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The Carbon Flame War
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Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Hackers at the top on 07/21/2011 17:53:57 MDT Print View

"Now it turns out that the UEA hired a PR firm to help them deal with the negative publicity the contents of the emails caused. Guess which PR guru they got. Yep, Neil Wallis, who was under contract at the time as a 'communications consultant' to assistant commissioner of the MET John Yates, who headed the anti-terrorist squad who called up Steve McIntyre."

What would Shakespeare make of all this I'd wager it would merit more than a sonnet. ;)

Edited by ouzel on 07/21/2011 17:55:45 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Snow warnings in South Africa on 07/27/2011 08:47:27 MDT Print View

Heavy snow causes travel chaos in South Africa

Snow falls in the Eastern Cape, as temperatures drop further

Chile is looking Chilly too:

Edited by tallbloke on 07/27/2011 08:55:13 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Surprise, Surprise - huge discrepancy between data and forecasts on 08/01/2011 12:40:23 MDT Print View

Surprise, Surprise: The Future Remains Hard to Predict

“There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts.”

In what realm do you think this “huge discrepancy” exists? The financial markets? Politics? Pharmaceutical research?

Given how bad humans are at predicting the future, this discrepancy could exist just about anywhere. But the above quote, from the University of Alabama-Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer, is talking about computer models that predict global warming

In research published this week in the journal Remote Sensing, Spencer and UA Huntsville’s Dr. Danny Braswell compared what a half dozen climate models say the atmosphere should do to satellite data showing what the atmosphere actually did during the 18 months before and after warming events between 2000 and 2011.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. The models forecast that the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

August global Sea Surface Temperature update on 08/01/2011 14:08:30 MDT Print View

Good spot George, the new paper from Dr Roy and Danny Braswell has set the cat amongst the pigeons in climate science land. It proves that the feedbacks to warming are strongly negative, which means the climate is less sensitive to co2 increase than claimed by the doomsayers at IPCC. Thermageddon is further delayed.

Dr Roy has also issued the latest data for global temperature as measured by nice reliable satellites. The Air temperature is up slightly from last month, but the sea surface temperature is going down, as both Dr Roy and I have been predicting. This shows that the heat leaving the ocean is warming the atmosphere, but isn't being replaced at the moment by extra sunshine or any mythical co2 effect (back-radiation from long wave sources cannot penetrate water beyond it's own wavelength).

Here's the graph, big props to Roy Spencer for his untiring work:


Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

How common is snow in the Nevada Desert in July? on 08/01/2011 14:49:39 MDT Print View

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Surprise, Surprise - huge discrepancy between data and forecasts on 08/01/2011 16:26:43 MDT Print View

Roy Spencer replies to critics:

"So, we continue to be treated to news articles quoting esteemed scientists who claim to have found problems with our paper published in Remote Sensing, which shows huge discrepancies between the real, measured climate system and the virtual climate system imagined by U.N.-affilliated climate modelers and George Soros-affiliated pundits (James Hansen, Joe Romm, et al.)

Their objections verge on the bizarre, and so I have to wonder whether any of them actually read our paper. I eagerly await their published papers which show any errors in our analysis.

Apparently, all they need to know is that our paper makes the U.N. IPCC climate models look bad. And we sure can’t have that!

What’s weird is that these scientists, whether they know it or not, are denying the 1st Law of Thermodynamics: simple energy conservation. We show it actually holds for global-average temperature changes: a radiative accumulation of energy leads to a temperature maximum…later. Just like when you put a pot of water on the stove, it takes time to warm.

But while it only takes 10 minutes for a few inches of water to warm, the time lag of many months we find in the real climate system is the time it takes for several tens of meters of the upper ocean to warm.

We showed unequivocal satellite evidence of these episodes of radiant energy accumulation before temperature peaks…and then energy loss afterward. Energy conservation cannot be denied by any reasonably sane physicist.

We then showed (sigh…again…as we did in 2010) that when this kind of radiant forcing of temperature change occurs, you cannot diagnose feedback, at least not at zero time lag as Dessler and others claim to have done.

If you try, you will get a “false positive” even if feedback is strongly negative!

The demonstration of this is simple and persuasive. It is understood by Dick Lindzen at MIT, Isaac Held at Princeton (who is far from a “skeptic”), and many others who have actually taken the time to understand it. You don’t even have to believe that “clouds can cause climate change” (as I do), because it’s the time lag – which is unequivocal – that causes the feedback estimation problem!

Did we “prove” that the IPCC climate models are wrong in their predictions of substantial future warming?

No, but the dirty little secret is that there is still no way to test those models for their warming predictions. And as long as the modelers insist on using short term climate variability to “validate” the long term warming in their models, I will continue to use that same short term variability to show how the modelers might well be fooling themselves into believing in positive feedback. And without net positive feedback, manmade global warming becomes for all practical purposes a non-issue. (e.g., negative cloud feedback could more than cancel out any positive feedback in the climate system).

If I’m a “denier” of the theory of dangerous anthropogenic climate change, so be it. But as a scientist I’d rather deny that theory than deny the 1st Law of Thermodynamics."

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Surprise, Surprise - huge discrepancy between data and forecasts on 08/01/2011 19:24:56 MDT Print View

Rog, good comments and links. These are interesting times.

I'm reading The Wave by Susan Casey. In an early chapter the author writes about a science conference she attended.

Was amazing for me to learn that we don't really understand ocean waves. Models often 'prove' what is 'impossible', but reality tends to make the 'impossible' happen.

It seems like so much of our minds are cluttered with things are that are acceptable to us yet are quite wrong.

Maybe it's just the books I've been reading lately that are making me wonder about our human 'knowledge'. For example, I read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. Before that book, my mental model told me running was impossible for me now that I'm a ripe old geezer. Well, now I'm running and really having fun doing so.

One last tangent, on a recent backpack, I was fortunate to experience some incredible night skies. I wonder how many humans really know what the night sky looks like without all the light pollution.

It is all there for us to see and hear if we choose to look and listen beyond the noise and light and 'science' pollution of these interesting times. : )

Rog - thanks for giving us the chance to understand climate change better through your valiant efforts! Who knows, one day I might read your book.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Wrong Nevada & Freaky Desert Snows on 08/01/2011 20:14:27 MDT Print View

Wrong Nevada but nice video. The YouTube clip is in the country of Chile, see road sign at 0:13. Our summer is their winter. I copied v=ojv9OJ7SoKI and got "desierto nevado" but that's "Ruta 5 al norte de la Serena", .. a city in the Colombo region of Chile.

Currently, the Chihuahuan desert (plus the Texas Trans-Pecos on eastward) is roasting pretty bad (though 94 was worse)- this is the longest I've seen New Mexico National Forests closed for fire safety (most closed since late May/early June) since moving around here in 1988.

Edited by hknewman on 08/01/2011 23:10:38 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: Wrong Nevada & Freaky Desert Snows on 08/01/2011 23:55:05 MDT Print View

HK, quite right, my mistake. That wold be part of the Atacama desert then?
Still pretty unusual I think.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: Re: Surprise, Surprise - huge discrepancy between data and forecasts on 08/02/2011 00:04:52 MDT Print View

"It is all there for us to see and hear if we choose to look and listen beyond the noise and light and 'science' pollution of these interesting times. : )"

The wonders of nature are awe inspiring for those who take the time to travel, stop and look with open eyes and mind. Science has come to replace religion in much of the western world as the arbiter of truth and deliverer of certainty. Because people crave certainty in life, they attach an almost religious faith to the high priests of science, the major institutions, and their organs of publicity, the weekly journals and science newspaper columns. This is what has led to the runaway 'consensus' and the stifling of honest and open scientific debate.

Someone else said this last night about a technique we've developed for predicting solar activity:

"ferd berple says:
August 1, 2011 at 11:48 pm
Bart says:
July 31, 2011 at 6:46 pm
“I keep trying to make the point, but it doesn’t seem to get through to my audience. The underlying causes are interesting, but understanding them is not really necessary to formulate a predictive model.”

Exactly. Newton does a very good job of predicting gravity without the foggiest notion of understanding the process, or even the fundamentals such as the propagation speed.

The value of science comes from its ability to predict the outcome of some event in the future, so we can invest our limited time and resources to maximum benefit. The better science is able to predict, the more likely we are to benefit.

In contrast, theories that rely on “understanding” the process are often rapidly outdated as our level of understanding increases. If you seek truth, religion is more likely to provide an answer to the infinite, because all scientific explanations of an infinite universe are at some level flawed.

Without good predictions you need to invest in all eventualities at the same time. Since there are an infinite number of possibilities but only limited resources, this course of action is doomed to failure.

To use an analogy, consider the guerrilla warfare tactic. By attacking your enemy randomly without warning over a large area, you force your enemy to spread their defenses to the point at which they can be overwhelmed by a much smaller force. In effect Nature wages just such a guerrilla campaign, as we rarely know where disaster will strike next.

The value of science comes in being able to predict the actions of Nature to the point where we can best defend with our limited resources, and counter for maximum gain.

(rps76) - F
Huh? on 08/03/2011 15:36:30 MDT Print View

S**t I might as well add something to this thread.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Can we have our carbon tax back now please? on 08/06/2011 02:52:33 MDT Print View

There is quite a bit of buzz surrounding a talk and pending paper from Prof. Murry Salby the Chair of Climate, of Macquarie University. Aussie Jo Nova has excellent commentary, as has Andrew Bolt in his blog. I’m sure others will weigh in soon.

In a nutshell, the issue is rather simple, yet powerful. Salby is arguing that atmospheric CO2 increase that we observe is a product of temperature increase, and not the other way around, meaning it is a product of natural variation. This goes back to the 800 year lead/lag issue related to the paleo temperature and CO2 graphs Al Gore presented in his movie an An Inconvenient Truth, Jo Nova writes:

Over the last two years he has been looking at C12 and C13 ratios and CO2 levels around the world, and has come to the conclusion that man-made emissions have only a small effect on global CO2 levels. It’s not just that man-made emissions don’t control the climate, they don’t even control global CO2 levels.

Mp3 of Salby's 30 minute lecture before the fight broke out in the Q&A here:

It'll be interesting to see how the AGW team spin their way out of this.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Can we have our carbon tax back now please? on 08/06/2011 04:17:32 MDT Print View

Quite an interesting thought. Will read details and comment later.

Few minutes 'til sunrise here in USA East. Heading out for a good run to keep my old, wretched infrastructure alive!

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Can we have our carbon tax back now please? on 08/06/2011 09:23:23 MDT Print View

I listened to the audio. It would be nice to also see his charts.

He said natural emissions of CO2 are 30 times the burning of fossil fuels emissions.

That's fine, but the natural sources go up and down over time and have been factored into our climate. For example, going from winter to summer the amount of CO2 increases much faster than any change due to man-made, but going from summer to winter it reverses, but there's a slight increase from year to year.

Most of the slight increase from year to year may also be from some natural cause, but I don't think he answers the question, what's going to happen if we add an extra 1/30th every year for the next century(s)? And as the developing nations develop, that amount will increase.

His final conclusion is that the science is not settled.

I have to agree with that. We have little understanding of natural climate change.

But we also have little understanding of what the effect of adding CO2 from burning fossil fuels will be. We are undergoing a huge science experiment. Good luck to our great grand children.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Re: Can we have our carbon tax back now please? on 08/06/2011 16:20:29 MDT Print View

Hi Jerry,

I agree it would be great to be able to study the graphs he was referring to, though I know the subject well enough that I was able to see them in my minds eye while listening to the presentation. His book will be out in sept if you have $90 to spare. If you can wait a little longer the paper will be published soon after that. I can get that through my institutional access and will be happy to email you.

My take on his results is that given that there is no steady underlying trend which would match human emission, it's unlikely we are responsible for much of the increase. Maybe 5%, if we take a simple proportion plus a bit. This means that restricting the development of peoples in poorer countries should be off the table, I hope.

The ocean is cooling, and has been since 2004. This will lead to more surface biota, especially with the increase in volcanic activity during the solar lull to add iron. That will draw down co2 and sequester it on the ocean bed in the shells of dead phytoplankton. I expect to see the co2 airborne fraction stabilise and fall within a decade or two.

The grandkids will be fine, so long as they can handle rebuilding a shattered economy. Every tenth of a trillion dollars counts.

A lot less people will suffer in a co2 richer warmer world than in a glacial period. You can't grow crops on top of a kilometer of ice. Let's hope we already emitted enough to prevent the descent back into an ice age we are already overdue for. Looking at the orbital data on the Milankovitch cycles, we just might be lucky and stay warm.

If that seems a bit Panglossian for your taste, I'm not apologising for being an optimist.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Thermageddon delayed - again on 08/18/2011 16:44:38 MDT Print View

New paper just published by Lindzen and Choi which deals with criticism of their 2009 paper and adds tightened constraints on warming expected from a doubling of co2 - around 1C.

Free copy from Dick Lindzen here:

From the paper:

"This modest warming is much less than current climate models suggest for a doubling of CO2. Models predict warming of from 1.5°C to 5°C and even more for a doubling of CO2

As a result, the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is estimated to be 0.7 K (with the confidence interval 0.5K – 1.3 K at 99% levels). This observational result shows that model sensitivities indicated by the IPCC AR4 are likely greater than than the possibilities estimated from the observations."

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Thermageddon delayed - again on 08/18/2011 17:27:39 MDT Print View

Rog, then you are ackowledging that CO2 levels are higher than historic levels, due to the hyrdocarbons we're burning, and we don't know what the effect will be?

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
global warming redistribution of wealth on 08/18/2011 17:45:16 MDT Print View

Thanks Rog for your continued injection of sanity into the carbon flame war. I was a silent observer over the years and I appreciate your willingness to present the facts and point out the "religious" fallacies of the mindless faithful.

I have always been of the "prove it to me crowd"

keep on


David T
(DaveT) - F
comedy. on 08/18/2011 17:50:33 MDT Print View

"appreciate your willingness to present the facts..."

Quiet giggle.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Snow possible in deserts on 08/19/2011 15:02:07 MDT Print View

That wold be part of the Atacama desert then? Still pretty unusual I think.

Sorry it took so long to respond but just came back from vacation to the cooler California coast, plus the local mountains (forested "sky islands) reopened after 2 months of fire closure:

Think the Atacama is classified as a rainshadow desert - IIRC from my desert geography class.... almost 20 yrs ago : ( Usually a mountain range causes the precip to come down due to cooling, leaving nothing left for deserts on the leeward side of the range, usually. However, sometimes there's enough moisture to produce rain or, in case of a cold front, snow. The Atacama is somewhat similar to my own desert, the Chihuahuan, including freak snowstorms.

Example: One late November, during an arctic cold front, I drove up to southern Colorado expecting some snow in the Rockies for some snowshoeing but didn't find any. Coming back through Las Cruces NM, I was hit with fluffy snow which mixed moisture from Baja California with the cold front. This continued for the next 20+ miles to my old residence (almost on the border with Mexico - Juarez area). Looking at the weather channels and websites, this area had the only snow in the continental US and, I think, even most of southern Canada. Kind of cool: I was literally where the US and Mexico meet (also Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua), .. with the only snow for most of north America. Geeky kind of cool, anyways.

Normally the Chihuahuan desert is relatively drier since the neighboring "wet" Sonoran desert and Sierra Madre/Mogollon mountains cause a rain shield. During monsoon season (now), the area gets excess moisture from Pacific monsoons and sometimes Gulf of Mexico hurricanes. Also the wetter Sonoran desert has a couple more rainy seasons than we do but if there's excess moisture, it may come over the Arizona/New Mexico state line as rain or snow.

Of course this year the American desert southwest suffered through La Nina "superdrought" and forecasters are calling for another La Nina next year too. Far worse for the people of central Texas, though.

Edited by hknewman on 08/19/2011 15:07:28 MDT.