Pause for thought?

There’s a cleverly worded commentary in Nature Climate Change by Ed Hawkins, Tamsin Edwards, and Doug McNeall called Pause for thought.

The article starts with

The recent slowdown (or ‘pause’) in global surface temperature rise is a hot topic for climate scientists and the wider public. We discuss how climate scientists have tried to communicate the pause and suggest that ‘many-to-many’ communication offers a key opportunity to directly engage with the public.

The article is a combination of an attempt to discuss the slowdown in surface warming (which they seem comfortable calling a pause) and the role scientists could play in communicating such things to the public. In general, the article is quite good and includes an interesting figure that illustrates how climate models do indeed predict such slowdowns, but don’t all predict them as the same time. Hence, ensemble averages tend to remove such variability.

Illustration of variability in climate models from Hawkins, Edwards and McNeall (2014).

Illustration of variability in climate models from Hawkins, Edwards and McNeall (2014).


The article then discusses some of the issues with public communication and the benefits and risks of engaging online. It finishes with

The pause is a grand ‘whodunnit’ at the edge of our scientific understanding — we have an unusual (but not totally unexpected) event, with incomplete but rapidly improving information and understanding. The outcome of our investigations is important at the global scale, both in the near-term (decadal) and the long-term (end of century). The challenge is to embrace the complexity of the situation, to acknowledge the uncertainty and the nuance, to welcome questions and investigation and show the process of climate science in good health.

which is a great illustration of how interesting and challenging science can be.

So, overall, I think it’s an interesting article that makes some good points. I do find it a little odd that they seem comfortable defining what they themselves see as a slowdown as a “pause”. What has paused? I know that there are some time intervals for which some of the surface temperature datasets have zero (or close to zero) trends, but these tend to be quite short and have large uncertainties. So how does calling something that isn’t really a pause, a “pause”, help with communicating this somewhat contentious and complex issue?

As far as the general idea goes, I think it would be great if more climate scientists engaged publicly and did so as honestly and openly as possible. I do think, however, that having some sense of the goals would be useful. If it’s to simply communicate with the public and then leave them to make up their mind, it might be fine to simply present information clearly and honestly and not worry too much about anything else. If it’s to try and convince “skeptics” that they’re mistaken, then I think it will fail. Admittedly, I thought that simply communicating clearly and honestly might achieve that when I started this blog, so maybe my cynicism is due to my very obvious failure. Others may well have much more success than I’ve had, and I certainly hope so. The comments on Tamsin’s recent blog post would, however, seem to suggest otherwise.

There is one aspect of communicating honestly and openly that I do think sometimes does get overlooked and that is that one should also be willing to point out when someone else is wrong. It’s no good opening lines of communication if it simply allows others to express erroneous views without being challenged. Admittedly, it’s easier said than done and can be difficult if you’re trying to maintain some air of civility. I do think, however, that public engagement about climate science is likely to be largely ineffective if it doesn’t also include an attempt to address the erroneous views of the most vocal “skeptics”. I, however, am no expert at this myself, so could indeed be wrong. What I do know, though, is that I plan to go out for a couple of pints tonight, so keeping the comments light-hearted and sensible would be appreciated.

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253 Responses to Pause for thought?

  1. Tom Curtis says:

    Anders, many scientists have tried clear and open communication, yet “skeptics” still abound. Your experience is just one in a very large database that suggests that “skeptics” are simply not open to following the science on AGW.

  2. Tom, that would certainly be my view. Far be it from me to tell others not to trying though. Giving them an extra datapoint may, however, help them decide whether to bother or not.

  3. BBD says:

    So how does calling something that isn’t really a pause, a “pause”, help with communicating this somewhat contentious and complex issue?

    Given the framing used by “sceptics” it is actively counter-productive, and as someone who has had to make counter-arguments to this framing countless times, it p*sses me off to the back teeth.

    Why can’t scientists actively communicating with the public be more thoughtful about their choice of terminology? There is a war of misinformation and misrepresentation raging around them and they seem not to have noticed.

  4. johnrussell40 says:

    “It’s no good openly [sic; I assume you mean ‘opening’] lines of communication if it simply allows others to express erroneous views without being challenged.

    Excellent point. I’m sure, like me, others have on occasion come across blogs—and, in particular, articles—written by respectable climate scientists or ‘climate communicators’, who don’t then moderate, or bother responding to, pseudosceptic denial in the comment thread. This is a great disservice, for having attracted people to the post they then, in effect, provide a platform for misinformation. By not responding, to an extent, they legitimise the erroneous view.

  5. johnr,
    I managed to notice that error before your comment, but thanks anyway.

    I find the moderation tricky and at the moment seem to have a number of pleasant “skeptics” commenting, and although I know others can get frustrated, I don’t really have an issue as long as what they say is challenged. Ideally pleasantly. I’d rather they commented and were shown to be wrong, than this site simply became an echo chamber. The reason I say “pleasantly” is because I won’t – for example – comment on Tamsin’s blog as I imagine I’d be roundly attacked by the other commentors, and I doubt I’d be defended. I’d rather the same didn’t happen here without good reason.

  6. jsam says:

    Nature Climate Change also covered this today.
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2167.html?WT.ec_id=NCLIMATE-201403

    You can be as open as you like. Many of the more active recipients of the message don’t want to listen. The message is wasted upon them. But the silent majority may be paying attention.

    What will ultimately convince the undecided is the physical evidence. http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/news/ExtremeWeatherinpartsoftheworld.html

    Perhaps the best that can be achieved is a tipping point in opinion as the evidence builds.

    Indirectly related, Cameron nailed his colours to the climate change mast – studiously avoiding discussing the deniers he has appointed. Still, he seems pretty clear. From about two minutes in on today’s PMQs it starts off on floods. About 5:50 in the topic is specifically man-made climate change, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006nldz.

  7. jsam,

    You can be as open as you like. Many of the more active recipients of the message don’t want to listen. The message is wasted upon them. But the silent majority may be paying attention.

    Yes, this is one area where simply communicating more and doing it openly and honestly may well help. So, I certainly wouldn’t argue against simply communicating more (I’d encourage it in fact) as it may benefit the silent majority. I would say, however, that not aiming to counter the misinformation from “skeptics” may well make this more difficult.

  8. jsam says:

    “I would say, however, that not aiming to counter the misinformation from “skeptics” may well make this more difficult.”

    I am torn here. Recently I spent a month as a climate troll. I’d decided I’d deliberately counter the anti-science in neutral on-line venues – and do so behind a pseudonym.

    – The anonymity made me braver – and by that I probably mean ruder.
    – I actually managed to be banned from an American University site being besieged by sceptics. I believe I achieved that by mocking a poster citing Roy Spencer. I mentioned he was a creationist (in a particularly comedic manner) – and I was blocked. Southern American colleges have odd sensitivities. 🙂
    – Just looking at the up and down votes, it was pretty apparent that, after the first few hours of an article being posted, the comment threads are near private wars.
    – That said, the first hour is remarkable. There will be a dozen denier postings. “Mann’s a fraud>” “The hockey stick is broken.” “There’s been no warming.” Etc. And they’ll attract 50 up votes – in publications where two or three up votes is massive turnout. Is it organised?
    – There are a handful of names that come up all the time on many sites. Zlop, klem, alecm, davidc, Brad Keyes, etc.

    My conclusion? I came around to thinking that countering denialism in threads such as the Independent may be a waste of time – or worse. Most don’t read the threads. Those who do may just see types you’d avoid in a pub having an argument near chucking out time.

    So I think I’ve come to DNFTT the long way around. 🙂

  9. jsam,
    Ahhh, I didn’t mean countering directly. I meant communicating in a manner that may (sometimes) directly address the misinformation. For example, what Dana does in the Guardian. For example, decide not to use “pause”. Essentially, I’m just suggesting communicating honestly and openly may not be enough if you don’t also consider what you could say to also counter something that you’ve recently heard/seen that was very obviously wrong.

  10. plg says:

    There is a relatively small but very vocal group of denialists (aka pseudo-skeptics, contrarians, or some ruder epithet), and convincing them is probably a hopeless task. However, they do have undue influence, and therefore it is very important to keep up the debate, not because they can be convinced, but because others more innocent or undecided will not be sucked with all that misinformation.

    Think of it this way: for every thankless effort one may have saved several people from being too misinformed, but it is rarely acknowledged.

  11. jsam,
    I was going to add that I’m fascinated by your experience. I think I’d probably just make some kind of mistake and end up commenting under the wrong name 🙂

  12. plg,

    Think of it this way: for every thankless effort one may have saved several people from being too misinformed, but it is rarely acknowledged.

    I really hope so 🙂

    I think you’re right though. There is clearly merit in simply communicating more and presenting more information about climate science that is honest and open.

  13. jsam says:

    ATTP – I was using Disqus. I deleted my old account and setup a spanking new one. There was no ambiguity. I’ve since deleted it. Some days I actually spent over ten hours on it. As did my opponents. And I did it for free. Surely Big Green (!) could have helped.

  14. plg says:

    Having said that, I think it is important to choose the correct “battleground”, I believe jsam is correct in that it is a waste of time to engage in any discussion in forums where most people are denialists and the readers are mostly already in that camp (narrow readership). However, given jsam’s experience, one can wonder if there is a small band of “professional” (paid?) trolls that inundate forums with denier “logic”. They are mostly absent from the saner forums (tamino, neven, etc), probably because there are too many knowledgeable people there and much fewer that are just idly curios or undecided, so those sites are “inoculated” against deniers.

  15. I for one agree with everything in that article. For those thinking that agreeing to use the word “pause” is wrong, I would say that if you wish to influence someone, you must not contradict points that they feel sure about. If they have seen graphs that show a pause and if that has been repeated from many directions, saying that there’s no pause is most likely to lead them to doubt also other statements that you make. You may get applauds among your own circuit, but you cannot influence others. Joshua may ask again, where’s the proof, and I’m ready to admit that I have no proof. I’m just one of those who think like the authors of that article.

    They write also

    We find that being defensive, over-confident or dogmatic are not successful strategies. Humour and humility are useful in keeping people on board and one’s sanity intact.

    and I agree on that as well.

  16. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I do find it a little odd that they seem comfortable defining what they themselves see as a slowdown as a “pause”.

    We just talked about unintentional irony the other day, didn’t we?

    I think their use of “pause” is unintentionally ironic – particularly since the term used is often “pause in global warming.”

    As short-term decrease in a longer-term trend, or even if could be accurate to say a short-term flattening out of a longer-term trend is (IMO) not properly called a “pause” unless you have an accompanying mechanistic explanation for why a mechanism previously in play has “paused.”

    So here’s where the unintentional irony comes into play, IMO:

    The challenge is to embrace the complexity of the situation, to acknowledge the uncertainty and the nuance,…

    I am not really seeing an embrace of complexity or an acknowledgement of uncertainty and nuance if someone says that there has been a “pause.”

  17. Joshua says:

    Hey Pekka –

    Joshua may ask again, where’s the proof, and I’m ready to admit that I have no proof.

    I just want to reiterate that I am saying more than that. I am saying that, IMO, there is evidence that supports a different explanation for the causality involved. With reference to that, I was disappointed that you didn’t respond to this post from the earlier discussion.

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/ffs-roger-its-an-analogy/#comment-15497

  18. Joshua says:

    Speaking of evidence:

    By not responding, to an extent, they legitimise the erroneous view.

    I would like to see evidence for this assertion. First, what does “legitimize” mean here? In whose eyes are they becoming legitimized? How do we know what differentially leads towards legitimization?

    I ask this because, as I’ve mentioned before, I have seen what seems to me like a parallel argument form conservatives w/r/t other issues (and I tend to look at the climate debate as a proxy for other, underlying struggles,just as are many politically polarized issues). For example, I read conservatives arguing that engaging in (any form of) dialog with Iran “legitimizes” Iran, or “rewards bad behavior.” My response is always “In whose eyes?” “How do we know what differentially leads toward legitimization?”

    I think that “skeptics” have their own trajectory of legitimization that is not significantly altered differentially based on whether or how they are engaged on blogs or more generally in the public media. They are not legitimized by the approach of someone like Tamsin and they are not legitimized by a hardcore “realist” calling them a “denier” or even saying (politely or otherwise) “You are wrong.” Most people do not formulate their views on climate change on the basis of the technical information they are provided (whether it be “correct” evidence or “incorrect” evidence). They formulate their views on the basis of cultural/political/social identifications. They filer basically any evidence they are provided on such a basis.

  19. Joshua says:

    sorry – that should have read “…and they are not de-legitimized by a hardcore “realist” calling then a “denier”….”

  20. tallbloke says:

    Nature.com recently used the term ‘plateau’ rather than ‘pause’. Discuss.

  21. Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity have been confirmed by experiments and observations. Discuss.

  22. Joshua,

    My impression is that people do not use inverse justification only or particularly on issues where ideologies influence them. As far as I can see people have very often a far better idea of the final conclusion than the logical justification of that. They have learned that this inverse reasoning works so well that they trust in that approach also when it does not work. Ideological attitudes and wishful thinking enter at this stage.

  23. Steve Bloom says:

    The difficulty, Pekka, is that at root they feel quite sure that global warming won’t be a significant problem. Agreeing with that (as Tamsin does by implication) won’t help. She thinks that helping them gain trust in individual climate scientists can be a first step on the path to accepting the science, but I think she’s fantasizing to imagine that trust contingent on perceived agreement with false premises is deserving of the name. Unlike people in therapy (Tamsin’s career path not taken), deniers don’t want to change.

  24. BBD says:

    Deniers do not want to change because denial is reactive and we cannot make physics go away.

  25. Steve Bloom says:

    Joshua, arguing with you about Kahan’s conclusions isn’t very productive. What would be more so is to focus on how such change does occur and how we might encourage that process. Sadly a big part of the answer is “one funeral at a time,” but perhaps there are other ideas.

  26. Joshua,

    I read again that earlier comment of yours. It was not a comment that caused any immediate reaction. The issues are complex and answers are not known with any certainty. Where empirical evidence is available it must be based on rather short term reactions because all slower reactions get too badly blurred to allow for well defined empirical studies. That’s unfortunate, because what I have often in mind are the slow processes of maintaining, loosing or building trust or influencing attitudes.

    As I’m not optimistic on what can be achieved rapidly I try to maintain optimism on the possibility that facts and reason are more influential in the long run. Furthermore I have the wishful idea that such approaches are more likely to succeed that can be maintained consistently avoiding major setbacks when random factors are against the message. Part of that approach is doing those things that Hawkins, Edwards, and McNeall see as missing from the past communication like telling in time that there may be periods of hiatus.

    I know that only those messages get noticed that are of interest to the audience when they are presented. We see all the time that people complain that they were not told, although they were, but they didn’t notice, because the message was not of interest at the time. Communicating issues that are really important only in the long term is always difficult. It can fail in innumerable ways, but perhaps it could also succeed – who knows. Making people appreciate properly risks is also difficult, the more difficult the more we have the combination of extreme consequences and extreme rarity or unforeseen conditions, i.e the further we are of risks that materialize every now and then.

  27. John Mashey says:

    One more time:
    think hard about avoiding the ambiguous “sceptic” in favor of the unambiguous pseudoskeptic, which also works better verbally.

    The former might be meant as the latter, but ambiguously can mean that there is doubt about whether or not someone is a skeptic, i.e., worthy of being classed with Martian Gardner, Carl Sagan or other CSI Fellows. For example, are Anthony Watts, Jo Nova, Andrew Montford or Mike Haseler “sceptics” or pseudoskeptics?
    Are there Sauron-class Morton’s Demons to be seen?

    Maybe there needs to be a term for real ambiguity, where it is not yet possible to know whether someone is a real skeptic trying to learn or a pseudoskeptic incapable of such. In blogs, it is always a good idea to assume the former in the absence of data, except that sometimes the latter can be very good at wasting people’s time – one of the reasons it is really nice to have good histories of comments, where one sometimes finds that the same handle has asked the same question many time and been answered before often.

  28. Steve Bloom says:

    Anders, as promised I’ve thought about the proper approach to dealing with deniers on climate blogs, and here’s my view in a nutshell:

    By all means accept their initial comment(s), but as soon as their argument or assertion is corrected and they refuse to take it on board (by repeating or shifting ground), ban them or place them on moderation (conditioned by whatever the capabilities of the blogging software are, obviously). For the benefit of lurkers, be clear on what their transgression is. You could even let these go on for a couple of comments, but beyond that, as we have seen very recently, all is enervation.

    Someone above mentioned Tamino and Neven, who I would point out do something quite similar to this.

    Obviously in the case of the immediately previous post you’d proceed differently since the purpose was to elicit a more extended discussion with a particular denier.

  29. Steve Bloom,

    Yes. Each of us and each scientist has his or her own intuitive ideas of what’s the worst outcome plausible enough to deserve attention. That’s one of the factors that affects our thinking in many ways. There’s no consensus at that level.

    The discussion of the hiatus has revealed clearly the differences among many best known climate scientists, and I don’t include any of the well-known skeptical scientists in that consideration, only leading IPCC authors and scientists of comparable stature.

  30. “Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity have been confirmed by experiments and observations. Discuss.”

    A good proof that humour can be very effective and save much reading time.

    Pekka Pirilä, maybe I did not pay sufficient attention as I hold this “pause” for a petitesse, but I did not notice your differences among climate scientists about the science. Or did you mean about the communication, whether pause is a good word or not?

  31. Joshua says:

    Pekka –

    That’s unfortunate, because what I have often in mind are the slow processes of maintaining, loosing or building trust or influencing attitudes.

    Well, yes, some of the evidence of what I was discussing was short-term or cross-sectional, but much of the evidence I was discussing was long-term, or longitudinal.

    I guess my reaction to your comment is that in the long run, what climate scientists do or don’t say now, for example about extreme weather, will be superfluous – because in the long run the evidence itself will be so different and we’ll all be dead anway. Cultural identifications will shift so as to accommodate the evidence.

    So I fail to follow your logic – because it seems to me is that the logical implication of your argument is that actually it doesn’t matter what climate scientists are or are not saying – because obviously the impact of what they do or don’t say will be a short-term phenomenon. You seem to be arguing on the one hand that there is some short-term and identifiable impact on public opinions because of “activist” statements by climate scientists, and then saying that what happens in the short-term isn’t important.

    Further, we actually do have long-term, or longitudinal evidence related to trust in scientists, and it does not seem consistent with an argument that what climate scientists have or have not been saying has any larger impact on trust in scientists – except perhaps with a particular sub-segment of the population – a sub-segment that is identifiable by political attributes. And we could expect the opposite effect on public opinion in other sub-segments.

    I dunno, Pekka. You seem to me to be someone who takes great care to make sure that conclusions are based on evidence and control of variables – so I continue to fail to understand why you hold on to conclusions while: (a) saying that you don’t have evidence and, (b) saying in contradiction to “a” that your conclusions are consistent with your interpretation of the evidence (which you don’t provide), and (c) not addressing how, actually, your conclusions are inconsistent with empirical evidence that does exist (but which is, admittedly, not perfect by a long shot).

  32. kdk33 says:

    By visual inspection it can be seen that the trend this century is not the same as the trend in the closing decades of last century. Pretending that the “pause” doesn’t exist is not helpful. It is best to acknowledge it, because it is obvious, no matter what you call it.

    Also, it appears that measured temperatures fall outside a reasonable range around model predictions. Lucia posted on this recently. In this context the recent “pause” is of particular interest. This is also a discrepancy that people notice.

  33. Joshua says:

    In this context the recent “pause” is of particular interest.

    That the change in trend is of interest does not make it a “pause.:

    What is your mechanistic explanation for what was happening before, and that now has “paused?” What is the reason that it has paused? A trend does not “pause.” A mechanism pauses.

  34. Steve Bloom says:

    From the Nature article:

    Although online conversations can be unpredictable, rambunctious and frustrating, they are often personally and professionally rewarding. However, potential benefits need to be weighed against the time and effort expended and the real risks of feeling under attack. Additional recognition of the value and importance of such activities among academic employers would also help.

    Hmm, are any of the authors looking for a job? *cough*

  35. Victor,

    I don’t fully understand you comment, probably due to a gap in my knowledge of English. Thus I may answer wrong questions.

    Concerning the word ‘pause’. It’s now used so widely that discussing the recent trends avoiding the word is pointless. It’s right to emphasize its limited significance, but avoiding the word or saying that no pause (or near pause) has occurred in something is counterproductive.

    I do believe that virtually all climate scientists agree on quite a lot, but one thing that they are not likely to agree is the severity of worst credible outcome. Of course there are also many other points of disagreement as in any science on issues being actively studied right now.

  36. Steve Bloom says:

    BTW, Anders, what exactly did you think was clever about the wording of the article?

  37. Steve Bloom says:

    This from the editorial in the same issue seems rather pointed:

    (W)hilst reducing uncertainty is a key research question, it should not be the starting point in communication. The surprise of the slowdown in warming and the subsequent media engagement by scientists, with a focus on uncertainties, leaves the public questioning what is actually known.

  38. Steve Bloom says:

    Try “slowdown,” Pekka, or better yet “apparent slowdown in the rate of global surface temperature increase.” They have the virtue of accuracy. As ordinarily defined, “pause” and “hiatus” are both wrong. That the WG1 authors agreed to use the latter is proof of their collective incompetence at public relations.

  39. kdk33 says:

    Joshua,

    “pause” is in quotes because it isn’t my word, that’s the word chose in the article. Call it whatever you want, but it is a change. Agreed?

    I don’t need to know the cause to notice the change. What do you think happened?

  40. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    Call it whatever you want, but it is a change. Agreed?

    Presumably, you actually read the comment you responded to? 🙂

    I don’t know the science well-enough to say what I “think” has happened, but I’m sure that we have both read a variety of speculation.

    So now my turn for a question. Can I assume from your use of the quotation marks, that you agree that using the term “pause” is unscientific, and as such, sub-optimal and very potentially misleading in a way that promotes a unnecessary partisanship?

    If I am right – then why do you suppose that “skeptics” use the term so liberally?

  41. tallbloke says:

    “Einstein’s theories of special and general relativity have been confirmed by experiments and observations. Discuss.”

    There’s some interesting recent papers in the literature around the precession of Saturn’s perihelion, and GR’s failure to nail it. Keep discussing.

    But steering Anders gently back to the topic, don’t forget to discuss Nature.com’s suggestion to use the word ‘plateau’ rather than ‘pause’ too. It’s an interesting proposition. Plateau’s exist at the tops of some mountains, and also on uplands below peaks. So it appears to cover more bases than ‘pause’, because ‘pause’ presumes resumption, and that’s not guaranteed.

  42. tallbloke says:

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Anders is having a discussion about Ed and Tamsin’s nature article on the ‘pause’ in global warming.

  43. kdk33 says:

    Joshua,

    I think you want you have an unnecessary argument that helps nobody. It’s petty to argue semantics. :-).

    The rate of change clearly changed (is that a pun). Call it a “pause”, a “hiatus”, a “slowing”, a “change”, a “deviation”, “Freddy”. Who cares? Seriously.

    Tell me what you want to call it and we can go from there.

  44. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    I think you’re ducking, bro. You lost the standing to ask me questions by ducking mine.

  45. A joint Royal Society / National Academy piece of work (Clmate change: evidence and causes) appears to take issue with the “pause”. (Here’s their specific answer to the `slowdown’ question).

    I’m not a scientist but I don’t see how you get away from the MOST basic question: what’s a long enough period of time to claim a trend in climate temp changes? The answer appears to be a no-brainer – meaning to my mind the use of “pause” language is buying into skeptics’ narrative. That was a quite consciously pushed narrative developed in the lead-up to AR5 being launched (as we’ve discussed before). Someone somewhere had meetings about that, decided it was the best weakspot and did the PR work. It was a resounding success. I think it’s a VERY bad idea using that narrative.

    I mean, consider: there *will* other, regular periodic fluctuations. It’s a noisy trend. Their regularity will be fairly predictable in the long term. It’s what noisy trends do. Are we really going to have these arguments every time? Well, yes, probably…

  46. Andy Skuce says:

    There is something rather patronizing in Tamsin Edwards’ approach, I think. Why make an effort at communication, emphasizing the importance of listening to and engaging with “skeptics” if you do not correct them when they say something that is wrong? If I were them, I would be rather offended by this, since there is an implication that the content of their commentary can simply be ignored. From the NCC article:

    From our experience, the online ‘audience’ is often technically proficient, but neither captive nor necessarily interested or patient, so conversations are more successful than lessons. We always expect, and try, to learn something from those we seek to ‘teach’. Where there is a genuine uncertainty we must not ignore it. We find that being defensive, over-confident or dogmatic are not successful strategies. Humour and humility are useful in keeping people on board and one’s sanity intact.

    Perhaps, but I wonder what it is that she and her co-authors could have learned.from this conversation from die-hard “skeptics”. Perhaps some of the contrarians who comment on this blog can tell us what they have learned from Edwards. Very little, I suspect.

    Having said that, there is no doubt that she is making a genuine effort to communicate to the public, which is more than the great majority of scientists ever bother to attempt. I am sure that she has discovered that this is a thankless task, requiring a great deal of her time, so I commend her for continuing to try. It is not as if the rest of us have cracked the code for convincing “skeptics” that they are wrong, so perhaps we should be tolerant, even supportive, of someone trying a different approach, even if it appears doomed to fail.

  47. kdk33: “By visual inspection it can be seen that…”

    Can it? So, say you were locked in a windowless box room, someone handed you this daily temp record and demanded you tell them which was coming next, summer or winter solstice? And if you get it wrong they’ll shoot you in the head? You’d be happy with “by visual inspection it can be seen that…” would you?

    As it happens, trends that long (29 days) go against the seasonal trend about 30% of the time for daily temp data near me. 3 in 10 odds of getting shot in the head there, if you went with the “visual”. There is, of course, a seasonal a trend, but it’s noisy. With noisy trends, “visual inspection” is *regularly* misleading.

    And that’s the problem with the “pause” argument: the people most strongly selling it are going on nothing more than “by visual inspection it can be seen that…” Some of them do it knowingly, many others do it because it seems intuitively correct. Intuition is not always a good guide – that’s why we have stats.

    I cherrypicked that one, of course: the next solstice is summer. Here it is circled in green, in the context of four years’ temp data near me, with other pink lines for all of the 30% that go against the seasonal trend.

  48. JasonB says:

    I disagree with the use of the word “pause”, also.

    When we are talking about climate change, what matters is the underlying long-term trend.

    Were there any newspaper reports recently claiming that global warming had stopped because the GISTEMP anomaly for December was lower than the GISTEMP anomaly for November?

    Of course not. Why not? Because it would be absurd to draw a conclusion about global warming on the basis of one month’s data. There’s just too much noise (= anything that’s not long-term climate response to forcing) in the signal.

    Yet what we’re talking about with the so-called “pause” (ignoring that it’s not actually 0 anyway) is no different. There is less noise than in the month-to-month data, but still too much to say if there has been any change in the long-term trend.

    Tamino has many, many posts on this, with the latest being here. Using Cowtan & Way’s reconstruction in that particular post, he shows that a zero trend cannot be ruled out for any start year from 1997 onwards, but neither can a continuation of the long-term trend.

    In other words, anybody who says that there has been a hiatus, or pause, or even just a slowdown in the rate of long term global warming, is misleading the public by downplaying the uncertainties. Curry should be jumping all over them, waving her flag.

    That’s not to say it isn’t legitimate, even worthwhile, to investigate the change in short-term trend to see if it leads us to a better understanding of climate dynamics — and, indeed, such investigations have revealed a wealth of new knowledge, leaving us a little spoilt for choice when it comes to “explaining” it (temperature records biased low due to insufficient Arctic coverage, preponderance of La Ninas, trade winds, etc.) — but given that this kind of variation in short term trend is not out of the ordinary, it doesn’t mean that the long term trend has changed and that all this interesting short-term behaviour won’t simply cancel out in the end.

    I think it’s worth mentioning that back in 2007, Rahmstorf et al found that the 16-year trend from 1990 was 0.33 °C/decade, “which is in the upper part of the range projected by the IPCC”. Did they proclaim an “acceleration” in warming?

    Given the relatively short 16-year time period considered, it will be difficult to establish the reasons for this relatively rapid warming, although there are only a few likely possibilities. The first candidate reason is intrinsic variability within the climate system. A second candidate is climate forcings other than CO2: Although the concentration of other greenhouse gases has risen more slowly than assumed in the IPCC scenarios, an aerosol cooling smaller than expected is a possible cause of the extra warming. A third candidate is an underestimation of the climate sensitivity to CO2 (i.e., model error).

    All perfectly reasonable. In particular, no over-stating of the significance of the “relatively rapid warming”.

    It’s interesting to contrast this with the proclamations of a “pause” in the past 16 years by people who were strangely silent back in 2007.

  49. kdk33 says:

    Dan,

    Yes, it can.

    If you would like to continue shooting yourself in the foot. Be my guest.

  50. JasonB says:

    kdk33:

    By visual inspection it can be seen that the trend this century is not the same as the trend in the closing decades of last century.

    Yet using actual maths it can be seen that there has been no statistically significant deviation from the trend in the closing decades of last century.

    Furthermore, my visual inspection does not agree with yours — the temperatures this century lie completely within the normal range of variations about the long term trend from the closing decades of last century.

  51. kdk33, you didn’t actually respond to anything I said. Too-short trends might be wrong – in fact, they will predictably go against the long term trend in noisy data. Yes?

  52. kdk33: I’d add, I like it here because ATTP has set up a civil mood. If you’re going to claim I’ve shot myself in the foot, fine – but you actually have to defend that accusation, otherwise it starts to look like plain trolling. I’m not saying it is yet, we’ll see how the thread goes. But throwing around statements like that without defending them is not on.

  53. JasonB says:

    Steve Bloom:

    She thinks that helping them gain trust in individual climate scientists can be a first step on the path to accepting the science, but I think she’s fantasizing to imagine that trust contingent on perceived agreement with false premises is deserving of the name.

    I made related points to Richard Betts in a previous comment, in particular this prediction:

    Finally, I would not be surprised if even their positive view of you in particular only survives as long as you avoid seriously challenging their beliefs; the good will you have earned could evaporate very quickly if you started saying things they didn’t want to hear.

    We all know how well it turned out when he tried to politely challenge Montford (with a massive number of smileys to placate the beast) on the mistakes he’d made in the radio interview.

  54. Steve,

    BTW, Anders, what exactly did you think was clever about the wording of the article?

    I actually meant to say “clevely worded title”, rather than “cleverly worded commentary”.

  55. Brigitte says:

    I am surprised nobody mentioned the ‘paws’ 😉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmoYStB-Rzw

  56. Brigitte,
    Thanks, that’s a great video – both because of the “paws” and because it seems to be making exactly the case that should probably be being made.

  57. tallbloke says:

    Jason B quoting Rahmstorf:
    “Given the relatively short 16-year time period considered [from 1990], it will be difficult to establish the reasons for this relatively rapid warming, although there are only a few likely possibilities. The first candidate reason is intrinsic variability within the climate system. A second candidate is climate forcings other than CO2: Although the concentration of other greenhouse gases has risen more slowly than assumed in the IPCC scenarios, an aerosol cooling smaller than expected is a possible cause of the extra warming. A third candidate is an underestimation of the climate sensitivity to CO2 (i.e., model error).”

    A couple of things Rahmstorf didn’t consider which more recent papers have put on the table:
    1) Internal variability on multidecadal timescales. Most notably the oceanic quasi-periodic oscillations of the AMO and PDO.
    2) The coincidence of late C20th surface warming with above average solar activity, and the post 2003 lack of surface warming with a big drop in solar activity.

    In the same new Nature.com collection that the article presently under discussion here appears, there’s another by Lisa Goddard which goes some way to addressing point 1)

    “Natural variability seems to be capable of accounting for changes in ocean heat uptake of the magnitude experienced. Many recent studies point to the role of PDO in this recent hiatus. What is particularly compelling is that this period has also been one of negative PDO. Further suggestive evidence is that the last period with decade-scale trends in global mean temperature as weak as that experienced since the turn of the century occurred through the 1950s and early 1960s, which was another period dominated by very negative PDO conditions. This shows that hiatus periods are unusual but not unprecedented.

    Interestingly, no one really talks about the other side of this situation: global warming acceleration. The mid-1970s through to the mid-1990s was a period of positive PDO and saw an acceleration in warming.

    It actually saw a reversal from cooling to warming, and the other big ocean oscillation (AMO) stayed in positive mode until the early 2000’s. My own position has always been that before you can assess the effect of the increased airborne co2 fraction, you need to subtract the natural variation from the surface record. Ice cores such as GISP2, stalagmite studies, ice rafted debris studies and a plethora of other paleo evidence show that ~60 year oscillations in climate indices have always been with us, even during previous glacial periods. The instrumental record shows two such ~60 year oscillations, the positive phase of the one from ~1910-1940 being of a similar duration and magnitude to the one from 1975-2005. Once we subtract these from the record, we are left with a much more uniform underlying trend which is considerbly smaller than that projected by the climate models, and appears to have started long before airborne co2 levels started rising significantly.

    I think Lisa Goddard’s observation needs careful consideration and discussion.

  58. The coincidence of late C20th surface warming with above average solar activity, and the post 2003 lack of surface warming with a big drop in solar activity.

    Hmmmm.

  59. tallbloke says:

    Anders: You’ll note I didn’t develop any discussion of the solar forcing. We can do that another time. Briefly, you need to integrate the solar data as a cumulative departing from the long term average in order to compare it to a high heat capacity energy accumulator such as the global ocean which underlies sea surface temperature. Then you get something like this simple model I constructed, which uses AMO, SOI, SSN and lnCO2 to reproduce monthly HADSST3 to R^2=0.9
    :

  60. jsam says:

    I recognise a pattern in Talbloke’s physics. It can’t be carbon because dowsing.

  61. BBD says:

    Ice cores such as GISP2, stalagmite studies, ice rafted debris studies and a plethora of other paleo evidence show that ~60 year oscillations in climate indices have always been with us, even during previous glacial periods.

    Citations needed.

  62. O Bothe says:

    Plateaus: Yes there’s the Tibetan Plateau. And there’s the definition of “A comparatively stable level in something that varies”.

  63. BBD says:

    Briefly, you need to integrate the solar data as a cumulative departing from the long term average in order to compare it to a high heat capacity [etc]

    So why did OHC continue to increase when TSI *fell* from the mid-1980s?

    Where is the energy coming from?

  64. BBD says:

    O Bothe

    First, there is no plateau in GAT. Second OHC 0 – 2000m layer is increasing without pause, hiatus, plateau, whatever.

    Poor terminology enables pseudosceptics and should not be used in the middle of a war of misdirection and misrepresentation by those who would mislead the public and policy makers. We should not be helping them in any way whatsoever. Time people stopped arguing over the obvious. You *do not* let the pseudosceptics dictate the very language of the public discourse. It is insane – but that is exactly what is happening.

    Yet again (cf. sceptic; denier)

  65. tallbloke says:

    BBD: “Citations needed.”

    Here you go

  66. tallbloke,
    You seem to think that I might actually engage in a serious discussion with you. Why would I possibly do that? Apologies if my previous response gave the impression that I would.

  67. BBD says:

    ATTP

    Oops. Noted.

    😉

  68. tallbloke says:

    BBD: “So why did OHC continue to increase when TSI *fell* from the mid-1980s?”

    The PMOD model says TSI fell from the mid 80’s. The PI’s of the original instruments disagree.
    But leaving that controversy aside, the sunspot number has been shown to be a good proxy for TSI and we have sunspot records all the way back to Galileo’s time. The long term average monthly sunspot number over the period of record is around 40SSN. Between 1960 and 2003 it was nearly double that. The minima were brief, the up and down ramps of the cycles were short, and the period near maximum extended. So although a brief eyeballing of the series makes it appear solar activity was falling from 1960, as has been pointed out by several people above, eyeballing can be deceptive.

    Where is the energy coming from?

    From the Sun. The important issue is understanding how that energy is integrated and retained/dissipated by the Earth’s oceans. When the Sun became more than averagely active in 1934, the oceans started warming. They carried on warming right through until around 2004, because the sun continued to be more than averagely active until then, despite the small drop in the peak sunspot number of the successive cycles after 1960.

    See the yellow curve on my simple model I linked above for the integrated SSN data as a proxy for OHC.

  69. tallbloke says:

    Anders says:
    tallbloke,
    You seem to think that I might actually engage in a serious discussion with you. Why would I possibly do that? Apologies if my previous response gave the impression that I would.

    If you’re running a science blog, scientific discussion proceeds through an open process of criticism, rebuttal, reformulation, and even, occasionally, collaboration.

    If you’re not running a science blog, then ostracising those who present scientific arguments you disagree with is of course an option.

  70. Pingback: Pausing for thought | Doug McNeall's blog

  71. kdk33 says:

    Dan,

    “shoot yourself in the foot” is a euphemism for blunder, a self-goal. You can look it up. If you are worried about civility, I’d suggest you avoid references to being shot in the head. Apparently you missed the obvious (and obviously clever) pun. Shoot.

    The trend has changed. By visual inspection, and by math. If you would like to argue that it has not, feel free. If you want that argument to be credible, I’d offer that going on about a 29 day interval doesn’t clear the bar.

  72. andrew adams says:

    kdk33,

    By visual inspection it can be seen that the trend this century is not the same as the trend in the closing decades of last century. Pretending that the “pause” doesn’t exist is not helpful. It is best to acknowledge it, because it is obvious, no matter what you call it.

    Yes, if you plot a linear trend to today from the beginning of this century you get a lower trend than over the preceding decades and depending on the start date you choose you can even get a slight negative trend. Pretending this is not the case would obviously be wrong. The question is what conclusions should we draw from this and I don’t think the answer is anything like as obvious as some people seem to think – it’s the starting point for a discussion not an answer in itself. For a start, the trend line might be flat(ish) but there are significant year to year variations and we certainly can’t say that global temperatures have been “flat” during that period. Trying to reduce something as complex and multi faceted as the earth’s climate system to a line on a graph is never going to give us a good indication of what the climate is actuallly doing.

    Also, it appears that measured temperatures fall outside a reasonable range around model predictions. Lucia posted on this recently. In this context the recent “pause” is of particular interest. This is also a discrepancy that people notice.

    I think your first sentence is not obviously true and in any case would depend on what one considers a “reasonable range”. Surely one of the main points of the article is that the public’s expectations of how models should compare with observations over the short term have not necessarily been realistic.

  73. Tom Curtis says:

    Tallbloke:

    “If you’re not running a science blog, then ostracising those who present scientific arguments you disagree with is of course an option.”

    Who could possibly disagree with that?

    Now all we need is for Tallbloke to actually present a scientific argument for his platitude to have a point.

  74. BBD says:

    Tallbloke

    The minima were brief, the up and down ramps of the cycles were short, and the period near maximum extended.

    Quantify the forcing in W/m^2 and compare to increase in OHC 0 – 2000m layer 1885 – present. ? Schwabe cycle is trivial and self-cancelling.

    You will find that there’s not enough energy by a very, very long way. So where’s the energy coming from?

    * * *

    References still missing for all this stuff about 60 year cycles in paleodata. We all know most of it is noisy enough to fit just about any wishful thinking, so I need some really solid, really well-supported studies,

  75. andrew adams says:

    Re my previous comment

    The question is what conclusions should we draw from this and I don’t think the answer is anything like as obvious as some people seem to think – it’s the starting point for a discussion not an answer in itself.

    I also meant to make the point here that perhaps it tells us as much about statistics as it does about climate change.

  76. BBD says:

    I seem to be in moderation, but I still want to illustrate my point about the evident missing energy problem when TSI variability is compared to OHC with a simple graph.

    This example is flawed because the data viewer used only provides OHC 0 – 700m. If OHC 0 – 2000m were shown instead, the missing energy discrepancy would be even more evident, especially over the last decade.

    It is that simple to demonstrate that it’s not the sun.

  77. kdk33 says:

    Adam,

    The technical conclusion I draw is that the climate is not yet understood well enough for accurate temperature predictions to be made. The temperature does what it does in response to the forces acting on the environment (natural variability is not a physical force) so there must be forces that the models either don’t capture or don’t properly quantify. What that means in the broader context of “what should we do about CO2” is a different – related, but different – question.

    I also take away a more subtle inference. As you say, the climate is complex and multi-faceted. It is a tough nut and not yet cracked. In that context, I would expect the models to generally disagree with one another and to be scattered more or less randomly around observations. Instead, they are clustered together and all on the high side. The models are agreeing, but what are they agreeing to and why so much.

  78. jsam says:

    The models seem to be doing fairly well.

    In the meantime, there is no question that the climate is changing – and we’re not enjoying it. The denialist fixation on the surface record merely demonstrates their lack of evidence.

  79. BG says:

    John Mashey suggests pseudoskeptic rather than skeptic. I’ve started calling them ‘willfully ignorant.’ You get some amount of time to educate yourself, after which you become willfully ignorant.

  80. tallbloke says:

    BBD: If OHC 0 – 2000m were shown instead, the missing energy discrepancy would be even more evident, especially over the last decade. It is that simple to demonstrate that it’s not the sun.

    If something in climate science looks simple, it’s because you missed some of what’s happening. In this case you missed what I explained earlier. Simplistic comparisons of the instantaneous solar output and OHC don’t work because the ocean doesn’t respond to to energy input instantaneously. This is because it’s several kilometers deep and has a high heat capacity.

    That’s why you have to integrate the data.

    The simplest analogy I can offer is this:
    You put a very large pan of water on the gas ring set at a moderate output and wait until the temperature in the pan reaches equilibrium. This will take quite a while so be patient. Once it’s losing as much heat to its surroundings as is being input from the gas ring, whack the gas up to full. Does the pan of water instantly rise in temperature to the equilibrium temperature it will reach if the gas is left at max? Of course not. It starts warming at a rate commensurate with it’s mass and heat capacity.

    So once it’s been warming for a while, start slowly turning down the gas, analogous to the reduction in the peak amplitudes of the solar cycles from 1960-2003. Keep an eye on the thermometer in the water. It’s still rising even though you’re turning down the gas. Quel surprise!

    That happens because the water didn’t immediately rise in temp when you turned the gas to max, and is still going to end up at a higher temperature than it was at equilibrium even when the gas has been turned down to a lower (but still higher than the level at equilibrium) level.

  81. tallbloke,

    If you’re running a science blog, scientific discussion proceeds through an open process of criticism, rebuttal, reformulation, and even, occasionally, collaboration.

    Indeed, and that would be what I would normally be quite happy to do.

    If you’re not running a science blog, then ostracising those who present scientific arguments you disagree with is of course an option.

    You misunderstand. I’m typically more than happy for people to challenge my scientific views. I do, however, reserve the right to not engage in scientific discussions with someone who has, in the past, referred to me as an “unscientific f**kwit”. It may seem petty, but it’s just a little rule I have.

  82. Sören F says:

    I prefer “standstill” and acknowledging that its existence depends on time-scale. I abhor the word hiatus because in the geo-sciences where I come from it usually means lack of data (a time-jump in a sediment core).

    In the actual war around attribution (SFP’s 95%) what’s more interesting about this last year, with the convinced’s public reactions to the standstill, is the non-consensus, and how this all spells a retreat towards long-term persistence only. Then just recall how decadal variability used to be touted as being _the critical evidence_, remember, with the simulation graphs with and without CO2 starting to diverge with the 80-90’s warming only.

  83. tallbloke says:

    Anders, I said I’d apologise if you turned over a new leaf, and by allowing my comments here, it seems you have. So:

    I apologise to you for calling you an unscientific f**kwit. OK?

  84. andrew adams says:

    kdk33,

    The technical conclusion I draw is that the climate is not yet understood well enough for accurate temperature predictions to be made.

    Predictable over what timescale? If you mean over the period of the “pause”, ie 10-20 years or so then that’s true, but then that’s what Tamsim & co are arguing. I don’t think there is any cause at the moment to fundamentally doubt the ability of the models to make reasonable projections on multi-decadal timescales. And lack of predictablility doesn’t necessarily equate to lack of understanding – there are some factors, volcanoes and ENSO being the obvious examples, whose impact on the climate are well enough understood but are just inherently unpredictable.

    In that context, I would expect the models to generally disagree with one another and to be scattered more or less randomly around observations. Instead, they are clustered together and all on the high side.

    I don’t see why this would necessarily be the case, it depends on the reason for the discrepancy. If it’s due to factors which aren’t (and can’t be, given current limitations) well captured by the models in general then surely one would expect that the differences between the models and the observations would tend to be in one direction.

  85. tallbloke,
    Well, I am somewhat impressed. I wasn’t really expecting or looking for an apology. I was simply giving a valid reason as to why I had no great desire to engage in a scientific discussion with you. I still don’t, unfortunately, as any argument that simply ignores the influence of increased radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases and then suggests that we’ve somehow been storing extra solar energy in the oceans now, while having never done so in the past, would simply be wrong.

    In fact, even if you include the inertia of the oceans, one can easily show that if we were simply responding to increases in solar forcing we should have equilibrated very quickly compared to the 150 years that we’ve been warming.

  86. Joshua says:

    Tallbloke:

    Compare and contrast this:

    andthentheresphysics says:
    December 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    tallbloke, yes, I’m a physicist. I’m surprised you’ve decided to comment here. If I remember correctly, our last exchange ended you with you calling me an “unscientific f**kwit”.

    and this:

    If you’re running a science blog, scientific discussion proceeds through an open process of criticism, rebuttal, reformulation, and even, occasionally, collaboration.

    If you’re not running a science blog, then ostracising those who present scientific arguments you disagree with is of course an option.

    Then think about about what comprises a presentation of a scientific argument and what would comprise “ostracizing those who present scientific arguments.”

    BBD –

    I will note your 10:49 might be considered by some as “legitimizing.” Personally, I would consider it as engaging with someone who has demonstrated an intent to engage in bad faith.

  87. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    I hadn’t read TB’s 12:30 or your 12:40 before posting my 12:42 (which fell into moderation).

    I find it interesting how difficult it is to follow-through on the theories about how people should or should not respond to “skeptics.” In fact, your 12:40 is engaging TB in a discussion about the science, and he will respond to your comment and you will feel that you need to debunk his next comment, and so on. BBD’s doing the same.

    My observation is that TB calling you an “unscientific f**kwit” is a demonstrates the he openly, and with a lack of awareness, embraces unscientific reasoning. Personally, I would like to see him reflect on what lead him to such fallacious reasoning, and to explain what he thinks was going on. The “f**wit” part of his insult is less instructive as to his reasoning, IMO, as to the mechanism that would lead him to call a physicist “unscientific.”

    TB should do more than simply apologize. He should demonstrate that he’s incorporated an awareness of how his “motivations” bias his reasoning. How else could he be expected to correct for that problem going forward?

    What explains such an analysis on his part? FWIW, I have the same questions when someone says that Curry is “ignorant’ or a “liar.” I also think it is similar to the kind of reasoning that leads to calling people “deniers.”

  88. Joshua,

    I find it interesting how difficult it is to follow-through on the theories about how people should or should not respond to “skeptics.” In fact, your 12:40 is engaging TB in a discussion about the science, and he will respond to your comment and you will feel that you need to debunk his next comment, and so on. BBD’s doing the same.

    Yes, I agree and I wrote that comment well aware that I may well be falling into exactly the same trap as I fall into time and time again.

  89. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    “Someone is wrong on the Internet” is a very powerful force.

  90. BBD says:

    Indeed it is 😉

    Especially if they make a habit of repeating nonsense over and over again.

  91. Paul S says:

    kdk33,

    In that context, I would expect the models to generally disagree with one another and to be scattered more or less randomly around observations. Instead, they are clustered together and all on the high side. The models are agreeing, but what are they agreeing to and why so much.

    I think you’re getting fooled by the common practice of using baselines close to the end of the runs (e.g. 1961-1990, 1986-2005). If you set the baseline to a period at the beginning of the historical run you allow the model curves to naturally develop divergences over time rather than tying them together towards the end.

  92. tallbloke says:

    Anders says: …any argument that simply ignores the influence of increased radiative forcing due to greenhouse gases and then suggests that we’ve somehow been storing extra solar energy in the oceans now, while having never done so in the past, would simply be wrong.

    1) Look again at my simple model, where you will find lnCO2 factored in. Admittedly it’s at a lower value than you guys have been using, but it’s there.

    2) I have nowhere argued that solar energy has not been stored in the oceans in the past.

    In fact, even if you include the inertia of the oceans, one can easily show that if we were simply responding to increases in solar forcing we should have equilibrated very quickly compared to the 150 years that we’ve been warming.

    Well if the pause/hiatus/plateau is to be explained by trade winds driving warmer surface waters deep into the ocean, then the quick equilibration argument is out of date isn’t it? Especially so given the 2012 GRL paper which finds ~60yr oscillations in sea level in all basins except the north Pacific. If it was purely internal variability in where the heat was stored, the steric component would remain constant, given the linear change in the density of seawater down to freezing point. Clearly it does not.

  93. tallbloke,
    I’m falling into the trap.

    I have nowhere argued that solar energy has not been stored in the oceans in the past.

    I wasn’t referring to you. There is no real evidence to suggest that what we’ve undergone globally in the last 150 years has happened in the last 10000. Why now?

    Well if the pause/hiatus/plateau is to be explained by trade winds driving warmer surface waters deep into the ocean, then the quick equilibration argument is out of date isn’t it?

    Not really. For starters the pause is only a decade old or so. Fundamentally though, the problem you have is that the solar insolation today is only very slightly higher than it was in 1750. That means that in the absence of greenhouse gases, the equilibrium surface temperature today should be very close to what it was in 1750. It’s clearly not. It’s almost a degree higher. If there’s been no influence from greenhouse gases then the surface temperature today should be higher than the equilibrium value. If so, the planet should be losing more energy than it’s receiving from the Sun. How, if this is the case, can we be losing energy and gaining energy at the same time.

    So, how can we be sequestering energy in the oceans if the temperature today is about 1 degree higher than it was 150 years ago, if the solar insolation is almost the same and there’s been no influence from anthropogenic greenhouse gases?

    Now, I’ve ended up in a scientific discussion with someone I have no real desire to discuss science with. I’m not going to do much more as I really doubt we’re going to converge in any way at all. I don’t really see why we should both waste our times.

  94. Me_Again says:

    Would someone kindly explain this to me please
    “Researchers should have reiterated that the science on long-term climate change is solid and widely agreed on — 97% of scientists working in the subject support the principle of anthropogenic climate change (W. R. L. Anderegg, J. W. Prall, J. Harold and S. H. Schneider, Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 12107–12109; 2010)”

    Which comes from JSam as opposed to this:-

    http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/consensus-what-consensus-2/

    Which sort of suggests that consensus [if that ever were a viable way of studying a science] is being somewhat disingenuous with the facts of the case.

  95. Me_Again,
    Firstly, the consensus project was never intended as a way of studying a science. It was intended as an illustration of the level of agreement about the fundamentals of global warming. The analysis they performed indicated that 97% of the abstracts of the papers, that said something about AGW, endorsed AGW. Firstly, it’s only about anthropogenic global warming (i.e., are we causing most of the warming since 1950) and not about the impacts. I’ve looked at a sample of the abstracts and got the same kind of result. They also sampled the authors and 97% of the authors who responded claimed their paper endorsed AGW.

    I don’t think any serious physical scientist disputes this basic result. Maybe it’s not 97% (it probably isn’t) but it’s high. Roger Helmer is a very poor source for evidence against a consensus.

  96. Sören F says:

    There is this confusion there between just non-zero AGW and dominant (>50%) AGW.

  97. Soren,
    Where’s the confusion? The consensus project defined it as being dominant. Well, at least an abstract was only classified as explicitly endorsing AGW if it was clear that it expressed the view that it was dominant.

    I must admit, though, that I’ve been through the whole consensus project a number of times on this blog, and don’t really want to go through it all again. It doesn’t really have any significance with respect to the actual science.

  98. BBD says:

    Roger Helmer?

    Come on.

  99. Joshua says:

    I am curious as to why some “skeptics” seem to believe that the precise measurement of the prevalence of agreement among scientists is important. So important that they so frequently argue about it.

    I thought that the prevalence of agreement is irrelevant, as arguments that there is a “consensus” are fallacious, and basically nothing other than “appeal to authority.”‘

    Why are so many “skeptics,” so often, appealing to authority?

  100. jsam says:

    Simple, really. Roger Helmer is wrong.

    The 97% or thereabouts figure has been replicated a number of times. It is not news.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change#Surveys_of_scientists_and_scientific_literature

  101. Sören F says:

    I have it from here: http://rankexploits.com/musings/2013/on-the-consensus/

    that only 65 out of the 12,000+ examined abstracts had the “dominant” in them

  102. BBD says:

    Sören F

    There is a strong scientific consensus on AGW. Best face the facts.

    This topic has been done to death here and elsewhere – ATTP has made it plain he doesn’t want to plough over old ground and I for one agree wholeheartedly.

    The science is what is important – physics and all that. Confected argument over Cook13 is a waste of time and pixels.

  103. Sören F says:

    Sure. I also haven’t spent any time on it, and I’m all into the science.

  104. BBD says:

    Sören F

    I’m all into the science.

    Can I just check that I haven’t misunderstood your earlier comment? You say there:

    this all spells a retreat towards long-term persistence only.

    Are you saying that modern warming is “long-term persistence” and that there is no climatologically significant effect from GHG forcing?

    Sorry if I have muddled this up.

  105. tallbloke says:

    Anders says: “the solar insolation today is only very slightly higher than it was in 1750.”

    We have no idea what surface temperatures were on Earth prior to 1850 but you think a model can determine solar output in 1750 to within fractions of a watt per square metre at the top of Earth’s atmosphere?

    Let me assure you it can’t.

    “There is no real evidence to suggest that what we’ve undergone globally in the last 150 years has happened in the last 10000. Why now?”

    Solanki et al 2004 published by Nature.com
    Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years
    “We find that during the past 11,400 years the Sun spent only of the order of 10% of the time at a similarly high level of magnetic activity and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present episode.”

  106. We have no idea what surface temperatures were on Earth prior to 1850 but you think a model can determine solar output in 1750 to within fractions of a watt per square metre at the top of Earth’s atmosphere?

    Let me assure you it can’t.

    We have no idea? Of course we have ideas. You can’t resort to “we may be wrong, therefore my idea might be right”. That’s not really scientific debate. Also, pulling out one reference to a paper about variations in solar magnetic activity doesn’t really show that what we’re undergoing now isn’t unusual.

    Plus, the fundamental point that you seem to have failed to address is why is our temperature so much higher than it was 150 years ago and yet we still have a positive energy imbalance?

  107. Sören F says:

    I was noting how, in the discourse, the defence of the SFP’s position (clear dominance of AGW) appears to have given up on hinging it on decadal variability, instead insisting that the long-term persistence (long-term warming since mid-1800s) is what supports it. How significant an effect is is another matter.

  108. Me_Again says:

    Joshua, Jsam just telling me Roger Helmer is wrong is not helpful. Roger Helmer merely collated the infomation someone else had worked on. I carefully read what was said and about 8000 of the 12,000 offered no opinion of whether humans did cause most of the warming since 1950 or is this somehow incorrect?
    Joshua, sceptics are interested in this because it is thrown at them by eco zealots when they express uncertainty or doubt. Politicians use this same 97% figure all the time to say the science is settled open your wallet now, and yet when you dig into it, whether or not the science is settled, those 12,000 peer reviewed papers don’t appear to say so. Nor can I from any combination of numbers get the figure 97% or anything like it.
    Not only that but it appears that more papers openly say No to the questions than say yes. This appears to be an inconvenient truth -again unless I’m very much mistaken.

    So ordinary people may not be able to understand science but they can read English, spell sceptic properly and make reasoned judgements if presented with unspun factoids.

  109. jsam says:

    From Tallbloke’s cited paper, “we point out that solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominant cause of the strong warming during the past three decades”

    Funny old bloke, Tally. He asserts we have no idea what surface temperatures were prior to 1850, despite the likes of PAGES 2K. But is quite happy with papers measuring the sun over millennia.

  110. tallbloke says:

    The solanki reference shows just the opposite, the Sun was the strongest it has been in perhaps 10,000 years in the latter C20th. This addressed your previous point of ‘why now’.

    And I didn’t say “we have no idea”. I said our ideas don’t pin down solar variation to fractions of a W/m^2 and this is true. There are several TSI reconstructions, and they all disagree to quite wide margins of several W/m^2. So most of climate change might be accounted for by the |Sun, or very little of it. Other lines of evidence suggest it is a large factor however.

    It’s obvious you don’t want the discussion, so I’ll leave the solar issue there. Lets get back onto less controversial ground with what Lisa Goddard has said in Nature.com’s series of articles the present thread’s headline post is drawn from.

  111. Me_Again,

    8000 of the 12,000 offered no opinion of whether humans did cause most of the warming since 1950 or is this somehow incorrect?

    Roughly. About 8000 said nothing at all (in their abstracts) about AGW.

    Joshua, sceptics are interested in this because it is thrown at them by eco zealots when they express uncertainty or doubt.

    And the study was done because others keep saying that there is no consensus.

    Nor can I from any combination of numbers get the figure 97% or anything like it.

    Try reading the paper. Of the 4000 that do say something about AGW, 97% endorse AGW.

    Not only that but it appears that more papers openly say No to the questions than say yes. This appears to be an inconvenient truth -again unless I’m very much mistaken.

    You’re very much mistaken. 8000 said nothing. They didn’t say No.

    Why don’t you do as I did. You can go the consensus project website and you can read the abstracts yourself. I did just over 100. I did not find a single one that explicitly stated that AGW was wrong. I dare you to try the same.

  112. tallbloke,

    How about this paper?

  113. jsam says:

    Dear Me_Again. Please explain all the prior independent studies that found the consensus. Please explain all the scientific bodies that back it. Please explain today’s presentation by the National Academies and the Royal Society. I had a quick look at some genetics papers – none explicitly mentioned evolution.

  114. jsam says:

    Ahem Tally. These are both recent quotes from you:

    – “We have no idea what surface temperatures were on Earth prior to 1850”. (But we do.)
    – “And I didn’t say “we have no idea”. (But you did.)

  115. BBD says:

    Solanki et al. isn’t by any manner of means definitive Tallbloke. You are placing way too much emphasis on a study that relies on d14C isotope archives that also capture carbon cycling, deep ocean circulation change, magnetic flux variability and the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic dipole – all of which are ascribed to solar variability alone in that study IIRC.

    Read a paleoclimate textbook or two.

  116. BBD says:

    D*mn!

    Forgot the T-word thing again.

    May my previous be released on conditional bail?

    Also forgot the reference (double-duh post-in-haste phenomenon): Snowball & Muscheler (2007) Palaeomagnetic intensity data: an Achilles heel of solar activity reconstructions

  117. BBD says:

    TB

    So most of climate change might be accounted for by the |Sun, or very little of it. Other lines of evidence suggest it is a large factor however.

    No, actually they don’t. Please be sure to follow up jsam’s mention of PAGES2K. Like the oceans-as-magic-batteries argument, nothing you say stands up. It’s a mix of misrepresentations and assertion.

  118. BBD says:

    Sören F

    Sorry, but I’m none the wiser. The mainstream scientific position (what is ‘SFP’ by the way?) is that the forced trend is visible over multidecadal scales, with decadal variability imposed on top. There’s been no recent change in this view that I am aware of. The slowdown in the rate of surface warming is not inconsistent with the mainstream scientific position, just with most people’s understanding of it. Largely thanks to the efforts of fake sceptics and their enablers in the media.

  119. “The trend has changed. By visual inspection, and by math. If you would like to argue that it has not, feel free.”

    By what math? Are you able to explain anything wrong with e.g. Tamino’s analysis here?. There just isn’t a pause, not by any valid method. If you don’t want to play with silly comparisons to picking too-short trends to know what season it is, would you like to explain how you’re so sure you can conclude anything about climatic temp change from such a short amount of data?

  120. BBD: “The slowdown in the rate of surface warming is not inconsistent with the mainstream scientific position, just with most people’s understanding of it. Largely thanks to the efforts of fake sceptics and their enablers in the media.”

    Many times this.

  121. Sören F says:

    BBD “The mainstream scientific position (what is ‘SFP’ by the way?) is that the forced trend is visible over multidecadal scales, with decadal variability imposed on top”.

    The above is roughly what I said too, but also observing – my impression – that decadal variability is not invoked much more like I remember it. SFP = Summary For Policymakers.

  122. Paul S says:

    Dan,

    I think this post by Tamino provides a better perspective, partly it perhaps explains everyone’s viewpoint. He shows that, according his statistical noise modelling, the rate of surface warming cannot be said to have changed at the 95% confidence level.

    However, we can also see clearly that the central estimate trends get systematically smaller for later start points. From this we can intimate that it is at least more likely than not that the warming rate has declined. My guess is that 66% confidence ranges (IPCC “likely”) would clearly indicate a slowdown. So, in the IPCC’s terms: not “extremely likely” but still “likely”.

  123. BBD says:

    Sören F

    SPM is the usual abbreviation, but thanks for the clarification.

  124. Sören F says:

    Ok BBD, thanks 🙂

  125. tallbloke,

    Lets get back onto less controversial ground with what Lisa Goddard has said in Nature.com’s series of articles the present thread’s headline post is drawn from.

    Have only managed to have a quick glance, but it seems like a reasonable article that doesn’t say anything inconsistent with the standard views about climate change. Just discusses have variability can influence the rate of ocean heat uptake and the rate of surface warming. All of this happening on top of a long-term, anthropogenic warming trend.

  126. Me_Again says:

    andthenthere’sphysics abbreviated to ATP

    ATP there were 87 that said no to AGW and 65 I think said yes. These few are the ones who committed unequivocally to an answer.
    I would say that despite a slight lead in favour of the NO’s that they are statistically quite irrelevant compared to the masses where the consensus actually lies, who said ‘No opinion’
    So the 4000 that you mention did not say yes they said ‘could be’ or some such, well 3000 or so were not but thought it likely.
    Whilst it is plain that you are utterly convinced of human caused global warming, can you inmagine what the population consensus might be if it were widely known that 66% or more of the scientific papers on which the latest IPCC report is based had no opinion in answer to that question?

    Of course the biggest problem for us mere mortals is that both sides are utterly convinced of their righteous cause. This is amusing to those who’ve been led astray so many times in the past by those calling themselves scientists.

  127. Me_AGAIN,

    ATP there were 87 that said no to AGW and 65 I think said yes. These few are the ones who committed unequivocally to an answer.

    I believe that that is incorrect. What you’ve done is compared all the abstracts rated 5, 6, and 7 (I think) that rejected AGW (explicitly or implicitly) with only those ranked 1, that explicitly endorsed AGW. The correct comparison is with those reject AGW (about 65) with those that endorse (implicitly or explicitly) AGW – about 3900.

    Whilst it is plain that you are utterly convinced of human caused global warming,

    I’m utterly convinced that energy conservation is a law of physics and I’m convinced that some natural perturbation cannot explain 150 years of warming. I think that if you understood basic physics, you’d probably agree. If you really must know, the way I came into this was that I have taught a small amount of atmospheric physics that included some descriptions of the greenhouse effect. In trying to think of how best to teach this, I gained quite a good understanding of the fundamental physics. Only then did I start reading more about climate science and encountered more papers that were consistent with this physics and that made if clear that anthropogenic global warming was real and is the most dominant influence in our recent warming. You’re of course free to draw your own conclusions and do your own research.

  128. Marco says:

    Me_Again, please do not misrepresent the consensus paper by Cook et al. We can all read what it says and evaluate the data, and it says not such thing as you claim (well, it kinda does, if you deliberately misrepresent the data taking all “no’s” (explicit and implicit, 78 papers) and compare it only to the very explicit “yes” (and leave out the implicit “yes’s”).

    You also, and I again believe deliberately, misrepresent the “no opinion” papers and what they actually mean. Blech.

  129. Me_Again says:

    Would you explain to me how I have misrepresented what are factual numbers. Damned if I can see how anyone could draw another conclusion. If you can read as you claim, why do you not see the same numbers as I do?
    A No Opinion’ paper surely does not mean Yes, nor does it mean NO, so how have I misrepresented this? .You cannot exclude them from being counted though because they offer no absolute answer.
    The fact is that the majority of papers did not pin the tail on the donkey and only 64 out of the lot were unequivocal.
    What it says to me is that the majority are unsure and that we need a lot more work done and evidence built to be sure in either direction.
    Bullshit won’t work for me.

  130. Steve Bloom says:

    Now TB is onto the “PDO as driver” meme, a long-time denier favorite. How tedious. Goddard says nothing of the sort.

    One important point about the recent GMST trend I hadn’t seen made above is its geographic distribution. IIRC, in addition to the obvious La Nina effect and the Arctic component pointed out by Cowtan and Way, there’s northern Eurasia, which seems to have been explained by Judah Cohen and colleagues (sea ice decline leading to local increases in snow cover).

    Gavin Schmidt has also pointed out that a big question among researchers, after adding up nominal values of various confirmed and likely recent cooling factors, is why hasn’t there been actual cooling. The warming does seem to have a certain persistence.

  131. Me_Again,
    The results from the paper are 3896 endorse AGW, 7930 no position, 78 reject AGW, 40 uncertain. Therefore the correct comparison is 3896 endorse versus 78 reject.

  132. BBD says:

    Can we *not* have yet another led-by-the-nose return to the achingly tedious confected arguments over Cook13?

    I’m very, very close to using the Tr-word. Because it would be entirely appropriate at this point.

  133. dhogaza says:

    Me_Again:

    Any professional working within spitting distance of climate science understands that the consensus is overwhelming and complete.

    You really just make yourself look silly by arguing against this. Please don’t waste our time.

  134. BBD,
    Yes, good point. I have had enough of the Cook et al. paper myself. It doesn’t have any significance with respect to the science, just an illustration of the level of agreement which, according to Cook et al., is high.

  135. Steve,
    Indeed, quite strange that TB seems to think it’s an interesting article. Maybe he doesn’t quite understand the opening paragraphs?

    Temperatures are going up. This decade is warmer than last decade, which is warmer than the decade before that. This response of global temperatures is expected from physical considerations of increased greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. At issue is the decreased rate of temperature increase. Why the rate has slowed seems mysterious. The radiative imbalance at the top of the atmosphere, which drives global temperature increases, has continued to increase over the past several decades. If our planet’s energy were in balance, the net shortwave energy coming in from the Sun would be equal to the longwave energy emitted by the Earth, which in turn depends on the temperature of the planet. Currently, Earth’s energy imbalance is approximately 0.6 W m-2.

  136. Steve Bloom says:

    Me_Again, you won’t find clear affirmations of relativity in current astrophysics papers. You will be able to infer it from the lack of anything to the contrary, however. AGW theory is similarly uncontroversial. And yep, there remain some PhD physicists who still think relativity can be overturned, but they too can’t seem to publish anything coherent in support of their view.

  137. BBD says:

    Let’s just remember the basic denier strategy:

    1/ Create a fake controversy.

    2/ Never let it go. Over time, people get the impression there’s something there, even thought there isn’t. This is the next-best thing to actually having an argument.

    3/ Drive out and suppress other topics by constant banging on about the fake controversy.

    The fake controversy over Cook13 is threatening to become the new Mannean Hockey Stick. This can only happen if it is allowed to happen.

  138. Steve Bloom says:

    Oh, c’mon, BBD, don’t be shy. 🙂

  139. Rachel says:

    I read a really good paper recently which deserves more attention. It’s called Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?. They list five tactics used by denialists and conclude with a paragraph on how to respond:

    Whatever the motivation, it is important to recognize denialism when confronted with it. The normal academic response to an opposing argument is to engage with it, testing the strengths and weaknesses of the differing views, in the expectations that the truth will emerge through a process of debate. However, this requires that both parties obey certain ground rules, such as a willingness to look at the evidence as a whole, to reject deliberate distortions and to accept principles of logic. A meaningful discourse is impossible when one party rejects these rules. Yet it would be wrong to prevent the denialists having a voice. Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they employ and identifying them publicly for what they are. An understanding of the five tactics listed above provides a useful framework for doing so.

  140. BBD says:

    Steve

    I’ve never walked away from a good scrap in comments – ask those who know me well 😉

    But a game is being played here and the way to win is to deny the other players any space on the board.

  141. badgersouth says:

    Directly related to the OP…

    The following is from the Denier Roundup section of today’s edition of the Climate Nexus Hot News e-bulletin. I’ve bolded a couple of statements that are directly relevant to the discussion occurring on this thread.

    Hitting Pause on “Nature Climate Change”

    The March 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change is devoted to the hottest new topic, the global warming “pause.” The biggest news is a study that finds: “not only is there no pause in the evolution of the warmest daily extremes over land but they have continued unabated over the observational record. Furthermore, the available evidence suggests that the most ‘extreme’ extremes show the greatest change.”

    More frequent and extreme warming events? “Global warming pause” indeed!

    The issue also has a free, full access editorial and notable commentaries. In one commentary, Jay Gulledge discusses his research on how to account for uncertainty when planning for the future. Tasmin Edwards also has a commentary, which she discusses on her blog. Her main point seems to be that scientists should “join us in these online conversations,” though we’re not convinced that more talk with deniers would accomplish anything more than frustration. If you could change a denier’s mind, they wouldn’t be called deniers.

    Other highlights include studies titled, “Media discourse on the climate slowdown” and “Heat hide and seek,” as well as correspondences on “Recent observed and simulated warming” by Fyfe and Gillett and “Distinguishing variability from uncertainty” by Lehmann and Rillig, and finally a news feature on the “Pacific puzzle.”

    While this special issue helps explain the natural variability of temperatures, you can be sure deniers will use the mere fact that Nature acknowledged the “pause” as incontrovertible proof the pause is real and climate change is not.

  142. BBD says:

    Good quote, Rachel.

    Shine a torch where the others do not want it shone.

  143. John Mashey says:

    Large numbers of tobacco research paper abstracts do *not* explicitly say “smoking causes disease”, but are concerned with initiation patterns, effects of advertising, cessation, genetic influences, focus groups on beliefs, biochemical effects, endothelial cells, experiments on rats with their heads stuck in secondhand smoke machines, etc, etc.
    The problem for mere mortals is that both sides are utterly convinced of their righteous cause: tobacco companies that it is fine for people to smoke or vape, ideally starting by age 12 or earlier, whereas medical researchers do not think so, although since they generally don’t have conservation laws of physics to help, must rely mostly on epidemiological statistics, and cannot do the real experiments on humans. Of course they may be among those calling themselves scientists who’ve led people astray, unlike those fine people at tobacco companies. In fact, these so-called medical scientists do *not* understand the effects of every single compound in cigarette smoke or “vaping” vapor (although the latter is not just water vapor). There are all sorts of things they don’t understand about nicotine addiction, genetic differences, trajectory differences, brain neurochemistry, etc, etc. In many ways, medical researchers understand the disease mechanisms less well than climate scientists understand climate. Humans are just so variable.

    Given that there is continued controversy, clearly no action should *ever* be taken until there is 100% agreement by all, as it would clearly be bad to forbid children from the delights of things like cotton candy or gummy bear vaping fluid, thoughtfully offered in nicotine concentrations starting at 0-up. Besides, any restrictions would harm existing or potential business and the different levels of nicotine are only there to help existing smokers taper down.

    More realistically, abstracts do not bother restating well-established facts. Words in abstracts are precious. As a US judge once ruled, the EPA need not continually reprove the existence of atoms.

  144. andrew adams says:

    Me_Again,

    It is not necessary for every paper on subjects relating to climate change to express an opinion on whether recent warming is predominantly due to human causes. “No opinion expressed” doesn’t mean “don’t know”.

  145. “Whatever the motivation, it is important to recognize denialism when confronted with it.”

    Yes – and the denialists are trying to become immune to this (apparently successfully) by using a political correctness strategy to turn words such as ‘denier’, and anything else that would show how marginal they are (“consensus”) into swear words.

    The last thing they want is for anyone to notice how similar they are to the denialists who afflict almost every scientific topic under the sun (e.g. see http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0040256 on HIV denial, and see if you an spot the uncanny resemblance to the climate variety).

    “However, this requires that both parties obey certain ground rules,”

    And this seems to be completely absent from some scientists attempts to engage so-called ‘contrarians’. Rather than being held to any kind of standard for civilised discourse, people who froth about fraud and data manipulation and cover ups are treated as if they are reasonable people who have valid questions.

    If people are accusing you and your fellow scientists of fraud and similar, they are beyond the pale, and it would seem reasonable to not engage them until they stop, or at least the very first thing you should be discussing is why they are talking nonsense. Sometimes the right response is not “what are your concerns?” it is “who invited this asshole?”.

  146. Me_Again says:

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  147. Me_Again says:

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  148. Me_Again says:

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  149. Me_Again says:

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  150. Me_Again says:

    [mod: OT and you’re getting close to thread bombing here. I’m also not going to accept any more comments about the consensus project in this thread. There are other posts on this blog about it and I encourage you to read them]

  151. Me_Again says:

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  152. Me_Again says:

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  153. Gingerbaker says:

    * How can there be a “pause” when the thirteen warmest years have all occurred in the fifteen years following 1997? See:

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/2011-Global-Climate-Status_WMO.html

    If we update to 2013, the warmest fifteen years have all occurred in the seventeen years following 1997. Where is the slowdown?

    * We are currently at a sixty year low for sunspot activity and solar irradiation. Why have the glaciers been in retreat? They should have been advancing.

    * You know, we have satellites orbiting the planet which measure the energy from the sun hitting the Earth as well as the energy radiated back into space. There is an imbalance. If one is going to assert that there has been no increase in AGW since 1998, then one has to account for the missing heat. Where is it, if it is not on Earth? Golgafrincham?

    The idea that we must concede that there has been a pause in AGW seems absurd to me. Most deniers talk of the surface air record – which we know is most inaccurate exactly where the Earth is heating up the most , the Arctic – and then blithely equate that with AGW. But the surface air represents only about 2% of of the heat sink.

    If – and that is a BIG if – the models have been wrong of late, they have only been wrong about the distribution of a relatively tiny amount of heat distribution.So what?? We are inventing this science as we go along, and doing it without proper funding. If we had appropriate sensors at the Arctic and throughout the deep oceans, this so-called controversy would never have taken place.

    If deniers want to talk about the “pause”, we should reply that they should therefore be interested in more funding for proper instrumentation, not that somehow, magically, AGW has slowed down, surely?

  154. Me_Again says:

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  155. Me_Again says:

    [Mod: this comment has been removed by the moderator. Don’t tempt me to try the kitten setting]

  156. [Mod: I’ve deleted this comment because it quotes from a comment that has been removed]

  157. kdk33 says:

    So to respond to some things way upthread.

    The warming-pausing-warming cycle of the last 100 years or so seems to come in runs of about 30 years. The current change in the rate of the change has been about 15 years. So that seems long enough to be a significant interval. Opinions may vary. What that means, or what may be causing it is a different topic – but it is clear that there has been a change.

    Re-centering the model runs seems an interesting art. IIRC even the IPCC graphs show observations below the range of model runs, or at least at the very edge. I was not aware that there was any controversy over the model runs being clustered on the high side.

    That suggests (not proves, just suggests) that all models are missing something. One explanation is that there is too much conformity, not enough creativity, not enough exploration. If this were a research project under me, I would be looking for ways to shake things up – bring in new people, a new skill set, someone from a different discipline, that kind of thing.

    I would much prefer that some models be too high, some models be too low. Then my sense would be that the models collectively probably contain all the relevant features needed for quantitative predictions. The path forward would be to sort and sieve to figure out which features to keep and which to discard. As it is, it seems that there are missing features.

    To “shoot yourself in the foot” is an idiom, not a euphemism. My mistake.

  158. JasonB says:

    kdk33:

    The warming-pausing-warming cycle of the last 100 years or so seems to come in runs of about 30 years. The current change in the rate of the change has been about 15 years. So that seems long enough to be a significant interval.

    What “seems” to be and what “is” can be two very different things. It is possible to represent the last 130+ years of global temperatures using a very simple model that takes into account nothing more than the known changes in CO2 levels, insolation, volcanic eruptions, and ENSO cycles. The “cycles” you see can be explained by known variations in those forcings.

    Tamino also has strong words to say about people who think they see cycles in data that are so long that you can only fit one or two in the period of the data itself.

    Re-centering the model runs seems an interesting art. IIRC even the IPCC graphs show observations below the range of model runs, or at least at the very edge.

    As I already showed, back in 2007 observations were at the very edge of the top of the model runs.

    If we were to make policy decisions on how observations compared to the models over short time periods, then in 2007 we should have been panicking. Were you advocating panic in 2007?

    I would much prefer that some models be too high, some models be too low.

    Isn’t that exactly what Paul S’s image showed? What about the images in the OP above?

    For anyone who thinks the models do not behave like reality, here’s a simple challenge: plot the actual temperature record along with the individual model realisations, like in Paul S’s image, but do not colour the observations differently. Now try to pick out the observations from the models. Is there anything that makes them stand out?

    Look at the OP; the highlighted model has periods of “pause”, and periods of rapid rise, just like the real temperature record. No magic involved.

    The main reason people think there is a problem is because they compare the actual temperature record, which is a single realisation, to the average of all the models, where the short-term variability has been averaged out because the variations about the long-term trend doesn’t happen in the same direction at the same time in every model. If you were to average in the actual observations, treating reality as “just one more model run”, it would make hardly any difference to the results; conversely, if you compare the actual observations with the individual model realisations, it’s difficult to pick which is which.

    Likewise, if you picked individual model realisations at random and compared them to the ensemble mean, you’ll find that they also exhibit periods when they’re at the top end of the range, and periods where they’re at the bottom end of the range, and even periods where they’re outside of the range, if the range has been defined as the 95% certainty interval.

  159. andrew adams says:

    kdk33,

    I would much prefer that some models be too high, some models be too low. Then my sense would be that the models collectively probably contain all the relevant features needed for quantitative predictions. The path forward would be to sort and sieve to figure out which features to keep and which to discard. As it is, it seems that there are missing features.

    But we already know there are certain limitations in the models which restrict their ablity to make predictions over relatively short timescales. They can’t predict in advance volcanoes, ENSO or variations in solar activity for example, so if we have a period where these factors all act in the same direction this will have a cooling or warming effect which won’t be captured in model projections and the models will tend to all be out in the same direction.

  160. Andrew,

    They can’t predict in advance volcanoes, ENSO or variations in solar activity for example, so if we have a period where these factors all act in the same direction this will have a cooling or warming effect which won’t be captured in model projections and the models will tend to all be out in the same direction.

    Indeed, that’s why they’re typically called projections, not prediction. They project what will happen under different scenarios. If reality doesn’t match a chosen scenario (for whatever reason), the models would not be expected to match reality.

  161. andrew adams says:

    I guess most people have seen this by now but just in case…

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v7/n3/full/ngeo2105.html

    Gavin and others examine the “pause” and find, surprise surprise, that it doesn’t make much difference to our understanding of climate or our expectations of future warming.

  162. andrew adams says:

    Anders,

    Yes, I think the problem is that people are drawing conclusions from differences between model projections and observations without properly understanding what kind of relationship we would expect bertween the two.

    (This isn’t aimed at kdk33 by the way, there are much worse culprits).

  163. Paul S says:

    kdk33,

    Re-centering the model runs seems an interesting art. IIRC even the IPCC graphs show observations below the range of model runs, or at least at the very edge.

    Not sure what ‘even the IPCC graphs’ is meant to mean? Do they have a magic graphing program which produces different results from everyone else? Anyway, the IPCC graphs you’ve been shown used either a 1961-1990 or 1986-2005 baseline as I explained. I would guess you haven’t been shown the little graph in Figure SPM.6 which uses a 1880-1919 baseline and has observations roughly central to the model range.

    Choice of baseline period should reflect what you want to investigate. If you’re only interested in changes over the past 20-30 years then choosing 1961-1990 or 1986-2005, or anything in that area, makes sense. However, what you expressed as an interest was the overall divergence between models at the end of the runs. To get a sense of that the aforementioned choices are entirely inappropriate because they artificially force a clustering effect towards the end of the timeline. Instead you want to choose a baseline near the beginning of the model data timeline to allow a natural development of divergences over the whole course.

    To show there’s no magic going on here I’ll post links to equivalent graphs using the 1986-2005 and 1961-1990 baselines. It may be a little difficult to tell because the model historical runs end in 2005, but if you check against the other graphs you’ve seen they also show the 2005 observed anomaly roughly central to the model range, then a gravitation towards the lower end from that point on.

  164. kdk33 says:

    I did not know that there was controversy over the changeintherateofchange, or that climate model predictions ran hot. I understand there is disagreement about why or what it means more broadly. But, apparently, the observations themselves are not well accepted. Similarly the warming, pause, warming, changeintherateofchange trend of the last 100 or so years. I did not know this.

    A couple of comments:

    As far as I know, measured temperature trends are outside the range of model predicted trends and that should be independent of centering.

    As far as I can recall: solar output, aerosol cooling , less aerosol cooling, and stillunderinvestigation are commonly offered as explanations (or emerging explanations) for the warming/pause/warming/pause features of the temperature record.

    I seem to recall a number of studies investigating the cause of the changeintherateofchange – including, apparently, Gavin’s latest.

    but opinions vary.

  165. BBD says:

    kdk33

    Shorter version: you have nothing.

  166. BBD says:

    warming/pause/warming/pause features of the temperature record.

    Natural variability imposed on a long term forced trend. Exactly as the mainstream scientific position describes.

  167. Paul S says:

    I did not know that there was controversy over the changeintherateofchange

    See my comment earlier – from a purely statistical viewpoint it’s arguable that trend uncertainty means a change in the rate is not a robust observation at 95% confidence level. I would counter that to say that such a change would be apparent at a lower confidence level so it is reasonable to propose the likelihood of a slowdown, particularly given other lines of evidence.

    Scientists have also looked to model runs for another, more physical, view on trends and found that relatively long periods (~15 years) with small warming trends, such as we have seen, are unusual. Others have noted that internal variability processes and forcing factors probably should have caused a slowdown, providing some theoretical support that such a thing has happened.

    As far as I know, measured temperature trends are outside the range of model predicted trends and that should be independent of centering.

    The trend for the most recent 15 years is probably outside the 90% (5-95% percentile) range for CMIP5 models most people plot, though perhaps not lower than all model realisations. Past 20 years right at the low end of the 90% range. Past 30 years towards the low end.

    On these timescales internal variability can have a significant effect, so it shouldn’t be considered a surprise when observations tend towards the low or high end of the ensemble. If you go through the whole historical record there are a few occasions where the observed 30-year trend is outside the model 90% range, both at the low and high end (quick and dirty, so no labels on the graph sorry). However, despite that we can see, as I plotted earlier, that such variability appears to have averaged over the centennial scale with observations ultimately nestling near the middle of the range.

  168. tallbloke says:

    Anders: Thanks for giving the SBF09 paper a mention. Calibrating proxy data to TSI is fraught with difficulty, and I wouldn’t place much faith in it, because of the geomagnetic influence, but the periodicities found in the data are of great interest in my own research. About 70% of the variation in their 10Be data can be accounted for with just two periods of 208yr (the De Vries cycle) and 983yr (a beat period of the major planetary orbital interaction periods).

    We haven’t yet run the data with some new equations we’ve developed to see what shorter periods emerge but we may have news on this within the next few days. Using our techniques we successfully predicted the slump in solar activity and the cessation of warming back in 2008. The value of scientific work rests largely on the usefulness of predictions. So far, we are doing better than the models based on trace gas levels. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the IPCC maintains that solar variation doesn’t affect climate change to any great degree. Mama nature didn’t get the memo.

  169. kdk33 says:

    Paul,

    We don’t seem to disagree all that much on the observables. I suspect we differ more on the interpretation.

  170. BBD says:

    T – B

    There’s still no evidence that C20th solar activity is exceptional in the context of the Holocene. Do you accept this now?

  171. BBD says:

    kdk33

    You are profoundly contrarian so I am sure you are right to say that your interpretation will be at variance with the mainstream position. It will also be largely unsupported as a result.

  172. tallbloke says:

    BBD: Several other lines of theory and evidence apart from proxy data suggest the latter C20th was exceptional for it’s high levels of solar activity, so no, I don’t accept your assertion. I do accept none of it is conclusive though, as any good sceptic would. 😉

  173. jsam says:

    I’ve just suffered a severe spewdo facepalm moment from reading “About 70% of the variation in their 10Be data can be accounted for with just two periods of 208yr (the De Vries cycle) and 983yr (a beat period of the major planetary orbital interaction periods)”. I may need to start something more sciencey…like aromatherapy.

  174. tallbloke says:

    jsam: If you find better explanations for the cyclicities evident in the Fourier analysis of the 10Be and 14C data, let us know. Averting your eyes and pretending the cyclicities aren’t there is anti-scientific.

  175. BBD says:

    T – B *

    BBD: Several other lines of theory and evidence apart from proxy data suggest the latter C20th was exceptional for it’s high levels of solar activity, so no, I don’t accept your assertion.

    First, it was not an assertion. See upthread for references. Second, if you aren’t using proxy data, then what else is there to reconstruct Holocene solar variability?

    * I’m sorry for abbreviating your screen name, but recently using it in full has triggered moderation.

  176. jsam says:

    So far, T-B, carbon has done better than curve fitting. Unless, of course, you have a citation from a reputable publication you can put forward.

  177. TB

    About 70% of the variation in their 10Be data can be accounted for with just two periods of 208yr (the De Vries cycle) and 983yr (a beat period of the major planetary orbital interaction periods).

    You’ve going to have to do a fair whack of real physics to convince me that planetary orbital interaction periods can any climatically relevant influence solar insolation on the Earth.

  178. tallbloke says:

    BBD: “what else is there to reconstruct Holocene solar variability?”

    Our solar variability model for one:
    http://www.pattern-recogn-phys.net/1/117/2013/prp-1-117-2013.pdf

    Anders: “do a fair whack of real physics to convince me that planetary orbital interaction periods can any climatically relevant influence solar insolation on the Earth.”

    I’ve laid the groundwork with the observations in my papers here:
    http://www.pattern-recogn-phys.net/special_issue2.html
    I’m currently researching the necessary background literature towards working out how to quantify forces. I already know they are considerable. Enough to cause the upwelling of cold deep water for 30 years during the cold half of the ocean oscillations.

  179. kdk33 says:

    From Gavin: it is inherently unsatisfying to find model–data agreement only with the benefit of hindsight.

    Yes, indeed.

  180. BBD says:

    From Schmidt et al. (2014):

    Nevertheless, attributing climate trends over relatively short periods, such as 10 to 15 years, will always be problematic, and it is inherently unsatisfying to find model–data agreement only with the benefit of hindsight. We see no indication, however, that transient climate response is systematically overestimated in the CMIP5 climate models as has been speculated, or that decadal variability across the ensemble of models is systematically underestimated, although at least some individual models probably fall short in this respect.

    Most importantly, our analysis implies that significant warming trends are likely to resume, because the dominant long-term warming effect of well-mixed greenhouse gases continues to rise. Asian pollution levels are likely to stabilize and perhaps decrease, although lower solar activity may persist and volcanic eruptions are unpredictable. ENSO will eventually move back into a positive phase and the simultaneous coincidence of multiple cooling effects will cease. Further warming is very likely to be the result.

    I do love a bit of context on me toast.

  181. BBD says:

    T – B

    A brief synopsis will do fine 😉 Just give the forum the bare bones of how your model works.

  182. tallbloke says:

    Let’s try that again.
    Sure, here you go.

  183. TB,
    Where’s the physics in that? You meant tidal torques, but I don’t see you working any out. They really should be negligible. How can such small forces have such a big effect. If they did, our climate would be extremely sensitive to small changes in forcing and that would apply to CO2 as well as to any other forcing. Are you suggesting that CO2 doesn’t produce a radiative forcing?

  184. Steve Bloom says:

    Anders, you said you wouldn’t engage with him and now here you go merrily down the rabbit hole. What’s up with that, Doc?

  185. Rachel says:

    Steve, and you said you were not going to comment here anymore and here you are merrily going down the rabbit hole. What’s up with that, Doc?

  186. badgersouth says:

    “That’s all Folks!”

  187. Steve Bloom says:

    Have I irritated you in some way, Rachel? But just as Anders seems to want to make a study of TB, the Connollys, etc., doesn’t someone need to make a study of him? In any case, please do let him answer for himself.

  188. Rachel says:

    It was said in jest, Steve. 🙂

  189. Steve Bloom says:

    :), badgersouth.

  190. Steve, the truthful answer is because this isn’t my job and I’m basically just winging it. That means that I suffer from the standard “someone’s wrong on the internet syndrome”. I also sometimes forget that I said I wouldn’t respond to someone. Also, the best technique I’ve found for getting people to stop commenting here is to continually point out that they’re wrong so that they either get irritated and go away or lose it so badly that I have to ban them.

  191. BBD says:

    Steve

    It’s mostly my fault. I call it “give them enough rope”. Having chopped off the argument that there is something extraordinary about C20th solar activity against Holocene variability, I was curios to see what came next.

    It killed the cat, and one day it will probably get me too.

  192. tallbloke says:

    Anders: “TB, Where’s the physics in that? You meant tidal torques, but I don’t see you working any out.”

    Ah, not tides, no. What we’re discussing is the effects of orbital resonance. This effect is capable of transferring truly awesome amounts of energy between planets (and probably between planets and the Sun too).

    e.g. from the wiki page on the subject:
    A past resonance between Jupiter and Saturn may have played a dramatic role in early Solar System history. A 2004 computer model by Alessandro Morbidelli of the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur in Nice suggested that the formation of a 1:2 resonance between Jupiter and Saturn (due to interactions with planetesimals that caused them to migrate inward and outward, respectively) created a gravitational push that propelled both Uranus and Neptune into higher orbits, and in some scenarios caused them to switch places, which would have doubled Neptune’s distance from the Sun.

    What we’ve discovered by looking at orbital timings and planetary spin rates is that there’s not only an energetic coupling between planets and their neighbours in terms of their orbits, but between spin rates and neighbour orbital periods too. Since gravity is a straight line force, these can only be accounted for in terms of interaction between the interplanetary magnetic field and planetary magnetospheres and metallic cores. This opens up a whole new field for resonance to transfer energy through.

    Hence my second paper finds a strong correlation between the dynamics of the gas giant orbits relative to the solar equatorial plane and Earth’s Length of Day variations. Those LoD variations were found by the American FAO to correlate to the AMO and PDO oceanic oscillations, and fish stock variations. Hence my earlier comment about cold upwelling water which brings with it the nutrients which feed the base of the foodchain, the plankton.

  193. Steve Bloom says:

    May I suggest a corollary to Clarke: “Any sufficiently complex analysis is indistinguishable from magic.”

  194. BBD says:

    Yes, but what about mundanities like RF from GHGs? Does this simply vanish?

  195. TB,
    Oh come on, the work you quote is a pure N-body calculation. Sure if Jupiter and Saturn were in a 2:1 resonance and Uranus and Neptune were much closer than they are today, then the influence of Jupiter and Saturn could exchange angular momentum with Uranus and Saturn and eject them into the outer Solar System. It’s very basic N-body, gravitational dynamics. One could run an N-body code very easily to see if it was at all plausible today. I’d be willing to bet large sums of money (not really, I don’t have large sums of money) that it’s not. Do this and show what kind of energy can be exchanged, and you might have a point. Also, it’s trivial. You can download high-precision N-body codes from the internet. Until you actually do this, showing that there are various cycles and patterns is not going to convince me (or anyone else here, I imagine) that what you say has any merit whatsoever.

  196. BBD says:

    The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

    😉

  197. tallbloke says:

    Anders:”it’s trivial. You can download high-precision N-body codes from the internet.”

    I’m all for taking easy shortcuts where appropriate. Unfortunately this isn’t one of those. Those codes are based on heuristic perturbation equations which don’t cover what we’ve discovered regarding the spin-orbit couplings. It’ll be slow work, I’m not as nimble with algebra as I used to be.

  198. TB,
    But the one you quoted was pure N-body.

    Those codes are based on heuristic perturbation equations which don’t cover what we’ve discovered regarding the spin-orbit couplings.

    No, most of them are just gravity. They’re not heuristic perturbation equations. It’s true that they probably don’t include the spin orbit couplings, but that’s not all that hard to estimate (hint : the effect will probably be so small as to be negligible).

  199. tallbloke says:

    Anders: the effect will probably be so small as to be negligible
    Venus has slowed by 6.5 minutes in 16 years.
    Saturn’s rotation rate (measured by radio emission) is thought to have shifted between 627-648 minutes over 30 years.

    Any idea how many Hiroshimas worth of energy are involved? (Hint: Lots)

    I’ll leave it there and continue my research. Thanks for the civil chat.

  200. johnrussell40 says:

    Doesn’t TB realise that for a pathologist to come up with an unusual and complex alternative theory to explain the injuries to a suicide victim, he or she also has to explain why the crushed skull wasn’t caused by the subject hitting the ground after his 80 foot fall?

  201. Steve Bloom says:

    Some said Velikovsky’s like would never be seen again. It would seem they were wrong.

  202. tallbloke says:

    John Russell: Doesn’t TB realise that for a pathologist to come up with an unusual and complex alternative theory to explain the injuries to a suicide victim, he or she also has to explain why the crushed skull wasn’t caused by the subject hitting the ground after his 80 foot fall?

    [Mod: a bit rude; keep it civil please]

    As I said earlier, before we can correctly attribute the magnitude of human influence on planetary energy balance, we have to correctly identify and subtract the various natural variations.

    Using constantly re-adjusted aerosol forcings as spackle and caulk to bodge up inadequate theory and incorrectly assessed magnitudes doesn’t cut it.

  203. tallbloke says:

    Steve Bloom: “Some said Velikovsky’s like would never be seen again. It would seem they were wrong.”

    Lol. I’m actually the anti-Velikovsky. A spin-off of our research is the discovery of a mechanism which minimises the likelihood of worlds in collision.

  204. Steve Bloom says:

    Yep, a regular positron to his electron. And yet, the spin is indistinguishable.

  205. tallbloke says:

    NASA report:
    “Of particular importance is the sun’s extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum. Within the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a minuscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more. This can strongly affect the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere.”
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/08jan_sunclimate/

  206. TB,
    10% of a small amount of the total energy is still a small amount of the total energy.

  207. BBD says:

    From the Preface to the NRC report: The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate (2012)

    The modulation of stratospheric temperatures [by UV] is clear from observations. Climate models also take this modulation as input and have demonstrated significant perturbations on tropospheric circulations. If borne out by future studies and shown to be of sufficient magnitude, this mechanism could be an important pathway in the Sun-climate connection, particularly in terms of regional impacts. However, it is important to realize that, unlike the bottom-up mechanism [TSI at surface], it can in itself contribute very little to global temperature variations.

    […]

    Ongoing discussion of the role of solar variations in the early 20th century has given rise to the unfounded conjecture that the observed increase in temperature in the last half century could also be due to changes in TSI rather than to anthropogenic influences. The IPCC Fourth Assessment and the recent National Research Council report on climate choices agree that there is no substantive scientific evidence that solar variability is the cause of climate change in the last 50 years. However, the mechanisms by which solar variations can affect climate over longer timescales remain an open area of research.

  208. tallbloke says:

    Anders: 10% of a small amount of the total energy is still a small amount of the total energy.

    Read it again Anders, it says ‘factor of ten’ not 10%. And top down effects do reach the ground, especially in polar winter when the stratosphere is often at ground level.

    BBD: unfounded conjecture that the observed increase in temperature in the last half century could also be due to changes in TSI

    Ah, red herrings in straw for breakfast. Must be groundhog day again. 😉

  209. TB,
    True, but I think my point still stands. Multiplying a tiny number by factors of 10, is still a small number.

  210. BBD says:

    T- B

    Ah, red herrings in straw for breakfast. Must be groundhog day again.

    A stunning rebuttal.

  211. tallbloke says:

    BBD: Read this please: http://sciencebits.com/calorimeter

    Anders: Earth’s sea surface temperature has increased maybe 0.6% in 150 years. So read the link I’ve given BBD and do the math.
    Beer time here: Cheers.

  212. TB,
    I believe that in the link you provided, all the interesting properties (SST for example) are detrended. How does detrending tells us anything about long-term trends? Why would temperatures being influenced by solar variations be at all surprising? Also, what’s your 0.6% measured relative to?

  213. BBD says:

    Referencing Nir Shaviv’s errors likewise:

    However, if solar activity is amplified by some mechanism (such as hypersensitivity to UV, or indirectly through sensitivity to cosmic ray flux variations), then in principle, a lower climate sensitivity can explain the solar-climate links, but it would mean that a much larger heat flux is entering and leaving the system every solar cycle.

    The leaving bit should show up at TOA. Where is this documented?

  214. tallbloke says:

    jsam: Copernicus can make up whatever bullshit they like for axing the journal, but they aren’t withdrawing the papers, because no-one has found any fault with them.

    Anders: shaviv is trying to find the average amplification of the solar variation over a single solar cycle, so detrending is the correct procedure for this purpose. The 0.6% is with reference to the then and now SSTs in Kelvin.

  215. Tom Curtis says:

    I continue to be puzzled as to why people direct us to evidence that X cause Y, where the evidence shows an alignment of fluctuations in X and Y which are clearly out of phase for large portions of the period examined. I would regard that as evidence that X does not cause Y, and that the apparent in phase fluctuation over part of the period is just coincidental.

  216. jsam says:

    Pal review is its own reward.

  217. tallbloke says:

    BBD: The leaving bit should show up at TOA. Where is this documented?

    The annual TOA variation due to orbital eccentricity is in the region of 90W/m^2. The error of the instrumentation is estimated to be +/-4W/M^2. The ocean absorbs and retains heat, which is why sea level fluctuates on the decadal timescale. (Also on the 60yr timescale, which blows the ‘missing heat hiding in the deep’ theory out of the water since the density of seawater is pretty much linear down to freezing point).

  218. tallbloke says:

    Jsam: Pal review is its own reward.

    The article this post is about forms part of a ‘special edition’ according to Tamsin Edwards, same as our PRP collection of papers.

    It is not peer reviewed at all, by pals or otherwise. In fact, we did have outside reviewers in addition to the other authors providing peer reviews. The two reviews of my main paper ran to 24 pages of criticism prompting much revision and improvement. The one from my pal Dr Hans Jelbring began:
    “This is really going to piss you off, but…”
    I’m exceptionally grateful to him for the time and effort he put into criticising my work and suggesting ways to improve it.

    Phil Jones: “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow, even if we have to redefine what the peer review is!”

  219. tallbloke says:

    Tom Curtis: I continue to be puzzled as to why people direct us to evidence that X cause Y, where the evidence shows an alignment of fluctuations in X and Y which are clearly out of phase for large portions of the period examined.

    Quite right Tom. How dare nature be so unruly? Models give much tidier output.
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1978/mean:37/detrend:0.6/plot/pmod/mean:12/offset:-1366.3/scale:0.2

  220. pbjamm says:

    Reading this thread reminds me the lengths Contrarians will go (Infinity and BEYOND!) to contrive an explanation that does not include human influence. Even if TB’s epicycles did provide and influence on Earth’s energy balance (unlikely due to the inverse square law) it does not explain where the solar energy trapped by GHGs go to! It just writes off this energy as though this measurable and observable input were infinitesimal next to his theoretical unmeasured, unobserved and even unmodeled fantasy.

  221. badgersouth says:

    Related to the OP…
    If you have not already done so, I recommend that you check out Roz Pidcock’s article, Special reflection: How scientists, media and the public see the surface warming ‘pause’ posted on the Carbon Brief.

  222. BBD says:

    (Also on the 60yr timescale, which blows the ‘missing heat hiding in the deep’ theory out of the water since the density of seawater is pretty much linear down to freezing point).

    Thermosteric component of SLR

  223. BBD says:

    Phil Jones: “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow, even if we have to redefine what the peer review is!”

    They didn’t need to worry.

  224. Ian Forrester says:

    What on earth is T-B trying to show us with his link to WFT? Is he trying to show that global surface temperature closely follows solar insolation? His graph looks great for showing that since most people will not understand what detrended means. However, to me, that is just being dishonest. Why do you so that T-B, you might get away with that on your own blog but not with knowledgeable people.

  225. Steve Bloom says:

    Ian, don’t forget that Velikovsky became famous and, from all appearances, made a nice income off of promoting his ideas. It’s a template that the otherwise obscure and insignificant might find appealing.

    Of interest, having quickly scanned the Wikipedia article on him, I see that at least some in the social science community seized the opportunity to accuse scientists of being insufficiently open to new ideas. Hmm, is there absolutely nothing new?

  226. Tom Curtis says:

    tallbloke, as Ian Forrester has already, justly criticized the detrending, I will simply note that two series that are out of phase over a significant period of time are not made causally related by only showing that interval when they may be in phase. I will thank you for the graph, however, for it shows how much you rely on using different averaging windows for the two series to get your result:
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1978/mean:12/detrend:0.6/plot/pmod/mean:12/offset:-1366.3/scale:0.2

    Personally, I am inclined to call that sort of graphic manipulation fraud.

  227. JasonB says:

    ATTP:

    Also, the best technique I’ve found for getting people to stop commenting here is to continually point out that they’re wrong so that they either get irritated and go away or lose it so badly that I have to ban them.

    The problem with a war of attrition, Anders, is that there are a lot more of then than you. Once they go away, they’ll just be replaced by another and you’ll have to do it all over again.

    And, as we’ve seen a few times now, simply ignoring the comments pointing out they’re wrong helps them to maintain their stamina.

  228. tallbloke says:

    pbjamm: Even if TB’s epicycles did provide and influence on Earth’s energy balance (unlikely due to the inverse square law) it does not explain where the solar energy trapped by GHGs go to! It just writes off this energy

    Not at all. Firstly the inverse square law doesn’t come into it so much because I’m not proposing a tidal theory but one concerning synchronising spin-orbital resonances. See earlier links to papers and wiki. Secondly, my simple model for SST does include lnCO2 as a proxy for the influence of increased water vapour and co2 near the surface. The IPCC claims that more than 50% of the warming since 1950 is due to additional GHG’s. My model puts it at around 38%. Take a look for yourself:

    Thirdly, our model for the evolution of solar activity from 1000AD matches the 14Carbon isotope record well, and is now up to R^2=0.9 for the historical direct observation record from 1749.
    Finally, I’ll be happy to go into the reasoning behind having a lower value for lnCO2 than IPCC another time Anders posts on radiative theory, but I’ve got enough on at the moment.

    Ian ForresterIs he trying to show that global surface temperature closely follows solar insolation?

    No.

    Steve Bloom: Velikovsky

    Yeah, whatever. I’ve been contacted by one of the worlds leading experts on solar wind – magnetospheric interaction Professor Giovanni Gregori, and we’ll be working together to flesh out my ideas on a possible mechanism for the apparent spin-orbit coupling I’ve observed which isn’t accounted for by standard perturbation theory.

    Tom Curtis: “two series that are out of phase over a significant period of time are not made causally related by only showing that interval when they may be in phase. I will thank you for the graph, however, for it shows how much you rely on using different averaging windows for the two series to get your result:
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1978/mean:12/detrend:0.6/plot/pmod/mean:12/offset:-1366.3/scale:0.2. Personally, I am inclined to call that sort of graphic manipulation fraud.”

    I detrended the datasets for the same reason Nir Shaviv did in his peer reviewed JGR paper; i.e. to look at the solar effect on individual decadal periods. No deception is intended.
    I’ve looked back as far as sst’s are reliable (1950 according to oceanologist Judith Curry) and the solar cycles and decadal oceanic oscillations never go completely out of phase. For sure big El-nino’s and other sub-decadal events such as volcanic forcing knock things sideways occasionally, but I don’t think the relationship is in any doubt myself.

    The different averaging windows are there for a reason. the 37month smoothing of the SST is at the 1:3 subharmonic of the solar cycle length, which approximates the ~3.7yr average ENSO cycle. Anyway, if you change the solar data to the same averaging period it makes no difference to the result. So your imputation of fraud is as misplaced as it is distastefully offensive.

  229. TB,
    As far as I can tell, the solar forcing changes by about 0.25Wm-2 over a solar cycle and this may be associated with a 0.1 – 0.2oC variation in surface temperature. Of course, at this level, one might expect other factors to mask/influence surface temperature changes. But if so, then that would seem to imply a TCR of between 1.5 and around 2.5oC. Consistent with the IPCC range, as far as I can tell.

  230. tallbloke says:

    jsam: This Dr Hans Jelbring?

    This Dr Hans Jelbring
    He understood the importance of variable trade winds interacting with oceans two decades before it was pressed into the service of accounting for ‘missing heat’.

  231. tallbloke says:

    Anders: Thanks for the calc. I think you need to bear in mind that over the annual cycle, the TOA insolation varies by ~90W/m^2, and yet we don’t see very large differences in N vs S SST variance. This is telling us that the ocean is pretty efficient at shifting energy around both vertically and between hemispheres/latitudes. So the oceanic response to the solar cycle visible at the surface in SST is only part of the solar-terrestrial story.

    We also need to consider the buildup of subsurface energy in places like the Pacific Warm Pool. This energy store gets released in major El Nino events on a roughly decadal basis (e.g. 2010, 1998, 1988). The interesting point to note here is that the biggest El Nino events occur shortly after solar minimum, when the ocean gets the opportunity to release excess energy built up during the solar cycle. After a big el Nino, there is of course a damped oscillation producing a big la Nina. These tend to occur near the peak of the solar cycle, simply because the hysteresis of the oceanic rebound more or less matches the rise-time of the solar cycle.

    The effect of all that on the smoothed datasets we use to reveal the relationship between the solar cycle and SST is to depress the SST at the solar cycle peak and elevate the SST at the solar cycle minimum. This is what masks the true extent of the energy relationship. If we accounted for the additional energy built up in subsurface gyres such as the PWP, we’d find that the solar cycle has a considerably bigger effect on energy balnce than a superficial examination of SST reveals.

    This fuller accounting for energy would have a marked effect on your TCR calc.

  232. Pingback: Paws for thought! | And Then There's Physics

  233. Tom Curtis says:

    TB, actually, if you average both PMOD and HadCRUT3v with a 37 month running mean, it becomes clear that over the interval in question, temperature rises precede increases in TSI. Alternatively, if you use a 12 month running mean for both, it becomes clear that global surface temperatures are not strongly related to the minor variations in TSI related to the solar cycle, and indeed that the apparent connection with a longer averaging is almost entirely a consequence of the two large volcanoes coinciding with solar minimums in 1985 and 1992, and the third with record breaking La Nina’s in 2008 and 2011. Only if you use different averaging periods can you create an illusion of the causal connection you claim. And even then only if you keep the actual temperature trend out of sight.

    Your data refutes your hypothesis. You have merely found a way to tweak the graph so as to hide that fact.

  234. The influence of the solar cycle (as observed in TSI or sunspots) on the temperature may be the easiest factor to study, because it’s repeated regularly with a short enough (quasi)period. It’s easy to extract the variability that’s correlated with TSI or sunspot count over a sufficient number of cycles to get rather reliable estimates. That has been done by Lean and Rind as well as others.

    The effect is clear, but it’s not strong. It does explain a fraction of the variability observed, including the recent slowdown/hiatus/pause/whatever. Sun may have some additional influence on climate that does not correlate with TSI or sunspot count, but nothing significant has been demonstrated at a level accepted generally as significant in spite of the very extensive speculation.

  235. tallbloke says:

    Hi Pekka, thanks for dropping by.
    The solar ‘constant’ has recently been retrospectively changed by around 4W/m^2. It’ll be interesting to find out whether this is due to previously faulty instrument design as has been claimed, or whether we’re about to find out the hard way that Judith Lean had it right before she was ‘leaned on’ to flatten the centennial solar variation in her TSI reconstructions. No new TSI data has been publicly available since the end of july last year. However, this is about to change.

    Interesting times ahead!

  236. BBD says:

    (No) Century-scale Secular Variation in HMF, EUV, or TSI Leif Svalgaard (full pdf).

  237. tallbloke says:

    BBD: You have to realise there’s a controversy going on in solar science as well as terrestrial climate science. Leif is a paid up (and well paid) member of the Flat Sun Society along with Klaus Frohlich and his PMOD model team. On the variable star side we have for e.g. the PI of the ACRIM TSI measurement team Richard Willson, and also Judith Lean in her less leaned on moments. No pressure there then.

    Settled science… not.

  238. BBD says:

    T-B

    There’s no controversy in terrestrial climate science. From this I infer that you made up the controversy in solar science too. My albeit limited understanding of the mainstream position in solar science is that the sun is considered to be rather less variable than supposed a couple of decades ago. I also understand that Scafetta and Willson’s claims wrt ACRIM are regarded as incorrect.

    Anybody wondering what the hell “ACRIM vs PMOD” is all about can find out here.

    We’ve never left the territory where you make strong and incorrect claims about C20th solar activity based on Solanki04. I’ve seen enough, but thanks for the insight into where you are coming from.

  239. BBD says:

    On second thoughts, I should have put scare quotes around “controversy” in the first two sentences above.

  240. Some TSI data is available up to Dec 17, 2013:

    ftp://ftp.pmodwrc.ch/pub/data/irradiance/composite/DataPlots/composite_d41_64_1312.dat

    I don’t interpret the large uncertainties in the influence of solar variability on the climate to mean that the likelihood of large influence would be that large, but rather that the relative uncertainties in the small influence are large. Larger effects can perhaps not be fully excluded, but that’s totally irrelevant for climate policy.

    Some uncertainties are significant also for the policy conclusions, many, however, only for the science. As a general rule a modest likelihood of some factor that lessens the expected warming has almost no effect on policy conclusions. They depend on what’s likely and what’s possible, not on what’s virtually certain in the direction of more warming. Virtual certainty in the direction of less warming would be very significant, but unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of enjoying of such certainty on many counts.

  241. tallbloke says:

    Enter your comment here…Scafetta & Willson’r latest paper on the ACRIM PMOD controvery is very comprehensive and well worth reading if you want both points of view in order to better inform yourselves:
    http://people.duke.edu/~ns2002/pdf/10.1007s10509-013-1775-9.pdf

    Pekka, the variability of opinion on solar variability over the last 20 yrs tells me that we need accurate and overlapping measurements of TSI a we go into the current solar grand minimum. But solar research has been the poor relation as atmospheric science departments have soaked up grant money as astrophysics has starved. It’s unbalanced and needs remediating ASAP.

    Thanks for the datalink.

  242. Pingback: Another Week of Anthropocene Antics, March 2, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  243. Pingback: Another Week of Anthropocene Antics, March 2, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  244. Steve Bloom says:

    It’s sad how Willson in his dotage (he’s about 80) is willing to allow his professional reputation to be dragged through the mud in this manner by the likes of Scafetta. Even so, I think he’d be extremely surprised to hear himself accused of mistaking somewhat higher solar variability for the behavior of a variable star.

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