the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Simple Question

Posted by Jeff Id on May 20, 2010

We see from the past post us technical guys like reader kdk33, can pick up on the more obvious flaws of paleoclimate pretty quickly. Honestly there are times when I feel sorry for Mann, his role in history will not be a good one in the long term but it was brought about by an initial mistake in his early papers.  After the accolades he received for his 98, 99 work the censored directory was created with a corrected PCA reconstruction.  What should he do, phone the UN — um world, I screwed up a little…..

His reaction, of course, has been the opposite.  He doubled down, creating one reconstruction after another using math which is actually worse than the original.  Food for skeptics!  Leading to Pielke Jr’s writing of my single favorite quote in all of climate science:

If Michael Mann did not exist, the skeptics would have to invent him.

Damn that’s good.

So here’s the question,

Where would the IPCC be without the proxy based reconstructions?

It’s a scary question because if the climatologists were to excise the bad paleo stuff, IMHO the AGW story is strengthened rather than damaged.


138 Responses to “Simple Question”

  1. RuhRoh said

    Maybe they would need to face down geochemists with devastating data.

    What was your impression of this guy?

    What’s wrong with the picture he is painting?

    http://www.heartland.org/events/2010Chicago/PowerPoints/Tuesday%20-%20Session%204/Track%201%20-%20Science%201/Tom_Segalstad.pps

    TIA
    RR

  2. HotRod said

    ‘It’s a scary question because if the climatologists were to excise the bad paleo stuff, IMHO the AGW story is strengthened rather than damaged.’ – sorry, explain?

  3. I agree that the paleo story is a sideshow to AGW. That’s why to most of the world, including the scientific world, an accusation like “Mann wants to ‘contain’ the MWP” just makes no sense.

  4. Jeff Id said

    #2, if they got rid of the truly problematic work of ‘hide the decline’ and cherry picked data then the rest of climate science, except the disaster portions, is far more difficult to argue. Gridded temps have problems but the warming isn’t going away soon, CO2 measures have problems but continuous increases won’t go away soon, so many aspects of climate science actually make reasonable sense that without the incredible disaster of paleoclimate hockeysticks, the story is a far stronger one.

  5. HotRod said

    Thanks Jeff – it’s 2am here, so I will retire and think on that one. I may not sleep, thinking about ‘the incredible disaster’.

  6. Phil R said

    Interesting question, but I’m wondering (and I’m not a climatologist):

    1) If there were no Mann, there might be no IPCC:
    2) If there were no IPCC, there could be good science and no need for skeptics.

    (my $0.02)

  7. timetochooseagain said

    3-“to most of the world, including the scientific world, an accusation like “Mann wants to ‘contain’ the MWP” just makes no sense.”

    Nick, on this point, I think that you are naive to believe that the point is to bias the scientific case. The point is to skew public perception. “unprecedented” was never a scientific term meant to persuade on the science, it was meant to score points in the PR area.

  8. intrepid_wanders said

    While the paleo pushed the bad position, the associations to EVERY bad thing in existence was an alarm trigger. I (for one of many) that were skeptical of the OZONE ISSUE and listening to the calls of a new ICE AGE and having grown up with these types of people, my BS detector is especially tuned. These are the types that come up with things like prop 65 in California where EVERYTHING (Food at McD’s, Cars etc.) are labeled as a carcinogen. I think there was a prank site that suckered California City into putting “di-hydrogen monoxide” on the list, obviously an intern researcher.

    Anyhow, the sell has been TOO HARD. Al Gore and all the other advocacy groups rendered the discussion mute once the preaching began. Paleo not so much (nice chink in the armor), but oddly, I believe Al Gore caused a lot of people to inquire more and was the weakest link. Remove Al Gore and Greenpeace/WWF and leave in the paleo, I believe things would be much more “Tidy”.

  9. Bad Andrew said

    “but the warming isn’t going away soon”

    Ya think?

    Jeff, if the Climate Science Community tried to concoct a story about past climate using phony data, who’s to say they wouldn’t try the same story only the setting is present climate?

    Andrew

  10. Jeff Id said

    I didn’t mean the disasters were reasonable or that I know what tomorrows temps will be, a sharp extended decline wouldn’t shock me out of my socks. The point was that the IPCC story would be a lot more difficult to criticize without the utter rubbish of some of the proxy reconstructions.

  11. JAE said

    “#2, if they got rid of the truly problematic work of ‘hide the decline’ and cherry picked data then the rest of climate science, except the disaster portions, is far more difficult to argue. Gridded temps have problems but the warming isn’t going away soon, CO2 measures have problems but continuous increases won’t go away soon, so many aspects of climate science actually make reasonable sense that without the incredible disaster of paleoclimate hockeysticks, the story is a far stronger one.”

    Huh? I have always thought that without the stick, the AGW fanatics have nothing that is remotely scientific. If the RWP and MWP and LIA existed, then there is very little reason to argue that mankind is changing the world. All they had, beyond the stick, was computer models! Which just are not being validated in ANY way. They cannot explain the whole notion of “water vapor feedback” using real physics. Hell, they cannot even cite empirical evidence for the “atmospheric greenhouse effect” (because it probably doesn’t exist, excuse me, LOL). They cannot tell us why even the 1930s were warmer in the USA. Please tell me just what “scientific evidence” they have!

  12. Andrew_KY said

    I’m just asking the questions I feel need to be asked.

    A significant party of The Story used to be the hockey stick. Temperatures used to be down. Now they are up. The tree ring proxy reconstructions were just the means to tell the story they wanted.

    Now, leave the paleo-story behind because it didn’t work. Fast forward… the story is that the earth is warming now, and that’s what we should care about and that’s where the science is better.

    Should we just assume that the M.O. has changed?

    Thermometers can be read to give the numbers you want, just as well as tree rings can, if you catch my drift. ;)

    Andrew

  13. Jeff Id said

    JAE #11,

    I think that the gridded temp data has much firmer foundation than the proxy temps. Sure they couldn’t claim unprecedented in a thousand years but they still can claim model doom and everything else. It would be a different quality of argument.

  14. Bad Andrew said

    I have to do one more comment. I can’t help it.

    Think of it this way…

    If the Storytellers had thermometers that went way back into paleo-time, what do you think the thermometer readings would be? Well, well never know because there weren’t any. So shucks.

    Ah, but to tell the story right we need a record to show that the temperatures were low back then. How fortunate we found some trees that will show us just that.

    Need a modified story? Ah but to tell the new story right we need a record to show that the temperatures are high right now. How fortunate we found some thermometers that will show us just that.

    I mean, what does it take to look at a thermometer or record a sensor reading or whatever they do these days and record the number a little higher? Who could/would dare do such a thing? :wink:

    Andrew

  15. Layman Lurker said

    Don’t forget John Pittman’s painstaking reviews of IPCC AR’s tying the climate reconstructions to GCM backcast verifications – which become the priors to constrain model parameters. What would the ensemble range of GCM projections look like without these constraints.

  16. AusieDan said

    Jeff Id – your said “the gridded temp data has much firmer foundation”.

    Now that I will grant, as I do not have the data or the programs to dispute it.

    But from my observation of (as far as I can tell) raw data, the temperature of many isolated places has not increased for one hundred years or more.

    Could the rise in measured “gridden temp data” be due to rising UHI?

  17. From my perspective, “Climategate” and the “Hockey Stick” will ultimately benefit all of the sciences.

    Because of public interest in the weather, these exposed data manipulation and deceit to the public, a practice that has gone on undetected for many decades in NASA.

    Instead of CO2-Induced Global Warming, it was the Standard Solar Model (SSM) of a Hydrogen-filled Sun.

    Instead of “Hide the Decline” it was “Hide Jupiter Isotope Data” and “Hide Evidence of Solar Mass Fractionation.”

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  18. Sera said

    If there were no Michael Mann, someone else would likely fill in the gap. Paleoclimatology abhors a vaccuum. I agree with Jeff- the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

  19. Dagfinn said

    Jeff, I agree that the AGW story would be strengthened without the bad paleo stuff. But this is more general: there is a trade-off between intensity and drama on the one hand and credibility on the other. And the warmist camp, being dominated by extreme alarmists rather than the more level-headed scientists (who areless visible in public), is choosing intensity and drama. And when their credibility suffers, their response is to increase the level of alarm even further to compensate.

    It’s like a company that sell poor merchandise with deceptive advertising. This strategy will crash eventually, and it probably is crashing already.

  20. Steven Mosher said

    Agreed.

    as prosecuters the AGW folks have a very strong case. they got the gun. the fingerprints on the gun. a dead victim. an eye witness. And then they call a handwriting analyst to the stand to testify about carpet fibers found in a lunch sack in a gutter a mile away from the scene of the crime. And the handwriting analyst, violates the discovery rules, has a sloppy lab, got his degree online, and knows nothing about fiber evidence.

    And the jury says WTF?

  21. Steven Mosher said

    re 16.

    No Dan. Despite all the issues with the land data, there is little room for doubt that it HAS WARMED in the last 100 years.
    Its not COLDER. its warmer. There are many lines of evidence that all indicate WARMER and not colder. There are no lines of evidence that it is colder. none.

    Lets just talk about the land and UHI.

    since 1900 the land record suggests a warming of about .8C over land. NOBODY has any evidence that the number is actually 0C. None.

    As far as actual evidence about UHI Bias you’ve got two serious numbers on the table.

    1. Bias is 0-.05C for UHI (jones)
    2. Bias is .4C (or so) McKittrick.

    or lets say

    1. 10% of all warming over land is due to UHI
    2. 50% of all warming over land is due to UHI

    But anyways you have two camps ( of serious people who actually produce results) seperated by .4C in the land record. given the record from satilites, … if u gave me an under over bet at .2C bias.. Id take the under

  22. Bart said

    The main thrust of AGW would hardly, if at all, be changed if millennial proxy reconstructions were tossed out of the window.

    But it would only be a matter of time before another ‘stick’ was found or invented with which to chase climate scientists. Perhaps a baseball bat?

  23. tonyb said

    Jeff

    Good question.

    The interesting thing is that we have a wealth of much examined and validated instrumentation that records the temperatures during a large part of the LIA. I collect them here.

    http://climatereason.com/LittleIceAgeThermometers/

    These are backed up by numerous observations. So whilst we can’t go back into the depths of time with these we can still cover a great deal of the Hockey stick timetable.

    I think it is important to put the known climate data into its proper perspective. This is CET to 1659 showing trends.

    Overall trend;

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jdrake/Questioning_Climate/_sgg/m2_1.htm

    By month;

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jdrake/Questioning_Climate/_sgg/m2m1_1.htm

    As you can see, throughout the record the temperatures have been warming-centuries before the input of Co2 by man. The period around 1700-1730 shows a particularly notable upturn in temperatures.

    This instrumental record is backed up by various other records, such as this one from Uppsalla.

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/how-long-is-a-long-temperature-history/

    We are fortunate with this record- from our friend Arrhenius’s home town- to have the botanical garden records as well. These take us back to around 1695. Around 1710 they talk about planting outside some quite exotic plants-together with mulberries.

    So the temperature rise can be traced back to at least 1690, and if we look further back, before the English Civil War, we can know that the coldest part of this second phase of the LIA ocurred in the early part of the 17th Century, so we can actually trace that rise from around 1620.

    The modern GISS record from 1880 merely ‘plugs’ into the end of this well documented slow and gentle rise. The Giss record curiously started from a known trough in temperatures around 1880-if Hansen had taken the previous decades records, when there was a notable peak, the slope would not be as high as is commonly shown.

    Here are additional linear regressions for some of the oldest data sets in the world-all show the same slight warming trend over centuries.

    Our datasets demonstrate that rather than warming, we are becoming ‘less cold’ as we move away from severe LIA winters which depressed overall mean temperatures in any year particularly affected by 1 or 2 degrees C

    This link here demonstrates the abeyance of severe winters (graph 3)

    http://mclean.ch/climate/England_Scotland.htm

    This one here demonstrates the relative constancy of summers compared to winters.

    http://climate4you.com/CentralEnglandTemperatureSince1659.htm

    This all suggests to me that CO2 is a very weak climate driver that is overwhelmed by natural variability.

    To me the (other) really interesting question is what caused these short sharp and severe LIA interludes (which by no means occurred every year) which were interspered with periods nearly as warm as today? Could the circumstances recurr?

    tonyb

  24. Molly said

    Eco anarchists: A new breed of terrorist?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/eco-anarchists-a-new-breed-of-terrorist-1975559.html

    But who would want to draw him?

    http://www.ihatethemedia.com/everybody-draw-al-gore-day

  25. chris1958 said

    Let’s get back to basis. I have no doubt it’s getting warmer and no doubt that there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere. This must have some impact. However, the hockey stick reconstruction with its cooler MWP is used as evidence that current warming is unprecedented and very likely the result of numerous additional positive feed-backs leading to runaway warming. Take away Michael Mann’s hockey stick and the overall significance of recent warming is far more difficult to ascertain in the light of a MWP equal to or greater than current temperatures.

  26. KevinUK said

    Mosh

    “No Dan. Despite all the issues with the land data, there is little room for doubt that it HAS WARMED in the last 100 years.
    Its not COLDER. its warmer. There are many lines of evidence that all indicate WARMER and not colder. There are no lines of evidence that it is colder. none. ”

    Along with many many so called skeptics (or non-natural climatic variability deniers as I’d prefer to be called) I agree with you on this one Mosh namely that there are many lines of so called ‘evidence’ that point to the fact that statistically on average the planet has slowly warmed over the 20th century. However but for the ‘hockey stick’ and Mann et al’s attempts to persuade the world that the MWP and LIA didn’t exist we’d probably all (as Hubert lamb did) be saying ‘so what!!!’ or as the kids are prone to do these days ‘whatever!!’. This multi-centennial warming as a result of the climates recovery from the nadir of the LIA is nothing exceptional when one looks at the variation in earth’s climate on millenial timescales that includes such epocs as the Younger Dryas, the Holocene Climatic Optimum, teh Roman Warm period etc.

    What matters is whether or not the warming trend towards the later part of the 20th century was ‘unprecedented’ (it clearly wasn’t as it is statistically no different to teh warming trend that preceded it from 1910 to 1940) and whether or not as Mann et al would have us all believe that it can only be explained by our continued and accelerating use of fossil fuels to power our economies. This is the ‘pea under the thimble’ that Steve McIntyre refers to Mosh! NOT the wholely modest natural warming trend from what was a low (teh LIA) preceded by a high (teh MWP) within the last millenium.

    IMO the proxies are central to the whole case for ‘we must act now’ CAGW. The climate models will not work without first being parameterised/’fitted’ through a process of hindcasting to the past. The whole ‘but we can’t explain the late 20th century warming without invoking CO2′ case is dependent on attempting to show that the climate models can account for natural climatic variability. After the IPCC 2AR and on the lead up to the IPCC TAR, the climate models came under a great deal of crticism for their inability to adequately account for natural climatic variability. As evidenced in the Climategate emails, Briffa and the other paleos were tasked to come up with data which could be specifically used to enable the climate models to account for natural climatic variability. Without this paleo data, the climate models would have continued to have very little skill in hindcasting the past (some would argue they still don’t have any skill I’m one of them). With an inability to adequately account for past natural climatic variability the climate modellers could hardly claim that their models are good enough to predict (project?) future climate change on multi-decadal/mult-centennial timescales so the paleo data is crucial to the whole issue.

    And finally as we all know you can’t be in a position to claim that ‘we must act now’ unless you can come up with an ‘unprecendented’ and ‘clear and present danger’ storyline. To do that you must claim net significant positive feedbacks in the climate system (that clearly don’t exist) and program these into your climate model. That way an innocent wholely natural climatic warming trend as a result of recovering from the nadir of the LIA can be turned into a clamour that ‘in order to save the planet we must act now and introduce a new world order’.

    KevinUK

  27. Craigo said

    The simple answer is the Hockey stick is wonderful. It demonstrates causation and correlation with increasing co2 levels and we all know that only man is responsible for increasing co2 emissions through burning fossil fuels. It is the new narrative.

    The rest is just detail that is far to complicated for mere mortals and only real climate scientists can comprehend the complexity. “Settled Science!” Move along now, stop looking at all that gridded data and paleo. Didn’t your father warn you against such things?

    I see the HS as the tool that took the green fringe into the mainstream. Most folks I know had no problem with recycling and a desire to live in a cleaner planet but they weren’t about to give up red meat. Suddenly HS, and green is the new liberal. SAVE THE PLANET! The green vote now matters! The extremists have moved mainstream and now hold some measure of influence in politics where previously they we living up trees or freeing animals from laboratories. Political correctness now includes the new narrative of saving the planet.

    So what we have is blogging on the details which whilst interesting, really “doesn’t matter” to the narrative as has been demonstrated by the outcome of investigations “Climategate”.

    I don’t think it is all bad – extremes tend to polarize people and make them ask new questions that bloggers will answer where the MSM has failed. It won’t topple the fortress but expose enough holes to show there is nothing to fear from this.

    As they used to say in Mozambique: “A luta continua”. But that is another story. And an interesting metaphor.

  28. AMac said

    Bart #22
    Steven Mosher #20

    There’s a related question pending in the Comments of Keith Kloor’s “Journalism” post at Collide-a-scape, currently #153 (numbering there isn’t stable, so May 20th 7:31pm).

    A productive, published dendrochronologist wrote in to disupute passionate CAGW blogger Michael Tobis’ assertion that “Tree ring counting is not tightly integrated with climate science or representative of its intellectual traditions.” (I first saw Tobis present this position when he and I were arguing back-and-forth on Tiljander a few months back at The Blackboard. “It doesn’t matter anyway” is a much more defensible position than the silly “Mann08 is correct.”)

    Kevin Anchukaitis wrote (#124):

    Dendroclimatology is not ‘counting’ anymore than any science is stamp collecting. It is a field and laboratory science with a substantial quantitative component and has long-standing standards and practices developed over nearly a century, and is indeed well integrated with the earth sciences. Some of us are biogeochemists or ecologists or climatologists or even modelers as well…

    Anyone really interested in critiquing some particular aspect of paleoclimatology would do well to actually talk to, you know, a paleoclimatologist… But caricatures of what we do and how we do it or relying on certain blogs for ‘knowledge’ about our discipline accomplishes little.

    Tobis carefully backpedaled in #141:

    …I believe the way Mann and Jones have been treated is shameful, and I have no doubt that they and the rest of the field have honorable intentions. That said, I find it entirely possible that a relatively isolated research community can more or less go off the rails… I do not have enough context to vouch for the results of the tree ring community, nor enough interest or motivation to pursue the matter…

    Anchukaitis replied (#148):

    …Much of what has been presented about the scientific aspects of research on the paleoclimate of the last 2000 years, here at Keith’s and in other online forums, has very little resemblance to how the majority of the discipline actually functions (one thing that highlights this are the ungrounded aspersions about the tree-ring research done at CRU). Reading these, I am reminded of a quote from an article written by Stephen Schneider:

    I want people … to poke around climate science and help us to see implicit assumptions and hidden paradigms. However, to get the attention of such a community, the detailed critiques need to be representative and fair and the technical details recognizable, not coming across as caricatures.

    My comment at #153 is an invitation to Dr. Anchukaitis et al. to seriously consider and carefully rebut Steven McIntyre’s Heartland Society presentation.

    I think that would be a big step forward. For all the sound and fury by AGW Consensus bloggers and scientists, I am not aware that such a task has been undertaken, soberly and carefully (e.g. without the distractions of ad hominem assertions).

    But, nothing so far along those lines. The thread is back to the usual ventings of spleen.

  29. PaulM said

    There is plenty to criticise in the IPCC report apart from the paleo stuff.

    IMHO the blatant attempts to deceive the reader in Chapter 3 of IPCC AR4 are more obvious and easier to understand than the complexities of PCA’s, and it’s something of a historical accident that skeptics have focussed on the hockey stick (due to the IPCC’s promotion of it in the 2001 TAR and Steve Mc’s relentless investigations).

    So I think the IPCC would be in just as deep **** without the proxies. Recall that it was the WG2 errors (glaciers, disasters, rainforests) that hit the MSM headlines.

  30. stan said

    Jeff,

    Hate to disagree with you, but criticizing climate science may be the easiest critique since explaining the ways Bill Clinton ran afoul of the ten commandments.

    Without Mann, we’d still be able to make fun of the gross incompetence of the thermometer siting, the screwed up software and stats, the absence of meaningful quality control in the databases, the absence of transparency, the rejection of the scientific method, the aversion to replication or audit, and the use of computer models that haven’t been verified or validated.

    We’d still see the ridiculous claims of doom and gloom from supposedly intelligent scientists. We’d still jokers like Rahmstorf produce his silliness and have the climate science community embrace it. Phil Jones would still be a bad joke, even without Mann. Tom Karl, Tom Peterson and their friends would still be producing their mistake-filled messes without Mann. Gavin, Hansen, Gore and their buddies would still make stupid bizarre claims without Mann.

    Pielke misses the point. Without Mann, skeptics wouldn’t have to do anything. Phil Jones, Tom Karl, Rahmstorf, Hansen, et al would still be producing all the incompetence comedy we can stand.

  31. stan said

    One more point — skeptics didn’t put Mann and the hockey stick all over scientific assessments. Skeptics didn’t put Mann all over the news media. Skeptics didn’t put the hockey stick in Algore’s movie.

    It was the gross incompetence of the climate scientists which allowed Mann and his hockey stick to become the poster boy of their crusade. If they had been competent scientists, he would have been checked and his mistakes corrected. If they had been competent scientists, science would have been done properly.

    If skeptics are using Mann and his hockey stick to beat up climate scientists, it is only because the incompetence of climate scientists turned him into a handy weapon for the purpose.

  32. michel said

    if the climatologists were to excise the bad paleo stuff, IMHO the AGW story is strengthened rather than damaged

    Jeff, I don’t think this is right. The bad paleo stuff is used to show there is some objective sign that there is something to be explained. Without it, we have nothing except ordinary variation of climate. The power of it was that you could point to a chart and show that this was unprecedented, and then motivate a search for a unique cause.

    Take that away, and you have a theory about climate sensitivity and feedback loops which requires some empirical justification. But there is none. Once you allow the MWP and the RWP as valid events of the same size as modern warming, you then have to explain why positive feedback did not happen then, and lead to runaway warming. So how do you know it exists at all? You also have to explain, what is logically even worse, why they were succeeded by coolings. And then you have to make some case that the present warming will not be succeeded by a cooling, when you have not been able to show that it is in any way unique.

    The argument is possible to make, but it requires a whole different level of detailed accounts of the past climate movements. The power of the HS was that it allowed that to be bypassed totally. The logically crushing point on can make once the paleo stuff has blown up, is to simply say that we are in the presence of long term cycles, and that its just like winter being followed by summer, and this is what all the evidence we have suggests is going to be happening, warming followed by cooling followed by warming.

    I have no idea why people should have chosen warming to get obsessed by and hysterical over, but surely you see that if that is your chosen poison, you must find some reason for thinking that (a) its getting hotter (b) its getting hotter than it ever has previously.

  33. Gary said

    Mildly interesting question, Jeff. Sort of like speculating about the outcome of WW2 had any number of things not happened.

    It was inevitable that reconstructions be included however, because they played such a large part in confirming the Milankovich cycles in the 1970s. 2-3Kyr resolution was inadequate and researchers cast about for proxies that did much better. High sedimentation rates and varved cores were rare, but trees are ubiquitous (more or less) and left annual (!) markers. So the paleos generally ignored the biologist’s messy warnings about confounding factors (moisture, nutrients, herbivory, genetics) and seized on the anthropological success of dendrochronology and extrapolated beyond the data uncertainties. Like most things, the key to the chamber of secrets also opened up a lot of unforeseen anxiety closets.

    I also think the IPCC would look better if it had relied on pure physics and not messed with biology, but we as a species (excepting you engineers, of course) are eager to anthropomorphize. Living things sell much better than equations. The IPCC might not have as much emotional sentiment on its side, but it would have a firmer foundation for a mission to mislead the policy-makers.

  34. Phil Brisley said

    Hello Jeff, for the sake of the thread I repeat your question.

    “Where would the IPCC be without proxy based reconstructions”

    I suspect they would be fine, the media response of the west to the man-made warming assumption has been one of interest, it is topical, feared and necessary to “support”.

    When in discussion with folks about climate change, more often then not, I notice they’re not informed about the signifigance of insolation at 65N, dipole molecule behavior, the 2ND law of thermodynamics and yet they have opinion.

    Your blog, Steve’s, Anthony’s, Lucia’s and BH are a this lurkers delight.

  35. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I think some readers/posters here are not seeing that you, Jeff ID, are making the (reasonable in my judgment) case for luke warming and are saying, in effect, that the consensus if confined to that POV would have a stronger case. I agree with you here, if that is your position.

    I think that the consensus spoke persons, when it really comes down to it, are generally giving the lukewarming position when they speak as, what I consider, true scientists. The problem with the debate about AGW, all too often, comes from the participants never stating their position in anything approximating quantitative terms – like how much of an increase in temperature can we expect in x years from now and with what probability and with what detrimental/beneficial effects. The consensus spoke persons too often rail against the denialist (denying any AGW warming) without consideration for stating their position in more detail and acknowledging the skeptics specific points.

    I do think, however, that we have consensus scientists with an agenda to show that AGW will have some very detrimental consequences and are not about to be even-handed in handling and reporting the evidence. The claims that warming will result in total or near total detrimental effects will put any skeptic on guard. That is the advocate speaking, in my mind, and not the scientist, and that is why that I do not consider such organizations as the IPCC and RC as scientific. They, as advocates, are not necessarily misinforming on the topic but rather limiting their evidence and arguments to only their advocacy side of the debate.

    I think a good example of advocacy over coming good science were some of the papers written a few years back attempting to show that hurricanes and tropical storms, in general, were going to/had already increase(d) greatly in frequency and/or intensity. The authors of these papers appear to have backed down on some of these claims of late, but I do not see any evidence that there has been a change in their advocacy positions. For example, note how Kerry Emanuel a scientists of some repute, can use very vague points and language when it comes to arguing the for and against advocacy positions on AGW.

    While I too agree with Jeff ID that the instrumental record shows warming over the past century, there remains a good deal of analyses to be made in determining the CIs for the temperature trends and looking for explanations for the break points in the temperature time series.

  36. Jeff Id said

    My point with this question was to simply say that if the IPCC were to take the time to get rid of the bad stuff at least once in a while, their credibility level would be far more difficult to contend with. Instead, every point made to them is always wrong and always unreasonable. It’s clear that their methods are incredibly biased and the attitude does more damage than good. Steve McIntyre was the one who brought this point up at our Stefani dinner and I found it somewhat thought provoking. I’m rather glad the IPCC hasn’t taken this approach as I have misgivings about the disaster sections to say the least, as well as modeling, temperature measurement, CO2 longevity, cloud feedback and a whole bunch of other issues which are treated as nothing more than shoulder shrugs by the IPCC.

    I fully beleive the process, as it is set up, incents extremist work by the scientists. I also beleive that most scientists resist that incentive at least to the point where they believe their own work, but the ones who come to the more extreme conclusions have risen to the top. I’m sure if you plied many of them with a few drinks and a good meal you would find a large number admitting they stretch things a little in the language.

    Still, if they chucked the poster child hockeystick there is probably enough other junk to keep up the ‘unprecedented’ language. Dunno really, but I might have a far different impression of the group, were they to act like scientists instead of politicians.

  37. Jeff Id said

    As far as lukewarming as Kenneth and Steve Mosher suggest, I still believe cloud feedback is more likely to be negative. Warmer air, more moisture in the air, more cloud cover, lower insolation. This is the only reason I don’t like the otherwise brilliant moniker.

  38. Andrew said

    I agree with “lukewarming” as far as it goes when it comes to the idea that current projections of huge amounts of warming and catastrophes tied to it are implausible.

    Where I differ is the idea that AGW has a strong a priori case. All I see is post hoc ergo propter hoc and affirmation of the consequent…

  39. JAE said

    36: Here’s a list of the “gates:”

    http://pgosselin.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/gate-blowup-come-on-in-gate-lovers/

    Plenty of reasons to question IPCC, even without the HS.

  40. mrpkw said

    # 20

    That’s great !!!!!!!!!!!!

  41. [...] Simple Question « the Air Vent [...]

  42. steven Mosher said

    #22. Bart

    “But it would only be a matter of time before another ‘stick’ was found or invented with which to chase climate scientists. Perhaps a baseball bat?”

    Actually the first real threat of physical violence I know of comes from Santer in the emails.

    I’ve made this point before. The refusal to debate is an invitation to settle the matter the on OTHER GROUNDS.
    the skeptics have been characterized as people who are beyond reasoning. THAT is the first step in every historical occurance of ‘re education’ by other means. Doubtless there will always be those who refuse to reason on both sides. Both sides have their bats. As both sides now tend toward appeals to motives both sides will find OTHER GROUNDS to settle the debate. force or threat of force. read morse peckham “explanation and power” Sad really. the only thing I know to combat that is transparency. even that will fall short for some.

  43. MikeN said

    I thought it was on this site that John Pittman posted why the hockey stick matters to the overall case for AGW. That said, RealClimate and other scientists would have far more credibility if they didn’t have to defend Mann all the time. They then get people defending the idea that they shouldn’t have to show their code, except when RealClimate is the one asking. Then they make up exaggerations about FOIA requests and burdensome requests.

    Without the hockey stick, they would have more credibility, but there would still be problems so long as the main case comes from models, and ‘noone can come up with a better model therefore this is correct.’

  44. steven Mosher said

    re 26. KevinUk. Thanks for agreeing.

    I try to take the argument in bite sized chucks. getting people to understand that there HAS BEEN warming is more difficulat than you imagine. Even worse, on one hand they will attack the record, and THEN use that same record to prove a case about sunspots. So first things first. It has WARMED. its not colder. We have many lines of evidence for the WARMING. next up,
    how much and how much uncertainity is there. THEN can we ascribe a cause or do we just shrug and say ‘so what?”
    sorry for the slow pace of argument, but you cant move to point B without establishing point A.

  45. steven Mosher said

    re 36.

    Yes Jeff. In fact I owe a hat tip to steveMc for the “trace evidence” metaphor. My sense in writing the book was this.
    The scientists were in deep fear of a boogey man. This skeptical machinery that would amplify every error ( you see them amplifying the errors of UAH in the mails.. adopting the tactics they fear ) so they went the extra mile to smooth over the kinds of issues that typically get highlighted. Lets take divergence. In normal science divergence would be a huge deal. A young dendro would be all over that shit. A grad students dream. take down the elders. thats how you make your bones. either do something boring or take on the giants. But in the current climate that stuff gets backgrounded. They dont want to forground those things that would NORMALLY be foregrounded. because they fear what the skeptics will do with this. Their fear outweighs their curiousity, which is ODD for some of them because as scientists they are naturally curious. Anyways, they stuff these things away and that very process creates more doubt than a skeptic attack ever could. because they undermine their authority and people naturally believe “false in one, false in all” illogical, but that is what people do.

  46. steven Mosher said

    re 29.

    I think the lukers are all going to agree that the CLOSER science gets to policy, the sketchier it gets. Thats why some of us like the ideas of reformulating the IPCC along clearer lines. With the basic science parts being a living document rather than this 5 year edit job.

  47. Tom Fuller said

    AGW survives just fine without the hockey stick, but CAGW does not. The hockey stick legitimizes discussion of runaway global warming and precipitous ice melt in the future. We don’t need it at all to say that the planet has warmed more quickly than many expected over the past 30 years. The religion needs the icon. The science never did.

  48. Bad Andrew said

    “So first things first. It has WARMED. its not colder. We have many lines of evidence for the WARMING.”

    Steven Mosher,

    Among the “many lines of evidence for the WARMING”, which one is the most convincing to you?

    Andrew

  49. [...] Simple Question « the Air Vent [...]

  50. steven Mosher said

    “Jeff, I don’t think this is right. The bad paleo stuff is used to show there is some objective sign that there is something to be explained. Without it, we have nothing except ordinary variation of climate. ”

    Wrong. where did you get your idea of “ordinary variation?” be careful, you cant appeal to paleo stuff.

    The argument for the effect of increased C02 can be made without any appeal to paleo stuff.

    Its 1850. Predict the temperature in 2010. What physics will help you do this? a physics that comprehends the role of of various gases in the atmosphere does a better job of predicting than a physics which does not comprehend the role of various gases.

    What the paleo promises is some more confidence. It doesnt deliver in my mind. BUT that is different from saying that “natural variation” explains everything. NATURAL VARIATION is the ABSENCE of explanation. Its not an explanation with any skill or power. its this position:
    “standing in 1850 I can say NOTHING about the future course of the climate and NO information about atmosphere of the future matters.” Lukewarmers would say this.

    “standing in 1850, if you tell me that in 100 years the atmosphere will have double the C02, I will bet that the future will be warmer. All other things being equal, I will make that bet.

    natural variation says we can say nothing and predict nothing.. oh except perhaps Willis’ formulation. we can say temps will vary within a band. + or minus. So in 1850 willis would say..this.

    1. Its 13C today, if C02 doubles by 2000 then the temp will be 13C+-3C. not very skillfull.

    A luke warmer would say..I’m gunna guess 14C if C02 doubles..

    The lukewarmer claim is that projections abot future temps that INCLUDE the physics of atmopsheric gases are MORE accurate than those that dont.

  51. steven Mosher said

    re 48.

    The lines of evidence that indicate it is getting warmer would be:

    1. Sea levels. Increasing sea levels over the period of 1850 to present are not consistent with a hypothesis that it has cooled since 1850.

    2. Glacial retreat. The retreat is not consistent with a hypothesis that is has cooled since 1850

    3. Ocean heat content. the increase is NOT CONSISTENT with a hypothesis that it has cooled.

    4. Species migration. The migrations are not consitent with a hypothesis that it has cooled.

    There is no evidence that supports the position that it has cooled since 1850. Given the highly unlikely notion that its the same temperature today as it was in 1850, I’ll say that there are two positions you can take.

    A. its warmer
    B. its colder

    All the evidence is for position A. So yes, its getting warmer. DONT confuse this with the following questions:

    1. how much
    2. how accurately do we know this
    3. Why

  52. Bad Andrew said

    Steven Mosher,

    You didn’t answer my question. I asked which ONE is the most convincing to you? First things first, like you said.

    Andrew

  53. Steve McIntyre said

    Take a look at my “editorial” at Pielke’s blog in Nov 2005 on whether the Hockey Stick matters?

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000630does_the_hockey_stic.html

    Points still make sense to me and include sensible advice for IPCC both then and now.

    McKitrick and Vranes also wrote contemporary articles on the same theme. Mann refused Pielke’s invitation.

  54. steven Mosher said

    Andrew. we could start with #1.

    You are welcome to raise questions about the sea level record. I’m anxious to see your evidence that it has actually gone down since the figures before 1900. If I were u I would avoid arguments about the accuracy of the record. thats a different question.

  55. Bad Andrew said

    “If I were u I would avoid arguments about the accuracy of the record. thats a different question.”

    The accuracy is in question? I did not know that.

    That would kind of be important to it’s Convincingness, I would think. ;)

    Andrew

  56. David S said

    Steves:
    Am I missing something or are your takes on the effects of removing the Hockey Stick more political than scientific? The issue that surely decides Jeff’s question is to what extent the GCMs are affected by reassessing the paleo records to remove all reconstructions contaminated by Mann’s errors? Is it fair to say that most GCMs incorporate or are in some way calibrated against what I would call consensus temperature records?

  57. AMac said

    Re: David S (May 21 16:54),

    Here is one ongoing initiative.

    PAGES Paleoclimate Reconstruction Challenge

    The last-millennium Paleoclimate Reconstruction Challenge will allow the community to directly address concerns regarding the validity of climate reconstructions and to establish an objective benchmark for climate reconstructions today.

    The idea is to use results from state-of-the-art coupled Atmosphere-Ocean-General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) in both open and blind-test reconstruction exercises.

    This has been discussed at Climate Audit, I think.

  58. Andrew said

    57-Yep:

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/04/02/ammanns-april-fools-joke/

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/04/12/ammanns-april-fools-joke-part-2/

    The PR Challenge. Aptly named.

  59. Kenneth Fritsch said

    DavidS @ Post #56:

    Steves:
    Am I missing something or are your takes on the effects of removing the Hockey Stick more political than scientific? The issue that surely decides Jeff’s question is to what extent the GCMs are affected by reassessing the paleo records to remove all reconstructions contaminated by Mann’s errors? Is it fair to say that most GCMs incorporate or are in some way calibrated against what I would call consensus temperature records?

    I will add to what you say here because you mentioned the P word. I personally judge that much of what is taken away from published works in climate science can often be better analyzed by acknowledging the political/advocate influences and/or spin. The way I judge organizations like the IPCC and the blog RC is that they are very much into marketing the push for immediate mitigation by the governments of the world of what they see as the detrimental effects of AGW. While from a science prospective one can say that the HS does not matter in the bigger picture of AGW and the paleoclimatology record, the HS was a god send to those doing the heavy lifting on marketing AGW mitigation, i.e your IPCCs and RCs of the world.

    On the other hand, I find the hand wave that the paleo record is not important or critical a little disconcerting. Those quips appear to assume that there is stronger evidence elsewhere and even without mentioning any specifics. That would leave the climate models and current instrumental temperature and CO2 records. Those sources of evidence, at least for predicting the future climate and particularly a catastrophic one have their own well known weaknesses and they do not become less weak by admitting failure or weaknesses in another area. That to me is simply another marketing ploy and not detailed in science.

  60. [...] Simple Question « the Air Vent [...]

  61. JAE said

    50:

    “The lukewarmer claim is that projections abot future temps that INCLUDE the physics of atmopsheric gases are MORE accurate than those that dont.” [sic]

    Of course, you are ASSUMING that the physics of atmospheric gases are completely known. AFIK, they are not, and there is absolutely no empirical evidence to show that increasing CO2 levels will raise temp. Nice theory, if you include only radiative effects, but no proof. There may even be some negative feedbacks, according to Lindzen, Spencer, etc.

    I’m still waiting for someone to draw me one of those fancy “radiation balance cartoons” for an actual place on the planet (instead of an earthly average). Like Fiji at noon, where the solar radiation alone is about 800 wm-2. That’s enough to heat a blackbody to 72 C. Presumeably there is also backradiation. Add that to the 800 W, and you should be able to cook a turkey. But, alas, it never gets much above 33 C there. Has all this really been explained?

    Even Einstein had to show empirical proof.

  62. Howard said

    Regardless of it’s importance to the IPCC, paleoclimate is absolutely critical to determining the potential degree of human induced (landuse, water use, gas emissions, etc.) climate change. Natural variation is only the absence of explanation because it is NOT UNDERSTOOD. So yes, it is not useful to blame warming on natural variation.

    Without a solid paleoclimate record (calibrated to the instrument record and verified with geologic meta data) natural variation cannot be determined.

    For all we know, natural variation from 1880-2010 contributes a -2’C cooling that is offset by CO2 with worst case positive feedbacks. I don’t think this scenario is true, but it is unknowable because we know little about natural variation and the paleoclimate gold standard are *consensus* hockey sticks.

    Climate science is in the crawling stage but swaggers like it is running a 4-minute mile. Until the hard bits are figured out, everyone just continues to shoot from the hip and speak out the arse.

  63. michel said

    Steven Mosher #50

    This is not at all logical.

    We know there is such a thing as natural variation, because we have thermometer records going back, at least in the UK, to the 17C. We know that one winter is cooler than another, one summer warmer than another. We can plot lines. So we know for sure that the prediction that temperatures will not vary is wrong. We know they have varied, and there is no reason to think they will stop varying.

    Now turn to the argument that a prediction made in 1850 of temperatures in 2010 would be made more skilful if based on the proposition that rising CO2 levels will produce small rises in temperature. This is of course not a test. It would perhaps lead to more accurate predictions for 2010, but it would lead to less accurate ones for 1931 and for 1950. As you well know, you can’t prove anything like this.

    The alternative to Willis’ suggestion is that there may be cycles of long term warming and cooling, which happen for reasons not yet understood. This seems like the most plausible explanation of the fragmentary evidence we have. We do know from historical records that there is reason to think there have been two significant periods of warming and cooling in modern times, the RWP and the MWP. The fragmentary historical evidence suggests they were of roughly the same dimensions as todays warming.

    I think it quite plausible that 1850 was about the same temperature as today. I don’t see what evidence there is to suggest that species are moving habitats on any scale which is not in the noise level. I don’t think there is any evidence that glaciers as a whole are retreating.

    The whole question is whether there is any phenomenon which requires or permits an explanation. Take another case for analogy. Is there any recent increase in volcanic activity that requires any explanation? Such as, for instance, the wrath of God?

    We would start out by saying that volcanic activity varies from year to year. Until we get to a year which is truly exceptional, or a series of years, we would say, there is nothing remarkable here to be explained. When someone argues that there are more this year than in the last ten, we would say, yes, but that is not very remarkable. Correlations with the recent rise in moral depravity are probably coincidental.

    Same thing in climate. I don’t think there is any evidence that we see any degree of recent warming which is in any way unusual in the light of what we know of the history of the last 2000 years. There is nothing requiring explanation. The point of the HS was to argue that there is something to explain. But there is not.

  64. Craigo said

    Jeff

    A question:
    The northern hemisphere has enjoyed a cool winter and by all accounts, a late spring. We are still seeing a high global temperature anomaly. How does this relate to tree growth? How does this correlate to dendro/tremometer results? How does this get accounted for in history?

  65. JAE said

    Craigo, 64: A short review, since I have some knowledge in this area:

    First the facts:

    1. The tree-growth/temperature relationship is postulated ONLY for those trees that are at the limits of their altitudinal/latitudinal range–where the temperature could POSSIBLY be more important than the other variables that affect growth (water, stand density, nutrients, sunlight, etc).
    2. The relationship between plant growth and temperatue can be pictured as an upside-down U-shaped quadratic with a maximum at about 25 C (growth increases until about 25 C, then DECLINES as temperatues increase. This has been established clearly with greenhouse studies. Because of this, the whole idea of a linear relationship between ring width (or density) with temperature is, on the surface, simply stupid (i.e., how do you know where you are on this non-linear curve???).

    Now, MY biases/conjectures:

    1. There are SO many factors that affect tree growth, that the idea that temperature is dominant is very questionable in virtually all cases. There could possibly be a few trees/stands where temperature is a big deal, but not many. Hence, the whole concept of using trees as a proxy for temperature is suspect.
    2. It is very well-established that tree ring widths are EXTREMELY sensitive to moisture, and that is likely the major variable seen in all these “temperature proxies.” It is virtually impossible to isolate this variable from some putative temperature effect. This becomes even more of a concern in the very poor, sandy soils (e.g., timberline) where most of the “treemometers” live.
    3. People that believe in this “science” probably know little or nothing about trees. I suspect that Mann is in this category.

  66. steven Mosher said

    JAE.

    “Of course, you are ASSUMING that the physics of atmospheric gases are completely known. AFIK, they are not, and there is absolutely no empirical evidence to show that increasing CO2 levels will raise temp. Nice theory, if you include only radiative effects, but no proof. There may even be some negative feedbacks, according to Lindzen, Spencer, etc.”

    no. Not assuming that at all. QUITE THE OPPOSITE. Of course there may be negative feedbacks. and monkeys may fly out of my butt. there may be positive feedbacks and pigs will fly. Nothing I said has anything thing to do with that. Lindzen would agree with me that all other things being equal, C02 will warm the planet. dont you listen to him or spencer?

    “Mankind’s burning of fossil fuels creates more atmospheric carbon dioxide. As we add more CO2, more infrared energy is trapped, strengthing the Earth’s greenhouse effect. This causes a warming tendency in the lower atmosphere and at the surface….Now, you might be surprised to learn that the amount of warming directly caused by the extra CO2 is, by itself, relatively weak. It has been calculated theoretically that, if there are no other changes in the climate system, a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration would cause less than 1 deg C of surface warming (about 1 deg. F). This is NOT a controversial statement…it is well understood by climate scientists.”

    ( thats spencer) So as I said if you stand there and know nothing ELSE but this, your best prediction is that adding C02 will increase the temperature. In short since we have no real knowledge of feedbacks I look at arguments for postive and negative feedbacks with equal skepticism.

    of course there is the question of feedbacks. But PRIOR to the question of feedbacks is the BASIC science that Lindzen doesnt deny and spenser doesnt deny. Not listen very carefully. This science is NOT CHALLENGED by lindzen and Spenser
    That adding C02 WILL warm the planet. Feedbacks are the question. Now to be sure lindzen and spenser argue for higher negative feedbacks and warmists argue for more positive feedbacks. Can we be certain about which of these camps is correct? Not so sure about that. That is I have doubts about both of these camps. So if I rely only on the INCOMPLETE physics which is the most solid physics, the physics that both lidzen and spenser agree upon, I have to conclude that C02 will cause warming. Put another way, we understand that feedbacks may alter that number up? down? Hmm Im not convinced by either sides arguments. which leaves me with just the barest of physics. Incomplete? yes. useless? no.
    why? see if u can answer

  67. Thoughtful Tom said

    It’s a scary question because if the climatologists were to excise the bad paleo stuff, IMHO the AGW story is strengthened rather than damaged.

    I completely agree with that statement, and I’ve posted it here and elsewhere. Don’t like the hockey stick?

    Throw it away.

    Now let’s talk about the problem and how to solve it.

  68. steven Mosher said

    63:

    “We know there is such a thing as natural variation, because we have thermometer records going back, at least in the UK, to the 17C. We know that one winter is cooler than another, one summer warmer than another. We can plot lines. So we know for sure that the prediction that temperatures will not vary is wrong. We know they have varied, and there is no reason to think they will stop varying.”

    You didnt read very carefully. try again. natural variation is not an explanation. do you understand the difference between explanation and observation.

    WRT..”It would perhaps lead to more accurate predictions for 2010, but it would lead to less accurate ones for 1931 and for 1950.”

    Incomplete comparative. MORE accurate THAN what prediction? less accurate THAN what prediction.
    you missed the point. see your first mistake.

  69. steven Mosher said

    Bad andrew

    “The accuracy is in question? I did not know that.

    That would kind of be important to it’s Convincingness, I would think.”

    actually not. For example. I look at my bank account. I know I started with about 10,000 dollars in the account this month.
    I’m looking at my records and I notice some entries missing. I notice some shifted decimal marks. But I have no doubt that it is going down. I have no evidence of ANY deposits. So with sea level we have records. as will ALL DATA there are always issues. But in no case do I have any evidence whatsoever that the level today is LOWER than that in 1850. remember the threshold question. Warmer or colder. ALL the additional lines of evidence from the strong to the weak, from the accurate to the error filled, all are CONSISTENT WITH a warmer planet and INCONSISTENT WITH a colder planet.

    So. I ask you is it warmer now or colder. You can say

    A. Colder
    B. Warmer
    C. You dont know flip a coin

    And I am saying that all the evidence indicates that this question is NOT a coin flip. that ON BALANCE all the evidence is consistent with a warmer world and inconsistent with a cooler world. Absent any evidence for a cooler world, your best over/under bet is a bet for a warmer world. Even IF that evidence is not proof. even IF that evidence has issues. all the evidence points to a warmer world and NONE points to a colder world.

  70. [...] Simple Question « the Air Vent [...]

  71. Geoff Sherrington said

    67 Thoughtful Tom “Now let’s talk about the problem and how to solve it.”

    What problem? If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

    In a world with a gaseous atmosphere in motion, there will not be a steady state. There will be continuous change. The magnitude of that continuous change is hard to pin down accurately. It needs to be pinned down only if it has potential for harm. So far, it does not seem to have caused grief.

    It does not worry me at all if the earth is on a rebound from a LIA. It does not worry me if burning all known fossil fuels will raise the temp a few degrees.

    Farmers waiting for rainfall know the feeling. You hope for this or that, not too much, not too little, not too soon, not too far off and in the end the earth systems do what they would have done in any case.

    My worry is that scientists are losing the ability to conduct proper science. This is a worry because good science can and does enrich us all. With poorer science, our children and theirs wait longer for life to be more utopian.

    The slack work of some climate scientists might have already produced change here in Oz. The rigor of statistics is to be tightened. Read this and shudder, part taken from news.com.au:

    UP TO 50,000 people face a fine of $110 a day if they refuse to divulge information on their health and lifestyle to Australian Bureau of Statistics researchers.

    The Australian Health Survey announced in last week’s Budget will be the most comprehensive research on the health of Australians ever undertaken and will be jointly funded by the National Heart Foundation.

    But the 50,000 people chosen to take part will be compelled to do so.

    Participants will be weighed and measured and will be asked to give a blood and urine sample.

    They will also be asked detailed questions on what they drink and eat and their physical activity.

    The ABS said participation “is ultimately compulsory for those chosen by random sampling to ensure the survey accurately represents the Australian population as a whole”.

    However, participants would only be compelled to answer questions. Providing a blood and urine sample and weighing in would be voluntary.

    While it would seek co-operation of those selected, the ABS said it had the power to direct unwilling respondents to provide information.

    “If a participant was directed in writing and continued to refuse to comply, they may be prosecuted under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 and a fine may be imposed,” a spokesman for the ABS said.

    “A fine of up to $110 per day may be imposed until such time as the information is supplied.”

    Imagine how proxies would look now if the researcher was fined $110 a day for every proxy measurement rejected from the final conclusion. It’s one solution to cherry picking.

  72. Peter Dunford said

    “Where would the IPCC be without the proxy based reconstructions?”

    I’m sorry, tAV is a technical blog. Please address your question to the marketing department at RealClimate.

  73. AMac said

    Steven Mosher, when you make the most basic points about increasing CO2’s net effect (#66 cooling/dk/warming? Warming) and the preponderance of the evidence of the past 150 years (#68 cooling/dk/warming? Warming) — there is never an effective rebuttal. It seems to me that at some point, onlookers are justified in concluding that no compelling counterarguments exist.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    On dendro: It seems to me that there is general agreement on the main influences on tree-rings, for those trees that are the best candidates for temperature proxies. In particular, per #65, those at the northern or high-altitude edges of boreal forests.

    Those would be, in order —

    1. Soil moisture

    2a. Temperature/growing season length (tie w/ 2b)

    2b. Major local influences (tie w/ 2a)

    4. Everything else

    From the point of view of a temperature proxy: 1, 2b, and 3 are “noise.”

    Consider some instrumental record of Temperature as a proxy for summer temperature/growing season length. Consider rainfall as a proxy for soil moisture.

    One could make a two-dimensional matrix with Temperature and Rainfall, looking at tree rings as the dependent variable. It seems likely there would be peaks and valleys on this plain, with the peaks corresponding to the most favorable combinations of the two. E.g. qualitatively, high temperatures and longer growing seasons with plentiful rainfall would lead to thicker rings, while high temps and longer summers with low rainfall would lead to thinner rings.

    r^2 for tree rings vs. rainfall/temp combined could be substantially higher than r^2 for either variable alone.

    This is such an obvious direction, that I assume it’s been explored.

    Of course (assuming r^2 is indeed much higher), this wouldn’t deliver the product that the paleotemperature folks want. Earlier than the calibration period, you’d be able to make more skillful ‘hindcasts’ about the {rainfall,temp} matrix for those particular trees. This might emphasize the limited value of tree-rings for ‘hindcasting’ temperature alone, and also per #65 the non-linearity of the tree-ring vs. temperature relationship.

  74. JAE said

    Sorry, Mosh, but you (or anyone else) cannot PROVE any “heat trapping” effect with your physics. You can theorize and draw nice diagrams. Until you can show empirical evidence, you have proved nothing. That’s the nature of science.

    If your theory is correct it seems to me that it should be much hotter in areas where there are more greenhouse gases. It’s not.

  75. Bad Andrew said

    “I know I started with about 10,000 dollars in the account this month.
    I’m looking at my records and I notice some entries missing.”

    Steven Mosher,

    You only know you started with 10,000 if you experienced the deposit of the 10,000 yourself in the first place. Otherwise, it’s another unverifiable number, like all of climate science appears to be- entertaining analyses on unverifiable numbers.

    Therefore it’s not even a coin flip on any transactions afterwards on what your balance actually is if you don’t really know what you started with. If your subsequent transactions are unverifiable, then you REALLY don’t know what is going on.

    Andrew

  76. Bad Andrew said

    “there is never an effective rebuttal. It seems to me that at some point, onlookers are justified in concluding that no compelling counterarguments exist.”

    AMac,

    I don’t know what you are looking at. Not only does Steven Mosher not answer the questions asked, (he still hasn’t answered my question, BTW) he only regurgitates the standard talking points. He doesn’t really engage in a true conversation, because he is dedicated AGW proponent, so he tends to avoid talking about the really critical stuff.

    Andrew

  77. If you haven’t seen it yet, please read the latest warning about global warming by NAS President Cicerone in Physics World:

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/42666

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  78. AMac said

    Re: Bad Andrew (May 22 09:38),

    For the last 100+ years, since Louis Agassiz’s ‘crazy’ ideas gained credence, most scientifically-literate people have accepted the idea of an “Ice Age”. The last episode (Wisconsin, Wurm, other names) ended about 16,000 years ago.

    Do you think the earth was “much colder” ~20,000 years BP than it is now? Is that a meaningful way to talk? What sort of evidence would weigh credibly on that question, in your opinion?

    If your answer to the above is “yes”: Is it reasonable to think about a climate regime that is “somewhat colder”? “Slightly colder?” If yes, how would one form a judgment; what evidence is acceptable?

    If “slightly colder” is conceptually acceptable, what about “slightly warmer”? If Earth has been slightly/very colder/warmer in the past, could it be so in the future?

    Most readers of this thread aren’t going to appreciate this comment, I suspect. Because their answers to most of these questions are “of course,” I suspect. Of course climate can change a lot or a little over time; of course there are “proxies” for qualitatively and quantitatively describing warming and cooling. The utility of any given proxy (tree rings, oxygen isotopes, lake sediments, thermometer readings) is always open to being questioned. Neither accepted unquestioningly nor rejected out-of-hand.

    Even if we oughtn’t pursue this line in this thread (off topic), something to think about, perhaps.

  79. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: Bad Andrew (May 22 09:38),

    I’ll tell you why I wouldn’t answer your question. Because it’s a stupid question, or perhaps a trick question. If it’s a trick question, it borders on being trollish. I leave it as an exercise for the student to figure out why.

  80. Bad Andrew said

    “I’ll tell you why I wouldn’t answer your question. Because it’s a stupid question, or perhaps a trick question. If it’s a trick question, it borders on being trollish. I leave it as an exercise for the student to figure out why.”

    DWP,

    Where’s the coffee maker? I’ll put on a pot, because I think I just got in someone’s kitchen. :wink:

    Relax, gentlemen. This is just comments on a blog.

    Andrew

  81. Bad Andrew said

    “If “slightly colder” is conceptually acceptable, what about “slightly warmer”? If Earth has been slightly/very colder/warmer in the past, could it be so in the future?”

    AMac,

    Yes. Both are conceptually acceptable. That’s not the question.

    The issue is, if you are going to represent past, present and future climate/temperature accurately with numbers, you have quite a lot of work to do to to complete such a task. I don’t see that anyone has done it adequately.

    Andrew

  82. AMac said

    Andrew,

    OK, it helps to know that you accept the concept of an ice age. Presumably the concept of a warmer, virtually ice-free planet (eg during most of the Cretaceous), as well. And you accept the idea that the Earth could be somewhat or slightly warmer or colder than it is this year. And that in theory, this could be measured with numbers.

    In my opinion, to go any further, you would have to take up the challenge of moving the dialog out of Monty Python “Argument Clinic” territory. Trying to do it adequately is what Zeke Hausfather, Ron Broberg, Roman M and Jeff, the ccc guys, Tamino, etc. are engaged in. F’rinstance, see the recent Blackboard post. But you knew I was going to say that. Not much more for me to add.

  83. Bad Andrew said

    “Trying to do it adequately”

    To go back to Steve Mosher’s analogy, if my that was the slogan of my bank, I’d move my money to another bank.

    I’m done for now. I know that makes you guys happier. Doing something reality-based now… Golf. :wink:

    Andrew

  84. michel said

    So. I ask you is it warmer now or colder. You can say

    A. Colder
    B. Warmer
    C. You dont know flip a coin

    Why are there only these three choices? My own answer would be that it is the same. However, to be the same does not mean identical, for any given year in the past differs from any given recent year up or down. It means that any variation up or down is not outside the noise level. In short, observed phenomena are consistent with the temperature being the same. What’s wrong with that?

  85. stan said

    I’m still wondering why anyone puts faith in studies which haven’t been replicated or audited. Why is there an assumption of competence? The climate science community embraced Mann, but his work when finally checked was exposed as garbage. They embraced Jones and Rahmstorf. Both, when someone finally got around to taking a look at their work, proved to be screwups. Climate scientists have embraced CRU, despite the complete mess that it has proven to be. They accept temperature data without bothering to check the instruments. Why do the people who have accepted all the inept work have any credibility left?

    What kind of scientist is so lax that he doesn’t check his instruments? Doesn’t calibrate them regularly? Doesn’t insure that they are installed pursuant to basic scientific standards? Answer — a grossly negligent scientist, i.e. incompetent.

    What kind of person/scientist advocates that the world adopt extremely painful policies without bothering to check his instruments, without bothering to replicate the work of his peers, without inquiring as to the quality control for the data, without seeking the input of the best available people to check the stats or computer code? Answer — a reckless person who is not morally mature; a person who is not trustworthy.

    I note that no one has responded to my previous comment. Why doesn’t all the sloppiness and irresponsibility in the climate science field bother anyone else?

  86. Tom Fuller said

    Stan, I think it bothers a lot of us, and probably explains our presence here. But to carry on the conversation, let’s start with some premises that many of us can agree on:

    1. Mann and his cohorts were wrong/sloppy/dishonest–whatever. We cannot trust their version of the paleoclimatic record. We revert to Lamb’s hand-drawn chart of gentle curves and a MWP warmer than today.

    2. It is getting warmer quite quickly–faster than many expected.

    3. We are contributing greenhouse gases on an industrial scale–it’s not insane to wonder if the two are connected.

    4. We are doing other things that impact the climate on at least a regional basis, mainly changing the albedo of large areas and artificially changing the amount of moisture areas receive.

    5. Without exact knowledge of how long warming will continue or how much of it can be attributed to our activities, should we do something? Anything? Nothing?

    I have a personal opinion based on those premises. (I think we should do something now–more or less what Obama proposed as a candidate, although I prefer a low carbon tax to cap and trade. I advocate doing things we will have to do eventually, and that we do them sooner, even if some of them will cost more because we’re jumping the gun.) I respect anybody else who has an opinion. I shut down or get angry when people tell me they are certain about things like sensitivity or the precise nature of feedbacks when they clearly don’t.

    If you don’t believe the measurements that say temperature has warmed since the 1880s or that CO2 concentrations have climbed, you will be arguing from completely different premises, and it will be difficult to have some kind of discussion. But otherwise, I don’t think the premises I advance above are onerous or controversial. What do you say?

  87. timetochooseagain said

    86-Can’t get into the rest of your comment right now, but “It is getting warmer quite quickly–faster than many expected.” Faster than who expected? When did they do this expecting? If I linearly extrapolated ten years ago the twenty preceding years, I’d practically get the linear trend dead on.

  88. harrywr2 said

    “Where would the IPCC be without the proxy based reconstructions?”

    Climate Science would make a stronger argument for more moderate action.
    This is the fundamental mistake many climate activists have made.
    There are already some fairly strong arguments globally for moving away from fossil fuels that have nothing to do with climate.
    There are questions of energy security, cost of supply etc etc etc.

    If one wants to sell getting off of fossil fuels then the arguments in order should be
    1) The price of fossil fuels is going to be a lot higher in the future, we need cheaper alternatives.
    2) Much of our fossil fuel comes from places that are quite ‘unstable’, we need more secure alternatives.
    3) It’s also good for the environment

  89. I agree with Harrywr2. – Oliver

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  92. Thoughtful Tom said

    In a world with a gaseous atmosphere in motion, there will not be a steady state. There will be continuous change. The magnitude of that continuous change is hard to pin down accurately. It needs to be pinned down only if it has potential for harm. So far, it does not seem to have caused grief.

    (#71)
    Ignoring your rant about the 1905 Australian Census laws….

    I thought the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico put to rest permanently the malarkey that “mere humans” could not affect the great big world. Can’t we please raise the bar of debate?

    We know it is not just natural variation. We know CO2 is one of the culprits. There is some legitimate debate concerning the size of the warming (which way will feedbacks go (and as anyone has looked at this knows – the more bumps in your hockey stick handle, the less likely it is that feedbacks will help us)).

    So why not take action now, when it is cheap, instead of curtailing our children’s wealth by leaving them a very expensive (and perhaps impossible) mess to deal with?

    We are going to run out of oil. Making it more expensive sooner gives us more time to solve the problem, and kicks in the greatest creative force of all time – the American desire to avoid taxes!

  93. David Jay said

    Mosh (66):

    I understand your position on radiative physics, but as a process engineer I have to submit that there is an equally substantive physics position regarding climate –

    No real-world system can operate within a narrow band of conditions with varying inputs without some stability (defined as negative feedback). So I submit that the assumption of negative feedback is AT LEAST as worthy of being a base assumption as the radiative physics.

    So I start with CO2 radiative physics and negative feedback as the two bedrock default positions. Any other position must “show code and data” to even be considered.

    I know that you have never taken this postion, but my background causes me to instinctively revolt at the entire concept of climate “tipping points”.

  94. Thoughtful Tom said

    #93,
    Who is saying there are no negative feedbacks? The whole point of the AGW theory is to show that the CO2 forcings are overwhelming natural variations AND feedbacks. The warming of the last decade, coinciding with the solar minimum and a strong La Nina cycle are evidence for overwhelming natural variation. Melting glaciers and arctic sea ice and a warming ocean are evidence for overwhelming some feedbacks.

    It is disingenuous to suggest the theory doesn’t consider negative feedbacks, when it does in fact (whether you agree or not is a different matter, but to say they don’t consider them seems false).

    I can’t NOT post this link – the speed of the melt this year is amazing (not making any weather for climate changes – just astounded at the rate of decrease – we are talking about millions of square kilometers!)

  95. Howard said

    Thoughtful Tom:

    The GOM spill is a red herring WRT the subject topic. Please stay on point.

    We don’t know the natural variation component. We do know that 2xCO2 will produce 4 W/m2, but where that goes or what it does is unknown (see missing hear re Kevin Trenberth).

    Action now is always more expensive than in the future.

    Our grandkids will have more brains and tools to fix the problem. We’ve spent 30-years cheaply cleaning up grandpa’s mess that he neglected winning WWI, WWII, and going to the moon. Yeah, the USA is cleaner than ever, thank you very much.

    Making oil that is already more expensive to extract artificially expensive is the old broken window theory of economic growth. Cheap energy is the key to technological innovation. Hamstring the economy like you suggest and people will focus on the basics and not luxuries like environmental cleanup and technological research.

    Please be more thoughtful and raise the bar next time.

  96. Thoughtful Tom said

    95

    What nonsense! The thread is discussing what we would do without Mann. Most of us posting here believe Mann exaggerated the threat to spur public action. Those in the skeptic camp claim man’s puny actions cannot affect the great big world (clearly understating the threat – the anti-Mann). It informs their ideology, just as Mann’s belief’s that man’s action were harming the earth inform his ideology.

    The gulf oil spill is a fairly complete refutation to the notion that man does not affect the world. So it is anything but OT.

    To claim the earth is cleaner now, as we (among many things) “clean” gas by adding MTBE is to be, simply put, wrong. We have stopped some of the most egregious pollutions. We have remediated some of the worst damage.

    Our sensibilities have changed such that rivers glistening with oil and roadways filled with garbage are no longer acceptable. To think we are somehow “cleaner” is ridiculous. Perhaps, “less dirty per unit of production”, or some such weasel words.

    That we no longer have Love Canals is not proof that we have a cleaner planet. We are simply better at fooling ourselves by spreading the pollution out more evenly. If it were not the object of the current debate, global warming is one obvious sign of generalized pollution.

    But pick a measure – how about global fish catch?

    http://www.greenfacts.org/en/ecosystems/toolboxes/figure2-2-fish-catch-depth.htm

    How about species extinction?

    http://www.well.com/user/davidu/worse.html

    Asthma?

    http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/lung/asthma/asthstat.pdf

    How about children “recycling” toner cartridges in China?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1913570/

    I am asking for an intellectually honest debate here. Some hand waving about the cleaner environment and an appeal to economic theory which I have zero confidence you understand does not cut it.

    To that point, I think it can be said the feedbacks are not completely understood, but the early results do not look favorable to mankind’s current path.

    {Sorry I am so strident here – I grew up near Love Canal, higher cancer rates, donating the land for a school, the earth oozing with toxic waste – that is not something I heard about – that is nightmare I lived}

  97. Geoff Sherrington said

    Ah, I love the smell of napalm blogs in the mornings.

    86 Tom Fuller ” I prefer a low carbon tax to cap and trade.”

    92 Thoughtful Tom “the greatest creative force of all time – the American desire to avoid taxes!”

    Silly boy, no.86. If you ask for a tax, you often get it.

    Three distilled, overall comments:

    (1)The world lives with the consequences of natural climate variation. It survives.

    (2)The world has to live with the interference of man. In a mass nuclear war, it might not survive.

    (3)Therefore, wisdom is needed before man interferes. The case relating GHG to damaging temperatures is far, far from the quality required for making global corrective actions. Indeed, it is so full of elementary mistakes that it is child-like.

    A value of blogs like tAV is to price the science, as one would price art works. IMO, officialdom is hearing the finger painting end of the spectrum, not the Rembrandt end.

  98. TA said

    Pielke said:

    “If Michael Mann did not exist, the skeptics would have to invent him.”

    I do not believe this is true. I think the true statement would be:

    “If Michael Mann did not exist, the IPCC would have to invent him.”

  99. The UN’s IPCC and the US’s NAS did create Michael Mann in an image that would serve their purposes.

  100. steven Mosher said

    AMac:

    “Steven Mosher, when you make the most basic points about increasing CO2′s net effect (#66 cooling/dk/warming? Warming) and the preponderance of the evidence of the past 150 years (#68 cooling/dk/warming? Warming) — there is never an effective rebuttal. It seems to me that at some point, onlookers are justified in concluding that no compelling counterarguments exist.”

    yes. I like to call it ‘mere AGW’ with a hat tip to CS lewis. You will find all sorts of logical cul de sacs that CONTRARIANS get themselves into. They best way to show this is to strip a theory down to its barest of bones. And see wht you can conclude from that. Also, most AGW types totally BOTCH the whole point of multiple lines of evidence.

    So yes being perfectly logical and skeptical we see these two beliefs.

    1. Its warmer now than in 1850. It is NOT exactly the same. its either warmer or colder. Some people try to say its the same, BUT they have no evidence. So, If we were betting men and we had bet, we would say its warmer. No evidence, not even questionable evidence points to colder. NONE. If you watch people argue you will see skeptics do things like this:

    1. Question the record AND THEN correlate it with the sun
    2. Question proxies AND THEN make arguments about long term variability
    3. Question the “existence” of a global mean average AND THEN latch on to say Roy spensers latest UHI work

    you will see all sorts of logical lacuna. Anyways, Nobody effectively can argue that it is colder now than in 1850. We have multiple INTERELATED lines of evidence of varying degrees of fidelity.

    Its like this. two women get on different scales. One scale read 100 lbs and the other scale reads two hundred. You conclude that the woman on the scale that reads 200 is fatter. She complains: “the scale is wrong! wheres the calibration record! seems fair

    you measure their height the “100lb one” is 5 foot. the 200 lb one is 6 foot– consistent with her higher weight. She complains about the ruler. You put them into water, the 200 pound one displaces more water.. she complains that the lighter one is cheating. You measure their calorie intake.. the bigger one eats twice as much. you measure their butts.
    the bigger one is a wide load. You look at a variety of PROXIES for weight and the bigger one loses every imperfect test.
    Being in abject denial she persists in her delusion and says she might weigh the same.

    The second argument. We know that F=MA. on the basis of that we would argue that all else being equal a car with more horse power would be faster..up to a point. Are there other variables? sure. But on the basis of what we know BEST we would be wise to conclude that MORE C02 leads to warmer temps. Skepticism about feedbacks cuts TWO WAYS. it cuts against people who want to argue for higher negative AND higher positive feedbacks.. leaving one with the core physics. thats a tougher argument for people to wrap their heads around. But if we limit what we say to only what we really know, then More C02 means more warming. And if you want to predict future temps.. a model that uses that one variable will outperform a model that says “natural variation”

    All the GOOD skeptical arguments lie in the following areas:

    how MUCH warming, What are the CAUSES, what HARMS are there, What’s the best path for handling those harms if there are any. THESE arguments can be made without being in denial of the fundamental “facts” ITS WARMER, and all other things being EQUAL more C02 causes warming.

    When skeptics waste their time with BAD arguments, they destroy their credibility. they are like Mann.

    So basically I’m suggesting that skeptics have better arguments to make. Arguments that make sense.

  101. Joe said

    Roger got the idea for that comment about Mann from:

    If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
    –Voltaire
    French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 – 1778)

  102. Carrick said

    Stephen Mosher, I agree with you as usual.

    The best skeptical argument would be to hold the warmingists to their own science. The science they claim to follow!

    I’ve seen none of them that will openly admit that NONE of the warming from 1850 to 1980 is explained from AGW ACCORDING to their own blessed models! NONE.

    And the HIGHEST climate sensitivity that is even marginally associated with reasonable temperature trends in the models is 4*C/doubling. I’ve seen a few who admit to this (James Annan for example seems rational on this point, not so much with his cheerleading of that weak-minded twerp DeepClimate, but we all have our quirks).

  103. steven Mosher said

    Ya carrick. There is strong judo, but few can see it. Holding them to their science is the strongest judo. few on the skeptic side see that the best attack comes from within.

  104. cohenite said

    Mann and the HS are absolutely essential for AGW; without the HS reductionism of the MWP and the subsequent LIAs the latter 20thC temps are simply not exceptional. Even so the HS is junk and slight of hand because it is the case that CO2 increase does not precede temp increase; if there is any correation it is that CO2 increases may produce CO2 increases; this tentative correlation is further muted by decreases in temp having no correlation with CO2 levels at all; the IPCC’s solution to this, the enhanced greenhouse effect which relies on increase in atmospheric water levels is also contradicted by recent eveidence [ie Soloman, Paltridge].

    A further aspect of the HS essential for AGW is climate sensitivity and CO2 retention; both are problematic with many studies showing CO2 retention to be much less than IPCC estimates of centuries. The CS to CO2 is also problematic; the aftermath to major volcanic events is instructive; the Krakatoa and Tambora events caused minor nuclear winters of one year’s duration; Krakatoa had the energy equivalent of 21000 nuclear bombs; by comparison the KT event had an energy equivalent of 100 million x the combined nuclear arsenal of the Earth and still only produced a nuclear winter of a few seasons. To say, therefore, as the alarmists do, that increases in CO2, of the magnitudes underpining AGW, will cause increases in temp of up to 7C and beyond is grotesque.

  105. Mark T said

    Thoughtful Tom said
    May 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm
    95

    Those in the skeptic camp claim man’s puny actions cannot affect the great big world

    Nonsense. You’ve been posting here for how long and you still think this?

    How about species extinction?

    You do realize that any claims about species extinction are about as dubious as claims of past temperature, correct?

    Do you also realize that correlation and causation are not the same thing?

    I am asking for an intellectually honest debate here.

    You repeatedly refuse to acknowledge when someone has demonstrated flaws in your “logic” or errors in your results and/or assumptions, referring to such as “attacks,” and ignoring all but those you deem weak enough to take on. No, Tom, you are not interested in intellectually honest debate, you are merely intent on spreading your form of propaganda.

    Some hand waving about the cleaner environment and an appeal to economic theory which I have zero confidence you understand does not cut it.

    You have a degree in the subject yet repeatedly demonstrate an extreme lack of understanding of the theory as well.

    To that point, I think it can be said the feedbacks are not completely understood, but the early results do not look favorable to mankind’s current path.

    Nonsense.

    Mark

  106. Mark T said

    steven Mosher said

    So, If we were betting men and we had bet, we would say its warmer.

    A believable statement.

    No evidence, not even questionable evidence points to colder.

    Not as believable a statement. The margin of error alone may include such a possibility. Believing that is probably is warmer does not rule this out, either.

    1. Question the record AND THEN correlate it with the sun
    2. Question proxies AND THEN make arguments about long term variability
    3. Question the “existence” of a global mean average AND THEN latch on to say Roy spensers latest UHI work

    What about all the skeptics that simply claim the record is bad, too bad to make any claims? That’s a legitimate scientific position. What about the people that simply state a global mean temperature is nonsense, all you can average is the energy in the system? That’s a legitimate scientific position, too. What about people that question proxies as a measure of precise temperature yet speak of long-term variability in general terms? That’s another scientific position.

    Yet here you marginalize all skeptics down to these three cases, cases that are nothing more than your opinion, while making claims about logic.

    We know that F=MA. on the basis of that we would argue that all else being equal a car with more horse power would be faster..up to a point. Are there other variables? sure. But on the basis of what we know BEST we would be wise to conclude that MORE C02 leads to warmer temps.

    This is a bad analogy. The problem with your second statement, a claim I see often from skeptics that are attempting to seem more reasonable and rational to those that aren’t (as) skeptical, is that all things are not equal when making the comparison across a variety of CO2 levels. The car example is relatively easy to control, i.e., it is not difficult to make all things equal such that more horsepower really does equal a faster car. It is not difficult to test this, either. However, nothing, or very little, about the atmosphere is under experimental control. Similarly, comparisons to lab experiments with glass jars are specious because “all things,” at least all major things of influence, can be controlled well enough to make claims about observed changes.

    I don’t disagree with your general position, skeptics posting in blogs often make claims just as silly as the believers, just as ideologicial. But these points don’t strengthen your case, indeed, they seem to be, to me at least, the very types of arguments you disapprove of.

    Mark

  107. JAE said

    Mosh, 100. I know you like to ignore the paleo stuff, I think because it screws up your argument. Yes, there has been a gradual warming since the Little Ice Age (also since your starting date of 1850). Otherwise we would still be in a Little Ice Age. Now, the reasons for that warming CANNOT be CO2 alone, because there was no excess CO2 at the time we exited the LIA (but there were solar changes…). Something else is (also?) driving the increase in temperature. NOW, if CO2 and other human factors are causing a significant INCREASE in the warming the SLOPE of the gradual warming should increase. It hasn’t. In fact the slope is now negative. Call that part of a cycle if you will, but no matter how you slice it, the slope is not increasing in the long run.

    David Jay in 93 makes a very good point. You cannot isolate the radiative physics of CO2 from the rest of the system. I imagine that Arrhenius and his friends had a very logical reason for believing that greenhouses “trap” IR, too. Until Woods came along and showed WITH EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE why that is not true.

  108. steven Mosher said

    Mosh, 100. I know you like to ignore the paleo stuff, I think because it screws up your argument.

    Actually not. I find it interesting that people who express huge doubts over climate reconstructions that make the MWP go away, have no trouble with equally sketchy reconstructions that show what they want to show. I’ll stipulate this.
    You could show me a proxy that said it was warmer in 1500, 1400, 1300, whenever, and that still would not change
    HOW i would guess at future temperatures. Standing in 1850.. with a book full of evidence that said the past varied between
    10C and 15C.. and standing there with knowledge of radiative physics.. I would STILL use that knowledge to say…
    All things being equal, if we ad more C02 it WILL be warmer in 2010. EVEN IF, I had knowledge that the past was Warmer than it was in 1850. EVEN IF I knew there was SUBSTANTIAL variability. EVEN IF. If you stood me there in 1850. and said.
    “mosh, over the next 150 years the gases in the atmosphere are going to stay at the same levels of concentration what is your forecast for the temperature trend between now and 2010.? I would say.. FLAT. However, if you asked me this
    “mosh, over the next 150 years we are going to add loads more C02 to the atmosphere, what is your prediction for the trend between now and 2010? I would say, “knowing what I know? I would guess the trend will be positive?”

    But Mosh, OTHER THINGS could make it warm. Yes other things can and do make it warm. And please do NOT beclown yourself with the woods experiment. Thats just lame.

  109. steven Mosher said

    What about all the skeptics that simply claim the record is bad, too bad to make any claims? That’s a legitimate scientific position. What about the people that simply state a global mean temperature is nonsense, all you can average is the energy in the system? That’s a legitimate scientific position, too. What about people that question proxies as a measure of precise temperature yet speak of long-term variability in general terms? That’s another scientific position.

    its not too bad to make ANY claims. its good enough to SUPPORT the claim that its warmer. Why? because it is most certainly WARMER or COLDER. its not EXACTLY the same. All the evidence, even the bad evidence points to warmer. NONE of the evidence points to colder. Are there an even or odd number of stars? there we can say, flip a coin we dont know. But where there is evidence, even questionable evidence, we have a rational basis to form a belief. On the evidence. or you can be the fat lady. WRT the argument that the measure is “meaningless.” if a global mean is nonsense, then a hemispherical mean is nonsense. then a country level average is nonsense. then state mean is non sense, then a city mean is nonsense, then a neighborhood mean.. then.. you get the picture. reductio ad absurdium. WRT proxies. people who speak about variability in general terms are not speaking mathematically. hand waving. I dont put much trust in proxies. You see how the skepticism about proxys cuts two ways..most dont.

  110. Thoughtful Tom said

    Yes, there has been a gradual warming since the Little Ice Age (also since your starting date of 1850). Otherwise we would still be in a Little Ice Age. Now, the reasons for that warming CANNOT be CO2 alone, because there was no excess CO2 at the time we exited the LIA (but there were solar changes…). Something else is (also?) driving the increase in temperature. NOW, if CO2 and other human factors are causing a significant INCREASE in the warming the SLOPE of the gradual warming should increase. It hasn’t. In fact the slope is now negative.

    2 things – the existence of greater solar insolation to end the LIA supports AGW, rather than weakening the argument.

    Also, regarding slope:

    If we take the rate of change from 1960 to 2005, it is roughly .5C/45 years. If we take the slope from 1895 to 1940 (I skip 1940-60 as it is better for your argument to use the 1895 to 1940), we get .3C/45 years.

    So, while you can cherry pick the warmest 30 years that are not the current 30 years and find some slopes that are almost the same, I don’t see how you can claim the slope is not increasing. What is missing is, where the non-greenhouse gas forcings used to be able to actually drop the temperature for multiple years or decades, now the best we get is a slight leveling for a few years, before the relentless upward march resumes.

    What is the increase you need to see to accept AGW? (I don’t ask to be snarky, I think the complexity of the modelling, and the general distrust of science, in the US at least, means we won’t get past the debate until the physical evidence convinces people that one side or the other is correct).

    For me, i look to global ice as my main indicator. If all this warming doesn’t melt the ice, well then it isn’t much warming is it? A snapshot of that (it is weather, not climate, but it is STARTLING weather) is here:

    Note the slope of the ice loss! We went from “Arctic ice extent returns to normal” to ice extent even lower than the 2007 “anomaly” in about 45 days!

  111. Mark T said

    109.steven Mosher said
    May 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    its not too bad to make ANY claims. its good enough to SUPPORT the claim that its warmer. Why? because it is most certainly WARMER or COLDER. its not EXACTLY the same.

    No kidding, and I did not make such a claim.

    All the evidence, even the bad evidence points to warmer. NONE of the evidence points to colder.

    You missed my point. I don’t disagree that it is probably warmer, I was simply stating that it is a legitimate position to say that the margin of error includes the possibility that it is not warmer. In other words, the evidence does not discount the null hypothesis which must be considered whether you claim it is warmer, colder, or “about the same.”

    WRT the argument that the measure is “meaningless.” if a global mean is nonsense, then a hemispherical mean is nonsense. then a country level average is nonsense. then state mean is non sense, then a city mean is nonsense, then a neighborhood mean.. then.. you get the picture. reductio ad absurdium.

    Yeah, I get the picture, but that does not change the fact that you can’t average temperature of two different locations under two different sets of conditions and get any meaningful results. All things are not equal between two temperatures, there are other variables that change. Averaging them does not make sense except when all things are equal. As a result, the margin of error increases to the point that claims regarding such calculated values are dubious at best. Again, if the margin of error includes the null hypothesis, a claim does not have a whole lot of merit by itself.

    Analogies that compare this case to things in which all things are under experimenter control are false analogies. It makes a huge difference when you have to estimate several of your parameters and assume some constant value across the board.

    Averaging the energy content, however, does make more sense because then you can rule out the other variables that may change (they aren’t really ruled out, but included in the calculation). Unfortunately, there’s even less chance of the hoi palloi understanding the concept of Joules of energy in the atmosphere than there is of them understanding the concepts of acid and base w.r.t. the ocean.

    Mark

  112. michel said

    “What is the increase you need to see to accept AGW?”

    It comes in two parts, one is what I need to accept unusual or unprecedented warming, with different likely outcomes from previous warmings.

    To accept this I need some proof that the RWP and MWP were significantly smaller and shorter than today’s warming. I do accept that today is warmer than 1700, the Thames is not freezing, there is no skating on the Fens…. etc. But I see no evidence that it is any different, or that it will end any differently, than previous warmings. So my null hypothesis is, it varies, and it gets warmer, and then it gets cooler, and don’t worry about it. I need to see some proof that ‘this time its different’ to accept this first part of AGW.

    The second thing I need to see is not an increase, but some proof that the proposed positive feedback mechanism exists. At the moment, it looks to me like we just do not know. There are good arguments for negative feedback, very few for positive.

    So bottom line, it does not seem to be warming in any alarming way, and we have no reason for thinking it will or should. Next question….

  113. Mark T said

    110.Thoughtful Tom said
    May 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    For me, i look to global ice as my main indicator. If all this warming doesn’t melt the ice, well then it isn’t much warming is it?

    Except the simple point that once it is warm enough for ice to melt, it will continue to melt, whether the temperature increases or not, right? This is complicated by the fact that decreasing ice is not only the result of melt. It’s also complicated by the fact that ice decreases began long before anthropogenic causes could have become a driving factor.

    Seems like a poor indicator if you really want to convince anyone you have a scientific position on the matter.

    Mark

  114. michel said

    Mosh started out supposing we had three choices: one to believe its warming, two to believe its cooling, three to believe we don’t know.

    I think we do know, and that its fluctuating in a random way about a mean. Its been doing this for several thousand years, and each time it goes up people rant about the end of the world coming through heat, and each time it goes down, people rant about the end of the world coming through cold. It reminds me of those unfortunate people with brain injuries who have no long term memory, for whom every summer is a portent of hellfire, and every winter a portent of an ice age.

    But actually, nothing much is going on except the normal movement of temps on long cycles.

  115. JAE said

    Lukewarmers:

    Surely you do not think that the modern warming is unprecidented? Can you really ignore all the evidence that shows that any modern warming may well be due to factors other than OCO?:

    “Was there a Medieval Warm Period? YES, according to data published by 831 individual scientists from 494 separate research institutions in 43 different countries … and counting! This issue’s Medieval Warm Period Record comes from Southwestern Tver Province, Russia. To access the entire Medieval Warm Period Project’s database, click here.”

    http://co2science.org/

    If you cannot explain the previous warmings, you cannot explain the current one. If you cannot explain why OCO levels FOLLOW temperature rises by hundreds of years, you cannot convince me that the molecule has much effect.

    Notice that I did NOT say anything is impossible. But I’m an empiricist.

    Mosher: would appreciate an explanation for this seemingly innane snark:

    “And please do NOT beclown yourself with the woods experiment. Thats just lame.”

  116. Bad Andrew said

    “an explanation for this seemingly innane snark:”

    When Talking Points Are Unconvincing: The Lukewarmer Story

    Starring:

    Phony Graphs
    Speculations

    and Featuring- Logical Fallacies

    On Blogs Now!

    Andrew

  117. cohenite said

    I really find it astounding that Thoughtful Tom at 110 should recycle that old chestnut that the rate of temp increase is increasing; this deception is grounded in the IPCC’s Fig 1 from FAQ 3:

    It is easily rebutted:

    And if you really want to go nuts about slopes:

    I suppose Tom will also be telling us that 2000-2010 is the hottest decade ever.

  118. Russ said

    DeWitt Payne said
    May 22, 2010 at 10:35 am
    Re: Bad Andrew (May 22 09:38),

    I’ll tell you why I wouldn’t answer your question. Because it’s a stupid question, or perhaps a trick question. If it’s a trick question, it borders on being trollish. I leave it as an exercise for the student to figure out why.

    WOW, Dewitt it seams that everyone is a troll but you. Could it be you are wrong again and the person questioning you is all of a sudden a troll? CAN”T BE, THAT WOULDN’T HAPPEN WOULD IT?

  119. Thoughtful Tom said

    Oh dear! I’ve brought out the “it’s cooling” brigade! By all means, show us your evidence that we are in a cooling trend. I am sure you are investing in Parka manufacturing companies?

    You rely on some sun paper to produce your last graph. Here is another take, which I personally find more persuasive, on whether, as you claim, the sun is the sole cause of warming – case closed:

    Note this data extends to the late 2009, and continues to tweak the “its the sun” argument by showing continued warming and continued flat or reduced solar activity. Darn those pesky facts!

    Source of image above:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    The salient question appears to be – what will happen when the sun increases, rather than decreases in intensity? We have been operation on with a 45 year get out of jail free card, as the reduction in solar insolation has offset AGW.There is no guarantee that will continue.

    You are right, there are some old chestnuts being bantered about here.

  120. cohenite said

    Skeptical science is an ok blog site but to rely upon it as an unimpeachable source of fact is puerile; sunspot activity and the 11 year cycle is not the end of the solar influence with much longer cycles isolated and verified; the “sun paper” I linked to is in fact Professor Glassman’s site and he has some interesting things to say about solar and climate:

    http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/2010/03/sgw.html

    Glassman says this:

    “All data for this model are primary data preferred by IPCC in its Reports for solar radiation and for Earth’s surface temperature. The solar running trends are elementary, backward-looking (realizable) mathematical trend lines as used by IPCC for the current year temperature, but computed every year for the Sun.

    Any variations in the solar radiation model sufficient to affect the short term variability of Earth’s climate must be selected and amplified by Earthly processes. This model hypothesizes that cloud albedo produces broadband amplification, using established physical processes. The hypothesis is that while cloud albedo is a powerful, negative feedback to warming in the longer term, it creates a short term, positive feedback to TSI that enables its variations to imprint solar insolation at the surface. A calculation of the linear fit of surface temperature to suitably filtered solar radiation shows the level of amplification necessary to support the model, and isolates the short term positive feedback from the long term negative cloud albedo feedback.

    This model hypothesis that the natural responses of Earth to solar radiation produce a selecting mechanism. The model exploits evidence that the ocean dominates Earth’s surface temperature, as it does the atmospheric CO2 concentration, through a set of delays in the accumulation and release of heat caused by three dimensional ocean currents. The ocean thus behaves like a tapped delay line, a well-known filtering device found in other fields, such as electronics and acoustics, to amplify or suppress source variations at certain intervals on the scale of decades to centuries. A search with running trend lines, which are first-order, finite-time filters, produced a family of representations of TSI as might be favored by Earth’s natural responses. One of these, the 134-year running trend line, bore a strong resemblance to the complete record of instrumented surface temperature, the signal called S134.

    Because the fingerprint of solar radiation appears on Earth’s surface temperature, that temperature cannot reasonably bear the fingerprint of human activity. IPCC claims that human fingerprint exists by several methods. These include its hockey stick pattern, in which temperature and gas concentrations behave benignly until the onset of the industrial revolution or later, and rise in concert. IPCC claims include that the pattern of atmospheric oxygen depletion corresponds to the burning of fossil fuels in air, and that the pattern of isotopic lightening in atmospheric CO2 corresponds to the increase in CO2 attributed to human activities. This paper shows that each of IPCC’s alleged imprints due to human activities is in error.

    The extremely good and simple match of filtered TSI to Earth’s complex temperature record tends to validate the model. The cause of global warming is in hand. Conversely, the fact that Earth’s temperature pattern appears in solar radiation invalidates Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)”

  121. Geoff Sherrington said

    109 Steven Mosher ” Why? because it is most certainly WARMER or COLDER. its not EXACTLY the same.”

    There are many cases where land surface temperatures do not show warming over the decades. here, courtesy Warwick Hughes, is an early Australian reconstruction of 25 rural stations before the adjusters got to them too much.

    Sure, this can be criticised for cherry picking. It was, in fact, quite similar to a set rejected by Phil Jones when writing on UHI in the 19850-95 era.

    Jones also selected a set of stations not quite exactly like this, but close to – all being big cities/towns, with the inference that the climate was warming:

    It is not a given in my mind that the global temperature has been increasing. I’m open minded enough to admit to a slight increase. But I do find it an intellectual requirement that the first graph be explained.

    Just for fun, I modified an IPCC graph by doing what people most complained of – (a) that early temperatures had been lowered and (b) that recent temperatureds did not have adequate UHI removed.

    Here’s the fun graph.

    I simply added 0.2 deg C to the points before 1950, then reduced the trend after 1950 so it was 0.4 deg cooler by the end of the graph.

    More seriously, is this quick exercise closer to the unadjusted truth than official versions?

  122. michel said

    The key word is ‘exactly’. SM says, its almost certainly warmer or colder, its not exactly the same. Well, I am almost certainly heavier or lighter than this time last year, I’m not exactly the same weight.

    But I am near enough the same weight not to worry about it, and not to think I have to explain any differences this year over last year by analyzing how much chocolate or cheese I have eaten last year.

    We would not expect temperatures to be exactly the same if we compare any two periods. We would not expect hemlines to be exactly the same length, interest rates to be exactly the same, fish catch landings to be exactly the same. This idea that the norm with regard to temperatures is that they should be identical from one year to the next is simply idiotic and defies ordinary experience. There are people still alive today who can clearly recall times of great warmth in the thirties, times of great cold post-WWII, and times of recent moderate warmth.

    The question is whether there is anything happening with temperature that is any more than the kind of variability that we have known historically for the last several thousand years. I don’t see any evidence for it. If that is the case, AGW is a an explanation in search of a phenomenon.

    The importance of the HS was that it seemed to supply this phenomenon. If it really were true that temperatures stayed the same for centuries, and then moved up simultaneously with rising CO2 levels, the CO2 argument would be at least plausible, in the sense that it would be a mechanism for something that had really happened. As it is, there is nothing to explain.

    In medicine and crime such things come up all the time with reporting bias. We wonder, for instance, why there has been an unprecedented rise in the rate of some crime or illness, construct various explanations for factors that have risen in correlation with them. But we discover on investigation that what’s actually happened is that the incidence has not changed, what has changed is our recording. What happens then to the explanations and the assertions that by changing the alleged factors we can lower the incidence of the crimes or the illnesses?

    This is the problem with the HS. Without it, there is no longer any warming to worry about. Now I am going back to my nightly cup of hot chocolate!

  123. curious said

    Hi Michel – sorry this is a bit drive by but this line caught my eye:

    “We would not expect temperatures to be exactly the same if we compare any two periods.”

    I think one of the problems with the AGW proposition is that there is an implicit expectation that sans “forcing” everything would be equal from one year to the next though I haven’t seen conclusive arguments that this should be the case. I have not seen explanations of the annual +ve and -ve jumps in avg. global surface temp index and to my mind this should be understood and, in the recent record (ie post satellite), demonstrably so. If this is not possible it means that there is/(are) a key mechanism(s)/process(es) we do not have nailed down.

  124. Carrick said

    curious:

    I think one of the problems with the AGW proposition is that there is an implicit expectation that sans “forcing” everything would be equal from one year to the next though I haven’t seen conclusive arguments that this should be the case

    It wouldn’t be equal because you still have oscillatory modes in the atmosphere, and these vary from periods of a year to centuries. Not only do these vary the average temperature, they affect what the “equilibrium” temperature would be. This is problematic because it happens on a scale to fine for the global models to resolve as of yet.

  125. MikeN said

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/how-important-is-yamal/

  126. Howard said

    Mosher says:

    Standing in 1850 no thought of CO2, it has been colder than a well diggers ass in the Yukon for several generations, knowing the Vikings once occupied and farmed Greenland, I would guess (hope) that in 2010 it would be warmer by a small to moderate amount.

    Same situation knowing radiation physics and growing CO2, I would guess that in 2010 it would be significantly (and blessedly) warmer.

    The problem is, the natural variation and climate sensitivity for the various different potential forcing mechanisms are not well understood. Also, your analogies are not very illustrative. I would put it as being on a roller coaster with brake and boost sections. You are gonna go higher with a boost, but momentum will also contribute to that ultimate height reached. Since we don’t know all the terms, save one boost factor (CO2), it’s very hard to say what is going on.

    In any event, these are just minor differences because I would still bet with you that the recent temp rise is strongly influenced by CO2.

  127. Howard said

    Screwed up previous blockquote from Mosher:

    Actually not. I find it interesting that people who express huge doubts over climate reconstructions that make the MWP go away, have no trouble with equally sketchy reconstructions that show what they want to show. I’ll stipulate this.
    You could show me a proxy that said it was warmer in 1500, 1400, 1300, whenever, and that still would not change
    HOW i would guess at future temperatures. Standing in 1850.. with a book full of evidence that said the past varied between
    10C and 15C.. and standing there with knowledge of radiative physics.. I would STILL use that knowledge to say…
    All things being equal, if we ad more C02 it WILL be warmer in 2010. EVEN IF, I had knowledge that the past was Warmer than it was in 1850. EVEN IF I knew there was SUBSTANTIAL variability. EVEN IF. If you stood me there in 1850. and said.
    “mosh, over the next 150 years the gases in the atmosphere are going to stay at the same levels of concentration what is your forecast for the temperature trend between now and 2010.? I would say.. FLAT. However, if you asked me this
    “mosh, over the next 150 years we are going to add loads more C02 to the atmosphere, what is your prediction for the trend between now and 2010? I would say, “knowing what I know? I would guess the trend will be positive?”

  128. curious said

    124 Thanks Carrick. Do you have any quick pointers/sources for that? I can see depending on where you are in the cycle of oscillation(s) the average could shift but, given the fluctuations in the measured GAST anomaly are annual, I’d guess that within the time frame covered by the satellite records we ought to be able to put some numbers on that? I’m talking about explaining the actual measured and calculated derivative data rather than model output.

  129. KevinM said

    Steve Mosher.

    Thanks for fielding questions here. Your patience has been good. How about one more?

    I will accept your proposition that the weight of evidence points to a warmer 2010 than 1850.

    I will also accept that all other things being equal, one should bet that a world with increasing CO2 will get warmer by 2050.

    But I would start with the assumption that all being equal (including CO2), one should bet for a colder 2050.

    I would add that CO2 is one thing that will not be equal: it will increase and add warmth.

    I would do my best to assemble the other factors like sun and volcanos.

    And I would recognize that the climate has made dramatic changes throughout history for which I have no explanation. I am not appealing to accurate paleoclimatology here: I mean that there has been more than one ice age, and there has been at least one iceless age between.

    And I would refuse to take the bet.

  130. KevinM said

    Oh yeah, the question….

    1a) How much of your money would you bet that your one-factor analysis will be right?

    1b) How much of my money do you think it would be fair for you to gamble with?

  131. michel said

    Imagine a similar debate on health statistics. We claim something unprecedented has happened in the last 30 years, in the incidence of a disease. We propose a social phenomenon of some sort as a cause.

    However, it turns out that this particular disease comes and goes. It is, let us say, a flu type virus. Every now and again the winter brings worse or better flu epidemics. There is however no good reason to think they are getting any worse in general.

    Meanwhile, we had proposed, to explain our observation of an unprecedented and disastrous rise in flu, that it was due to the rise in central heating in Britain. Houses, we suggest, are just too warm, and ventilation is poor. Bring back the days when bedroom windows were open year round, and people wrapped up, instead of just lying back on the sofa with a T shirt on. Bring back the spirit that built the Empire!

    Alas for austerity, there is nothing to explain, there is no worsening of the flu situation, there is no reason to think there will be any effect on it from abolishing central heating.

    Don’t you see? If there is nothing happening, if there is nothing unprecedented going on, the whole thing blows up. To argue this however, is not to argue that flu must be rising or falling, or we don’t know. On the contrary, the whole point is that it is not rising or falling. Its about the same.

    Now, maybe we should be researching flu, how to stop it, what makes it rise or fall. Yes, probably so. But getting obsessive about our campaign to abolish central heating is not helping with that at all. In fact, its getting in the way of doing that.

  132. KevinUK said

    Mosh,

    So basically what you (and the IPCC) are saying is that there is a fair chance (IPCC thinks very likely chance) that 2010 is warmer than 1850 because of an odourless, tasteless trace gas that has a composition within our atmosphere of approx 390ppm i.e. because of CO2? That the difference in mean global surface temperature MGST (anomaly)between 1850 and 2010 is due an increase in the concentration in CO2 in our atmossphere from approx 280ppm in 1850 to approx. 390ppm in 2010? Are you there acknowledging that the underlying MGST warming trend due to man’s emissions of CO2 has occurred over a period of 150 years?

    If so then where is the evidence for the significant net positive climate feedbacks that the models tell us will ‘kick in’ shortly? Where is the evidence within the temperature record over the last 150 years that the observed 0.7 deg. C increase in MGST would have only been say 0.25 deg. C but for the hypothesised significant net positive climate feedbacks that have caused the natural greenhouse effect to be enhanced due to these positive feedbacks?

    Why do these positive feedbacks only ‘kick in’ in the last 50 years according to the IPCC? Why will they get much worse over the next 50 to 100 years? Where is the evidence from the past geologically record of the relationship between the CO2 concentration in our atmospshere and the magnitude of the positive climate feedbacks that could result in ‘run away’ warming if I CO2 emiisons are not curtailed?

    In the case of the Holocene Climatic Optimum (HCO), the Roman Warm Period (RWP) and the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) what happened to the net positive climate feedbacks (did they become negative for some reason?) to cause the planet to subsequently cool again after a prolonged period of warming? Did these net positive climate feedbacks play an important role in causing us to recover from the nadir of the Little Ice Age (LIA)?

  133. JAE said

    HAH! Here’s what I’ve been saying for over three years!!!

    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/pdf/Greenhouse_Effect_on_the_Moon.pdf

  134. KevinM said

    KevinUK,

    He appears to have checked out. Or he’s afraid of Kevins.

    Also, we may have signed him up for a bigger position than he volunteered for. Defender of “CO2 can destroy earth” appologist vs. “CO2 can make winter shorter” appologist.

    Some of our peers were impolite.

  135. Steve in SC said

    No their position/argument would not be strengthened.
    The thermodynamics and heat transfer just do not work at all.

  136. tonyb said

    KevinUk

    Of course global warming is unique to this age, as this quote shows.

    “The temperature of the winter season, in northern latitudes, has suffered a material change, and become warmer in modern, than it was in ancient times. … Indeed I know not whether any person, in this age, has ever questioned the fact.” —Noah Webster, 1758-1843 (founder- Websters dictionary)

    Oh sorry about that, wrong quote let’s try a newer one.

    “Globally, minimum temperatures appear to be warming at a faster rate than Maximum temperatures (Karl et al., 1993), particularly since the 1950s (IPCC,2001), possibly associated with a change in cloud cover. Jones et al. (1999)found no significant increase in very warm days in the Central England
    Temperature series in recent years, but there was a marked decrease in the frequency of very cold days. A decrease in the diurnal temperature range has also been found in Northern and Central Europe (Heino et al., 1999)”

    Oh, so Webster and Jones appear to agree with each other albeit 160 years apart.

    Our observations demonstrate that since 1690 winters have become less cold on average, but summers were not showing any great overall change. In other words it’s becoming less cold rather than getting warmer, as the winter variation is much greater than in summer and has a greater effect on overall mean temperature.

    tonyb

  137. David S said

    Michel I think you have a point here. Dr Andrew Wakefield has just been “struck off the medical register” ie banned from practising medicine, for producing a paper consisting of a theory unsupported by credible evidence. There are uncanny parallels here: there has been some kind of rise in the incidence of autism, but it is hard to tell by how much as the central records are poor; there is an apparent correlation between some outcome indicators and a posited causative variable; someone has come up with an explanatory theory and has apparently used substandard methods to try to substantiate it; the Establishment has come down like a ton of bricks on the offending party. The only difference is that Dr Wakefield is on the outside, while Mann, Jones, Briffa and Pachauri are on the inside. It seems that the science is completely irrelevant, the important issue is whether you are on the team or not. That’s how a consensus works.
    Kevins Please do not try to run Steven Mosher out of town here. He has written an excellent book on the subject and is more entitled than most of us to some respect.

  138. Derek said

    Yes, we all agree the Hockey Stick is jusr plain fraud, or if we don’t, then we should.
    But the real question is what is AGW left with, without the HS. ?
    1) Climate models.
    2) Err, I’m not aware of a second.

    Remember climategate, you know all that fixed / meddled / altered / missing data.
    What is the modern temperature record. ? F****d if I know.

    What is the modern CO2 record, again F****d if I know, MLO (no raw data), Beck (not global coverage), or niether. ?

    Do closed system, isolated physics apply to an open mixed atmosphere, ? yet again, F****d if I know.

    <b.AND NIETHER DOES ANYONE ELSE FOR CERTAIN.

    The climate models are GIGO.

    So, the Kevin’s here are spot on, as is JAE, and many, many others.

    Most notably,
    <b<KevinM said
    May 24, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    1a) How much of your money would you bet that your one-factor analysis will be right?

    1b) How much of my money do you think it would be fair for you to gamble with?

    The answer to both is none, true believers of AGW are as wrong as Lukewarmers.

    Tom Fuller your post 86, points 2 and 5.
    Point 2 – Temps have been in stasis / cooling since 2000. Your point is simply wrong.
    Point 5 – You advocate the precautionary principle by any other name – Please remember DDT,
    that killed millions, as will your preferred “precautionary actions”, not to mention our ecomnomies / life styles.

    Your other points 1 and 4 are resonable. Point 3 is a very dangerous assumption of man’s guilt, nothing more,
    by it you pander to AGW, merely quibbling the amount of the now imagined warming.
    A decade of temp stasis / decline with increasing human CO2 emissions is proof enough of
    the false nature of your assumed human guilt with regards to climate.

    Climate has always changed, and always will.
    Humans have so far at a global scale had NO DISCERNABLE EFFECT.
    If, as seems most likely, global cooling for a period of 20 to 30 years is upon us,
    then what you advocate will only harm us, AND be a complete waste of time, money, and effort.
    Hence lukwarmers “assumed human guilt” is so damned dangerous.

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