the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Life in tha fast lane

Posted by Jeff Id on September 6, 2011

The title with two meanings, I’ve got no time but apparently the rebuttal to Spencer’s paper was so important that it got through peer review in two weeks, acceptance to publication.

Thanks to HaroldW and WUWT, we have a copy here, I also received an advance copy of the pdf thanks to another alert reader.  I’ll try to read it later but unlike some reasonable speculation, this paper appears to have been created and published in 6 weeks since Spencer’s release with only two weeks to review.  Just finding reviewers in that time frame is pretty good.


I also assume people have been visiting Roy Spencer’s blog on occasion.   He’s put up a couple of strong worded posts which deserve some attention IMHO.



29 Responses to “Life in tha fast lane”

  1. Thanks, Jeff, for your insight and all of your efforts

    Observations show that climate change has occurred and will continue to occur – because that is the natural direction of the forces that control this part of the universe – the Sun, Earth’s climate, and our very lives [1-10].

    Our challenge is to help others abandon false dogmas that so divide our society! [e.g.,“Obama yields on smog rule in face of GOP demands” (Sept 2, 2011)]:



  2. Anonymous said

    That is quick especially if reviewers were on summer vacation or at conferences. I wonder how quickly they could have published a paper Spencer’s paper had come out during finals before Christmas and New Years?

  3. lucia said

    Oh…Anonymous is me…lucia

  4. This field of science needs a warning label: “May induce vomiting”

    I can’t see how anyone right in the head could possibly fail to be nauseated by the way this field carries itself out, with blatant bias and double standards.

  5. Today the world is in grave danger from instability in social and economic systems induced by unscientific dogma that:

    a.) Obama and other world leaders believed to represent scientific fact, and

    b.) The public recognized as absolute “bunkum”, rot, BS!

    The only solution is for leaders of the scientific community to address, and leaders of the news media to report their views on, experimental observations that were hidden, avoided or manipulated for the past four decades [1].

    The public deserves to know the diversity of opinions about the natural direction of forces that control the Sun, Earth’s climate, and our very lives.

    1. “Neutron repulsion,” The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

    Leaders of news media and the scientific community cannot escape facing reality, no matter how powerful the combined forces of their allies.

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  6. Frank K. said

    Well, some have commented that the GRL publishing process is supposed to be fast. So, I suspect that if Spencer and Braswell wish to publish a response to Dessler’s letter in GRL, they’ll be similarly fast-tracked, right? Right?

  7. I doubt if Dessler started with a blank screen when SB11 appeared. It looks to me as if he had written a response to LC11 and then updated it to include SB11.

  8. diogenes said


    perhaps it would have helped if Dessler had read the paper first. The first assumption is that he hadn’t read it before he wrote his paper. Some of its conclusions seem to match his own, for GFod’s sake.

  9. Dessler’s response is quite powerful. I would agree (this time at least ;-) with Nick that it looks strongly as though he had written a response to LC11 and just upgraded it to address SB11.

    However, I remain to be convinced that, as Dessler says:

    “Third, the models that do a good job simulating the observations (GFDL
    CM 2.1, MPI ECHAM5, and MRI CGCM 2.3.2A) are among those that have been
    identified as realistically reproducing ENSO [Lin, 2007]. And since most of the
    climate variations over this period were due to ENSO, this suggests that the ability
    to reproduce ENSO is what’s being tested here, not anything directly related to
    equilibrium climate sensitivity.”

    I’d like for someone to explain to me how Dessler can conclude (quite emphatically) that (over 2000 – 2010 say) ΔFocean is actually a function of ΔTs, with the coupling occurring via the ENSO dynamics, when we are also stuck with this (~2 x 10^20 J) missing heat problem:

    “So in summary, these calculations rule out the atmosphere, the lithosphere and the cryosphere as the main sinks of the ‘missing heat’, as the resulting consequences would have been too large to have gone unnoticed. This implies that the bulk of the ”missing heat” must have been transferred deeper into the ocean and/or radiated to space. This seems at odds with direct observations that appear to show an opposing increase in the radiation from space (Trenberth and Fasullo, 2010), but the record is too short to separate trends from decadal variability and has large uncertainties.”

    Katsman, C. A., and G. J. van Oldenborgh (2011), Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L14610

    Seems a little glib that the long ignored ENSO variation has now suddenly become the fashionable darling of the GCM fraternity. I would like to see Bob Tisdale’s take on Dessler’s conclusions (and presumably by inference Trenberth et al.) about ENSO variation.

    Being a little flippant, may I ask whether we should now expect an (imminent?) monster El Nino to make 1998 look like a pussycat and which will ram the AGW orthodoxy down all our throats?

    Or should we assume a deep ocean heat store which is fully uncoupled from ENSO? If so, why is it so and where is it hiding?

    I’m (obviously) confused.

  10. Steve Short,

    “Being a little flippant, may I ask whether we should now expect an (imminent?) monster El Nino to make 1998 look like a pussycat and which will ram the AGW orthodoxy down all our throats? ”

    I believe the 2010 El Nino was billed as that, until it wasn’t!! 8>)

  11. stan said

    Steve had some fun.

    Some powerful correlations.

  12. Dessler 2011……much ado about nothing.

    With such poor correlations one might as well read tea leaves.

  13. KevinUK said


    I’ve just the read the ‘stone in Trenberth shoe’ thread on CA and once again Steve Mc has royally taken the piss out of the world’s so called top climate scienrotists. I’m afraid to say this applies to both sides so includes Roy Spencer as well as Andy Dessler et al.

    How on earth can anyone make any kind of claim (let alone a ‘robust’ claim) based on such an utter lack of correlation in the data. Udny Yule ( and was well aware of and warned about the dangers inherent in spurious/nonsense correlation but it this case it would be nice to have any kind of correlation in the first place. Yet despite this utter lack of correlation ‘climate scientists’ are more than happy to show their usual hubris and make completely unsubstantiated claims (via their models).

    Just in case anyone following this debate isnt fully aware of the issues involved in this dispute between S&B and Dessler et al, please be aware of the fact that in this instance we are talking about the lynch pin that keeps the wheel attached to the whole CAGW bandwagon, If the lynch pin fails then bye bye wheel and so bye bye CAGW. I utterly dispair in this situation and wonder why FFS these so called scientists can’t just admit that at best they just ‘don’t know’? They just dont know and probably wont know for some decades to come yet whether the moderate warming we would expect from our continued increasing emissions of CO2 is likely or not to be enhanced due to the additional water vapour we might expect to exist in our atmospshere if it warms.

    Given this situation i.e. that in reality we just ‘don’t know’ and given that evidence from the past paleo-climate record shows no indication of any possibility of a ‘tipping point’ due to a doubling/tripling/quadrupling of CO2 concentration in our atmospshere. then the only sensible and honest advice any honest humble scientist should be giving to politicians is that we should do nothing,nada, zip diddly squat i.e. that there is no need to ‘act now’, that there is no need at this time to de-carbonise’ our economy and that at best we should do NOTHING except to sit back and continue to observe and collect more data.At at push it might some sense to continue to try to improve the models (IMO they are and always will be useless) so that they better agree with our observations but under no circumstance should we accept output from the models as an alternative to real observational data. If the two disagree change the bloody model and DO NOT adjust the data so that it better fits the model.


  14. Kevin #13
    “How on earth can anyone make any kind of claim…”
    Would you like to be more specific? Exactly what claims do you think were made based on poorly correlated data?

  15. 14-Dessler’s claim that the satellite data support positive feedback is built on such poor correlations that a weak negative feedback can’t be ruled out even if his analysis was actually measuring feedback (it isn’t). Even readers here unfamiliar with the physics will surely understand the statistics: Dessler’s slopes for clouds against temperature are not statistically significantly different from zero. So the claim that Dessler has been making in his media rounds that clouds do amplify warming long term, is based on such weak correlations that even his own numbers don’t support such an unequivocal statement. But he is making it.

  16. Don Keiller said

    KevinUK, but we DO know. The Positive feedback required for significant (over 1C) warming is entirely dependant on increased water vapour in the atmosphere.
    Bearing this in mind it is instructive to look at NOAA’s
    own data on atmospheric humidity for the last 50+ years.

  17. KevinUK said

    Professor Nick Stokes BSc, MSc, PhD of CSIRO

    Much as I currently have some time available to waste just now I am going to on this occasion heed the advice I have given to others on a different thead on WUWT and ignore your trolling. To do so would be hypocritical wouldn’t it Nick (and you know all about hypocrisy) and I wouldn’t want to be guilty of what most of the people you choose to apologise for are guilty of namely DAISNAID (

    I am however very happy to discuss on a different thread how you can personally except funding from companies involved in the Australian fossil fuels/minerals industry and at the same time be an apologist for Mann’s Hockey Stick and for your employers efforts in supporting the introduction of taxes on those same industries.

    I’d also be very happy on a different thread to discuss your great great grandfather George ( and the bastardisation of his and Claude-Louis Navier’s equations within GCMs. Perhaps Jeff could set up a new thread on the Navier-Stokes equations and how thay are applied within the GCMs. Given your pedigree and expertise Nick I’m sure you’ll have much to contribute?


  18. KevinUK said

    Don K,

    “KevinUK, but we DO know. The Positive feedback required for significant (over 1C) warming is entirely dependant on increased water vapour in the atmosphere.
    Bearing this in mind it is instructive to look at NOAA’s
    own data on atmospheric humidity for the last 50+ years.”

    “…warming is entirely dependant on increased water vapour in the atmosphere.”

    Yes that’s the theory and the expectation based on the radiation physics theory but where is the data to proves it i.e. that the concentration of water vapor in the earths atmospshere has increased as a result of past warmer climates and that additional warming has led to further enhance warmind and spo more wayet vapour etc.. In true Professor Nick Stokes BSc, MSc, PhD style the link you provided does not show what you state i.e. it doesn’t show ‘atmospheric humidity for the last 50+ years’. You are aware that the link you’ve provided is to NOAA’s ‘Create a monthly/seasonal mean time series from the NCEP Reanalysis Dataset’ and hopefully you are aware what the ‘NCEP Reanalysis Dataset’ is ( and what meteorological reanalysis involves (

    “In addition to being used for initializing the operational forecasts, the analyses themselves are a valuable tool for subsequent meteorological and climatological studies. However, an operational analysis dataset, i.e. the analysis data which were used for the real-time forecasts, will typically suffer from inconsistency if it spans any extended period of time, because operational analysis systems are frequently being improved. A reanalysis project involves reprocessing observational data spanning an extended historical period using a consistent modern analysis system, to produce a dataset that can be used for meteorological and climatological studies.”

    Besides the fact that the link is therefore to re-processed/interpolated and gridded data rather than to direct observational data on historical global water vapour concentration I am of course immediately suspicous of it anyway given the past antics of people like NOAA’s ‘Uncle’ Tom Karl and NCAR’s Kevin ‘Travesty’ Trenberth.


  19. Re: KevinUK (Sep 7 14:28),
    You’ll be pleased to know that I have retired from CSIRO quite some time ago, and for more than five years haven’t been accepting funding from anyone.

    But I’m very happy to talk about GCM’s and the Navier-Stokes equations. I even did a bit of a riff on the subject here. It’s nearly a year ago, but comments are still open.

  20. #15
    “Dessler’s claim that the satellite data support positive feedback is built on such poor correlations that a weak negative feedback can’t be ruled out even if his analysis was actually measuring feedback (it isn’t). …. But he is making it.”
    Not in his 2010 paper, where he says:
    “Given the uncertainty, the possibility of a small negative feedback cannot be excluded.”

    What he’s claiming, based on the correlations, is that the feedback could not be so negative as to counter the strongly positive feedback from water vapor, which is what L&C and S&B claimed.

  21. Nick Stokes,

    “What he’s claiming, based on the correlations,…”

    Would you please post the numbers showing the strength of those “correlations” for us and explain them so us ignorami can understand them??

  22. KKKK,
    Yes. Dessler finds a slope of 0.54 ± 0.72 (2σ) W/m2/K. To make the LC/SB theory work, you need negative feedback with a slope in the range -1 to -1.5.

    So the logic is that that is ruled out, if it’s relying on this correlation. Now the r2 is 2%, which as Dessler notes, means that things other than this correlation affect R. But the LC/SB theory is looking for a feedback. Independent factors won’t do.

    So the known correlation won’t provide the LC/SB feedback. And if your doubtful about whether there is any correlation, that doesn’t help LC/SB either.

    Remember, your Team is looking for a negative feedback from clouds to balance the positive feedback from wv. You need the correlation, not Dessler.

  23. timetochooseagain said

    20-I thought that claims being made outside of papers were important. Important enough to resign over.

    However, if his claim is only that a strong negative feedback can be ruled out that is wrong and is wrong because he himself has in fact demonstrated that the regressions at zero lag are physically meaningless. Look at his chart. Two of the models at zero lag have zero slope, which corresponds to infinite sensitivity. The regression at zero lag is biased strongly toward zero and gives a value which has nothing to do with sensitivity. The lagged regressions don’t find quite the right sensitivity either, but they aren’t as biased toward zero.

  24. #23 Which chart?

  25. timetochooseagain said

    23-The one I linked to at CA two seconds ago that you incorrectly claimed was unrelated to your erroneous claims…

  26. TTCA #25
    No, you’re totally off the beam here. You linked to a plot of something totally different in a different paper. And the issue of whether models have a near-zero slope or whatever is quite unconnected. It’s even unconnebted to sensitivity. Dessler says of that figure, which was produced to correspond to one of L&C:
    “And since most of the climate variations over this period were due to ENSO, this suggests that the ability to reproduce ENSO is what’s being tested here, not anything directly related to equilibrium climate sensitivity.”

  27. timetochooseagain said

    26-Nope, now you are flat out being ridiculous. The plot is an attempt to refute a figure specifically from Spencer and Braswell, which is why it compares the data to his replication of Roy’s result. I will now link specifically to it so you can stop getting it wrong:

    The slope at lag zero is the slope that he (Dessler) used to assess the climate feedback in his original paper. There is no signal at zero lag. I am working on a paper that identifies at least one reason why.

    Dessler’s method cannot accurately assess the level of feedback in climate models, it definitely has not succeeded in reality. His analysis of the all flux record actually shows this. He has not ruled out any level of feedback from strongly negative to unstably positive.

  28. Don keiller said

    Kevin, sorry about the incorrect link.
    What I was trying to say is that there IS no evdence of increased atmospheric humidity- a vital component of AGW.

    Since there is no evidence of increased water vapour, therefore there is no evidence to support a positive feedback.


  29. Nick Stokes,

    Thanks. Of course, your team is showing. You were in such a rush to make sure we understood what Dessler showed that you didn’t verify that he had done a reasonable job of it. Sure helps to do the work yourself or wait for the smart guys with the time to do it for you.

    Wonder what his paper will be like now that he and Dr. Spencer have actually discussed it?? Wonder why Dessler couldn’t have talked to Dr. Spencer before he rushed out his mistakes? Wonder why there always seems to be more Cherry Picking from YOUR TEAM than MY TEAM (who incidentally wouldn’t admit my membership!! 8>)

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