, damned if they don't. If they aren't shown taking actions in their lives to help stop/slow global warming, then they're labeled hypocrites. If they do, then they're smeered as "activists" and not real scientists. Real classy with the Captain Planet reference there too.

Integrity:

"I find it interesting that in this field there is so much emotional name-calling and that you can't wait for a paper to be published, read it and find the points of agreement and disagreement and engage in proper scientific discourse."

Yes that's normally how it's done Integrity. Oddly, in this case Dr. Salby hasn't waited for his paper to be published before making public presentations in which he misrepresents scientific knowledge, makes scientifically-deficient (to put it mildly) interpretations that he claims ovetthrows pretty much everything we know about short and longer-term carbon cycle, and insinualtes incompetence amongst whole fields of scientists.

"Think about it and grow up and act like a real scientist, instead of a political activist."

Indeed. Sadly Dr Salby is acting just like a political activist. He's taken his dismal and flawed message straight to the public. Since his misrepresentations are supportive of some rather dreary political agendas, his presentations have been spread all over the web, and lauded by the "political activists" that you rightly disdain.

Many of us have "graduate degrees" in relevant sciences and are able to recognise rubbish when we see (or hear) it. Why not listen to Dr. Salby's presentation and decide yourself whether it deserves to be spread around the internet as an overturning of much of what we know about Earth response to greenhouse gas forcing...

..or perhaps you might agree that Salby's "political activist" style of scientific misrepresentation should be highlighted for the self-serving junk that it is...

Integrity,

Who are your exactly referring to? It seems like you've got this screed saved somewhere and that you cut and paste it onto web logs whose comments you don't like. You appear to be trying to take the moral high ground here, but it cuts little ice with me, as I have worked in science for more than 20 years.

Let's get some fact straight. First of all, I will agree that bad science is not confined to those in the denial lobby, although much if comes from contrarian ranks. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What should seem obvious to most scientists is that the data trails of the contrarians usually runs cold very quickly. This has nix to do with holding scientists in contempt when they change their views; on the contrary, it has everything to do with the lack of empirical support for the arguments of a comparatively small number of scientists and the fact that many of the most vocal contrarians do little if any research.

Peter Williamson: I have explained my position above and elsewhere. To repeat, the vast majority of the scientific evidence thus far supports the argument that humans are forciong climate. Denial takes many forms: there are those, many of whom are in the climate change denial camp, who also downplay volumes of evidence in other areas of Earth and environmental science: the current extinction event, threats posed by overharvesting, habitat destruction, acid rain, invasive species and other anthropogenic assaults. In fact, I have tended to find that many of the most vocal climate-change contrarians also downplay these other threats. Why do you think that this is so? In every one of these fields, a large body of scientists (not all, but certainly a very large majority) are in agreement. My view as a scientist has always been to defer to the opinions of the experts in fields outside of my own, as any cautious scientist should do. But many in the contrarian lobby do not appear to express the same doubts, but express complete confidence in what they say. What do you therefore think motivates this very vocal minority, especially since many of them have little or no expertise in relevant fields?

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 11 Aug 2011 #permalink

so what does Salby think happened to all that CO2?

Maybe a dingo ate your C02.

Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppm CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative.

I don't see that this is necessarily true. In fact, the opposite may well be true, since mechanisms for absorbing C02 may be less effective when temperatures are low.

> Maybe a dingo ate your C02.

It can't be a Moose. It's too full after eating my sister.

ben:

In fact, the opposite may well be true, since mechanisms for absorbing C02 may be less effective when temperatures are low.

Such as the ocean's ability to absorb CO2? Hmmm ...

I find it interesting that in this field there is so much emotional name-calling...

Speaking of which, did you honestly just name yourself "Integrity"? Two things: it comes across as more than a little pompous and if you have to tell people you have integrity...

...you can't wait for a paper to be published, read it and find the points of agreement and disagreement and engage in proper scientific discourse.

I think that if Salby's paper comes out and says something completely different than what's he's been saying about it (note that the first person to talk about his paper before release is him) then it will be considered on the merits it contains.

But why does he get to talk about it and everyone else has to shut up?

"But why does he get to talk about it and everyone else has to shut up?" - pough

It's a good PR tactic - he can say whatever he wants and no-one definitively gainsay him as there's no paper or data yet.

Jeff@109:
Jeff, I had written that I had said enough at my last post, but perhaps I need to add a few words. I hope that my comments here can be taken in the right spirit.

First, I am not here to âpipe upâ for Engelbeen. I did not say that I rely on Engelbeen for *my* information about GW, or AGW. You are imputing to me a comment that I never made. Iâm quite capable of finding and reading the relevant scientific literature myself, thanks. To reiterate: I am happy for Engelbeen to be over at Novaâs site if he is correcting the misguided folk there who: (a) doubt that CO2 is rising, or question the accuracy of modern CO2 data; (b) doubt that the rise is mainly due to humans; (c) doubt ice-core data on Jaworowski-type grounds; (d) misinterpret C isotopic ratio data to reach conclusions that are not justified on the basis of the available science. I am happy for him to be doing any of this, even if he does, as you assert, âmuddy the watersâ over the connection between CO2 rise and temperature increase, or even if he is, as you assert, scientifically unqualified to do so.

I was not successful in finding, after a little searching, a clear example of Engelbeen praising Lomborgâs book. (And, yes, the little I have seen of that book does not lead me to place high confidence in its conclusions.) A quick Google search only led me to websites where hundreds of posts lay exposed, and I do not have the time to trawl through all this stuff. If you can provide a link, well and good.

What he does write at his website is this: âI think that it is prudent to reduce the use of fossil fuels, not for the amount of CO2, but for other pollutants. And as it is a finite resource, to reduce the dependency of not-so-stable countries. And it is prudent to spend a lot of money into research of fossil fuel alternatives.â I find nothing to disagree with in this, except that I might have written âI think that it is prudent to reduce the use of fossil fuels, even if the CO2-caused AGW effect could be shown to be non-existentâ¦â. How many climate âskepticsâ are arguing for a reduction in fossil-fuel use on grounds of their non-renewability?

His proselytising on behalf of chlorine is perhaps a matter for another day and another thread.
Cheers,
P.

dgohaza@108: I had not read your post before responding to Jeff.
The strange thing is that many of the folk deploying these nonsensical arguments think *they* have won!

I got this email today from Murry Salby's office (after I asked a few questions):

From: Jemma Wu [mailto:jemma.wu@mq.edu.au]
Sent: Friday, 12 August 2011 11:15 AM
To: Jemma Wu
Subject: Reply From Murry Salby

Folks,

Thanks for your interest in the presentation at the Sydney Institute.
If not torrential (in some cases invidious), the expressions of interest
have at least been overpowering. Although I would like to respond individually,
the volume of inquiries makes that unfeasible.

Several requested illustrations that were displayed during the presentation.
Many of those illustrations were included in the broadcast which was
subsequently aired. Others are under publication embargo.
When that restriction is lifted, they will be made available.

Thanks again for your interest and good wishes.
And to those of more eccentric expression: Good luck with that.
The observed behavior is what it is.

Murry Salby

PeterD,

Sorry for extending this discussion. You've made a lot of good points. If Engelbeen is doing good science a service over in the hornet's nest at Nova's site, I commend him. I waded into the storm at 'Junk Science' (Milloy's appalling site) over ten years ago, and the abuse I received from the mob there has made me somewhat more 'gun-shy'. I therefore restrict my interactions these days to a few excellent sites like Tim's here, where the majority of posters are sensible, intelligent people who respect good science and understand the many nuances of climate science a heck of a lot more than I do.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 11 Aug 2011 #permalink

Chris @99:
I think McLean's paper is significant since his co-authors are often treated as credible experts (and not just in Murdoch media).
Is is also a good illustration of how the type of argument used by
Spencer fails. My new-found interest is Spencer is as a "proxy" for Salby. I cannot see how Salby can even begin to claim what he does without making the same mistakes as Spencer.
If I am wrong then I am wasting my time looking at Spencer -- so be it - not everything I try works. On the other hand, I should acheive a bit that is useful for me in real carbon cycle research - the feedback from climate to carbon was identified by the iPCC as a major uncertainty (along with ice sheet stability)
(and an analytic approach is what I need if I am to have any chance of such a spin off).

This is sort of like my effort on Plimer. The saving grace was that Ian Plimer lies about the content of some really interesting papers.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 12 Aug 2011 #permalink

pough:

I think that if Salby's paper comes out and says something completely different than what's he's been saying about it (note that the first person to talk about his paper before release is him) then it will be considered on the merits it contains.
But why does he get to talk about it and everyone else has to shut up?

There is a psychological effect whereby if someone is led to believe something that turns out not to be true then it doesn't matter what disproof is later made, that person will never completely lose their belief and if asked about the issue some time in the future, may always believe there was some truth in the original false claim.

I guess a lot of this effect is happening with climate science denialism. Salby makes his false claims which are not disproven until later and even innocent people may always believe that what he said was partly true.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 Aug 2011 #permalink

Sir, there is conservation of energy and conservation of momentum but no conservation of mass; Einstein removed that concept years ago. With regards to the warming of the planet, that argument has been driven originally by fear of ending up like Venus, and by political expediency. Those whom reject the idea that CO2 is the catalysts for impending danger also have logical science on their side of the argument.
The fact is that either side do not know because we are still at the beginning of our understanding of our environment.
With regards to myself, I havenât any academic qualifications but have studied physics for 65 years. My work has relevance to Matter and Associated Mysteries. Regarding the warming and cooling of our planet, I find that there is a Gravitational induced thermal effect that automatically provides answers to all outstanding physical anomalies. If you are interested in such matters it is in book form at Lulu.com titled Matter and Associated Mysteries.

By George W Nixon (not verified) on 12 Aug 2011 #permalink

What is it about nutcases and Einstein?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Aug 2011 #permalink

>Those whom [sic] reject the idea that CO2 is the catalysts [sic] for impending danger also have logical science [sic] on their side of the argument.

Grammar - pronoun usage: fail.

Vocabulary - plural usage: fail.

Rhetoric - tautology usage: fail.

And that's in just one sentence.

Why is it that there is such a prevalence of semi-illiteracy and severe misunderstanding of genuine logical thinking amongst denialists?

I suspect that we may be witnessing a reverse Renaissance - a Denaissance perhaps? Whatever it is, it doesn't bode well for modern society...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 13 Aug 2011 #permalink

*I havenât any academic qualifications but have studied physics for 65 years*

The first point is clear from the post. The second point, therefore, is meaningless.

D. W. Nixon, you are dismissed.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 13 Aug 2011 #permalink

"What is it about nutcases and Einstein?"

Don't forget Galileo.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 13 Aug 2011 #permalink

Ian @127

Yes OK (though I don't quite understand why you're looking so closely at what Spencer's doing - are you expecting to learn something or just to identify the flaws?).

On the feedback from climate to carbon I guess the really nice ice core data that I believe you were involved in anaysis of (Ethridge et al (1996) J. Geophys Res 101, 4115, and the follow up that included delta 13C), must help to set some bounds on the feedback, especially the difference between the high [CO2] around 1200 AD and the low [CO2] around 1600. But I guess that's complicated by not knowing the globally averaged temperature variations over those times with much accuracy not to mention non-climatic (human) contributions to variations in pre-industrial [CO2].

However that data, whatever its uncertainty pretty much negates Selby's analysis. The glacial-interglacial transitions indicates around 16ish ppm [CO2] per oC of temp rise under those conditions, which Selby's analysis is also entirely incompatible with.

I guess as global warming progresses the feedback from climate to carbon may become scarily non-linear, but hopefully we and our descendents won't be foolish enough to sample those potential catastrophes.

Incidentally, if you haven't already done so you should write a post/article about the analysis of the Law Dome ice core data (say on SkepticalScience or somewhere like that??). I for one would be really interested in having a description of that science from one of the participants... I think we have a tendency to spend too much of our focus on the dismal rubbish of science misrepresenters (important 'though that is) at the expense of highlighting the really nice research that properly informs us about important stuff...

However that data, whatever its uncertainty pretty much negates Selby's analysis. The glacial-interglacial transitions indicates around 16ish ppm [CO2] per oC of temp rise under those conditions, which Selby's analysis is also entirely incompatible with.

The in-denials then argue that the CO2 sensitivity to temperature is highly non-linear. But one piece of data they can't argue around is that even though it was warmer during the Eemian, the CO2 level was way lower (<300 ppm) than it is now. So what stopped the CO2 level from going up then?

At that point Salby will just deny the ice-core records.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 Aug 2011 #permalink

PARTIAL RETRACTION.

In (80) I said that Salby's "budget" that fitted C13 would
get into trouble with oxygen data -- I am pretty sure that this is wrong and that the "budget" I proposed in (86) will fit both - simply because in terms of reservoirs, it is the same as the mainstream (over the 20th century).
What Salby seems to be saying is about causes, so you could have a temperature mediated source of highly variable
but 4GtC/yr on average, and a 6GtC/yr sink as a response to higher CO2.

The problems for Salby are:
(a) as I said in (86) this still has 2/3 of the growth
"controlled" by human emissions.
(b) the Salby interpretation collapses in a screaming heap as soon as you look at the last 1000 years (As Chris at 134 has said), hence Salby denies the ice core data (to Chris O'Neill at 135 -- he has already done just that in his podcast).

Regarding the suggestion from Chris, that I post stuff, I
am going to stick with updating
http://www.ms.unimelb.edu.au/~enting/echo.pdf
so that I can patch in material from what i have already done.
In answer to the specific question, I think that sensitivities estimated from the last 1000 years of ice core data suggest that about 10 ppm of the 20th century CO2 increase comes from feedbacks from "temperature" (or other climate variables correlated to temperature).
I cite the Scheffer et al paper (where I think there is a factor of ln2 error) -- will try to add others ASAP.

By Ian Enting (not verified) on 14 Aug 2011 #permalink

"At that point Salby will just deny the ice-core records."

He already has; he says the CO2 in each layer was not in the air at the time the layers were formed. IoW, the ice cores don't document CO2 levels.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 14 Aug 2011 #permalink

"At that point Salby will just deny the ice-core records."
He already has; he says the CO2 in each layer was not in the air at the time the layers were formed.

Yes, but it was in the air at some time. So why is there a complete lack of CO2 levels > 300 ppm in ice-cores even though there have been four times in the distant past in those ice-cores with temperatures higher than today?

Of course, at this point the argument becomes too complex for the attention span of those in denial.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 15 Aug 2011 #permalink

"Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppm CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative."

That's flawed logic. The converse doesn't necessarily follow from Salby's claim. Personally I think people should wait for Salby's paper to come out before drawing conclusions or "debunking it". I also found this comment interesting:

"It was quite good sport to play "spot the flaw" in real time."

That's great - it helps science progress. But, why don't you apply that same attack mode thinking to papers that offer support to AGW theory? Instead everyone just mutters the "science is settled".

That's flawed logic. The converse doesn't necessarily follow from Salby's claim.

No, that's not a flaw in logic. It might be a flawed assumption (linear continuation) but it's not a flaw in logic.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 26 Aug 2011 #permalink

>*But, why don't you apply that same attack mode thinking to papers that offer support to AGW theory? Instead everyone just mutters the "science is settled".*

Firstly hardly anyone (especially not scientists) is/are muttering "the science is settled". But more importantly, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The extraordinary evidence exists on one side of the argument, so it is fallacious to argue for equivalency (or equivlent treatment) between this integrated weight of evidence compared with every fragmented contrarian claim.

why are we expecting to get good scientific global CO2 data from a site with an active volcano?

By nancy Trombley (not verified) on 13 Sep 2011 #permalink

nancy Trombley said: why are we expecting to get good scientific global CO2 data from a site with an active volcano"?

Well, there could be at least three possible reasons, nancy (sic).

Firstly, the atmospheric scientists working there could be so stupid that they haven't realised that a volcano could have an effect.
The old tax dollars/cheapest contractor effect at work.

Secondly of course, the plot to impose a socialist/communist/nazi world government would obviously benefit from the sort of elevated CO2 readings you might be forgiven for thinking an active volcanic site provides, in furtherance of their dastardly plans.

Or thirdly, you might check with the observatory's website where [such things are explained](http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/aboutus/faq.html) along with a host of other fascinating facts about the work they do there.

I suspect any political leanings you may or may not have will be a factor in which option you feel is the most likely.

So why have the temperatures been lower of late if CO2 is supposed to increase the temperature and CO2 is still high?

Sounds like a troll with goalposts being towed around on a trailer.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

> So why have the temperatures been lower of late

1) Temperatures have been rising

2) It's not just CO2, despite the denialists need to pretend it is

John Nielson said that if an increase in temp would increase the C02 level then a decrease would create negative Co2? So he writes him off? this is absurd. That's like saying if I increase my spending I get more stuff (co2) but if I stop spending I don't get negative stuff. Does anyone propose the theory that temperature increases decomposition or even decomposition increases temperature, which then releases CO2 so that temperature would increase CO2 thru decomposition rates and not the reverse? I thought I remember something from Gore's film that CO2 levels were much higher in summer, why would that be if it wasn't related to temperature? You wouldn't see that kind of data in Hawaii. Is this why Hawaii is looked at? to null the effect of seasons on the statistics so that human contribution to CO2 could be analyzed closer?
Where does Bill Gates get off trying to lower population thru altered vaccines and altered corn. This imminent danger stuff is getting old. You know WMD's in Iraq and all. Our president no longer needs permission from congress to start unnecesary wars, and now Bill Gates or WHO can go and give contraceptive immunizations to people without their knowledge and Libyans are getting beheaded by NATO? And we're the crazy ones?

nancy said: "And we're the crazy ones"?

To be fair you, Duane Gish et al do make it seem so.

> That's like saying if I increase my spending I get more stuff (co2) but if I stop spending I don't get negative stuff.

No, it isn't like that.

If CO2 rises with temperature and only temperature as Salby says, then CO2 reduction can only happen when there's been a reduction in CO2.

Nancy,

"I thought I remember something from Gore's film that CO2 levels were much higher in summer, why would that be if it wasn't related to temperature?"

There is a cyclical, seasonal fluctuation in CO2 levels because the NH has more land and more deciduous plants. During the NH spring and summer, those plants take in lots of CO2 in order to grow and make leaves. CO2 levels go down a few ppmv. During the fall and winter, those leaves drop off and decompose. CO2 levels go up a few ppmv. This small rise and fall can be easily seen in graphs of CO2 concentrations over many years. So CO2 goes down a little during the NH's spring and summer, and up a little during the NH's fall and winter. This affect is less noticeable in the SH. It has nothing to do with temperature's effects on CO2.

"Is this why Hawaii is looked at? to null the effect of seasons on the statistics so that human contribution to CO2 could be analyzed closer?"

The seasonal effect is seen in the dozens of CO2 monitoring sites around the world. Mauna Loa is usually cited simply because it has the longest continual record, but the other sites say the same thing, with only a few ppmv variance.

By Robert Murphy (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

[Wow](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/murray_salby_and_conservation.p…).

With respect to your second point, it can be neatly summarised by framing it as:

>If it's not just CO2, then it's not CO2 at all".

Just about any but the most stupid denialatus would have to confront the flawed logic in that. Sadly, it seems that nancy might just fit into that latter category of denialist.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 14 Sep 2011 #permalink

First, haven't people already calculated the baseline (to get started) of how much CO2 is put into the atmosphere by humans and divided that into the atmosphere, etc? Also, the carbon isotope ratios are supposed to show that the increase is anthropogenic (from using burning "old carbon", less C14 or deduced by C13/C12 ratios, etc.)

Yes, Neil.

To both.

Pop over to Realclimate or Sks.

We are still in the infancy of scientific progress, and there are those amongst us whom have firm opinions regarding a phenomenon that would have been always constantly changing long before the last few second of time that relates to the advent of humankind. Even so, if there were to be a serious attempt to arrive at a scientific consensus (I doubt that there is because there are too many vested interests involved) then the total knowledge of physics should be applied. For instance, how many of those involved can describe the fundamental dynamic nature of the phenomenon we call Gravity. How many can give a complete description of the fundamental dynamic nature of heat energy, also of the masked assimilation of heat energy during a phase change of state, without recourse to assuming hidden rapidity of motion. Also those whom claim knowledge of the cause of continual climate changing must be able to supply the micromechanical process during evaporation and condensation. What is physically happening to the H2O molecule during such phase changes of state?
The lure of continually obtaining trillions of dollars long term has obsessed governments to the point they ignore the many eminent scientists whom are not convinced regarding CO2; also the successful experiment performed by approximately 60 scientists from many countries and using the Large Hadron accelerator. The referred to scientists found that cosmic rays as generated by the sun could account for a large part of the resent global warming, and possibly all of it. If it was not for the desperate need for money to assist to hide past failings, Governments would be demanding a world conference of scientists to arrange for a non biased group to arrive at a consensus. That group would have to include Astronomers due to the claim regarding causing a disastrous Venus thermal effect to our planet.

By George W Nixon (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Oh please.

Whilst the arcane abstractions of gravity may yet fuel generations of physics enquiry, the basic Newtonian properties are sufficiently well understood that humans can launch rockets and deliver them to planets at the edge of the solar system, to within metres* of the intended trajectories.

Going from Newtonian to relativistic physics didn't change the fact that apples fall, nor has it altered many other human understandings of gravity, or of the uses of such understanding. Moving forward from relativity will similarly have no practical effect on the workaday application of the Newtonian model of gravity.

In exactly the same way, future refinements of scientific disciplines relevant to climatology are not going to change the facts that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that humans are increasing the concentration of atmospheric CO2, that the planet will warm as a consequence, and that this warming will have significant adverse impacts on humans and on the biosphere.

The rest of your fantasy about physics is just that - fantasy.

Take off the tinfoil hat and go have a quiet lie-down. There is no Great Global Scientific Climate Change Conspiracy.

[*Except when backward-looking countries confuse metric and Imperial measurements...]

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

also the successful experiment performed by approximately 60 scientists from many countries and using the Large Hadron accelerator. The referred to scientists found that cosmic rays as generated by the sun could account for a large part of the resent global warming, and possibly all of it.

Who told you this? It is wrong.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 21 Sep 2011 #permalink

Is it mere coincidence that Salby, Curry and the Pielkes all rubbed hands together at the University of Colorado? I seem to recall Curry stating that she didn't know Salby very well and then subsequently referred to him as a former colleague.

George Nixon:

cosmic rays as generated by the sun

So cosmic rays are generated by the Sun? Riiiiiight.

The ignorance of these people is exceeded only by their arrogance.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 03 Oct 2011 #permalink