Gavin Schmidt on advocacy

Given that Gavin’s paper on what climate scientists should advocate for? has been published, I thought I would be lazy and simply reblog the short post I wrote when the video of his talk, at the AGU meeting in 2013, came out. I note that this paper has also been discussed at Bishop Hill, producing one of the saner comment threads I’ve seen there for a very long time.

...and Then There's Physics

Gavin Schmidt presenting the Stephen Schneider lecture at the recent AGU meeting is now available on youtube, so I thought would post it here. Gavin has posted it himself at RealClimate and the comments there are worth a read. Andy Revkin has an article about it at the New York Times. Bart Verheggen and Judith Curry have also discussed Gavin’s lecture.

Given how much has been written about this topic, I won’t say much more. I’ve listened to most of Gavin’s lecture and I think it is very good and that he makes a number of very good points. Maybe the most interesting thing I discovered, though, is that Gavin Schmidt appears to be British 🙂

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217 Responses to Gavin Schmidt on advocacy

  1. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: The fact thsat you spend time reading comments at Bishop Hill explains a lot – at least to me. 🙂

  2. JH, ohh, I know. It can be addictive. It’s hard not to go back just to see what else they can come up with. To be fair, though, I was trying to be complimentary since the comment thread about Gavin’s paper is at least reasonable, which is a nice change. I like to give credit when credit is due 🙂

  3. entropicman says:

    ATTP

    You have been spending too long at Bishop Hill. His comment, and those of his commenters, are reasonable by Bishop Hill standards, but not by any objective standard. Since when were Ad Homs reasonable?

  4. EM,
    I did say “saner”, but it has got worse since I first looked.

    I’ve largely stopped commenting there, so I do largely agree with your view. I do think it is a truly shocking site and that Andrew Montford should be embarrassed by what he promotes and what he allows people to say in the comments. So, maybe I was being too generous, but I was moderately impressed by how that thread started, even if it has degenerated since then.

  5. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Just when you think we’ve seen it all…

    Ted Cruz To Propose Changing The Spelling of ‘Science’ to ‘J-E-S-U-S’ by James Schlarmann, Political Garbage Chute, Jan 6, 2015

  6. > Gavin Schmidt appears to be British

    You think he’s too sexy to be British?

  7. William,
    He does come across as a bit too cool to be British 😉

  8. verytallguy says:

    Gavin’s point about perceived advocacy being unavoidable is interesting and he also makes it clear that assuming others share the same values is dangerous.

    We have, of course, previously been here before with Judith Curry’s advocacy journey, it’s theory

    http://judithcurry.com/2013/12/22/rethinking-climate-advocacy/

    and rather different reality

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/curry-for-dinner/

    It’s also worth exerpting the AAAS paper Gavin references on what is responsible advocacy.

    ■Limit science advocacy to your area(s) of expertise and be clear when you are presenting a personal opinion not based on your formal expertise or professional experience;
    ■Present information clearly and avoid making exaggerated claims;
    ■Be aware of any conflicts of interest – for example, financial interests that you or members of your family have or affiliations with advocacy organizations – and make them clear
    ■Point out the weakness and limitations of your argument, including data that conflict with your recommendations;
    ■Present all relevant scientific data, not just that which supports a particular policy outcome;
    ■Be aware of the impact your advocacy can have on science; and
    ■Make clear when you are speaking as an individual scientist as opposed to acting as a representative of a scientific organization

  9. In my view the points of AAAS are important also for getting your message through.

    When an issue is (in part) controversial and views of the other people may deviate from what you say, it’s very useful to separate personal views from statements that you consider less controversial. If you present all points in the same way, those who don’t agree with everything tend to dismiss all that you say, but when you have told that those points are your personal views on issues where others disagree, then you don’t lose the trust to the same extent. Even those points that you declared more controversial may be accepted more easily, when you have explained that they are not so obvious.

  10. John Hartz says:

    “Citing the late Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climate change scientist who Mann says was one of the earliest victims of such attacks, he adds: ‘[B]eing a scientist-advocate is not an oxymoron. If scientists choose not to engage on matters of policy-relevant science, then we leave a void that will be filled by industry-funded disinformation.’ ”

    “Mann concludes on a note of optimism. ‘We scientists must hold ourselves to a higher standard than the deniers-for-hire,’ he declares. ‘We must be honest as we convey the threat posed by climate change to the public. But we must also be effective. The stakes are simply too great for us to fail to communicate the risks of inaction.’

    Climate Deniers Employ Predatory Tactics in Fight Against Facts: Scientist by Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams, Jan 6, 2015

    Ayer, there’s the rub.

    One side is engaged in a propaganda war while the other side is engaged in a war of reason.

    In addition,

    One side has virtually unlimted financial resources at its disposal, while the other side’s financial resources are constrained.

    No matter how one slices it, Climateball’s playing field is tilted in favor of the advocates of BAU.

  11. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Suggested topic for a futre post…

    Does the ivory tower culture of academia constrain climate scientists from effectrively communciating their findings to others?

  12. John Hartz says:

    In my opinion, the OP and this discussion is somewhat myopic because, like all human beings, climate scientsts do not operate in a vacuum. In other words, it’s going to take a village to create the paradigm shift required to meangfully mitigate manmade climate change in a timely manner.

    The discussion should therefore include how clinmate scientists can partner with others in order to create and sustain the village.

    For example, it may be much more effective to partner climate scientists with communication experts rather than to train them on how to effectively communicate on their own.

    There are other aspects of the role of climate scientists in the broader community that should be discussed as well. For example, James Hansen (to his credit) got into the tenches and rubbed elbows with others when he participated in demonstrations and in civil disobedience. He also partnered with environmental advocacy groups such as 350.org in communicatiung the science.

    The bottom-line: Climate scientists are not an island unto themselves and do not have to bear the weight of the world alone.

  13. BBD says:

    What’s your point, Lucifer? Explain for those of us who have not read the text, please.

  14. Tony Duncan (@tonydunc) – who is also in the video – is a professional juggler and, I think, a friend of Gavin’s.

  15. Hans Erren says:

    as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts

    that’s it.
    the rest is noble cause corruption

  16. Hans,
    Do really believe that we can define every single possible if, and, or but and get everyone to agree that they’re correctly and fully defined? If so, how do we do that?

  17. Andrew Dodds says:

    BBD –

    I believe that his or her point is that a Proud, Independent and Noble thinker of Truthful Thoughts, whilst we are mindlessly baa-ing at each other about Wrong Things. See? Because sheep.

  18. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Re _The Myth of the Rational Voter_: I haven’t read it either, BBD, but the book’s cover and the opening exchange in this interview might help you decide whether to buy it:

    http://freakonomics.com/2012/10/25/we-the-sheeple-full-transcript/

    The cover alludes to ‘sheeple’, a term favoured by authoritarian self-declared anti-authoritarians (e.g. Occupy! and Anonymous supporters writing at Indymedia etc.), and, like our own dear Russell Brandywandy, Caplan says he doesn’t vote.

    Nuff said.

    Tosser.

    (And no, dear tribalists, it doesn’t matter that Freakonomics liked Caplan enough to interview him or that Wikipedia says he is some sort of capitalist and shows him wearing a suit and tie. He endorsed the term ‘sheeple’ and he doesn’t vote. Tosser.)

  19. David Blake says:

    @John Hartz,

    >>”Does the ivory tower culture of academia constrain climate scientists from effectrively communciating their findings to others?”

    Better question:

    “Is academia too left-wing to give a balanced view on politically charged issues, like climate change?”
    I say yes.

  20. Hans Erren says:

    ATTP “we are ethically bound to the scientific method”
    it’s all about ethics innit?

    Scientists know when they are cutting corners, and the truth will come out someday.

  21. David Blake says:

    (again)@ John Hartz..!

    >>”For example, it may be much more effective to partner climate scientists with communication experts”

    Good idea. Failure in that regard is perhaps why I’m a sceptic. Every attempt that I’ve made to try to get a reasonable answer on the (many) issues that I don’t agree with on climate change has just been met with “shut-uppery” rather than an adult talk about the issues. In essence: RealClimate made me a sceptic. The Guardian made me a sceptic. DeSmogBlog made me a sceptic. SKS (definitely) made me a sceptic. Big Oil (definitely) didn’t.

    But, here’s the rub, it’s a democracy. My vote counts as much as yours. To get the population at large to get behind “action” on climate change the climate science community (by which I mean the “team”) will have to convince many millions of people like me that our various doubts/uncertainties/ignorances/awkward-questions, are unfounded. To do that they need to communicate. OPENLY.

    When RealClimate came out I naively throught that it may be an attempt to do exacly that, but as we can see from Gavin’s video, and from my own Shut-Uppery experiences there – I was wrong.

    Open communication is not happening. Anywhere in “team climate”. Whose fault is that?

    To fix it is simple. It means: No more “shut-uppery”. No more censorship. No more deletions of inconvenient posts. No more i.d.i.o.t.i.c. nose-in-the-air *experts* saying they “won’t debate with climate sceptics”. No more saying “we won’t discuss science with you – it’s settled”.

    Can they do that? Do they want to even *try*?

  22. Michael 2 says:

    John Hartz says: “One side is engaged in a propaganda war while the other side is engaged in a war of reason.”

    Agreed. Polar bears falling from the sky seems to be propaganda.

    “One side has virtually unlimted financial resources at its disposal, while the other side’s financial resources are constrained.”

    That’s for sure! The United States earmarks about 28 billion dollars a year, about 7 billion of which is for direct climate studying. NASA’s budget (*) appears to be about 1 billion per year for climate change study. Opposing that is about 100 million dollars of donations to conservatives; but how much of that is actually aimed at climate change skepticism is not clear. (**)

    Global warming advocacy donations to non-governmental organizations exist in vast quantity: “Five environment-specific groups alone raise more than $1.6 billion per year (Greenpeace, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club). All five focus solely on environmental issues and are frequent and prominent advocates for global warming restrictions.” (***)

    * http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/508_2015_Budget_Estimates.pdf

    ** “Charles and David Koch have quietly funneled over $61 million to climate-denial front groups”
    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/koch-industries/

    *** http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2014/01/02/dark-money-funds-to-promote-global-warming-alarmism-dwarf-warming-denier-research/

    Internationally the picture seems even more lopsided. Germany’s climate change budget is enormous while I know of no mitigation opposition emanating from Germany. Page 17 of http://germanwatch.org/klima/gcf10.pdf details 2 billion Euro budget with a year-by-year chart showing the growth of this budget.

  23. Michael 2 says:

    On the topic at hand, yes it is an interesting and thoughtful conversation that is starting to take place.

    I believe some will conflate “honesty” with “correctness”. Honesty is speaking what you believe to be true; but it may actually be in error. Honesty is a character trait, a very desirable but uncommon trait.

    Truth is “what is”. When a person starts projecting, or prophesying, or whatever — it is no longer “truth” nor is it a lie; it hasn’t happened yet.

    I prefer scientists to not be activists. They can be advocates; but not activists; and to me the difference is how much effort a scientist puts into persuading me of something as compared to just her beliefs which, when asked, she provides.

    So if I am a reporter and I go to a glacier to a camp and meet some scientists, and they explain what they are doing there, that’s not advocacy in my opinion; it is just a description of procedures and perhaps results obtained so far.

    If I then say, “what do you think it means?” whatever follows is opinion and possibly advocacy; and still okay unless I sense a desire by the scientist for a particular outcome OR the funding has strings attached, or merely the perception that this might be the case.

    If you play the Koch card, I play the Greenpeace card.

    But what is the result of that game? ALL of science is contaminated! I poison your well, you poison mine; where then shall people go to find uncontaminated science? Is there such a thing? Probably not, and that (IMO) is why only 36 percent of Americans trust scientists. I’m a bit surprised the number is that high. I am really surprised it emanates from the leftwing Huffington Post.

    It should also be obvious that it doesn’t really matter which side spends more; that’s a trivial part of the argument. It is sufficient that “sides” exist. The very existence of sides contaminates science.

  24. toby52 says:

    David Blake,

    You are confusing the Internet and the media with science. There are alternative (and truer) sources of science, such as books and scientific papers. It is your responsibility to inform yourself, not anyone else’s. To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt “No one makes you anything, unless you first consent to it”. I suspect you sought confirmation of your biases, and duly found it.

    Michael2

    “Only 36 percent of Americans trust scientists”? The end of the sentence should include a lot. But only 13% of Americans do not trust scientists at all, with a pronounced skew among Republicans, who are particularly ideologically driven at the moment, when the figures are 20% and 15%.

    One could also argue that scientists would be satisfied with a moderate amount of scepticism (not denial) among the public, especially in the face of the violation of scientific principles perpetrated by Big Pharma and Big Tobacco, before you even get to Big Oil.

    http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/tabs_HP_science_20131209.pdf

    Incidentally, another study shows that Americans rank scientists highly for “competence” (in fact higher than any other profession except Engineer and Doctor), but moderately for “warmth” – which suggests at least some of the “mistrust” arises from the remote and dispassionate approach of scientists, The ghost of Dr Strangelove is still around.

    http://wws.princeton.edu/news-and-events/news/item/scientists-seen-competent-not-trusted-americans

    Overall, Fiske and Dupree’s work shows that climate scientists seem to be less suspect than pure scientists and researchers. In particular, scientists whose jobs involve teaching and communicating may seem warmer and more trustworthy, seeming to show worthy intentions.

  25. izen says:

    It is clever, but inaccurate to classify all actions to respond to climate change threats, whether by adaption or mitigation as climate science advocacy. That is like claiming that the ban of CFCs is advocacy rather than a rational response to the science.

    It is also a little more than disingenuous to count the varios satellite programs as advocacy. The measurements collected by satellites are best explained by AGW, that does not make them advocacy for science or justify including the costs of Earth monitoring research as political advocacy..

  26. I really like Gavin’s article, especially these bits:

    Responsible advocacy must acknowledge that the same scientific conclusions may not lead everyone to the same policies (because values may differ). Assuming that one’s own personal values are universal, or that disagreement on policy can be solved by recourse to facts alone, is a common mistake.

    I think that recognising this would be helpful in a lot of the online discussions about climate change. There’s a lot of heated arguments about (apparently) science and economics, which deep down are probably really about values.

    The next bit is also good:

    Deliberate irresponsibility, by advocates who purposefully obscure their values and who often resort to “science-y” sounding arguments to avoid addressing the real reasons for any disagreement, should be avoided by anyone wishing to remain a credible voice in science.

    Claims along the lines of ‘the science shows that urgent action is needed’ or ‘the science is uncertain so we don’t need to act’ are mixing in values with science.

    It’s interesting re-reading recent threads involving Richard Tol in the light of those points!

  27. Steve Bloom says:

    Ah yes, reality has a well-known liberal bias.

  28. Maybe I should clarify my final remark above. What I mean is, a lot of the recent arguments about Richard’s work on climate economics are probably really about something deeper.

  29. dikranmarsupial says:

    Just in case there was any doubt, there is no more characteristically British way to end an invited talk than “I hope that wasn’t too much of an imposition”! ;o)

    I thought it was an excellent talk. FWIW I am willing to advocate for science and a rational approach to decision making, and that some action to mitigate against climate change is warranted (but not any specific policy as it isn’t a topic on which I am particularly knowledgeable). However I don’t actually advocate for action very frequently on blog discussions as my main interest is in getting the science right, as that is from where rational policy ought to flow. I will talk about it (briefly) if someone asks, but generally it seems to me that it is often brought up in an attempt to stop me from discussing the science. I normally restrict my activities to scientific topics about the carbon cycle, the nature of climate models and statistics (as those are the topics I know something about), but as “the other Gavin” suggests, this is often viewed as advocacy on climate action of some sort. For me the place where values come in is not the science, or the risk assessment, but in deciding on discounting losses that occur elsewhere in time or space. My values (primarily the “golden rule”) suggest that we should discount relatively sparingly.

    Disclaimer: This is my personal view, not those of my employer.

  30. David Blake says:

    @Toby52,
    >>”I suspect you sought confirmation of your biases, and duly found it.”

    I suspect that *everyone* at some stage or another is guilty of that, including you and certain climate scientists. We’re all human. Bias exists in science, we can’t pretend it doesn’t.

  31. Charles Nagy says:

    “That’s for sure! The United States earmarks about 28 billion dollars a year, about 7 billion of which is for direct climate studying. NASA’s budget (*) appears to be about 1 billion per year for climate change study. Opposing that is about 100 million dollars of donations to conservatives; but how much of that is actually aimed at climate change skepticism is not clear. (**)”

    This sort of tosh and false equivalence seems to be what passes for reasoned debate by so called “Skeptics”. It is the kind of simplistic analysis that pervades the denier camp. I would like Michael 2 to conduct his own little experiment. He should just go to his local University (or as many Universities as he likes), and count up the numbers of late model Mercedes or BMW’s in the car parks. If scientists were interested in money, then they would all be working for Wall St. or the Oil companies.

    The reality is that most of the money spent on Climate Science is spent on conducting actual research. Funding the building of experiments, (earth orbiting satellites are particularly expensive), paying for equipment and funding transportation of scientists to particularly inhospitable parts of the world, so they can freeze their butts off collecting ice core samples and the like. All of this generates actual scientific papers which increase the sum total of human knowledge.

    In contrast, the 100 million or so dollars funnelled (mostly anonymously) to various right wing “think” tanks, goes towards disinformation, trying to cast doubt on legitimate scientific research. There is no peer reviewed scientific output, (indeed, any scientific output) from these reactionary organs, just press releases, opinion pieces which appear in Murdoch’s papers (WSJ etc), and TV interviews etc, all seeking to cast doubt on any research which confirms the reality of global warming. These same “think” tanks performed the same function for the cigarette giants as well, remember. So the 100 million or so that Big Oil spends combating legitimate Climate Science is spent all on public relations, not on original research, whilst almost all of the legitimate scientific budget is spent on real science, there being very little left over for any public relations.

    By the way, the Koch brothers tried to fund some real scientific research once, when they funded Richard Muller and BEST. We know how that worked out for them, so I doubt if they will do it again….

    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2012/07/best-the-science-behind-richard-mullers-conversion/

  32. Richard B.,
    Yes, I agree with you that recognising the role that our personal values play in our views about climate policy would clearly be of value 🙂

    Maybe you could clarify, again, what you were getting at with regards to the threads involving Richard Tol. If it’s mainly a difference in values, then that would imply that we’d all accept the broad scientific position, but disagree on what we should do, given that position. If so, why did Richard argue that ocean acidification would only be unprecedented in the last 420000 years (completely misinterpreting his source). Why did he argue that the impact of ocean acidification would be minimal. That appears to be inconsistent with what scientists think the impact of ocean acidification will be?

    Similarly, I could find plenty of examples of those associated with the Global Warming Policy Foundation downplaying, or ignoring, the risks associated with climate change. If it’s just about values, why do they appear to need to do this so as to justify their position. Of course, it could be that it is still a value judgement but that would appear to suggest that their values are inconsistent with physical reality.

    Another issue I have with the values argument is that the position that Richard was taking in his recent article is that we should just aim to get wealthier (help the poor get richer) and that we should be using more coal. If I disagree with that, does that mean I don’t care about the poor? Of course not. It means that I think we can both have economic growth and can address the risks associated with increasing our emissions. So, it’s not a difference in values, it’s a difference of opinion in how we can achieve something (and, as I understand it, there are many economists who argue that we can address poverty and climate change together).

    Of course, if it becomes clear that we cannot address poverty and climate change at the same time, then it would become a value judgement; do we continue to increase our emissions now so as to help the developing world and risk climate disruption later, or do we address climate change now but at the cost of economic growth? Of course, in that case you’d hope those arguing for more coal (Tol, Lomborg, …) would at least acknowledge the risks associated with its increased use which, from what I’ve seen, they won’t.

  33. David Blake,

    We’re all human. Bias exists in science, we can’t pretend it doesn’t.

    I agree with you and that is why I find the arguments about the behaviour of scientists particularly annoying. We all have biases. We’re all going to be influenced by those biases. Arguing that scientists should behave in a particular way so as to hide those biases, just seems silly. What protects us when it comes to science is the scientific method, not the behaviour of specific scientists.

  34. ATTP

    Well I don’t wish to speak for other people, but my impression is that people react against Richard because he makes an economic argument (which, as you said in a later thread, is arguably only part of the story if one also considers biodiversity etc,) and also because he uses his economic case to argue against some aspects of current policy (even though he agrees with the more general issue of decarbonisation). I think Richard does not like argument by consensus and therefore picks apart the 97% stuff as a matter of principle, even though again he agrees with the general ‘mainstream’ view of AGW being real and something that requires a response.

    I also think that several of the parties involved simply just like arguing and are unable to let someone else have the last word 😉

    As for the GWPF, well, they seem to think that the best way to oppose current policy is to present a skewed view on the science. You’ll have to ask them why they think it’s a useful strategy – personally I don’t think they do themselves any favours, but who am I to say?

  35. Richard,

    Well I don’t wish to speak for other people, but my impression is that people react against Richard because he makes an economic argument

    That’s certainly not the reason why I react to what Richard says the way I do, but I feel that explaining why I react the way I do may violate my stated aim of remaining civil 🙂

    I think Richard does not like argument by consensus and therefore picks apart the 97% stuff as a matter of principle

    It’s hard to argue that someone is motivated by principle when their own argument against something is completely wrong. We still haven’t found the 300 abstracts that Richard initially claimed existed and then suggested existed because a small part of each abstract rejected the consensus (the most amazing appeal to a superposition of states that I’ve ever seen). #FreeTheTol300.

    My personal issue with arguing against consensus messaging is that it comes across as an argument against telling the public something that is true. If someone particularly dislikes it, it would seem better to point out that it is true and that we should all accept its existence and move on, than criticise others who use it. That’s my view, though, FWIW.

    I also think that several of the parties involved simply just like arguing and are unable to let someone else have the last word

    Well, yes, this would certainly seem true.

  36. dikranmarsupial says:

    Richard Betts wrote “Richard does not like argument by consensus” the problem with that is that efforts such as TCP are not an attempt at argument by consensus. Nobody as far as I can see is arguing that the science is right because there is a consensus. The value of the consensus is to assist those who don’t have an adequate understanding of the science to form a rational opinion on the science. As William Conolley wrote at RealClimate (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/just-what-is-this-consensus-anyway/)

    We’ve used the term “consensus” here a bit recently (see our earlier post on the subject), without ever really defining what we mean by it. In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – no science depends on it. But it’s useful to record the core that most scientists agree on, for public presentation”

    Note particularly “no science depends on it”.

    It is perfectly reasonable to be guided by the mainstream scientific position on topics where you don’t have a deep understanding of the science, and to do that, you need to have a good idea of what the consensus of scientists in that area believe. There have been many attempts to suggest that many scientists disagree with the mainstream position, so a careful study is a useful input to the debate on climate. This is not however, “argument by consensus”.

  37. Dikran,

    efforts such as TCP are not an attempt at argument by consensus. Nobody as far as I can see is arguing that the science is right because there is a consensus.

    Yes, a good point and a mistake that many people make. Pointing out the existence of a consensus does not mean that you’re arguing that the science is right. It’s simply illustrating that there is a large level of agreement within the scientific community/scientific literature.

  38. chris says:

    Michael2 rather misrepresents US climate change funding. A few points are relevant:

    1. In fact federal funding for climate science in the US is in 2015 is $2.5 billion:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/FY%202015%20Climate.pdf

    2. Federal funding for climate science over the last several years has been largely in line with federal funding for nanotechnology:

    So in 2008 projected federal funding for climate and global change research was $1.544 billion and for nanotechnology research was $1.447 billion…

    ..and in 2011 the equivalent figures were climate and global change research $2.56 billion (proposed in the budget – too lazy right now to find out what was actually awarded)…and for nanotechnology $2.18 billion (approved).

    Oddly, nanotechnology, which is funded near the level of climate science over the years in the US doesn’t suffer a virtual industry of misrepresentation…odd that!

    3. So, in fact climate science isn’t a particularly strongly funded subject (enormously larger spends on defense, energy and medical research of course). Interestingly, the amounts that the US government hands out to the oil, coal and gas industries as direct subsidies (aka a tax on the increasingly hard-up US citizen), massively dwarfs federal funding for climate science.

    4. A very large proportion of the funding goes to the design, build, launch and maintenance of satellites for Earth system monitoring (much of the huge NASA chunk of funds) that isn’t really climate change research as such, but which generally informs us of the progression of atmospheric, surface and ocean parameters useful for understanding Earth responses (e.g. satellites that monitor changes in gravity fields due to ice mass changes, sea level changes, atmospheric temperatures, radiative changes in the atmosphere and so on).

  39. Willard says:

    >To get the population at large to get behind “action” on climate change the climate science community […] will have to convince many millions of people like me that our various doubts/uncertainties/ignorances/awkward-questions, are unfounded. To do that they need to communicate. OPENLY.

    And then David Blake shuts down the communication channels by disregarding responses provided to him and by evading questions. Ain’t his fault, RC or SkS Makes Him Do It.

  40. David Blake says:

    @Willard,
    >>”And then David Blake shuts down the communication channels”

    Sarcasm is hard to guage online. Did you forget *sarc* tags or something because, that line which is totally opposite from the truth.

    Willard, find me a forum where climate can be discussed without one side’s or another comments being deleted/censored. (Hint: It doesn’t exist).

  41. Charles Nagy says:

    Speaking of David Blake…

    >>”For example, it may be much more effective to partner climate scientists with communication experts”

    “Good idea. Failure in that regard is perhaps why I’m a sceptic. Every attempt that I’ve made to try to get a reasonable answer on the (many) issues that I don’t agree with on climate change has just been met with “shut-uppery” rather than an adult talk about the issues. In essence: RealClimate made me a sceptic. The Guardian made me a sceptic. DeSmogBlog made me
    a sceptic. SKS (definitely) made me a sceptic. Big Oil (definitely) didn’t.”

    Hard to know where to begin with this. Mr Blake doesn’t provide specific points that he disagrees with, he just doesn’t accept any of it. Perhaps this says more about his lack of scientific understanding than about The Guardian, or Real Climate or SKS. His argument seems to be one of personal incredulity, “I don’t understand this argument, therefore I don’t accept it”.

    Criticism like this is totally useless and value free. He needs to provide an example specifically where The Guardian (or RealClimate or SKS) got it wrong and Big Oil got it right. Arguing he was faced with “shut-uppery” just doesn’t cut it.

    Come on David, give it your best shot. Give us just one argument for AGW that you don’t accept. Lets have an adult talk about the issues, and as long as the discussion remains civil, I’m sure that there will be no “shut-uppery”.

  42. Come on David, give it your best shot. Give us just one argument for AGW that you don’t accept. Lets have an adult talk about the issues, and as long as the discussion remains civil, I’m sure that there will be no “shut-uppery”.

    Indeed, I’d be quite keen on that. Maybe David could choose a particular issue and we could stick to that until we either all agree to give up, or we reach some kind of resolution. It would avoid the normal “jumping to the next topic” that normally happens when such discussions take place.

  43. Willard says:

    > Did you forget *sarc* tags or something because, that line which is totally opposite from the truth.

    How much money can you afford to lose, David?

    Fair warning:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/917366704

  44. Willard says:

    > Willard, find me a forum where climate can be discussed without one side’s or another comments being deleted/censored. (Hint: It doesn’t exist).

    Why would you ask a rhetorical question showing that what you require does not exist, David?

  45. BBD says:

    I’ve got a few notes of previous exchanges with David Blake too.

  46. Charles Nagy says:

    Hi Willard,

    Your link to neverendingaudit doesn’t seem to lead to a comment, it just ends up at the above site. It’s also painfully slow, but that could be my err… French Connection? (I live in rural France)

  47. Okay, I’ve just remembered who David Blake is. Charles, what you suggested would, under normal circumstances, be quite reasonable. We have, however, tried it here with David Blake before and it was not particularly successful. I don’t think I have the energy to really try again.

  48. BBD says:

    ATTP

    There’s a saying about doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome…

  49. BBD says:

    Charles Nagy

    Willard’s link works for me, but if you are still having problems, the source it came from is this:

    http://www.flamewarriorsguide.com/warriorshtm/archivist.htm

  50. andrew adams says:

    Yep, I was going to suggest that David give us maybe 2 or 3 questions which he has tried to raise on other forums and been told to shut up and they can be used as the basis for a new thread, and we’ll undertake to try to answer them reasonably without snark (which of course can be enforced by the moderators).

  51. David Blake says:

    @ Charles Nagy,

    Since aTTP allowed your comment, I assume he’ll allow an exchange of views. It’s progress I suppose!

    >>”Mr Blake doesn’t provide specific points that he disagrees with, he just doesn’t accept any of it. Perhaps this says more about his lack of scientific understanding than about The Guardian, ”

    The Guardian is a good example. I was banned there for posting a link to this graph: Outgoing TOA LW. My contention being that LW seemed to respond fairly rapidly to increased warming. Those “in the know” had read the SkS article on it, and assured me that the “scientific position” was that it would take ~60 years + for the peak LW radiation to result from current emissions. I called them wrong. Banned.

    The irony is, is that we now have other papers (one, two) saying that the LW response is indeed much shorter than commonly assumed (10 or 20 years). The super-irony is that the models (see paper one) already worked on the basis that it was LW that balances quickly, and GW is ultimately down to SW feedbacks. Yet, I was a denier. Bad David. I didn’t agree with SkS! The shame.

    >> “His argument seems to be one of personal incredulity, “I don’t understand this argument, therefore I don’t accept it”. ”

    Oh I was undoubtedly incredulous. Mostly at the responses of the (often self-proclaimed) “experts” that inhabit the places you mention, but it was because it was the other way round: they had the forum, yet were dodging the hard stuff in attempt to keep “on-message”. It was them who didn’t understand the nuances of the argument. When one asks a question, and your respondee continually evades to answer, after the nth time of asking it’s natural to wonder “why is he/she evading?” More digging is done, suspicion is raised.

    It’s not just me. Have a look at the comments in this Judith Curry post>/a>. Very many of them say the same (particularly wrt RealClimate), very many of them have Masters, PhDs.. These aren’t “stupid” people, that “can’t understand” an argument, yet the “shut-uppery” they receive back from “the team” failed to resolve the issues they had. RealClimate made them sceptics also.

    >>”He needs to provide ..”

    Needs to! What rubbish. I don’t “need to provide” anything to you. Absolutely nothing.

    But, as my Mother raised me well, you asked for an example, I’ll give you one:It’s not BIg OIl. It’s BIg Cloud.

    A few percent change in cloudiness could result in the same change (in solar) forcing as the forcing from all the CO2 mankind has ever produced. The most extensive satellite cloud dataset does give a fall in clouds in the current satelite era. Cue wailing and gnashing. Can’t be true! It’s not reliable! … and yet ISCCP and MODIS are broadly similar. Surface observations also show a decrease in cloudiness.

    It gets worse. Not only do they not seem to be sure if clouds have fallen or not, the models representation of them is so poor that they seems to have variance on the issue of even the *sign* of the feedback. The IPCC say:

    “In the current climate, clouds exert a cooling effect on climate (the global mean CRF is negative). In response to global warming, the cooling effect of clouds on climate might be enhanced or weakened, thereby producing a radiative feedback to climate warming”

    Whilst issues like this exist there can be *no* predictions made on the effect of a CO2 doubling in the real world. None at all.

  52. Charles Nagy says:

    Thanks BBD, I have tried that link again with Internet Explorer instead of Chrome, but can’t seem to get anywhere. No matter, it would seem David Blake has form, hence I am not expecting great things from my, err… challenge. By the way, I have never been successful in arguing with the “Skeptic” mind. It seems their brains are wired differently, and things that are transparently obvious to me can never be explained to their satisfaction.

    Case in point. The hysterical cries of “Fraud!” when modern instrumented data is tacked onto older proxy data to show how temperatures have changed in recent times. I can see no problem with this scientifically, at all, as long as the different datasets are clearly marked. (which they are in all the scientific reconstructions I have seen). Yet “Sceptics” have been banging on about this for years, and even if they abandon the fraud allegations, do not accept that the different types of data can appear on the same graph. No amount of reasoned argument can dissuade them from this. Why? I have no idea. It seems perfectly legitimate to me.

  53. David,
    I’ll allow you comment, but only because we were exchanging views. This, however, is so ridiculous, that I don’t think I’ll allow many more

    Whilst issues like this exist there can be *no* predictions made on the effect of a CO2 doubling in the real world. None at all.

  54. Willard says:

    And then David, instead of discussing anything OPENLY, indulges into more “but moderation.”

  55. dikranmarsupial says:

    David Blake wrote “Cue wailing and gnashing. Can’t be true! It’s not reliable!”

    sorry, it is this kind of thing that makes it look as if you are just trolling and are not really interested in a scientific discussion. I would recommend you dial the rhetoric down a notch when discussing scientific issues if you are genuinely interested in a productive discussion. This is genuinely well intentioned advice.

  56. David Blake says:

    @Willard,

    Good idea for a website. Good job. I thought of doing something similar once based on the Guardian comment pages. Recreation of the comments via a Python webscrape, so that users could see the full thread (deleted posts in red), and see just how much Comment (really isn’t) Free on the G.

    Never got round to it in the end, and now that I’m banned, very little point..!

    You original assertion was that:
    >>”And then David Blake shuts down the communication channels”

    You may see it as “shutting down communication” but that ain;t the reality. Beleive me, 100% of the time the communication has been “closed down” by the website in question. So I’m up for a bet, but how are you going to prove anything? If some of my posts don’t even get to the forum to get deleted?

    >>”And then David, instead of discussing anything OPENLY, indulges into more “but moderation.””

    Well, in the current circumstances…..! 🙂

  57. David Blake says:

    @dikranmarsupial,

    Fair point. Thanks.

  58. BBD says:

    David Blake

    For at least the fourth time: the trend in the ISCCP data is very likely spurious. See Evan et al. (2007) (again):

    The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) multi-decadal record of cloudiness exhibits a well-known global decrease in cloud amounts. This downward trend has recently been used to suggest widespread increases in surface solar heating, decreases in planetary albedo, and deficiencies in global climate models. Here we show that trends observed in the ISCCP data are satellite viewing geometry artifacts and are not related to physical changes in the atmosphere. Our results suggest that in its current form, the ISCCP data may not be appropriate for certain long-term global studies, especially those focused on trends.

    This is the problem. You *ignore* correction and keep repeating your talking points. That’s not how a civilised discussion works.

  59. BBD says:

    WRT cloud feedback, let’s consider Cenozoic hyperthermals. These events could not occur if cloud feedback is strongly negative.

  60. Marco says:

    Considering David Blake’s prior misunderstandings of the scientific literature (such as his claim a paper turned the greenhouse effect on its head, which of course it did not) and his subsequent inability to admit those misunderstandings, I am rather skeptical he was banned for pointing something out that was supposedly correct.

    Of course, this is then followed by Blake believing he once again understands the data and literature better than others. In the meantime, with a flat anomaly for over a decade, the ocean heat content continues to increase, completely at odds with Blake’s confident announcement that the observed cloud changes could have such a major impact on global temperatures.

    Ah well, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  61. Steve Bloom says:

    Whilst issues like this exist there can be *no* predictions made on the effect of a CO2 doubling in the real world. None at all.

    Which is why they’re projections with substantial ranges, thanks in part to cloud uncertainties.

    BBD correctly points out the problem the Cenozoic hyperthermals present for advocates of cloud stability arguments, but the Plio-Pleistocene deglaciations, about which we have a great deal of data, do the same. Whatever else clouds might do, they allow for a ~5C global surface air temperature increase over a few thousand years, with concomitant massive changes to the climate system.

    Looking at the present climate, measurements of rapid changes such as polar amplification and expansion of the tropics tell us that current model projections are if anything on the low side. We don’t need accurate cloud trend data to draw this conclusion. .

  62. Steven Mosher says:

    “Richard Betts wrote “Richard does not like argument by consensus” the problem with that is that efforts such as TCP are not an attempt at argument by consensus. Nobody as far as I can see is arguing that the science is right because there is a consensus. The value of the consensus is to assist those who don’t have an adequate understanding of the science to form a rational opinion on the science. ”

    One problem is that it is not very often that one sees the argument put this way.
    Actually take a look at how the consensus argument is used. It’s not used to assist those
    who have doubts. It’s used to abuse those who disbelieve. It will assist those who trust science
    as an institution. It won’t work so well on those who distrust the institution. It also opens the possibility of putting scientists and institutional behavior in the “spotlight”. Ordinarily I trust the police and I would never consider going to traffic court to get into a “my word” versus “his word” fight on
    a traffic ticket. However, if I saw a few high profile cases of noble cause corruption, I might think
    I have a chance in court. Relying on the consensus argument means that individual behavior must be beyond reproach. And further that institutional self policing would also have to be beyond reproach.

    Finally, the appeal to consensus has been abused by a failure to explain exactly what scientists agree on. Agreement on the science of the climate in practice has been morphed into agreement on policy. It seems to me that if you want to preserve the soundness of the appeal to consensus, you can’t sit silently while people misrepresent it as a consensus on policy.

  63. Steve Bloom says:

    This new psychology paper (press release) looks very interesting:

    Focusing on lasting legacy prompts environmental action

    Summary: Prompting people to think about the legacy they want to leave for future generations can boost their desire and intention to take action on climate change, according to new research.

    While the deniers we meet on the internet are probably incorrigible in this regard, the much larger “conservative”-leaning part of the population may not be.

    I won’t have a chance to read the paper until the weekend, but it does seem to blow a pretty big hole in Kahan’s thesis.

  64. Steve Bloom says:

    mosh, the consensus is what it is, not what you’d like it to be. You also have a fundamental misunderstanding about how traffic courts work, BTW.

  65. It appears that David Blake visits science-based websites to ‘bait’ scientists with his sceptic views about climate change. They’re ‘bait’ because his opinions have no justification in science, only in Blake’s mind.

    When scientists respond condescendingly—as would be expected after his constant repetition and rejection of scientific evidence—this becomes a reinforcement for Blake’s view that they’re entrenched in their opinions, with closed minds. This must be true, because it’s true of himself 🙂 —Which is of course, as usual, psychological projection.

  66. Willard says:

    > One problem is that it is not very often that one sees the argument put this way.

    This is false, e.g.:

    http://theconsensusproject.com/#importance

    ***

    > It won’t work so well on those who distrust the institution.

    This is misconstrued, as it conflates people who could be swayed by appeals to authority, and others who won’t. There’s little point in arguing that an appeal to authority won’t work with those with whom it won’t work, unless we can also establish that the appeal targets them in the first place. Which is false.

    ***

    ­> It also opens the possibility of putting scientists and institutional behavior in the “spotlight”.

    On the contrary. The very point of appealing to a consensus is to depersonalize the issue. That contrarians personalize only shows they know their Alinsky playbook.

    Most of the auditing sciences is about personalization, so we can expect that this strategy will be followed whatever the circumstances.

    ***

    > [T]he appeal to consensus has been abused by a failure to explain exactly what scientists agree on.

    Again, false, e.g.:

    A survey among more than 1800 climate scientists confirms that there is widespread agreement that global warming is predominantly caused by human greenhouse gases.

    https://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/survey-confirms-scientific-consensus-on-human-caused-global-warming/

  67. Willard says:

    > it does seem to blow a pretty big hole in Kahan’s thesis.

    Actually, it may confirm it:

    To their immense credit, science education researchers have used empirical methods to address this challenge. What they’ve discovered is that a student’s “disbelief” in evolution in fact poses no barrier whatsoever to his or her learning of how random mutation and genetic variance combine with natural selection to propel adaptive changes in the forms of living creatures, including humans.

    After mastering this material, the students who said they “disbelieved” still say they “disbelieve” in evolution. That’s because what people say in response to the “do you believe in evolution” question doesn’t measure what they know; it measures who they are.

    Indeed, the key to enabling disbelievers to learn the modern synthesis, this research shows, is to disentangle those two things—to make it plain to students that the point of the instruction isn’t to make them change their “beliefs but to impart knowledge; isn’t to make them into some other kind of person but to give them evidence along with the power of critical discernment essential to make of it what they will.

    In my SENCER talk, I called this the “disentanglement principle”: those who are responsible for promoting comprehension of science have to create an environment in which free, reasoning people don’t have to choose between knowing what’s known and being who they are.

    http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2014/9/29/why-the-science-of-science-communication-needs-to-go-back-to.html

  68. Usually the only time advocates mention the consensus is to contradict fake sceptics trying to claim “there are thousands of scientists who disagree with global warming” (or similar)—which is an attempt at ‘argument by consensus’ is it not?

  69. Willard says:

    > Usually the only time advocates mention the consensus is to contradict fake sceptics trying to claim […]

    It’s also used as a cold pitch to undercut just about anything against AGW:

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent

  70. Steve Bloom says:

    I’m not seeing your point, Willard.

  71. Steve Bloom says:

    The Kahan one, TBC.

  72. BBD says:

    those who are responsible for promoting comprehension of science have to create an environment in which free, reasoning people don’t have to choose between knowing what’s known and being who they are.

    Hellish difficult when this involves not being a conservative / libertarian all of a sudden.

  73. Steve Bloom says:

    As I said I still need to read the paper, but it seems to me that taking future generations into account changes “who they are.” What they know about the science may not need to change. I think it’s common for people to simply fail to think about the implications of climate change for the future, including their immediate descendants. Asking them to do it is a potentially valuable way to get them out of just relying on their trust network.

  74. Willard says:

    Here, BBD:

    The researchers conducted a preliminary online study with 245 US participants, which provided initial support for the hypothesis, showing that participants who had a strong desire to leave a positive legacy tended to have strong proenvironmental beliefs, even after demographic factors such as political affiliation were accounted for.

    And legacy motives seemed to be tied to behavior, as well: Participants who reported stronger legacy motive pledged a larger portion of their $10 bonus money to a nonprofit dedicated to environmental advocacy when given the option to do so.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150108113711.htm

    Focusing on an idealized personhood makes climate change a moral issue. When you do that, you don’t even need to talk about science. In fact, talking about science would be the best way to lose your ABC:

  75. Steve Bloom says:

    Or if we take it simply as a description of cognitive dissonance, maybe all too hellishly easy, BBD.

  76. Steve Bloom says:

    Or consider this example: Many deniers take their cue on climate from the pastor at their megachurch. But get them to think that their kids etc. might come to disrespect or even hate them for having followed their pastor and I suspect we’d see views changing in major ways.

  77. John Hartz says:

    John Cook recently made a presentation on The Consensus Project in Bristol, UK. Here are two key points he made:

    “For complicated scientific topics, the public rely on expert opinion as a mental shortcut (heuristic) to form their views on the science.”

    “Communicating consensus isn’t about proving climate change. It addresses a public misconception about expert opinion.”

  78. Steve Bloom says:

    Finding significant numbers of people who will admit to not caring about whether they leave a positive legacy might be difficult.

  79. John Hartz says:

    The following also caught my eye and speaks directly to the topic of the OP:

    In her speech, which touched on some of the ways the EPA is altering its thinking on environmental regulation and the need for the U.S. to lead the way on devising solutions to climate change, McCarthy urged the gathered experts to keep pushing the envelope on climate research and to increase their participation in the climate change discussion.

    “The work you do is absolutely essential,” she said. “I take what you tell me [about the science] and put it into action.”

    But, she added that “one of the challenges we face is to just have the scientists be more vocal” about the science.

    EPA Chief: Weather, Climate Scientists’ Work Is ‘Essential’ by Andrea Thompson, Climate Central, Jan 7, 2015

  80. BBD says:

    Willard

    Interesting link. Getting people to personalise the problem is without doubt a powerful tool and most probably more generally useful than ‘the science’. And if we must always be closing to make that sale, well, perhaps personal vested interest is the hot button to push. Of course the trouble starts when your potential client refuses to accept the very concept of (eg. AGW) and so cannot be engaged by a pitch at personal vested interest.

  81. Charles Nagy says:

    Oh Dear,

    I was not sure what I was expecting when I made my challenge to David Blake, but I was certainly not expecting his response.

    Under mild questioning as to what he found objectionable about The Guardian, SKs et al, he responds with this:

    “>>”He needs to provide ..”
    Needs to! What rubbish. I don’t “need to provide” anything to you. Absolutely nothing.”

    A lot of suppressed anger there. But since he makes a point of it, if he is going to make blanket statements criticizing what I would class as fairly moderate websites, then he really does need to back it up somehow if he wants to retain any credibility. What does he expect us to do. Take his word for it?

    Then this:

    “The Guardian is a good example. I was banned there for posting a link to this graph: Outgoing TOA LW”

    I find it hard to believe that Mr Blake was banned for posting that innocuous graph. I think he is being less than honest with us. There must have been a good deal of contretemps back and forth before his banning, which may have culminated in the posting of that graph.

    I think what is more likely, is that after the umpteenth time of having something explained to him by experts in the field, with Mr Blake failing to understand the explanation, he was just cut off due to frustration with the time wasted in trying to have a meaningful discussion.

    Just a question David, would you sit and argue with Stephen Hawking about Black Holes? I think not. Why should you expect anything different with climate science? You are clearly not an expert, so why should you expect the experts to listen to you? Given your aggressive attitude, and lack of anything to contribute, I’m not surprised you were banned.

  82. Steve Bloom says:

    Hey, that was my link! 🙂

    Fortunately, people like that are relatively rare. But the key point I’m taking away from the paper (just based on the press release) is that expanding that sense of the personal into the future, in particular to encompass the well-being and good opinion of descendants, may be a very effective tool.

  83. Charles,

    would you sit and argue with Stephen Hawking about Black Holes?

    Actually, Stephen Hawking has said some interesting things about Black Holes recently that may mean that it would be interesting to argue with him about them. To be fair, though, I think Stephen Hawking may have a point (assuming I understand what he’s getting at).

  84. Charles Nagy says:

    Right ATTP,

    But at least you can claim expertise in the field being a physicist and all. Sadly, Mr Blake cannot make the same claim re climate science….

  85. Charles,

    But at least you can claim expertise in the field being a physicist and all. Sadly, Mr Blake cannot make the same claim re climate science….

    Well, yes possibly. Although, in truth, I probably wouldn’t argue with Stephen Hawking 🙂

  86. BBD says:

    And I wouldn’t argue with my accountant about tax or my doctor about medicine or ATTP about physics because they have professional expertise in their fields and I do not. Charles’ point is eternally valid – the ‘sceptical’ questioning of scientific expertise by the non-expert is absurd.

  87. Charles Nagy says:

    Well ATTP,

    At least you know your limits. The same can’t be said for the so called “sceptical” community. Dunning Kruger anyone?

  88. Steven Mosher says:

    BBD

    “And I wouldn’t argue with my accountant about tax or my doctor about medicine ”

    Hmm. On two occasions I have argued with my accountant. On both counts he admitted I was correct. One need not be an expert in an entire field to point out issues, problems, alternatives.
    With my Doctor, I argued once and was correct. It’s all a matter of picking your fights and narrowing your focus. Very few skeptics do this. If a amateur is willing to focus on a single topic and devote a few thousand hours, they can at least ask good questions and perhaps field good arguments

  89. Steven,
    Since you’re here, I noticed this comment of yours on Climate Audit. Amazing comment (and I mean that in a genuinely positive sense). Are you in a position to explain what you’re doing, since your position seems to have shifted dramatically in the last couple of years (although you were rather dickish to Richard Telford on Climate Etc., so not everything has changed).

  90. David Blake says:

    @ Charles Nagy,

    Evening Charles.

    >>”I was not sure what I was expecting when I made my challenge to David Blake, but I was certainly not expecting his response. ”

    Complement accepted. ;-P

    >>”Under mild questioning…”

    M. Nagy at 14:46 you said I had a “lack of scientific understanding”, you said I “don’t understand [AGW] argument[s]”, and that I should:

    “… give it your best shot. Give us just one argument for AGW that you don’t accept. Lets have an adult talk about the issues, and as long as the discussion remains civil, I’m sure that there will be no “shut-uppery”…”

    I gave an argument. Has anybody covered it? BBD gave an attempt (my reply was “shut-upped”). Did you put me straight? Did Mr Adams [@15:37] who suggested my questions may provide a new thread, give an answer? Did anybody? I think we can agree the answer is “no”.

    Therein lies the problem to which I originally referred. You didn’t keep your part of the bargain.

    >>”I think what is more likely, is that after the umpteenth time of having something explained to him by experts in the field, with Mr Blake failing to understand the explanation, he was just cut off due to frustration with the time wasted in trying to have a meaningful discussion. ”

    No. That’s not how it was. Or maybe it was. It depends on which side of the fence one is sitting at the time. I (he says modestly) was right in that particular instance [it does happen]. But the prevailing view was against me. That view was CO2 explains it all. CO2 “traps” heat dontchaknow. LW exiting the Earth drops. Presenting a graph that shows a slightly more nuanced view was “not acceptable”, even if the data were impeccably sourced. The G’s comment pages (while there are knowledgable commentators there, but no “experts in the field” I’ve encountered) is essentially a Greenpeace love-in. SkS cannot be wrong – it’s impossible – it’s the “official scientific view”. Right?

  91. Steven Mosher says:

    “Willard says:
    January 9, 2015 at 6:19 pm
    > One problem is that it is not very often that one sees the argument put this way.

    This is false, e.g.:

    http://theconsensusproject.com/#importance

    ###############

    That is one. one is NOT VERY OFTEN.

    Willard, you should troll the entire universe of dialog.

    Example; count obama’s retweets. first read the tweet. See what was added to the cook findings.
    In short. Cook did a fair job ( subject to academic nit picking ) But the consensus he found, was not the consensus that obama tweeted.

    Second your link doesnt come CLOSE to making the argument in the non objectionable form.
    usually you should link to stuff that supports your case.

  92. > Of course the trouble starts when your potential client refuses to accept the very concept of (eg. AGW) and so cannot be engaged by a pitch at personal vested interest.

    Then you take another route, e.g.:

    Social marketing studies suggest that targeting segments of the population, by assessing and addressing their values and motives for actions in the design of communications, can improve the effectiveness of health and environmental communications efforts. Guidance for climate change communication now routinely proposes targeting specific audience segments as a fundamental principle, despite ambiguity regarding what specific behaviors to target and a lack of empirical evidence for specific strategies. Audience segmentation strategies proposed to date for climate change communications resemble those used in other social marketing efforts, but can be proprietary or opaque, with little data on the effects of implementing them. Insufficient evidence exists to systematically demonstrate the effectiveness of targeting or tailoring climate change communications per se, other than by reference to related research on health and environmental risk communications. Meta-analyses with systematic literature reviews, however, demonstrate that health risk communications can be more effective at changing attitudes and behaviors if they are tailored to the individual recipients’ beliefs about their self-efficacy. The advent of technology-enabled microtargeting is rapidly expanding the opportunities for tailoring and targeting climate change communications and for adding to what we know from using them to make them effective.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.234/abstract

  93. David Blake says:

    @ M. Nagy,
    Missed this bit…
    >>”Just a question David, would you sit and argue with Stephen Hawking about Black Holes?”
    Nope. I doubt he’d sit and argue with me about my field either, but, hey, he may be better at it than me, who knows. He’s an amazing guy.

    Here’s what he has to say about Global Warming [which I presume you support – he’s a scientist, right?]:

    “Earth may become like it’s sister planet Venus with a temperature of 250C from a runaway global warming.”

  94. David,
    Why would you leave out “The worst case scenario..” from the beginning of what you quote Stephen Hawking as saying?

  95. Charles Nagy says:

    Steven,

    It is fairly obvious that individual professionals in their field can be wrong on occasion. More to the point though. Suppose you went to see 100 doctors, 97 whom said your hacking cough and shortness of breath were due to cancer. Would you listen to them or the 3 dissenting doctors who say, “it’s nothing. Keep taking the cough medicine?”

  96. Steven Mosher says:

    Lets google climate science consensus to see how often the argument is made in the non objectional form. ie, if you dont know science, you can use consensus to form a rational belief in it

    #1 http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

    “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities,1and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.”

    Note: the explanation as to why this is important is missing.

    Now note the supporting statements:

    “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.”

    “Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.”

    “Human‐induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.” (Adopted 2003, revised and reaffirmed 2007, 2012, 2013)

    DOCTORS do a better job

    “”Our AMA … supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant.”

    AMS is good

    “”It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.”

    “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed and that human activities (mainly greenhouse‐gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s.” (2006; revised 2010)

    #################

    I wont go on. But you can see how the argument is being used.

    1. It is NOT being used to give people a rational basis for forming a belief about the science.
    2. It is being used to shoehorn in arguments about threats and policies.

    now of course there are other uses, by skeptics for example. But there is no denying that it is being used in ways that deviate from the form which I would argue is non objectionable.

    We appeal to consensus on AGW science to help those who dont understand the science to form a rational belief about the science. Yup C02 warms the planet. Yup most of the recent warming is due to human emissions. That’s what cook found a consensus on. Good work. next question, how is that result being used? how is it being abused?

  97. BBD says:

    Steven M

    It’s all a matter of picking your fights and narrowing your focus. Very few skeptics do this.

    […]

    If a amateur is willing to focus on a single topic and devote a few thousand hours, they can at least ask good questions and perhaps field good arguments

    Sure. And good for them.

  98. Steven,
    I’m confused. It’s late and I can’t be bother reading every word you’ve written in extensive detail, but I can’t see any problems with your quotes. The problem comes about when it is framed as “there is a consensus, therefore it is right”, not when it is framed as “there is strong agreement”. Which of the statements you quote do you object to and why?

  99. Steven Mosher says:

    “Charles Nagy says:
    January 9, 2015 at 10:24 pm
    Steven,

    It is fairly obvious that individual professionals in their field can be wrong on occasion. More to the point though. Suppose you went to see 100 doctors, 97 whom said your hacking cough and shortness of breath were due to cancer. Would you listen to them or the 3 dissenting doctors who say, “it’s nothing. Keep taking the cough medicine?”

    Of course I would listen to them. What does that have to do with anything?
    When a climate scientist tells me that C02 causes warming, I believe him. It only takes one.
    In fact, I already knew that before talking to one.
    When that same climate scientist tells me I should believe his climate model, I look at the projections and observations and apply my skill. Opps. Sorry buddy. no dice.
    When a climate scientist tells me that we need to tax carbon, I don’t listen to him. It’s the same with doctors. If 97 doctors told me I had cancer, and that I should go long on oil futures, I’d believe them about the cancer and wonder what the hell they were doing talking about investments to me.

    On the other Hand when hansen talks to me about climate science I tend to believe him. When he advocates Nukes I also listen to him. But not because he’s a climate scientist. That’s funny because I wonder why other advocates who dont follow Hansen on nukes arent labelled denier.

  100. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steven,
    I’m confused. It’s late and I can’t be bother reading every word you’ve written in extensive detail, but I can’t see any problems with your quotes. The problem comes about when it is framed as “there is a consensus, therefore it is right”, not when it is framed as “there is strong agreement”. Which of the statements you quote do you object to and why?”

    The objection is simple. Cook studied consensus on the issue of warming and its attribution.
    C02 causes warming. most of the warming we’ve seen is due to man.

    What people shoe horn into this are statements about
    1. Severity ( which depends upon sensitivity)
    2. The Immediacy of the problem

    For example. None of the studies on consensus appear to support this statement

    ” We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    Yet, those types of statements are routinely tacked onto cooks fundamentally sound findings on the SCIENCE.

  101. Steve Bloom says:

    ”We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    The policy decision to do so is history, so I’m not sure what you’re saying here. But most scientists do support stronger action being taken in order to “avoid dangerous climate change,” as the phrase goes. How is that controversial?

  102. BBD says:

    Willard

    (Bostrom et al. 2013):

    Meta-analyses with systematic literature reviews, however, demonstrate that health risk communications can be more effective at changing attitudes and behaviors if they are tailored to the individual recipients’ beliefs about their self-efficacy.

    Present climate change as a chance to maximise actual returns?

  103. BBD says:

    Steven M

    What people shoe horn into this are statements about
    1. Severity ( which depends upon sensitivity)
    2. The Immediacy of the problem

    I feel lukewarm about this.

  104. Richard says:

    While we may have lost contact with the title of this blog, can I add my thanks to ATTP for pointing me at Gavin Schmidt’s talk and the paper (I recommend seeing both, which I have now seen/ read twice, as the talk has some additional colour that the paper naturally cannot include, and there is a lot to take on board). The distinction between “Is” (the science), “Ought” (our values) and “Should” (what we advocate based on our science and values).

    My take-aways were:
    – It is virtually impossible, when engaging with the world outside of the scientific world, that in presenting the results of science one will not bring some value to bear even if something as trivial as “I think the general public need to understand the science”.
    – Many possible “Shoulds” can arise even while we agree on the “Is”
    – We should not expect scientists to not engage in society, but when they do they need to be clear about the “Is”, including uncertainties, and also, what their values are that provide the context (the “Ought”) that informs the advocacy (the “should”).

    Einstein & Szilard

    “Is” – The discovery of fission (not least some calculations in Birmingham) mean that an atomic bomb is achievable, some 30 years or so after the theoretical possibility of E=mc^2 was stated.

    “ought” – the Nazis must not be allowed to get hold of an atomic bomb before the allies, because they are evil and we are good

    “should” – we need a project to make it first.

    Such is the purity of science debunked. How about a Big Pharma c. 2000 position:

    “is” – The Ebola virus is one of the most lethal known to man

    “ought” – We ought to find a remedy, but the cost-benefit is low given the low frequency and management remedies

    “should” – hold on major investment in Ebola vaccination development.

    How things change when Ebola comes to us?

    Gavin Schmidt’s “ought” is the eminently reasonable:

    “I have a strong belief (or, perhaps, hope) that an informaed democracy is more likely to make good decisions than one in which ignorance and tribalism are the dominant factors.”

    That does not mean changing the science … it not how big your science is … but what you do with it.

    Scientists are humans, who have children, grandchildren, are allowed to vote, get concerned about stuff, etc. Why try to put them in an hermetically sealed Popperian box (more on this in a separate blog later).

    I always got annoyed that people get put in boxes – why shouldn’t Edward Heath be a politician, and a sailor, and a musician? Andy why shouldn’t Einstein be a physicist, and a sailor, and a social commentator (Ref. “Ideas and Opinions”). Is the General Theory of Relativity’s integrity undermined by Einstein’s quite vocal views on social matters? No. Humans, including scientists are complex and often contradictory animals, but they also know when and how to compartmentalise science and society.

    Climate scientists are no different.

    But they would all do well to follow Gavin Schmidt’s advice, and maybe write down their “ought” (their values), to remind themselves what is important, to them, and probably, to us.

    Richard (not Betts not Tol, but Erskine … why so many Richards?)

  105. > That is one. one is NOT VERY OFTEN.

    That “one” is called The Consensus Project. This is the very “one” who’s the main promoter of the consensus argument. Incidentally, this is also the main target of personal attacks, parsomatic exegesis, academic bullying, and other ClimateBall ™ tactics.

    The indirect concession is duly acknowledged.

    ***

    > It is NOT being used to give people a rational basis for forming a belief about the science.

    Unless one wants to argue that any kind of trust-based argument is irrational, of course it is. The resources quoted provide enough breadcrumbs to whatever would be needed for even more “rational basis.”

    ***

    > It is being used to shoehorn in arguments about threats and policies.

    Not at all. Here’s what the NASA says:

    The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

    The statements by the organizations are authority claims that stand alone. They do not argue for any specific threat, nor any specific policy.

    ***

    > there is no denying that it is being used in ways that deviate from the form which I would argue is non objectionable.

    So now we go from “not very often” to one of Obama’s tweets, which is not even Obama’s.

    ***

    Trying to create a wedge between the consensus claim about AGW and the need to address AGW is as silly as trying to uphold the fact/value dichotomy.

  106. BBD

    And I wouldn’t argue with my accountant about tax or my doctor about medicine

    I once argued with a nurse in hospital and save my 2-year-old son’s life.

    He’d just been diagnosed with type-1 diabetes two days previously, and she was about to administer his insulin injection. Although I was very new to the whole concept of diabetes medication, it somehow looked different to the previous time, so I refused to let her give him the injection until we’d talked it through in detail and established why it looked different. It turned out that when the doctor had written the dose in the notes, he’d put the decimal point too indistinctly to be noticed, so 2.5 units became 25 units. The nurse was about to give my son 10 times the required dose of insulin, which would definitely have killed him.

    Don’t trust experts blindly. They (we) all make mistakes sometimes.

  107. jsam says:

    I argue with my accountant. I regularly argued with lawyers. I argued with VCs.

    And their advice was invaluable.

  108. Joseph says:

    I am not sure why a consensus message would not be effective on those who are not very political and don’t know enough about climate change to have formed an opinion. I think people often overestimate the time that people have to pay attention to issues like climate change. Many people are very selective about what news they pay attention to, if they pay attention to the news at all. So I think there really is a significant population of people who might be influenced by the message, but the issue of how to disseminate the message to reach the larger audience is a difficult one.

  109. I once argued with my wife. She was right. I stopped arguing with my wife.

    And then the Gods of ClimateBall ™ created ClimateBall ™.

  110. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: I just skimmed the most recent set of comments and this thread and was struck by de ja vu all over again. Is there nothjing new under the sun in this never-ending debate between very serious people?

  111. Michael 2 says:

    Charles Nagy says: “If scientists were interested in money, then they would all be working for Wall St. or the Oil companies.”

    Then let them work for free.

    Clearly, they have chosen the intersection of what is interesting to them AND what brings in money.

    The big money is made by political scientists (Al Gore).

    Universities also make money.

  112. BBD says:

    Richard Betts

    Don’t trust experts blindly. They (we) all make mistakes sometimes.

    Hells teeth Richard. Almost anything I say next will sound insensitive. But despite your horrifying near-miss experience, consensus set the correct dose.

  113. Michael 2 says:

    Willard says: ” In my SENCER talk, I called this the “disentanglement principle”: those who are responsible for promoting comprehension of science have to create an environment in which free, reasoning people don’t have to choose between knowing what’s known and being who they are.”

    Vaguely similar to Schroedinger’s Cat — believe and disbelieve “Evolution” (or many other things) at the same time waiting until the uncertainty collapses through actual observation of the truth.

    There is global warming for sure, and there’s not global warming also for sure, but you don’t know where to put the uncertainty so you allow both. There’s a Flying Spaghetti Monster and there isn’t; eventually observation will reveal the truth.

    It is subtly different than “maybe” which is a single fuzzy value. This study you report is actually like a “fork” in computer language; two processes proceeding concurrently; one believes in evolution and the other does not. Obviously people can usually function adequately since the circumstance of the moment will dictate which process is used for any situation.

    At church, there’s no evolution, it isn’t needed and it conflicts with established beliefs. At university, evolution rules and there’s no need for church. it is unlikely to matter in either case; but risks exist to a professor that introduces religion to the classroom, and risks exist to a churchgoer that introduces evolution to certain religions.

    As for me, I know for sure there’s a flying spaghetti monster (proxy for that which cannot be named), but I make no claims as to his properties or capabilities. That will come in time, or maybe not, it doesn’t really matter to me. I know some things for sure and rather a lot is speculative and hearsay.

    In the old metaphor the concept is “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s”; permission granted, in other words, to compartmentalize your lives.

  114. Richard Betts on January 9, 2015 at 11:53 pm wrote:

    “Don’t trust experts blindly. They (we) all make mistakes sometimes.”

    I totally agree with this in the context in which you gave it.

    And, at the same time, to address what seems to be the main mode of operation of the deniers – the cranks or crackpots:

    I think that in the end humanity had better be willing to trust – if not blindly, then not far from it – at least the peer-reviewed literature and the textbooks *in the ongoing aggregate*, since this literature along with the commentary *in the ongoing aggregate* of all those who write all this is the only thing humanity has to keep the cranks or crackpots from taking over the world.

  115. Charles Nagy says:

    David Blake,

    I will get to your other issues in a later post, but re my thought experiment on arguing with Stephen Hawking.

    >>”Just a question David, would you sit and argue with Stephen Hawking about Black Holes?”
    Nope. I doubt he’d sit and argue with me about my field either, but, hey, he may be better at it than me, who knows. He’s an amazing guy.”

    I’m not sure if you are being deliberately obtuse here or misunderstood the question. My point is not about you arguing within your “field”. It’s about you, out side of your field, as a non expert arguing with scientific experts in their fields. If you wouldn’t argue with Stephen Hawking about Black Holes, why do you think you are qualified to argue with Climate Scientists about anything in their fields?

    And, as ATTP pointed out, you failed to mention that it was a worst case scenario that Hawking was talking about. He did say, “we don’t know when global warming will stop,”, remember, which is true. It really depends on how much CO2 we continue to pump into the air and various other feedbacks, some of which we can quantify and others we (so far), can’t (plus some we don’t even know about yet). The Venus scenario is a low probability outcome, granted, but it could happen in the worst case.

  116. Steven,

    What people shoe horn into this are statements about
    1. Severity ( which depends upon sensitivity)
    2. The Immediacy of the problem

    Well, I agree that anyone who says “97% agree that climate change will be catastrophic”, or “97% agree that we must act now” is misrepresenting the study. However, people who say “97% of climate scientists/scientific literature agree that we are warming and that it is mostly us, therefore ….” are not really misrepresenting the study. They’re using it to make an argument. What’s wrong with that? People are entitled to use these studies to support their position.

    I notice that Steve McIntyre deleted the comment of yours that I thought was very good. Strange that.

  117. dikranmarsupial says:

    Steven Mosher wrote: “One problem is that it is not very often that one sees the argument put this way. Actually take a look at how the consensus argument is used. It’s not used to assist those
    who have doubts. It’s used to abuse those who disbelieve. ”

    Here are some quotes from John Cook’s Cabot Institute talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ih8oTDwRak):

    “Science isn’t decided by a vote, its not decided by popularity. Scientific understanding is decided by evidence.”

    “For complicated scientific topics, the public rely on expert opinion as a mental shortcut (heuristic) to form their views on the science.”

    “Communicating consensus isn’t about proving climate change. It addresses a public misconception about expert opinion.”

    I suggest that if you see people using the TCP as the basis for “argument by consensus” then what better counterargument that to give a link to JC’s talk and point out that the lead author of the study directly contradicts them on that point.

    “It will assist those who trust science”

    Trusting science is a pretty good idea. Trusting individual scientists is a different matter entirely. Individual scientists get things wrong, but science is generally self correcting. This is because scientists have nothing to gain from agreeing with each other, only by producing something is new, which usually means showing existing ideas are sub-optimal, if not actually wrong.

    There is a point where healthy skepticism becomes hubris, and I would say that point is very likely to have been reached where “some bloke off the internet” (which includes myself) thinks they have a sufficient understanding of some scientific topic that they think the majority of the worlds scientists working on that topic have misunderstood the basic concepts in their field (e.g. whether the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic, or whether CO2 is a greenhouse gas). That is why I might ask questions about cosmology, for example, but I wouldn’t post my theories on the internet claiming that cosmologists are buffoons who are fudging the data to support their grant proposals etc.! ;o)

  118. dikranmarsupial says:

    Steve Mosher: “It’s used to abuse those who disbelieve.”, it is somewhat ironic that you should be complaining about people being abused because of their position on AGW (c.f. http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/18/distinguishing-the-academic-from-the-interface-consensus/#comment-630013). I would venture to suggest that if you want a more reasonable discussion of climate you might want to start by being rather less, shall we say, “abrasive” yourself.

  119. David Blake says:

    @ M. Nagy,

    >>”My point is not about you arguing within your “field”. It’s about you, out side of your field, as a non expert arguing with scientific experts in their fields. If you wouldn’t argue with Stephen Hawking about Black Holes, why do you think you are qualified to argue with Climate Scientists about anything in their fields?”

    I know very little about black holes. It’s not something that particularly interests me, so I haven’t made any study of them. But for the sake of your thought experiment, let’s say I have. Hawking was recently quoted as saying “there are no black holes”, others say that Hawking is wrong. It is – apparently – not a cut and dried issue, and [irony alert] Hawking, in this case, seems to be the sceptic.

    I may be tempted, if the opposing view was strong and logical and backed up by data observation and experiment, suggest to him that he was wrong. Why not? Just because someone is brilliant does not mean they can’t ever be wrong. I would of course respect his learning and position, but would be very curious why certain data suggests a different reality for black-holes than the one he is advocating. As Richard Betts says above “Don’t trust experts blindly. They (we) all make mistakes sometimes.”

    You also say,
    >>”why do you think you are qualified to argue with Climate Scientists about anything in their fields?”
    That’s rather a moot point as, as far as I know I never have argued with a Climate Scientist. I’ve argued with people on blogs which is rather a different thing. Some of those may be climate scientsts without me knowing about it, but nobody ever claimed they were. I know Prof, Betts is a climate scientist, but then again I have never argued with him, and highly agree with his statement above. Nobody should trust experts blindly. Whether they are experts about Iraq having WMD, dietary experts saying saturated fat is the devil, or climate scientists saying “the seas will boil”.

    As Mosher says above if a professional (Doctor/Accountant) gives you advice which is clearly wrong – what do you do? Question it? But you have experience in the field! Just accept that amputation, or write that big cheque. You have no place questioning their wisdom!

    Regarding Venus:
    >>”And, as ATTP pointed out, you failed to mention that it was a worst case scenario that Hawking was talking about. ”
    You seem to imply that I was trying to mislead. Why then would I bother with the video!? I did include “may become like..” but I also failed to mention the raining sulphuric acid part too. I included his quote just to show that no matter how brilliant Hawking is [yes, in his field] he may be falable. Does Prof. Betts agree that a Venus scenario is even remotely possible? The IPCC don’t seem to think so. Even other physicists (including it seems aTTP) think he’s wrong about Black Holes! Hawking is Brilliant, but he isn’t Allah.

    I, you, and aTTP also forgot to mention another small thing about Venus: 92 Bar pressure at the surface! PV=nRT. Adibiatic processes….

  120. BBD, KeefeAndAmanda

    I agree. The incident has not caused me to lose faith in the NHS, I just mentioned it in reaction to the ‘I don’t argue with my doctor’ argument, as an illustration of why it’s perfectly OK to question authority.

    I probably shouldn’t have brought up the consensus topic on this thread – I started answering a point about values but then brought in other points, which on reflection was a distraction – sorry folks!

    To try to return to the original point – Gavin’s article – let me come back to ATTPs comment about using coal. Yes, I agree that’s more about opinion than values. Gavin also mentioned that when talking about scientist being advocates – recognising that their opinions (to which they are perfectly entitled) may not be shared by others. But yes, having the opinion that coal is not necessary to help the poor is not the same as not caring about the poor.

    Also – I hadn’t previously responded to David Blake:

    Open communication is not happening. Anywhere in “team climate”. Whose fault is that?

    This is incorrect – you’ve obviously just missed it somehow!

    There is now quite a large contingent of climate scientists who are very active online and willing (indeed enthusiastic) to discuss openly with anyone, including critics. Are you on Twitter? A lot of this happens there – Tamsin Edwards keeps a list of climate scientists on Twitter (I’m @richardabetts there BTW).

    Quite a few climate scientists have their own blogs – Doug McNeall (one of my colleagues from the Met office Hadley Centre) keeps a useful list here at is own blog.

    Many climate scientists also regularly join discussions on blogs, and for some of us this also includes commenting on sceptic blogs like Bishop Hill and Climate Audit (I also recently tried posting on WUWT but that didn’t work out well….)

    Also you may have missed hearing about the dinner at Nic Lewis’s house …. but let not get into that again, it’s been absolutely discussed to death on this and other blogs 😉

    So, it’s incorrect to claim that climate scientists are not engaging openly.

  121. Charles Nagy says:

    David

    >>”I was not sure what I was expecting when I made my challenge to David Blake, but I was certainly not expecting his response. ”

    “Complement accepted. ;-P”

    Err… it wasn’t meant to be a compliment. Your response was a little incoherent, and a bit of a “Gish Gallop”. In common with many “sceptics”, you don’t frame the issue you want to get across very well, and assume that the other person already understands the (often obscure) point you wish to make.

    BBD, probably due to previous encounters with you, already appeared to know where you were coming from and I thought he had answered it. At the time, not having the time to look into it, I left it with him. I am not aware that you made a response to his comment, (I can’t find it anywhere). When you say you were “shut upped” are you saying that ATTP deleted it?

    But to get back to one of your original comments:
    “Whilst issues like this exist there can be *no* predictions made on the effect of a CO2 doubling in the real world. None at all.”

    It seems you have various issues with the modelling of clouds in climate models. Unsurprising really, given that everyone agrees that they are fiendishly difficult to model. They are a chaotic process, so not amenable to exact solution, though the models will get better over time.

    However, your above comment is just ridiculous.

    Look at it this way,

    Regarding say, the insurance of a property which you have foolishly built on a flood plain. Would your insurance company attempt to create a mathematical model which precisely predicts when future floods would occur and how high they would be? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. What they would do though is look back at historical data and use that to assess the likelihood of flood frequency and extent in the future to decide whether to insure you or not, and what premium to charge. It’s all about managing risk. To demand 100% accuracy of forecasting before you will do anything about it is, ridiculous.

    Similarly, we have indications from Paleo reconstructions, of what the climate sensitivity was in the past, which gives us a pretty good indication of what it will be now, with similar levels of CO2. Its about 3 Deg C per doubling of CO2, which coincidentally or not, is the ballpark IPCC estimate. As I said, it is about managing risk. To demand absolute accuracy before we act is well, just silly.

  122. izen says:

    @-Richard Betts
    “So, it’s incorrect to claim that climate scientists are not engaging openly.”

    I suspect that David Blake is basing his assessment of the non-engagement of scientists on his own experience.
    When he informs scientists that they have got a major part of the science wrong and they tell him he is mistaken he ‘hears’ that as non-engagement. After all he knows he is right (D-K?), so telling him he is wrong is just ‘shut-uppery’.
    ——–
    There is a problem with the consensus argument using the;
    – 97 doctors out of a 100 tell you to change your lifestyle habits for health reasons; who you gonna believe? –
    Statement.

    A significant proportion will believe the three that did not give the advice they do not want to follow. Or will accept the consensus exists, but use the few contrarians or uncertainty in the subject to justify and rationalise their continued unhealthy behavior.

    People are very reluctant to abandon what they feel are integral parts of their life. As demonstrated by obesity and smoking.
    Societies seem equally reluctant to to change over fossil fuel use. The same, “well perhaps we can use a little more coal or continue using it a bit longer…”

  123. Richard B.,

    I probably shouldn’t have brought up the consensus topic on this thread – I started answering a point about values but then brought in other points, which on reflection was a distraction – sorry folks!

    Yes, you opened up a can of worms there. I have discovered that if I want a lengthy comment thread, I just need to write a post about the consensus project and it all takes off from there 🙂

    Also you may have missed hearing about the dinner at Nic Lewis’s house …. but let not get into that again, it’s been absolutely discussed to death on this and other blogs 😉

    Noooooo, don’t mention the dinner 😉 (I would post to an appropriate Fawlty Towers skit, but I suspect that that would be quickly mis-interpreted).

    David Blake,
    I’m going to post your comment, only so I can address what you’re implying with this,

    I, you, and aTTP also forgot to mention another small thing about Venus: 92 Bar pressure at the surface! PV=nRT. Adibiatic processes….

    You’re suggesting that the high surface temperature of Venus is because of the high pressure. Well, this is a common mis-preception and it is wrong (it’s so wrong, that it’s the kind of red flag that suggests that the person who uses it understands this topic so poorly that there is little that can be done to correct their misunderstandings).

    So, yes, every fluid has an equation of state that relates pressure, density and temperature, If you fix the density and increase the pressure, the temperature goes up. If, however, you fix the density and increase the temperature, the pressure goes up. So, on Venus, the high pressure is due to the high temperature, not the other way around. What’s actually happening? Well, the density is set by hydrostatic equilibrium, and the temperature profile in the troposphere is largely set by the dry adiabatic lapse rate (10K/km). The runaway greenhouse effect due to the carbon dioxide rich atmosphere means that the effective height at which Venus radiates energy back into space is about 50km above the surface (on the Earth it is about 5km). If you work from a height of 50km (where the average temperature matches what the surface temperature would be in the absence of an atmosphere) down to the surface, you get a surface temperature that is, on average, 500K higher than it would be if there were no atmosphere (10K/km x 50km).

    That’s why the surface temperature on Venus is so high. It’s not because of the high pressure. If it were simply the high pressure, it would simply cool back down. The reason it doesn’t, is because Venus has undergone a runaway greenhouse process.

  124. David Blake

    I don’t know of any climate scientists who claim ‘the seas will boil’ as you suggest.

    I think dikranmarsupial puts it well above:

    There is a point where healthy skepticism becomes hubris, and I would say that point is very likely to have been reached where “some bloke off the internet” (which includes myself) thinks they have a sufficient understanding of some scientific topic that they think the majority of the worlds scientists working on that topic have misunderstood the basic concepts in their field

    In my medical error incident, just because I questioned something I didn’t understand and found a serious error, I don’t think I know more about medicine than the entire medical profession.

    I’m all for having a sensible discussion about climate science, particularly the areas where we are uncertain. However, putting forward straw man arguments like ‘they say the seas will boil’ isn’t helpful to a sensible discussion.

  125. David Blake says:

    @ RichardBetts,

    Just as I said I’d never knowingly argued with a Climate Scientist, along you come!… 😀

    >>”This is incorrect – you’ve obviously just missed it somehow!”

    Obviously I must have! I do see you commenting on other blogs, and well done you, but my point was more about the blogs themselves than climate scientists commenting on them. Aside from your brave self the only other CS that I’ve witnessed braving the waters is Isaac Held. Maybe others do it under a pseudonym – but what’s the point of that? And thanks for the link to McNeal’s blog list. I’ll be sure to check them out. Who’s the best on i)clouds, ii)AMO, iii) Geomagnetics?

    On the main alarmist/sceptic sites the moderation teams man the watchtowers, weapons at the ready. On any sight of dissent… fire. Both you and aTTP seem to have recently experienced it over at BH and WUWT. I get it at the Guardian (or used to), RealClimate, SkS, etc.

    What’s left is a further divided community. The sceptics and alarmists, stick to themselves and like a tribe devour any of the other team who dare to enter “their patch”. Then the Mods finish them off.

    And there’s the problem: neither side is getting their views challenged. Neither side seems to want to. But assuming you do, where do you go? Twitter is a good suggestion, but really, discuss complicated points in 150 chars or less?

  126. dikranmarsupial says:

    “I, you, and aTTP also forgot to mention another small thing about Venus: 92 Bar pressure at the surface! PV=nRT. Adibiatic processes…. ”

    Caveat: I’m not physicist: Note that while Venus may be 92 bar pressure at the surface, the LHS of the gas law is the product of pressure and volume. Consider what would happen if the Sun suddenly fizzled out. Venus would initially continue to radiate heat away at about the same rate, which would mean that it would start to cool. The gas law would be satisfied if the pressure stayed the same, but the volume of the atmosphere decreased (i.e. its density increased) as it is PV that is proportional to T. Similarly if you increased T, you could still have the same pressure at the surface if V increased (e.g. by raising the altitude of the top of the atmopshere). So to argue that temperature is due to pressure, you would at least need to show that there is a reason why V must remain constant.

  127. Shub just tweeted me about Hansen’s ‘the seas will boil’

  128. Richard B.,
    You could avoid that quite easily by doing what I’ve done.

  129. Well, I’ve just found where Hansen said “the seas will boil”. He was answering a question as to what the runaway greenhouse effect is. Sounds like there are some people who think there are simply some questions we shouldn’t be allowed to answer.

  130. David Blake says:

    @RichardBetts,

    >>”However, putting forward straw man arguments like ‘they say the seas will boil’ isn’t helpful to a sensible discussion.”

    It was James Hansen who said it:

    I’m very glad you seem to disagree. Get onto that Stephen Hawking 😀 [you may have to wait until when aTTP has finished with him on Black Holes.. :-)].

    >>”I don’t think I know more about medicine than the entire medical profession.”

    And I’m sure that I don’t know as much as you do en toto about Climate science. However if I see things that don’t make sense, if I see data that is contrary to what we are being told by various “official” sources, then I am going to say something. I *should* say something. We should *all* say something no matter what the subject matter is. I’m going to try to find out more about it. I may find my fears are unfounded, but very often my reaction is: “Why aren’t we being told this? People need to know.” I’m very happy to be proved wrong; I have no skin in the game, but when my queries get deleted it only re-enforces my doubts. Heavy moderation (from all sides) is counter productive.

    The current meme from (e.g.) M. Nagy is that we should “listen to our betters”, “don’t speak until you are spoken to”, type of thing is really not helpful in eliminating doubts. That you contribute (under you own name) to blogs is a wonderful thing and I commend you for it. You are clearly not part of the problem.

  131. David Blake says:

    @Izzen,

    >>”I suspect that David Blake is basing his assessment of the non-engagement of scientists on his own experience.”

    You are rather distorting what I wrote. Here’s the original. My point was about shut-uppery on blogs like SkS, RealClimate, The Guardian (yes, RealClimate is written by “the Team” who are climate scientists), rather than CS themselves. The fact that RealClimate are the second worst for Shut-uppery makes it all the more inexcusable.

  132. David,
    Under a runaway greenhouse scenario, the seas will boil. It’s not, technically, a strawman. Venus has undergone a runaway greenhouse process. However, it’s non-greenhouse temperature is about 30K higher than the Earth’s, so the process there was clearly natural and probably a consequence of simply being close to the Sun than the Earth and having a temperature that was simply too high, initially, to allow for some kind of stable climate in which liquid water could exist.

    We almost certainly won’t undergo such a process on Earth (at least I hope not). It’s clearly possible, though, if we were to emit enough CO2, but we probably can’t do so.

  133. dikranmarsupial says:

    David Blake wrote “And there’s the problem: neither side is getting their views challenged.”

    This isn’t true at all. An all too common argument that crops up on skeptic blogs is that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is not anthropogenic, but is a natural response of the environment to warming. I have spent a lot of time refuting this at skeptic blogs, such as BH, WUWT, ClimateEtc, etc., I have written a peer-reviewed comment paper in a journal on this topic (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef200914u), and I have sent emails to several of the skeptic scientists that have promulgated such ideas (only one, Prof. Robert Essenhigh replied). However, skeptics still refuse to let go of this canard, even though it is directly refuted by reliable observations.

    The skeptics certainly are getting their views challenged, but they are not listening. The mainstream view is also challenged, but their response is usually more productive, in that they look into the matter, see how the evidence stacks up, and then revise their view accordingly. For instance when I first heard about the “residence time” argument, I didn’t just dismiss it, I read the paper, looked into the science of the carbon cycle, found the error in the reasoning, and wrote a comment on the original paper explaining the error.

    If you don’t think either side of the debate is being challenged, it is because you are not looking very carefully.

  134. David,

    The fact that RealClimate are the second worst for Shut-uppery makes it all the more inexcusable.

    The “but RC moderation” argument. IMO, the shut-uppery is entirely reasonable. There’s only so many times someone can explain to another why they’re wrong.

  135. David Blake says:

    @ dikranmarsupial,

    >>”Caveat: I’m not physicist…”

    Neither am I. If only we had one on hand, hmmm… 😛

    I think I remember on some denier site sometime that someone did the calcs on Venus using the ideal gas law and solar input and came up with a very high figure for surface temperature without using radiative processes. [I would try to find it, but I doubt aTTP would allow the link…:-)]

    My point is that we can’t ignore pressure, nor can we ignore dynamic adibiatic processes on Venus (or on Earth).

  136. Charles Nagy says:

    “The current meme from (e.g.) M. Nagy is that we should “listen to our betters”, “don’t speak until you are spoken to”

    You are putting words into my mouth. I am not saying you shouldn’t ask questions, but that, given the lack of appropriate training, you may not understand the answers, (or even the correct question to ask), so you shouldn’t be surprised if you aren’t taken seriously.

  137. David,

    I think I remember on some denier site sometime that someone did the calcs on Venus using the ideal gas law and solar input and came up with a very high figure for surface temperature without using radiative processes. [I would try to find it, but I doubt aTTP would allow the link…:-)]

    Yes, I’ve seen those. They’re all crap. They never actually show you how the temperature remains high. If I assume that the pressure is high, then I can get a high temperature. It’s the “being self-consistent” bit that’s tricky.

    My point is that we can’t ignore pressure, nor can we ignore dynamic adibiatic processes on Venus (or on Earth).

    Nobody is. This is what is called “a strawman”!

  138. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think the value of “shut-uppery” is well illustrated by David’s complete lack of response (so far) to the point he raised about:

    “I, you, and aTTP also forgot to mention another small thing about Venus: 92 Bar pressure at the surface! PV=nRT. Adibiatic processes….”

    Which has been directly, and thoroughly answered by aTTP. The problem is that there are quite a few trolls who like to raise lots of points to prevent sensible discussion of the topic under discussion, but are not willing to openly acknowledge when any of the points they have raised have been refuted. The reason for this is obvious, if they openly admit the point has been refuted, they can’t use it again elsewhere without running the risk of having their acknowledgement referenced.

    If someone is being made to “shut up” through moderation, it is generally an indication that they are behaving in a disruptive manner, rather than that there was any desire to silence dissenting voices. Dissenting voices are great, provided they are able to admit when they are wrong.

  139. dikranmarsupial says:

    You will note that in David’s response to my answer to his question about adiabatic processes he (1) doesn’t mention the volume/density of the atmosphere, which was the point I was making (2) raises some other analysis, but without being specific enough to actually discuss it (3) demonstrated that he was unaware the other answer provided today (4) engages in a bit of moderator-baiting. Sadly this sort of rhetorical evasion is near ubiquitous in blog discussion of climate.

  140. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,
    >>” IMO, the shut-uppery is entirely reasonable. There’s only so many times someone can explain to another why they’re wrong.”

    I’m sure there is a point where the line is crossed, but it’s subjective. This is your blog, so you have your subjective “line” that you won’t cross. Bishop Hill has his, and you’ve seen both sides of the fence.

  141. Rachel M says:

    David Blake,

    I’m very happy to be proved wrong; I have no skin in the game, but when my queries get deleted it only re-enforces my doubts. Heavy moderation (from all sides) is counter productive.

    Queries generally do not get deleted. What gets deleted is repetition because it’s redundant. Take the venus discussion in this thread. ATTP has explained this to you in a comment already. You are free to agree or disagree but if you disagree and make wrong statements in a comment then it’s likely to get deleted since it has already been addressed once.

  142. dikranmarsupial says:

    “My point is that we can’t ignore pressure, nor can we ignore dynamic adibiatic processes on Venus (or on Earth). ”

    Apparently, we can however ignore volume/density ;o)

  143. David,

    I’m sure there is a point where the line is crossed, but it’s subjective. This is your blog, so you have your subjective “line” that you won’t cross. Bishop Hill has his, and you’ve seen both sides of the fence.

    Sure, but I’ve never criticised BH for moderating things. If anything, BH would improve if there was more moderation, not less.

  144. David Blake says:

    @ dikranmarsupial,
    >>”This isn’t true at all. ”

    Congratulations on your paper. It’s not an area with which I’m very familiar, and I’ll be sure to track down a copy and read it when I have time.

    Your process: find something that looks wrong, research it, challenge the blogs, is rather similar to what I was saying to Prof. Betts:
    >>”However if I see things that don’t make sense, if I see data that is contrary to what we are being told by various “official” sources, then I am going to say something. I *should* say something. We should *all* say something no matter what the subject matter is. I’m going to try to find out more about it. I may find my fears are unfounded, but very often my reaction is: “Why aren’t we being told this? People need to know.””

    ..and you went even further and got a peer-reviewed paper written, very impressive.

    Clearly you are correct that *within the scientific literature* views are challenged, but my point was pertaining to the place where (I suspect) the majority of the public get their views and information on climate: the various blogs.

    Are you saying that when you “spent a lot of time refuting this at skeptic blogs, such as BH, WUWT, ClimateEtc, etc” you were welcomed with open arms? No shut-uppery? No deletion of posts/accounts? They were pleased to be proven wrong? They welcomed the exchange of views? I doubt it. The climate tribes are just too divided for that.

    >>”You will note that in David’s response to my answer to his question about adiabatic processes he”

    You didn’t think my answer sufficient? I’ll go again then. I didn’t disagree with anything you wrote, so I felt no need to expand. But please note I did not say that “temperature is due to pressure”. Off the top of my head there’s three things that are important:
    1) Radiative processes & infrared absorbtion.
    2) The massive atmosphere, which along with g gives us the P in the ideal gas law,
    3) and less important, adiabiatic responses to changes in volume from (e.g.) solar wind.

    oh and 4) Distance to Sun obviously.

    1) sets the bulk temperature of the atmosphere. On a more micro-scale, the CO2 molecules near the surface of Venus are packed much closer together than they are on Earth (because of 2)), so per unit volume there is more energy and a higher temperature. Without the massive atmosphere there would be less energy per unit volume and lower temperature. The energy in each molecule is a result of a) infrared absorbtion, and b) convection and conduction from the surface and atmosphere,
    2) Here the P is held constant so T varies with V and vice versa. As P is very high, either T or V must also be fairly substantial, but it’s not the *cause* of the high temperatures.
    3) Seeing as P is high any changes to reduce V from (e.g.) solar wind would result in large increases in T. I would imagine akin to a fire piston. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_piston, although I’m not volunteering to go to Venus to check… 😀

    In short, the high temperature of Venus is due to a Greenhouse effect AND the massive atmosphere. I would imagine that Adibiatic processes are less important, except in local short-term effects. I’m sure aTTP has some thoughts…

  145. BBD says:

    If anything, BH would improve if there was more moderation, not less.

    And I was the one doing it 😉

  146. David,

    In short, the high temperature of Venus is due to a Greenhouse effect AND the massive atmosphere. I would imagine that Adibiatic processes are less important, except in local short-term effects. I’m sure aTTP has some thoughts…

    No, the Greenhouse effect is BECAUSE OF the massive carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere.

    BBD,
    Maybe Rachel and I could offer to help Andrew Montford out for a while, just to show him how it’s done?

  147. David Blake says:

    @Rachel M,

    You can moderate as you see fit.

    You seem to be under the impression that I disagreed with aTTP about Venus? I don’t think I did. Anyway, *at the request* of dikranmarsupial (who I also agreed with!) I’ve expanded my answer

  148. Willard says:

    > but my point was pertaining to the place where (I suspect) the majority of the public get their views and information on climate: the various blogs.

    One of the site mentioned is SkS. Dikran participates to this site. He moderates there. Heck, he even moderates my comments. Can you believe it, David?

    Are you suggesting there is a Dr. Jekyll Dikran who does as you say we should in official tracks and a Dr. Hyde Dikran who moderates SkS?

    Here’s what’s happening here, as I see it. You’re peddling, i.e. you’re using just about any reason to hammer down the But moderation. Among the things you do is “but I was talking about blogs.” I can predict your next move: OK for Dikran, but I was talking about Gavin

    In that scenario, you have every reason to ignore everything said about Venus here. Venus is not the point. Moderation is the point

    And then you’ll be confirmed in your moderation theory when people will stop to care addressing your theorical points or questions or whatever and moderate your tentatives to play the victim furthermore.

  149. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,

    >>”No, the Greenhouse effect is BECAUSE OF the massive carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. ”

    Interesting. Genuinely curious: What was wrong with my point 1) above, then? Surely if each molecule is at energy X Joules, and we have 100 of them into a 1m^3 box we have 100J/m^3. If you then have 92 times that amount in the same box the energy is now 9200J/m^3?

  150. David,

    What was wrong with my point 1) above, then? Surely if each molecule is at energy X Joules, and we have 100 of them into a 1m^3 box we have 100J/m^3. If you then have 92 times that amount in the same box the energy is now 9200J/m^3?

    Firstly, because the only way the box could retain that energy would be if it were completely insulated. If it weren’t it would cool down until the rate at which energy enters the box, matches the rate at which energy leaves the box. In the case of Venus, the insulation comes from the gas/atmosphere itself. Therefore, it is the atmosphere that produces the greenhouse effect, that sets the surface temperature, and, hence, the surface pressure.

  151. dikranmarsupial says:

    DAvid Blake wrote:

    “Your process: find something that looks wrong, research it, challenge the blogs,”

    No, that is not what I said. I heard about Prof. Essenhigh’s paper on the residence time argument because it was raised by some climate skeptics on a blog (mainstream view being challenged on blogs). That is what caused me to read the paper, find out that it was incorrect and make a productive response. You are now just making stuff up, as I made it abundantly clear that I didn’t find something that looked wrong, but that I was challenged with it on a climate blog and responded productively, and then afterwards discussed it back on those skeptic blogs (skeptic position being challenged on blogs).

    Yes, I have discussed stuff at climate blogs and generally I have not had posts deleted or been banned. But then again, I have generally been polite and discussed the science without evasion.

    “Clearly you are correct that *within the scientific literature* views are challenged, but my point was pertaining to the place where (I suspect) the majority of the public get their views and information on climate: the various blogs.”

    No, the topic of whether the rise is anthropogenic or not has been widely discussed on both skeptic and mainstream blogs, as is climate sensitivity, volcanic forcing, … Sorry, you are just wrong on this point, as my activities demonstrate.

    As to adiabatic processes. Firstly aTTP has *already* answered your point once, and I have already pointed out to you once that he has already answered it (this is the second time). This suggests that you are not reading the responses to your arguments very well.

    The temperature of a planet depends on radiative balance and radiative balance only. Once outbound radiation balances incoming radiation, then the system reaches thermal equilibrium. The mass of an atmosphere that is transparent to IR would have no effect whatsoever on outbound radiation. You can make it as massive as you like and the planet will still be at its approximate “grey body” temperature.

  152. Rachel M says:

    Maybe Rachel and I could offer to help Andrew Montford out for a while, just to show him how it’s done?

    Hell no! You’re on your own there. I think I’d rather sleep on the roof of public toilets than read all the comments at BH 🙂

  153. David Blake says:

    @Willard,

    >>”He moderates there. Heck, he even moderates my comments. Can you believe it, David?”

    I always thought he looked a little shifty! 😀 Very furry looking.

    I’m not a fan of SkS as you know, moderation there was especially tiresome (but Now Dikran’s in Charge it’s probably All Right…). I give up! It’s not going to change. The blogs are going to moderate as they like, I was a naive romantic fool thinking they cared about debate free-speech and truth. Oh no. What’s needed are blogs where like minded people can agree with each other *all the time*, and just be really really nice *all the time*, and slap each other on the back *all the time*, and never, ever, listen to *anybody* else. Then climate change will be solved, the Polar Bears will be saved and be so grateful they will give us all a nice big hug.

    😀

  154. Joshua says:

    ==> “… I was a naive romantic fool thinking they cared about debate free-speech and truth.”

    Arguing that people who disagree with you are sociopaths never gets old, does it?

    Such a victim you are. If only you could enjoy the rights of free speech. If only you were free to pursue truth. If only you were able to debate.

    Killing satirists, disinviting people to make certain comments at your blog = same same but different.

  155. dikranmarsupial says:

    Williard “OK for Dikran, but I was talking about Gavin”

    lots of room for confusion there as Dikran is a Gavin (not *the* Gavin, just a Gavin :o)

  156. dikranmarsupial says:

    FWIW, here is my last try at the adiabatic thing:

    Consider a planet with an atmosphere of mass m, which consists of a completely transparent (at all wavelengths) ideal gas. The planet is in thermal equilibrium such that the energy absorbed from the sun is exactly matched by the energy that it radiates back into space according to its temperature, as per the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Now lets double the mass of the atmosphere. Now if the mass of the atmosphere really did determine temperature, then we would expect the surface temperature to rise due to the additional mass of the atmosphere. However, the planet would then have to radiate more energy (as outbound radiation is proportional to T^4). Assuming that the inbound solar radiation stayed the same, the planet would then be in thermal disequilibrium as it would be radiating more energy than it received. Note in this case as the gas is transparent to all radiation, the outbound radiation is determined by the temperature of the surface. The planet would therefore cool down. This would continue until inbound and outbound radiation were in balance, and that would happen when the surface was at the same temperature for the original atmosphere of half the mass.

    I mentioned earlier about hubris. The idea that the field of climatology have missed some basic point about ideal gasses and adiabatic processes seems as good an example of this as any of the others I suggested.

  157. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,

    Thanks for you answer, I actually do appreciate it..!

    Couple more things though:
    1) I’m agreed that if the box isn’t a perfect insulator it will tend towards radiative equilibrium. But if we then make the box a perfect insulator, we have 92 times the energy in the box? Is that correct? If so, then surely the amount of energy in the box is directly proportional to the amount of molecules at X Joules each?

    2) You said “the greenhouse effect, that sets the surface temperature, and, hence, the surface pressure”. I’m agreed on the first part of the sentence, but just for clarity about the pressure: surely the bulk surface pressure is set by the mass of the atmosphere and the force of gravity pressing down on the surface area of the planet? i.e. X newtons of atmosphere pressing down on Y m^2 of planet surface = XY Pa of pressure?

  158. John Hartz says:

    David Blake: Did you have dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian when you were young?

    For the record, I am a Moderator at SkS. It is indeed a tiresome job because too darn manner denier drone cadets try to get their wings there. I also suspect that the comment threads of this sie are also used as a training ground.

  159. David,

    but just for clarity about the pressure: surely the bulk surface pressure is set by the mass of the atmosphere and the force of gravity pressing down on the surface area of the planet? i.e. X newtons of atmosphere pressing down on Y m^2 of planet surface = XY Pa of pressure?

    See Dikran’s answer above. If the atmosphere is completely transparent, then the surface temperature will be set by the balance of incoming energy and outgoing energy (with the temperature then set by the Stefan-Boltzmann law). Now imagine that we double the mass of the atmosphere. Yes, the pressure would go up and, initially, the temperature would too. But the increase in temperature would mean that the surface was now losing more energy than it receives and would cool down back to the temperature it had before you doubled the mass (since it’s completely transparent). Given that you’ve increased the mass (and hence density) the pressure will be higher (because P = \rho k T) but the temperature doesn’t have to change.

    Of course, if the atmosphere were not transparent and you increased the mass of the atmosphere, the surface temperature would increase, but that would be because you’d increased the concentration of greenhouse gases, moved the effective radiative altitude to a higher level (i.e., blocking more of the outgoing flux), not because the mass has increased.

  160. Steven Mosher says:

    “I’m not a fan of SkS as you know, moderation there was especially tiresome”

    haha at least you are allowed to post.

  161. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steve Mosher: “It’s used to abuse those who disbelieve.”, it is somewhat ironic that you should be complaining about people being abused because of their position on AGW (c.f. http://judithcurry.com/2014/09/18/distinguishing-the-academic-from-the-interface-consensus/#comment-630013). I would venture to suggest that if you want a more reasonable discussion of climate you might want to start by being rather less, shall we say, “abrasive” yourself.”

    I’m not complaining about people being abused.

    I’m making the point, that the GOOD argument you made is not made very often. And that the argument is used for OTHER purposes, one of which is abusing people.

    Now if you object to me being abrasive to you understand this. I’ve been banned at SkS and for no good reason. So, I call um like I see um

  162. Steven,

    I’ve been banned at SkS and for no good reason. So, I call um like I see um

    Well, I’ve seen people complain that they’ve been banned from here for no good reason. I, however, always have a good reason when I decide to ban someone. Of course, others might not agree that it’s a good reason, but since I run the blog, it’s a reason that’s good enough for me and therefore good enough by definition.

  163. Joshua says:

    ==> “Of course, others might not agree that it’s a good reason…”

    You forget. Steven is the arbiter of what’s good and what isn’t. Fall in line, dude.

  164. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Steven Mosher was not “banned” at SkS. Rather, he relinquished his privilege of posting on it for violating one or more features of the site’s Comments Policy.

  165. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steve Bloom says:
    January 9, 2015 at 10:48 pm
    ”We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

    The policy decision to do so is history, so I’m not sure what you’re saying here. But most scientists do support stronger action being taken in order to “avoid dangerous climate change,” as the phrase goes. How is that controversial?”

    How hard is this to see.

    Cook and others did studies, subject to nit picks, they show a consensus on the SCIENCE.

    Dik, makes a good argument that this appeal to consensus is a valid way for people who dont understand the SCIENCE, to form a rational belief on the science.

    I point out that Dik’s good argument is rarely made, instead the findings about consensus on the science are used for other purposes.

    1. to shoehorn in positions on POLICY which where not covered by cook

    Any you still dont get it.

    cook found nothing about consensus amongst scientists on policy. Take hansen on Nukes
    if you like. yet, his findings on consensus about the science are morphed into consensus on the policy.

    Ya, 97% of scientists agree to move to nukes
    97% agree to regulate emissions.. no tax emisssions.. no wait 97% admit the problem is China
    No wait, 97% admit “we” must do “something”

  166. Joshua says:

    ==> “he relinquished his privilege of posting on it for violating one or more features of the site’s Comments Policy.”

    What a strange notion of accountability!

    You think that steven is accountable for violating the policies that someone uses to moderate their own blog?

    Oh. The humanity!

  167. dikranmarsupial says:

    Steve Mosher, I have been the subject of abuse at plenty of places. However I generally refrain from “call um like I see um” on that basis because it is counter-productive to rational discussion of the science. Instead I try (but sometimes fail) and stay polite. As I said, you would do far better in making your points (some of which are very good – the one mentioned wasn’t as it just derailed the discussion of interface and scientific consensus) if you were to be less abrasive. Your choice of course.

  168. Willard says:

    > lots of room for confusion there as Dikran is a Gavin

    B-)

  169. Charles Nagy says:

    @Michael 2 says

    “Then let them work for free.” (Climate scientists, that is).

    Well most of them just about do work for free. Have you any idea of how little some of these graduate students earn?

    However, you didn’t address my larger point. The false equivalence of saying, “well billions are spent on climate research, what’s 100 million spent by Big Oil?” Thing is, Big Oil does not fund Climate Research. They fund disinformation, (lies if you like), about climate change. (Oh they did fund genuine research once, Richard Muller and BEST. Look at how that worked out for them).

    Hence, equating the two like you did Michael is just bollocks.

  170. Willard says:

    > I’m not a fan of SkS as you know,

    Me neither, although I’m not using every excuse to peddle it in conversations, David, just like you did in your response to my comment.

    A variation on peddling is the Doritos game:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/40263311176

    Vlad and Estragon should pick up that one.

    ***

    Yet another thread on moderation. Well played!

  171. Willard says:

    > I point out that Dik’s good argument is rarely made, instead the findings about consensus on the science are used for other purposes.

    I point out that this is false, and then the Moshpit goes parsomatics.

    ***

    > to shoehorn in positions on POLICY which where not covered by cook

    The NASA page does not even mention C13, but A10.

    Moshpit is dogwhistling the “but CAGW” meme by trying to dichotomize science and policy.

    ***

    > cook found nothing about consensus amongst scientists on policy

    He does not claim so either. That there’s a consensus about AGW implies we need to address it. AGW has policy implications. This consensus claim is not a theorem on number theory.

    ***

    > Hansen

    Hansen refers to his own authority. He also invokes his grand children.

  172. Steven Mosher says:

    To put a fine point on it. None of the statements on consensus that shoe horn in policy follow gavin’s sound approach on advocacy.

  173. Steven,

    None of the statements on consensus that shoe horn in policy follow gavin’s sound approach on advocacy.

    Yes, but the advocacy argument applies only to active scientists in a relevant field. People are allowed to be activists and – in a democracy – should be encouraged to do so. Activists will, in many cases, use evidence to support their position. They may not always us this evidence in as precise a manner as the original scientists would have done. Not only do I not see what’s wrong with this, I don’t see how it can be avoided.

  174. Willard says:

    > None of the statements on consensus that shoe horn in policy follow gavin’s sound approach on advocacy.

    Issuing such statements is not incompatible with Gavin’s approach either. To require that a specific statement “follows” from an approach is a bit farfetched.

    Shoehorn, shoehorn, shoehorn. Moshpit returns to his black hat marketing

  175. John Hartz says:

    Willard: As an SkS Moderator, I regularly scan the comments posted there. I cannot recall the last time that someone specifically incuded the word “Climateball” in a comment. Is that why you are not a fan of SkS?

  176. Willard says:

    I have idea why you’d think that, John. I keep trying to make people stop talking about moderation, and here you are, pulling me in. Not only you don’t respond well to peddling, but you seem oblivious how it works in ClimateBall.

    This is tiring, to be honest.

  177. kencoffman says:

    I would love to see a lab test that validates this assertion…good luck with that. It’s interesting to consider how Nitrogen atoms near sea level get their temperature. I suppose without IR-resonant gases, the nitrogen atoms would not vibrate, as if they were at absolute zero. The average surface temperature of the tropical oceans is greater than 20C. If I was designing a global thermal engine, I’d use that as a source, not rarefied, IR-resonant gases. Ah, but what do I know, I’m just a buffoon.

    “The mass of an atmosphere that is transparent to IR would have no effect whatsoever on outbound radiation. You can make it as massive as you like and the planet will still be at its approximate “grey body” temperature.”

  178. ken,
    I’ll post your comment, but I don’t really understand what you’re getting at.

  179. dikranmarsupial says:

    kencoffman again, I’m no physicist, but I would expect the atmosphere to gain heat energy from thermal conduction from the surface,even in the absence of heat being transferred from IR absorbed by the GHGs in the atmosphere. The atmosphere would be cooler than it would be in the presence of GHGs, but conduction would prevent it from dropping to absolute zero.

  180. dikranmarsupial says:

    If there is open water, there would also be energy transferred by evaporation.

  181. This is what I thought ClimateBall was about



    ” … excerpt from a Willis Eschenbach autobiographical post on WUWT

  182. BBD says:

    The horror, the horror…

  183. dikranmarsupial says:

    Steve Mosher, it may be that you haven’t been banned from SkS, but that you just needed to reset your password following the hack. Please do give this a try, as SkS actively welcomes discussion of the science, provided that the comments policy is followed. If there are problems, just use the contact form (http://skepticalscience.com/contact.php), making sure that you give the user name and email-address with which you registered at SkS.

  184. verytallguy says:

     Mosher whines here

    I’ve been banned at SkS and for no good reason. So, I call um like I see um

    yet is a such a pleasure to debate with when unmoderated 

    big boy pants.

    get a pair.

    put them on with the zipper in the front.

    Why would anyone wanting a civil conversation ban him?   A mystery. 

  185. John Hartz says:

    Willard: I asked you a straightforward question and, as is your wont, you responded with a haughty put-down. Your are absolutely correct, conversing with you is tiring. More importantly, it’s an absolute waste of my time and energy.

    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’

  186. verytallguy says:

    And just for the record given the SKS contributors here, I am a huge fan. It’s an excellent resource.

  187. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,

    Thank you for your answers. I really do genuinely appreciate them. And an appology is in order. I missed your comment here about lapse rates, as the first part was directed to someone else and I assumed the whole of the post was. So we may have had some cross talking. My fault.

    On the whole I think we are agreeing with each other regarding Venus, so I am at a bit of a loss to know why you said “No” to my expansion of answer to Dikran.

    1) I am in total agreement with you and Dikran that a planet without a radiative atmosphere would return to the same temperature after a doubling of mass of the atmosphere.

    2) Regarding Pressure you seem to be saying contradictory things. Firstly you said “No, the Greenhouse effect is BECAUSE OF the massive carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. ” [my bold]” But then later about the insulated box, you said “Therefore, it is the atmosphere that produces the greenhouse effect, that sets the surface temperature, and, hence, the surface pressure.”, which you confirm in your initial post; “So, on Venus, the high pressure is due to the high temperature, not the other way around.”

    The latter quote implies that it is the high temperature that *causes* the 92 bar pressure. Yet in the former you say that the atmosphere is massive. A massive atmosphere will result in a high surface pressure all on it’s own wouldn’t it (as I wrote here)?

    You did reply, but only to point me to Dikrams post about the planet with the non radiating atmosphere.

    So which is correct? a)That the 92 bar is due to the high temperature, or b) that the 92 bar is due to the massive atmosphere?

    If a), how can such a large mass not create a large pressure?…

    3) In your latter, extended answer, you said:

    “Of course, if the atmosphere were not transparent and you increased the mass of the atmosphere, the surface temperature would increase, but that would be because you’d increased the concentration of greenhouse gases, moved the effective radiative altitude to a higher level (i.e., blocking more of the outgoing flux), not because the mass has increased.”[my bold]

    By *concentration* I take it to mean that there is more (e.g.) CO2 per unit volume, as I said above?

    So, to confirm, an increase in mass of radiative atmosphere would increase the surface temperature? (Again, such a mass would by necessity create a large pressure..?) If so, why did you answer “No” to me? It got me very confused!

    4) In your initial post on the subject, which I missed (but having read it agree with 99% BTW) you bring up the subjects of the DALR, and hydrostatic equilibrium. As you know both of those concepts are dependent upon gravity, and also (respectively) heat capacity and pressure. They obviously don’t include terms for radiative processes (as far as I know). [I understand the US standard atmosphere was derived without using terms for radiative processes (here’s the 1976 USAF copy), is that correct?]

    My question is therefore if the lapse rate is set by gravity, then again, surely the pressure is also set by gravity (and mass of the atmosphere and surface area).Therefore pressure is not a result of temperature?

    In my mind we seem to be almost agreeing, but at the same time, you seem to be saying I’m wrong about certain things! 😀 I would appreciate if you could answer these specific points, particularly about the pressure. Thanks.

  188. David,

    So, to confirm, an increase in mass of radiative atmosphere would increase the surface temperature? (Again, such a mass would by necessity create a large pressure..?) If so, why did you answer “No” to me? It got me very confused!

    Okay, if you increase the concentration (mass) of radiatively active gases, you would increase the surface temperature, but it’s not because of the increased mass, but because it increases the effective height at which the system radiates into space.

    My question is therefore if the lapse rate is set by gravity, then again, surely the pressure is also set by gravity (and mass of the atmosphere and surface area).Therefore pressure is not a result of temperature?

    Remember that the lapse rate is simply the temperature gradient dT/dz. It doesn’t tell you, alone, what the actual temperature is. The pressure itself is set by both the temperature and the density, through the equation of state. The temperature is essentially set by the concentration of radiatively active gases (which set the effective height at which we radiate to space). Work from that height (where the temperature matches the non-greenhouse temperature) down to the surface alone the lapse, gives the surface temperature. The surface temperature and density (which does depend on mass) sets the pressure (P = \rho k T).

  189. dikranmarsupial says:

    WHT reminds me of this quote from Francis Bacon, “Besides (to say the truth) nakedness is uncomely, as well in mind as body, and it addeth no small reverence to mens manners and actions, if they be not altogether open”, which is an Elizabethan (I rather than II) way of saying “things that have been seen/read cannot be unseen/unread”. ;o)

  190. dikranmarsupial says:

    David Blake wrote “I am in total agreement with you and Dikran that a planet without a radiative atmosphere would return to the same temperature after a doubling of mass of the atmosphere.”

    David Blake wrote “In short, the high temperature of Venus is due to a Greenhouse effect AND the massive atmosphere.”

    There seems to be a bit of a disconnect there.

  191. BBD says:

    dikranm

    “things that have been seen/read cannot be unseen/unread”. ;o)

    Exactly. [Pours drink with shaking hands]

  192. Caveat: I am a physicist.

    The common error of thinking that high pressures can be the reason of high surface temperatures seems to have surfaced again, but only a part of the reasons that make the argument wrong have been presented as far as I have noticed.

    Higher pressure alone does not lead to a higher temperature as isothermal atmosphere is stable in absence from heating at low altitude. So is also a temperature profile, where the temperature rises with height as it does in part of Earth stratosphere.

    Higher pressures become related with higher temperatures when vertical movement of air takes place. Such a vertical movement must be driven continuously by external energy that provides free energy. In practice that means always that heat must be brought in at a higher temperature than those parts of the atmosphere have that lose energy to space by emission. If it’s not driven continuously the circulation stops due to dissipation.

    To drive effectively circulation it’s also necessary that the heated part is at a lower height than the emitting part. Thus heating of surface at the day-side equator and cooling of the surface from the night-side and high latitudes is not efficient in driving circulation.

    The whole and only thing that can lead to the large temperature difference is the GHE, because only the GHE results in heating of surface and low troposphere and loss of energy by emission from the upper troposphere. This is the basic nature of the atmospheric heat engine that must work with considerable power all the time to keep the circulation alive.

  193. Michael 2 says:

    Charles Nagy says “The Venus scenario is a low probability outcome, granted, but it could happen in the worst case.”

    And that is how you motivate the FUD-vulnerable.

    ATTP says: “So, on Venus, the high pressure is due to the high temperature, not the other way around.”

    I cannot imagine me arguing with ATTP about anything, but I will this one — the high pressure is due to the volume of gas and gravity.

    Experiment: Take some “air” on earth, unconstrained at sea level. It will be about 1 bar pressure (being the definition thereof). Heat it. Measure it. It will still be 1 bar. It will also have fewer molecules having scattered them.

    Heat the entire atmosphere. It will expand. It will likely still be 1 bar at sea level; the number and weight of all molecules above your measuring point has not changed. It is that weight, that mass, that produces pressure in an unconstrained atmosphere.

    Venus has 92 bar pressure because it has more atmosphere.

    Earth will never, ever, have more than 1 bar pressure at sea level; I can allow that maybe some subtle factor might make it 1.1 or 1.2; but how can you and Steven Hawking possibly imagine 92 bar at the surface of Earth? and without it, how can Earth ever become like Venus?

    So you see, when someone claims Earth can become like Venus, when it most certainly cannot, the bar is lowered on all claims made by such persons.

    But I could be wrong. I argued with my computer science professor and proved him wrong — I had 25 years experience and needed the class just for the piece of paper. It didn’t get me much. I argued with my economics professor and she proved me wrong. I learned quite a lot.

    So perhaps y’all could explain how Earth, farther from the Sun and with only 1 bar atmospheric pressure and hardly any CO2, could become like Venus, well, I’m listening.

  194. Willard says:

    > I asked you a straightforward question and, as is your wont, you responded with a haughty put-down.

    You’re mistaking the raven and the sea lion, John:

    You just did this by asking me to defend my opinion, and now you appeal to pride instead of getting a hint of how silly your concern is here, in a comment that was not addressed to you.

    You should know by now that I dislike piling on, cheer leading, and sea lioning, on SkS just as everywhere. Add to this your ennui, your drive-by links and your obliviousness regarding basic social cues, and I think I cover most of your contributions. I mean, come on, you can’t even own that when you moderate it is you who moderates, John. Nobody makes you do it.

    It’s not the first time that I’m telling you all this. But then you dismiss this by attacking my motivations, and by declaring all this as futile. What will it take for you to understand that I can be serious from time to time, and that now I am?

    Since you want to know, I might as well state it once and for all. SkS should not allow comments on its authoritative pages. They are not editorials. The editorials should be moderated in a way to prevent piling on, which means you could go back and delete most if not all of Rob’s comments. Moderation would be less cumbersome if SkS did not pretend to allow dissenting comments, when it’s clearly not. It’s too easy to act smugly and then impose moderation on those who respond in kind.

    If you want to know more, I charge by the hour. Please consider hiring people who know about social stuff.

  195. M2,

    Experiment: Take some “air” on earth, unconstrained at sea level. It will be about 1 bar pressure (being the definition thereof). Heat it. Measure it. It will still be 1 bar. It will also have fewer molecules having scattered them.

    Yes, but that’s only because you’re keeping it in pressure equilibrium with its surrounding. If you put it in a box and heated it, the pressure would rise.

    So perhaps y’all could explain how Earth, farther from the Sun and with only 1 bar atmospheric pressure and hardly any CO2, could become like Venus, well, I’m listening.

    As I said, it probably can’t. That’s mainly because I don’t think there’s enough available CO2 to do so (much of the CO2 on Earth is locked up in carbonate rocks). If, however, we could release sufficient CO2, then we could turn into Venus through a runaway greenhouse effect.

  196. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Please tell Willard that SkS employs zero people. All members of the SkS team are volunteers.

  197. Willard says:

    > All members of the SkS team are volunteers.

    Mister President. Tell John that his response is irrelevant to what I’m saying, and make him realize that after challenging me to tell him what I think after I told him to stop bugging me, he now addresses you instead of acknowledging that I took time to answer his appeal to pride.

  198. John Hartz says:

    ATTP: Please let Willard know that I have duely noted his concerns about my well being.

  199. Dikranmarsupial and …and Then There’s Physics are completely incorrect about the doubling of an atmosphere having no equilibrium effect on temperature. It will indeed heat up. It is the conversion of additional gravitational potential energy to radiant energy. It is why Jupiter is hot. It is called the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism and it has been understood for about 150 years.

  200. Alex H,
    I’ll post your comment, but I’ll probably regret it. The Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism is the conversion of gravitational potential energy to heat when an atmosphere shrinks. So, yes, Jupiter is emitting more energy than it receives from the Sun, because it is slowly shrinking. Therefore, it has two energy sources. It has energy from the Sun, and energy from the gravitational contraction of it’s own atmosphere. So, indeed, it’s equilibrium temperature will be set by the balance between the energy that it gains from those two sources and the energy it needs to radiate in order to be in thermal balance. We were, however. discussing a hypothetical scenario where you simply double the mass of an atmosphere that is in hydrostatic balance (i.e., one that wasn’t shrinking and releasing energy through gravitational contraction). In that scenario, the mass of the atmosphere does not influence the equilibrium temperature.

  201. In that scenario, there is no planet at all because it never would have condensed from the gas cloud. The whole point of your discussion was whether mass had an effect on atmospheric temperature. Your idealization was strictly with respect to radiative participation in the atmosphere. In this ideal world–which must contain gravity or else we aren’t talking physics any longer–doubling the mass of the atmosphere will increase its temperature.

  202. Alex,
    Look, I’m not interested in a pedantic discussion with someone who – from what I’ve seen – denies the atmospheric greenhouse effect. If you don’t understand the concept of hypothetical, and don’t understand what is meant by hydrostatic, then just ask and I’m sure someone will explain.

  203. BBD says:

    I’m sorry. But worse has been committed in comments here:

  204. I don’t deny the existence of an atmospheric greenhouse effect. Your answer was incorrect, and now you understand that. Pardon me for pointing it out.

  205. Alex,
    No it wasn’t, but my interest in discussing this with you is largely non-existent.

  206. [Mod : I’m not interested. If you want to believe that doubling the mass of the Earth or Venus’s atmosphere, which is what we were discussing, would – by itself – have a measurable influence on the equilibrium temperature, carry on. I was ignoring geothermal flux too, which would have an effect.]

  207. AlexH if you read aTTPs initial explanation of this scenario, you will see that it already includes the Kelvin-Helmholtz effect: “Yes, the pressure would go up and, initially, the temperature would too.”. The reason the temperature would initially rise is the conversion of potential energy to thermal energy as the pressure and gravitational attraction came back into balance (and the atmosphere achieves hydrostatic balance once more). The problem with potential energy is that it can only be converted into thermal energy once, it so can’t provide heat indefinitely. Now if you have evidence that the atmosphere of the Earth or Venus is shrinking then you might have a point, but I strongly suspect you don’t and you haven’t.

  208. John Hartz says:

    Kudos to the Standford faculty members who signed the letter that is the subject of the following article,

    Stanford professors urge withdrawal from fossil fuel investments by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Jan 11, 2015

  209. Okay, here is why the temperature of an atmosphere will increase with added mass, even in a hydrostatic idealized world with no radiative participation…or gravity:

    Radiation is not the only mode of heat transfer. As ATTP pointed out, atmospheric pressure will increase. Both conduction and convection heat transfer coefficients increase with increasing pressure. Quite a bit, for both free and forced convection, actually. Therefore, there will be increased heat flux from the surface to the atmosphere, and a higher steady-state temperature in hydrostatic equilibrium.

    This is easily understood by considering the limiting case of a nonexistent atmosphere (which therefore contains no energy). With the inclusion of an atmosphere, which must exist at a finite temperature, energy is moved from solid to gas, while still maintaining conservation of energy with the sun.

  210. Alex,

    As ATTP pointed out, atmospheric pressure will increase. Both conduction and convection heat transfer coefficients increase with increasing pressure. Quite a bit, for both free and forced convection, actually. Therefore, there will be increased heat flux from the surface to the atmosphere, and a higher steady-state temperature in hydrostatic equilibrium.

    I think what you’re forgetting is that we’re considering the scenario where adding mass to the atmosphere does not change its radiative properties. Bear in mind that this is highly idealised, but if we consider a scenario where the atmosphere is essentially transparent, then the surface radiates directly to space. If the surface also transfers energy to the atmosphere, then what you suggest would actually reduce the surface temperature, not increase it. In other words, the surface would gain energy from the Sun and then lose it via radiation and conduction (with the energy then transferred via convection in the atmosphere). This means that increases in conductive energy transport from the surface, reduces the amount it loses via radiation, and the surface temperature goes down. Of course, if the atmosphere is completely radiatively inactive then the problem becomes how it ultimately loses the energy that it gains, but that’s why this is an idealised/unrealistic scenario.

    The point that was being made was that it’s not the mass that matters, it’s the energy transport in the atmosphere that matters. If we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, the surface temperature goes up primarily because this changes the radiative properties of the atmosphere, not specifially because we’ve increased the mass.

  211. Note Alex H initially said the reason was the Kelvin-Helmholtz effect, and this was shown to be incorrect. He is now making a different argument, but not acknowledging that the Kelvin-Helmholtz effect was incorrect. Plus ca change…

  212. FFS. No, I didn’t forget adding mass “does not change its radiative properties”. That has nothing to do with it. You simply forgot that energy is radiated, conducted, and convected. And neither was the Kelvin-Helmholtz explanation “incorrect”, it is precisely why Jupiter radiates more energy than it receives from the sun and it would elevate the temperature of an atmosphere upon doubling.

    Increasing the mass of an atmosphere on a planet with any external or internal energy source permanently increases the temperature of the atmosphere. Period. And this was stated specifically by both of you to be untrue. You were both wrong. Further, the idealization was an extremely poor one, because it is unphysical for any matter to have zero radiative participation. As ATTP figured out, it makes the idealized planet a physical impossibility with a result that contains an infinity. Proper idealizations are never unphysical, and therefore your notional planet, which led you to an incorrect answer, should be completely discarded.

  213. Alex,

    God, you’re a [Mod: deleted] You also are clearly incapable of discussing hypotheticals. From what I’ve seen you’re also a denier, so I’m probably wasting my time. You’ve also changed what email you’re using, so I shall have to add you to my moderation list again.

    And neither was the Kelvin-Helmholtz explanation “incorrect”, it is precisely why Jupiter radiates more energy than it receives from the sun and it would elevate the temperature of an atmosphere upon doubling.

    We didn’t say it was incorrect. It was irrelevant. We were talking about the Earth and Venus which, the last time I checked, are not gas giant planets.

    Increasing the mass of an atmosphere on a planet with any external or internal energy source permanently increases the temperature of the atmosphere. Period.

    If it doesn’t change the radiative properties of the atmosphere then it doesn’t. Consider the following (and try thinking about this instead of responding with “FFS” and “you’re both wrong”. If you think it’s wrong, explain it properly). If you don’t change the radiative properties of the atmosphere, then the effective height at which it radiates to space doesn’t change. Therefore the height in the atmosphere at which the temperature is – on average – the same as the non-greenhouse gas temperature doesn’t change. If we don’t change the lapse rate of the atmosphere, then the temperature gradient doesn’t change. Therefore if we work from the altitude in the atmosphere where the temperature essentially matches the non-greenhouse temperature down to the ground, you get the same temperature profile in the atmosphere (i.e., adding mass hasn’t changed the temperature in the atmosphere)

    Of course, if you change how much of the energy is transferred from the surface to the atmosphere through conduction, then you change how much is lost from the surface via radiation. If you increase how much is lost via conduction, then you decrease how much is lost via radiation and the surface temperature goes down. Now, of course, if increasing the mass were to change the lapse rate (i.e., add more water vapour for example) then this would change, but your argument is that increasing the mass increases the temperature, period!

  214. Actually, in the interests of honesty, what I describe above probably does mean that the atmospheric temperature goes up slightly. If you increase the mass of the atmosphere (without changing its radiative properties) so that the amount of energy transferred from the surface to the atmosphere via conduction increases, then the amount that the surface radiates decreases. This means that the surface temperature drops slightly, but also means that the amount of energy that the surface radiates directly to space also decreases. This means that the temperature in the atmosphere would need to increase so as to compensate. It doesn’t change, though, that ultimately it’s the balance of energy fluxes that matters, not the mass specifically (i.e., it’s not because the atmosphere is heavier).

  215. John Hartz says:

    Directly related to the OP…

    Response to Nature’s “Speak up for science;” We Have to Do More by Aaron Huertas, Union of Concerned Scientists, Jan 9, 2015

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