the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Tobis and Pielke

Posted by Jeff Id on April 23, 2010

Pielke has recently written a piece which is forcing me to bite my tongue until I get time to write.  In the meantime Tom has again provided us with a comparison of two Weblogs who occasionally battle. -Jeff

By Tom fuller:

People looking for logical reasons why alliances and enmities form in the climate blogosphere will be disappointed. Our next pair of weblogs shows why.

Only in it for the Gold and Roger Pielke Jr.’s eponymous weblog would have their owners facing each other at dawn with pistols in hand. And yet there seems to be very little science they disagree on. Alexa ranks Only In It For the Gold at 359,414 (out of billions) and Roger Pielke Jr. is not ranked.

Both Michael Tobis (principal contributor to Only in it for the Gold) and Roger Pielke are scientists, Tobis with a PhD in Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Pielke with a B.A. in mathematics (1990), a M.A. in public policy (1992), and a Ph.D. in political science, all from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to his positions at CU-Boulder, from 1993 to 2001 he was a staff scientist [2] in the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research), both are convinced that global warming is real, a problem and should be addressed in the very short term (like now).

But the two fight like cats and dogs.

Personal bias declaration: I fight with Tobis like cat and/or dog as well, and Pielke’s policy preferences are almost a perfect match with mine. When I first read his weblog I wondered if he had been reading my columns–or my mind, before I found out he’d been doing this for years, long before I ever wrote on the subject.

Michael Tobis actually has 4 blogs, one being on software, one on photography and one just general interst. Pielke is focussed on just the one. Pielke has published extensively on the damages done to property as a result of storms and floods, and because that has been used to argue that warming temperatures will cause more damage, he has been heavily involved in the political debate about climate change. Tobis has been more of an observer, and picks and chooses the subjects he will get involved in.

Only in it for the Gold is, in my opinion, not intended for the general public. Rather, it seems to be sort of a home away from home for weary warriors fighting on behalf of the consensus, who will understand inside jokes and are part of a crew. (I am not trying to be critical here–to the extent that I’m right, I think it’s a perfectly legitimate and probably valuable use of a piece of Internet real estate.) I have noticed that the shared assumptions that work perfectly well amongst the regulars at his site don’t serve Mr. Tobis well when he carries them outside his own domain, so when he ventures onto other weblogs to engage with the rest of the world, he gets into trouble and into fights regularly. I’m not sure if he does this intentionally or not–it’s happened at my column more than once, and I’ve seen it happen at places like Lucia Liljegren’s Blackboard, as well. I have characterized Tobis as sort of a well-meaning grumpy bear who always seems surprised at the trouble he gets himself into, and I still sort of have that opinion.

Roger Pielke’s weblog is an advocacy site, but it’s advocating a different way of looking at the policies we use to deal with climate change. It’s really a non-partisan political weblog with the purpose of convincing us that instead of worrying about caps on emissions and imaginary limits on CO2 concentrations that will never be achieved, we should aggressively pursue the ‘decarbonization’ of our economies through conversion to greener energy sources and conservation. As that’s pretty much word for word what I think we should be doing, it should be obvious that I feel very much at home there.

As with Deltoid, which I reviewed a couple of days ago, Tobis is often spending most of his time criticizing ‘deniers’ (which apparently includes everyone who disagrees with Tobis) and very little time talking about climate science. As he is a climate scientist, I think this is a real loss to the public discussion of these issues. And Pielke takes advantage of a target-rich environment to post on a wide range of topics, although he returns to his favorites frequently.

Only in it for the Gold has an extensive blogroll, Pielke does not. Tobis’ site also has a good feature–shared items, where he can post links to pages he’s visited. Pielke links to his recently published work and sites related to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he works.

The interesting difference is in comments. Pielke is lightly commented on, mostly by passers-by. Tobis has a network of like-minded souls that have a common frame of reference, who work hard at policing the accepted norms of behaviour and (my personal prejudice says) beliefs.

Both sites appear to receive similar amounts of traffic and comments.

Recent posts on Only in it for the Gold:

1. Spot the Error #2: (Cryptic criticism of a blog post)

2. Uncertainties Greatly Reduced: (Reposting of Geological Society of America’s reaffirmation of the climate science litany)

3. Spot the Denier Bug: (Criticism of Roger Pielke Jr.’s post on a program to reduce CO2 emissions)

4. Infographic: (Mandatory Iceland volcano post–which reminds me, I have to do one or lose my blogging license)

5. Still Bupkis: (Celebration of Oxburgh findings of investigation into Climategate)

6. The Danger of Climate Denial: (Reposting of Michael Specter’s speech at TED)

7. An Alarming Shortfall in Foolishness: (Concerns about continuous economic growth)

8. Monbiot Starts to Get It: (Media criticism)

9. Boundaries: (Limits to growth)

10. Climate Disruption: (Description of his point of view of debate on climate change)

Recent posts on Roger Pielke Jr.

1. Steve Schneider Responds (Climate scientist Schneider responds to Pielke’s review of Schneider’s book)

2. What Climate Science? (Restatement of importance of ‘decarbonization’)

3. Pachauri at Yale 360: (Commentary on IPCC chief’s statement)

4. The Missing Heat: (Discussion of difficulties in finding heat presumed to have been generated, but unaccounted for in observations)

5. Two Views on Improvements in Maternal Health (Discussion of advocacy groups reluctance to publicize improvements prior to funding decisions)

6. Carbon Dioxide at $800 per Ton in Boulder (Criticism of city plan to finance home improvements for CO2 reductions. This is the article Tobis criticized.)

7. Look East: (Reposting of Economist chart showing demographic shifts.)

8. Judy Curry on the Oxburgh Report and IPCC (Reposting Judith Curry’s comments)

9. Xtreme Science Advocacy: A Guest Post by Sharon Friedman (criticism of land use calculations)

10. Carbon Dioxide at $1,000 per Ton in NSW: (Commentary on expensive mitigation project)

Analysis

These two sites capture the tragedy of current debate on climate change. They don’t disagree on the science, but Pielke’s advocacy of ‘decarbonization’ rather than acceptance of the consensus view on capped emission and permits for trading has put him beyond the pale. Tobis laments the state of science communication, but doesn’t communicate about the science. These two should be allies. Instead they’re ‘enemies’ (I doubt if it gets personal at all).

If semantic landmines (which abound in discussion of global warming, including the term global warming) were removed, these two would have much more in common than differences. But Tobis dismisses all who don’t toe the line with very real ill-humor, and Pielke, who often comments on Tobis’ site, tends to make one effort to communicate and then get annoyed. Kind of like me, in that respect.

If this doesn’t change, we might as well hand the keys to the car to Senator Inhofe. Which many readers here at The Air Vent might applaud. But I wouldn’t be one of them.

People looking for logical reasons why alliances and emnities form in the climate blogosphere will be disappointed. Our next pair of weblogs shows why.
Only in it for the Gold and Roger Pielke Jr.’s eponymous weblog would have their owners facing each other at dawn with pistols in hand. And yet there seems to be very little science they disagree on. Alexa ranks Only In It For the Gold at 359,414 (out of billions) and Roger Pielke Jr. is not ranked.
Both Michael Tobis (principal contributor to Only in it for the Gold) and Roger Pielke are scientists, Tobis with a PhD in Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, Pielke with a B.A. in mathematics (1990), a M.A. in public policy (1992), and a Ph.D. in political science, all from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to his positions at CU-Boulder, from 1993 to 2001 he was a staff scientist [2] in the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research), both are convinced that global warming is real, a problem and should be addressed in the very short term (like now).

But the two fight like cats and dogs.

Personal bias declaration: I fight with Tobis like cat and/or dog as well, and Pielke’s policy preferences are almost a perfect match with mine. When I first read his weblog I wondered if he had been reading my columns–or my mind, before I found out he’d been doing this for years, long before I ever wrote on the subject.

Michael Tobis actually has 4 blogs, one being on software, one on photography and one just general interst. Pielke is focussed on just the one. Pielke has published extensively on the damages done to property as a result of storms and floods, and because that has been used to argue that warming temperatures will cause more damage, he has been heavily involved in the political debate about climate change. Tobis has been more of an observer, and picks and chooses the subjects he will get involved in.

Only in it for the Gold is, in my opinion, not intended for the general public. Rather, it seems to be sort of a home away from home for weary warriors fighting on behalf of the consensus, who will understand inside jokes and are part of a crew. (I am not trying to be critical here–to the extent that I’m right, I think it’s a perfectly legitimate and probably valuable use of a piece of Internet real estate.) I have noticed that the shared assumptions that work perfectly well amongst the regulars at his site don’t serve Mr. Tobis well when he carries them outside his own domain, so when he ventures onto other weblogs to engage with the rest of the world, he gets into trouble and into fights regularly. I’m not sure if he does this intentionally or not–it’s happened at my column more than once, and I’ve seen it happen at places like Lucia Liljegren’s Blackboard, as well. I have characterized Tobis as sort of a well-meaning grumpy bear who always seems surprised at the trouble he gets himself into, and I still sort of have that opinion.

Roger Pielke’s weblog is an advocacy site, but it’s advocating a different way of looking at the policies we use to deal with climate change. It’s really a non-partisan political weblog with the purpose of convincing us that instead of worrying about caps on emissions and imaginary limits on CO2 concentrations that will never be achieved, we should aggressively pursue the ‘decarbonization’ of our economies through conversion to greener energy sources and conservation. As that’s pretty much word for word what I think we should be doing, it should be obvious that I feel very much at home there.

As with Deltoid, which I reviewed a couple of days ago, Tobis is often spending most of his time criticizing ‘deniers’ (which apparently includes everyone who disagrees with Tobis) and very little time talking about climate science. As he is a climate scientist, I think this is a real loss to the public discussion of these issues. And Pielke takes advantage of a target-rich environment to post on a wide range of topics, although he returns to his favorites frequently.

Only in it for the Gold has an extensive blogroll, Pielke does not. Tobis’ site also has a good feature–shared items, where he can post links to pages he’s visited. Pielke links to his recently published work and sites related to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he works.

The interesting difference is in comments. Pielke is lightly commented on, mostly by passers-by. Tobis has a network of like-minded souls that have a common frame of reference, who work hard at policing the accepted norms of behaviour and (my personal prejudice says) beliefs.

Both sites appear to receive similar amounts of traffic and comments.

Recent posts on Only in it for the Gold:
1. Spot the Error #2: (Cryptic criticism of a blog post)
2. Uncertainties Greatly Reduced: (Reposting of Geological Society of America’s reaffirmation of the climate science litany)
3. Spot the Denier Bug: (Criticism of Roger Pielke Jr.’s post on a program to reduce CO2 emissions)
4. Infographic: (Mandatory Iceland volcano post–which reminds me, I have to do one or lose my blogging license)
5. Still Bupkis: (Celebration of Oxburgh findings of investigation into Climategate)
6. The Danger of Climate Denial: (Reposting of Michael Specter’s speech at TED)
7. An Alarming Shortfall in Foolishness: (Concerns about continuous economic growth)
8. Monbiot Starts to Get It: (Media criticism)
9. Boundaries: (Limits to growth)
10. Climate Disruption: (Description of his point of view of debate on climate change)

Recent posts on Roger Pielke Jr.
1. Steve Schneider Responds (Climate scientist Schneider responds to Pielke’s review of Schneider’s book)
2. What Climate Science? (Restatement of importance of ‘decarbonization’)
3. Pachauri at Yale 360: (Commentary on IPCC chief’s statement)
4. The Missing Heat: (Discussion of difficulties in finding heat presumed to have been generated, but unaccounted for in observations)
5. Two Views on Improvements in Maternal Health (Discussion of advocacy groups reluctance to publicize improvements prior to funding decisions)
6. Carbon Dioxide at $800 per Ton in Boulder (Criticism of city plan to finance home improvements for CO2 reductions. This is the article Tobis criticized.)
7. Look East: (Reposting of Economist chart showing demographic shifts.)
8. Judy Curry on the Oxburgh Report and IPCC (Reposting Judith Curry’s comments)
9. Xtreme Science Advocacy: A Guest Post by Sharon Friedman (criticism of land use calculations)
10. Carbon Dioxide at $1,000 per Ton in NSW: (Commentary on expensive mitigation project)

Analysis

These two sites capture the tragedy of current debate on climate change. They don’t disagree on the science, but Pielke’s advocacy of ‘decarbonization’ rather than acceptance of the consensus view on capped emission and permits for trading has put him beyond the pale. Tobis laments the state of science communication, but doesn’t communicate about the science. These two should be allies. Instead they’re ‘enemies’ (I doubt if it gets personal at all).

If semantic landmines (which abound in discussion of global warming, including the term global warming) were removed, these two would have much more in common than differences. But Tobis dismisses all who don’t toe the line with very real ill-humor, and Pielke, who often comments on Tobis’ site, tends to make one effort to communicate and then get annoyed. Kind of like me, in that respect.

If this doesn’t change, we might as well hand the keys to the car to Senator Inhofe. Which many readers here at The Air Vent might applaud. But I wouldn’t be one of them.


96 Responses to “Tobis and Pielke”

  1. sod said

    Pielke with a B.A. in mathematics (1990), a M.A. in public policy (1992), and a Ph.D. in political science, all from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to his positions at CU-Boulder, from 1993 to 2001 he was a staff scientist [2] in the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research)

    Tom, as you claim to be a journalist, you might actually know that quoting whole paragraphs, without citing the source, is at least a little bit dodgy.

    Pielke earned a B.A. in mathematics (1990), a M.A. in public policy (1992), and a Ph.D. in political science, all from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to his positions at CU-Boulder, from 1993 to 2001 he was a staff scientist [2] in the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_A._Pielke,_Jr.

    this is also the explanation, why the full resumee of Pileke is printed, including links. (isn t it a pity, that Tobis only is a PhD in Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, while Pielke has all those, hm, very important qualifications to blog on the subject?)

    ————————

    apart from that obvious proof of your lousy journalistic standards, this article is just more of the usual nonsense.

    Fuller compares two blogs. one by a person he likes, the other one by a person he hates. he comes to the conclusion, that (PURE CHANCE!) the blog written by the person he likes, is just a little bit better.

    Fuller can not support his claims about the problems in the other blog with any evidence. (you know, citing stuff and doing an analysis and comparison).
    instead he performs a long distance psychology “analysis”. by applying basic freudian methods, without actually talking to the subject, he has figured out that Tobis is only feeling comfortable in a refugee of like minded people. what a poor guy.

  2. M. Simon said

    The common assumption seems to be that unless we do something right now!!!! double time extra quick, we are in trouble.

    We must revoke the natural order (free market buying and selling) and force people to do the right thing. Of course once force enters the equation there are cheaters. i.e. corruption. And this corrupting of the system seems to never enter the minds of the promoters.

    Me? Do nothing except small demo projects while investing in science – the science required to bring down the cost of the alternatives below that of the burners. Once the cost is lower the market will do the rest – because without cheating (or government thumbs on the scale – which is going to cost us) the lowest cost will be the winner.

  3. GregO said

    Tom,

    Excellent post as usual. Not all of us are veterans of climate science; I’m circa November 2009. I my opinion, Climategate and climate science are sensational stories and MSM (particularly in the US) is not keeping up at all and that’s just a shame because despite one’s level of expertise on the technical aspects of climatology – it concerns everybody – not just the technical specialists in love with their ideas and the blatantly political activists.

    These blogs are the only way for the average citizen to keep up with new developments in the field. The stats, the facts, the people, (M. Mann threatens lawsuit over silly parody – how fun and funny is that?), current ice levels/stratosphere temperature, you name it, it’s all on the blogs. Want to download scientific papers? Blogs point the way.

    My personal belief is that media history is in the making and we will look back on the climate debate where MSM was totally eclipsed, made irrelevant, and finally (possibly) destroyed. That in itself is a huge story and it’s happening right before our eyes. I’m grateful that you as a professional journalist are taking on the climatology story from the point of view of a journalist. Plenty of technically trained specialists carry on about climatology; the alarmists even have the media’s ear to a limited extent.

    Pielke’s blog is interesting to me – I don’t have it bookmarked but I check it out a couple of times a week and I notice other skeptic blogs reference it a lot. I have to admit that following other links has got me on his site more than anything else…I haven’t heard of “Only in it for the Gold” but will check it out.

  4. David S said

    Good for you sod, taking Mr Fuller to task for his lousy journalistic standards while inflicting your lazy punctuation and grammar on the rest of us. By the way, I have just been on Tobis’s site for the first time and I think Fuller has been more than fair to him. Posts like “Denialism as an anxiety disorder” are insulting and add nothing whatsoever to the discussion. He should go visit Lucia or indeed this site for lessons in basic good manners.

  5. Tom Fuller said

    Sod, you’re absolutely right about my not citing Wikipedia for Pielke’s bio. I had a link to it but it disappeared and I should have used quotes. Sorry, all. Especially to the hard workers at Wikipedia who deserve to be credited.

  6. co2fan said

    “… both are convinced that global warming is real, a problem and should be addressed in the very short term (like now).

    But the two fight like cats and dogs.”

    Tom
    You wonder why they fight, even though they agree on the science?
    IT’S BECAUSE PIELKE DOESN’T SELL THE POLITICS.
    It’s not about the science.

    You, on the other hand, are close to an inverse of Pielke.
    You disagree on the science, but agree with some of the “green” politics.
    I like you both, since you are polite and reasoned.

    I , myself, am a Jeff Id opinion clone
    Hal

  7. Sod, why don’t you cool off man?

    You’ve been hanging around denier sites for quite some now. Does it really strike you that there are numbskulls here who need your talking down to?

    Critizing Tom for ‘psycologizing’…? You have him all figured out as well. What do you call that?

  8. Pat Frank said

    Michael Tobis showed up on Climateaudit awhile back, stating that the 3.7 C per CO2 doubling climate sensitivity was rock-solid. Steve McIntyre asked him to provide a citation to the science where that value was derived from physical theory. After some shilly-shallying around, Michael was unable to produce the science. He then left the scene. But being unable to support his position has apparently left his certainty unshaken.

    Michael also criticized my Skeptic article here, which I defended. When he didn’t get his way, he suggested I was either dishonest or stupid and thereupon closed the comments.

  9. Pat Frank thinks curves intersect their asymptotes, so Tobis may have been justified there.

  10. steven mosher said

    On Tobis.

    I visited his site occasionally. He’s a NU grad so I like him for that. Not a very good writer. Not a trenchant thinker.
    In personal emails he is a much different person.

    Advice for MT. take a course in writing, your writing is turgid. MT could carve out an interesting niche by actively promoting open source in climate science. I mean actively. I mean promoting. that entails being critical of some climate scientists. Also some skeptics who never post code. that entails praising those that DO on both sides. he should bring together his passions.
    that would be marketable.

    Peilke. argg. milquetoast. sorry roger I’m not feeling it. That’s more about me than him.

  11. woodNfish said

    “Tobis as sort of a well-meaning grumpy bear”

    God save us from well-meaning busy bodies, and anyone involved in so-called “climate science” and environmentalism (socialism).

    I read Pielke Jr.’s blog occasionally, but don’t post there because it is a pain in the ass to jump through the requirements to post. Besides, I completely disagree with him that AGW has any merit at all. AGW is fraud designed to separate us from our modern existence.

  12. Pat Frank said

    #9 Tim: find that statement or its equivalent in word or fact anywhere in my Skeptic article, in the SI to the article, or in my debate with Gavin, and link it here. Or else admit you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  13. No problem, Pat:

    The derived greenhouse effect on Earth climate at zero ppm CO2 was the sum of the two asymptotic intercepts (Figure S1)

    In other words, you think the log of zero is zero.

  14. I was pretty sure I would be next in Fuller’s crosshairs.

    It might have been worse. (Tim certainly got a blistering.)

    It is true that Only In It for the Gold is primarily aimed at the choir, not the congregation, and I appreciate that Fuller recognizes that. Given the tone of recent disagreements between Fuller and myself, I appreciate the fair and moderate assessment. I don’t agree with everything but it isn’t as hostile as it might have been and I guess I’m happy about that.

    I have a busy weekend lined up so won’t immediately reply in detail.

    Regarding comments so far, I don’t know where #8 got the 3.7 number. It doesn’t sound like me. I am pretty confident the number is between 2 and 4.5 . Anything outside that range is implausible.

    Mosher’s advice is not bad.

  15. Pat Frank said

    #13, Tim: “the sum of the two asymptotic intercepts (bold added);” where else but in your mind does the sum of two real numbers mean, “curves intersect their asymptotes”?

    Asymptotic logarithmic curves approach log(1)=0, Tim. Notice that the curves end at log(1), prior to the ordinate zero limit.

    The argument from Figure 1 includes implicitly that 1 ppm CO2 = 0 Wm^-2 forcing. That equality was shown true during my debate with Gavin on RC. So, 1 ppm CO2 = 0 ppm CO2 as regards forcing.

  16. Andrew said

    14-Maybe he confused it with sometime that you said that the forcing from doubling CO2 was 3.7 w/m2? If you mix that up with degrees C, that would happen. I don’t think the numbers are a coincidence.

  17. Robert E. Phelan said

    #14 Dr. Tobis:

    Some of what Mr. Fuller has said is worthwhile, too. I haven’t visited your site in awhile but Mr. Fuller’s comments inspire me to take another look and be, perhaps, a little less instantly judgemental. I’ve often thought that in other arenas I’d actually like my AGW antogonists and would support some of their other causes and interests. Maybe it’s time to try and bury some hatchets.

    #1 SOD:

    I might even be willing to bury the hatchet with you…. and no, Josh, it might make for an interesting cartoon, but that’s NOT what I meant. SOD has commented on almost every thread here but is conspicuously absent from one. Think of it as a 12 step meeting: “Hi. I’m SOD and I’m and AGW alarmist troll.” “Hi, SOD.”

  18. Robert E. Phelan said

    antagonists. antagonists. I really am a college professor and I really can spill.

  19. John F. Pittman said

    Hi. I’m SOD and I’m and (sic) AGW alarmist troll. And college professors know the difference between an indefinite article and a conjunction. Just ask them. LOL.

    Always remember, check twice, post once. Mosher I beleive.

  20. Nice try, Pat, but here’s your quote again with some emphasis:

    The derived greenhouse effect on Earth climate at zero ppm CO2 was the sum of the two asymptotic intercepts (Figure S1)

    Curves approach their asymptotes. They do not intercept them. And you have absolutely no justification for concluding that the forcing from 1000 parts per billion of CO2 is 0 W/m2.

  21. Robert E. Phelan said

    John F. Pittman

    Mosher was wrong. I checked it three times… then hit send and saw my mistake just at that point. Phelan’s law Number 27: “There is no end to life’s lessons in humility.”

  22. curious said

    19 – RomanM on the profiles thread but maybe Mosher had prior art :)

  23. Robert E. Phelan said

    Phelan’s Law # 27 over-rides MOSHER’S DICTUM. Check it as often as you like. Stupid, embarrassing mistakes get through. The peer review process in climate journals is a case in point… assuming that the errors are innocent, which I don’t, really.

  24. Robert E. Phelan said

    Ahhh… adn Jhon, wtah saw htat bauot “beleive”?

  25. Tom Fuller said

    Why do I understand 24 better than the rest…?

  26. John F. Pittman said

    lol. Serves me right.

  27. WillR said

    @Tom #25 — Because it is the end of all things.

    Happy Computing.

  28. Robert E. Phelan said

    #25: Tom Fuller:

    Because you are literate, have a sense of humor, are a gentleman and probably have a facility for anagrams and cross-word puzzles, which science and math do NOT give you.

  29. Tom Fuller said

    #28, You forgot about my savoir faire, good looks and devil may care insouciance. (Wow, am I turning French or what?)

  30. Robert E. Phelan said

    #29 Yes, Tom, the ability to channel Fred Astair and Gene Kelly on cue is a tremendous asset and a virtue few of us can claim. You ‘da man! You do good work.

  31. GHowe said

    Tim Lambert #20:

    Would it be better to say the forcing from 1ppm CO2 is 0.0 W/m2?

  32. David S said

    Tim Lambert #20
    How fascinating. It appears your comment is mathematically correct, but practically absurd (ie assumption, without any supporting evidence, that a vanishingly small CO2 concentration can have a materially non-zero forcing), whereas Pat is mathematically incorrect but practically quite sensible, as the logarithmic curve produces a good fit as far as 1ppm but physically impossible estimates below this. Also, as I am sure you know, he is trying to tease out the implicit assumptions in the GCMs rather than creating a new model for himself. A helpful reminder that mathematical formulae describe the physical world, rather than the physical world obeying laws.

    Could have done without the spin involved in rescaling 1 ppm to 1000 ppb, though – some of us are quite grey haired and were not born yesterday. It’s stuff like that that keeps me away from your blog, as well as the dodgy allusion to body-building, which is usually a form of compensation.

  33. AMac said

    Tim Lambert, on intersecting asymptotes:

    People–even advocates of the AGW Consensus, and even their critics–have been know to express ideas in ways that are gramatically inexact. Even in ways that are gramatically incorrect.

    Pat Frank has responded to your critique of him in #9, “Pat Frank thinks curves intersect their asymptotes, so Tobis may have been justified there.”

    Do his responses in this leave you still believing that “Pat Frank thinks curves intersect their asymptotes”?

    Or has this new information caused you to modify your opinion of Frank’s facility with geometric concepts?

    I recognize that you’ve added another criticism, “And [Pat Frank has] absolutely no justification for concluding that the forcing from 1000 parts per billion of CO2 is 0 W/m2″ (#20). But I’m interested in whether or not your view has changed with respect to that first criticism.

  34. Carrick said

    AMac, let’s just be open and honest here:

    Tim Lambert was just playing a juvenile game of “Gotcha!”

    I’m sure he understands that Pat Frank knows what an asymptote is, the reality is he simply doesn’t care. Standard AGW activist protocol: It’s not about the facts, it’s about whether you can get somebody’s knickers in a knot that matters.

  35. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Tom Fuller, I think this thread may be the time to jump in and address an observation I have made that tends to link the amount of one’s skepticism, related to the detrimental effects of AGW, with where one stands on the issue of government solving such problems without unintended consequences worst than the unattended problem.
    You have stated your preference for Obama type big government approach. Not that Obama is alone in that regards as he has a consensus backing of the modern day intellectuals. Anyway my rationale for my linkage is that those with strong faith in government intervention working, in general, would have much less reason to be concerned about being wrong about the predicted effects of AGW and would rationalize that government regulation in this area is desirable regardless of the final science findings on AGW effects. The skeptics, on the other hand, are concerned about unintended consequences of government attempts at mitigation and thus want to have a good deal more certainty in these predictions before allowing the government to get involved in mitigation.

    As a libertarian I can see an ideal system that would work for mitigation of any reasonable evidence of detrimental effects of AGW without direct government intervention through protection of private property and application of common law torts. Unfortunately we are so far from that system, and most libertarian leaning persons realize it, that if we had a serious and well-evidenced case for detrimental effects of AGW we could readily predict that government mitigation with all its attendant problems will be forthcoming.

    You, and perhaps Pielke Jr. and few other blog contributors with stated or implied political positions , appear to be exceptions to my observations. Now I would suspect that the true scientists would want to get the science right regardless of their political leanings and maybe that is your concern. I would be interested in hearing your reasoning on this thread. The reasoning might be get the science right, but if we get only half right or even wrong the consequences will be no big deal.
    I also judge that the consensus of climate scientists on AGW, which often requires evaluations outside their specific areas of expertise, is made much easier if their political leanings favor and see little unintended consequences of government mitigation, i.e. little to lose from being wrong.

  36. Amac, it’s not that he made a grammatical error — his claculation assumes that the log curve intersects its asymptote, specifically, that log(0) = 0. Which is infinitely far from the correct answer. Being out by infinity is not a small error, despite what some people here apparently think. Because of this mistake, his “passive model” has a climate sensitivity of 1.4K for a soubling of CO2, despite being based on a model with a sensitivity of between 2.3 and 2.9K. No doubt you will no adjust your opinion of Frank’s mathematical competence. No doubt.

  37. Carrick said

    Tim Lambert, RadiativeForcings(C_CO2) -> 0 as C_CO2 -> 0, not -infinity, where C_CO2 is atmospheric concentration level of CO2. If you are saying he evaluated log(0) and set it to 0 that’s one thing. If all he did was replace log(0) with 0, that is actually the physically correct thing to do.

  38. Tom Fuller said

    Hi Kenneth,

    Well. I am a progressive liberal because I believe there is a role for government that extends beyond the simple protections of civil liberty and national security. I think that the difference between an association of people who speak the same languages and share some of the same norms and a state is how the state reacts to the needs of its members, by offering support (Welfare! Food Stamps! The GI Bill, Social Security etc.). I believe a progressive liberal state offers more support than a conservative or libertarian state. If I ever printed a t-shirt with a slogan it would be ‘It is because I love my country that I want her to be just.’

    I want the state to lead the push for conversion to green technology, not because I think it will be more efficient than the market, but because I don’t believe the market is capable of sending the correct signals about what consumers will want in the future. There is no way of indicating future preferences in this sector. There is no price on carbon. There is no futures market on air quality. Etc., don’t mean to bore.

    I most emphatically do not believe that big government will do an efficient, laudable and forward-thinking job of this. They will get so many things wrong that we will all wonder why we let them even start. But it is only government that can get this going.

    Because this is a new market (I know, only partially so), there are rents to seek and laws to evade and scams to run, and we will see them all. It is my hope that big government will be able to minimize this and allow the market to come to fruition more efficiently. But even if it doesn’t, it is IMO only a big government that can kickstart this and create a framework for the construction of an energy portfolio that will enable us to transition away from oil and coal within the timeframe that is appropriate.

    Anthropogenic global warming may not be the overriding problem we are trying to solve. It may only be the poster child that motivated hordes of well-meaning greenies. OTOH, it may be a serious problem that requires serious attention and commitment of resources. I don’t think we’ll know for about 30 years. But even absent AGW as a primary motivating cause for action, pollution, depletion, energy independence and the pernicious effects of natural resource corruption on governments make it clear to me that having a diversified portfolio of energy resources, a distribution system that makes energy markets more efficient, and a physical plant that does not consume twice as much energy as needed for the tasks required, are eminently worth pursuing and justify asking national governments to assist with.

    It’s not as if this is the first time we’ve done this–conversion from wood to coal and from coal to oil offer plenty of case studies in policy success and failure. Maybe it’s just a bit humbling to think we have to dust off books about Rockefeller and the British Navy’s conversion to oil to remember how to get it right.

    Am I even close to addressing your questions here?

  39. RomanM said

    #36 Tim Lambert:

    Being out by infinity is not a small error, despite what some people here apparently think.

    You’re kidding, right?

    You seem to be operating under some sort of mistaken impression that the relationship between CO2 and effect on temperature must be (at least approximately) logarithmic throughout the entire range of CO2 concentration from 0 on up. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    A little math and some common sense will tell you that this logarithmic relationship must fail completely as the concentration approaches zero. If doubling the concentration produces a specific constant change, then conversely, halving the concentration reduces the effect by the same amount. Your assumption that the logarithmic approximation continues to apply at ever decreasing levels will then lead to the logical conclusion that as we approach zero (continually halving the previous level), the amount of reduction will approach infinity. Surely, this cannot appear as a realistic possibility to you.

    In fact, it is reasonable to assume that a concentration of zero corresponds to an effect on the temperatures of zero. The error is yours in positing that log(0) has any meaning whatsoever in this context. There are no relevant asymptotes to “intersect”. Such a consideration is spurious.

    Rather, one can postulate that there is some positive concentration level at which one could deem the effect as “neglible”, i.e. zero, whether this is one part per million or something close to it is another question. This is what was implicitly done in the analysis that you are purporting to “disprove” with your very unrealistic criticism.

  40. RomanM says:

    You seem to be operating under some sort of mistaken impression that the relationship between CO2 and effect on temperature must be (at least approximately) logarithmic throughout the entire range of CO2 concentration from 0 on up.

    No, I’m not. That’s what Frank did. He did not notice the absurdity of this because he got the logarithm/asymptotic intercept wrong.

    You can’t use the logarithmic formula to work out the forcing for zero C02 as Frank tried to do. Surely you agree with this?

  41. AMac said

    Re: Tim Lambert #36 (Apr 24 13:00),

    No doubt you will no adjust your opinion of Frank’s mathematical competence. No doubt.

    After posting a query to you in #33, I have read your response #36, as well as considering Carrick at #37, and RomanM’s explanation of the same point in greater detail, in #39.

    You need not doubt. I have adjusted my opinion of Frank’s mathematical competence, and the way in which he uses mathematical arguments to make AGW-relevant points.

    I find #37 and #39 to be compelling rebuttals of your brief against Pat Frank. To the extent to which there was an issue, it appears to have hinged on grammar, and on the use of reasonable short-cuts to describe physical reality.

    Grammar aside, do you take issue with RomanM’s description of CO2 forcing, as the partial pressure of C02 approaches zero? If you do not, do you still fault Pat Frank for the reason you described in #9?

    It seems reasonable to suppose that you might have sometimes discovered that a person who disagrees with you is not, as you had initially believed, stupid, or ill-informed, or evil, or corrupt. It would seem to be a rare event that you would say as much, publically.

  42. AMac said

    #40 and #41 crossed, so I have part of the answer to the question posed in #41–never mind.

  43. steven mosher said

    Glad that Michael showed up. Even glad Timmy showed up as the differences become evident to people.

    One thing I neglected to mention is that I enjoy reading MTs thoughts about growth. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I think it’s interesting and a unique thing. Still just from my own personal interest and my belief that people express themselves better when the write about things they are both passionate about and knowledgable about, I’d encourage MT to put the python, open source, and his position on AGW together. For a while I’ve been arguing that folks like RC should be talking more about the work of Clearclimatecode. Zeke and Roman and Id are also doing some interesting work.

  44. Carrick said

    Steven Mosher:

    Even glad Timmy showed up as the differences become evident to people

    LOL.

    Yep.

  45. steven mosher said

    Tim.

    “And you have absolutely no justification for concluding that the forcing from 1000 parts per billion of CO2 is 0 W/m2.”

    can you help me by explaining how you would calculate or estimate the forcing from 1000 parts per billion.

    as you know the ln formulation is just a curve fit to the results people have obtained by running a 1d LBL model.

    basically its a fit to the output of other models.

    Given this fit:

    http://scienceofdoom.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/log-graph-myhre-co2.png

    Given that fit, what would you say? I don’t have a clue perhaps you can help or maybe MT can help.
    Honest question. Is that even the right chart or am I misunderstanding something. sorry

  46. Pat Frank said

    #14 – You’re right, Andrew. My mistake.

    #20 Tim, the qualifier “asymptotic” prior to “intercept” directly refers to the limit the asymptotic curve approaches. That qualifier is typically all that any analytically minded person would need to understand what is meant, which apparently excludes you.

    The justification for 1 ppm CO2 = 0 Wm^-2 forcing was given explicitly in my response to Gavin at RC. You clearly didn’t read that, so I’ll re-post the calculation here, for your benefit.

    The absorption coefficient of CO2 at 15 microns (the main GW band) for low concentrations of gas is about 2.5 cm^-1 atm^-1 [reference below]. For 1 ppmv of CO2, the 1/e decrease in transmitted intensity (where self-absorption begins) occurs at about 11 km, requiring virtually the entire troposphere. The CO2 absorption maximum is at 15 microns, and less at the wings, so at 1 ppmv CO2, absorbed OLR is pretty much freely re-radiated into space and the forcing of CO2 is approximately zero.

    [ref] C.W. Schneider, et al. (1989) “Carbon dioxide absorption of He-Ne laser radiation at 4.2 [micrometers]: characteristics of self and nitrogen broadened cases” Applied Optics 28, 959-966, and the NIST spectrum of CO2 at http://webbook.nist.gov/chemistry.

  47. steven mosher said

    Pat,

    interestingly enough MODTRAN will show a difference between 0 ppm for C02 and 1. hmm. havent read that output in ages, FWIW. not exactly the best tool. hmm

  48. RomanM said

    #40 Tim Lambert

    You can’t use the logarithmic formula to work out the forcing for zero C02 as Frank tried to do. Surely you agree with this?

    Maybe, maybe not.

    I might have done it somewhat more rigorously by fitting the curve, T = a * log(1+CO2) + b, to deal with the problem of estimating the effect at a zero concentration level. However, given the magnitudes of the data used in the SI, the estimates of a and b would be very much the same as in Pat’s fit. Because Pat has indicated that he used a value of CO2 = 1 in his calculation, his result of b is basically the same as what I would get for the temperature at a concentration of zero CO2 with my version.

    If you are going to make a valid criticism of his results, it had better be on a more solid footing than a spurious “infinite-size error”.

  49. Carrick said

    Pat could you include your link to your response to Gavin? That’s the only way I know to deal with this sort of disagreement—read the original material.

    I don’t doubt you understand what an asymptotic value means, I don’t even think practically that Tim Lambert does either.

    After all, Tim endorses the character assassination of people whose conclusions he disagrees with, so why not misrepresent the understanding of basic mathematical concepts of people he disagrees with too?

    This is why Stephen Mosher’s comment that “Even glad Timmy showed up as the differences become evident to people” was so damned funny! In their fervor to prove Tom Fuller wrong, they just walk in and help prove him right.

  50. Pat Frank said

    #36, Tim wrote, “his claculation assumes that the log curve intersects its asymptote, specifically, that log(0) = 0.

    You’re wrong, Tim, and beating that dead horse won’t bring it back to life.

    RomanM is exactly right in #39. The analysis in the article SI assumes that the log relationship between [CO2] and forcing breaks down at 1 ppm. That specific result shows up when calculating the mean free path of 15 micron re-radiation at 1 ppm [CO2]. It’s about 11 km, which pretty much traverses the entire troposphere.

    I’m guessing none of this will affect your public argument, but everyone else will take the point.

  51. Carrick said

    And Stephen, in that “quoted” material, Pat Frank did say “approximately zero”. Meaning it could be neglected, not that it really went to zero.

  52. Pat Frank said

    #49 — Carrick, you’ll find my final point-by-point response to Gavin here. The bit about the 1/e distance for 1 ppm CO2 is in part 3b.

    The debate covered many days and many posts. By the end, of course, at RC I was wrong from the start and obviously still wrong, but there you are. :-)

  53. Pat Frank said

    My previous post seems to have been spam-filtered. So, here it is again, rearranged. :-)

    #49 — Carrick, here’s my final point-by-point response to Gavin. The bit about the 1/e distance for 1 ppm CO2 is in part 3b.

    The debate covered many days and many posts. At RC I was wrong from the start and obviously still wrong by the end, but there you are. :-)

  54. Pat Frank said

    #49 — Carrick, the point-by-point response to Gavin is here. The 1/e distance for 1 ppm CO2 is in part 3b.

    The debate covered many days and many posts. At RC I was wrong from the start and obviously still wrong at the end, but there you are. :-)

  55. Pat Frank said

    #49 — Carrick, I’ve tried 3 times to post a reply with a link for you, but apparently they’ve all been trapped out by the tAV spam filter. Maybe Jeff can free one of them.

  56. steven mosher said

    re 51:

    Carrick. I didn’t have a problem understanding what Pat meant. More a problem of understanding how Timmy could not understand our understanding. any ambiguous statement can be coerced into a univocal meaning, in fact its hard to stay in the state of uncertainty. That takes practice. So we see the wave, lambert sees the particle. says more about the observer and what he wants to do than the observed.

    and then an question for Timmy. What number would he use?

    or I could suggest that Pat Frank use any one of the readily available michael mann defenses.

  57. Pat Frank said

    Sorry about the redundant posts.

  58. greg2213 said

    “If this doesn’t change, we might as well hand the keys to the car to Senator Inhofe.”

    Sounds good to me.

  59. Pat Frank said

    #56 — Steven, I couldn’t use those any more than you could. Ethics forfends.

  60. stan said

    Tom Fuller (#38),

    And I oppose all that you support because I care passionately about the plight of the poor and I care about the environment. Centuries of evidence prove conclusively that the best hope to raise the standard of living for the poor comes from unshackling free enterprise from the stranglehold of govt and the corrupt rent-seekers who manipulate it. History shows repeatedly that the best way to clean up the environment is to allow free enterprise to produce a standard of living so high that even the poor in society are willing to provide resources for the cleanup. And when you add that liberty is far more conducive to the pursuit of human happiness than the stultifying grip of a dominant government, the choice between more government control or less is a runaway slam dunk for the proponents of liberty. [To use a basketball metaphor for the evidence of comparative effectiveness of liberty vs. government command, we'd have to say that liberty is on a winning streak of over 100 years and the margin of victory in every game has never been less than 100 points. This one ain't close. That's why the advocates for command and control won't debate on the facts (see e.g. AGW, health care, tax levels, "stimulus", et al.]

  61. Neven said

    Pielke is lightly commented on, mostly by passers-by.

    I disagree, many commenters at Pielke’s blog are denialists, which is weird considering the fact that Pielke believes in AGW etc.

  62. BarryW said

    Tom Fuller (#38)

    Why is that and how does a progressive liberal differ from a plain vanilla liberal? I notice that progressive either modifies or replaces the term liberal when authoritarians refer to themselves (I know you don’t think of yourselves as authoritarians but that it what it amounts to).

    Most of your examples require the expropriation of someone’s wealth to be transferred to others. While I don’t begrudge you the right to give your own away, where do you get off expropriating mine? Remember that the state resorts to violence if I don’t comply either by directly taking my wealth or my freedom. Liberalism always sounds good but winds up as a net loss of freedom.

  63. Tom Fuller said

    I would submit that much of what will be remembered of the past century as improvements in the human condition will be the result of progressive liberal initiatives that were bitterly opposed by conservatives arguing much as they are here. What you will tend to remember are things like the U.N. What the rest of the world will remember are things like the Civil Rights Act, Social Security, Medicare, the G.I. Bill and other measures that made a huge difference in the lives of poor Americans. Peter Drucker himself said that the GI Bill was a transformative event in the history of America.

    Nobody discussing the failure of communism to spread through the industrial world has failed to note the effect of progressive measures in alleviating misery and providing hope to those who otherwise would have been candidates for support of Marxist theory. And indeed, those places with active communist movements are those without similar measures.

    Like the conservative woman in a news clip who declared ‘Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare’ conservatives forget the origins of programs they now value. I’ve never met a conservative who wanted to repeal the GI Bill. All conservative fury about Social Security is about its funding, not its existence.

    Progressive liberal policies were one of the best things about the 20th Century. And my personal belief is that a country that will not harness its wealth and energies in support of the poor and disadvantaged amongst its population will never deserve the title ‘great.’

    There are many liberal politicians that can and should be criticized. There are liberal policies that are either wrong, misguided or have an improper emphasis. But listen carefully: This country is great–and one of the reasons is the success of progressive liberal policies.

  64. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Tom Fuller @ Post#38:

    Am I even close to addressing your questions here?

    In a word: no. I was hoping to at least to broach the subject of the relationship of political dispositions and level of skepticism on AGW. Unfortunately, we get a nitpicking intrusion about whether Pat Frank understands asymptotes. Another Sod-like shift of the discussion to trivial side issues. In this case I can understand Pat’s replies as he was being attacked personally, but the whole thing gets frustrating to me when these topics are introduced and we end up with rather superficial coverage of the intended subject matter – very unsatisfying to me.

    Your particular political stance was not critical to my question, but since you detailed it, I suspect we would disagree on what a free market is and what we have currently with respect to AGW. Certainly we do not have a free market in energy as most sources get some kind of government subsidy. I also suspect that you would credit the government with successes that I would see as successes of the market despite government intervention. The unfettered free market of ideas allows the best ideas to survive while government intervention plays favorites and has great difficulty admitting failures and allowing failures. What we have seen more of recently and including the Iraq intervention has been government policy based on emergencies that cannot await any rational discussions. AGW mitigation by government will be presented in this same manner.

  65. Jeff Id said

    #64, Write up your preferred discussion and the blog is yours.

  66. Tim, the qualifier “asymptotic” prior to “intercept” directly refers to the limit the asymptotic curve approaches. That qualifier is typically all that any analytically minded person would need to understand what is meant, which apparently excludes you

    The limit that the curve approaches is called the asymptote. In the case of the log function, that’s the y axis. “Intercept” means where two lines or curves intersect, and is most commonly used to refer to where a curve intersects the y axis. In the case of the log functions you plot that’s at negative infinity.

    But for a straight line defined by the function y = m*x + b, the intercept, the value of the function when x=0, is just b. For your log curve defined by y = 3.35*ln(x)+269.3, it is a simple error to imagine that it is like the linear case and conclude that the intercept, the value when x=0, is 269.3. This is the value that you use in your paper and its what you said you did:

    “The derived greenhouse effect on Earth climate at zero ppm CO2 was the
    sum of the two asymptotic intercepts (Figure S1) weighted by the ~58.3 %
    average cloud cover of Earth as determined by integrating the published
    average 1983-1990 cloudiness (see article Figure 3 and text). Thus, the
    zero CO2 greenhouse fraction = 0.583×(269.3 K)+0.417×(283.7 K) =
    275.3 K.”

    Now you are claiming that you coincidentally got the same answer by a completely different method:

    “The analysis in the article SI assumes that the log relationship between [CO2] and forcing breaks down at 1 ppm.”

    But that’s not what you say in your article. You don’t say that you are calculating the effect at 1 ppm but at zero ppm. And nowhere in your article do you say that the log relationship breaks down at 1 ppm. And nor does the reference that you cite (Myrhe) justify your claim that the relationship breaks down at 1 ppm. Myhre gives a graph showing the log relationship is a good approximation for the range 250-1000 ppm. Your 1 ppm is vastly outside this range.

    You offer this as a justification for picking 1 ppm:

    “The absorption coefficient of CO2 at 15 microns (the main GW band) for low concentrations of gas is about 2.5 cm^-1 atm^-1 [reference below]. For 1 ppmv of CO2, the 1/e decrease in transmitted intensity (where self-absorption begins) occurs at about 11 km, requiring virtually the entire troposphere. The CO2 absorption maximum is at 15 microns, and less at the wings, so at 1 ppmv CO2, absorbed OLR is pretty much freely re-radiated into space and the forcing of CO2 is approximately zero.”

    First, none of this is in your paper and neither are the references.

    Second, even if the numbers you give for absorption are correct, they do not justify a claim that the forcing from 1 ppm CO2 is negligible, since a 1/e decrease means that the majority of radiation in that band does not escape.

    Third, it easy to check the online Modtran calculator to see what absorption with 1 ppm CO2 is, and there is a great big spike at 15 microns. The calculator says that the forcing in going from 0 ppm to 1 ppm is 5 W/m2. That’s more than you get from a doubling of CO2 and clearly is not negligible.

    To summarize: you are trying to tell me that rather than using the (incorrect) method you described in your paper, you used a completely different (and also incorrect) method. For that method you had to choose a concentration where the CO2 forcing was negligible. And despite the evidence that forcing at 1 ppm was not negligible, you chose that as the concentration where it was negligible. And in an remarkable coincidence the value you chose just happened to be the one that made you answer agree with the first method.

    The only thing funnier than this is that you got Mosher to pipe and say it was perfectly clear to him that “asymptotic intercept” meant “I will approximate the value of the function at x=0 with the value at x=1″ and AMac trying to pass off your mistake as a “grammatical” error.

  67. Kenneth Fritsch said

    #64, Write up your preferred discussion and the blog is yours.

    Jeff ID, my comments were made in the hope that others would agree (in posts) with my preferences. If that is not the case, a thread by me would be without interest. Those comments are not specific to your blog as I see the same corruption of threads at other blogs.

  68. stan said

    Tom,

    I’m all for harnessing wealth and energy on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged. The difference is that you prefer to use a gun and threats of violence to pretend to do so. I prefer to use liberty to do so. My way has consistently worked better throughout history. Your way leads to bastardized policies like the minimum wage that causes increased unemployment among the weakest members of society.

    Our country’s balance sheet shows that we are 57 trillion in the red because of policies such as social security and medicare which you laud so highly. The law of unintended consequences always plays out as “progressive” liberals abuse the public’s instinct to be helpful and charitable to craft corrupt bargains whose chief purpose is to increase their own power. We could achieve far more efficacious results at a far lower cost without the disasters promulgated through the corruption of progressive liberals. And no, as Madison and the other founding fathers understood well, you can’t avoid the corruption. Once govt gets involved, it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep the corrupt from taking control of that area of life. The politician willing to sell govt influence always raises far more money than the honest politician with nothing to sell. After all, he has an almost limitless inventory at his disposal.

  69. Tom Fuller said

    Kenneth, I mostly agree with what you wrote in 64–I think you’ve identified where we would disagree and why. I like the way your mind works and hope we can continue this without some of the distractions found on this thread.

  70. Jeff Id said

    Kenneth,

    Would a specifically defined moderation format for a particular thread fix the problem?

  71. AMac said

    Tim Lambert #66 (Apr 25 13:49)

    …AMac trying to pass off your mistake as a “grammatical” error.

    Your presumption of bad faith on the part of people who disagree with you seems to be a remarkably consistent part of your world-view. How noble that you dedicate so much effort to frustrating us knaves and enlightening us fools.

  72. AMac, I don’t presume bad faith on the part of people that disagree with me. Are you still calling it a “grammatical” error?

  73. Pat Frank said

    First off, apologies to Kenneth Fritsch for all this OT self-defense. I generally agree with your view of things, Kenneth, and like Jeff would like to see you start a thread. If you do that, I’d hope you include whether or how government regulation should manage free markets. E.g., should business ethics be enforced (as in contractual and prospectus honesty), should monopolies be legally discouraged or made illegal, and should collusional boards of directors be illegal? In other words, what do you mean by free markets?

    That said: #66 Tim: You’re right that I neglected to mention the equivalence in zero forcing of 0 ppm CO2 and 1 ppm CO2 in the SI, where the analysis is presented. That oversight is my fault, I agree and apologize to all for any confusion resulting.

    When writing up a study, it can happen that one leaves out one or another logical step when so many steps demand attention. None of my reviewers (and there were many) pointed out the missing rationale; so the lacuna remained unnoticed.

    Gavin’s final desperation argument was my supposed log(0) error, and that brought attention to the missing rationale for 1 ppm CO2 producing zero forcing. Again, I didn’t put anything in about that, and that’s my fault.

    So now, let’s go through your argument. First, the position of the ordinate axis is arbitrary; the asymptote in a log argument is always log(1). The conventional meaning of an asymptotic intercept is the limit of the dependent variable as the independent variable infinitesimally approaches its limit. No one, except you apparently, objects to this convention because the 0-intercept in a log asymptote is never reached (nor any others).

    Second, you apparently over looked that one can make a log linear plot by graphing the abscissa as log(x). When doing so, the ordinate intercept is approached at x -> 0 = log(1). However, one needn’t actually plot log(x) in order to obtain the y-intercept value. That’s the method I used and the value I gave. Apologies that not explaining this caused you confusion.

    Third, I am not using any “completely different method.” The method I used implicitly includes that 1 ppm CO2 = 0 ppm CO2 as regards forcing.

    The equation in Myhre in fact does justify that the forcing of 1 ppm CO2 is zero Wm^-2. Myhre’s basic equation is Forcing = 5.35*ln(C/Co), where C = the new concentration of CO2, and Co = the initial concentration, each in ppmv. Let’s re-write that as 5.35*(ln[C] – ln[Co]). When C = 1 ppm and Co = 0 ppm, the second term is undefined, and Myhre’s equation becomes Forcing = 5.35*ln(1) = 0.

    It does no good to try to get around this by changing units. I.e., letting C = 1001 ppbv (your preferred unit) and Co = 1 ppbv, Myhre’s equation naively used predicts that for 1->1^3 ppbv, Forcing = 37 Wm^-2; switching to pptv, for 1->1E^6 pptv, Forcing = 74 Wm^-2. Fractional <1ppmv values for Co produces likewise, all of which is physical nonsense.

    The 1/e factor arises because when the emission path length is greater than this attenuation depth, the probability of re-absorption of the fluorescence photon has become greater than 0.5, at 45 degrees; the average emission angle. (Observed fluorescence intensity diminishes and emission bands appear to broaden due to re-absorption of the emitted radiation.) This is the point where a net greenhouse forcing enters. The reason this occurs at 1/e is because absorber path length enters in an exponential term, making the effect non-linear. Your dismissal, ("the majority of radiation in that band does not escape“), is wrong because it assumes a linear effect.

    Finally, the Modtran calculation is look-down or look-up; i.e., it gives the absorbance seen at an angle of 180 or 0 degrees with respect to the source. The look-down result merely shows that when even 1 ppm CO2 is present, one can observe the IR absorption band relative to the surface emission IR light source. The delta Wm^-2 you obtained from Modtran is just the change in the integrated intensity of the vertical transmission envelope from the surface of Earth, of 1 ppmv CO2 relative to 0 ppmv CO2.

    That is, the experiment proves that when CO2 is present, it will absorb emitted surface IR. One will then observe an absorption band, and a hole in the vertical transmission envelope, at the TOA. But although this result nicely confirms spectroscopic theory, it is a climatologically trivial result, because the greenhouse effect is not due to vertical absorption of IR radiation from the surface. It’s due to all-angle re-absorption, within the atmosphere, of the fluorescence IR radiation emitted by CO2 following absorption of a photon coming from the surface. I.e., greenhouse warming comes from atmospheric re-absorption of the CO2 fluorescence. What’s at issue is the retardation of the CO2 emission band photon. The Modtran result tells us nothing about that.

    The 1/e attenuation depth of the emitted fluorescence photon tells us about the re-absorption of IR by the atmosphere, and the retention of energy. This is where the calculation I re-posted here is relevant. It tells us that the 1/e attenuation length at 1 ppm CO2 is 11 km; virtually the entire troposphere. That means, on average, the re-emitted IR photon pretty much radiates freely from Earth when atmospheric [CO2] is 1 ppmv or less. Forcing then averages 0 Wm^-2. Your Modtran argument is therefore entirely wrong.

    So, Tim, your analysis is wrong, your detection of errors is wrong, your interpretation of the Modtran result is wrong, and all your conclusions are wrong; except that I did neglect to specify the argument in my article SI. Apologies. You’re also wrong that “[I] got Mosher” or AMac to do anything. What a strange idea. They’re entirely free agents. Is intellectual free agency as a concept foreign to you? It’s a cornerstone of Western civilization.

    Atmospheric warming by fluorescence re-absorption, by the way, is a disproof of the naïve “greenhouse” concept. We all know that greenhouses work by stopping convective heat loss. Atmospheric heating works by collisionally redistributing radiant energy from CO2 (or water) into translational energy in oxygen/nitrogen. Collisional redistribution becomes more efficient as, following the initial absorption and emission, the radiation is multiply re-absorbed by higher CO2 concentrations. Of course, it finally radiates off into space.

    Note that the collisional energy may also go into evaporative hydrology and never become sensible heat. Jae has made this point repeatedly.

  74. AMac said

    Tim Lambert (Apr 23 13:41), Lambert #72 (Apr 25 21:51),

    > AMac, I don’t presume bad faith on the part of people that disagree with me.

    That’s refreshing. Best of luck to you in communicating that sentiment more effectively than in the present instance.

    > Are you still calling it a “grammatical” error?

    Given the earlier comments on this side issue by Carrick and RomanM since you raised it in Comment #9 and the defenses issued by principal Pat Frank, grammatical error seems like an apt analogy to me. Note also the absence of sneer quotes.

    I could be wrong, since I haven’t gone back and read the original material, as suggested by Carrick. Your original good faith [sic] claim was that “Pat Frank thinks curves intersect their asymptotes.” Given what’s been written here, that seems unlikely. Neither is it an issue that appears sufficiently interesting or important to warrant more time or effort.

  75. Amac, I am suprised that you would write “Given what’s been written here, that seems unlikely” immediately after a post where Frank does it again. Look:

    The equation in Myhre in fact does justify that the forcing of 1 ppm CO2 is zero Wm^-2. Myhre’s basic equation is Forcing = 5.35*ln(C/Co), where C = the new concentration of CO2, and Co = the initial concentration, each in ppmv. Let’s re-write that as 5.35*(ln[C] – ln[Co]). When C = 1 ppm and Co = 0 ppm, the second term is undefined, and Myhre’s equation becomes Forcing = 5.35*ln(1) = 0.

    Here he assumes that “undefined” is the same as 0, i.e ln(0) = 0, i.e ln curve intersects its asymptote at (0,0).

  76. Carrick said

    Speaking of derailing a comment thread this one’s for Tim Now with ethanol.

  77. AMac said

    Tim Lambert,

    Let’s continue our presumption of good faith on the part of people who disagree with us, and ask Pat Frank for a clarification.

    Pat Frank,

    when you wrote

    When C = 1 ppm and Co = 0 ppm, the second term [ln(0)] is undefined, and Myhre’s equation becomes Forcing = 5.35*ln(1) = 0.

    is this an assertion that the natural logarithm of zero is equal to zero?

    My calculator gives the numerical value of ln(0) as -88888888, which seems unlikely (reference).

    My presumption remains that this is the equivalent of a grammatical error, but your input will help us resolve the matter.

  78. Pat Frank said

    #75, Tim: “Here he assumes that “undefined” is the same as 0, i.e ln(0) = 0, i.e ln curve intersects its asymptote at (0,0).

    Undefined in that sense means ‘has no mathematical meaning,’ Tim. If a term in an equation has no meaning, what significance should it have in the calculation?

    #77, AMac, to your question, “is this an assertion that the natural logarithm of zero is equal to zero?” the answer is ‘No.’ The reason is that “zero” has a definite mathematical meaning. In contrast, “ln(0)” is meaningless and makes no contribution to the calculation.

    Unless Tim can come up with something substantial, continuing the argument is indistinguishable from dealing with a troll.

  79. tongo said

    Hi Pat Frank,

    You wrote: If a term in an equation has no meaning, what significance should it have in the calculation?

    It means that the calculation / equation is invalid, and you should find a new equation. You can’t just drop an inconvenient term from calculation.

  80. #77, AMac, to your question, “is this an assertion that the natural logarithm of zero is equal to zero?” the answer is ‘No.’ The reason is that “zero” has a definite mathematical meaning. In contrast, “ln(0)” is meaningless and makes no contribution to the calculation.

    Wow. Well done Time for teasing this out (again). I suppose it’s a little childish of me, but I can’t help but be amused at the sight of the usual crowd trying to gloss over such grotesque cluelessness as a “grammatical error”.

  81. AMac said

    James Annan, you’re late to the party, but no worries, all of good faith are welcome.

    As a reminder, this thread derailment started with Tim’s assertion that “Pat Frank thinks curves intersect their asymptotes“. That was #9, and we continue in the same vein all the way to #75, where Tim writes “Here he assumes that “undefined” is the same as 0, i.e ln(0) = 0, i.e ln curve intersects its asymptote at (0,0).)

    Perhaps you’ve assumed that what’s being discussed is whether Pat Frank’s understanding of the effect of CO2 on climate at near-zero concentrations is correct, or whether the equations Pat Frank employs are the proper ones.

    Look again.

    The issue as set forth by Tim and as reiterated by Tim is the assertion that Pat Frank’s understanding of the concept of “logarithm of zero” isn’t up to high school standards.

    Mind reading isn’t easy. Most people are suitably humble about their ability to divine what others are thinking, especially when communicating with strangers they don’t like, via keyboard.

    Most people. Not all people.

    So, yeah, I suppose it is a little childish of you to be amused at Tim’s efforts to transform Pat Frank’s likely grammatical errors into a failure to grasp concepts of intermediate arithmetic.

  82. Pat Frank said

    #77, Tongo, if the term has no contextual meaning, it’s not part of the mathematics.

    #81, AMac, there was no grammatical error. As noted in #73, paragraph 3, I neglected to include an explicit rationale for why 1 ppm CO2 = 0 Wm^2 forcing when preparing my SI. It was an oversight on my part, but one that doesn’t materially impact the analysis.

  83. If ever I want to explain to someone what “strain at a gnat, swallow a camel” means I can point them to Amac’s behaviour in this thread.

    Amac argues that I’ve got it seriously wrong by saying that Frank thinks that ln 0 = 0 by drawing a meaningless dictinction between saying that ln 0 = 0 and saying that ln 0 “makes no contribution to the calculation” which effectively treats it as if it has the value 0.

    And says that Frank’s calculation where concludes that 5.35*(ln(1) – ln(0)) = 0 is a trivial grammatical error, even though Frank denies that it is any sort of error.

  84. AMac said

    Tim Lambert #83 (Apr 27 06:10)

    Amac argues that I’ve got it seriously wrong by saying that Frank thinks that ln 0 = 0

    That’s correct. Let us look to Pat Frank #78 for a definitive disposition to the question of whether or not “Pat Frank thinks that ln 0 = 0″.

    #77, AMac, to your question, “is this an assertion that the natural logarithm of zero is equal to zero?” the answer is ‘No.’ The reason is that “zero” has a definite mathematical meaning. In contrast, “ln(0)” is meaningless and makes no contribution to the calculation.

    So, Tim Lambert believes that in matters of arithmetic, he knows what’s in Pat Frank’s head, better than Pat Frank knows what’s in Pat Frank’s head.

    Here’s a discussion of strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

    The idea behind [this phrase from Matthwe 23] is that both gnats and camels are animals that Jews are forbidden to eat, and Jesus points out to the people he’s lecturing in that passage that they pay attention to little things that are supposedly important, but ignore the big things.

    Tim, it’s quite possible for a person to make an arithmetical error without fundamentally misunderstanding the basic concept. When you helpfully discovered that Michaels & McKitrick had erroneously used degrees when radians were required, it did not necessarily indicate that these individuals had gone through life without an awareness of the difference between the two. It was a mistake.

    Is it possible that you enjoy twitting your presumed enemies by framing your remarks as loaded questions? Employing that rhetorical device instead of working on correctly paraphrasing those with whom you disagree is not evidence of a good-faith approach to debate. In my opinion.

    You seem to enjoy Biblical allusions. Does the good book offer any guidance on how to approach matters such as this?

  85. DeWitt Payne said

    Wow! Talk about a tempest in a teapot.

    Anybody who knows anything about emission and absorption spectrometry knows that logarithmic behavior only applies at relatively high concentrations. As the concentration approaches zero, the dependence becomes linear and the effect will be zero at zero concentration. The Myhre equation was never intended to be extended to very low concentrations. It’s an approximation of the trend at current levels of CO2. As far as MODTRAN, I made this graph a while back to show the dependence of forcing and surface temperature over a wide range of CO2 concentration using a logarithmic CO2 concentration axis. The left y axis and black line is Iout from MODTRAN, 1976 standard atmosphere, 100 km looking down all other settings default while varying only the CO2 concentration. The right axis and red line is the surface temperature required at constant relative humidity to bring Iout back to the standard conditions. As can be seen, the linear logarithmic relationship begins to fail around 10 ppmv CO2. The slope of the forcing curve approaches zero as the concentration approaches zero as expected. But the slope is still slightly less than zero at 0.01 ppmv CO2 and Iout at 0.001 ppmv is slightly higher than for 0.01 ppmv by 0.154 W/m2

    Only looking vertically in relation to the surface is valid, btw, because emission at other angles balances out if you integrate over the whole surface.

  86. Tim said

    #77 Amac

    The ln(0) is negative infinity. Pat Frank did make a pretty basic mathematical mistake by adding infinity to 0 and getting 0 (the answer is infinity or better stated as ‘your equations/assumptions are wrong – go back and start again’). It is not a typo. It is a mathematical error.

    Although Pat Frank is right when he says the forcing of 0 ppm is zero. He did not show it with his math. This is a classic example of bad method + right result = bad science.

    Watching people defend such an obvious mathematical goof is like listening to nails on a chalk board. I wish people would just acknowledge that Lambert is right on this narrow point and move on to issues of substance. IMO, a good scientist is not one that never makes mistakes but one that can admit mistakes.

  87. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Tim @#86:

    I second what you say emphatically – lets move on – and better yet keep on the thread topic and at least attempt to dig deeper into the subject matter of the thread than to get into these niggling side issues.

    I hope that posters here fully appreciate it when a Tim and/or a DeWitt Payne steps in to keep us on the straight and narrow.

  88. Chuckles said

    I’m afraid I must disagree with both of you, as Amac said, the logarithm of zero is undefined.

  89. AMac said

    Hopefully my last comment. DeWitt Payne’s linked figure shows that the effect of CO2 concentration at very low concentrations is linear, but transitions to a logarithmic effect above ~ 5 ppmv (i.e. appears linear on DeWitt’s semilog plot).

    I don’t think that Pat Frank disputes the general sense given in that figure (he can speak for himself).

    I don’t think that Tim Lambert disputes the general sense given in that figure (he can speak for himself).

    I think Pat Frank has done a poor job in this thread of presenting the mathematics behind this physical relationship. I agree with Tim Lambert and others, to the extent that “if the term has no contextual meaning, it’s not part of the mathematics” (Pat Frank #82) is an inadequate explanation.

    Recall that this was not the starting point of this thread derail.

    “Pat Frank thinks curves intersect their asymptotes…” Tim Lambert #9.

    I think this reflects the all-too-common blog sentiment of “Anyone who disagrees with me is either a knave or a fool.” Among “enemies,” routine errors or simple, boring imprecise words will never suffice as an explanation.

    It’s annoying when the irascible “denialist” tAV regulars jump straightaway to mind-reading, and it’s annoying when Tim Lambert does it. “Pat Frank thinks…”

    I suppose to be balanced, I should hijack additional threads and make the same point on the other side of the spectrum. But don’t worry, Jeff Id, instead I’ll go back to rolling my eyes as I read.

  90. Pat Frank said

    #86 Tim, the plot in my SI Figure 1 is asymptotic to ln(1). It doesn’t go to zero (even inspection reveals that), nowhere did I write that the plot went to zero, and I’ve never claimed that ln(0)=0.

    The analytical conclusion that 1 ppm CO2 = zero forcing comes from the calculation for the 1/e fluorescence attenuation length following from the absorption coefficient of CO2, not from Myhre’s equation; see post #46.

    The discussion in the SI includes implicitly that the forcing of 1 ppm CO2 (the asymptotic limit of Figure S1) is equivalent to zero ppm CO2. I’ve already acknowledged having not included the explicit rationale for that in the SI. That was my mistake. However, its non-inclusion does not invalidate Figure S1, nor the calculation following from Figure S1, nor does it impact any of the rest of the analysis in the SI.

    This whole argument is about a fabricated pseudo-error that Tim Lambert has repeated here.

  91. Carrick said

    James Annan:

    suppose it’s a little childish of me, but I can’t help but be amused at the sight of the usual crowd trying to gloss over such grotesque cluelessness as a “grammatical error”.

    Um, right James.

    Because we should spend every waking moment talking about silly misstatements instead of the substance of people’s arguments.

    Right?

    Far be it from any of us to actually be interested in what Pat Frank’s argument really is.

    Sounds like a good use of your time. You go to it.

  92. Carrick said

    Tim:

    Watching people defend such an obvious mathematical goof is like listening to nails on a chalk board. I wish people would just acknowledge that Lambert is right on this narrow point and move on to issues of substance. IMO, a good scientist is not one that never makes mistakes but one that can admit mistakes.

    And the better scientist is the one that recognizes a mistake is not central to the argument, shrugs it off and just moves on.

  93. Tim said

    #90 – Pat Frank

    In #73 you wrote:

    The equation in Myhre in fact does justify that the forcing of 1 ppm CO2 is zero Wm^-2. Myhre’s basic equation is Forcing = 5.35*ln(C/Co), where C = the new concentration of CO2, and Co = the initial concentration, each in ppmv. Let’s re-write that as 5.35*(ln[C] – ln[Co]). When C = 1 ppm and Co = 0 ppm, the second term is undefined, and Myhre’s equation becomes Forcing = 5.35*ln(1) = 0.

    I had not looked at what your wrote in the doc itself beut assumed you reproduced it. Like I said, I think your assumption is perfectly reasonable.

    #92 – Carrick

    True – but if someone does not understand the argument then one may not be able to determine that the mistake is inconsequential.

  94. AMac said

    Postscript on ln(0).

    Pat Frank #73 (Apr 25 21:56)

    The equation in Myhre in fact does justify that the forcing of 1 ppm CO2 is zero Wm^-2. Myhre’s basic equation is Forcing = 5.35*ln(C/Co), where C = the new concentration of CO2, and Co = the initial concentration, each in ppmv. Let’s re-write that as 5.35*(ln[C] – ln[Co]). When C = 1 ppm and Co = 0 ppm, the second term is undefined, and Myhre’s equation becomes Forcing = 5.35*ln(1) = 0.

    Ron Broberg in Comment #143 at Collide-a-Scope

    ΔF = 5.35 * ln(CO2_new/CO2_0ld) W /m^2

    Broberg’s understanding of CO2 forcing at concentrations near zero ppmv? Similar to Frank’s, I imagine (though he might well do a better job of explaining it).

  95. RB said

    Came late to this party, but seems like a better way to relate dT to dCO2 may be of the form
    dT = log [log(1+e^x)] -(1)

    where x is the CO2 concentration

    This would entail the approximation that log(1+y) = y for small y and log(1+e^z) = z for large z

    Going back to (1), for small x, dT = log(e^x) = x and for large x, dT=log(log(e^x)) = log(x)

  96. RB said

    For lim(x->0), that would imply dT = (x_final) – (x_initial) instead of log(x_final)-log(x_initial)

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