the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Climate Scientists — Stand up or be run over by the god of physics.

Posted by Jeff Id on February 25, 2010

A little commentary on Judith Curry’s attempt at bridge building seems in order.  First, it’s impressive that she took the time to make the effort and stick her neck out a bit, she is one of the few climate scientists who has begun to come to grips with the breadth of the  problem created.  For her efforts she was uniformly blasted across blogland, the advocates at RC wouldn’t even post her article despite being involved in the development.   Climate fraudvocate, Joe Romm tore  her up as hard as he could.  Willis Eschenbach, wrote an excellent piece at WUWT on the matter which I encourage everyone to read and Lucia has her own take on how to fix the science.   None of our commentary was particularly gentle.

In Willis’s excellent post (which had a rant quality only a  focused outraged mind can achieve) he let loose with these fine paragraphs of insight.

Because we don’t want scientists who are advocates. We’re not interested in scientists who don’t mention their doubts. We’re sick of your inane “simplified dramatic statements”. We laugh when you cry wolf with your scary scenarios. Call us crazy, but we want scientists who are honest, not scientists who balance honesty and effectiveness. You want trust? Get honest, kick out the scoundrels, and for goodness sakes, get a clue about humility.

Because the truth is, climate science is one of the newest sciences. The truth is, we know little about the climate, we’ve only been studying it intensely for a couple decades. The truth is, we can’t project the climate of the next decade, much less that of the next century.  The truth is, we have no general theory of climate. The truth is, we don’t know if an average temperature rise of a couple degrees will be a net benefit or a net loss. The truth is, all of us are human, and our knowledge of the climate is in its infancy. And I don’t appreciate being lectured by infants. I don’t appreciate being told that I should be put in the dock in a Nuremberg style trial for disagreeing with infants. You want to restore trust? Come down off your pedestals, forsake your ivory towers, and admit your limitations.

And through all of this, be aware that you have a long, long, long climb back up to where we will trust you. As Lincoln warned, you have forfeited the confidence of your fellow citizens, and you will be damn lucky if you ever get it back.

It’s very difficult to follow that kind of quality.  There is so much truth to what he wrote and so much wrong with what climate science is.

Climate science is in it’s infancy and the quality of many of the primary scientists is low in relation to other sciences.  Some of the most famous climate scientists have the weakest grasp of data and math.  If you read other sciences, it becomes pretty obvious.  Read an SPIE optics paper sometime.  The hand waiving nonsense of the climate community is second to none.  The team is singularly UNqualified to talk down to us.  One battle I had with Eric Steig occurred when he said perhaps I should take his matlab class in response to a request for code.  Last month, four of us have submitted a paper which dramatically improves on his result and simultaneously expands the science.   In part because of that, I’m not allowed to comment at Real Climate even about the simplest matters.

I had never met anyone who believed themselves qualified to ignore my own opinions prior to climate science blogging.  Most people think I can keep up ok, and most of the readers here are the same way themselves.  These same people clip Roman M’s (a statistics professor) comments from their threads when he writes about statistics.   Ryan O, who is the primary author of our recent antarctic paper actually shut down a real climate thread in under 12 hours, – not by spamming – but by making two or three difficult points.  Where is the contention in statistics that cannot be discussed.   It is only when you imagine nefarious objectives that it becomes apparent why the “scientists” will not allow discussion of serious and reasonable scientific issues.

Climate scientists are not qualified to lecture the rest as though we are children, the fact that they would consider it says a lot about their mental state. It fits very well with my view of a certain political group that favors enlightened control over our freedom and our environment.  Like many of you, in my 41 years I’ve met brilliant janitors, stupid engineers, medical doctors who were clueless, amazing lawyers, salesmen who were artists with people, the list is long.  Without reservation, climate science is one of the weakest professional groups I’ve run across. I’m supposed to say that because it’s an evil skeptic blog, but the long time readers know that I only write what I believe and I’m guessing there won’t be much disagreement.

We are not fooled by your false papers including, sheep and fish shrinkage, global gravity change, coral bleaching, increased hurricanes, drought, rain, bad temperature data, glacier melting, mashmatic proxy temperature reconstructions, false economic prosperity from green jobs,  malaria, starvation, acidification, multi-millennia CO2 longevity, positive feedback without evidence, climate models projecting out a century, Antarctica melting.  It’s BULLSHIT!!  BTW, I do believe in the warming effect of CO2.

The truth is, They don’t know what the future will bring any more than we do.  They don’t know dammit, so stop lying and telling us you do.   But that is not the real problem.

The real problem is that far too few from the climate community have the guts to stand up to the bad science and say — BULL!! When Ben Santer proves models are correct and ignores the most recent 10 years of data — you know the same data that has the decline — and says YUP MODELS ARE GOOD.  Where is the outrage?  Where is the demand for accuracy?  Where is the honesty?  I wrote 3 separate replies to Judith Curry prior to her recent article,  I deleted them all in favor of a fourth.  When she called the errors in Mann’s work minor, I about went ballistic.

When Steve McIntyre’s correct paper that refutes Santer’s work is blocked from publication even though it uses the same methods and data — except he didn’t bother to clip the last ten years OF MEASUREMENTS off.   Where is the outrage!!

What is wrong with this picture?  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’LL TELL YOU WHAT IS WRONG, Their funding depends on it as not-too-subtly-implied by Ed Cook below. [My bold]

From Ed Cook — Who also believes in CO2 warming — on the bullshit of paleoclimatology papers.

1) Describe the past work (Mann, Briffa, Jones, Crowley, Esper, yada,
yada, yada) and their data over-laps.

2) Use the Briffa&Osborn “Blowing Hot And Cold” annually-resolved
recons (plus Crowley?) (boreholes not included) for comparison
because they are all scaled identically to the same NH extra-tropics
temperatures and the Mann version only includes that part of the NH
(we could include Mann’s full NH recon as well, but he would probably
go ballistic, and also the new Mann&Jones mess?)

3) Characterize the similarities between series using unrotated
(maybe rotated as well) EOF analysis (correlation for pure
similarity, covariance for differences in amplitude as well) and
filtering on the reconstructions – unfiltered, 20yr high-pass, 100-20
bandpass, 100 lowpass – to find out where the reconstructions are
most similar and different – use 1st-EOF loadings as a guide, the
comparisons of the power spectra could also be done I suppose

4) Do these EOF analyses on different time periods to see where they
differ most, e.g., running 100-year EOF windows on the unfiltered
data, running 300-year for 20-lp data (something like that anyway),
and plot the 1st-EOF loadings as a function of time

5) Discuss where the biggest differences lie between reconstructions
(this will almost certainly occur most in the 100 lowpass data),
taking into account data overlaps

6) Point out implications concerning the next IPCC assessment and EBM
forcing experiments that are basically designed to fit the lower
frequencies – if the greatest uncertainties are in the >100 year
band, then that is where the greatest uncertainties will be in the
forcing experiments

7) Publish, retire, and don’t leave a forwarding address

Without trying to prejudice this work, but also because of what I
almost think I know to be the case, the results of this study will
show that we can probably say a fair bit about <100 year
extra-tropical NH temperature variability (at least as far as we
believe the proxy estimates), but honestly know fuck-all about what
the >100 year variability was like with any certainty (i.e. we know
with certainty that we know fuck-all).

Some climate scientists are sharp enough to know the truth.  They KNOW dammit!! Yet they subject us to this endless march toward an evil, anti-prosperity ‘green’ world.  If climate science want’s trust, the rejection of bad papers must start immediately.  They have got to realize that we’re not going to stop soon.

We are coming for you, and the god of physics and has our backs.

NO consensus.

66 Responses to “Climate Scientists — Stand up or be run over by the god of physics.”

  1. Tim said

    I wonder if it would be worth putting together a letter that basically says:

    We all agree the basic physics of GHGs and believe that whatever happens the world will be warmer than it would have been otherwise as a result of human CO2 emissions. What disagree on is the amount of warming), the consequences of that warming and what policies (if any) should be adopted to address any hypothetical risk this warming.

    And see if is the sceptical bloggers will sign it and post it somewhere so it can be used to debunk the notion that sceptics ‘deny basic physics’.

  2. HotRod said

    I like it.

    “Climate scientists are not qualified to lecture the rest as though we are children, the fact that they would consider it says a lot about their mental state.”

    Browsing through realClimate tells you a lot – did you see Sonja B-C’s post there on the Santer diatribe? Gavin held it up for an hour or two, then snitted the whole way through it, which is just incredibly rude, and cut the bits he didn’t like.

    Now, Sonja isn’t their cup of tea, but it was an excellent intelligent post on the politics of science from someone who has been there, done it, over a few decades, and has a different perspective that might just be interesting to some readers. Where is the most basic level of respect? What is going on in Gavin’s head?

    Ditto the Romm post on Curry. Why diss her so totally? Willis was not personal in his disagreements about the state of where we are, his polemic had humour as well as frustration, it was almost in a way personally affectionate. Romm was a total prick. Does she, right or wrong, have no locus, no right to be heard politely, no experience that might be worth listening to?

    You and Anthony have laid into her on some points. But on some points, that’s the point. Not on her whole world view, her whole right to exist and speak up.

    I find them incredible. Really. Couldn’t agree with you more.

  3. Jeff Id said

    #1 That’s kind of an interesting idea, I don’t know if tAV has the readership but it might work.

  4. Bad Andrew said

    “We all agree the basic physics of GHGs and believe that whatever happens the world will be warmer than it would have been otherwise as a result of human CO2 emissions.”


    I can’t accept this because you used the word “believe”. Science is supposed to be about discoveries of fact. Until we can start measuring the temperature consistently and we can agree on what that measurement means, climate science is nowhere.


  5. HotRod said

    This was the Sonja B-C post, with Gavin’s comments interleaved, which she posted on the Santer blog on RC. Delete this post if you think OT, but for me it sums up the extraordinary unjustified arrogance you talk about above. It is also interesting, very.

    Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen says:
    25 February 2010 at 11:24 AM

    I agree with 39 above. I respond as a political scientist with some knowledge of climate science and over 2 decades of observation of the climate science/policy and energy politics interface.

    Having myself observed an IPCC negotiation session (as researcher investigating the IPCC)in the mid 1990s, I can only report that Sir John Houghton entered with the final text ready in his hand, and while there was some debate and even opposition, his text was accepted unaltered.(Don’t ask me when and where…I gave all my IPCC papers away but have published a lot in the policy literature.)

    Sir John, as an example and there are many others, was much more than a scientist, he was and remains a reborn Christian who believes that pollution is a sin and that it is Man’s duty to save the planet whose demise he could foretell with science. Other scientists I interviewed felt compelled by their environmental belief to support the dangerous man-made warming hypothesis, others because this idea has been funded and doubts could onoy be expressed in private. Business people and investors (like Al Gore and the BBC) hope to make money out the ‘response strategies’ to the warming threat. Recommending response strategies was of course another duty of the IPCC, well establihed by 1988.

    Science and ideology (political belief) cannot be separated in indiviual people. Surely, the oil and coal people, as well as political conservatives, have an equal right and even duty to fight their corner and demand scientific honesty where policy would undermine their interests or beliefs. Smearing opponents has tended to be a failing of ‘warmers’ like Santer and his wider group of supporters.

    [Response: I can’t believe you wrote that with a straight face. – gavin]

    Science, selected and diluted, has always been used and misused for the justification of policy ambitions. Seeking funding and recognition by peers is the ‘interest’ of the science lobby, in my analysis it was a major political actor in the climate ‘game’. What would have happened to CRU (a project-funded research body)and its US equivalents if ‘research’ had withdrawn or weakened its support for ‘decarbonisation’ while policy was being negotiated?

    [Response: Nothing. There is enormous amounts of research to do in climate science regardless of the ‘decarbonisation’ policies. – gavin]

    Having studied climate scepticisim over a long time I agree that many sceptics have ‘right-wing’ values, are critical of environmentalism as a dangerous ideology and favour carbon fuels. Like I they are suspicous of environmentlaism because it tends to assume that humanity is at fault and that industrialisation damages the planet. But then, what is wrong with that? The opposite tends to be true for many ‘warmers’,’alarmist’ or ‘global salvationists’. Scientsts must become aware of their own filters or prejudices before declaring that only thay posess the truth.

    [Response: No scientist has ever declared that. This is claimed only by people who want to paint us as rabid zealots. Strawman. – gavin]

    With ‘Climategate’ and it world-wide effects, the ‘warmers’ (and Al Gore) have at last got what they deserve, a closer look at their manners and scientific practice. The well funded egos supporting the IPCC have indeed been offended by peoplelike Steve McIntye, McKitrick, Singer, Christy and many others, and they seem to respond as a ‘pack’ (note the help Santer received in writign the above).

    IMHO, the RealClimate group and their allies in quite a few other countries deserve criticim less for their science than for how they have ‘marketed’ and ‘branded’ their research outputs as true and above criticism.

    [Response: Again, a complete strawman. Perhaps you’d care to point to anything any of us have ever published where we said this was true and above criticism? Just one. And if you want to come back and say ‘well I didn’t really mean it’, don’t bother. – gavin]

    In the end, the value judgements they are hiding in their work are not for them to publicise as truths, but belong to the world of politics, including the politics of science, a much neglected subject.

    And please remember that the 1992 Climate Convention agreed in Rio already enshrines in law that global warming is dangerous, man-made and caused by GHG emissions.

    [Response: Not true. It says that countries should aim to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system by the emission of greenhouse gases. And if even Saudi Arabia can agree to that, I’m surprised you can’t. (Though actually nothing much surprises me anymore). – gavin]

    Scientists were not asked test this as a scientific hypothesis but were asked to assume it in order to justify a major international policy effort involving not only energy, but also new politial structures, aid flows, forestry, agriculture and much more. Challenging this justification – the climate threat to the planet and humanity – is indeed High Politics. Doing so seems very necssary, if only in the light of ‘unintended consequences’ for science and much else.

    Dr. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen (editor Energy&Environment) former senior research fellow at the Energy Group, SPRU, University of Sussex)

    [edit advertising]

  6. Tim said

    It could get a lot of traction if someone like Morano would sign on. I know all of the science centered sceptics would likely sign. I see it as an attempt to reframe the discussion. You are probably in a better position to email folks like Morano and ask.

  7. Tim said

    Bad Andrew,
    Then change it too “we agree that the scientific evidence demonstrates that GHGs are real…”
    It is the concept which is important – not the exact wording I choose.

  8. Tim said

    Do you know what post was #39 when she wrote it?

  9. Andrew_KY said

    “It is the concept which is important – not the exact wording I choose.”


    The wording is at least as important as the concept. I am tired of science By What Sounds Good. Can we please start trying to get things right? I’ve had enough AGW muddy waters on climate blogs to last me three lifetimes!


  10. Tim said

    9 – I was not expecting that my quickly dashed off words would be the statement. Writing the exact wording would be up to the bloggers who choose to sign it.

  11. Andrew_KY said


    Sorry for taking my frustrations out on you. You are the lucky recipient of me reading Bull Sh*t on climate blogs for the past 3 years. Again my apologies for singling you out, dude.


  12. GregO said

    It is time to throw out all the mishmosh bad temperature data and throw out all publications based on bad data. Throw it all out right now! Dr Jones “lost” his records? That’s shoddy beyond belief. Stop the nonsense. All temperature data needs to be in the public domain. Any publication needs to cite exactly what temperature data it is based upon, and the data needs an audit. There is so much chicanery and foolishness going on – how can anyone take AWG seriously when the very data itself is suspect! Averaging, Homogenizing, temperature station drop out, Bolivia effect, and on and on. Willis is so right on with his response (on WUWT)to Dr Curry’s essay on credibility of climate research. Ten fifteen years from now, we will look back on the sorry affair and shake our heads in disbelief that so much fakery and lying got so much traction and caused so many bad policies and created wealth and fame to so many bad actors. Yes Dr Curry, let’s keep talking about that credibility thing; I’m all ears.

  13. stan said


    Yes. For all the focus on corruption, the biggest scandal is the gross incompetence.

  14. jstults said

    We are coming for you, and the god of physics and has our backs.

    Wow, did you just get done watching Tombstone?

    NO consensus.

    When you say it like that, ‘no quarter’ echos in my head.

    Careful, there’s no monopoly on hubris, plenty to go around…

  15. Jeff Id said

    #14, Victory? What victory? All I see is a small battle won. Until the alleged scientists admit there is no chance in hell that Antarctica is going to melt and sea levels rise several meters, we’ve won nothing.

  16. Lemon said

    What isn’t caused by AGW?

    Source – with links:

    Agricultural land increase, Africa devastated, African aid threatened, Africa hit hardest, air pressure changes, Alaska reshaped, allergies increase, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, Antarctic grass flourishes, anxiety, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic lakes disappear, asthma, Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric defiance, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, bananas destroyed, bananas grow, beetle infestation, bet for $10,000, better beer, big melt faster, billion dollar research projects, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, bird visitors drop, birds return early, blackbirds stop singing, blizzards, blue mussels return, bluetongue, boredom, bridge collapse (Minneapolis), Britain Siberian, British gardens change, brothels struggle, bubonic plague, budget increases, Buddhist temple threatened, building collapse, building season extension, bushfires, business opportunities, business risks, butterflies move north, cancer deaths in England, cardiac arrest, caterpillar biomass shift, challenges and opportunities, childhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increase, cloud stripping, cockroach migration, cod go south, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), computer models, conferences, coral bleaching, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow, coral reefs shrink , cold spells, cost of trillions, cougar attacks, cremation to end, crime increase, crocodile sex, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, cyclones (Australia), damages equivalent to $200 billion, Darfur, Dartford Warbler plague, death rate increase (US), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, dermatitis, desert advance, desert life threatened, desert retreat, destruction of the environment, diarrhoea, disappearance of coastal cities, diseases move north, Dolomites collapse, drought, drowning people, ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, early marriages, early spring, earlier pollen season, Earth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing down, Earth spinning out of control, Earth spins faster, Earth to explode, earth upside down, Earth wobbling, earthquakes, El Niño intensification, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, equality threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilisation, logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, ladybirds, bats, pandas, pikas, polar bears, pigmy possums, gorillas, koalas, walrus, whales, frogs, toads, turtles, orang-utan, elephants, tigers, plants, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, penguins, a million species, half of all animal and plant species, not polar bears, barrier reef, leaches), experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, famine, farmers go under, fashion disaster, fever,figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fish catches drop, fish catches rise, fish stocks at risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flesh eating disease, flood patterns change, floods, floods of beaches and cities, Florida economic decline, food poisoning, food prices rise, food security threat (SA), footpath erosion, forest decline, forest expansion, frostbite, frosts, fungi fruitful, fungi invasion, games change, Garden of Eden wilts, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed, gingerbread houses collapse, glacial earthquakes, glacial retreat, glacial growth, glacier wrapped, global cooling, global dimming, glowing clouds, god melts, golf Masters wrecked, Gore omnipresence, grandstanding, grasslands wetter, Great Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes drop, greening of the North, Grey whales lose weight, Gulf Stream failure, habitat loss, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, harvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay fever epidemic, hazardous waste sites breached, health of children harmed, heart disease, heart attacks and strokes (Australia), heat waves, hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late, homeless 50 million, hornets, high court debates, human development faces unprecedented reversal, human fertility reduced, human health improvement, human health risk, hurricanes, hurricane reduction, hydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkage, illness and death, inclement weather, infrastructure failure (Canada), Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, industry threatened, infectious diseases, inflation in China, insurance premium rises, invasion of cats, invasion of herons, invasion of midges, island disappears, islands sinking, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, Kew Gardens taxed, kitten boom, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, lake shrinking and growing, landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, lawsuits increase, lawsuit successful, lawyers’ income increased (surprise surprise!), lightning related insurance claims, little response in the atmosphere, lush growth in rain forests, Lyme disease, Malaria, malnutrition, mammoth dung melt, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine food chain decimated, marine dead zone, Meaching (end of the world), megacryometeors, Melanoma, methane emissions from plants, methane burps, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom convulses, migration, migration difficult (birds), microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, monkeys on the move, Mont Blanc grows, monuments imperiled, more bad air days, more research needed, mountain (Everest) shrinking, mountains break up, mountains taller, mortality lower, mudslides, National security implications, new islands, next ice age, Nile delta damaged, no effect in India, Northwest Passage opened, nuclear plants bloom, oaks move north, ocean acidification, ocean waves speed up, opera house to be destroyed, outdoor hockey threatened, oyster diseases, ozone loss, ozone repair slowed, ozone rise, Pacific dead zone, personal carbon rationing, pest outbreaks, pests increase, phenology shifts, plankton blooms, plankton destabilised, plankton loss, plant viruses, plants march north, polar bears aggressive, polar bears cannibalistic, polar bears drowning, polar bears starve, polar tours scrapped, porpoise astray, profits collapse, psychosocial disturbances, puffin decline, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall increase, rainfall reduction, rape wave, refugees, reindeer larger, release of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice threatened, rice yields crash, riches, rift on Capitol Hill, rioting and nuclear war, rivers dry up, river flow impacted, rivers raised, roads wear out, rockfalls, rocky peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, Ross river disease, ruins ruined, salinity reduction, salinity increase, Salmonella, salmon stronger, satellites accelerate, school closures, sea level rise, sea level rise faster, seals mating more, sewer bills rise, sex change, sharks booming, sharks moving north, sheep shrink, shop closures, shrinking ponds, shrinking shrine, ski resorts threatened, slow death, smaller brains, smog, snowfall increase, snowfall heavy, snowfall reduction, societal collapse, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, space problem, spiders invade Scotland, squid population explosion, squirrels reproduce earlier, spectacular orchids, stormwater drains stressed, street crime to increase, suicide, taxes, tectonic plate movement, teenage drinking, terrorism, threat to peace, ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tourism increase, trade barriers, trade winds weakened, tree beetle attacks, tree foliage increase (UK), tree growth slowed, trees could return to Antarctic, trees in trouble, trees less colourful, trees more colourful, trees lush, tropics expansion, tropopause raised, tsunamis, turtles crash, turtles lay earlier, UK Katrina, Vampire moths, Venice flooded, volcanic eruptions, walrus displaced, walrus pups orphaned, war, wars over water, wars threaten billions, water bills double, water supply unreliability, water scarcity (20% of increase), water stress, weather out of its mind, weather patterns awry, weeds, Western aid cancelled out, West Nile fever, whales move north, wheat yields crushed in Australia, white Christmas dream ends, wildfires, wind shift, wind reduced, wine – harm to Australian industry, wine industry damage (California), wine industry disaster (US), wine – more English, wine -German boon, wine – no more French , winters in Britain colder, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers laid off, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever.

  17. Lance said


    “we’ve won nothing”

    Yes, that’s true. But hell if we’re going to quit anytime soon.

  18. Chris S said

    The problem with many Scientists is they don’t have “real world” experience.
    If you can’t solve actual problems, under pressure, where a solution is critical, you won’t have the tools to hypothesize usefully.

  19. Tom J. Arnold. said

    I remember the (in the UK) early climatologists, we then called them ‘environmental scientists’, they were a combo’ of a mish-mash of subjects, a bastardisation in other words and usually under the aegis of humanities faculties at universities – nuff said.

    If you were on to a ‘good number’, where some government body was paying you and your department to literally print any old crap for a kings ransom, what is the problem?
    Indeed but perhaps…..unlike climatologists you possess –
    Scientific rigour, an absolute dedication to seeking the truth, publishing all your results and wanting scrutiny (after-all you want, no, need people to copy and reproduce your results….. er don’t you?). A truly philanthropic vocation to helping and furthering mankind’s understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere and a rapacious appetite for empirical science……….then climatology is not for you.

  20. Pat Frank said

    Jeff, I don’t think it’s funding that’s driving the academic-IPCC AGW industry. Large-scale government funded science has been in play since WWII. The intervening 60 years haven’t seen the rise of venal claques of academic scientists manipulating data and public opinion to enrich themselves.

    Even government funded fashions have come and gone in science. Remember “cancer research”? This was a hugely funded national effort, and biophysicists, chemists, cell biologists, biochemists, academic physicians, and all sorts of other people wrote “cancer” into their grants to fund their research. But we never saw the CDC or the AMA enter into manipulation of hysteria over cancer, or groups of academic scientists trying to control the discussion and the literature, or engaging in polemical character assasination.

    There are other examples of directed funding, such as toward photovoltaics during the 1980’s, but again, there, we saw no venal and censorious cabals of scientists.

    So, the money issue doesn’t necessarily play into AGW. To my mind, it’s driven by green ideology. Certain scientists, perhaps including Steve Schneider, John Houghton, Bert Bolin, Ralph Cicerone and Jim Hansen were alarmed about the climate feedback of CO2 and decided that they knew the climatological outcome of GHG emissions without actually knowing (because the science was, and remains, lacking). So, they took the step of trumping science with their own inner certainty, and spoke out forcefully.

    Green NGOs and Al Gore, who was then a senator and later as vice president, took up this propaganda gift and ran with it. The next generation of scientists, perhaps Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Ben Santer, and others, got their Ph.D.s in the context that it was permissible to let inner certainty trump science about climate. It had become an acceptable practice, and widespread and insistent NGO propaganda, conspicuously supported by many top scientists, made it seem to be the morally correct choice.

    I think this ideological dynamic with the intergenerational slippage in professional ethics, more than anything else, explains the history of AGW. It’s a practical example of Hannah Arendt’s thesis about the banality of evil. Slippage in the normative ethical context allows people to do ill, all the while they go about their ordinary jobs.

    Most other climate scientists, probably including Judith Curry, applied the usual academic trust, as we all must do, that other scientists have done their jobs ethically. Academic science is not like project engineering, in this fashion. It’s impossible for academic scientists to check everything on which their work depends. Science operates on this sort of professional trust in the peer-reviewed literature and the strictly honest reportage of other scientists. This is why dishonesty, such as the fabrications of Jan Schoen at Bell Labs, are treated as such a deep betrayal. There is no greater offense in science than researcher dishonesty, and we all know that widespread dishonesty is its ruination.

    It’s typically (but not always) from the failure of some necessary new step, dependent on the use of someone else’s work, that one goes back to really dig into another scientist’s work. This is what happened in the Mark Spector fraud and Hwang Woo-Suck’s stem cell fraud. So, in a way, Judith and other climate scientists were honest dupes. They interpreted their work in terms of the prevailing context, which is what most scientists do. It will take bald and undeniable revelations before they go back and undo all of their previously published conclusions.

    I’m guessing we’ll eventually see that.

  21. Pat Frank said

    I’d also like to add that radiation physics only shows that GHGs, including CO2, will increase the energy content of the atmosphere. Knowing whether there are detectable atmospheric thermal consequences of this added energy requires an actual theory of climate.

    Absent such a theory — our present circumstance — one cannot say that this extra energy will show up as atmospheric heat. It could, for example, strengthen tropical hydrology. Willaim Gray, for example, is very skeptical, and I recall him saying that only a couple of percent increase in tropical rainfall would be enough to remove the excess GHG energy and make any thermal change in the atmosphere completely undetectable.

    The same qualification derives from possible changes in cloudiness following from increased atmospheric energy due to GHG. These changes, if any, also cannot be calculated. Small mitigating changes in cloud albedo are enough to make undetectable any change in atmospheric heat content.

    So, there doesn’t seem to be any present reason to think that GHGs will detectably warm the atmosphere. We only know the change in the energy budget, assuming all else stays constant, but not the change in atmospheric thermal response.

  22. Sharon said

    @HotRod and Tim:

    I was curious to look at RC today, wondering if there would be any hint of a reaction to Curry’s essay. I noticed that Boehmer-Christiansen had made a recent comment. I almost couldn’t believe what she wrote, and that it remained up. I left a tip at WUWT about it.

    Gavin’s comments seem like a “proxy” attack. I’m sure he’d much rather be tearing into Curry. He was probably stunned at his great good luck when Boehmer-Christiansen posted.

    Below is post #39 that she was responding to, written by a “Tim”. (I had to make another visit to RC to fetch this. Oy.)

    39Tim says:
    24 February 2010 at 10:51 PM
    Ok. Read your complaints about McIntrye and Christie and thought you might have a point so I went back and reviewed the CA postings as well as the AT article where Christy accused you of rigging the process.

    What I found was:

    1) McIntrye spent a lot of time analyzing your paper before he even asked for the data. He asked for the data because he ran into a puzzle that he could not solve without seeing exactly what you did.

    2) After submitting FOI request for the data David Bader sent a letter to McIntrye claiming that the release of data was planned all along but it takes time. This makes your original refusal appear extremely petty. If the data was going to be released anyways you could have said that and there would have been no FOIs. You seem to be the author of your own misfortune unless you wish to accuse David Bader of lying about the release being planned.

    3) The CRU correspondence referenced by Christy makes it clear that you “negotiated” preferential terms for your submission with the assistance of Osborn. Whether you knew the editor beforehand is irrelevant. What is clear is the editor gave you preferential treatment and that you would not have been able to publish your paper so quickly under your terms without that consideration.

    I realize that you believe you have been wronged by McIntrye and Christie but the facts really don’t seem to support your argument.


    quality rant, jeff

  24. Antonio San said

    [Response: Again, a complete strawman. Perhaps you’d care to point to anything any of us have ever published where we said this was true and above criticism? Just one. And if you want to come back and say ‘well I didn’t really mean it’, don’t bother. – gavin]


  25. michel said

    We all agree the basic physics of GHGs and believe that whatever happens the world will be warmer than it would have been otherwise as a result of human CO2 emissions.

    No, we do not agree this. What we agree is that rising CO2 levels deliver warming forcings to the planet. We agree specifically that if ppm rise from 300 to 600, this will deliver a forcing that, if nothing else happens, will raise global average temps by 1C.

    What we do not agree on is whether anything else will happen and if so what, and how sure we are. It is possible that this forcing will have no effect whatever on global temps long term. It is possible that it will raise them by some unknown amount, larger or smaller than 1C.

    This is because the theory consists of two independent propositions, one of which is indubitable basic physics, the other of which is an hypothesis about the functioning of a complex system, the climate. The indubitable proposition is that given above. The other proposition has nothing to do with either CO2 or humnan emissions, it is an hypothesis about how the climate responds to heat input. I don’t see any evidence that it reacts by long term warming. Think about it. A jug of coffee has a certain heat content. Pour it into a cup with some milk, the temperature rises. Pour it into me first thing in the morning, my temperature stays the same, but I flush, sweat a bit, and wake up. The climate of planet earth may or may not rise in response to heat input. It depends how it works. It is not basic physics that it will get, and stay, warmer. It is a matter of how this system functions. And the fundamental issue has nothing to do with CO2.

  26. I have it on good authority that the “edit advertising” bit was a recommendation to RC readers to get a copy of my book.

  27. Tonyb said

    Interesting idea about the letter, but could we all agree on;

    A) The amount of warming that a doubling of Co2 will cause
    B) What base line for Co2 we are using from which to calculate any doubling?

    I could perhps go with up to 0.7C for the first, but as for the second, what with historic records and the sheer amount of interchange between ocean and atnosphere dwarfing mans efforts, I would find it hard to agree concentrations have increased since the 19th century.

    So what is the sceptical consensus? I suspect its not as ‘robust’ as the warmists consensus.


  28. Peter of Sydney said

    Yes, sometimes the obvious truth is often ignored by even the most intelligent person. As has been stated many times, climate science is not only young and immature, it’s also full of exaggerations, misconceptions, falsehoods, mistakes and deliberate fabrication of the evidence. Very little of it can be trusted at all, and much of that is in doubt anyway. Astrology is actually a more accurate “science” even though I don’t believe in it. At least it has a definite theory supported by documented procedures and algorithms, and is repeatable. It doesn’t necessarily make it right though. However, with the AGW theory it’s hopelessly flawed compared to Astrology.

  29. philipchallis said

    ironically in the UK since Global warming came into the forefront it has been considerably colder – rarely do we have a decent summer and our current Winter has been horendous!
    I agree with the majority of comments but believe that it is better to take some action than do nothing at all and if we can reduce our CO2 emmisions without changing our life styles we must do so.
    I do believe that the solution to climate change is much closer to home. It is well known that it is the burning of fossil fuels which causes the problem and it is the consumption of electricity which increases the burning of these fossil fuels. Electricity has been in commercial use for less than 200 years with probably the greatest growth in useage since the invention of television. In the Uk we are going through a change from analogue to digital which means if you want to use your old analogue TV you need to buy a digital set top box which costs £20.00. However consumers are generally opting to upgrade to modern digital flat screen TV’s.
    The fact is that an analogue 32in TV uses 500 watts while its modern digital counter part uses 150 watts. Would you burn an extra 350 watts if you did not need too. What amazes me is that these facts on TV consumption are not widely known or publicised. Surely it is for Governments to publicise these facts!
    If everyone dumped their old analogue TV in favour of a new digital one the electricity consumption would be dramatically decreased and consumers would see benefit in their pockets and at the same time save the environment.
    No sales pitch as I am in the UK market but I invite you to see some detail of a modern digital TV –

  30. JLKrueger said

    It’s time to play “The Deguelo!”

    No quarter to Warmistas! 😉

  31. AGW-Skeptic said

    by Miklos Zagoni

    In 2007, Miskolczi published another—more theoretical—article in QJHMS. He realized that his new, explicit flux relations, added to the well-known set of global energy balance conditions, led to a system of solvable equations describing an equilibrium greenhouse effect – equations that could be tested against the measurements. Miskolczi found that the solution of the theoretical unperturbed equilibrium greenhouse equations is equal (within less then 0.1 per cent) to the real observed greenhouse effect shown in the TIGR database.

    In the 2007 paper, he also made an important theoretical step forward. He realized that Eddington’s long-standing solution of the Schwarzschild-Milne radiative transfer equation contained an approximation that applies only to an infinite atmosphere, but was invalid in the finite atmosphere of the Earth. Miskolczi solved the equation with real boundary conditions. It was this exact, analytical solution that allowed him to calculate the global average infrared optical depth of the Earth’s atmosphere correctly.

    The theoretical explanation of Miskolczi’s set of equations was clear. There are two opposite forces determining radiative processes. The Earth is a hot stove in a cold room, heated by the sun. It must cool as effectively as it can: it has to reach its minimum energy state in accordance with the principle of least time. The most effective cooling is perspiration – releasing heat by evaporation, in the form of latent heat.

    So, on the one hand, the amount of water vapor in the air is maximized in accordance with the principle of minimum energy. On the other hand, this maximum amount of water vapor, as greenhouse gas, in the air causes a maximized greenhouse heating. In this process, all of the available incoming energy from the Sun is transformed into longwave radiation upwelling from the surface of the Earth.

    These two opposite forces maximize both the heating and the cooling of the surface. For as long as there is enough water in the oceans, these two forces are able to maintain equilibrium in the form of maximal heating and cooling.
    Since the Earth’s atmosphere is not lacking in greenhouse gases, if the system could have increased its surface temperature it would have done so long before our emissions. It need not have waited for us to add CO2: another greenhouse gas, H2O, was already to hand in practically unlimited reservoirs in the oceans.

    The conclusion is that, since the Earth’s temperature does not depend on our CO2 emissions in any way, trying to limit our emissions is bound to be entirely ineffective in protecting the climate from warming.

  32. Pops said

    The rudder of the good ship Humanity turns on tiny hinges. For those willing to pop up and look away from the mechanical details of the rudder, they will find the winds are howling, the seas are heaving, and the ship is headed for rocky shoals. Dr. Curry is attempting a course midway between safety and shipwreck – that way lies only shipwreck. The choice is between the safe seas of truth, peace, and prosperity, and the jagged rocks of tyranny, poverty, and misery. There is no middle ground.

    Pat Frank’s description very accurately and articulately matches my perception – thank you.

  33. Chuckles said


    Well said, ‘climate science’ is an invented discipline cobbled together from minor aspects of atmospheric physics, geology, geography, botany, hygrology and whatever else springs to mind.
    In addition to the points you noted, Lubos Motl pointed out in his response to the Dr. Curry posting at WUWT – let their funding go back to pre hysteria levels, and let climate science revert to the academic backwater it is and deserves to be.
    As you noted, it tends to be populated by mediocre scientists, unfortunately with more than a touch of zealotry and idealism attached.


    Good idea, but I’m not sure it will achieve anything.

    Such positions are always set up as an initial straw man which is then attacked – ‘These people are deniers! They deny climate change is happening!’
    What you actually say or believe is irrelevant in the narrative. It is a tool to attack you, not a point of debate.

    That said, the actual ‘consensus’ that is usually trumpeted is ludicrously simple and trivial. Something along the lines of – CO2 is a greenhouse gas, humanity is generating some CO2 and it is warming the atmosphere. Simply agree to that.

  34. PhilJourdan said

    #30 Re: The Deguello

    is redundant. De Guello, the De means the.

  35. CarlGullans said

    #1/#3: I believe that this is more or less what Steve Mosher means when he refers to himself and others as “Lukewarmers”: no denial of atmospheric physics, skepticism of all else that warrants it.

  36. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: AGW-Skeptic (Feb 26 08:26),

    To paraphrase Wolfgang Pauli: Not only is Miskolczi not right, he’s not even wrong!

    His statement of the Virial Theorem is incorrect for a diatomic molecular planetary atmosphere. But even worse, no one has ever been able to figure out how he gets from the Virial Theorem to his radiative flux equations. He has never answered the questions asked by Neal King two years ago.

  37. hempster said

    About #1
    If you replace this “…believe that whatever happens the world…” with “it’s plausible that the world…”, then I think almost every hardened skeptic will sign it.

  38. Kenneth Fritsch said

    The excerpt from Willis E’s comments below summarizes well the entire the problem as I see it and have described it frequently.

    Because we don’t want scientists who are advocates. We’re not interested in scientists who don’t mention their doubts. We’re sick of your inane “simplified dramatic statements”. We laugh when you cry wolf with your scary scenarios.

    I do not think one has to go beyond this and suggest remedies. What is important is for the thinking public to be aware of these obvious biases in presenting papers and reviews of papers as attempted by the IPCC. I would think that when one sees a review of the climate science literature that shows that only bad things will come out of a degree or several of warming, that even the most ardent supporters of immediate AGW mitigation would shudder. When one sees climate science authors of papers apparently feeling obligated to make a salute to the consensus position on AGW, and regardless of the paper content or conclusions one can make from the results, one does have to be concerned about potential biases interfering with the scientific process.

    This approach of some climate scientists to yield nothing at all or to fail to admit to the uncertainty in their results would be akin to a free marketer, like me, stating that this approach allows for no problems or an economic Nirvana, if you will. (Markets adjust to mistakes while governments have great difficulty in even admitting mistakes).

    I have to question why a Judith Curry even attempts to do anything about how climate scientists are viewed by the public or is particularly interested in the PR aspects of this apparent perception. The only reasonable explanation, in my view, for this concern by climate scientists, would be that they judge that the case has been made for AGW and all its potential bad effects, and that, if the public has become distrustful, these scientists must somehow (and perhaps outside the area of science) regain that trust in order to push the policies for which they are advocating.

    I, therefore, see Judith Curry’s recent actions and concerns as those of an advocate and not of a scientist. I also do not share the apparent need to commend Judith for “being brave” when in my mind scientists need to be forthcoming as almost a natural instinct and not have to receive special credits for being honest.

    Furthermore, I think that the internet and blogging can cut through some of the hesitancy to remark on individuals’ actions and without repercussions – at least for some of us with no dogs in this fight.

    I think moderators/owners of blogs need to administer against blatant nastiness and personal disparagement, but at the same time allow honest and sincere assessments – as that is the charm and facility that is rather unique to the internet.

  39. actually thoughtful said


    Since the Earth’s atmosphere is not lacking in greenhouse gases, if the system could have increased its surface temperature it would have done so long before our emissions. It need not have waited for us to add CO2: another greenhouse gas, H2O, was already to hand in practically unlimited reservoirs in the oceans.

    Very interesting. How does this approach deal with past, much higher, temperatures? Much colder temperatures in the past? It seems to indicate temperatures should stay in a very narrow bandwidth, unless solar input changes notably.

  40. Dan Hughes said

    re: scientists as advocates

    jstults left a link to this article over at my blog:

    Click to access SN_1_01.pdf

    Written about 10 years ago, and in, for me, a somewhat unusual publication.

  41. rcrejects said

    #25. Michel. You say: “What we agree is that rising CO2 levels deliver warming forcings to the planet. We agree specifically that if ppm rise from 300 to 600, this will deliver a forcing that, if nothing else happens, will raise global average temps by 1C.”

    Can I ask, how does this assertion relate to the logarithmic decay of the effect of adding more CO2 as illustrated in the graphic at Jo Nova’s post here:

    Jo’s graphic suggests that doubling CO2 will only result in an increase of less than 0.1 degree C. I don’t think that I have ever seen a discussion reconciling the logarithmic decay of the CO2 warming effect with the physics that shows 1C warming for a doubling of CO2.

    I would have posted the graphic itself, but dunno how to do that.

  42. Tom Fuller said

    Hi all,

    Good post and good comments. I’ll help push the letter–so will others.

    As someone who sympathizes with your position (but isn’t strictly on your ‘side’) let me agree strongly that you have won nothing yet.

    The alarmists have been on the ropes before but have wriggled off the hook. Stay on the case. There are veterans of long-term media campaigns on the other side. They understand that this is a generational war with ups and downs. They are planning for the next campaign now. If they can get away with blaming Pachauri and Jones and saying that with them gone the game can go on, they will. What is your response and do you have it ready?

    Jeff, you need to be offering support here for efforts being made at reconstructing the temperature history. You need to be following the errors found in the CRU code. You can communicate these concepts to people like me better than ChiefIO can, bless his heart. He should be blogging for you. You should be blogging for us.

    Take a look at the pace Richard North is maintaining at EU Referendum. He’s done this kind of thing for decades, and he knows how it works.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be trying to help others build a moderate middle that can disagree with you on some of the details in a collegial fashion. And hey–that may include Dr. Judith Curry! But I hope that folks like you and Willis will help us get it right…

  43. Chuckles said

    The Institute of Physics seems to agree with some of the sentiments expressed here…..

    Their submission to the UK Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee Enquiry:

  44. Earle Williams said

    Dan Hughes,

    Thanks for the link. I’ll note that it is reprinted in that quarterly after being originally published elsewhere:

    This article was extracted from a paper printed in
    the Forum section of Northwest Science, Vol. 74,
    No. 2, p. 165-168, March 2000.

  45. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: rcrejects (Feb 26 15:53),

    Jo’s graphic suggests that doubling CO2 will only result in an increase of less than 0.1 degree C. I don’t think that I have ever seen a discussion reconciling the logarithmic decay of the CO2 warming effect with the physics that shows 1C warming for a doubling of CO2.

    Note the fine print on the graphic that it uses Lindzen and Choi 2000 climate sensitivity of 0.15 C/W/m2. Doubling of CO2 from 280 to 560 is good for a bout 4 W/m2 so with a climate sensitivity of 0.15, one would expect a temperature change of 0.6 degrees. That implies a fairly strong negative feedback. The 1 C figure for doubling is calculated for no feedback at all. I seriously dislike linear plots when the response is logarithmic. They’re difficult to read and potentially misleading.

    Forcing per doubling actually increases with increasing concentration because the initial response is linear so the data in the plot is almost certainly incorrect too. You can see for yourself by varying the CO2 concentration on the Archer MODTRAN page and looking at the change in Iout at high altitude. It’s not the official way to calculate forcing, which is at the tropopause after the stratosphere has equilibrated to the new concentration, but it’s in the ballpark.

    1976 standard atmosphere, 100 km looking down, all other settings default:

    ppmv CO2 Iout Forcing
    0.001 286.211
    0.010 286.054 -0.157
    0.100 285.049 -1.005
    1.000 281.658 -3.391
    10.00 273.871 -7.787
    100.0 264.168 -9.703
    1000. 254.748 -9.420

    280.0 259.992
    560.0 257.166 -2.826

  46. Tim said

    Maybe even Glen Beck would sign the letter:

    I think it could potentially reframe the debate. Move away from the pointless argument of whether CO2 causes some amount of warming that may or may not be measurable. And move towards the question of whether we really need to do anything about it. Agreeing on the basic issue of CO2 would render the ‘science is sound’ excuses moot. i.e. sure the basic science is sound but that is not what the issue is. The issue is alarmists have been grossly exagerrating the risk and now we have evidence in the CRU emails and the IPCC reports….

  47. JLKrueger said

    PhilJourdan said
    February 26, 2010 at 10:41 am
    #30 Re: The Deguello

    is redundant. De Guello, the De means the.

    El is: the, he, it, one.

    De used as a preposition is: of, about, from, by, at, with, out, off. As a conjuctive it’s: than, as. As a verb it’s: give, present, deal, produce, yield, cause, perform, say, take, teach, lecture, start, begin, overlook, surrender.

    At least that’s what I learned a long time ago. Though admittedly my Spanish schooling is many decades old.

    Deguello is a single word, not split. Literal translation: “cutting of throats”.

    Figurative translation: “No Quarter.” Also signalled by hoisting a red flag.

    My most unfavorite reference, Wikipedia lists it as El Deguello. Translated: “The cutting of throats”.

    So, not redundant.

  48. Ausie Dan said

    The climate it too complex for us to establish the determinates of global temperature, at least in the time frame needed to make sound policy decisions.

    The alternative is to establish an honest dataset fairly representing global temperature.
    This requires both solid proxy reconstructions back at least before the medieval warm period and instrumental records from 1880.

    We will then be in a position to determine if the current temperature is unprecedented (at least for the last 1,000 years) and then and only then determine if the recent temperature trend(for the last 130 years) shows any sign of acceleration, after due regard for the long teme linear trend and the 65 year cyclical zig zag term.

    THEN we can start to consider if human CO2 emissions have been partially boosting the temperature and if ON BALACE this is a good or bad thing.

    In the meanwhile we should stop wasting untold billions on sub optimal sources of energy and vehicle power.

    Knowing how CO2 absorbs and re-radiates heat in individual molecules, tells us nothing about how it affects global temperature in the atmosphere.
    There is compelling evidence that many other factors are at work as well. These are as yet not agreed, let alone defined comprehensively.

  49. Bryan H. said

    Man when I read god of physics I thought you were going to post Feynmann’s Caltech Commencement speech about the trend of scientists to ignore data that doesn’t reinforce their conclusions

    “We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work.”

  50. rcrejects said

    For all you more scientific types here. Do you have a view on this American Thinker article at

    The author argues that CO2 has a ‘greenhouse’ effect, but so does nitrogen, oxygen, argon and water vapour, such that the impact of CO2 is totally swamped by the others. It seems a pretty compelling point to me. If it could be confirmed by a real physicist, this would seem to me to be a killer point for the redemption of CO2.

  51. RB said

    Willis: “And I don’t appreciate being lectured by infants. ”

    Lindsey Graham: ““I have been to enough college campuses to know if you are 30 or younger this climate issue is not a debate. It’s a value. These young people grew up with recycling and a sensitivity to the environment — and the world will be better off for it. They are not brainwashed. … From a Republican point of view, we should buy into it and embrace it and not belittle them. You can have a genuine debate about the science of climate change, but when you say that those who believe it are buying a hoax and are wacky people you are putting at risk your party’s future with younger people.”

  52. JM said

    ” global gravity change”


    Are you on crack?

  53. Jeff Id said

    #52, This summer a group of esteemed individuals determined that rich california and New York faced the biggest threat because when Antarctica melts the global gravity field would shift and flooding would unequally attack them. I’m just an eginer but my think ice needs to be warmer than -30 C to melt and my also think that was one of the dumbest papers ever published.

    Someone and their reviewers and editors were definitely on crack.

  54. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: rcrejects (Feb 28 05:00),

    The author argues that CO2 has a ‘greenhouse’ effect, but so does nitrogen, oxygen, argon and water vapour, such that the impact of CO2 is totally swamped by the others.

    Look at this set of atmospheric emission spectra calculated by MODTRAN, particularly at the dip at 667 cm-1, and tell me again that the effect of CO2 is totally swamped by the others. N2 and O2 have small continuum absorption in the far infra-red and microwave, but it’s mostly buried under the water vapor spectrum. O2 has some absorption in the near IR, but that has little effect on the greenhouse effect because the thermal emission flux in the near IR is a tiny fraction of the total. The principal CO2 absorption band is almost entirely in the water vapor window and because water vapor has a scale height of 2 km compared to ~8 km for CO2, the effect of CO2 is larger for a given concentration.

    You can generate your own spectra with varying CO2, CH4, ozone and H2O at this site. The results of MODTRAN calculations have been validated by comparison to measured spectra taken from the ground and from altitudes up to orbital. The graph also contains the total flux in W/m2, Iout, calculated from the area under the spectrum. This is about 94% of the total emitted flux because the tails of the spectra at long and short wavelength aren’t included. Increase the CO2 and the flux looking down from high altitude decreases while the flux looking up from the surface increases. The end result, all other things being equal, is an increase in surface temperature.

  55. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: RB (Feb 28 12:23),

    Recycling, oh please. Unless someone is willing to pay you to recycle and can still make a profit while doing so, recycling is actually wasting resources. Besides, if you really believe in mitigation, then you should be supporting burying our used paper products in landfills rather than recycling. That’s true carbon sequestration.

    Finally as far as the views of recent college students, a quote attributed to Winston Churchill:

    “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain”.

  56. RB said

    Symmetric diatomic molecules, in general, like Oxygen and Nitrogen cannot have a GH effect (see Archer’s book) – this american thinker place seems to produce some really wild pseudo-scientific stuff.

  57. kevoka said

    RB – O2 does have a GH effect. It is extremely small. Yet it is enough to be ranked in the HiTran database. N2 is not a GH. But, what gets me about statements like “Oxygen and Nitrogen cannot have a GH effect” is that if this statement is true (as I said it is true for N2), then for Oxygen, with its really tiny, minuscule amount of GH effect, to be discarded, why aren’t the following GH’s also discarded:

    Molecule IPCC AR4 listed RF
    HFC-125 .0009
    HFC-152a .0004
    C2F6 (PFC-116) .0008

  58. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: RB (Feb 28 22:32),

    Oxygen has a magnetic dipole moment so rotational transitions do emit and absorb EM radiation. The 60GHz oxygen band is used for remote sensing of atmospheric temperature by satellite. O2 also absorbs in the near IR at 1.06 and 1.27 micrometers. That’s only important for incoming solar radiation, though. Collisional induced absorption can allow even a symmetric molecule to have an IR absorption spectrum. CIA is thought to be the reason for the water vapor continuum spectrum that is significant for ghg calculations. CIA for O2-O2, N2-N2 and N2-O2 collisions is very weak and only important for paths through the atmosphere that never get below the stratosphere. The mechanism for CIA is similar to the mechanism for collisional or pressure line broadening. And another fun fact, collisions between O2 and CO2 have a relatively high probability of being inelastic. This causes CO2 to be in local thermal equilibrium at a much higher altitude than would normally be expected.

  59. jstults said

    DeWitt, first of all, thanks for the atmospheric spectroscopy primer, could you explain this last statement a little more:

    This causes CO2 to be in local thermal equilibrium at a much higher altitude than would normally be expected.

    This is surprising to me, I’d expect thermal equilibrium just about all the way up. How high are you talking here? Can you point me at further reading? Thanks.

  60. PhilJourdan said

    Re: DeWitt Payne – The quote is widely attributed to Churchill, but it was actually coined by a frenchman, Francois Guisot.

  61. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: jstults (Mar 1 08:45),

    The definition of local thermal equilibrium (LTE) is that energy is spread equally over all possible modes, kinetic energy, rotation and vibration for a CO2 molecule at atmospheric temperatures. The rotational and vibrational modes are constrained by quantum mechanics but the principle is the same as for the three modes of kinetic energy (1/2 m*velocity^2 in the x, y and z directions). A molecule that absorbs (or emits) radiation has much higher (or lower) energy. Energy can be transferred between molecules by inelastic collision. The collision frequency is a function of pressure, which decreases with altitude. LTE obtains when the rate of energy exchange by collision is much higher than by radiation. Since the probability of absorbing or emitting a photon doesn’t change with altitude (to a good approximation anyway), at some altitude LTE will no longer apply. The key, though, is the rate of inelastic collisions. Most molecular collisions are elastic (think billiard balls). If a molecule has a higher probability of inelastic collisions, then it will be in LTE to higher altitude. Measurement from orbit has shown that CO2 is in LTE to the upper limit of the measurement, greater than 90 km. For most molecules, LTE starts to fail above 30 km.

    Re: PhilJourdan (Mar 1 09:10),

    Thanks. Nice to know.

  62. jstults said

    DeWitt, thanks for the links, I didn’t realize they modeled that high, found this link that says they’re looking to extend things from ~140km up to 500km, didn’t realize stuff that high would matter that much.

  63. RB said

    Interesting… both Oxygen and Nitrogen have rotational collision-induced absorption .

  64. RB said

    And here’s more info on the magnetic dipole for O2

  65. RB said

    Is the increasing CO2 sensitivity at higher concentrations due to CIA – or are the weak absorption bands due to other factors?

  66. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: RB (Mar 1 15:24),

    The 667 cm-1 band has thousands of lines that vary in strength by many orders of magnitude. As the concentration goes up, the weaker lines on the wings of the band come into play and total absorption increases. There’s a spectral calculator tool that allows you to do some things for free using the HITRAN spectral database like calculate absorption spectra and show all spectral lines over a limited range on a log scale. Eli Rabbet has a good post on how to use it. The main collisional effect on these lines is pressure broadening, which can also shift the peak frequency some.

    I just realized I misunderstood your question, but the above information might be useful to you anyway. The increased forcing with doubling at higher concentrations is more complicated, but it’s not a result of CIA. The cause is, curiously enough, saturation at the center of the band. A classic myth is that an increase in CO2 can’t cause an increase in the greenhouse effect because it’s already saturated. The reality is that CO2 is such an effective greenhouse gas, far stronger than water on a mole per mole basis, because it’s saturated. At very low concentrations, all the emission from CO2 comes from warmer temperature low altitude and the absorption band is narrow. As the concentration increases, the center of the band dips lower until it hits a wall and you start to see a flat bottom to the dip in emission. The wall is a result of the decrease in pressure with altitude overwhelming the increase in absorption as the concentration goes up. If you take the area of the band and calculate an average brightness temperature, the brightness temperature goes down as the concentration goes up. As concentration increases, the band gets wider and the brightness temperature for the band as a whole goes down faster for a given increase in concentration than it did at lower concentration. I haven’t actually run the numbers on this, but I’m pretty sure that’s the cause.

    The spike in the center of the dip is from CO2 in the stratosphere. The stratosphere warms with altitude and the concentration is so low that self absorption is insignificant. That emission is why increasing CO2 should cool the stratosphere. The ozone band at about 1000 cm-1 shows a similar effect. If you kill everything else, you can see the N2O band at about 1300 cm-1 and it also has a spike in the middle. The spike is also why increasing CO2 much beyond 1,000 ppmv won’t give credible results. The assumption that the temperature profile won’t change will be invalid.

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