Two years

I was reminded by WordPress that today is the second anniversary of me starting this whole blogging lark. In some sense I’m amazed that it’s been that long. In another sense, it seems as though I’ve been doing this for much longer than just two years. I’m a little surprised that I’ve kept it going. I don’t really have good reason for doing so and I think my goal from now on is to focus on it less, and focus more on what is probably more important (anything but this, really 🙂 ).

I’ve certainly learned a lot in the last two years; about climate science, about science in general, about myself, about society, and about many other things. Some of it’s been good, but some not so good. There are many things I would probably do differently had I known then what I know now (like not start this in the first place, probably 🙂 ). Some things I wouldn’t change. Someone did comment recently that maybe I should start again, but they didn’t come back and explain what they meant or how I would do so.

One thing that seems pretty clear about the online climate debate is that you’re never forgiven for what are seen as your past mistakes. As much as I may try, I’ll probably still continue to make the same mistakes I’ve made in the past, and probably some new ones too (although these will probably not be what others would regard as the mistakes for which I can never be forgiven). You also never quite get over not achieving what you claimed you wanted to do. Having a tagline Trying – and sometimes failing – to keep the discussion civil means that you get criticised if you ever fail to be as civil as you might hope. That you’re at least trying doesn’t appear to be worth recognising. On that note – and since it’s time for at least some changes – I thought I would change my tagline to something that I think is relevant, and that also reflects my heritage.

Anyway, I wish I could actually say something positive about all of this, but I am rather struggling. I do find the whole endeavour interesting (or else I would just stop) but I don’t think I can say that I regard it particularly positively. If I could be more cynical, I probably would be. The only positive thing that I can think of, is that most of what goes on probably stays in the blogosphere and that the rest of society isn’t quite this absurd. That may not be strictly true, but it’s what keeps me going. Since many regulars seem to appreciate Monty Python, I thought I would finish with something of their’s that nicely puts everything into perspective.

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104 Responses to Two years

  1. pbjamm says:

    Congrats on the 2 year anniversary! Your blog is one of the best for anyone after informed discussion of Climate Science. You should take your new found knowledge and collect on Lord Monkton’s $500000 bet!

    http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/i-challenge-climate-fascists-with-500000-bet/

  2. Rachel M says:

    Nice to see a change to the tagline. Maybe we’ll get the bio at the third anniversary 🙂

    It’s great that song.

  3. pbjamm,
    Thanks. So Christopher Monckton presumably thinks “denier” is competely wrong, but “climate fascist” is okay? To be fair, we can’t be sure that this wasn’t written by his Lordship’s clerk while his Lordship was otherwise engaged.

  4. Rachel,
    The song is brilliant. I was unsure as to whether to go with the one I finally chose, or with what William Connolley suggested when I last discussed my tagline.

  5. Rachel M says:

    That must have been a tough decision 🙂

  6. It’s not too late to change my mind, but maybe I’ll wait till my third anniversary 🙂

  7. BBD says:

    likhipa inhlanzi emanzini

    I had to google that 🙂

    It took me back to your original comment.

  8. Rachel M says:

    Actually, I confess that I have very nearly changed your tagline a couple of times thinking that you probably wouldn’t notice. At least not right away. But I decided that would be abusing my powers 🙂

  9. Michael Lloyd says:

    My congratulations too and my amazement at your stamina. I came here following a link about the GWPF and stayed because I quite like the occasional off-beat article. I don’t have the detailed physics to participate on the science article but I do appreciate your considered and polite responses to my comments.

    The other positive was that I discovered Rachel’s blog (from the comments).

  10. Rachel M says:

    Oh thank you, Michael! You make me blush ^^’

  11. John Hartz says:

    Congratulations on your two-year anniversary. You have made a positive contribution to the ongoing discussion about manmade climate change and what to do about it.

  12. Vinny Burgoo says:

    (‘Likhipha’, no?)

    Oddly, if you add ‘ilanga’ (‘the sun’) in front of your new motto then Google Translate translates the entire phrase as ‘the blazing sun’ and won’t let you find alternative translations in the usual way (by clicking on the offered translation) because when ‘ilanga’ is present the meaning of ‘likhipha inhlanzi emanzini’ is nailed down and the phrase is treated as one word. If you see what I mean.

    GT also does this when translating complete sentences. E.g.:

    https://translate.google.co.uk/?hl=en-GB#auto/en/Ngesinye%20isikhathi%20uthole%20omunye%20umuntu%20egqoke%20izingubo%20zasebusika%20kodwa%20ilanga%20likhipha%20inhlanzi%20emanzini.

    I’m not suggesting that your new motto means ‘blazing’, by the way.* Just intrigued by GT’s take on it.

    ===
    * It obviously means ‘Like a fish out of water’, innit.

  13. John Hartz says:

    As long as you are in a housekeeping mode, you might want to delete your current lengthy Comment and Moderation policies with something short and sweet along the following lines…

    “This is my blog and I reserve to right to delete any comment that I deem to be inappropriate.”

    If and when I get my own blog site up and running, the above would constitute my Comment Policy.

  14. semyorka says:

    “http://www.wnd.com/2015/04/i”
    That is one seriously “eccentric” web site.

    Nuttier than squirrel poo.

  15. Rachel M says:

    … you might want to delete your current lengthy Comment and Moderation policies …

    I totally support this John Hartz. You should see my comment policy – http://rachelsquirrel.com/moderation-policy/

  16. Congratulations!!

    I wish I could actually say something positive about all of this, but I am rather struggling.

    You build up an interesting community. From this blog and the comments I regularly learn something. That is rare on blogs. Surely that is positive.

    I admit to be happy that I do not have to read the comments that are moderated and that it is great that I have the luxury of being able to skip certain comments.

  17. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Another strangeness at Google Translate is that is you add an exclamation mark to ‘likhipha umkhovu etsheni’ the translation changes form ‘scorching’ to ‘heatwave’.

    Don’t worry. You lot carry on with your koffee klatch. I’ll sort it out and report back.

  18. Vinny,
    I think you’re broadly confirming my understanding of the phrase, which is useful.

  19. BBD says:

    All taglines are wrong but some are useful 😉

  20. Congratulations to you for arguably the most entertaining blog on the internet; and the very interesting commenters it attracts. 🙂

  21. Michael 2 says:

    “it seems as though I’ve been doing this for much longer than just two years.”

    It seems that way to me, too, until I remember it was less than two years ago that Huffington Post, where I’d been hanging out, took a hard left turn and I quit the echo chamber.

    A similar phenomenon is driving long distances. If the road is interesting you don’t notice the time going by; but if the road is long and tedious (Interstate 80 in Nebraska comes to mind) it takes forever even though really its about 13 hours almost laser-beam straight. Can you even drive 13 minutes in a straight line anywhere in the U.K.?

    I do sense a consensus starting to form among the lukewarmers and that will probably reduce commentary quite a bit across the entire blog world. It is inevitable that as research continues the uncertainty will diminish and it is that uncertainty that fosters argumentation.

  22. Denis says:

    Although I don’t comment I find the interaction interesting but from a non-physicist but interested bystander perspective. The importance of these blogs should not be underestimated and is appreciated. Keep up the good work, it isn’t wasted.

    Living in Melbourne I love to determine the juxtaposition with my Australian experience.

    As you are probably aware we have a regressive government in office. There is an ideological move away from science, particularly where it does crosses the bows of a ‘hard right’ and libertarian perspective. There are a lot of positives though, the impact the continual and effective communications coupled with a population that is now seeing the effects of global warming and more particularly linking it to the CO2 emissions.

    The change in attitudes are however driving the changes far too slowly and time is being eaten up. It is more important than ever that scientists make themselves more visible. I would love to see a massive international petition from the entire science community, published and handed to all the world leaders before the Paris talks.

    Thanks again

  23. Eli Rabett says:

    Back deep in Eli’s bunny brain is the thought that ! corresponds to a click sound in Zulu, so adding it would correspond to adding a letter to a word. Oh well.

    But seriously, ATTP, is abusing bags of wind not a jag?

  24. Infopath says:

    ATTP: “…my goal from now on is to focus on it less…”

    Uh, yea, right.

    Anyway, congrats on the 2 years and thank you (and most commenters) for the education, the entertainment and the occasional headache.

  25. Sou says:

    Congrats on your blog birthday. Now it’s time for the “terrible two’s”, or the “toddler tantrums” – and they can be justified on more than one count 🙂

  26. Kudos to you, ATTP.

    True, the blogosphere is a strange parallel universe, but your particular part of it has managed to throw out plenty of tethers to the real world.

  27. rda33 says:

    ngikhuluma sizulu kancane, but I like your blog

  28. Magma says:

    One thing that seems pretty clear about the online climate debate is that you’re never forgiven for what are seen as your past mistakes.

    One of the many fierce rules of ClimateBall ™ that distinguish it from genuine scientific debate. However an oasis of sane and informed comment such as this is very much appreciated.

  29. Eli,

    But seriously, ATTP, is abusing bags of wind not a jag?

    In my case, only up to a point. I do envy your ability to do so, though.

    Denis,
    Thanks.

    Sou,
    Well, I have changed my tagline, so am no longer obliged to try to remain civil 🙂

    Mark,
    Thanks.

    rda,
    Me too, assuming I understood that.

    Magma,
    Thanks.

  30. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    likhipa inhlanzi emanzini is detected as Zulu on my machine, and it translates to “to produce the fish in the water”. I give up. Happy 2 years, your efforts are appreciated.

  31. verytallguy says:

    ATTP,

    I enjoy your blog as a place a sensible conversation about climate change can be had.

    The two things which distinguish your approach from most others are sensible moderation and strong engagement below the line.

    Good luck staying sane.

    VTG.

  32. Brandon,
    As I understand it, it’s essentially meant to be “the fish are jumping out of the water” and means that it’s very hot (i.e., it’s so hot that the fish are jumping out of the water). A more complete one (as Vinny found out) might be Ilanga likhipa inhlanzi emanzini which would be the Sun is so hot that the fish are jumping out of the water. Someone will probably come along now and tell me that I’m wrong 🙂

  33. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    Someone will probably come along now and tell me that I’m wrong

    Heavy is the head which wears the crown. Speaking of, I’m quite relieved you’re not waxing Messianic on us by way of Shaka. On that note, when my mind starts working that obscurely it means it’s past bedtime. Until anon.

  34. John says:

    @ATTP So Christopher Monckton presumably thinks “denier” is competely wrong, but “climate fascist” is okay?

    Funny how he feigns offense at being likened to “holocaust deniers”, but then proceeds to liken us to the fascists that caused the bloody holocaust. There’s even a cringeworthy video of Monkton calling a bunch of young environmentalists “Hitler Youth.” At least Monkton is funny, kind of like watching bad performance art.

    Anyway, thanks for all the great posts and threads. You may not be converting any dunderheads in deniersville, but the debates in these comments sections are very illuminating for a layperson like myself. Ironically, the first thing I came across when I first got interested in this subject a couple years ago was a Lord Monkton video on Youtube (when you search “climate change” a bunch of denier sludge pops right up), and I thought he made a convincing case until I read more deeply about the issue. I realize now that there are HUGE facts these guys have to ignore in order to keep believing the way they do (energy imbalance, anyone?), and this blog was one of the sources that helped make this clear for me. So keep it up, man.

  35. BBD says:

    Heavy is the head which wears the crown.

    Ah, the most (?) misquoted line in Shakespeare:

    Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
    To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
    And in the calmest and most stillest night,
    With all appliances and means to boot,
    Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
    Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

    – Henry The Fourth, Part 2 Act 3, scene 1, 26–31

  36. Joshua says:

    ==> “Someone will probably come along now and tell me that I’m wrong :-)”

    Not only that you are wrong, but that your mistake proves that you’re a statist who wants to destroy captialism even if it means starving millions of poor children in Africa along the way.

  37. John Hartz says:

    Reading this thread is like watching an episode of Sienfeld. 🙂

  38. BBD says:

    @ John H

    So long as it’s not like cleaning the drains you are getting excellent value. 😉

  39. Willard says:

    A dog came in the kitchen
    And stole a crust of bread.
    Then cook up with a ladle
    And beat him till he was dead.

    Then all the dogs came running
    And dug the dog a tomb–
    He stops, broods, resumes:
    Then all the dogs came running
    And dug the dog a tomb
    And wrote upon the tombstone
    For the eyes of dogs to come:

    A dog came in the kitchen
    And stole a crust of bread.
    Then cook up with a ladle
    And beat him till he was dead.

    Then all the dogs came running
    And dug the dog a tomb–
    He stops, broods, resumes:
    Then all the dogs came running
    And dug the dog a tomb–
    He stops, broods. Softly.
    And dug the dog a tomb . . .

  40. BBD says:

    D.C. al coda

  41. That has progressed to: “billions of poor children in Africa.” Alarmism and projection.

  42. harrytwinotter says:

    And I have been reading the climate change blogs for around two years now. I can’t say that the discussion with the deniers has improved, if anything I think they have become even more kookier.

    And I am yet to find even one true blue climate change denier who can put up a reasonable argument for why the scientific theory of AGW is incorrect – this has been my one disappointment after two years.

  43. harry,

    And I am yet to find even one true blue climate change denier who can put up a reasonable argument for why the scientific theory of AGW is incorrect – this has been my one disappointment after two years.

    Likewise. In fact, I would argue that I often encounter extremely poor arguments in general. That’s why I find what Joshua and Willard (and even Eli) do, quite interesting. They have the ability to highlight the flaws in what others are saying (myself too, sometimes). Of course, many don’t acknowledge – or notice – these inconsistencies. In some sense, the whole online climate debate is quite fascinating. I just wish I could enjoy observing and participating in it as much as Willard, Joshua, and Eli seem to.

  44. Brandon Gates says:

    BBD: Think of it as … I was just drawing fire for our host. Yes, yes, I like this story.

    JH: The thread about nothing? No soup for you!

  45. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    I think that the billions, or perhaps that’s tens of billions?, of deaths in Africa that lie at the feet of environmentalists are because of the elimination of indiscriminate agricultural spraying of DDT.

    Unless I’m mistaken, the death toll at the feet of environmentalists because they promote alternative fuels is only in the hundreds of millions at this stage.

  46. Joshua says:

    Mosher –

    You need to get up to speed, that’s yesterday’s news…

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2015/04/10/andy-lacis-responds-to-steve-koonin/#comment-52908

    Although it is interesting that he changed universities over the last four days.

  47. Brandon Gates says:

    Joshua,

    Trolls come in many forms. Witness:

    From the Dept. of Compartmentalized Dissonance and Projection comes this gem: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/13/climate-craziness-of-the-week-fossil-fueled-tornado/#comment-1906285

    [Dr. Koonin’s] argument was that the TCS to doubled forcing on a W/m^2 basis was small and difficult to project the impacts … I further recommend that you do not stick to just the IPCC literature, as volumes have been written on the corruption of that political body and their extensive use of non peer reviewed alarmism. I suggest the NIPCC as an excellent source to find a broader perspective on what the peer reviewed science says.

    One wonders how some non-psychological projections are difficult and politically corrupted “alarmism” whilst others magically qualify for a free pass.

    Same commenter taking notes from the Dept. of Potentially Deliberate Illiteracy:

    Well I agree that small changes can have a large impact, but I did not hear Dr Konnin dispute that, and since that (the percentage change in GAT on the K scale) was not his argument, (according to what you wrote in your comment) I consider it a strawman.

    Koonin’s exact words, which I had already previously quoted prior to building my “strawman”: http://judithcurry.com/2015/04/08/are-human-influences-on-the-climate-really-small/

    An even simpler indication of the percentish influence is to note that a 3 C mean global surface temperature increase on a base of 288 K is also about a 1% effect.

    How I wanted to respond: Of course he didn’t “dispute that” you twit, RTFA. Yeesh.

    /spleen-venting

  48. Michael 2 says:

    John says “I realize now that there are HUGE facts these guys [deniers, warmists] have to ignore in order to keep believing the way they do”

    Yep. The impact of repeated claims on the internet diminishes rapdily Log(n) whereas looking out the window is just “n”.

  49. Michael 2 says:

    Brandon Gates asks “One wonders how some non-psychological projections are difficult and politically corrupted alarmism whilst others magically qualify for a free pass.”

    The Theory of Blog Relativity denies special standing for any blog; each defines truth in its own way and only by comparison to other blogs can one discover the spin and moment of any particular blog defined relative to your observation platform.

    Because of the Expanding Blog Universe, the memetic distance between any two blogs will be increasing. Once you determine the rate of divergence and identify the most unlike blogs you can calculate back to the Big Dotcom Bang; the Very First Website which necessarily had no opposition to anything it chose to reveal.

    I suspect many words exist to describe guesses, speculations, projections, trends, soothsaying, prognostication…

  50. Steven Mosher says:

    Joshua

    ‘Mosher –

    You need to get up to speed, that’s yesterday’s news…”

    Ahh rats. I only check in sporatically. I’m on Episode 21 of 추노
    set after the time of the second manchu invasion of Korea during the reign of 인조
    and can’t be bothered to read everything you write

  51. Brandon Gates says:

    All,

    Since I see this as somewhat an open thread, I’d like to share this short exchange from today: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/14/open-letter-to-u-s-senators-ted-cruz-james-inhofe-and-marco-rubio/#comment-1906724

    The Opposition: You’re buying in to the warmist meme that GHG’s “absorb” or “trap” heat. This is not what happens. Each molecule absorbs and immediately re-emits photons over and over again. So the amount of heat “absorbed” by CO2 molecules is nearly irrelevant. That the photons are intercepted and re-emitted in a random direction is what matters.

    Me: Thus arises the Beer-Lambert law. I somewhat agree that “trapping” heat is not the best way of putting it but absorb is fine so long as the re-emitting is also discussed. My preferred short-form explanation of the overall effect is “reducing the net rate of heat loss”.

    The Opposition: That is also incorrect. The rate of heat loss before CO2 doubles is exactly identical to heat loss after CO2 doubles. What changes is the temperature profile from surface to TOA due to redistribution of the energy fluxes.

    Me: The easy way to do this is to talk through the chain of events in a simplified version of the system. The hard way is for me to just pummel you with literature. I’ll start with the easy way first and see how it goes. Consider the planet as composed only of uniform rock, no liquid water, and an atmosphere of only nitrogen and CO2. Solar constant is constant, and the system is at equilibrium, by which I mean that net radiative flux at TOA is effectively zero. Assume present “Earthlike” parameters for global average absolute surface temperature.

    Let “immediate” be something on the order of a year’s time. We magically double CO2 concentration immediately. What is the immediate effect of doing so?

    I’m interested in comment from the literati here about my own fidelity to literature and the instructional validity of my simplified Earth model. As well, I do have a specific question. My next move is to trot out the simplified forcing function …

    ΔF = α ln(C/C₀) : α = 5.35 W/m²

    … and argue that the “instantaneous” effect of a CO₂ doubling would be a negative energy balance (down) at TOA, hence a reduced rate of heat loss. What I’ve never been quite clear about is whether alpha represents the value at TOA, at the surface, the tropopause, the theoretical average emission altitude, etc. It’s that question I’m most interested in being clear on should anyone here be able to answer it. Thanks.

  52. Brandon,
    It’s at TOA. If you solve 5.35 ln(2) you get 3.7W/m^2.

    So, yes, you’re right that if you simply doubled CO2 the effect would be a reduction in outgoing TOA flux of 3.7W/m^2 and we would be gaining energy at 3.7W/m^2.

  53. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP, PS: I realize the above question goes back to the two alternative methods of calculating the value of the “greenhouse” effect, which I’m still attempting to get my mind wrapped around … the question about alpha in the simplified forcing expressions is partly due to my not quite grokking, but trying to get there.

  54. Brandon Gates says:

    ATTP,

    Our messages crossed. You just gave me exactly what I needed. Thanks.

  55. Brandon Gates says:

    Especially key: you reminded me to actually calculate the log of the CO2 ratio and not just use the coefficient …. (growls at self)

  56. Brandon Gates says:

    Thanks for the AR4 ref. Would that AR5 was in HTML format as well. Knutti (2008) is another of my favs, as you may have noticed.

  57. dcpetterson says:

    I and four people who became my friends ran a political blog for (mumble) years. I tended to be the most undependable contributor. The others got burned out before I did. The blog fell apart.

    From what I’ve seen (I’m new here) this is a noble effort and a job quite well done. In your article, you lament that civility was not always achieved. Don’t be discouraged — this is the Interwebs, and civility is not only an exception, it is an aberration. That you are able to achieve it from time to time is laudable indeed.

    If you go away, the blogosphere will be impoverished. Just sayin’.

  58. Joshua says:

    M2 –

    ==> “The Theory of Blog Relativity denies special standing for any blog; each defines truth in its own way and only by comparison to other blogs can one discover the spin and moment of any particular blog defined relative to your observation platform.”

    As I understand it, the Observer Effect of Blog Relativity denies special standing on any blog internally as well. A behavior considered trolling at any one moment by one person is no longer considered trolling when the exact same behavior is exhibited by another person in a different moment. The very fact of trolling is determined not by the act of the commenter, but by the very act of observation.

  59. Brandon Gates says:

    Michael 2,

    The Theory of Blog Relativity denies special standing for any blog; each defines truth in its own way and only by comparison to other blogs can one discover the spin and moment of any particular blog defined relative to your observation platform.

    Well played, sir, very well done indeed. I left you a note over at WUWT asking whether you’d finished reading Altemeyer, dunno if you saw it and now I can’t remember the thread. I was enjoying that discussion should you care to take it up again.

  60. izen says:

    @-Michael 2
    “The Theory of Blog Relativity denies special standing for any blog; each defines truth in its own way and only by comparison to other blogs can one discover the spin and moment of any particular blog defined relative to your observation platform.
    Because of the Expanding Blog Universe, the memetic distance between any two blogs will be increasing. Once you determine the rate of divergence and identify the most unlike blogs you can calculate back to the Big Dotcom Bang; the Very First Website which necessarily had no opposition to anything it chose to reveal.”

    VERY nice description of quantum blogging!

    I could add that blogrolls can be used to assess ‘entanglement’ and the degree of mutual coherence that such blogs share. I would suggest that given the Newtonian rules of for every opinion there is an equal and opposite opinion, that the Big Dotcom Bang probably produced simultaneously two blogs holding exactly antithetical opinions.
    This would comply with the hypothesis that the total opinions in the blog universe cancel so that it is a zero-sum system.

  61. Eli Rabett says:

    So Izen, is the blog cat dead or alive?

    More seriously Brandon. Emission is not immediate after photon absorption, but the energy is degraded to kinetic motion by collision (only 1 in a million re-emits). However, collisions can excite a few percent of the ground state CO2 to the vibrationally excited state, and some of those can emit. This is a very common mistake

    As a consequence, the rate of emission at any point in the atmosphere is a function of the number density of CO2 per unit volume and the temperature (there are some pressure effects also).

    See here for a more complete, but still basic explanation

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/03/simplest-explanation.html

  62. Eli,
    Thanks, that’s a good post. It’s also a good illustration of how fast we’re adding CO2 to the atmosphere. I was reading it and saw 380ppm and immediately thought that’s a bit low, and then looked at the date – 5 years ago, okay about right.

  63. Michael 2 says:

    Brandon Gates: “I left you a note over at WUWT asking whether you’d finished reading Altemeyer, dunno if you saw it and now I can’t remember the thread”

    Yep, saw the note and am still reading Altemeyer. I’m up to about page 160 and have been taking notes. I’m impressed that he tries to bring as much objectivity as can reasonably be expected under the circumstances; it is also interesting to observe a few gaps in his comprehension.

    To illustrate: Suppose a color blind person was studying why people sometimes stop at an intersection and sometimes they don’t. He doesn’t see that a “red” light induces stopping behavior in most people and may develop an alternative theory (the TOP light is the STOP light) that, while adequately descriptive, misses the obvious thing.

    Text page 117: “So do fundamentalists believe in majority rights or minority rights? The answer is, apparently, neither.”

    The bright red light in this case is that fundamentalists indeed do not believe in “rights”. Rights are a human invention and can be ignored, revoked, created pretty much on a whim. Rights are meaningless without an Authority (Rosseau; Social Contract).

    “Rights” requires a sovereign to create and enforce them. A fundamentalist also has a sovereign, Dog, next to which human rights mean little.

    In the United States, large regional cultural differences exist. New England still has a decided respect for sovereign, deep inside they tend to accept that an Authority exists and creates and grants “rights” that everyone else is supposed to honor. It produces odd claims such as “who authorized you to be a scientist?” from David Kuhn if I remember right; when the fact is that anyone can do science (some do it better).

    Meanwhile, “out west”, no concept of sovereign exists regardless of whether a person is a fundamentalist, consequently no “rights” per se. All interpersonal behavior is negotiated rather than assumed to exist from a sovereign. That is partly why so many westerners have bright stainless steel revolving negotiators.

  64. SDK says:

    Just a very short one:

    As a lurker, I would also commend ATTP for his efforts. I’ve worked with climate data since the 90s. but still short on much scientific knowledge. The discussions here is extremely informative in that regard.

    And as it was mentioned upthread, just looking at the US Senate hearing from the Committee on Science, Space and Technology right now with Curry. What a complete sham… No wonder the public is so uninformed.

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hclive10

  65. Brandon Gates says:

    Eli,

    Helpful comment and post. One thing made me smile:

    As the surface warms, the rate at which it can radiate energy increases, pushing more thermal IR radiation out into space.

    That’s how I think of it, but how I most often see it explained is “so temperature must rise to restore equilibrium”. It’s magic! The way I’ve thought of it is that I’ve got an air compressor which supplies gas molecules to a leaky tyre at a constant rate. As I begin to plug the leaks pressure rises in the tyre until the leak rate once again matches the constant inflow rate. Boyle’s law of radiative physics. All sorts of things wrong with that analogy, but conceptually it works for me.

    This:

    Emission is not immediate after photon absorption, but the energy is degraded to kinetic motion by collision (only 1 in a million re-emits). However, collisions can excite a few percent of the ground state CO2 to the vibrationally excited state, and some of those can emit. This is a very common mistake.

    Common indeed, and explains much of my confusion when the Question Everything crowd have been reading too much Miskolczi. The 1 in a million stat is huge, some things begin to click into place for me. The question I’m now asking is when does a collision induce emission vs. not.

    Related: I have countered “how can such a trace gas warm all those other molecules?” with “how can such a trace gas cool all those other molecules which have been warmed by sensible and latent heat transfers?”

    As a consequence, the rate of emission at any point in the atmosphere is a function of the number density of CO2 per unit volume and the temperature (there are some pressure effects also).

    Yes, pressure broadening often gets tossed into the discussion, but not explained, as a “this is too complicated” gambit. I see it as a non-velocity related Doppler effect.

    Thank you again for the feedback and especially corrections.

    Standing request to all: please let me know if I’m ever dead wrong about something. Or even marginally wrong. I don’t want to perpetuate misinformation.

  66. Brandon Gates says:

    Michael 2,

    Taking notes? I’m impressed.

    It occurs to me that this discussion is OT for both this blog and WUWT, plus getting fragmented, so perhaps we should move it elsewhere. Your place or mine?

  67. Eli Rabett says:

    Brandon, Eli has always been in favor of recycling, so here from yesteryear is a series on spectral line widths starting with pressure.

  68. Rob Nicholls says:

    ATTP Congratulations for sticking at this for 2 years and remaining sane (or appearing to at least). I have learned so much and been entertained so much by you and the commenters here.

    SDK thanks for pointing out Dr Curry’s latest testimony to the US House of Representatives. I don’t know why I do this to myself but I’ve just read a written version. It’s a real classic. I was rather hoping there would be mention of stadium waves, offered up as serious evidence against the conclusions of IPCC AR5 WG1 (rather than a very speculative, tentative hypothesis), and of course I was not disappointed.

    Other highlights for me are the section on “Biased information cascades” and a brilliant bit about the tiny amount of warming that the US’s current emissions reductions commitments until 2025 would prevent, implying that it’s therefore not really worth doing anything to cut emissions. Of course there’s plenty on deep uncertainty and wicked problems, and a repetition from previous testimony to the senate that “Do nothing, or delay in order to gather more information” is one of several sensible policy options in the face of the deep uncertainty surrounding climate change. I think there’s also implied almost 100% discounting of anything that happens after the year 2100, although I may be wrong.

    I can’t bring myself to include a link to it.

  69. Brandon Gates says:

    Eli,

    My minimalist father would approve, added to the queue. I am reminded as I am every day that today is the day I might do well to treat my own web presence as a filing system. Though … alas, and alack, some of the WHUTTers are complaining that I’m getting repetitive. What to do ….

  70. Steven Mosher says:

    ““Do nothing, or delay in order to gather more information”

    sorry that is not her argument.

    Let me give you a very simple gloss of her view with some spicy side dishes added.

    1. for over 20 years the climate change problem as been construed largely as an emissions problem.
    2. That framing allows one to ignore other problems. It oversimplifies the issues.

    3. For 20 years you clowns have failed to come to agreement on a global treaty.

    4. Your solution while simple on paper has proved to be difficult.

    5. because there is uncertainty over the future, and because there has been an oversimplification
    of the problem, its time to try something different.

    6. She suggests: Innovation on new energy technology and adaptation to prepare for extreme
    weather that will come REGARDLESS of climate change, and action on pollution which is code
    for moving away from coal because of pm25

    Now in truth you dont even need her views on science to come to a similar conclusion.
    with regards policy, science dont matter much. what matters is what you can get done.
    you’all got suckered into thinking that speaking truth to power worked. Sorry no cookie.

    The time to act globally on emissions has come and gone. Its been 20 years and you clowns still havent done jack. step aside. you are the problem.
    That means we better be damn lucky. Work on things where you can get agreement and work on things where you dont need international agreement: Amp up the dollars on energy research. Prepare for the weather that will come regardless, and get some no regrets things done. And hope.

  71. Eli Rabett says:

    For 20 years you clowns have moved heaven and earth and more than a few bank accounts to oppose any action on climate change

  72. SDK says:

    @Mosher

    Regardless of all that, do you believe the hearing as a whole represented an accurate view of contemporary science? As a political junkie I’ve watched my fair share of c-span, and was kind of expecting a “both sides” spectacle. Instead it was more like 97% “skeptical”, with Curry, two think-tank ideologues and a completely inept voice of reason. Would’ve been expected for a right-wing panel, but this is Capitol Hill FFS…

    For those who can stomach it. It truly is a disgusting piece of hackery, from the very people supposedly running the free world.

    [video src="http://science.edgeboss.net/sst2015/hearing%20videos/fc041515.wmv" /]

  73. Vinny Burgoo says:

    ++1 Mosher

    Please pipe down, les bien-pensants. Just for a change.

  74. Rob Nicholls says:

    Thanks Steven Mosher. I enjoy your comments because they’re often challenging and often I can’t predict what general direction you’re going to take . (Alas, in contrast I think I could easily be replaced by a bot).

    I’m all for trying approaches that would be beneficial regardless of climate change (action on pollution, technological innovation etc), but I think pursuing a global agreement to limit GHG emissions is extremely important as well. This experiment we’re doing with the biosphere is a very dangerous one and I don’t think our civilisation is currently managing the risks. If we had a large number of habitable planets to spare then perhaps I would find Dr Curry’s approach a bit easier to understand.

    I believe Dr Curry is sincere, but, in my totally unqualified opinion, her latest written testimony has so many things wrong with it that I find it difficult to engage with in a serious way.

    I can see there is a lot of uncertainty about the scale and impacts of AGW, but I think the risks have been clear enough for quite a long time now to necessitate urgent, coordinated global action.

    Yes, developing countries have need for cheap energy, but for me that is a very good reason why wealthier nations should very rapidly cut their GHG emissions, in order that more of the remaining carbon emissions budget can be left to developing countries to use.

    (FWIW, for a long time I personally have not really thought that speaking truth to power worked much. I’ve generally preferred to try to engage ordinary people with the hope that one day the tide of public opinion will force those in power to change, although I haven’t put that into practice as much with respect to climate change as I had hoped to.)

  75. Rob Nicholls says:

    Steven Mosher “That means we better be damn lucky.” Well, I agree with that. But I’m not sure which clowns should step aside, or why they are the problem. The IPCC? I don’t really follow.

  76. BBD says:

    Steven Mosher

    The time to act globally on emissions has come and gone. Its been 20 years and you clowns still havent done jack. step aside. you are the problem.

    The problem is misinformation.

  77. Rob Nicholls says:

    “Prepare for the weather that will come regardless, and get some no regrets things done. And hope.” Yes, but why not make a massive, urgent effort at mitigation as well?

  78. Brandon Gates says:

    Rob,

    Mitigation sounds like sacrifice.

  79. Joshua says:

    1-5 are irrelevant. They are explicitly tribalistic, they are simplistic and cartoonish. They don’t inform policy, although they make for very nice political theater:

    ———————-

    ==> “6. She suggests: Innovation on new energy technology and adaptation to prepare for extreme
    weather that will come REGARDLESS of climate change,”

    If climate change causes weather that wouldn’t happen otherwise, then a focus of addressing weather that will come REGARDLESS of climate change means ignoring how climate change might change the weather If you’re targeting adaptation to weather that might result from natural variability, then your not taking into account the influence on weather from climate change.

    She is saying to ignore the potential of ACO2 emissions to change what we might have to adapt to because there is too much uncertainty. The problem with that being that in making that argument, she’s ignoring a great deal of uncertainty.

    ==> “which is code
    for moving away from coal because of pm25”

    Moving away from coal because of particulates make sense. Of course, I would question your decryption as Judith aligns herself, without explicating the differences, with many people who advocate increased use of coal, and she is testifying at the behest of policy-makers who oppose moving away from coal. If you could point to where Judith advocates moving away from coal, I’d appreciate it.

    But there is still another basic problem Moving away from coal because of particulates is not the same as moving away from coal because of particulates and because of the potential of coal (relative to other energy sourcing pathways) to change our climate. There is overlap, but they are not the same. Think of a Venn diagram. The objectives are certainly not mutually exclusive, but the are not the same.

    How can you discuss policy options if the policy options being offered for discussion aren’t coherent? How can you discuss policy options with people if they advocate for policy options but steadfastly insist that they’re not advocating for policy options?

  80. Willard says:

    > sorry that is not her argument.

    Here’s one argument:

    The inadequacies of current policies based on emissions reduction are leaving the real societal consequences of climate change and extreme weather events largely unadressed, whether caused by humans or natural variability.

    http://judithcurry.com/2015/04/15/hearing-presidents-un-climate-pledge/

    This dogwhistles that policies based on emissions reduction should not be seeked. This dogwhistling is reinforced elsewhere:

    It has been estimated that the U.S. national commitments to the UN to reduce emissions by 28% will prevent three hundredths of a degree centigrade in warming by 2100.

    Besides being an “egregious misuse of expertise,” to borrow Judy’s own terminology, this ain’t code for moving away from coal because of pm25. On the contrary, in fact. Unless by “no regrets pollution reduction” what is meant is policies based on emissions reduction.

    ***

    All this branding is getting tiring.

  81. #WHUT the ? is Curry doing speaking about anything related to science?

    Her application of Bose-Einstein statistics to water and ice nucleation theory has got to be one of the most bizarre scientific blunders to make its way into a textbook. Up there on the loopy scale with her former departmental colleague Salby, who I discovered is trying to peddle his almost as bizarre perpetual motion CO2 producing machine.

  82. Steven,

    The time to act globally on emissions has come and gone. Its been 20 years and you clowns still havent done jack. step aside. you are the problem.

    I find this objectionable. For 20 years people have been indicating that continued emissions may present a risk and for 20 years we’ve had others (Judith Curry included) who’ve downplayed the risks and demonised those who’ve been speaking out. To argue that they are the problem is offensive. If we’d actually started doing something 20 years ago, we might be somewhere now. To me the argument that what you said didn’t work, therefore you must step aside is simplistic and ignores that one of the possible reasons it didn’t work is because people actively worked to oppose it.

    Now in truth you dont even need her views on science to come to a similar conclusion.
    with regards policy, science dont matter much. what matters is what you can get done.

    Yes, but science does tell you whether or not what you’re doing will actually address the issue you’re attempting to address. To me the pragmatic approach, where we just ignore the science and make what we regard as sensible policy decisions, is naive and also medieval (why do science if we just ignore what it tells us?). If we all accepted it we might have a few decades of policy that we all agree with before we realise that it wasn’t policy that was actually going to address the actual issue.

    you’all got suckered into thinking that speaking truth to power worked. Sorry no cookie.

    Well, no, I think many people regarded this as the right thing to do even if it was going to be ineffective. You seem to think that anyone who speaks out does so unaware that it is likely to be ineffective; that they’re naive. No, it doesn’t surprise me all that much that it is ineffective. That’s no reason not to do it. Okay, I am bit naive, but that’s not my point.

  83. verytallguy says:

    Steven,

    I think you are implying that pragmatic ethics should dictate policy.

    We’ve actually been here once before:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/balance/#comment-38471

    A brief musing on pragmatic ethics

    1. It focuses on society, rather than on lone individuals, as the entity which achieves morality.[3] In Dewey’s words, “all conduct is … social.” [4]
    2. It does not hold any known moral criteria as beyond potential for revision.[3] Pragmatic ethics may be misunderstood as relativist, as failing to be objective, but that is like suggesting that science fails to be objective. Ethical pragmatists, like scientists, can maintain that their endeavor is objective on the grounds that it converges towards something objective.[5]
    3. It allows that a moral judgment may be appropriate in one age of a given society, even though it will cease to be appropriate after that society progresses (or may already be inappropriate in another society).[3] For example, the writings of Thomas Jefferson on slavery framed slavery as ultimately immoral, yet temporarily moral until America was ready for abolition.[6]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatic_ethics
    Mitigation, whilst desirable in principle may be unachievable in practice, given the huge difficulty of achieving global agreement and beyond that implementation of CO2 emissions reductions.

    So there is an ethical case for, if not complete laissez-faire, at least prioritising adaptation over mitigation on pragmatic grounds. Thomas Jefferson’s reported position on slavery in the quote is analogous.

    I’m not saying I agree, just that I think it is a legitimate argument.

    What do you think?

    I look forward to Willard deconstructing my schoolboy knowledge of ethics

    Whether or not you agree with this, I don’t think your post is a fair reflection of Judith’s position as I read her; her position appears much more that the science is wrong, and the right science (monsters, waves and Lewis) favours a different policy. But she appears so entrenched in contrarianism it’s hard to know, to be honest.

  84. BBD says:

    ATTP

    I find this objectionable.

    I find it borderline hilarious. Don’t you love it when the co-author of Climategate: The CRUTape Letters misinforms us that “you [clowns] are the problem”?

    Isn’t life rich with unintentional comedy? Draw a deep breath and release it as laughter. Directed at the real clowns.

  85. Arthur Smith says:

    Steve Mosher, apologist for lukewarmers everywhere. In reality Judith perjured herself on several counts, for example her false statement on the IPCC and extreme weather, picked up on by one of the democratic representatives there, who I thought were very sharp. Of course she said what the majority wanted to hear so she’s in no real trouble for it, but I think it’s absolutely shameful. Worse that her blog posts on this are full of adulation from her tribe of no-nothing’s. Maybe she really believes the false things she put in her testimony, she’s in such a bubble now.

  86. harrytwinotter says:

    “Its been 20 years and you clowns still havent done jack. step aside. you are the problem.”

    Ummm my country did implement a carbon tax, unpopular as it was. The problem is the next government removed it. Can’t say that we didn’t try, better luck next time I hope.

  87. Ron Graf says:

    Dr. Curry’s 2014 testimony was almost identical but I think more convincing on why we need to re-evaluate policy aims. Very few are for “doing nothing”. Almost all want to use our limited resources as wisely as possible to optimize prosperity and long-term outcomes for posterity. One does not need to be a climate scientist for this rationale. Science has been warped for policy aims IMO by threatening “coming our way” dangers. The argument that actual science does not bear this out can be seen by the recent trends in downward adjustments for ECS/TCR, especially the higher edges by people firmly in the establishment like Isaac Held.

    Who here honestly believes that if we had taken expensive actions 20 years ago to drastically reduce emissions that one would be seeing a significantly different climate now? Who hear does not believe that in that same case that politicians and alarmers would not be credit the pause to that mitigation intervention? Here is a comment yesterday by someone we all know to underscore this argument: http://judithcurry.com/2015/04/15/hearing-presidents-un-climate-pledge/#comment-693785

  88. izen says:

    @-Steven Mosher
    “The time to act globally on emissions has come and gone. Its been 20 years and you clowns still havent done jack. ”

    Factually wrong.
    Many governments have done a lot to control emissions. It may be less than required, and sometimes it has been an unintended consequence of other policy or economic actions. Perhaps you are judging government action by the actions taken in the US, but that would be like those that take the temperature record of the contiguous 48 as representative of global change.

    But apart from being factually wrong, it is also rude and disparaging of the many people who rather than being clowns, have enacted regulation and a transition to renewables that has been faster than predicted. Meanwhile coal is dying fast, the concept that it is a stranded asset is now discussed in the MSM. It also implies inaccurately that something OTHER than emissions regulation could have ANY impact on climate change.

    The notable exception to this ongoing if slow progress is the US, where industry interests in opposing regulation have made any progress much slower than in most modern nations. Perhaps your assessment of the problem is a result of the rather parochial viewpoint you have adopted.

  89. Ron,

    Who here honestly believes that if we had taken expensive actions 20 years ago to drastically reduce emissions that one would be seeing a significantly different climate now?

    Noone, I would expect. That’s rather a silly question, TBH.

  90. Joshua says:

    Ron –

    ==> “Who here honestly believes that if we had taken expensive actions 20 years ago to drastically reduce emissions that one would be seeing a significantly different climate now? ”

    Who here honestly thinks that such a completely vague (and thus meaningless) question could be answered?

  91. Pingback: Judith Curry’s testimony | …and Then There's Physics

  92. Dan Hughes says:

    Trying to present a correction to a comment.

    WebHubTelescope said:

    Her application of Bose-Einstein statistics to water and ice nucleation theory has got to be one of the most bizarre scientific blunders to make its way into a textbook.

    There is not a single indication anywhere that Curry and Khvorostyanov applied Bose-Einstein to particles at temperatures well above absolute zero. Not. Even. One.

    Bose-Einstein Statistics are introduced in Section 3.2.4 of the book. Here’s what the introductory paragraph says about the conditions for which applications of B-E is necessary:

    3.2.4. Bose– Einstein Statistics
    If the temperature of an ideal gas becomes sufficiently low or the density is high, then the criterion for Boltzmann statistics nk ≪ 1 is not satisfied. Bose– Einstein statistics apply when quantum effects are important, the particles are indistinguishable, and they have an integer spin (internal momentum of rotation); that is, counted in integer numbers of Planck constant h. Bose– Einstein statistics was introduced for photons and then later generalized to atoms. Important applications of Bose– Einstein statistics include the following: black-body radiation, which can be considered as an ideal gas of photons; evaluation of the heat capacities of the solids and gases; and ice nucleation at low temperatures.

    Khvorostyanov, Vitaly I.; Curry, Judith A. (2014-08-31). Thermodynamics, Kinetics, and Microphysics of Clouds (Kindle Locations 2248-2254). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

    WebHubTelescope has stated his provably incorrect characterizations of B-E in the textbook in several places over the past several months. He continues to make statements that are factually wrong, and these are known to be wrong.

    He has not yet quoted a single illustration that the authors of the book have incorrectly applied B-E statistics. Never has, never can.

    This matter and a couple more of Paul Pukite’s errors are fully covered in this comment at Amazon.

  93. Dan,

    There is not a single indication anywhere that Curry and Khvorostyanov applied Bose-Einstein to particles at temperatures well above absolute zero. Not. Even. One.

    Followed by:

    Important applications of Bose– Einstein statistics include the following: black-body radiation, which can be considered as an ideal gas of photons; evaluation of the heat capacities of the solids and gases; and ice nucleation at low temperatures.

    Huh? Call me confused.

  94. Dan Hughes is way out of his league on this one. He should maybe read the pages like ATTP does where they use Bose-Einstein statistics on both ice nucleation and on droplet formation.

    It’s like they compound the problem 10 times by applying it to BOTH cases. No one has shown that it is operable under well-controlled laboratory conditions, let alone thousands of feet in the atmosphere where behavior has to be inferred !

    People like Curry should not be doing solid state physics.

  95. Bobby says:

    ” ice nucleation at low temperatures.”
    Yeah, I noticed the same thing.

  96. Dan Hughes says:

    [Repetitive. -W]

    Let me repeat this part:

    But Bose-Einstein statistics was NEVER applied for any calculations in this book.

    WHT or aTTP have yet to cite a single example of either Curry or Khvorostyanov mis-applying B-E stats. Anywhere or at anytime. No book, no report, no paper. Nothing. Never have, never will, never can.

    And neither have suggested that the specification given by Curry and Khvorostyanov are incorrect relative to the conditions for which application of B-E stats is valid. Never have, never will, never can.

    WHT continues to insist that B-E stats has been applied by Curry and/or Khvorostyanov in this book (or some other publications), and aTTP seems to agree with WHT. In fact, now WHT says that he and aTTP can shows us the very pages on which this has been documented.

    I say, What are the page numbers.

    Not to mention that neither WHT or aTTP have yet to object to the characterization by Curry or Khvorostyanov relative to the conditions under which B-E stats can be applied.

    If the page numbers are not forthcoming, we must include that all this time WHT has presented a less-than-complete summary of the situation. And now, apparently, WHT has indicated that aTTP can also point to documentation in which Curry and/or Khvorostyanov have mis-applied B-E stats. Not to mention the continued use of a less-than-professional characterization of Dr. Curry.

  97. Dan,
    Why are you including me in this? I don’t care about Judith’s book. I have said almost nothing about Judith’s book. I don’t care whether or not the book includes Bose-Einstein statistics or not. I really really don’t care. I’ve let WHUT say things about the book, because I really can’t see why it matters. If Judith wants to complain to me about what is said on my blog about the book I might take notice. Otherwise, I really don’t care. This is not complicated.

  98. Eli Rabett says:

    it is known that at low temperatures (can be around Tlim of -70 to -100 C), s becomes very low, even for pure water without surfactants, and may become even negative in some extrapolations to the low T, which prevents calculations at these T. Since the critical energy of activation DFcr ~ s3, the enery DFcr also becomes very small (or negative), and eventually can become comparable to or smaller than kT, so that DFcr ~ kT or DFcr > kT. Thus, we come to a dead end: calculations of nucleation become impossible below Tlim with Boltzmann statistics although many cirrus clouds may form at these T (especially in the tropics), polar stratospheric clouds, playing important role in ozone depletion, noctilucent and mesospheric clouds form at even lower T

    Boltzmann statistics requires a condition DFcr >> kT.

    Really?

  99. Willard says:

    Hello, Dan.

    You say:

    > Let me repeat this part: […]

    Then follows a part that does not answer AT’s question.

    Let me repeat AT’s question:

    Huh?

    This question relates to this claim:

    There is not a single indication anywhere that Curry and Khvorostyanov applied Bose-Einstein to particles at temperatures well above absolute zero. Not. Even. One.

    This claim has been proven false.

    Please take back that claim in your next comment.

    Thank you for your concerns,

    W

  100. Dan,
    I have a page set up to answer your question concerning the pseudo-scientist Curry. To me, you are in the same league as Chief Hydrologist ..
    http://contextearth.com/crackpots-etc/

    Curry’s co-author admitted in a blog post: ” “Thus, if in the future, B-E statistics will appear to be valid for nucleation at low T, the first reference will be this book.”

    Ha ha.

  101. Kevin ONeill says:

    Dan is obviously incapable of using Google. The search terms ‘bose einstein statistics curry Khvorostyanov’ gives the exact page on just the third result. You can read the text right from the

    Google Books copy of the textbook

    BTW Dan, ‘low’ temperature in ice-nucleation is not the same ‘low’ temperature valid for B-E. Not even close.

  102. And Curry cuts-and-pastes the same B-E nonsense for ice nucleation into the section on water droplet nucleation. It’s like they were throwing linguini against a wall and seeing if anything would stick.

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