Are feedbacks operating?

I’ve been pondering today if being anonymous means that others think it’s okay to be rude and unpleasant, or if they are simply rude and unpleasant. I’m tending towards the latter and have seen nothing to convince me otherwise. A reason I was pondering this, was that I had another lengthy Twitter discussion yesterday that ended in the standard question as to whether feedbacks were operating or not? I responded that they were and provided a calculation that I initially got wrong. As an aside, it’s interesting that those who will likely end up on the wrong side of this “debate” are very quick to highlight silly mistakes made by others. You might think that those who are likely to end up wrong, would be more circumspect, but maybe if you’re going to gamble you may as well go the whole way (also, you could refer back to the beginning of this post).

Anyway, there’s a really easy way to show why feedbacks probably are operating, and I’ll try to explain it here. It’s probably reasonable to assume that the planetary energy imbalance in the mid-1800s was small (quite close to zero). Since then surface temperatures have risen by about 1 degree (this is all going to be ballpark numbers so let’s not quibble over a few tenths here and there). Everyone – I think – agrees that a doubling of CO2 produces an increase in radiative forcing of around 3.5 Wm-2, and would ultimately result in an increase in surface temperatures of about 1 degree. Therefore, if nothing else were to change, a 1 degree increase in surface temperature, should increase the outgoing flux by about 3.5 Wm-2.

What we observe, however, is that we have an energy excess of about 0.5 Wm-2 (i.e., we’re gaining 0.5 Joules per square metre per second, rather than losing 3.5 Joules per square metre per second). This means that there must also have been an increase in radiative forcing – since the mid-1800s – of about 4 Wm-2 (i.e, 3.5 Wm-2 + 0.5 Wm-2). Where can this come from? If you consider the IPCC radiative forcing diagram below, solar forcing could make a small contribution, and anthropogenic forcing probably contributes about 2 Wm-2. So external forcings could be contributing just over 2 Wm-2.
ipcc_rad_forc_ar5
So, if external forcings (solar + anthropogenic) can contribute just over 2 Wm-2 of the 4 Wm-2, where does the rest come from? Well, that would probably be the feedback response; mainly water vapour. So, there you go. That’s a simple explanation for why feedbacks are probably operating and are probably comparable in magnitude (between 1 and 2 Wm-2) to the anthropogenic forcings. Of course, if anyone thinks I’ve made a mistake or would like to correct anything, feel free to do so (bearing in mind that these were just ballpark numbers).

Having said the above, if people do want to argue that feedbacks are not operating or are small, they would seem seem to have 3 options.

  1. They could argue that the measurements are wrong. This is possible, but I don’t really see how we can have sensible scientific discussions if some can simply assert that the measurements aren’t right.
  2. They could argue that the aerosol forcing is really small. If this were the case, then the change in anthropogenic forcings would be much larger than we currently think, and could produce most of the change in radiative forcing. This, however, seems unlikely as the best estimate for the aerosol forcing is around -1 Wm-2.
  3. They could argue that, coincidentally, some kind of internal variability has produced a change in radiative forcing that is unassociated with the change in anthropogenic forcing and that will simply go away at some point in the future. Well, there’s no real evidence for this and it would also make it difficult to explain the greenhouse effect and past climate variability.

So, that’s it. I’ve explained why feedbacks probably are operating and even give some arguments that could be made if one wants to assert that they’re not or are small. Of course, it’s possible I’ve made some kind of silly mistake or misunderstood something, so please point that out if so – ideally taking the comment and moderation policies into account.

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271 Responses to Are feedbacks operating?

  1. Michael 2 says:

    I vote for feedback always operating. I can think of no way to stop or prevent it.

    “or if they are simply rude and unpleasant.”

    I believe that is the default condition of human beings. Seriously. Children (IMO) must be taught a variety of ethics — “If you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything” being an example.

    “Why Are People Rude? According to William James, the father of American psychology, behavior always has a purpose. Why would anyone behave in ways that annoy others? One hint to a solution comes from the work of Gerben Van Kleef and his colleagues, who found that people who broke minor norms (putting their feet on the table, dropping cigarette ashes on the floor) were perceived as more powerful than people who did not do rude things. Perhaps by acting rudely, people are increasing their chances of being perceived as powerful. This hypothesis is supported by research that finds that people with disagreeable personalities earn more money (Judge, Livingston, & Hurst, 2011).”

    As good an answer as I’ve seen anywhere. Donald Trump comes to mind.

    http://psych.answers.com/social-psychology/why-are-people-rude

    It also explains why some of the most rude people do use what seems to be their real names — they WANT to be seen as powerful, they are proud of the very thing that would shame my generation.

  2. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: When I first became a member of the Skeptical Scince team, I used the moniker, Badgersouth. After a couple of years, I decided to use my real name. Making the switch caused nary a ripple — of course, my name is not well known in scientific and/or academic circles becasue I am neither a scientist nor an academic..

  3. John H,
    Actually I’m quite tempted to de-anonymise. Partly, it’s getting a little tedious and partly I think I would feel less obligated to show restraint (although, I’ve not been doing a great job of that recently) 🙂

  4. Rachel M says:

    Go on! Do it. I dare you!

  5. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: In order to get their wings, climate denier drones must pass Rudeness 101. That particular course includes field trips to websites like this one. Cadets earn extra credit by getting themselves banned.

  6. John Hartz says:

    Rachel M: If ATTP were to use his/her real identity, would you follow suit?

  7. John H.,
    I’m not sure if your question is a subtle joke or not. Rachel already does.

  8. Rachel M says:

    Rachel M: If ATTP were to use his/her real identity, would you follow suit?

    I already do use my real identity. My name *is* Rachel.

  9. John Hartz says:

    ATTP & Rachel M: I was speaking about her last name.

  10. Rachel M says:

    My surname is Martin and is not something I have ever kept secret.

  11. If rude behaviour is supposed to make someone seem more powerful, I would say it easily misses target. By behaving that way the self proclaimed sceptics more look infantile, childish and lacking in debating skills.

    If there is a reason and it is not just the way right-wing extremists behave, I would guess they behave that way because it distracts from a civil discussion on the evidence, which they would lose and it makes the allegiance to their group clear. Possibly they hope to be returned in kind and then make of fuss about a scientist not behaving right. Like they can cite from public blog posts and comments, but if a scientist does so it is suddenly a violation of ethics rules.

  12. A feedback is a natural aspect of any physical climate system. To make statement like ‘feedbacks aren’t operating’ or ‘I don’t believe feedbacks are operating’ is an absurdity. It’s like saying ‘I don’t believe solar radiative forcing and Coriolis effect causes the wind to blow.’

  13. Robert,
    Yes, I kind of realised that I should probably have made it clearer that I was talking about positive feedbacks (or feedbacks that would increase the net radiative forcing). As you say, though, assuming that nothing else will happen other than a change in forcing due to CO2 is very odd, especially as many of these people complain that WE keep saying that it’s all only CO2 🙂

  14. Eli Rabett says:

    Speaking from experience, using a nym is not anonymity but fun. Of course, it can also be ugly, [Mod: would prefer we didn’t mention any names here].

  15. Eli,
    Indeed, but I think my ability to enjoy it is not quite as good as yours.

  16. izen says:

    Are these not direct observations that confirm that positive feedbacks in the form of albedo changes, –

    http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-spring-snow-cover

    and increasing water vapour, –

    http://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/2012-state-climate-humidity

    confirming the ongoing action and increase in these feedbacks?

    However as I recently found, it is not admitting that feedbacks may be operating that is the problem with the strong rejectionists, it is gaining any acknowledgement that any of these observations can be interpreted as evidence for AGW.
    There are those who still dispute that such observations constitute anything more than descriptions of ‘natural variation’.

  17. izen,
    Thanks, the humidity one is really interesting. I hadn’t seen that before. I agree with your final sentence. That does seem to be a key issue. It normally starts with “but maybe ….”.

  18. Completely off topic, but it is very weird how the climate dissenters keep on framing Caleb Rossiter as a case of academic freedom, while the guy still has his position and only lost his connection to a progressive think tank.

    I was wondering if anyone has the time to compare this reaction, the the reaction of the climate dissenters when the Australian government decided to cut the funding for climate research as punishment for their politically inconvenient message. That was a clear case a government violating academic freedom.

    If the outcome of such a comparison is what I expect, that would be a very clear case of the typical hypocrisy of the climate dissenters and a crystal clear example that they have no interest whatsoever in good science.

  19. None of your business says:

    How can you really conduct any scientific discussion on twitter ? That 140 character limit, in a limited character set, restricts the best to aphorism and the worst to invective. Few scientific questions of interest can be phrased within that limit, and none may be adequately discussed.

  20. kdk33 says:

    VV,

    It isn’t about being polite as much as it is about money. Realists don’t appreciate the various warminista schemes to take our tax dollars. Warministas don’t appreciate that realists threaten the funding gravy train. It’s really very simple.

    BTW, now that ATTP has demonstrated both the fruitlessness of modeling and how unecessary it is, I’m hoping you will join me in a call to end funding for modeling. As a show of good faith and all.

  21. kdk33,
    I really hope you don’t object if people call you a conspiracy theorist. Also, I fail to see how I’ve demonstrated what you claim I have. Is it possible you may have completely misunderstood this post?

  22. kdk33, thank you for demonstrating that climate dissenters indeed do not care about attacks against the freedom of research.

    By the way, you should be the one that likes modelling. You can estimate the climate sensitivity and thus how much mitigation is needed without models. However, the climate dissenters are the ones that advocate an adaptation only strategy (only want to help their own group and no one else). For adaptation being a local change, you need local information on climate change (to estimate how large the reservoirs should be for drinking water and flood protection, how high the dikes should be, how strong the infrastructure should be build), this local information is only available via climate modelling.

  23. kdk33 says:

    ATTP: if you understand how a carbon tax works, you understand how silly your conspiracy meme. Or do you?

    VV: No. You cannot. Not even close.

    VV2: I find it most fascinating that you define freedom as access to others peoples tax dollars. Revealing. Very revealing indeed.

  24. kdk33,
    Ahhh, I didn’t say you weren’t correct. I was simply pointing out something that seems self-evidently true – you’re suggesting a conspiracy. If you can’t see that, you should maybe go and reread your comments again.

    Having said that, I’m not sure what a carbon tax has to do with the “funding gravy train”. Is the suggestion that the carbon tax revenue should all go to climate scientists?

  25. kdk33 says:

    So we agree?

  26. kdk33,
    That you’re wealthy and selfish? Sure. Other than that, I don’t think so.

  27. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    => “However, the climate dissenters are the ones that advocate an adaptation only strategy (only want to help their own group and no one else).

    In my experience, that isn’t accurate, as the calls for adaptation from “skeptics” mostly boils down to a convenient method for attacking mitigation – by setting up a false paradigm where the two are mutually exclusive.

    In my experience, the people who promote a mutually exclusive concept of adaptation vs. mitigation are of the same political stripe as those who regularly attack any viable mechanism by which comprehensive adaptation might be funded and implemented.

    Adaptation then becomes a theoretical hobby horse to ride off into a rather typical utopian world view whereby the everything just becomes magically better if those pesky “progressives” would just get out of the way. You know, adaptation would just magically materialize if we could just eliminate all those who argue that mitigation against the potential of ACO2 caused dangerous climate change is worthy of investigation.

  28. kdk33 says:

    That wasn’t very nice.

    So, the connotation of a conspiracy is that the conspirators act cooperatively to circumvent the rules of the game. A carbon tax works by changing the rules. Since you are poor and altruistic, I’m sure you can apply this learning to climate science.

    VV certainly can.

  29. kdk33 says:

    Joshua,

    Does anyone ever call BS on your “i can read minds and detect ulterior motives in those with whom I disagree”. If not. Can I be first?

  30. BBD says:

    kdk33

    Realists don’t appreciate the various warminista schemes to take our tax dollars.

    Look mum! He conflated policy with science!

  31. kdk33,

    That wasn’t very nice.

    Indeed, it wasn’t. If it was unfair, I apologise.

    A carbon tax works by changing the rules.

    The rules always change. Actually a carbon tax works to include the future cost of using carbon. As someone who seems to have libertarian tendencies I would have thought that you would be supportive of such a tax. Surely we should be encouraging a level playing field, not one where one competitor has an advantage over another and gets away with not including – up front – all the costs associated with their technology. Oh, and I don’t think I’d regard myself as poor, but that’s beside the point.

  32. BBD says:

    That wasn’t very nice.

    As ye sow, matey…

  33. BBD says:

    It’s funny how vocal denialism seems to be all about old white men not wanting to bear the cost of their actions (pay carbon tax).

    Freedom without responsibility, as per.

  34. kdk33 says:

    ATTP,

    It is time for you to ‘fess up. You are BBD. I know it. And whenever you are threatened you post insulting little inanities under the BBD moniker.

    It’s the only possible explanation.

  35. kdk33 says:

    By the way, you could have salvaged for future generations a bit of entropy by simply typing “externality”.

    The problem of course, traces back to what you so eloquently taught us about models. And what the more astute reader can infer from VV’s much less eloquent conflation of mitigation and adaptation.

  36. BBD says:

    kdk33

    You attack climate science because you don’t want to pay the actual cost of your lifestyle.

    That’s not an insulting inanity. It’s just a fact.

  37. BBD says:

    You are BBD. I know it.

    Wrong-o, as per.

  38. kdk33,

    It is time for you to ‘fess up. You are BBD. I know it. And whenever you are threatened you post insulting little inanities under the BBD moniker.

    It’s the only possible explanation.

    I apologise for doing this again, but that sounds like another conspiracy theory. as BBD has already pointed out, you seem to be conflating science with policy. You are, of course, welcome to dislike and object to the possibility of a carbon tax. It has, however, no bearing on whether or not feedbacks are operating, which was the theme of this post.

  39. Marco says:

    ATTP, why apologise for making a perfectly reasonable observation?

  40. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I agree with Marco. You do have a propensity for over-kill on the apology front.

  41. John H.,
    Possibly, but it seems better than the alternative 🙂

  42. John Hartz says:

    kdk33: With apologies to FDR…

    The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.

  43. Jac. says:

    kdk33

    “Realists don’t appreciate the various warminista schemes to take our tax dollars.”

    It is nice to see how confident you are in knowing what realists do not appreciate.
    Of course, in order to remain so confident you should avoid any reality check with the facts. I therefor urge you NOT to read what Henry M. Paulson jr, Secretary of the Treasury in the Bush Administration wrote recently:
    http://t.co/FJkyzosGus

    Jac.

  44. kdk33 says:

    Facts? Did somebody mention fact?

    Here’s a tidy one: human prosperity has never been better.

    Happy Sunday!

  45. kdk33,
    I think facts by themselves tell you very little. Plus, a fact about today doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about tomorrow.

  46. BBD says:

    Here’s a tidy one: human prosperity has never been better.

    And you wealth-redistributing socialists with your faked up science and your stinking carbon tax are going to rip it all down in the name of pinko ideology. And you are killing the poor!

    /libertarianclaptrap

  47. Joshua says:

    kdk33 –

    ==> “Does anyone ever call BS on your “i can read minds and detect ulterior motives in those with whom I disagree”. If not. Can I be first?”

    I’m not claiming to “read minds.” Just describing the arguments that I see, and their correlation with similar arguments from people of a similar ideology. Of course, any particular individual might be of any particular “mind.”

    I’ll elaborate a bit on my point to Victor. I disagree with the morality play that I see on both sides, where each side accuses the other of indifference to the poor and of pursuing policies that will cause millions of babies to starve. I doubt that many folks engaged in this battle really would be indifferent to suffering from climate change as long as they are protected themselves.

    I think that kind of framing is simplistic and tribalistic. Just like I think that your framing about “warmistas” wanting to “take [your] tax dollars” is tribalistic and simplistic. I’m not suggesting that I can read your mind, only that I can critique a bad argument when I see it.

  48. Joshua: “I disagree with the morality play that I see on both sides, where each side accuses the other of indifference to the poor and of pursuing policies that will cause millions of babies to starve. I doubt that many folks engaged in this battle really would be indifferent to suffering from climate change as long as they are protected themselves.”

    While I agree that it is best to assume good faith during discussions as long as people do not demonstrate that this is not warranted, it seems to be somewhat unhistorical to assume that all people are good. It may even be possible to understand this in an evolutionary way as I explain in my post: Do dissenters like climate change? For such people it would be progress if they were just indifferent.

  49. Or is someone else wants to write such summaries, the address blogsporn.wordpress.com is still free.

  50. Dana, in case you are still listening. How would the result be if you took out the impact studies? Some of these scientists are likely not very knowledgeable on climate science.

  51. jsam says:

    Human prosperity can be even better if we protect ourselves against downside risks. Blithely assuming things get better all by themselves and that external factors won’t bite us on the backside doesn’t strike me as a conservative approach to risk management.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/12/11/3036671/2013-certainly-year-human-history/

  52. izen says:

    @- kdk33
    “Facts? Did somebody mention fact?
    Here’s a tidy one: human prosperity has never been better.”

    The inevitable corollary of the underlying cause, larger population, is that more people than ever before in human history are living in food and water poverty in authoritarian and coercive societies.

    Another fact is that there is objective measurement of positive feedbacks operating within the climate system. There seems to be little except hope to support a position that these feedbacks will be insufficient to drive climate change to a degree that is damaging to our agricultural infrastructure that supports all that prosperity and population.

    Models of the climate have informed research on what real world feedbacks might act and enabled the ongoing detection of those effects. Suggesting your tax dollar is wasted because they are unable to make the accurate predictions that would be more useful for informing policy when the primary purpose of modelling is to inform research seems short-sighted, or malicious.

    The present level of human prosperity is closely linked to the use of fossil fuels at a price that excludes externalities. There is no political will or ability to radically change this, however many facts about the science of the climate may be accepted.
    However the logistics of a finite resource combined with social opposition and new energy technologies will force change. The rate may be determined by the real and detectable changes in the climate. Both in its impacts and the observable feedbacks.

  53. JasonB says:

    OT:

    Rachel, I just watched your intro video, and having grown up in Australia as well and finding myself in Tokyo when the Kobe earthquake struck in 1995 (it wasn’t very strong by the time it got to Tokyo but it was enough to wake me up) I know exactly what you’re talking about. After watching all the news and reading up on the subject, for about a week afterwards I was so scared just walking down the street that my eyes were constantly surveying the surroundings looking for where I should run to should The Big One strike.

    It’s a very rude shock to the system to discover that land can behave like that.

  54. It’s bad enough that I take up Rachel’s time getting her to moderate my blog, but stealing her comments might just be a step too far 🙂

  55. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    ==> “While I agree that it is best to assume good faith during discussions as long as people do not demonstrate that this is not warranted, it seems to be somewhat unhistorical to assume that all people are good. ”

    Well, sure. But I don’t assume that all people are good. Let me explain a bit more what I was going for (along with issuing a warning for some rambling thoughts).

    Countless times, while over at Judy’s or other places where conservatives and libertarians hand out in large numbers, I have watched as “skeptics” have reversed engineered from what they think they understand about my political ideology or what I believe about climate change, to make erroneous conclusions about my values – for example, that I am indifferent to the suffering of poor children. So I think about what it is that makes smart people who are trained and experienced in analytical thinking make such fundamental logical errors. And I think that motivated reasoning is the answer.

    But I think that motivated reasoning influences everyone, because it is rooted in the building blocks of our cognition (via patter-recognition) and psychology (drives towards identity-protection and identity-aggression as a form of identity-protection).

    That, in turn, leads me towards a view that it is very questionable, indeed, to think that I can judge the underlying values of others by reverse engineering from their political ideology (or views on climate change).

    In my real-life experience, I have met many conservatives who support policies that I think in balance will not address global problems as effectively as the policies I support, but I don’t think that from that I can conclude that they are indifferent to global problems. I think it’s safer to conclude that we have reasoned out different conclusions for a variety of reasons that do not, necessarily, reflect differences in basic values such as caring about starving children. That said, I do think that among “conservatives” and libertarians, there is a greater general tendency to think that at least in the U.S., people are poor because the poor are lazy, or immoral, or for some other reason essentially “deserve” to be poor. I think that part of the reason for differences between the left and the right along those lines that is life experience; it is easier for people to sit in judgment of “the other,” and conservatives and libertarians probably have less interaction over their lifetime with certain kinds of “others,” such as minorities who reside on the lower economic rungs in society. I think that helps to account for evidence that conservatives tend to give more to charities in their communities than liberals (see Nicholas Kristoff) – because conservatives think that the poor people they have encountered deserve their help, whereas conservatives who are “others” deserve to be poor. I also think of how “conservatives” frequently talk about the “moocher class,” without connecting the dots to see that a huge number of those “moochers” are actually the seniors in their own communities (indeed, their own parents perhaps), veterans, the working poor who ring up their purchases at the local Walmart, etc.

    Sorry for the ramble – but I don’t assume that all people are good. I just think it is tricky to try to judge someone’s values on the basis of their professed orientation in issues such as climate change.

  56. Joshua says:

    sorry – if you bothered to read that and could follow it… I meant to write…..whereas conservatives poor people who are “others” deserve to be poor….

  57. Pingback: Another Week in the Ecological Crisis, June 22, 2014 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  58. Rachel M says:

    JasonB,

    I agree. The ground is not supposed to move and it’s very disconcerting when it does. There are quite a few Brits in New Zealand and I often ask them why they moved here. Not because I want to suggest that they made a mistake or anything, I’m just curious about the motives behind packing up and moving to a different country. Something I often hear is that they considered both New Zealand and Australia and they chose New Zealand to avoid the dangerous animals in Australia! Whenever I hear this I think, hello, earthquakes! Give me snakes and spiders and sharks over earthquakes any day.

    The reason I don’t want to live in Australia anymore is that I don’t like the climate: it’s too hot. And things are only going to get much, much worse. It surprises me that Australians aren’t more concerned about climate change than they are and my theory is that they’ve been brainwashed by News Corp.

  59. Joshua, I mostly agree. One should very carefully distinguish between groups and individuals. And we communicate with individuals. It is not helpful to tell someone he things something because of motivated reasoning, but that does not mean that it does not exist. In the same way it is not helpful to comment that someone does not believe what he just wrote, but I am quite sure that as a group many climate dissenters know perfectly well they are sprouting complete nonsense. They don’t care, the (political) aims justify the means.

    There is no reason whatsoever why conservatives or Christians could not care about climate change, in fact I would argue that it would be logical when they did when you consider their core ideas and history. I am not so sure about libertarians and racists, but it is also not necessary to convince everyone of the need to act.

    It is the 2 party system in the USA that forces conservatives and libertarians to collaborate in one party. Without this system I would not expect them to collaborate. Now that they are forced to collaborate, the libertarians ideology is undermining the valuable original moral values of the conservatives and Christians.

  60. Kdk33 says:

    Izen,

    Thank you for your confession of faith.

    I have good news. Your sins are forgiven; you need not do penance.

    Every measure of human prosperity is trending positive. The free market does a great job of managing scarce resources. The objective evidence for scary climate changed is nowhere.

    Go forth my son, and buy an SUV.

  61. BBD says:

    The objective evidence for scary climate changed is nowhere.

    Physics denial.

    I think it is you that advances a faith-based argument, with your Bible clutched in your invisible hand.

  62. izen says:

    @- Kdk33
    “I have good news. Your sins are forgiven; you need not do penance.”
    And I’m pretty sure you are in no position to throw the first stone.

    @-“Every measure of human prosperity is trending positive.”
    EVERY measure ?! Name three specific measures you think are significant.

    @-” The free market does a great job of managing scarce resources.”
    After first exploiting them to the point of scarcity.

    @- “The objective evidence for scary climate changed is nowhere.”
    There is plenty of objective evidence for climate change, and its effects,-

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/eva.12112/full
    “As climate change progresses, we are observing widespread changes in phenotypes in many plant populations. Whether these phenotypic changes are directly caused by climate change, and whether they result from phenotypic plasticity or evolution, are active areas of investigation. Here, we review terrestrial plant studies addressing these questions. Plastic and evolutionary responses to climate change are clearly occurring. Of the 38 studies that met our criteria for inclusion, all found plastic or evolutionary responses, with 26 studies showing both. These responses, however, may be insufficient to keep pace with climate change, as indicated by eight of 12 studies that examined this directly. ”

    Whether you find that scary perhaps depends on how brave or foolish you are. I admire your courage.

    @-“Go forth my son, and buy an SUV.”

    Why on Earth would I want to buy an overpriced commercial van decked out with windows and ‘styling’, which has at least 300% more carrying capacity than I would ever intend to use?

    Second hand halo models, especially the coupé’s of a Marque, bought after the majority of the depreciation, are the most fun.

  63. Kdk33 says:

    Well….

    Farm productivity, deaths from extreme weather, infant mortality, life expectancy, the number of states with conceal and carry permits, number of bars with NFL Sunday ticket, days left in BHO administration…

    Never been this good and gettin’ better.

    Do they teach differently at the party meets?

  64. John Hartz says:

    Kdk33: Here’s a dash of reality about the real world::

    “Conflict resolution? Most recent conflicts have begun within societies, not between them. Last week’s UN report noted that there are now 51 million refugees and internally displaced people across the world, half of them children. This was the highest level since the second world war, and mainly due to internal conflict in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.”

    Nation states are too small to fix global problems, Op-ed by Chris Huhne The Guardian, June 22, 2014.

  65. Kdk33 says:

    John,

    I do believe that was a call for world government. Thank You!

  66. John Hartz says:

    Kdk33: Per usual, you are wrong. Citing an article does not constitute endorsing the article. The information conatined in the paragparh quoted directly contradicts many of the inane statements you have posted.

  67. Kdk33 says:

    Walking that dog back?

    Can’t blame you.

  68. jsam says:

    It’s always refreshing to see a conspiracy theorist out himself. Thank you, Kdk33.

    What next? Recursive fury?

  69. Clive Best says:

    ATTP,

    Please explain how we observe that the net energy gain is currently 0.5 watts/m2 ?
    Certainly CERES does not measure this imbalance directly, but instead it is normalised to agree with models. So unless I am mistaken this is a circular argument. If you know of a direct independent measurement that the earth is absorbing 0.5 joules per m2 per second – please inform us.

  70. BBD says:

    Yes. Another one. But no surprise there. Invisible hands and conspiracy theories about “world government” rather than international cooperation are rather common amongst the physics denying community. Interesting to note that this one also rates the legal right to carry a concealed handgun as a key index of human prosperity:

    Farm productivity, deaths from extreme weather, infant mortality, life expectancy, the number of states with conceal and carry permits, number of bars with NFL Sunday ticket, days left in BHO administration…

    Never been this good and gettin’ better.

    Guns and Bibles and invisible hands. A dangerous combination.

  71. Clive,
    Ocean heat content. Isn’t that obvious? To be clear, I think I said “about”.

  72. verytallguy says:

    Clive,

    I assumed the number was OHC rather than CERES

    See for example the table here

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/warming-oceans-rising-sea-level-energy-imbalance-consistent.html

  73. izen says:

    @-Kdk33 says:
    “Well….
    Farm productivity, deaths from extreme weather, infant mortality, …”

    Farm productivity : Reliant on an infinite supply of cheap fossil fuels (fertilizer) and a stable climate to maintain the present level of production…

    Deaths from extreme weather ??? When has that ever been a significant factor in human prosperity?

    Infant mortality always looks like an easy example of how human prosperity has improved our lives.
    As always things are not as simple as they may seem. Yes there have been enormous advances in health and sanitation, as well as social attitudes that flowed from the scientific enlightenment rather than the industrial revolution and increasing wealth.

    In 1900 the infant mortality rate was over 200/1000 live births in many nations of the world.
    In 2010 the global infant mortality rate was just 41/1000.

    But in 1900 the population was 1.6billion.
    2010 it was 6billion.

    do you think that the improvement in infant mortality has managed to offset the increased number of births? Might there be MORE infants, in absolute numbers, under 1 year dying?

    I am not arguing for population control or reduction. Just trying to point out that the improvement in infant mortality would be progress and prosperity if we had a stable population. but instead it may have just about offset the increased infant deaths in absolute numbers because of increasing population. Is it really a significant measure of prosperity that around the same number of infants may be dying?

    I suspect that you, like me, are part of the 1% who enjoy a high tech, high energy lifestyle under a (moderately) stable political governance. Such comforts can result in innumeracy when considering how the benefits of civilisation we enjoy may not be applicable to the global entirety of humanity.

  74. jsam says:

    BBD – I’d overlooked your embolded entry. I’d never thought of the number of gun murders correlating with a civilised civilisation. I have so much to learn.

  75. verytallguy says:

    kdk is merely confirming Lewandowsky’s analysis:

    “Realists don’t appreciate the various warminista schemes to take our tax dollars.” ie

    endorsement of a laissez-faire conception of free-market economics predicts rejection of climate science

    “I do believe that was a call for world government.” ie

    endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories… …predicts rejection of climate science as well as the rejection of other scientific fndings, above and beyond endorsement of laissez-faire free markets.

  76. BBD says:

    “… from my cold, dead, invisible hand…”

    🙂

  77. clivebest says:

    ATTP and verytallguy.

    No OHC does not measure radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. Even the skeptical science article says “We also know from satellite observations that the planet is accumulating heat owing to a global energy imbalance”

    That is not true and there is no independent measurement of the energy imbalance from satellites. CERES admit that their measurements are not precise enough to confirm any energy imbalance directly. Instead they adjust their normalisation so as to agree with model predictions of an imbalance. Then everyone claims that satellite measurements confirm the predicted energy imbalance. It may well be true but it is NOT science.

    Perhaps clouds have increased by exactly the right amount to reduce RF by 0.5 watts/m2 since 1998. Prove that such a hypothesis could be wrong.

  78. BBD says:

    Prove that such a hypothesis could be wrong.

    OHC 0 – 2000m

  79. verytallguy says:

    Clive

    No OHC does not measure radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere.

    Perhaps you could clarify?

    I can’t speak for ATTP, but I would have said

    “Most (>90%) of the energy change in the climate system is in the ocean. So change in OHC provides, to a good first approximation, a reasonable estimate of the radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere”

    Would you disagree with this?

    If so why?

    thanks

  80. Clive,

    No OHC does not measure radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere.

    You often pontificate about scientific honesty and integrity. Let’s put it to the test. Currently observations and measurements indicate that we are losing ice mass (sea ice and land ice), the surface and atmospheric temperatures are rising (although slower than expected), and the ocean heat content continues to rise. There is evidence – I think – to suggest that all components of the climate system are gaining energy. Also, if you consider some reasonable timescale (a few years, maybe a decade) and calculate the rate at which it is gaining energy, it is somewhere around 0.5 Wm-2. As I understand it, the only way a system can have increasing energy content is if it is gaining more energy than it’s losing. Therefore, one could conclude that we have an energy imbalance of 0.5 Wm-2. I don’t see any other sensible conclusion unless you can point out some component of the climate system that I’ve missed that is losing more energy than the other components are gaining.

    If you don’t think we have an energy imbalance of around 0.5 Wm-2 maybe you could explain why. Maybe you could also explain why you mentioned a skeptical science article that I don’t think I linked to in my post.

  81. jsam says:

    [Mod : Okay, a moment’s amusement, but in the interests of constructive debate, I think it’s best to moderate this.]

  82. jsam says:

    Mod – you are correct, and very much so. Occasionally I indulge myself and must be reined in. 🙂

  83. clivebest says:

    ATTP,
    It is a question of cause and effect. Climate models predict a radiative energy imbalance of about 0.5 W/m2 in incoming solar – outgoing IR at the top of the atmosphere. This is predicted to cause the surface to warm so as to eventually rebalance energy. We have measured a transient temperature rise consistent with predictions from 1950 until around 2000, but since then the rise has stalled. Now after analysing OHC we have a new hypothesis that the missing energy expected from surface warming has instead been absorbed by the deep ocean. The numbers appear to be consistent with that hypothesis. However we can also imagine other hypothesis which are also consistent with observations for example that PDO ahas caused a slight increase in cloud cover which may too be made to explain the data.

    All the above describe the effect – global warming (AGW + other?). What is missing is direct observation of the cause – radiative energy imbalance at TOA by satellite. I am making the point that this has not actually been observed.

    An analogy would be the prediction of the neutrino by Pauli in beta decay. Missing energy in the decay was observed which had to be carried away by some invisible particle. Science did not accept the existence of the neutrino until it was finally observed experimentally many years later.

    In my opinion the same strict standards should apply to climate science.

  84. BBD says:

    However we can also imagine other hypothesis which are also consistent with observations for example that PDO ahas caused a slight increase in cloud cover which may too be made to explain the data.

    No. this is incorrect. Reduction in TSI would have caused OHC to *fall* since 1998 and it has risen substantially. You asked me to disprove your hypothesis which I immediately did, then you ignore my response and repeat your argument.

    Unconstructive is to put it mildly.

  85. Clive,
    I don’t understand the relevance of what you’re saying. My point is trivially simple. Look at all the data we have and it suggests that our climate system is increasing its energy at a rate of about 0.5 Wm-2. It has nothing to do with climate models, or missing heat, or …

    What is missing is direct observation of the cause – radiative energy imbalance at TOA by satellite. I am making the point that this has not actually been observed.

    Let’s clarify something. There are satellite observations. You mentioned it – CERES. The uncertainty is indeed large so – by itself – it cannot definitively be used to determine the radiative imbalance. However, the satellite measurements are consistent with estimates based on the increase in energy in the earth system.

    If I measure the total energy in the system and observe it to rise with time, I don’t actually have to directly measure a flux across the boundary to be certain that it exists. That’s the beauty of energy conservation. If the total energy is higher now than it was before, there must have been a net flux. There is no other physically plausible explanation.

    So, your claim that we need to directly measure the radiative imbalance to be sure that it exists seems a little odd, unless you really are arguing that the energy in our climate system could be rising by getting energy from within the system rather than from without. Quite where we would have such an energy reservoir is a mystery to me, but maybe you can convince me otherwise.

  86. verytallguy says:

    Clive,

    I’m still confused by what you are saying.

    Again, do you agree with “Most (>90%) of the energy change in the climate system is in the ocean. So change in OHC provides, to a good first approximation, a reasonable estimate of the radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere”

    And if not, whiy not?

    As ATTP says, this is entirely independent of the cause of the imbalance

  87. Joshua says:

    Clive -‘

    I often read that most “skeptics” don’t doubt that the Earth is warming, and that certainly very few prominent and scientifically-sophisticated scientists have any such doubts.

    Do you doubt that the Earth is warming? If not, do you have an opinion as to what is causing the Earth to warm? If you do, can you describe the evidence you see for that causality?

    I am scientifically unsophisticated, so if it is possible to explain in simple terms, I would appreciate it.

  88. jsam says:

    Clive runs a blog. His introduction to Climate is here, http://clivebest.com/blog/?page_id=2949.

  89. Joshua says:

    Thanks jsam:

    This quote is interesting w/r/t my questions for Clive:

    ==> “The climate is stable to external CO2 forcing…”

    So it seems to me that he must have either think that the Earth isn’t warming, or that there is another causality for recent warming outside of AC02. If his opinion is the latter, then I wonder if he has evidence for causality.

  90. BBD says:

    jsam & Joshua

    I too read the comments with growing dismay:

    The climate is stable to external CO2 forcing since otherwise we, the IPCC, and Greenpeace would not even be here to worry and fuss about it. Overall the Earth is immune to whatever minor disturbances humans can produce.

    Clive lives in a world where there were no Cenozoic hyperthermals because DIck Lindzen says they can’t have happened. Since Dick is demonstrably wrong about hyperthermals, he is demonstrably wrong about his thermostat stuff and Clive is demonstrably wrong to claim that “Earth is immune to whatever minor disturbances humans can produce”.

  91. clivebest says:

    God knows where you found that quote !
    Of course I accept all of atmospheric physics for example as described in Pierhumbert’s book. I even wrote my own radiative transfer code and derived the log(C/C0) forcing response. Here we are discussing the response of the climate system to anthropogenic increase in CO2 and in particular climate feedbacks. So to be straight if I had to bet on climate sensitivity I would go with TCR= 1.3+- 0.3 and ECS= 2.3+-0.3 . Climate feedbacks can’t be that high because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question – the ‘anthropic principal’ !

    Read what I write say about Ocean Heat content and energy balance here : http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=4894

    The heat content of the oceans is equal to the heat capacity of salt water times the change in temperature integrated over the entire mass of oceans. The total area covered by oceans in Earth is about 3.6×10**14 m2, and the heat capacity of water is 4×10**3 Jkg-1K-1. So this increase in heat content corresponds to a net temperature rise in the top 700m of about 0.15C. Now lets see if the integrated TOA imbalance integrated over the oceans can explain this rise.

    The temperature changes are tiny below 100m and have really only been measured consistently since Argo started, so uncertainty must remain. What surprised me though was later to discover that CERES had been normalised to agree with models. The cleanest signal of energy imbalance would be a change in the 15 micron spectra measured from space.
    So keep your feet on the ground and avoid personal attacks.

  92. jsam says:

    I think BBD was quoting Clive as per http://clivebest.com/blog/?page_id=2949#comment-4947.

    I also note he seems to have missed ATTP’s comments on CERES.

  93. Clive,
    I note you’re going for option 1.

    However, can we at least clarify that if the data is correct, then we are accruing energy at a rate of 0.5 Wm-2. If so, then a rise in surface temperature of around 1K plus this energy imbalance suggests a net change in radiative forcing of 3.5 – 4 Wm-2. Given anthropogenic forcings of around 2 Wm-2 this suggests a feedback response of 1 – 2 Wm-2. Do you agree? You should be able to do this without giving up any of your own concerns about data quality and other possible issues that you might have. I also don’t think anyone’s attacked anyone personally.

  94. Clive,
    Also, why would you choose to represent the OHC in K, rather than in Joules? Also, we have more than simply ARGO floats to give us changes in OHC. We also have sea level rise which – I believe – is consistent with the ARGO measurements.

  95. verytallguy says:

    Clivebest

    Read what I write say about Ocean Heat content and energy balance here :

    Yup. Did that. Your analysis of a difference between OHC and TOA depends on only using 0-700m OHC. Using the total data available (0-2000m, ref per BBD above) brings the two into very good agreement (you claim 34*10^22J, Levitus shows about 28*10^22just from eyeballing the graph, I’m not sure why there’s a discrepancy betwwen that graph and the one in the skeptical science article I referenced earlier)

    So your argument, so far as it can be understood, appears to depend on ignoring the most complete dataset.

  96. A problem in using the sea level rise as such an argument is that the sea level has been rising by a comparable rate longer than AGW has contributed much to it. It’s another quantity that behaves roughly consistently with the general picture, but which involves still badly known contributions that reduce it’s significance.

    Changes in the detailed shape of the Earth spheroid and amount of water in land areas are factors that cause uncertainties in interpreting sea level data.

    We have a number of measures that reflect Earth energy balance and changes in that. None of them is as accurate as we would like. Not very long ago the standard value for the TOA energy imbalance was 0.9 W/m^2, now it’s roughly half of that, what will it be next?

  97. BBD says:

    God knows where you found that quote !

    As jsam has pointed out with a link, they are your own words.

    You will be treated harshly if you deny your own words in addition to denying the existence of Cenozoic hyperthermals.

    I am having real problems with this exchange caused by you so you can stow the rubbish about “personal attacks” and start being constructive. Do not ignore what I post. Do not deny your own statements. Do not pretend I am the issue here.

    TIA.

  98. Pekka,

    A problem in using the sea level rise as such an argument is that the sea level has been rising by a comparable rate longer than AGW has contributed much to it.

    I don’t see how this matters. If you can determine how much of the sea level rise is due to thermal expansion then you can use that to determine the increase in ocean heat content. You’ll note that I don’t think I mentioned AGW.

    Not very long ago the standard value for the TOA energy imbalance was 0.9 W/m^2, now it’s roughly half of that, what will it be next?

    Again, I don’t really see how this matters. The point is that at the moment the data is consistent with feedbacks providing around 1 – 2 Wm-2 of radiative forcing. I don’t see how anyone can have sensible scientific discussions if others can simply say “well, you never know. It could all change.” If it changes, our understanding will change. That’s kind of how science works. Also, do you really think that it will all change to the point where the rise in OHC is negligible?

  99. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    sea level has been rising by a comparable rate longer than AGW has contributed much to it

    I think your summary of our best understanding of sea level rise is incorrect. Indeed, the opposite appears to be the case. See Church et al 2007

    From the abstract

    there has been little net rise over the past several millennia until the 19th century and early 20th century… … sea levels are now rising at over 3 mm
    year-1

    and in the paper

    Prior to the 1930s, the rate of sea-level rise was generally less than 1 mm year-1

    I may have misunderstood, happy to be proved wrong

    http://academics.eckerd.edu/instructor/hastindw/MS1410-001_FA08/handouts/2008SLRSustain.pdf

  100. BBD says:

    Clive

    Climate feedbacks can’t be that high because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question – the ‘anthropic principal’ !

    Here, in your own words is some context:

    The argument of Lindzen is convincing. The Earth must have a natural thermostat because otherwise life could never have evolved over the last 4 billion years. Liquid Oceans have existed for well over 3 billion years and are essential for multi-cell life. The Oceans have not boiled away despite a 30% increases in solar output, Meteor strikes, super volcanoes, super novae and (far less important) CO2 levels 10 times greater than today. The oceans must be the Earth’s natural thermostat.

    You could call it the “anthropic principal”.

    The climate is stable to external CO2 forcing since otherwise we, the IPCC, and Greenpeace would not even be here to worry and fuss about it. Overall the Earth is immune to whatever minor disturbances humans can produce.

    Those with an interest in paleoclimate behaviour will instantly recognise this for a Gish gallop. Just a skim: the Earth climate system responds to changes in forcing, none of which have been sufficiently extreme or sustained to boil the oceans. Feedbacks of gain >1 do not create runaway amplification. Increasing solar output resulting from stellar evolution is offset by a general decrease in the atmospheric fraction of GHGs on geological time scales. Meteor strikes are not implicated as drivers of long-term climate change. Supervolcanoes (LMPs) *are* and are associated with end-Permian extinction event among other less notable biospheric traumas. There is no evidence that supernovae have ever altered Earth’s climate. GHG excursions drive hyperthermals, eg PETM, ETM-2, MECO, which are clear and incontrovertible demonstrations that the “thermostat” and the “anthropic principal” [sic] are wrong.

  101. BBD says:

    Sorry, that should be “feedbacks of gain less than 1 do not create runaway amplification.”

  102. I would have thought that Venus would be an argument against some kind of natural self-regulation. By Clive’s own anthropic principle argument it could simply be that we happen to exist on a planet that happened to have all the right conditions for our existence. There are clearly billions of other planets out there and clearly there could be others whose climates were not as stable as ours has been.

  103. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: How dare you post an OP about the physics of climate change and then discuss it ad naseum in this comment thread! (:

  104. Yes has been little change in sea level on the average over several millenia, but there has been significant rise over the last 200 years.

    Determining, how much of the sea level rise comes from thermal expansion (or is thermosteric) can be based either assuming that the rate of warming is known with some knowledge also of which parts of the ocean have been warming or on determining accurately enough all other contributions as well as the overall change in sea level.

    The first approach cannot be used as confirmation for warming as that would be a circular argument, while the second is not yet accurate enough.

    The present estimates are consistent with a closure, but the closure is not determined so accurately that it would serve as a accurate test of the rate of warming.

    It’s certainly better that we have a closure, but it would be a strong constraint only, if the empirical accuracy would be better than it is.

    What I write above is based on what I have in my mind based on several articles that I have read some time ago. I didn’t go back to verify that my recollection is correct, but I’m pretty sure that it is.

    Satellites are starting to help here again by helping in estimating the amount of water in land areas, but I have understood that it will take some time to take full use of that additional data.

  105. In fact, I think Clive has the anthropic principle rather the wrong way round. All that the anthropic principle suggests is that if our climate hadn’t been as stable as it appears to have been, we wouldn’t be here to ponder the question of why our climate has been so stable. It in no way tells us why it happens to have been sufficiently stable.

  106. Pekka,
    I don’t think I claimed that the rise in sea level was definitive proof of warming. I was simply pointing out that there is another line of evidence and that it is consistent.

  107. jsam says:

    Maybe Clive would like to make $10K. Do, it’s a must, do read the comments.

    The $10,000 Global Warming Skeptic Challenge!
    http://dialoguesonglobalwarming.blogspot.co.uk/p/1000-global-warming-skeptic-challenge.html

  108. ATTP,

    I don’t see how anyone can have sensible scientific discussions if others can simply say “well, you never know. It could all change.”

    That’s not my point. I do believe in the overall picture, because it’s supported by so many different observations and theoretical arguments. What I protest often is what I see as giving too much weight to a single piece of evidence or class of evidence.

    The combined evidence as reported by IPCC leaves most quantitative values with large uncertainty ranges. That tells, how uncertain they are even, when all evidence is considered at the same time. Single factors are usually known even less precisely.

    It’s also very common that any single number is estimated using all kind of constraints that relate the quantity to other estimated values. That leads to the risk of circular arguments when A is used to constrain B and B is used to constrain A. Systematic assessments like IPCC avoid such errors, but in discussion on the net it’s not at all uncommon to see arguments that have that kind of circular nature. I thought that Clive referred to that, when he mentioned circular arguments, but I’m not sure of that.

  109. clivebest says:

    Sorry I’ve been out for a few hours.

    ATTP, As to your question’s
    1. Yes, if the data are accurate AND nothing else is changing, then your narrative that feedbacks are 1-2 W/m2/deg.C makes sense.
    2. Sea level rise has essentially been linear since about 1900. Certainly there has been no marked acceleration post 2000.
    3. I prefer to use T rather than OHC because that is what is actually measured.
    4. You write “All that the anthropic principle suggests is that if our climate hadn’t been as stable as it appears to have been, we wouldn’t be here to ponder the question of why our climate has been so stable.” That is exactly the same as what I said as well ! The challenge is to explain why it has remained stable over billions of years.

    BBD: you write “Feedbacks of gain >1 do not create runaway amplification.” That is news to me. as I thought the climate response goes like 1/(1-f). Are you arguing that some fortuitous mix of volcanic activity and natural emissions of CO2 somehow kept the climate just right over the last 4 billion years as the sun brightened by 30% ?

    Pekka – thanks for some support !

  110. Clive,

    I prefer to use T rather than OHC because that is what is actually measured.

    What does this mean? What’s really measured is probably some current in an electronic device that is then converted into T or Joules. The problem with using T is that you have to define what you mean. Is it the average change in temperature over the whole volume, or is it the change in some layer? With Joules you don’t have that problem. It’s uniquely defined. Temperature is not actually a well-defined hydrodynamical quantity.

    You write “All that the anthropic principle suggests is that if our climate hadn’t been as stable as it appears to have been, we wouldn’t be here to ponder the question of why our climate has been so stable.” That is exactly the same as what I said as well ! The challenge is to explain why it has remained stable over billions of years.

    Well, I think you were making a stronger statement that you seem to now be suggesting. You were implying that the anthropic principle suggested that there had to be some kind of self-regulation. As far as I’m concerned all that it tells us is that there has been some form of self-regulation. It tells us nothing about what will happen in the future and that this self-regulation will somehow prevent levels of warming that could be harmful or damaging.

    BBD corrected his statement to f less than 1. If f were greater than 1, we would have had a runaway process by now.

  111. OPatrick says:

    You write “All that the anthropic principle suggests is that if our climate hadn’t been as stable as it appears to have been, we wouldn’t be here to ponder the question of why our climate has been so stable.” That is exactly the same as what I said as well ! The challenge is to explain why it has remained stable over billions of years.

    Not really. The anthropic principle just tells us that we are here to observe our existence. It tells us nothing about the reasons why we are here. There’s no more reason to suppose this was because, by some chance, we live in a world which necessarily has a particularly suitable and stable climate than that we live on a world which, by some chance, has had exactly the right combination of influences to give the appearance of a stable climate. A lone survivor of a terrible accident might ask why they survived. But the ones who didn’t survive don’t get to ask that question.

  112. jsam says:

    Engineers use temperature. Scientists use joules.

  113. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    You said

    sea level has been rising by a comparable rate longer than AGW has contributed much to it.

    I gave you a reference which showed that sea level rise before 1930 was <1mm/yr and is now 3mm/yr.

    That contradicts your point: 1mm/yr is not comparable to 3mm/yr.

    It would be most helpful if you could either acknowledge what seems to be a clear mistake, or point to where I have made a mistake (which is very possible, likely even)

    Until you do that I have to say that engaging with you here is almost as frustrating as watching England play football. A very high bar!

  114. verytallguy says:

    Clivebest

    2. Sea level rise has essentially been linear since about 1900.

    Nope. See my post and links above.

  115. BBD says:

    Oh, I just love that. Clive ignores everything I wrote concerning his various errors and instead responds to a typo that was corrected within two minutes of posting the original comment.

    Did I mention unconstructive? Why, so I did.

  116. BBD says:

    The challenge is to explain why it has remained stable over billions of years.

    It hasn’t.

    Earth’s climate has demonstrated extreme variability, from Snowball Earth states to hyperthermals.

  117. BBD,
    Yes, I should have responded in a similar fashion myself. The period during which it had a climate suitable for our existence is probably quite small, compared to the age of the Earth itself. This is a point that seems to be regularly missed, especially when people point out that life has been present for billions of years.

  118. VTG,

    By comparable I didn’t mean almost the same. The values 1 mm/yr and 3 mm/yr are hardly representative. That exaggerates the acceleration when taken over periods long enough to get rid of short term variability due to changes in distribution of water between oceans and land areas and other short term variability.

    Even the value of 1 mm/yr is large enough to influence highly significantly the comparison with warming.

    I don’t claim that measurements of sea level would not tell something significant about warming, only that the accuracy of that connection is still too poor for strong conclusions.

    Both on OHC and on sea level rise different studies give different enough results to leave quantitative details much less precise than we would like. Cherry picking one of the studies supports some conclusions, cherry picking another tells something quite different. It seems to be all too common that people from both sides refer to those studies whose results they like most.

  119. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    this is really disappointing, given your voluminous comments on scientific integrity on the consensus thread.

    You made a claim.

    I researched it.

    I found no evidence to support it, and some to contradict it.

    I posted the evidence, and invited you to show anything to the contrary.

    You ignore the fact that the data contradicts you (1mm/yr is still not comparable to 3, however you present it). You accuse me of cherrypicking! I can’t cherrypick data in this area as I’m not familiar with it. I would be more than happy to accept contrary data if you can support it.

    Please. Do what you ask of others. Follow the scientific method. Post some data to support your assertion, or withdraw it.

  120. Just to tell, how accurately the sea level rise and its division to various components should be known for comparison with warming I note that according to Levitus et al, (GRL, 2012) the thermosteric component of sea level rise from 1955 to 2010 is estimated as 0.54 mm/yr for the layer 0-2000 m.

  121. AnOilMan says:

    CliveBest: Church 2008 Figure 5 shows a distinctly non-straight line for Sea Level;

    Skeptical Science has a break down of this for you to read.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/sea-level-rise-intermediate.htm

    Its very clear that sea level rise has accelerated. Its at least doubled since 1960ish.

  122. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Your discourses with Pekka Pirilä and Clive Best, deomnstrate that you have the “patience of Job.”* Is this a learned or an inherited trait?

    *Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on one’s perspective.

  123. kdk33 says:

    Sea level rise is linear. And not fast enough to matter. We covered this already. You guys have bad memorys.

    Why is GAT reported as T anamolies not Joules? (ergs would better serve the intended purpose, I believe.) Engineers use MMBTU.

    Climate Science sure is tricky business.

  124. VTG,

    You asked for some data. I gave already one number, but this graph may tell the situation better

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n7/fig_tab/ngeo1829_F3.html

    Here we see that the total sea level rise from of years 2005-11 is estimated as 2.39±0.48 mm/yr and mass related change as 1.80±0.47 mm/yr. From these values we can calculate the steric component as 0.59±0.68 mm/yr. Hardly a useful constraint for OHC change. From the OHC we get 0.60±0.27 mm/yr, which is in perfect agreement with that value, but not constrained to a useful extent by the sea level data.

    That’s what I tried to tell.

  125. kdk33,
    I think you may well be missing the reason for the discussion of sea level rise in this context. Also, as others have pointed out, it isn’t linear.

  126. verytallguy says:

    Pekka, you’ve changed the subject. You claimed sea level rise was comparable pre and post agw.

    I cannot understand why youcannot address the facts of that claim

  127. KR says:

    Pekka – I don’t understand where you’re coming from here.

    Sea level rise has accelerated over the last 150 years in a statistically significant fashion. OHC estimates are tight enough to demonstrate continued positive radiative imbalance over the last half century. Non-thermal changes in sea level are constrained by factors such as icecap mass balance. There really isn’t room in the uncertainties to dispute sea level as an indicator of climate change.

  128. Joshua says:

    Clive –

    Can you explain what you meant when you wrote:

    ==> “The climate is stable to external CO2 forcing…”

  129. Pekka,
    Maybe you could also explain your large uncertainty on the steric component. You seem to have added the mass related changes and total sea level rise uncertainties in quadrature. So, maybe this is fine, but since we actually have ARGO measurements, surely the steric component in the figure you link to is a good representation. You seem to be saying that if we ignore some information our understanding gets worse. Well, sure, but why ignore it?

  130. John Hartz says:

    kdk33: I trust you understand that emginnering is grounded on science — “fudge factors” of course excepted.

    BTW, i have a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree and therefore know more than the average person does about engineers and engineering.

  131. VTG,

    This is exactly my original subject and also the reason sea level rise was brought to this thread. I mentioned the earlier rate of rise, because that alone is large in comparison to steric component, and therefore makes estimating the steric component inaccurate.

    The whole discussion is about the value of sea level data as a signal of OHC. My most recent comment tells that it has almost no value in that. OHC measurements are the most accurate source for determining steric sea level rise. Using estimates of sea level rise that take that method into account is circular reasoning. Using independently determined sea level estimates allows according to this data marginally even the wrong sigh for the change in OHC.

    All my comments were directly related to this. I wrote the earlier ones out of memory, only for tha latest ones I rechecked the literature. I don’t think that it’s a requirement for commenting here that rechecking literature is done before every comment.

    Going further back the problems are even worse, because the connection between measured sea level and ocean volume is not that simple. Satellite measurements are needed for better data.

  132. Pekka,
    You seem to be following some circular reasoning of your own. The figure you presented gives a mass related value of 1.8 ± 0.47 and a total of 2.39 ± 0.48. Yes, I know that allows for the possibility that it could almost all be mass related but it does still suggest that it is much more likely that something else (thermal expansion) has contributed to the sea level rise and that it is at a level consistent with ARGO measurements.

  133. ATTP,

    Of course it’s not likely to be all mass related. The point is that the sea level data gives only constraints that correspond to the range of about 0 – 1.0 W/m^2 for the TOA imbalance or on comparable range for the rate of increase in OHC. That’s too wide for being of much value as ARGO measurements give an significantly more accurate estimate.

  134. Pekka,
    Yes, I agree, but the initial introduction of sea level rise was simply to point out that it was consistent with the ARGO measurements and that it provided an extra bit of evidence. It was never claimed that it was better than or even claimed that it confirmed the ARGO measurements. So, we all seem to agree that there is evidence to suggest that we are currently accruing energy at a rate of around 0.5 Wm-2.

  135. Another way of saying the above:

    If you wish to know, how OHC is changing, use ARGO data.

    If you wish to know, what’s the size of the steric component of sea level rise, use again ARGO data.

    Satellite measurements of sea level and ocean mass changes are so inaccurate that they cannot help much in either of the above. The give an cross-check that too inaccurate.

  136. Pekka,
    Sure, noone suggested otherwise. For goodness sake, Pekka, try reading what other people actually write, rather than simply making it all up as you go along!

  137. AnOilMan says:

    John Hartz: I’m an Electrical Engineer, and I have a patent in the field of chemistry.

  138. Steve Bloom says:

    ARGO and JASON were intended to be cross-validated. The names are a hint.

  139. ATTP,

    Basically I agree, but I have doubts also on the accuracy of the value of 0.5 W/m^2, but not so strong doubts that the wide range allowed by sea level data would provide significant constraint for that. (I.e. I don’t expect that the value would be close to zero or more than 1.0).

    The comparison with data before ARGO is subject to major uncertainties, while the ARGO period is so short that uncertainties in determining the rate of change are still large. With 20 years or more ARGO data the situation is likely to be much better.

  140. Steve Bloom says:

    Hmm, I have a longish comment that went into moderation and hasn’t appeared. And why was it moderated to begin with?

  141. Steve,

    Cross validation can be done, but that provides better constraints for sea level rise than for OHC, because the accuracies of each data set lead to that and because the steric component is only a fraction of present sea level rise.

  142. verytallguy says:

    Pekka, I’m not suggesting you check literature before posting, merely that you acknowledge when an initial assertion turns out to have been in error. Failing to do that, as you continue to do, gives the impression of your opinions being impervious to the facts.

  143. Steve Bloom says:

    On the one hand I’d like @DumbScientist to weigh in on this since it’s pretty close to if not within his direct expertise, but on the other I can see why he might not want to.

    Pekka: Forest, trees.

  144. VTG,

    Perhaps I’m blind to my errors, but the problem has rarely been that as as see it. It’s more common that I have failed in making my point understood. Trying to express my thinking in a brief comment in foreign language does not always succeed. The tone may also differ from what I would like to express.

  145. Steve,
    Trees and forests get mixed and change into each other in net discussion. Something written as a side remark, may grow to a lengthy dispute.

  146. clivebest says:

    Joshua,
    I think at the time I meant that in the past although CO2 levels have reached 5- 10 times larger than now yet the climate has not varied that dramatically. There have been periods with no polar ice caps and periods with large glaciatiions and even one period with a snowball earth. Yet the climate somehow recovered and the only explanation that makes sense to me is the dominant ocean surface on earth. I have wondered why it is that the earth surface is not 100% water. Perhaps it once was. Perhaps it even once was on Venus.

  147. clivebest says:

    ATTP,

    I detect a slight trend towards a tribal defensive instinct on this site. I thought you welcomed informed debate by the likes of Pekka and others who really do know what they are talking about. It would be a shame if we feel we cannot post reasoned arguments anymore and expect reasoned responses. I am quite willing to accept I may be wrong and always strive keep an open mind. I would like to think that you do too.

  148. BBD says:

    I think at the time I meant that in the past although CO2 levels have reached 5- 10 times larger than now yet the climate has not varied that dramatically.

    You have made this claim before. Please name your examples, eg PETM, Eocene climatic optimum etc.

  149. jsam says:

    To avoid tribal instincts perhaps it would be best if phrasing such as “In my opinion the same strict standards should apply to climate science”. It’s both rude and incorrect.

    It would also help if statements such as “sea level rise is linear” were not reposted even after reputable sources have been cited that disprove such.

    Those who squawk loudest about tribalism would appear to be the most tribal. Culprit playing victim is distasteful.

  150. Sure, Steve. My expertise is detecting high-frequency GRACE gravity signals such as ocean tides, but I also simultaneously solve for the trend (and annual, semi-annual, etc.) to soak up those signals. I see no reason to doubt the Chen et al. 2013 ARGO steric sea level rise estimate of 0.60 +- 0.27 mm/yr. This statistically significant increase in ocean heat content (OHC) is closely related to the radiative imbalance through conservation of energy and the fact that ~90% of the imbalance is absorbed by the oceans.

    The Chen et al. timespan was January 2005 to December 2011, so consider that timespan in context to see why the longer-term sea level rise is higher: 3.2 +- 0.4 mm/yr. It seems like redoing Chen et al. 2013 with more recent data would increase the rate of observed sea level rise. And yes, sea level rise is accelerating. 3mm/yr > 1mm/yr.

    Because ARGO measures OHC without any uncertainty introduced by glacial isostatic adjustment or the terrestrial reference frame, it reveals the statistically significant increase in OHC better than “altimetry minus GRACE”. The significant non-steric component of sealevel rise also points to the radiative imbalance, but it’s primarily related to the land ice which is melting and sliding into the ocean to cause the non-steric sealevel rise. Note that this fraction of the radiative imbalance which melts ice doesn’t raise temperatures at all, because it merely turns ice at 0C into water at 0C.

    In response to other comments, Richard Alley’s 2009 AGU talk explained that on geological timescales, rock weathering is Earth’s thermostat. Warm the Earth and rock weathering speeds up, reducing atmospheric CO2 which slows the warming. (Of course, the end-Permian shows that this feedback takes millions of years to kick in.)

    Cool the Earth and rock weathering slows down, eventually stopping when Earth turns into a snowball where all rocks are covered by ice. Eventually, enough CO2 builds up to thaw the snowball. (Of course, Snowball Earth shows that this feedback takes millions of years to kick in.)

  151. Joshua says:

    Clive –

    Thanks for that answer. But I don’t understand the following sentence:

    Yet the climate somehow recovered and the only explanation that makes sense to me is the dominant ocean surface on earth.

    I’ll try to articulate my confusion, and I’ll understand if my questions don’t make enough sense to merit an answer.

    The way that you’ve phrased that is confusing to me because simply pointing to a dominant ocean surface doesn’t help me to see an “explanation.”

    How does the dominant ocean surface explain the recovery from those dramatic climatic swings you described? If you are saying that long-term ocean-related dynamics would overwhelm the influence of CO2, would that necessarily mean that the climate is stable against the influence of CO2? Such an argument is confusing to me, because it seems to be tantamount to saying that actually, you don’t believe that CO2 has any meaningful impact on climate. It doesn’t seem to me that a long-term and overwhelming influence of ocean dynamics and a more short-term influence of CO2 need be mutually exclusive. I know that some climate scientists refer to CO2 as a “control knob,” but even there, I don’t think that they argue that CO2 is the only influence on the Earth’s climate, or that any effects from CO2 necessarily manifest in a direct proportional manner in changes in the climate irrespective of any other contemperaneous climatic influences. Also, the other day, some folks here were discussion the use of the word “recovery” with respect to climate – as if it implies some homeostasis that drives the climate, in contrast to forcings (such as CO2 or solar radiation) driving the climate. Is that how you’re using “recovery?”

  152. KR says:

    Pekka – The data before ARGO has larger uncertainties, but not so large as to preclude reasonable estimates. I suggest reading Levitus et all 2012, in particular the Appendix on error estimation, where they examine spatial correlation of temperature anomalies to derive their bounds. Correlation is high enough that even a relatively sparse sampling gives considerable data and certainty.

    I have often seen the claim that pre-ARGO data is to uncertain to estimate OHC – quite frankly such claims are incorrect.

  153. David Young says:

    With regard to sea level rise, I found the following plot. If you squint you can say “its accelerating.” But one could also say that over the last 100 years its been pretty linear. Perhaps both are right and both are wrong.

  154. John Hartz says:

    Let’s not loose sight of the big picture as so deftly stated by Bill McKibben:…

    “I began this review with the metaphor of a chess game, but football may be as apt, given the power of the forces we’ve now unleashed. As a civilization, we’re halfway through the fourth quarter and down by three or four touchdowns. Running into the line, even for solid gains, simply can’t win the game. We’ve got to throw some long, unlikely passes.”

    Climate: Will We Lose the Endgame?, by Bill McKibben, The New York Review of Books, June 24, 2014

  155. John Hartz says:

    Here are the three documents that McKibben reviewed:

    Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent
    by Gabrielle Walker
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 388 pp., $27.00

    What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change
    a report by the Climate Science Panel of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
    28 pp., March 2014

    Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment
    a report by the US Global Change Research Program
    829 pp., May 2014

  156. Clive,

    I detect a slight trend towards a tribal defensive instinct on this site. I thought you welcomed informed debate by the likes of Pekka and others who really do know what they are talking about. It would be a shame if we feel we cannot post reasoned arguments anymore and expect reasoned responses.

    If you want to know what ticks me off, it’s when someone gives the impression that they somehow both know more than others and are somehow holier than everyone else, and yet seem reluctant to acknowledge their own errors. Now, I wonder who does that?

  157. verytallguy says:

    Pekka, you made a claim that sea level rise is comparable pre and post agw. The data does not appear to support that. When this is pointed out, you ignore that and move on.

    I fail to see how that has anything to do with language.

  158. verytallguy says:

    David Young,

    your preference for relying on your squint over scientific analysis is a microcosm of the whole “debate”

  159. David Young says:

    Yes, Dumbsci, Real Climate goes over the arguments in the scientific literature and is honest about the fact that scientists and the refereed literature disagrees about it. I don’t see how this offers any definitive evidence. It’s an area of dispute as the graph clearly shows and honest people can disagree. That’s pretty much what I said isn’t it?

  160. JasonB says:

    Clive:

    Climate feedbacks can’t be that high because otherwise we wouldn’t be here to ask the question – the ‘anthropic principal’ !

    Paleoclimate does, in fact, impose constraints on how strong the feedbacks can possibly be — but this information is already included in the range quoted by the IPCC, and, unfortunately, it doesn’t impose that much of a constraint on the high end.

    So “can’t be high” in this case means “can be high enough for the worst-case scenarios of the IPCC to eventuate”. It’s always good to go beyond the trite slogan to see just what we can learn.

    Are you arguing that some fortuitous mix of volcanic activity and natural emissions of CO2 somehow kept the climate just right over the last 4 billion years as the sun brightened by 30% ?

    In fact, the whole point of Richard Alley’s excellent talk on CO2 as a global thermostat is that it’s not a coincidence that the climate has remained “just right” (well, at least within a range that allowed some life to survive at any rate) despite the sun brightening by 30%.

    The rate of CO2 emission has been reasonably constant (until modern times), while the rate of CO2 uptake is temperature-dependent — higher at higher temperatures, bringing CO2 levels down, and lower at lower temperatures, allowing CO2 levels to build up. This natural thermostat is what has kept the temperatures reasonable.

    The exceptions that prove the rule is what has happened in the past in response to sudden increases in GHG emissions:

    http://theconversation.com/another-link-between-co2-and-mass-extinctions-of-species-12906

    As in those mass extinction events, the problem is that we’ve dramatically increased the emission of CO2, orders of magnitude more quickly than the timescales that the natural sinks operate over, causing concentrations to rise — just like those earlier events.

    So tell me again how “climate feedbacks can’t be that high”…

  161. DY,

    It’s an area of dispute as the graph clearly shows and honest people can disagree.

    Except that the manner in which people disagree and the arguments they make are relevant. Let’s consider broadly the information we have. We have rising surface temperatures, we have rising ocean heat content, we have melting sea ice and land ice, we have sea level measurements that not only suggest acceleration but that is consistent with the basic physics that it is accelerating. So, you can of course disagree with this and I imagine that the evidence does not rule out that sea level rise isn’t accelerating, but basing your argument on the possibility that it might not be is rather weak and I don’t see how one can engage in any serious scientific discussion if this is the line that people take.

  162. JasonB says:

    Clive:

    Yes, Dumbsci, Real Climate goes over the arguments in the scientific literature and is honest about the fact that scientists and the refereed literature disagrees about it.

    A more honest reading of the Real Climate article is that it rebuts a flawed article that tried to suggest that there was no acceleration since 1930 by cherry-picking a start date and it clearly shows that the cherry-picked start date is a natural consequence of the mid-century plateau in global temperatures and therefore entirely consistent with the expected response of sea-level rise to increasing temperatures.

    Once again, looking a little deeper demolishes what superficially appeared to be a compelling argument.

    Now, you can choose to ignore what the papers actually said and conclude that “opinion is divided on the matter, therefore I can continue to bring this up whenever someone claims it’s one way or the other”, or you can choose to learn enough to form a judgement and conclude that one side was correct and the other wrong. If you choose to take the former option, don’t be surprised if others aren’t swayed by your opinions.

  163. Marco says:

    JasonB, that wasn’t Clive, but David Young.

  164. David Young says:

    ATTP, Yes I suppose the data support multiple interpretations. This means exactly what I said. So, lets not claim that there is an acceleration when the data is ambiguous. What Pekka and Clive said is in fact defensible.

  165. kdk33 says:

    Sea level rise is not accelerating. It doesn’t matter what is written in magazines. It is in the data. According to C&W, SLR has been decelerating since about 1935. It is tricky to make “not accelerating” be consistent with “accelerating”. But climate science is tricky business.

    BTW, and if memory serves, IPCC estimates for sea level rise are around 1 meter by 2100 AD, so SLR would have to average 12mm/yr between now and then, so would be 21 mm/yr at close of century so the acceleration would have to be… well, a lot. Suffice it to say there is a lot of sea level silliness.

    Have fun storming the castle.

  166. DY,
    No, I disagree. Noone is really claiming that there is an acceleration (well, maybe some might have appeared to say that, but I think they’ll agree that they’re not stating something absolute). They’re suggesting that the data more strongly supports that it’s accelerating than it is not. Let’s take this a little further. In most cases there is a finite chance of the data supporting something other than the most likely interpretation. Suggesting that because we can’t rule out that something else isn’t happening means that it’s equally likely is not particularly scientific.

  167. kdk33,
    Try reading this, from someone who – I think – knows what they’re talking about.

  168. David Young says:

    OK, There are multiple interpretations of the data. Why are we hearing that its clearly accelerating? Is there a prejudice we are seeing here? Pekka is generally very objective and reliable. I think there may be a “pre decision’ in the words of Keikegard.

  169. verytallguy says:

    David Young,

    “What Pekka and Clive said is in fact defensible.”

    I really don’t think so, certainly not for what Pekka said.

    Again, quoting from Church – see link above:

    there has been little net rise over the past several millennia until the 19th century and early 20th century… … sea levels are now rising at over 3 mm year-1… …Prior to the 1930s, the rate of sea-level rise was generally less than 1 mm year-1

    That seems like pretty incontrovertible evidence that sea level rise has accelerated from before the onset of large scale Co2 emissions to afterwards. In fact,it sounds rather like a hockeystick, no?

    Of course there is noise in the data, and the details of exact rates, times and regional variation can be discussed, but the big picture seems pretty clear.

    I’d be interested in evidence you have to the contrary – squinting doesn’t count though 😉

  170. BBD says:

    This is literally ridiculous. The core of the contrarian argument here is: water does not expand when warmed.

    FFS.

    Physics denial – as usual.

  171. verytallguy says:

    So, continuing a little background research, let’s see what AR5 says, our best summary of the overall literature rather than relying on single papers.

    SPM B4 – all emphasis mine:

    Proxy and instrumental sea level data indicate a transition in the late 19th to the early 20th century from relatively low mean rates of rise over the previous two millennia to higher rates of rise (high confidence). It is likely that the rate of global mean sea level rise has continued to increase since the early 20th century. {3.7, 5.6, 13.2}

    That seems to clearly refute the “comparable” rates before and after the onset of CO2 emissions.

    It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010, 2.0 [1.7 to 2.3] mm yr–1 between 1971 and 2010, and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1 between 1993 and 2010. Tide-gauge and satellite altimeter data are consistent regarding the higher rate of the latter period. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950. {3.7}

    So there have been ups and downs during the 1901-2010 period. The rate at the end is about double the average during the century, and higher again than the two millenia before.

    It’s very hard to see how this can be characterised as anything other than “acceleration” overall.

  172. BBD says:

    And during the last interglacial (Eemian; MIS5e) when GAT was ~1C – 2C higher than the Holocene, the WAIS collapsed and MSL highstand was >6m above present levels. All the physics denial in the world cannot get around the facts of known paleoclimate behaviour.

  173. kdk33 says:

    VTG

    Download C&W. Calculate acceleration since 1935. Let us know what you find.

  174. BBD says:

    So, kdk33, you are arguing that: there is no greenhouse effect, so future emissions will cause no further warming. Or there is a greenhouse effect but future warming will not cause water to expand.

    Absurd, no?

  175. verytallguy says:

    kdk33

    Download C&W. Calculate acceleration since 1935. Let us know what you find.

    I’m not an expert and a statistical analysis of a noisy dataset to detect acceleration is not something I’m capable of doing competently. Hence looking to the literature which shows:

    1) Sea level rise now is 3.2mm/year.

    2) Sea level rise during the 20th century averaged 1.7mm/yr

    3) Sea level rise for the two millenia previous was about 1mm/yr.

    In what way is that not an acceleration?

    Please feel free to point to data that contradicts any of 1-3 above. You can see all the links to it in my posts above.

  176. BBD says:

    Simple Q&A with the answers supplied because you can never get a straight answer out of a pseudo-sceptic:

    Q. Will warming this century be monotonic or accelerate?

    A. It will accelerate

    Q. Will the contribution to SLR from ice-sheet collapse this century and beyond be monotonic or non-linear?

    A. It will be non-linear

    Q. Is it therefore possible for SLR this century and beyond to be linear?

    A. No

  177. JasonB says:

    Marco: Thanks, my apologies for mixing up the names.

    The important point is not that by cherry-picking a start date you can get a time series that does not show acceleration (and note what happens when you correct for water storage in dams — Figure 2 in the Real Climate link); the important point is that the accelerations you get for every start date over the 20th century agrees with what is predicted based on temperature changes in the 20th century.

    There exists such a cherry-pickable start date purely because of the behaviour of the global temperature over that period of time, not because physics no longer works and water has stopped expanding when heated.

  178. Rob Painting says:

    Very Tall Guy – “Sea level rise for the two millenia previous was about 1mm/yr.”

    No. Sea level was likely static for the last 4-5000 years – until the Industrial Revolution.

    See this lecture for starters – Jerry Mitrovica: Current Sea Level Rise is Anomalous. We’ve Seen Nothing Like it for the Last 10,000 Years..

  179. jsam says:

    Was kdk33’s “OMG” the sound of a penny finally dropping?

    Just kidding.

  180. verytallguy says:

    Rob,

    thank you yes, that’s clear from the Church paper too.

    “About 1mm/yr” should read “<1mm yr" and as you point out it's actually ca zero and for more than 2 millenia.

    Would you also characterise that as acceleration from preindustrial?

  181. izen says:

    @- David Young
    “OK, There are multiple interpretations of the data. Why are we hearing that its clearly accelerating?”

    Because that is the most credible interpretation that is consistent with numerous other lines of evidence.
    There are clear deficiencies in all the observational records from which we can derive the rate at which the climate is gaining energy. But the best (BEST?} method of constraining those uncertainties is from the consistency with the total explanation/hypothesis we have for the many different methods and types of observation.

    It is always possible to take an individual set of observations and claim that the inherent errors, noise and uncertainty in THIS metric do not explicitly allow the exclusion of some other factor than AGW generating the data that we interpret as an effect of an energy imbalance.

    The counter- argument made is that there is a good deal of independent evidence that supports the role of AGW in all these measures. Each may have its own issues with data quality or under-determination, but it is the single common explanation that links them that is preferred as the best interpretation.

    The hypothesis that sea level rise, OHC, ice mass balance etc, may not be a clear signal of AGW and a continuing energy imbalance, requires an increasing number of speculative post-hoc appeals to as yet undiscovered mechanisms, or unsuspected gross inaccuracies in the data to maintain that position. The various sources of basic data, flawed though it may be, is all consilient with the understanding of an accumulating energy imbalance.

    Continuing to point to local uncertainties in different parts of the data when the extensive supporting observations are cited in refutation starts to look like ClimateBall(TM). Adhering to the claim that multiple interpretations are possible, therefore the most logically consistent interpretation should not be accepted begins to look more like a game of Mornington Crescent….

  182. DY,
    izen’s said pretty much what I was going to say. Just because one set of data does not rule something out, does not mean that that is a reasonable interpretation. It’s similar to the standard Lukewarmer argument – there is some evidence to support a low climate sensitivity, therefore climate sensitivity is probably low. No, there is no evidence to support that climate sensitivity is probably low, only that it might be low.

  183. izen says:

    Aaaargh, ‘Data’ is/are singular/plural… the sentence –

    The various sources of basic data, flawed though it may be, is all consilient with the understanding of an accumulating energy imbalance.

    Makes more sense as –
    The various sources of basic data, flawed though THEY may be, ARE all consilient with the understanding of an accumulating energy imbalance.

    perhaps?

  184. John Hartz says:

    David Young & Kdk33;

    I challenge both of you to take off your ideological glasse abd read the following article::

    Wet La Nina years mask sea level rise by Alister Doyle, Reuters/ABC Sc(ence, March 24, 2014

  185. John Hartz says:

    David Young & Kdk33:

    Do both of you subscribe to the proposition that sea level rdise is distributed uniformly throughout the Earth’s ocean system?

  186. kdk33 says:

    Do the math. Let me know what you find.

  187. kdk33,
    I think people here have done the math and explained it quite clearly. If you dispute that, why not do the math and explain the problem. If you don’t want to, that’s also fine. It makes no difference to me.

  188. kdk33 says:

    ATTP

    Nice try. But the astute reader will notice that I did do exactly that. And that, no, they haven’t. Nor will they. Or you. You won’t like the answer.

    Up 2 U

    Cheers!

  189. jsam says:

    Done the math. You’re wrong, kdk33. Thanks for playing.

  190. kdk33,
    The astute reader would seem to have to be able to read your mind, because I can’t find anywhere where you’ve done exactly that.

  191. BBD says:

    Answer the questions you dodged, kdk33:

    Are you arguing that:

    1. There is no greenhouse effect, so future emissions will cause no further warming?

    2. There is a greenhouse effect but future warming will not cause water to expand?

  192. Joshua says:

    This reminds me of when “skeptics” say that they don’t doubt that increased ACO2 causes warming (then only question the magnitude of the effect), yet they also argue that “Global warming has stopped/paused” despite increased ACO2 in the atmosphere.

  193. verytallguy says:

    Kdk33

    You’re the one questioning the literature, which seems very clear that sea level rise is faster now than preindustrial. An increasing rate is generally termed acceleration btw

    You believe otherwise? You’re free to do so. Your belief is just not based on the facts, that’s all.

  194. pbjamm says:

    I think the contrarians have misunderstood Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    Note scientists are not on that list.

  195. clivebest says:

    Returning to the argument in ATTPs original post. If AGW forcing to date has been 2W/m2 and feedbacks have added another 2 Watts/m2 then we get a feedback gain of 0.5

    DT = DTo/(1-0.5)

    This gives ECS = 2.2 C

    That looks entirely reasonable to me.

    @Izen
    I agree with your reasoning. I think that several commentators have misunderstood what Pekka and I were trying to say, which is that measurements should be made as independently as possible and quote errors. We accept AGW theory. I just think there is a potential danger that we will miss the unexpected just because a measurement is assumed to be wrong if it does not have the expected value.

    @Jsam OK point taken sorry.

    @BBD You are clearly an expert on paleoclimate and I don’t claim to be one. So what do you think is the earth’s thermostat control if any ?
    1. CO2
    2. H2O
    3 .Some combination of the two

    Yes thermal expansion of the oceans must lead to a rise in sea level, and indeed the last interglacial was 6m higher than now. People also lived on Doggerland 8000 years ago. No-one is denying any physics. We are just trying to use observations to compare to model predictions.

    @VTB: AR5:

    1901 —————————————-2010 1.7+- 0.2
    1971————–2010 2.0+-0.3
    1993-2010 3.2+-0.4 – satellite era

    The periods quoted overlap each other and the statistically significant reading is the last one measured by satellite. Based on that last figure sea level rise has apparently increased by nearly 50% just over the last 7 years. The satellite era data alone however fit exactly to a straight line and show no acceleration – see: http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/newsroom/featurearchive/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=379

    These are just observations and not intended to disprove anything.

  196. John Hartz says:

    When cornered, climate denier drones like Kdk33 resort to play-ground games and rhetoric in order to cling to their ideologically driven psuedo-science beliefs. For knowledgable people to continue to engage Ksk33 is a waste of their time and energy. If he continues to spread poppycock on this thread, i say, “Put it into the garbage can\ where it belongs.”

  197. izen says:

    In the interest of maintaining the recursive references,

    http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/504181/1/1-s2.0-S0921818113002750-main.pdf
    “We then recursively combine the two closest stations within a region (by averaging their
    records) into a new virtual station half-way between them until only
    one station remains in the region. This last remaining virtual station
    represents the mean sea level for the entire region.
    …The error e is considered as a measurement error when a virtual station is merged with another station in the next step in the recursion.”

    The reconstruction of sea level graphed in fig3 might give strength to the ‘no acceleration’ claim, but I was puzzled by the apparent massive drop in sea level between about 1850-1860. Is that nearly 10cm in a decade?!
    And then it … ‘recovers’ by 1900 implying a rapid rise rate comparable to present claims.

    What was happening then or is this some artefact of limited samples and GIA modelling for that time period?

  198. kdk33 says:

    I’ve very clearly pointed to the data and the calculation and the conclusion. You are free to educate yourselves. Or not.

    No games. Just math.

  199. BBD says:

    kdk33

    Please stop playing evasive games and answer the questions you have now dodged twice:

    Are you arguing that:

    1. There is no greenhouse effect, so future emissions will cause no further warming?

    2. There is a greenhouse effect but future warming will not cause water to expand?

  200. kdk33,
    Where? Just link back to your comment where you did this. I looked and I can’t find it. Also, you could answer BBD’s question. Come on, be more skeptical!

  201. AnOilMan says:

    kdk33: Climateball! Only its more like a Dodge Ball fail with kdk33 getting smacked repeatedly.

    kdk33, could you ask someone who’s better at Climate Ball to come out and play. You’re not very good at it.

    Anyways, here’s the sea level CURVE; It takes off after WWII.

    I’m surprised kdk33 hasn’t tried the duck argument. No matter how high the sea level goes, its only half way to a ducks butt. It makes just as much sense as anything else he says.

  202. BBD says:

    Mods

    I have just reviewed the entire thread and can’t see this:

    I’ve very clearly pointed to the data and the calculation and the conclusion.

    kdk33’s first comment on this thread on sea level rise is at June 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm where you make the misleading claims that sea level rise is linear “[a]nd not fast enough to matter”.

    At June 25, 2014 at 8:19 am he says:

    Sea level rise is not accelerating. It doesn’t matter what is written in magazines. It is in the data. According to C&W, SLR has been decelerating since about 1935. It is tricky to make “not accelerating” be consistent with “accelerating”. But climate science is tricky business.

    BTW, and if memory serves, IPCC estimates for sea level rise are around 1 meter by 2100 AD, so SLR would have to average 12mm/yr between now and then, so would be 21 mm/yr at close of century so the acceleration would have to be… well, a lot. Suffice it to say there is a lot of sea level silliness.

    Have fun storming the castle.

    I think kdk33 is being disingenuous and evasive. I also would like straight answers to the questions kdk33 is refusing to even acknowledge, never mind answer.

    Any chance you could bring a little enforcement to bear on this matter?

  203. KR says:

    kdk33 – You’ve dropped a couple of references to “C&W” without explaining who/what you are talking about. In short, you haven’t supported anything you’ve said in regards to sea level. Perhaps you could fully state your reference?

    It sounds like you are discussing something like the (debunked) Houston and Dean 2011 paper, where they inappropriately took their acceleration values from quadratic fits, which don’t match reality, the ‘S’ shape of both 20th century temperatures and sea level accelerations. They claimed no acceleration since 1930, and due to an inappropriate fitting function they are quite wrong.

    In short, you have not pointed to the data or the calculation or the conclusion (yet), I await an actual reference. And, quite frankly, I suspect it’s another instance of inappropriately measuring acceleration.

  204. BBD,
    Well, if kdk33 is referring to this

    BTW, and if memory serves, IPCC estimates for sea level rise are around 1 meter by 2100 AD, so SLR would have to average 12mm/yr between now and then, so would be 21 mm/yr at close of century so the acceleration would have to be… well, a lot. Suffice it to say there is a lot of sea level silliness.

    That’s just a ballpark estimates which he/she seems to conclude just seems implausible. Just for interest, I did the calculation (properly I think) and to reach 1m by 2100 the acceleration would have to be (assuming constant acceleration) 0.14mm/yr/yr and the rate in 2100 would be 17mm/yr. According the Realclimate post highlighted by DumbSci, 0.14mm/yr/yr is already within the 2 σ confidence interval.

  205. I did the math by calculating trends and accelerations for Church and White 2011 reconstructed sea level data. This PDF was made using my R code which accounts for autocorrelation- the red lines are 2 sigma uncertainties. The trends and accelerations all end at 2009.5 but their starting years vary to avoid cherry-picking a particular starting year. (Hint, hint.)

    The second page shows that the best-fit acceleration is positive for all starting years. That’s because sea level rise is accelerating, as shown in VTG’s AR5 quotes and as shown in the RealClimate article I linked earlier. That second page also shows why contrarians cherry-pick 1935, because that’s the point with the lowest acceleration, even though it’s likely still positive.

    Conclusion: anyone who claims that “According to C&W, SLR has been decelerating since about 1935” should retract their misinformation. Or do the math themselves.

  206. @DumbSci,
    That’s brilliant. I’m sure kdk33 will be suitably impressed.

  207. Thanks ATTP. Your optimism is adorable.

  208. John Hartz says:

    His/her posting history suggests that Kdk33 will now lay low for a significant chunk of time

    Do not be surprised if David Young soon returns to continue the spreading of the climate deniers’ unique mixture of pseudo-science poppycock.

    Yes, I am in a “Take no prisoners!” mode today.

  209. AnOilMan says:

    Don’t we warrant better sock puppets?

  210. kdk33 says:

    Wow. A taker. Thank you DS!

    I’ll be generous and go with your R-code. It’s much more fancier and sciency than my spreadsheet.

    Thank you for demonstrating the since about 1920 SLR acceleration has been indistinguishable from zero. And I think we can agree that 0.01 mm/yr2 is hardly alarming, which is round abouts what people tend to report, IIRC.

    ATTP, consider that the intervals goes a long way down, as well as up at these late dates.

    Now, DS, you do seem to suggest that SLR is accelerating out of control, which is hard to reconcile with the satellite data. But I’ll wait patiently for your go at that.

    Can you have a go at Ray and Dougas while you are at it? I’d be curious to see the R treatment for that data set.

    And I do commend that you bothered to read my comments and act on my challenge.

    Thank You!

  211. BBD says:

    Thanks DumbSci, for rebutting kdk33’s incessant misrepresentation on this point.

  212. kdk33,

    Thank you for demonstrating the since about 1920 SLR acceleration has been indistinguishable from zero.

    Rubbish. What graph are you looking at?

    Now, DS, you do seem to suggest that SLR is accelerating out of control

    No he doesn’t. Don’t play strawman.

    And I do commend that you bothered to read my comments and act on my challenge.

    Has anyone ever called you an arrogant [Mod : redacted]?

    You truly are a tedious and ignorant individual. I have no great interest in wasting time with people who can’t even understand this basic stuff. Either try harder, or go away.

  213. BBD says:

    kdk33

    Mind-boggling that you continue to push your misrepresentations about SLR but I will leave that to the moderators.

    * * *

    Please respond to these questions now.

    Are you arguing that:

    1. There is no greenhouse effect, so future emissions will cause no further warming?

    2. There is a greenhouse effect but future warming will not cause water to expand?

  214. Again, anyone who claims that “According to C&W, SLR has been decelerating since about 1935″ should retract their misinformation. But since (as we’ve just seen) contrarians are incapable of retracting misinformation, they should probably answer BBD’s questions instead. I certainly have no interest in bashing my head against that wall again.

  215. pbjamm says:

    kdk33 : Ignorance is strength! When the facts are against you create your own. Next try redefining some words to mean what you want them to.

  216. kdk33 says:

    Sigh… I did try to be nice and accept the R-code.

    For ultimate proof that there is no acceleration in C&W data since 1935, simply read the “cherry pick” link in DS 4:35. The pictures are great – residuals plot and everything. Just ignore the text, which is nonsense.

    The more astute readers (and lurkers) will draw the proper conclusion.

  217. Tamino’s plots (especially this one) are calculated just like mine. They show that the best-fit acceleration is positive for all starting years, and visually show why contrarians cherry-pick 1935. Even though that starting year still yields a positive best-fit acceleration. Even though, once again, physics tells us why this happens.

    Once again, anyone who claims that “According to C&W, SLR has been decelerating since about 1935″ should retract their misinformation. But since (as we’ve just seen) contrarians are incapable of retracting misinformation, they should answer BBD’s questions instead.

  218. kdk33,
    Sigh, shame and people don’t appreciate your efforts. I wonder why? Maybe because condescending and wrong is a good deal more irritating than condescending and right.

  219. pbjamm says:

    kdk33 please do the math for us less astute readers. I need it spelled out for me so no more beating around the bush with implied errors. Please be specific.

  220. John Hartz says:

    Please note that we have dialogued with two versions of “kdlk33″ on this thread. At the outset,”Kdk33” posted comments. Now “kdk33” is posting comments. Hmm?

  221. BBD says:

    I don’t mind what he logs on as so long as the screen name is consistent.

    Evasiveness, on the other hand, is irritating.

  222. kdk33 must be related to Eunice. Eunice didn’t understand that a positive growth rate equalled acceleration. kdk33 apparently thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to only look at the lower bound of the uncertainties.

    I’m not sure what one can do faced with determined ignorance. I often suspect that it’s intentional, but that may not be charitable or accurate. I mean there are people who simply are not equipped with the proper skill set to interpret a chart or a series of numbers; they’re numerically illiterate. If they trust what a denier tells them they simply cannot see for themselves that they’ve been sold a pile of BS.

  223. David Young says:

    Dumb Sci, I still don’t get why this is such a big issue for so many people. Well, I understand it, but its not a scientific reason. There is disagreement in the community and overall its controversial. So why not just say both statements are equally right or equally wrong. That way you don’t have to be so dismissive of someone like Pekka who is worthy of respect I think. Not to mention Karl Wunch who is rather an expert. It’s just such small potatoes. If your case rests on such flimsy foundations, its time to turn in the SkS uniform.

  224. John Hartz says:

    David Young: You blithely assert::

    There is disagreement in the community and overall its controversial.

    What “community” would that be exactly? .

  225. John Hartz says:

    David Young: Who is “Karl Wunch”? i never heard of him.

  226. John Hartz says:

    BBD: I do bleieve that there are two persons using the “kdk33” moniker. I came to that conclusion beofre noticing the small “k” and cpiatal “K” difference.

  227. AnOilMan says:

    John Hartz: I think its Mullet Season.

  228. John Hartz – I believe he means Carl Wunsch, famously taken out of context in the documentaryThe Great Global Warming Swindle

  229. John Hartz says:

    David Young: Upstream you rather blithely stated:

    With regard to sea level rise, I found the following plot. If you squint you can say “its accelerating.” But one could also say that over the last 100 years its been pretty linear. Perhaps both are right and both are wrong.

    A person of your self-proclaimed technical expertisxe might conclude that the scale of the graphic does not allow the eye-chrometer to make an accurate assessment and prusue other graphic techniques or alternative ways of properly determing the trends.

  230. John Hartz says:

    Kevin O’ Neill: I presumed that to be the case but I did want to see david Young eat crow. One would assume that a commenter who brags about his technical prowess would be very careful to spell a prominent scientists name correctly.

  231. Rachel M says:

    I’m pretty sure kdk33 and Kdk33 are the same person. However kdk33 has just been banned so I would prefer we refrain from discussing him/her since he/she can no longer respond.

    I’d also prefer commenters to comment using one email address if possible and make it a legitimate one.

  232. JasonB says:

    DY:

    So why not just say both statements are equally right or equally wrong.

    Because they aren’t. Isn’t that a good enough reason?

  233. What’s interesting about this thread is that I thought this post would be uncontroversial. Take some very basic information and illustrate that (despite what some people claim) it is quite likely that feedbacks are operating (and that they’re comparable to the anthropogenic forcings). However, rather than simply accept what the post was trying to illustrate, we’ve ended up in a long argument about whether sea level rise is accelerating or not. In addition to those who claim it’s not showing their complete lack of understanding of basic data analysis, it also shows that they’d rather find something to dispute than simply acknowledge what was originally being illustrated. Why would that be?

  234. ATTP,

    The qualitative background to your post is not controversial, but your specific argument may require more accurate data than we really have. The question of circular data must also be looked at carefully as some of the input to the argument may actually be dependent on methods that introduce circularity.

    I’m not sure of the severity of these problems, but the way you presented the argument does not discuss these points carefully enough.

  235. Pekka,

    The qualitative background to your post is not controversial, but your specific argument may require more accurate data than we really have.

    But I don’t have a specific argument. The whole point of the post was to be broadly qualitative. Take the current data and show that it is likely/probable that feedbacks are operating. Yes, you could select more accurate data. Yes, you could do an error analysis. Yes, you could even find a set of values for which there are no feedbacks operating. None of that changes that they probably are.

    The question of circular data must also be looked at carefully as some of the input to the argument may actually be dependent on methods that introduce circularity.

    Well, I think this is fairly obviously not true. The argument requires two numbers – change in surface temperature and current planetary energy imbalance. No circularity there. It also needs an estimate for the relationship between change in outgoing flux and change in surface temperature. There are a number of ways to get this. Work backwards from the greenhouse effect or use radiative transfer models. Both give about the same result. Again, no real circularity there.

    I’m not sure of the severity of these problems, but the way you presented the argument does not discuss these points carefully enough.

    Because I wasn’t trying to. Because discussing all of this in more detail is not going to change the conclusion that feedbacks probably are operating. Carefully enough is in the eye of the beholder. A back-of-the-envelope calculation is just a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Just because one could do the calculation much more carefully, doesn’t change what the back-of-the-envelope calculation is trying to illustrate.

    As far as I’m concerned, if you think the broad conclusions of this post are wrong (i.e., that feedbacks are not operating) then please explain why. If you just think the calculation could be done more accurately and in more detail then why bother telling me that. It’s self-evidently true. As I may have mentioned before, this is just a blog. It’s not peer-reviewed.

  236. ATTP,

    We have the same situation again. I do consider your conclusion to be very likely correct i.e. I do believe that feedbacks are operating, but I have doubts about your argument. I’m not convinced that your argument gives much support for that conclusion.

    Almost every time I end up in arguing with others on this site the situation is similar. Some specific argument is presented as giving strong evidence for something (or at least presented in a way that most interpret as a claim for strong evidence). The “something” is typically supported by a large variety of arguments whose total evidential power is rather strong. For that reason it’s very likely to be correct, but the particular argument presented in the post or in the comments is in my judgment weak or presented without sufficient justification. It’s part of the large set of evidence, but taken alone too weak to prove much.

    I’m not satisfied with probably correct conclusions, when a piece of evidence is discussed. I insist that the piece of evidence must be presented correctly as well, and it’s evidential power analyzed carefully enough to judge, how strong it is.

  237. JasonB says:

    From a physical point of view, how could the feedbacks not be operating?

    WV is a feedback — in the short term, probably the most important. We have direct measurements of the change in absolute humidity since the 70s that confirm it is operating as we would expect. But even without those measurements, how could it not? Temperature has risen, WV responds to temperature, ergo…

    Albedo is also a feedback. We’ve obviously got melting ice, particularly in the Arctic, exposing more open water, which absorbs more light than ice does. (The increase in ice cover in the Antarctic doesn’t compensate, even without taking into account relative change in areas, because the Arctic ice loss is occurring in the summer when the sun is at a maximum, while the Antarctic ice gain is occurring in the winter when the sun is at a minimum.) Again, how could it not be operating?

    (On the other hand, we’ve got increased desertification, and deserts have a higher albedo than forests do, so that’s a negative feedback that should be operating as well.)

    It seems like it would be pretty odd to argue that feedbacks aren’t operating, as if they’re waiting for some sort of official go-ahead to say it’s OK to start acting now. Very odd.

  238. Pekka,

    I’m not convinced that your argument gives much support for that conclusion.

    Then please explain why. The argument is simple. It was intended to be simple. There’s nothing wrong with simple. If you think it’s simple and wrong, could you explain why. There are only about 3 steps in the argument. If you think something’s wrong, please do more than simply suggesting so because you have some kind of gut feeling that it might not be right.

    Almost every time I end up in arguing with others on this site the situation is similar. Some specific argument is presented as giving strong evidence for something (or at least presented in a way that most interpret as a claim for strong evidence).

    Often the argument involves people agreeing with what you’re saying while you continue to argue. Also, who said strong. From what I’ve seen, a major problem is that you don’t actually read what people write, but choose to interpret what they say so as to present some kind of counter-argument. It might help if you actually read what people said more carefully.

    I insist that the piece of evidence must be presented correctly as well, and it’s evidential power analyzed carefully enough to judge, how strong it is.

    You and your high horse again. Our discussions would be much more fruitful if you didn’t present yourself as some kind of arbitrer of scientific good practice. If everyone insisted on what they wanted, nothing would ever get achieved. In my opinion, a major issue in debates around this topic are those who think they know right from wrong and insist that everyone behaves according to their moral standard. It’s both rather tedious and rather insulting.

  239. Pekka,
    In fact, I’ll ask you a simple question. Try and be a physicist. Given the following : surface temperatures increase by 1K. OHC and other system heat uptake suggests a planetary energy imbalance of 0.5 Wm-2. Anthropogenic forcings increase by 2 Wm-2. Are feedbacks operating? Yes, or no. And you can take yes to mean “probably” rather than “definitely”. If no, why not? And this isn’t meant to be a trick question.

  240. ATTP,

    My point has essentially been that the argument should be presented with error analysis, and ´checking carefully that the values and error estimates are independent, because non-independence might mean that a circular argument is used.

    Comments of this thread tell, where the problems might arise.

    If it would be so easy to determine the feedbacks, it would also be easy to present reliable and relatively accurate estimates of climate sensitivity, but the uncertainty ranges and somewhat conflicting results prove that no single argument can tell reliably the climate sensitivity. Based on this observation it seem certain that your argument must have weaknesses.

  241. Pekka,
    As I’ve tried to explain, this was meant to be a very simple, easy to understand calculation that used values that should not be (broadly speaking) disputed. This wasn’t intended to be the final word. I notice that you haven’t answered my simple question. Yes, there are uncertainties in all of these values. Yes, that does mean that the actual value could be very different (that’s why I added a comment about the aerosol forcing, for example). However, even a more detailed calculation would give the same basic result. Just look at Otto et al. (2013) if you want to.

    If it would be so easy to determine the feedbacks, it would also be easy to present reliable and relatively accurate estimates of climate sensitivity, but the uncertainty ranges and somewhat conflicting results prove that no single argument can tell reliably the climate sensitivity. Based on this observation it seem certain that your argument must have weaknesses.

    As I’ve already explained, there are many ways to do something. We’ve had this discussion before. I’ll explain it carefully again. Just because someone doesn’t do something the way you think it should be done, doesn’t mean that they’ve done it the wrong way. I wrote this post this way for a reason. I wrote it to try and illustrate something very simple. I make no apologies for doing that. I fully accept that there are uncertainties in these numbers and that the actual values could be different. That doesn’t mean that the calculation done here is wrong or that it is not illustrating the point I was trying to make.

    Can I ask you a favour. When you next write a comment, can you please make sure that you’ve actually read the post, or the comment to which you’re responding. That you try to understand words like “probably”, “likely”, “maybe”. That when I use a phrase like (this is all going to be ballpark numbers so let’s not quibble over a few tenths here and there) that I’m trying to send a message that this is a simple back-of-the-envelope calculation and not some definitive final answer. That when I add caveats at the end of the post, that they’re there to accept that there are complications that I haven’t addressed. That when I respond to one of your comments by saying “I agree” that you don’t then repeat your criticism in the next comment. I’m quite happy for you to add caveats through the comments. That’s fine. I’m, however, not going to rewrite the whole post just because you think I should have done it differently. Also, can you look up the term “high-horse”. I really think you should try and understand it because until you do, our discussions are not going to go well.

    What would also help is that if you have a criticism that it’s somewhat stronger than “maybe you should have done it differently”.

    I’ll also repeat my question and I’ll ask that you answer it. Imagine you’re a student doing a physics exam. I’ve also changed it a little and remember that these numbers are illustrative and not exact.

    Assume that there was no planetary energy imbalance in the mid 1800s. Since then, surface temperatures have increased by 1K and anthropogenic forcings have increased by 2 Wm-2. OHC and other system heat uptake suggests a planetary energy imbalance – today – of 0.5 Wm-2. Determine the net change in radiative forcing since the mid-1800s and comment on whether feedbacks are operating or not. You may discuss caveats and uncertainties if you wish.

  242. ATTP,

    Your post is about the real world, it’s not of the type:

    Assume that the following values are true and exact. What would that imply?

    You present a list of alternatives, but that’s not presented saying:

    Actually the input in my calculation is too uncertain to justify the conclusion. There are other arguments as well that support the same conclusion. Therefore the calculation is likely basically correct, even if this data cannot prove that,

    That’s the view I have on the situation.

  243. Pekka,

    If it would be so easy to determine the feedbacks, it would also be easy to present reliable and relatively accurate estimates of climate sensitivity, but the uncertainty ranges and somewhat conflicting results prove that no single argument can tell reliably the climate sensitivity. Based on this observation it seem certain that your argument must have weaknesses.

    I’ll add something about this and maybe illustrate how you can contribute positively. What you’ve said is true. The range of possible climate sensitivities does indeed suggest that accurately determining the feedback response is not possible. To be clear, I wasn’t trying to do that (I was doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation using values close to those regarded as most likely). However, virtually all estimates suggest an ECS greater than 1K. Therefore all estimates suggests that feedbacks are operating and are positive. That is another way of saying what I was trying to say. Do you disagree with that?

  244. Pekka,
    A bit of give and take maybe? Is that not possible? You’re just unable to see things any other way than the way you see them? Well, my post was intended to be about the real world. I was using values close to those regarded as most likely. Yes, maybe I could have added some more caveats and made clearer that there are uncertainties associated with these and that it was intended to be illustrative rather than exact. Some of us aren’t perfect.

    I notice you still haven’t answered my question. But, to be honest, I no longer really care. It seems that I’m unable to live up to your exacting standards. Why don’t we agree on the following? When I write a post, you can write a comment with all your criticisms – so that others can read them – and I’ll then ignore you? That’s probably the best option.

  245. verytallguy says:

    Pekka on his requirements for evidence from ATTP:

    I insist that the piece of evidence must be presented correctly as well, and it’s evidential power analyzed carefully enough to judge, how strong it is.

    Pekka on sea level rise:

    the sea level has been rising by a comparable rate longer than AGW has contributed much to it

    The evidence on sea level rise (AR5):

    Proxy and instrumental sea level data indicate a transition in the late 19th to the early 20th century from relatively low mean rates of rise over the previous two millennia to higher rates of rise

    Pekka on his requirements on evidence from himself:

    I don’t think that it’s a requirement for commenting here that rechecking literature is done before every comment.

    Pekka’s acknowledgement that the rate of sea level rise now is not comparable to pre AGW:

    Pekka, I’ve read many comments from you in various places on climate blogs, and you’ve almost always seemed very reasonable and knowledgeable. You’re not giving that impression in the last couple of threads here.

  246. VTG,

    Pekka, I’ve read many comments from you in various places on climate blogs, and you’ve almost always seemed very reasonable and knowledgeable. You’re not giving that impression in the last couple of threads here.

    I get the feeling that maybe I’ve annoyed Pekka and he’s just trying to wind me up.

  247. VTG and ATTP,

    I must say that I’m often surprised on the way discussion develops here from my comments. The general attitude of most contributing to this site is rather uniform. I perceive some weakness in an argument (either in the post or in a comment). I point that out thinking that what I write will be understood and accepted as I haven’t thought that what I write would be really controversial, rather it indicates a possible lapse in thinking that develops easily in a uniform environment.

    But the response is not what I expected. That leads me to defend my comment. Trying to make that concise enough may result in somewhat blunt formulation – and that’s even more likely in foreign language. When argument develops in that way it starts to feel heated, perhaps largely, because each of the participants has a different overall picture of the situation and writes assuming implicitly and erroneously that others see the context in the same way. When the context is seen differently the comments may also get interpreted and judged very differently.

    There seem to be something different in my way of organizing thoughts than in the way of many who contribute here. That grows to problems (if we really have problems) on a site, where others share something foreign to my thinking. This site is not at all extreme in that, but there’s something of that here as well.

    Of all climate related sites Science of Doom is the most analytic in approach in my view, and the one where I feel most at home. Here I get too often the feeling that out of equally good (or weak) arguments those in the right direction are readily approved while the opposing ones are not read attempting to figure out, whether they present actually valid points or not. (What does “equally good or bad” mean here is, of course, only my personal judgment, but we all depend on personal judgements.)

  248. ATTP,

    I have (and cannot have) anything against you personally.

    I may have some ideas of, how this site could be even better, perhaps not as proposals of what to do, but rather of what to avoid. These are largely nuances, but nuances make a difference.

    I don’t know, what the full readership of this site is like (including those who only read), but being careful on nuances may make a major effect on getting readers not locked previously to a particular set of views. Those readers might be most valuable in case you wish to maximize the change that your writings have an actual effect.

  249. clivebest says:

    I agree with Pekka.

    ATTP you are getting a little too sensitive. It would seem that any minor comment that is even slightly critical gets rubbished.
    However, the point that was trying to be made is that there still remain multiple uncertainties. So my answer to your question: Are feedbacks operating? Is: YES very likely

    as follows:
    1. CO2 Radiative forcing is 5.3 ln(C/C0). Levels are now 400ppm compared to pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm so RF = 5.3 ln(400/280) = 1.9 W/m2. (agrees with AR5 forcings)

    2. Temperatures have risen since pre-industrial times by 0.8 ± 0.05C resulting in an increase of outgoing surface IR of 2.8 ± 0.2 W/m2

    3. What we observe from OHC data is an energy excess of 0.5 ± 0.3 watts/m2 (heating the deep oceans) in addition to the 2.8 ± 0.2 W/m2 . This results in a net observed extra forcing (with feedbacks) of 3.3 ± 0.4 W/m2

    Therefore feedbacks have very likely been in operation since the industrial revolution at a level of 1.4 ± 0.4 W/m2. This equates to net feedback of 1.7 ± 0.5 W/m2/dg.C

  250. KR says:

    Pekka – Just an observation on your comments, take it for what you will.

    You agree with the general outlines of AGW, of feedbacks, and the greenhouse effect. However, in any discussion where a particular line of evidence is discussed, you seem to claim that the uncertainties on that evidence are so high as to invalidate it. In other words, you appear to accept the whole while decrying the components. When that is unsupportable (as in the case of sea level rise, where thermal expansion is basic physics and uncertainties on the remainder constrained by multiple measurements) your insistence on uncertainty and unwillingness to accept any particular piece of evidence is quite frankly difficult to understand. And frustrating to see repeated in light of what ATTP and others have presented.

  251. John Hartz says:

    Why am I not surprised that Clive Best agrees with Peeka Pirilä?

  252. John Hartz says:

    Peeka Pirilä: How certain are you about your concerns of uncertainty?

  253. verytallguy says:

    Pekka,

    Here I get too often the feeling that out of equally good (or weak) arguments those in the right direction are readily approved while the opposing ones are not read attempting to figure out, whether they present actually valid points or not.

    Pekka, I have some sympathy with this point of view. In an ideal world we would all approach these threads as an opportunity to ask questions and learn rather than push a particular viewpoint. I know I often don’t manage that myself, but I do try.

    In this spirit, I’ve learned whilst engaging in this thread that there has been a step change in sea level rise pre and post industrialisation. I wasn’t aware of that before.

    You have been very clear about how strong your ethical views are in both this thread and the consensus thread. I have been very surprised in the light of this
    – That you have avoided acknowledging facts once demonstrated on this thread
    – That you were so quick and so strong in you condemnation of the motives of others on the consensus thread

    Doing less of these might result in a better interaction.

  254. verytallguy says:

    clivebest

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/a-new-logo-for-the-gwpf/

    Could I suggest you respond there before continuing here? It would only take a moment.

  255. John Hartz says:

    Peeka Pirilä: In your opinion, which components of climate science can be accepted with absolute certainty?

  256. verytallguy says:

    Aaaargh!

    Clive, my apologies, I had you mixed up with Warren Pearce. mea culpa.

    At least I was polite 🙂

    btw in your post I think point (1) is a TOA balance, so is not consistent with point (2) which is at the surface.

  257. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Peeka Pirilä’s modus operandi reminds me of a Catholic priest piously going down the aisle sprinkiling his congregants with Holy Water. In Pirilä’s case, however, he piously sprinkles us with uncertainty. Taken as a whole, his comments do not add value to this thread, nor to the other threads he has posted on.

  258. clivebest says:

    @verrytallguy

    My original point was that OHC is measured below the surface yet then applied to TOA. Similarly CO2 forcing is calculated at the TOA and then applied to the surface – DT = DS/4.epsilon.sigma T^3 . Ideally everything would be measured by satellite by detecting small changes in 15 micron emissions and H2O emissions. I don’t want to reopen this though!

  259. Pekka,
    I have no personal issues with you either. I think you’re very knowledgeable. Your comment, however, rather illustrates why we don’t communicate particularly well. I write these post reasonably quickly. I try to be careful and to add caveats and uncertainties. If someone thinks I’ve made a mistake (that they can actually demonstrate) they’re welcome to point it out in the comments. If someone would like to add something that provides a more thorough illustration of the topic, they’re also welcome. However, numerous comments which are essentially suggesting that you would have written the post differently or might manage this blog differently aren’t particularly helpful. I’m not really looking for advice. If you want to specifically correct something that I’ve written, feel free. If you want to add something to make it clearer or more informative, feel free. I’m not looking for advice about this blog. I write what I want, when I want, how I want. Corrections to the content are fine. Corrections to the style, not so welcome.

    Clive,

    ATTP you are getting a little too sensitive. It would seem that any minor comment that is even slightly critical gets rubbished.

    Possibly, but maybe your comment is another illustration. Perfectly fine comment. It’s a more thorough illustration of what I was trying to do here, but I was – intentionally – trying to keep it nice and simple (and I can chose to do so if I wish). You’ve shown more clearly why feedbacks are probably/(very likely) operating. So, why isn’t it reasonable to expect people to do as you’ve just done? I don’t think I’ve actually rubbished what Pekka’s said. I’ve got rather annoyed with his chosen style. I can’t remember how many times I’ve essentially agreed with what he said. However, I’m not going to rewrite a post just because one commenter thinks I should have written it differently, and I fail to see how that isn’t entirely reasonable.

  260. clivebest,

    Ideally everything would be measured by satellite by detecting small changes in 15 micron emissions and H2O emissions. I don’t want to reopen this though!

    I would like to reopen this, because you haven’t responded to my earlier comment. If we can estimate/measure the change in energy in a system, then we can use that to determine the flux of energy into the system. That seems trivially true. Therefore why would you argue that we should ideally be measuring the TOA energy imbalance directly. This doesn’t make sense to me, so I would quite like it if you clarified.

  261. verytallguy says:

    OHC is a rough approximation to theheat stored in the whole climate system (most heat is in the ocean)

    TOA defines the boundary of the whole climate system.

    So the two are in that sense measuring the same thing.

    An energy balance at the surface however also needs to include flows *internal* to the climate system such as convection, evaporation and back radiation, so is quite different.

    The famous Trenberth energy diagram shows this with, counterintuitively, more energy radiated from the surface than the planet receives from the sun!

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=865

  262. verytallguy says:

    previous comment was response to clivebest 2:41

  263. John Hartz says:

    Hot off the press…

    Conservatives Don’t Deny Climate Science Because They’re Ignorant. They Deny It Because of Who They Are. by Chris Mooney, Mother Jones, June 27, 2014

    Did Mooney have David Young in mind when he wrote this article?

  264. clivebest says:

    It could be that the increase in OHC below 700m is a slow transition to a new stable temperature profile compatible with previous increases surface temperature. In this case the extra heat will never resurface unless surface temperatures eventually decrease again. CO2 forcing is the reduction in OLR from TOA and global warming is the response of the surface temperature needed to rebalance radiation at the TOA. The oceans are a vast reserve of heat energy slowing surface response but also introducing complex dynamics which we(I) do not understand so IMHO IMHO it is simplistic to interpret OHC just as missing energy.

  265. clivebest,
    Please think about this a little more. As far as I’m concerned if we measure the energy in the system and observe it to change with time, then there must be a flux into or out of the system. That should be indisputable.

    IMHO it is simplistic to interpret OHC just as missing energy.

    Nobody’s interpreting the OHC as missing energy. This is a really simple point. All that’s being said is that if we can determine the change in the energy in the system then that is a measure of the flux into the system. Since the OHC takes up 90% of any energy excess it – by itself – is a reasonable indicator of the flux.

    I think you should give this a little more thought, because it partly seems as though you’re interpreting what people are saying incorrectly.

  266. VTG,

    I have explained what I meant by comparable in the case of earlier and more recent rate of increase in sea level. The word was probably the best one to convey what I wanted to say. Some other expressions may also allow for a range of interpretations, but I don’t know about errors.

    I haven’t followed the discussion all the time, and coming back after an interruption I may have missed something, but I really don’t know about erroneous statements that I should admit as wrong or even on statements that I should explain more than I have already done.

  267. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I regret posting the three questions I posted earlier today. They were too smarmy and not consistent with your desire to keep the discussion civil. Please delete the thre posts and this one if you like.

  268. John H.,
    I wouldn’t worry. There’s things I’ve said on this thread that I’d probably rather I hadn’t. We don’t get it right all the time, or even much of time sometimes 🙂

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