the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Climate Sensitivity

Posted by Jeff Id on March 6, 2014

I want to urge everyone interested in climate change science to take their time to read this paper by Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok.  Nic was a blog-famous coauthor of the O’Donnell Antarctic correction to Steig 09.  His role in that article was in review of the mathematics and software developed to do the corrected reconstruction.   From that time, his publications, and some email conversations since, I happen to know that Nic is probably the most underrated scientist/mathematician working in the climate field.  He has time and patience beyond most and his work is vetted at a level we currently don’t see in climate science anywhere, in any article, skeptics or otherwise.

Oversensitive – Final

A Sensitive Matter – Final

Now Nic follows data, so the fact that he is probably considered by Real Climate types to be a skeptic is only the fault of the data.   If the data isn’t going your way, you can be sure that Nic will go that way as well.

Judith Curry has a post here

Anthony Watts has a post here

If you are a climate scientist reading these articles, open your mind and look deeply.  Ask questions of the authors.  Find the flaw.

55 Responses to “Climate Sensitivity”

  1. kim said

    Oh, that tease, data.

  2. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Jeff, I share your assessment of Nic Lewis and his works even if it is from afar.

  3. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I just read Judith Curry’s comments on the thread linked here at the Air Vent and then many of David Appell’s remarks posted there. Judy C gets it right in my view and follows on what I noted in the thread here on divergence, i.e. the great need for a more skeptical approach in these analyses, but alas the difficulty it getting that approach published. Appell goes on and on about the publication of Nic Lewis’ not being peer-reviewed and stating that the authors must be afraid of peer-review. Steven Mosher notes that the paper is a review of the IPCC AR5 which is in turn a review of the literature and not peer-reviewed and thus why would the Lewis paper/review be peer-reviewed. Appell just keeps saying the same thing over and over without getting into substance of the paper, or least to point where I stopped reading his diatribe. If Appell’s reaction is any indication, this review would appear to be getting under the skin of the Real Scientists.

    I am not familiar with Appell and thus he may well be a kooky version of those who might criticize this paper. My point would be we need more discussion in this particular science community and less reinforcing of a consensus.

  4. Brian H said

    It is not made explicit, but do not all these TCR and ECS estimates take as given a millennial turnover rate for CO2 additions to atmosphere, rather than the 5-15 year range indicated by most non-IPCC studies? That “forces” sensitivity to multiples of any real value, which IMO is very close to 0.

  5. Paul in Boston said

    I don’t understand “climate scientists” at all. In the 1997(?) AR they wrote that the climate is a non-linear dynamical system and consequently inherently unpredictable. After all, the Navier-Stokes equations that are the basis of the climate models are the origin of Lorenz’ discovery of chaos. Shortly afterward they decided to ignore that correct insight and went whole hog, predicting gloom and doom from the modest temperature increases predicted by their parameterized models and the assumed feedbacks that aren’t really feedbacks in them. Now we have a food fight because a paper dared to compare their results to observational data and came up with an answer that is much less gloomy and doomy.

    My take on all this, based on twenty years doing research on chaotic systems, is that there is zero sensitivity to CO2. Take a look at Spencer’s latest plot of the global average temperature anomaly (a nonsensical and unphysical quantity, but why quibble when there’s so much other garbage in this whole science?).

    Step function changes are quite common in nonlinear systems and that’s exactly what’s plotted in the time series with ENSO fluctuations superimposed. There’s one anomaly level at about – 0.15 C prior to 1998 and a new warmer level at roughly 0.2 C afterwards. What happened was a state change in the climate in 1998 that shifted the anomaly level. There’s no simple way for a continuously increasing radiative source like extra CO2 to produce a nonlinear response like that. All the models show a roughly linear increase in temperature with increasing CO2 concentration. My conclusion, ECS and TCS are both zero.

    Regarding peer review. Meh. I’ve done my share. All it does is prevent stupid errors from being published. Beyond that, who has the time to reproduce what another scientist has done? When would you have time to do your own work?

  6. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Jeff, I found Nic’s paper very readable and easy to understand. The authors went to great lengths, I think, expecting laypersons and policy makers to read it. I was most interested in what the paper said about the problems of the IPCC in keeping the political and science issues separate. Also of great interest was the explanation in the paper of the benefits and potential abuses of using Bayesian statistics. I was able to teach myself and apply some Bayesian techniques around the first of this year.

  7. D o u g    C o t t o n    said

    [snip again – Doug – you refuse to answer basic questions and live on unsupported conclusion. If you could discuss rationally, we could converse. I have tried for way too long.

    I don’t like snipping people, but it is a required action for you.]

    • D o u g  C o t t o n   said

      I don’t refuse to answer questions – you just snip my answers and fail to answer my questions in the spirit of true scientific discussion. Reiterate the questions you think I haven’t answered.

      [doug, I’m not going to dig up your refusals on past threads and I’m not going to point out the over fifty times you have ignored my question. Even a scientist of your caliber should be able to achieve that level of objectivity.

      go away jackass. You are not welcome]

  8. D o u g    C o t t o n    said

    Lewis and Crok are wrong because their basic assumptions are wrong.

    [reply: you owe me a delete key and 40 IQ points now]

  9. Carrick said

    Please go away.

  10. Carrick said

    I had a few comments on Lucia’s blog:





    I admit it’s going to take time to read through and understand all of the implications of this paper. Well written, but it keeps bringing up issues that I have to track down, so I’m not reading it like a straight line, more like a tree with limbs that keep branching off.

    That’s the hallmark of a good paper, even one that hasn’t been blessed by the Central Hall of the Truth.

    • Jeff Id said

      I have also been doing the same thing. From my experience with Nic, I’m biased though and don’t expect to find much to disagree with.

      He did claim that if the IPCC had recognized the lower sensitivity that the media would have published it everywhere. I don’t happen to agree with that. 😀

      • hunter said

        The AGW movement will discard the IPCC if/when it openly challenges the tenets of the AGW movement. This is not about science. It is about apocalypse. And recall that apocalypse has to do with revelation, not simply disaster. The disaster part is a stripping away of the old corrupt order, which then permits the new glorious order to be finally revealed to all, not just the enlightened/chosen.

  11. Kenneth Fritsch (March 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm) mentioned David Appell several times. David runs a blog called “Quark Soup” that attracts very little interest. Check it out and it won’t take you long to figure out why that is so. This camel has been been blocked from commenting there.

    David is singularly impervious to facts so a paper based on hard data is likely to offend him. I would see David (Don’t confuse me with facts!) Appell as the polar opposite of Nic (Show me your data!) Lewis.

    • Carrick said

      Still Appell comes across as a moderate compared to Victor Venema or Dana Nuccitelli. See this.

      Really love the exchange by Victor and Dana:

      Dana Nuccitelli
      @VariabilityBlog that is his goal after all, to position himself as ‘honest broker’ between deniers & ‘alarmists’

      Victor Venema ‏@VariabilityBlog 14h
      @dana1981 I know. While he is in between it is our job to make clear that he is not an honest broker.

      Perhaps they should get a room together and cuddle.

      Notice Appell’s commentary:

      David Appell ‏@davidappell 15h
      @dana1981 @RogerPielkeJR – Dana, I respect much of your work. But I think sometimes you go too far, in trying to suppress other opinions.


      I don’t respect Dana’s work, which is the main difference of opinion here. I don’t try and suppress anything Dana says. I think the more he opens his mouth, the more Dana puts his foot in it. *more of this please*

      I had a fairly fruitful exchange with Appell on Barry Blickmore’s website a few weeks ago. Still, I think Appell’s gotten to be viewed as a troll on Judith Curry’s website. Perhaps that has pushed him to a bit of self-examination, something we all need to do from time to time.

  12. D o u g   said

    It is of course your prerogative whether or not you choose to believe me and learn from my published paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” and my book “Why it’s not carbon dioxide after all” that is based on my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” now withdrawn from PSI because of my disagreement with the radiative “physics” of Postma and Latour.
    To my knowledge, only one other author has put forward the same valid explanation of planetary atmospheric and surface temperatures, although I have extended it to explaining all crust, mantle and core temperatures of planets and satellite moons such as our own. My hypothesis is supported by all known observed and estimated planetary temperature data. It explains, for example, exactly how the required energy gets into the surface of Venus in order to actually slowly raise its temperature by five degrees over the course of its 4-month-long day. I have explained why the base of the nominal Uranus troposphere is hotter than Earth’s surface, even though there is no significant energy input from internal generation or direct solar radiation.

    My interest in physics dates back to when I was awarded a scholarship in physics by Prof Harry Messel and his team at Sydney University, under whom I studied for my first degree with a major in physics. I subsequently turned to more lucrative business ventures, operating an academic tuition service (where I personally helped tertiary physics students) and writing medical, dental and mathematics software from which I have earned several million.

    In the last four years (in semi-retirement) I have turned my attention to comprehensive study of the very latest concepts in physics pertaining to thermodynamics (especially the Second Law) and radiative heat transfer. No one has successfully rebutted what I have written in numerous comments and the above papers. But unless people are willing to learn from me, I will not waste my time.

    Very, very briefly, I have proven beyond reasonable doubt that the gravito-thermal effect is a reality, and I have debunked all known papers and articles that attempted to prove isothermal conditions would prevail in any troposphere, even one without so-called greenhouse gases. Because of this autonomous thermal gradient (which is a direct corollary of the Second Law) I have explained what happens in all planetary tropospheres and just exactly why atmospheric and surface temperatures are what is observed, and how the energy gets there primarily by non-radiative processes, just as it gets to that thin layer of the ocean surface. It is only molecules from the very top of that thin surface layer of oceans (and solid crust) which affect the temperatures we measure for climate records. It is not radiation which is the primary determinant of such temperatures, but non radiative processes transferring energy that has been absorbed elsewhere, both from above and below. And perhaps the most remarkable deduction that I have made is that even subsurface temperatures are governed by the gravito-thermal effect, and solar energy can “creep” up the thermal profile above and below planetary surfaces as it restores thermodynamic equilibrium in accord with the Second Law. This is a whole new paradigm.

  13.  D o  u g    C o t t o n   said

    [snip: Let’s see, wake up…snip Doug….feed kids…

    It’s my new morning routine…]

  14. D C o t t o n said

    Jeff, it is you running this blog and misleading the public into thinking there is valid physics which indicates carbon dioxide causes warming. I have a right to ask you to produce such physics to justify your action, before a court if it becomes necessary. I will be able to prove you wrong I assure you.

    [REPLY: Oh and another shining part of Dougs personality, besides the fact that he cannot debate, is that when he loses, he makes fake threats to sue.]

    • Carrick said

      I suggest you email his internet service provider and warn them that he is carpet bombing people’s blogs with incomprehensible crap then threatening to sue when people take-down his off topic ramblings.

      He’s kindly added a list of sites that he’s carpet bombed on Lucia’s blog, making this rather convenient to do.

      • D e p a r t i n g   P h y s i c i s t   said

        Yes Anthony Watts tried that line. I have two ISP’s, and they’re cheap.

  15. ArndB said

    @“Find the flaw.”
    Climate is about statistic. Weather is not about statistic, but a layman’s term! “Climate defined as average weather” is nonsensical as long there is no definition of weather. For example: UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) neither offers a definition for climate nor weather. American Meteorological Society (AMS) Glossary makes the following distinction
    __The “present weather” table consists of 100 possible conditions,
    __with 10 possibilities for “past weather”, while
    __Popularly, weather is thought of in terms of temperature, humidity, precipitation, cloudiness,
    visibility, and wind.
    Interesting that AMS offers no selection about “future weather”.
    Discussed here in November 2009:
    Discussing “Climate Sensitivity” requires primarily reliable scientific terminology!

    • Jeff Id said

      Arnd, I’ve never found this “no definition” argument persuasive. If models predict changes in a 30 or 70 year timeframe, then something close to that range for an average would be a reasonable way to characterize the result. If we were provided with a definition, it would be falsifiable on that defined timeframe but due to the nature of anthropogenic climate change, it would also be falsifiable on different time frames. Getting someone to put a stake in the ground doesn’t prevent someone else from moving the stake anyway so there is little advantage.

      • ArndB said

        Hi Jeff! A pity that we seem so far apart on this issue, which could be a big challenge to science to come up with scientifically reasonable terms.
        A change in temperature over few months, 30 or 100 years does not necessarily mean a change in climate, which applies to all 100 or more parameters AMS mentions for ‘present weather’. Few or a dozen statistics of any future time scale, say little about future weather. But instead to talk about changes in cloud cover, temperature, rain, a.s.o., science is quick to claim ‘climate change’. For laymen weather and climate is an everyday situation and expectation. Using the terms without sound and reliably definitions is reckless toward the general public. ‘Sceptics’ should have made this very clear ever since. “What is the point of a legal term if it explains nothing? “ I asked in a Letter to NATUR in 1992 (Vol. 306, p. 292).
        Jeff, is there still a chance to discuss the matter more extensively? “Is the term ‚climate’ too unspecific for a fruitful discussion? “, was the title of a Conference 10.p. paper in 2010; . The post in Nov. 2009 could only raise few items. Thanks again for that opportunity.
        Best regards

        • Jeff Id said

          The term for climate would be subjective even if it were nailed down. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a common definition but its subjective nature means it is subject to revision. Ten people might give ten different answers and none could be wrong. It is an interesting point from a technical perspective but even with a fixed number of years, others could argue that their favorite aspect is a 100 year phenomena so it doesn’t apply.

          • D e p a r t i n g   P h y s i c i s t   said

            Go and read here how CFC’s correlate with climate. Note the reference to cosmic rays, and note what I said in my book, the text for which was finalised over a month ago …

            “There may be gravitational or magnetic influences from planets that affect sunspot activity. Then sunspot activity may determine cosmic ray levels, and these may affect cloud formation and thus climate on Earth.”

          • ArndB said

            Thanks Jeff! For science it should not acceptable the uses terms based on subjectivity, as it prevents to communicate to the point, and about “who is responsible for the climate”, as express in the mentioned Letter. Here is the full Letter to the Editor, NATURE 1992, “Climate Change”, Vol. 360, p. 292;
            Letter to the Editor, NATURE 1992, “Climate Change”, Vol. 360, p. 292;

            ______”SIR – The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the earlier struggle for a Convention on Climate Change may serve as a reminder that the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea has its tenth anniversary on 10 December. It is not only one of the most comprehensive and strongest international treaties ever negotiated but the best possible legal means to protect the global climate. But sadly, there has been little interest in using it for this purpose. For too long, climate has been defined as the average weather and Rio was not able to define it at all. Instead, the Climate Change Convention uses the term ‘climate system’, defining it as “the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions”. All that this boils down to is ‘the interactions of the natural system’. What is the point of a legal term if it explains nothing? For decades, the real question has been who is responsible for the climate. Climate should have been defined as ‘the continuation of the oceans by other means’. Thus, the 1982 Convention could long since have been used to protect the climate. After all, it is the most powerful tool with which to force politicians and the community of states into actions. ”

          • hunter said

            Thank all that is good that the Law of the Sea did not use that definition.

          • ArndB said

            About the relevance of the 1982 Convention Law of the Sea concerning CLIMATE, one example:
            If CO2 cause a warming of the oceans and sea level rise, then there is the obligation to apply UNCLOS:
            “Article 192
            General obligation
            States have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment.”

      • hunter said

        Fortunately there is no evidence slr is changing in any signficant way. And ocean temps, except where ‘massaged’ by AGW hypesters, is not diong anything strange or dangerous either. “preservation” seems to be an entirely useless concept, unless one wants to expand a treaty into areas it has no business in going to.
        What are you after with this creative, but clearly dangerous concept?

        • ArndB said

          “To protect and preserve” is a clear-cut duty! Whether sufficient evidence for a causal connection between sea-level rise and anthropogenic green house gases are given – as claimed by IPCC and many others – would be an interesting case before the Int. Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (Art. 279 ff. UNCLOS).

        • hunter said

          It seems like you are calling for using the Law of the Sea as a means of imposing AGW policy demands on the world. Is this what you are saying?
          You seem a bit unclear. I hope you will make yourself plain.

          • ArndB said

            Vice-Versa! UNCLOS is an excellent treaty for research, understanding, protecting and preserving the oceans, and that would serve minimising anthropogenic climate change, as outlined above: “Climate should have been defined as ‘the continuation of the oceans by other means’.”
            How man may have contributed in the past read the examples about the three cold winters in Europe (1939-1942), global cooling (1940-mid 1970s), and Arctic warming (winter 1918/19 to 1939)., see here: , and here:

          • hunter said

            So from your perspective a UN treaty on the Oceans offers authority to impose the demands of the AGW community on Earth’s people, if I have understood you correctly.
            And you are actually willing to offer studies that claim to find anthopo signals to blame for particular winters and warmingcycles of the past 100 years. I seriously wonder: do you have any self-conscience at all of how contrived those studies, and your reliance on them makes you look?

          • ArndB said

            RE 1st sentence. In short: As soon as a competent court (according the Law of the Sea; UNCLOS, Art. 279 ff.) concludes that CO2 (AGW) cause/contributes to sea level rise, States would have to act according UNCLOS Art. 192.

            RE rest. If you are interested or have doubts about any possible anthropogenic impact during and after the periods mentioned, please come up with detailed questions. The research is available via the links given in the pervious comment – March 17, 2014 at 6:39 am .

  16. Have been at the press conference last week where the new report of Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok was presented in The Hague, Netherlands.

    Marcel Crok was to the point, in clear language for the press and Nick Lewis was quite technical, more aimed for the in-depth people… All together a very nice presentation organised by the GWPF and the Dutch “Groene Rekenkamer” (literally “green audit” – see: only in Dutch).

    The main take away message is that even when using the mainstream data, with all their shortcomings, the sensitivity is down to near the low end of the IPCC range (which was last minute reduced in their last report).

    My question what the climate sensitivity will do if it gets clear that the real impact of human-made cooling aerosols is (much) lower than is implemented in climate models (which is quite certain) and what if the “pause” lengthens for the next maybe 15 years was answered: then the climate sensitivity will go down further…

    What is happening now is that for the first time the mainstream scientists are in the defence: if they can’t explain the pause, they can’t explain the cause. But still there is a long way to go, as the world still counts on the climate models and not on the observations for their policy…

    • hunter said

      The only real cure will be when political leaders pay a price for allowing AGW promoters to have control of energy/enviro policies.

  17. D e p a r t i n g   P h y s i c i s t   said

    Told you it’s all natural …

  18. kim2ooo said

    Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

  19.    D o u g    C o t t o n  said

    [snip: stop leaving your ignorant posts here Doug. You are arguing strawmen and making unrelated conclusions.]

  20. Unlike the Lewis & Crok paper, which avoided peer review and claimed an ECS of 1.75 C, , a real paper just came out in Nature by Drew Shindell. It corrects earlier studies on aerosol and ozone forcings and find a TCR of 1.7 C, which means an even higher ECS.

    Inhomogeneous forcing and transient climate sensitivity
    Drew T. Shindell
    Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2136

    • hunter said

      Inhomogenous arm waving that fails under review. Thanks for playing, but you are late tot he game.

    • Jeff Id said

      Lewis and Crok is based on Lewis which was a ‘real paper’ published in the Journal of Climate.

      Are you serious that you found the Shindell argument compelling or is it just the number that you liked? If that is compelling what differentiates it from the previous work which showed warming from homogenous forcings?

    • HaroldW said

      In case you haven’t already seen it, Troy has an interesting look at the Shindell paper.

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